Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Camera passion...

The front porch
Anyone who is passionate about anything knows full well you’ve got to have cash to support your ‘habit.’  I’m not talking habits like drugs or alcohol or gambling here – these aren’t things one is passionate about.  These are things one is weakly addicted to.  What I’m talking about are those things that set off a healthy excitement or eagerness or keen interest that lasts throughout and ends in feelings of real accomplishment or satisfaction.  Such is the case with my interest in photography, my passion.

Way back on January 1, I made a commitment not to spend any money on clothes this year (except for shoes of course because, if your feet aren’t happy, it’s all downhill).  Well, tomorrow June begins and I’m proud to say, I’ve kept the commitment.  But, this has not been too difficult – after all, I’m not passionate about clothes.

Enter my camera equipment.  There are tons of things one can buy associated with this passion.  I can’t begin to tell you how many books I have (and I’ve actually read) on the subject.  And then there are the memory cards, lenses, filters, extension tubes, and on and on.  And then there is the endless search for the perfect camera bag.  I will not tell you how many camera bags I have – it’s just too embarrassing.  I will tell you I just got one that I’m really excited about.  It’s enabled me to carry my DSLR and extras with me almost all the time without dislocating my shoulder and it doesn’t look like a camera bag (Lowepro Passport Sling).  This is a major breakthrough.

Purple allium - growing in abundance at Rutgers Gardens
So, right now, the search for the perfect camera bag has ended – until some manufacturer comes up with something to tweak my passion.  I know that will be sooner than I think.  And one thing is certain, that commitment made on January 1 would never include my camera passion.

Be passionate about something – it makes life so much more exciting.
A dinner guest at Rutgers Gardens

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Weekends should be 3 days long!

I’ve had little time to myself lately.  When this happens, I tend to make 'To Do'  lists of things I need to get done, to buy, to read, etc. because, if I didn’t, I’d forget at least half of those things.  And I’m not talking about major stuff here.  Those items on my list include doing the wash, sorting the recycles, and even having breakfast.  So I’m anal – but it’s just so good to go down the list and check off all those things, as mundane as they are, that you’ve done.

This past weekend my list covered 2.5 days (it began on Friday at 5 PM) and I probably checked off 75% of the items by Sunday night.  If had stayed focused on the tasks, I know I would have nailed the entire list but stuff happens – stuff  like a beautiful sunny day.  This is the one thing that interfered with the ironing.  Granted, it made finishing the garden possible but, after that was done, one thing lead to another and then the camera came out to play and took me in another direction entirely.  Thank you Mr. Sun!

Lists are great but a beautiful sunny day overrules anything you can put on that 'To Do' list!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The magic of the moon...

Bleeding Hearts coming up from the damp garden floor.
Don't you think we had one of the best weeks last week?  The temps were perfect, there were blue skys, no rain or humidity - and now, here we are, in the middle of what is great weather for ducks.  But, that's OK.  You just have to keep thinking of all those flowers that will be ready to burst once the sun comes back.
Delicate white flowers

Last week I took advantage of that great weather and made it to Rutgers Gardens two days in a row.  Getting out of jury duty slightly earlier than the rush hour traffic really was a big help in keeping my promise to get there at least once each week.  Not much is going on yet but I did manage to get some colorful shots.

Sunset through the ornamental trees

But the 'icing on the cake' was the early moon rising into a clear sky.  The moon never ever ceases to amaze me.  I can't figure out why.  When it changes color, it can be a magnificent ball of fire or a cold gray rock. Its shape changes constantly and you know, when it disappears altogether, it will be back.  Maybe it's like a little magic hanging up there - sometimes you see it and sometimes you don't.

And then there's that magical, mysterious pull it has. Yes, I think that's it - my camera and I are just pulled to it.

Can't wait for the clouds to disappear so we can feel the magic again.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Timing is everything...

You know what I'm talking about.  It's those moments when you catch all the green lights on the way home from work or you're in line at Shop Rite when a new register opens and the clerk calls you over or you're the millionth customer to pull up to the gas pump and win free gas for a year (yeah, like that's going to happen!).

After church today I took a path back to my car that I usually don't take.  It's not a heavily traveled walkway because there are so many cracks in the sidewalk.  Through the cracked concrete were growing the most beautiful Lily of the Valley.  I haven't seen this flower in quite sometime and thought it would make an interesting photo - you know, beautiful flowers growing up through concrete and all that.

I came back to the church property sometime in mid-afternoon to take some photos but decided to take the long way to get to those flowers.  There, along another walkway, hanging over the fence of the neighboring property, is a magnificent lilac bush.  Actually, it's so huge it's more like a tree and the lilacs have no fragrance.  But it wasn't the lilacs that caught my eye; it was a magnificent monarch butterfly moving from flower to flower.  I probably spent a good 10 minutes photographing him before he became camera-shy and flew off.

My photos came out OK; just OK.  I might have done better with a tripod but he wouldn't have sat still long enough to warrant that.  And it was awkward pointing my long lens upward toward the sky and keeping a steady hand.  But all this is secondary to the fact that my timing was just right to catch him in action.

I hope your timing is right this week and something brings a smile to your face - just as this chance meeting did for me.

P.S.  I did take the photos of the Lily of the Valley.  Maybe I'll look at them later.  And Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

It's all about the light...

I'm a firm believer in 'me time' - absolutely gotta have it!  And, by the end of this weekend, I was due  -  even though the clock was running out and Monday  was just around the corner.  So, in an last-minute attempt to grab some 'me time,' I headed out walking late this afternoon to take care of some errands and try my hand at some street photography.

I've been following a blog in which the author has talked about 'shooting from the hip.'  Armed with my point & shoot, set in auto (I know, I'm cheating), around my neck but positioned right at hip-height, I had great hopes - great hopes of getting that shot of a decisive moment, or something or someone unique, or maybe a street fight (on a Sunday afternoon?  I think not!).

Well, the streets were pretty empty and those 'street photos' I was after were, in fact, just that - lots of photos of sidewalks and curbs.  One of these days I will get the knack of this.

But the trip was not a total loss.  As I came around a corner, I noticed how the setting sun did some beautiful things to some ordinary weeds; once again reminding me that it's all about the light.  The 'romance' of street photography is extremely attractive but it can't be denied that taking the time and making the effort to look for and capture that certain light is extremely satisfying.

Yes, it's all about the light.