Portrait photography – the first rule – focus on the eyes. From the start, when I did film photography, it was always focus (manually) on the eyes. Nothing else is as important. Cats feel threatened when you point a big lens at them. It’s like a big eye. The cat does not like it. Mine, they are resigned. I have pointed so often that the lens is familiar. It’s still not easy. The skill is in putting the lens in front of their eye so it looks as though they are looking at you. Ha! And, salt on the tail, will catch a bird! It ain’t easy. But then again, if it were, all my pictures would be perfect. Right?
No matter how I try, I cannot justify the expense of a $9,000 camera. The more $$$ the better image? At that point I would estimate that the photographer is the limiting factor. I’m just not good enough for the equipment. I’m lazy. My composition is poor. And, my hands would shake. I drive around with a camera sitting on the dashboard and take shots thru the windshield while the car is moving at speed. Yeah, this is all lost on me. All that detail in the lovely lens, is lost on me with the shaking moving car. I’m not the next – (name someone famous). Far from it, are my images worthy? They are fun. Night or day, small or large, macro or landscape, I have no specialty or particular need. Don’t speak of autofocus points or noise. The bottom line – image. I guess my kids have it right – iPhone. It gets you where you want to go, Dad? Meanwhile, I am very happy within my price range $. It’s a game – bang for your buck. At a certain point $9,000 is well spent on something else than a single camera. There are those for whom status is the key. Mercedes and Porsche bank on it. My need is to get from point A to B safely and reliably. And within reason, I like to drive more than a VW ‘bug.’ Like my kids’ iPhone, in a pinch, a screw driver can be a hammer.
I like eating out in restaurants. I have eaten in McD and I have eaten in white cloth restaurants. Would you spend $1,000 for a single meal? $5? We all have our personal price point. Yours?
When I started in film, “they” always admonished me to hold the camera vertically – get a vertical shot – about 10% of the time. Or, more. Nowadays, I shoot 99% with the horizontal computer screen in mind. My shots are mostly horizontal. I can crop vertically, easily enough. Or, more than ever I hold my camera tilted off horizontal to get a more “street” or “edgy” look. Ha! The cameras I have all have a horizontal ‘indicator’ to hold you perfectly aligned which is anything but what I want to be. Come as you are! My images turn out vertically sometimes because I am holding the camera so far off horizontal. To which I might ask, if you have a round flower, does it matter – horizontal or vertical? To which, I might add, I never met a rule I didn’t try to break…
Happy… birthday. Happy!? I hope I have made you as happy as you have made me so. In a simple collage we have the essence of it all: cat, food, travel, spinning, beach… together. Good time?! Yup! Favorite cat? We all have a special one. Ha! Not really. If a picture is worth a thousand words… I hope you will know how my feelings are in this collage. Happy?…. as the cow jumped over the moon. Happy? … my wish to you.
Flag? Symbolism? Meaning? Interpretation? Philosophical? Deep? Poetic? … Nah! Spontaneous. It was eye catching as I edited… gestalt. Ah! And flowers….
Depending on punctuation this can be a command or interrogative. To those who follow this blog, it doesn’t matter. You are already included in being notified about my posts. If someone does a basic search on WordPress, I am not immediately noticeable. ?? I don’t list myself in category or tag under “photography.” I did a casual search today and realized the omission. Now, begins the experiment to find out if this blog is noticed more. The rest – tags and category – may not have much relevance beyond letting me search for older posts. Let us see.?!
Am I good? Or, am I good because of good equipment? Or, does the equipment make me good? And so on and on… Luck? This butterfly cooperated. This all has a lot to do with the butterfly, who held still for its close-up. My good luck! Look at the detail – eye, the hairs. Pretty nifty! Hey! I’ve done this before. It’s not my first. But, its rare enough that I appreciate it’s not a given. A lot of things come together to get to this point. Ho hum. Whip out an iPhone and shoot. Uh uh. Not by the hair of its chinny chin chin.
Disinformation. Lies. Untruth. Influencer?
Did that get your attention? Lies spread on the internet are common. People who lie abound. Those who sell us falsehoods thrive as never before. And, they make money doing it. Their trash lies are translated into multiple foreign languages and disseminate around the world. Those who would listen are stupid? But, they are dying too. Covid 19 is killing people as I write. The vaccine works. The lies work too. People who have not been vaccinated account for most of the current deaths. And, the lies keep spreading. Sad. Sadly, it seems that lies are more powerful than truth. Karma’s a bitch. This man is an osteopath. How does he continue with his outright lies? Why does he still have a license? Perhaps karma will bite him on the ass.
Wheel bug, assassin bug, you don’t see a red assed bug in your garden very often. They are not seen much so an internet search is pretty easy. I do not think they are native around here. So, this was worth a picture. And of course, the bug refused to cooperate. A proper photo was not easy to get. The bug kept crawling under a leaf or into the shade.
Some days you don’t feel like you got what you came to photograph. It was bright sunny and the contrasting light did not allow me to get details of the eyes. All day! Sure, there were serviceable shots. But, it was a failure by my standard and expectation. No do overs! Alas! Drat! Double drat! I won’t make the mistake again. But, it was a lost opportunity. I’m used to a very high percentage of good shots. Once again, I learned from my mistake. All day! The light remained contrasty. The best shots were not mine. I should have known, and once again, I learned. It was Jules who got the shots of the day.
Diplomacy. Not my strong suit. Present & former wife – we all survived the encounter. They were cordial. We were there, for my daughter, the common point: and, of course, Noa, the youngest grandchild. At least we are civil; I/we had always intended to be so. A peace offering: Colleen gave Lisa a spinning wheel she was not using. We were making space: a new wheel will soon arrive. Either way, it worked out for the good. It was a strange day on many levels. It ended peacefully. One never knows. Strained? Tension? Nah!
When Barb cut down my passion vine last season, I suspected it was gone for good. We got another vine (4); they promptly died. And, I got one more for $$$ this spring. Somehow, I assumed it would be the same as the one Barb cut. Nope! This one is crimson red. This was a surprise. Cherry blossoms don’t come in a myriad of colors. I assumed… wrongly. This is quite striking. I wonder if it will survive my growing zone? And, if not? We got a real show.
I could hardly be accused of being cramped. I keep saying there are too many images and not enough time. The cameras give me technically sound shots. I used to shoot 36 images (film) per day. Now, it can easily be 700 images (digital) in a single outing. Philosophically, less is more?! One image? Sure. But, it’s so much more illustrative (fun!) to share the backstory (ha!) on what’s doing.
Look to home when you need inspiration? My cat Feather has replaced Peas in the basket in order to occupy space and ambush Peas (in her former favorite spot). After Barb cut down my passion fruit vine, the new one and its flower is a surprise brilliant red. Sometimes things happen for a reason (photo op). Meanwhile, you will see Chestertown illustrated. It was a charming town, an over the top excellent find by Colleen, who loves history, shopping, eating, art, and above all, all things “charming.” We could not have had a better day with our clothes on. (Shhh, she wasn’t sure about the dress length; she wore shorts beneath.)
I give up. Currently, I cannot cull, edit, and choose a single image from among the myriad of good ones I have in my collection. So, I cheat. I use a gallery and sneak in multiple images, sometimes, even “repeats.” How else can I share the fun? Every time I see the flower with the “tongue” I think of the Rolling Stones. Water, it’s a universal favorite. No matter, it’s all good and keeps getting better… well, at least it’s always changing.
I had a dream. Anne, a girl, an old friend, one from the third grade, was in it. I hugged her. I have been wondering about Anne since the eighth grade, when I last saw her. Oh, the guilt, to hug an old girl, friend. I’m married. Happily, again, now! Carol laughed. Ginny – isn’t this the reason you go to confession? Impure thoughts? Colleen, shrugged. She knows I’m hers. (she got my signature, what there is of it, on the “certificate.”)
Trapped? (in the basket, see Willow, the cat) Nah! Nope!
Cats? I should learn, take a lesson, be more like them…
Flowers? Every day, I bring … I think that I am so lucky to be in this place at this time…. Ginny laughs at my openness. There is truth – Colleen and I are having fun. It’s not hard to see at all.
I dreamt about posting/blogging. Yeah, weird. I never did that before. The old question arises. Am I shooting for the blog? Or, are my shots “worthy” photos? Technically correct, many of my images are good. But, worthy? Goofy! Goofy? My garden – I discovered a tick (looking at the flower picture) after the shoot. Ha! I thought it was a spider. Wrong! And, long gone, there is no finding that tick. Now, I have to worry about my cats. Bee? Almost, but no cigar. The focus missed by just that much. Alas. Focus!? Ah, an antique store with old cameras. Wonderful, but, they are film. Collector’s item? No, more like they are dust collectors. Covid is pretty much done. There are no rules any longer. We are half masked, or, not. Brain coral celosia? Close, but not quite, I am still working on focus and lighting. Poor Peas, the calico kitten, has her own problems. She’s cute. The older Maine coon cats are jealous? They keep jumping her! I mean pouncing, hissing, loud, mean, ambush type altercations. So, ticks, are a problem but not foremost among what I think about.
It’s the same ole… picture. Why take it again? You have that already? Over and over… I take the same picture of the same subjects… and they are always different… or not. Sometimes there is something almost ethereal. There’s a slight difference from before that transcends…. We are on the flight path from BWI PHI and IAD – Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington DC. Isn’t it swell that the jet paths cross over our heads north and south? Ethereal, they diffuse in minutes. We are between here and there, the middle of nowhere.
I take pictures of Colleen. Shhh… do I love here because she looks so good or does she look so good because I love her? Don’t ask. Don’t know. And, flowers? Sometimes there’s a glow, an angle, a softness of focus – that subtle difference between ooh and aah. Is there? a difference? Some days I am good. And, on others I feel like that “blind squirrel” lucky enough to get a nut.
But what have you done for me today? Time moves forward. The moment passes and you can never go back. You can look back. Smile or regret, it’s up to you. Shhh… I like kittens. But, they grow up. We all age. But, I love you more, because of it. It’s in the “knowing” not the image.
Gestalt theory emphasizes that the whole of anything is greater than its parts. That is, the attributes of the whole are not deducible from analysis of the parts in isolation. The word Gestalt is used in modern German to mean the way a thing has been “placed,” or “put together.” There is no exact equivalent in English.
And, there is no equivalent way to pick one photo over another. It’s an unknowable feeling that comes as you edit. “That’s it” the one! I have to say that I am most fortunate to be able to say that I had a choice and that I have choices. Yup, I gotta a lot of beauty around me these days.
I hate bugs. Icky! I don’t mind taking pictures of bees… or, perhaps a dragonfly. Here’s an example with my spiffy macro lens. It ain’t easy. Everything is moving – subject and photographer – in 3D. There was a breeze swaying the flower. Luck and some skill is involved. No complaints. I got nice detail. Focus and detail, it all came together. This is better than before I used a macro lens. It’s still rare to get this confluence; the right place and right moment are hard to come by. Having the right tool at hand makes it easier to get the shot.
Way back in the beginning… back in 2011, I started this blog. It was free. Free is for me! I’m not selling anything. No $ either way, in either direction. Not true, I pay a fee for extra memory (on the site) nowadays. There are ads, a few, not my doing, not mine (ads). Essentially, free. Followers, a lot of commercial WordPress sites these days, fishing for business. Followers, a few, to whom I imparted the blog address. There are few enough followers who have found me from around the world. But indeed, there have been visitors from around the world. Ah, the power of the internet! I do not seek fame. I merely share thoughts and photos. I’m better than average and less than great. I am not the best in my family but better than most. My own kids have produced 5 star pics on their iPhones! It’s not common, so, the body of my work is technically better. But, then art was never about quantity. Quality can show up in a single image. Colleen’s kids – Emma has more photography experience. But, even Jess and Ian have shown that even a blind squirrel gets a nut once in a while. Even though I take great shots, it’s just not every day. But every day, I take shots.
It’s not microscopic photography. Once upon a time, I did plenty of medical photography through an operating microscope. Macro photography is focusing in on the small details the eye will usually not see unaided. The macro lens brings that detail into focus. In this manner one can see the fine hairs on the stamens or almost make out the individual grains of pollen. It’s fascinating. It’s eye-opening. I can demonstrate detail that I never saw in the past without the aid of a macro lens. It elevates your perception and appreciation above the ordinary flower photo. I don’t think I could get these results with an iPhone. (Go ahead. Zoom in on the images to see the extraordinary detail.)
Cats? Family? Memory? Fine photography? The original mission was to post nice photos and give a back-story comment on the image. I stray, being a diary, commenting with humor, and posting pet pictures. They are good photos. Lately, they are current; I have so many old pictures to share, not enough time. The feedback via likes and comments is meager. Do I care? I appreciate feedback; but it doesn’t matter so much as the fact that I have an outlet for thought and deed (image). It’s been a work that will linger on the internet for a while. Am I striving for immortality? Hardly! Do I shoot for myself?… or to blog? Sometimes, it’s a bit of both. Clearly? Nope, the mission is blurred by the fact that I make the rules and I never met a rule I didn’t try to break. No matter what, it’s always about an image that inspires me. I was never serious. I am? Humor will always creep in along the edges. Fun? You bet!
It’s been about 14 months since I had a proper haircut. I cut, and, Colleen cut – my hair. It was Covid. Meanwhile, Colleen got her hair cut. Then, I did. It’s not all that different. Ha! Yes, it is. But, the good news, it seems no one much noticed. I suppose anyone can tell. Colleen does/did. I have to admit (readily, though reluctantly) that her haircut came out very well! It was like spring cleaning. Out with the old, in with the new, it’s good to feel neat again.
Focus – eyes. If the eyes are in focus, just about anything else is forgiven in a portrait. The image is an edit discard if the eyes are not focused. If you stand back far enough everything looks in focus. Up close – focus is critical to the success of an image. Have I said focus is important? In a family of ten it’s important to be focused. Ha ha! I did a go around the house and got everyone’s eyes, mine included. (I chose to be upside down.) I suppose this is photo lesson 101. Focus!
As Frank Sinatra sang, “Regrets, I have a few….” The last time I made a major camera purchase was in 2014. We went to the mecca of camera stores (B&H) and I got a brand new spiffy Nikon D610. A month later the D700 followed by the D750 came out. (About the same price, better features!) Bad timing. Of course, no one tells you in advance so they can dump old inventory at max price. This time around I got a Nikon Macro 105mm lens to go with the Nikon Z5. This stuff ain’t cheap! And! Déjà vu! A month later, the new Z mount macro lens was announced. You don’t care. You didn’t get gypped again! I could buy/sell/trade my way to the new model lens. Nah! The old lens is fine; it’s just more weight (older lens). And, I have already gotten my money’s worth of macro photography even before the new lens has been released for sale. But(t), as with many things in life, timing is everything. My (timing) was perfect again. Then again, gear is not the definition of a photographer; anyone who buys great gear is not guaranteed success. Good tools make things go better. This mix of photos is with different cameras and lenses – right tool in the right moment, or, the tool at hand in the moment. The humming bird was fortuitous (lucky!!): I was holding the 105mm macro. This lens worked at the critical moment.
Macro? you ask? This one wuzza puzzler. Two bees humping? I thought they worked with a queen. No humpin’ allowed. It’s not an expected behavior?! This was right tool (lens) in the moment.