Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dear...

Dear 2013,
In all honesty, I am not sorry to see you go.  You've been unkind to many people I know and my year hasn't been a bed of roses either.  Yes, I know, your sibling 2012 was, in many instances, worse with Sandy and all that.  But I believe that was just the 'set up' for what you had in store.  Your wrath was spread out over the entire year with lows that were so deep I often wondered if humankind would make it to the end.

Well, we made it..so there!  Despite the deaths, illnesses, job loss, lack of funds, and God only knows what else, we made it.  I don't know where you're headed but I will welcome your new version with open arms in anticipation of brighter days and softer nights.

Finito!  Terminado!  Fini!  Fatto!  Finished!

One year marches out while another marches in.

Dear 2014,
Welcome!
You're brand new and shiny and I'm sure you'd love to stay that way.  Right?  Well, here's a little advice early in the game...be kind, be gentle, have mercy, take care of us.  The past 365 haven't been easy and we need a break.  We need you to lighten the load.  After all, wouldn't it be wonderful to hear us all say on December 31, 2014 that you were a very good year?

Thanks for listening and I sure hope you were paying attention to me and not that glass of champagne.

See you around and I hope you're smiling!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

It's the holiday season!

Well, even though it's in the 20s outside and nature's photo ops are a little limited, I managed to grab some shots of some holiday goodies around the house.  I've been diligently practicing with my Lensbaby and it has really tested my manual focusing ability.  Since I no longer have the eyesight of my youth, I swapped out the diopter on my camera for a -2 diopter and, I think/hope, it's given me more exact results.

A box of Godiva chocolates from Belgium.

Coconut Twists ready to go into the oven.
 

Star Light, Star Bright...one of my mother's old ornaments...precious to me.

This year life's events have grabbed most free moments so every opportunity I've had to hold my camera has been precious.  I'm so hoping for more photo time in 2015!
 
May you find peace, joy, and love during this holiday season
and in the coming new year!!!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Scanners...

Do you remember that 1980s sci-fi movie?  I barely do but, every time I scan something, the title of that flick comes to mind.  Maybe I'll actually watch it again one day.

So today I installed a new scanner (thus the 'scanners' inference).  I haven't had a scanner in ages but, after reading the reviews for this model (Epson Perfection V550) and noting it was on sale at B&H, I decided to make a purchase.  I was also influenced by the two boxes of slides I found in my mom's attic.  This machine is supposed to do a great job of scanning photos, negatives, and slides and I'm seeing a scanning project in my future...probably on one of those days following a major snow storm, the office is closed, and the roads are impassible.  You know...a typical winter day in central New Jersey.

So here is my very first scan.  This photo was taken way way back in ancient times when I shot film and had very little knowledge of f stops, shutter speeds, exposure, and composition; let alone how to hold a camera...evidence the tilted horizon.  I chose this photo because it was the first photo I had submitted to my company's photo contest and, yes, it won.  At the time I recall we had to mat each photo submitted and I really had a hard time straightening out the horizon so it would still fit within the 5 x 7 mat.  Today, all entries must be framed and under glass.  Take a look....


And here is the scan, edited in Lightroom 5... without a lot of data and Lightroom 5 knowledge (much to my dismay), it was difficult to make any significant changes but I did finally get that horizon straightened out...


Call me crazy but the original is near and dear to my heart.

Friday, November 1, 2013

After the fall...

there is winter so I thought I should post the following before nature's stained glass disappears.  Just as every season seems to fly by, fall will be a memory and all those beautiful colors will turn to brown and then get trampled and raked and gathered for the compost pile or the yard clippings pickup.  That is the part of fall I dislike...that period at the end when the colors are almost gone and you know that you will soon be surrounded by shades of white and gray.  You can smell and feel the change; just like the change of every season.  You know that moment when you first step outside in the morning and something is different.  You are alerted; like to an animal being alerted to danger.

I so wish the fall...the beautiful, colorful, crisp part...would stay with us so much longer.  It is so full of my favorite colors and temperatures; I will try to hold onto it as long as I can.

 
 
 
 
 
 Enjoy nature's stained glass.
I don't believe Tiffany has ever been able to match her beauty.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Decisions, decisions, decisions...

Do you have trouble making decisions?  I usually don't.  When I've made up my mind, I'm usually pretty quick to act.  This only changes when I analyze my decision/desires with friends; 'analyzing' being discussing at great length.  After these conversations, I'm usually confronted with additional data/information that makes me think twice about my original decision.

And so it goes...I'm hankering for a new piece of camera equipment.  Yes, I know I don't need it.  But, when things have been leaning towards the extreme negative in my life, I gravitate towards retail therapy.  And I never regret retail therapy.  Actually, and in all honesty, I've never regretted much, if anything, in my life.  It's all a 'learning experience,' but that's another story for another post.

The question at hand...to purchase a lensbaby lens or not?  I've done the research, read the history of the lens, looked at reviews, searched out tumblr for sample shots and then I had the 'conversation' with Angela (http://besoterio.tumblr.com/).  Angela is often my conscience when it comes to camera equipment and then there are those times when we are 'partners in crime,' aka...a bad influence on each other.  Our motto:  See it, want it, buy it!  When she reads this, I'm sure she will be recalling the infamous camera bag purchase we both regretted.

Angela and I both use Nik Software but she is far more familiar with the workings of this set of post-processing photo programs.  She pointed out that I just may get the same effect using one of the programs/filters in Nik as I would with a lensbaby lens.  So I'm hunched over my computer trying to replicate what I think might be a lensbaby effect.  Here are the results.  The jury is still out.  I'm just hoping I don't miss the special sale B&H is currently offering on a nice lensbaby package deal.


Straight out of the camera...converted from RAW to jpeg...no editing.
 
Blur vignette applied in Nik Software with focus point centered on flower.

What do you think?  And while you're thinking, I hope you're enjoying this outstanding fall weather we (East Coast) are having.  Hopefully some fall leaf photos will follow soon...before we are covered in snow!