Word and Image

Posts tagged “Flowers

How much

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?


Vertical

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

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….


Unexpected outcome

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.


Good one?

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.


Having fun…?!

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.


Ticks and bees

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.


By the way

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.


Latest, greatest

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.


Macro – detail

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.)


Mission

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!


Déjà vu … again

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.


Great shot

What’s great? It’s all subjective. You see it while you are editing. That’s it! I have too many good shots to count. There’s no time to dwell. It’s a gestalt thing. See it. Pick it. My back yard, it’s so serene. There you are. Everything was good all at the same time in this moment. The red flower? Rolling Stones – it’s a tongue. Water droplets on the petunia never fail to make me look twice. I tried. There’s not enough time and too many images. I cannot stay within posting one image per day. Great shots are everywhere. I’m so lucky.


Gear

I split the discussion and did not show you gear in yesterday’s post. Waiting is good. Most gear I get is purchased after agonizing over the need and justifying the expense. Leica is Rolls Royce but I do not justify its expense. The “bang” for your $$$$ buck is too low in my opinion. The Canon G7X is my dive camera. It worked so well at the time and still would serve just fine. I am invested in its underwater housing and a strobe. The Sony RX100 VI is a compact camera with more than adequate telephoto reach. It is as good at getting a tele image as my Nikon 80-400mm zoom. Crazy! But to my eye, the image is adequate and way offsets carrying around a big heavy lens when traveling all day. The Canon EOS M6 II was my first mirrorless camera and made an instant leap to my carry-around camera. Covid canceled our trip to Scotland. And, a year later I got the Nikon Z5 full frame mirrorless camera. Full frame is the operative phrase, The camera is larger, therefore, heavier. If you don’t “get” (understand) it (heavy), the Z5 is not for you. Currently, the Z5 is my “go to” except where size matters and I wish to be unobtrusive. And. NO! Colleen will not be going anywhere for the “duration (of our forever marriage).” I am only allowed to have more cameras. … no more cats either. Tech? Gear? No, it’s the image!

So much gear… gearhead? So little time… need all that gear? Does/did it make you better? … do we need another spinning wheel? Sure! Aesthetic? Ah! Hedonistic! The antonym is eudaimonistic. And, we have never heard of that term. So…. go for it! Though, I tend toward introvert, I have never been accused of being a monk.


Options

All of this, and, without a macro lens… you work with what you brung. We were In Winterthur, the Dupont estate gardens. The plantings are timed to bloom all year long in waves of color throughout the seasons It was azalea time. Peonies were in bloom. Spectacular. The hard part is capturing the beauty. With all the possibility, it was not easy to get a quintessential image. One image? There were too many choices. Wide-angle, macro, telephoto, portrait – it was sensory overload. It is entirely possible to be overwhelmed by great images, one after another. Some days you feel fortunate just to be in the moment. … and to share it with the one you love.


Tiny details

Ho hum. Another flower picture? Yawn, boring. Till… I noticed the tiny details. Last summer I shot the flowers in my garden with a regular camera zoom lens. The details I captured were eye-opening. This year I updated my gear and got an (up-to-date) macro lens. I got the right tool for the job. I can appreciate the improvement in my images. I was used to a wide-angle view of the garden. Now, I see and capture tiny details. Learning a new trick has been fun and introduced interest once again. I am challenged to illustrate things we would not ordinarily notice in the common flowers in our garden.


Depth

As if you might care – macro photography has a very limited depth of field. This is good or bad. I have had to adjust. The critical focus makes it imperative to be certain of the point of interest. Lack of focus is unforgiving. Either you got the shot or not. Ok! Enough! You want to see? The African daisy is in focus at the back and not the front. It’s subtle but makes all the difference between “ok” and “wow!” If you didn’t notice or don’t care, good for you!


Looking back

It is interesting how your viewpoint changes in an instant. For a year I have been happy with my images. Then I switched cameras. Suddenly, pictures taken a couple months ago look so different in Lightroom. Focus, composition, lighting – everything looks different – worse. I am better. Or, not. I learn primarily by yesterday’s mistakes. I admit to many. And, I am committed to improving my images going forward. Mainly, I just stopped paying attention. Without a viewfinder, I let the camera take the picture. I left a lot to automation and AI. It did not work so well – in my opinion. One simple thought. Selfies; no one is around, take off your silly mask. It is instantly a better picture. Duh! Anyway, I got a wake-up call while editing nearly 1000 images taken back in March compared to my current work using a viewfinder again. The point: using the LCD, I got lazy and stopped paying attention to critical focus and composition. As a result many of my pictures were poorly exposed and unfocused. Composition had gone to hell. 1000 images and most of them were not worthy. I had pressed the shutter and hoped for the best. I have regained my senses. I am better now. I will improve. Sometimes, less is more.


How good?

I read that you should enter photo contests. There’s a long explanation/argument that it will improve your technique. Ok. I have not entered any contests. I read. And I experiment. For me it is mileage. The pleasure is mine. I am not constrained. I am free to shoot as I please. Good? Bad? The other good is about whether your work measures up. Does it matter? Yes, if you are entering contests. Win or lose means good or bad? If you lose, you did not measure up? Ha ha. Drive yourself crazy. For me it’s still mileage. I’m not winning awards but the quality keeps me happy. I do better than snapshots and less than fine art. And there is no one to tell me what art looks like. I’m / we’re having fun. Eh? (One more parenthetical thought: When I learned to ski, the instructor spent the entire lesson “hitting” on the girls. No more lessons. Mileage. I just skied and got better and better. I never won a race. But, then, that was never the point, was it?)


Too numerous

Too numerous to count. I have just planted for the season. It’s not all done; more to come. Meanwhile, there are photo ops too numerous to mention everywhere I look. It is like diving in Jeddah. You cruise up one side of the garden and back. The subjects are plentiful. One flower can be photographed in different light with or without rain. The variations keep it interesting. There is always a different angle or different perspective. Detail, you see something new each time you look. It remains interesting. Mother Nature sure can produce variety.


I wuz robbed

I hate mowing the lawn. And, I especially hate mowing around trees. We had an electric mower with a long extension cord that I have cut (the cord) with the blade on many an occasion (and repaired). Colleen had that pitiful look women/wives get in the big box store – we bought a battery operated mower. Darn!! I was waiting for her to screech and complain as the cord twisted around the trees. Nope! She got out of it with a bit of crafty maneuvering. I’m a big softie. Yeah, no one dresses up to do yard work. I can only toss in a couple flowers to note that the garden is looking good.


Rotation

I have cameras. They are smaller than spinning wheels. And, they (cameras) are smaller than looms and great wheels. This does not mean that I don’t have a lot (of cameras). It just means they are more discrete. I have a series (of cameras) that I rotate in use. Each has its own characteristics, and therefore, its use in certain situations. It would be boring to wax poetic over each (camera’s) special or general use. Suffice to say that Colleen’s picture illustrates one “signature” spinning wheel, one loom, and two great wheels, all of which take up (all) the available space in our (her) living room. Three cameras take up a portion of one table that does not have fiber upon it. Which is to say, that the missing camera (I took this photo with it) is my new spiffy Nikon Z5. Yes, one must always keep up with tech. It is the replacement to my trusty Nikon D610, that I purchased when Colleen and I first met. I will not be replacing Colleen anytime soon. I say this upon pain of death. Ha ha. (KIDDING!).

This new camera does take great shots. I’ve been waiting to get the red wing blackbird with its red chevron – only to find, it is orange – and shot with my Sony RX100 VI. The swallow? A crow decimated their nest last spring. I hope they have returned to nest once more. Mix and match, each instrument for its purpose. When you you need a hammer, a screw driver might do if nothing else is at hand. Macro? The right lens is definitely a plus – helpful! But you can do it with or without. I love to learn new tricks. A new camera? A new lens? Is it an excuse? Or, is it inspiration to explore new possibilities? Whatever! I rotate and I use whatever is at hand that will achieve what I imagine. Sometimes it works. Do we need all those spinning wheels? Ha ha. I would not presume to answer that question. But I do know, it’s a whole lot of fun to have the tools you need at hand. … now to talk Colleen into needing a Tesla.


Flowers: Macro

What can I say? New toys open up possibilities. This post was composed about one- and one-half months ago. I suppose the technical aspects are likely boring. I’m just tickled. I have just made things so much easier for myself. And, it is the start of summer flowering. There will be many returns on my investment.


New toys

For the longest time I resisted getting a real macro camera lens. These are the first sample images from a spiffy macro lens I acquired toward the end of April. The camera has a very shallow depth of field. Focus on the subject is critical. The right tool for the right job – I had resisted for so long. A few brief moments later, I am convinced. The last time I was enlightened like this, was, when I upgraded my diving equipment. It’s still too early. But, I suspect my images will change for the better. No longer am I tied to the concept: when you don’t have a hammer, a screw driver will do. It’s nice to eat with a knife and fork.