Sunday, May 31, 2009

Vibrant Vines

Vibrant Vines for Green Thumb Sunday

vivid red leaves on a vine in the autumn

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These vines were so vibrant last autumn, I just couldn't resist them.

Not an overly interesting photo, but the colors just jumped right out - especially with the way the light was hitting them that particular afternoon.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday's Photo Tip - Zoom vs Prime Lens

Friday's Photo Tip - Zoom vs Prime Lens

targets for practice shooting

a target for practice shooting

There are two basic types of lenses for DSLR cameras.

They are Zoom lenses and Prime lenses.

Both are great to have, and getting a chance to experiment with different ones is a lot of fun.

A zoom lens is the most versatile - with a wide angle to a telephoto lens being the most popular and favorite.

With them, one lens can accomplish both types of shooting with it's varying focal lengths.

When I took the above images, I was standing in the same spot - I hadn't moved at all.

The first image has a focal length of 30mm. I used the wide angle feature on my zoom lens to get the whole scene in the frame.

The second image has a focal length of 70mm. For this image, I used the telephoto feature on the lens to bring just a piece of the scene in closer.

As much as I prefer to use a prime lens, I must admit, I keep my zoom lens on my camera the most when I am out and about.

The prime lenses have a fixed focal length, and they come in all sizes and ranges.

The reason I prefer the prime lenses is that as a rule, they have a sharper, clearer focus.

However, if you are willing to spend the money, you can get a good quality zoom lens that has great sharpness and clarity.

With prime lenses, you need to carry a lot of gear around with you, and taking the time to change lenses is sometimes just not possible.

I purchased a couple of used lenses online a couple of years ago. One was Tamron prime lens that I had read rave reviews about, and the other was a Sigma zoom that also had pretty good reviews.

I was overjoyed with the Tamron - it lived up to all I had read about it and more.

The Sigma had me thinking that I was loosing my eyesight in a bad way. After reading more about the type of zoom I wanted in this range, I was pleased to find a great older zoom lens that had beautiful glass with sharp focus.

It's worth taking the time to research your glass. There are some great older ones out there that perform just as good or better than the new ones of today.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

ABC Wednesday - S is for Sailboat

S is for Sailboat............

an old fashioned blacksmith shop at strawbery banke

This is a scan from a slide photo that was taken back in the early 1980's.

We were lucky enough to be out on the ocean on an extremely hot summer day.

You can see the haze hanging over the water as the land in the background is barely visible.

Only a few shots taken - there was no such thing as digital cameras - film and photography was an expensive hobby.

Technology has been a grand thing in many ways!

This is the fourth round of ABC Wednesday. If you would like to join in please visit this site for the details.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Transformed into a Park

Transformed into a Park

green ivy on a brick building with round windows

I remember this area about 40 years ago, and I wish I had a photo of it from back then.

This image is such a complete opposite of what it looked like all those years ago.

It was the waterfront back then, and that area was not the place to go unless one wanted trouble.

There was a park further back from this section, but one would never set a foot beyond it - the dingy buildings, dirty waterfront, seedy characters, and an occasional rat along the rocks were enough to scare any one.

I would say that the town must have purchased the rest of the land adjacent to the park and turned the whole area into quite a beautiful and peaceful spot.

A place for families to spend an afternoon and tourists to enjoy a quiet respite.

Change has made it so inviting and pleasing with good vibes for all who visit.

I could certainly feel them as I strolled through these beautiful grounds - in awe of the changes and most happy for them.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday's Photo Tip - Exposure Compensation

Friday's Photo Tip - Exposure Compensation

a car windshield that was broke in an accident

a car windshield that was broke in an accident

All DSLR cameras and most of the point and shoot varieties have the Exposure Compensation feature.

I find this to be one of the handiest and most simple adjustments to make when using the camera.

If your camera has this feature, you will learn to love it too, and you will wonder how you ever did without it.

As we know, photography is all about the light and how we capture it with our cameras.

The light doesn't always cooperate how we would like it too, and sometimes the camera seems to have a mind of it's own too.

Some of these situations can be controlled though with a quick, simple adjustment.

Have you ever noticed the little "+" and "-" signs on your camera and wondered how to correctly use them even after you have read the manual on that section? Sometimes they use EC or EV instead of the + and - signs.

Take a look at the two images above. Notice that the top one is lighter than the bottom one.

The bottom one is the first image I took, and after a quick preview of it, I knew it was too dark.

I wanted to lighten it up, so I set my exposure compensation to +.03 and took another frame.

I was outside, and viewing the photo on the screen is sometimes thrown off by the bright sunlight, but the image still looked a bit too dark, so I adjusted the exposure again, up to +0.7.

I now have three photos of this subject, all with different exposures. This is called "bracketing", and it allows me to choose the one with the best exposure for processing.

Now, if I was taking a shot of a landscape, and I noticed in the preview that the sky seemed a bit blown out, I would use my exposure compensation, and adjust it down this time, to -0.3 and -0.7, and maybe even -1.

Most cameras have these step adjustments in 1/3 increments with a range up to 2 in either direction. Some of the more expensive cameras allow even a greater range.

My manual SLR camera that uses film has these adjustments up to 3, but I never used them, or really understood them. Film was too expensive to experiment with, and getting the exposure right with a light meter was a less expensive way of capturing my photos.

Digital has made it easy to experiment with your camera and learn it's features and capabilities with out a great expense.

Now, all these adjustments could also be made within photoshop while processing the image on the computer, but my belief is to get the photo right in the first place so the post processing is kept to a minimum.

Hope this little tip comes in handy for you - let me know if you try it and what your results are - and of course if you have any questions - let me know them too!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My 400th Post

My 400th Post

the center of a peach colored rose

Just a little over two years now and I have come to my 400th post for this blog.

My other blog, Let's Jump Together, is closing in on it's 100th post shortly, so almost 500 posts altogether between these two.

I don't have any special topic - this is the first time I have mentioned any kind of milestone, and looking at that number, I find it hard to believe there are that many posts.

What started out as an addition to my photo website has turned into something that I could not even have hoped for.

This blog opened a whole new world - literally!

I have been involved with running several e-commerce sites over the last 10 years on the internet, and am quite familiar with dealing with customers, nationally and internationally.

But I had not explored the social side of the internet until I started this blog in April of 2007.

I must say, I enjoy this side so much more.

I have met some great customers through my websites, but I have made some great friends through my blogs.

And I have learned so much through visiting and reading your blogs - experiencing the world through your eyes.

My life has been enriched, from the heavens above us to the depths of the sea, and everything in between.

I thank you all for your visits and comments on all these posts and look forward to many more - both yours and mine.

Take care, my friends!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

ABC Wednesday - R is for Rubber Boots

R is for Rubber Boots............

an old fashioned blacksmith shop at strawbery banke

I spied them as I came up the walkway to the porch.

I had been fretting - I knew that my husband was getting home before me, and I knew that he had spent the morning in a muddy parts yard.

He is really good about cleaning off his shoes and boots before coming into the house, but I had just washed and cleaned everything for our company, and I was hoping to keep all the shoes out on the porch.

Well, he had not only taken off his rubber boots on the porch, but he had sprayed them down of all their mud and left them on the outside stool to dry.

After 26 years he still thinks of these little things that keep things running smoothly for me.

This is the fourth round of ABC Wednesday. If you would like to join in please visit this site for the details.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

More Ivy for Green Thumb Sunday

More Ivy for Green Thumb Sunday

green ivy on a brick building with round windows

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Last Sunday's post showed ivy growing on an old brick building.

Here is another brick building in the same historic district of Strawbery Banke.

I like the way the ivy appears to be creeping around the side - stretching out it's long fingers and hanging onto the bricks.

I remember my grandmother lived in a brick building, and she was always arguing with the ivy outside the windows.

She didn't like it around them because of the bugs, and I could understand her concern at the time - you could hear the bees buzzing around it when the windows were open in the summer.

The screen always kept them out though, and I used to love to look out that window and watch the ivy blow in the breeze.

Watching those bugs was pretty interesting too, and having that window framed with that greenery was always pleasing to me.

When it got too much for her to bear, out would come the scissors and the ivy would be trimmed back as far as she could reach out that little kitchen window.

That is the only building I have ever been in that I could look out through the ivy rather that at it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday's Photo Tip - Rule of Thirds

Friday's Photo Tip - Rule of Thirds

horizon at the ocean in the upper third of the frame

Have you ever heard about the "Rule of Thirds"?

Can you tell from the above photo what it might be relating to?

Take a look at the horizon and where it is located in the photo.

The actual rule states:

"An image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections."

By doing this, it creates a more interesting composition.

Having the horizon exactly in the center seems to divide the image and can make it appear boring or look like something is missing in the photo.

It is also more pleasing to the eye to have the image divided into thirds.

When framing the above photo in the viewfinder, I placed the horizon in the upper third, leaving more of the beautifully colored ocean to drawn the eye into the scene.

If the sky had been filled with clouds instead of just empty blue, then I may have put the horizon in the lower third like I did for this photo I used in a post last week.

This rule of thirds has been used in visual arts dating back to paintings in the 1700's.

Did you check out the photo I had in the link? That one and the one above were taken on the same day - about an hour apart. Those clouds moved in awfully fast that day!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

ABC Wednesday - Q is for Quaint Blacksmith Shop

Q is for Quaint Blacksmith Shop............

an old fashioned blacksmith shop at strawbery banke

In keeping with a stroll that we took through Strawbery Banke, I thought that this Quaint looking little Blacksmith shop would be perfect for this week's post.

Since most of the buildings on these premises were built during the early 1700's, this little shop was a necessity back during those times.

The "smithy" who owns the shops works as if it were still back in the old days. No power or modern day tools to be found here.

All that wood piled out front is used to fuel his fire for heating up the iron or steel which he will hammer and shape into just about anything - furniture, tools, cooking utensils, horse shoes, and weapons.

This Quaint little shop has such old fashioned charm.

We visited it in the autumn, but the busiest tourist time is in the summer and it must be awfully hot in that little building when the fire is roaring.

Looks like he has some tools set up outside to help with that problem though.

What amazing and beautiful creations he forges with his fire, hammer, metal, and hands.

This is the fourth round of ABC Wednesday. If you would like to join in please visit this site for the details.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ivy and Circle Window for Green Thumb Sunday

Ivy and Circle Window for Green Thumb Sunday

green ivy on a brick building with round windows

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The Strawbery Banke area in Portsmouth, NH is steeped in history. History that dates back to the late 1600's when the first settlers began arriving to this country.

I grew up in this area, and it has always been one of my favorite places to go back to every now and then.

One used to be able to stroll through the grounds and around the cobblestone walkways, but this has been stopped in the last 20 years or so.

It is now all fenced up and it costs to get into the grounds - and forget getting into any of the old houses.

This is a sad thing for those of us who would take an evening stroll to enjoy the quiet and history of yesteryear all those years ago.

This photo is of a house that is not on the Strawbery Banke grounds.

It is just a street away and is still in the historical area.

Plenty of old brick buildings are there, and this one had a couple of unique windows.

Notice the door that closes over the round window - the whole thing reminds me of a captain's wheel on an old ship.

And the way the green ivy is slowly creeping up the side of the roof just adds to the charm of the whole scene.

Most think the ivy is a nuisance, but on these old buildings it just looks like it belongs there.

What to you think about the ivy?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday's Photo Tip - Another Look at Noise

Friday's Photo Tip - Another Look at Noise

pink yarn and knitting needles showing noise

Last week's post discussed what noise was in digital photography.

Rose, over at Waterrose Handcrafted Obsessions, wrote:

'Can you share a picture that has "noise"? I don't understand.'

The photo that I used for that post didn't really show noise - I had already removed it when the image was processed.

Looking back at the original, there wasn't a whole lot of noise that would be easy for an inexperienced eye to locate.

I went back through some of my older photos that I had taken with my point and shoot camera, the Sony Mavica CD-500.

I love that little camera, but it really had a problem handling noise.

My DSLR has very little noise when I use the correct settings, and I only have to use the noise removal software on a rare occasion.

To see the noise in the above image, you are going to have to click on the photo.

It will bring you to my website where you can select the image from the thumbnail.

If you click on the "L" under the photo, it will give you a larger view.

Check the area in the upper right hand corner. Notice the shadows or the darker area of the pink yarn.

See how it is mottled looking and not very attractive to look at?

Noise removal software will smooth that area out, but it will loose most of it's detail since that is a very noisy area.

Some of my images with that camera would produce these "mottled" areas in several spots, and I could never really see them until I viewed the image at 100% while processing it.

You won't be able to view the above image at 100%, but this is one of them that doesn't need it to see it.

Noise was something that was acceptable to a point in the stock industry a few of years ago. Today, there is no tolerance for it at all.

And since there are ways to deal with it, I guess they don't have to be.

Chalk another point up for this world of digital photography!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

ABC Wednesday - P is for Prison

P is for Prison............

old military prison across the river

First constructed in 1905 this prison sits at the end of Seavey Island in Portsmouth Harbor.

It is the old U.S. Navy Prison and it was used as such for over 66 years until it was closed down in 1974.

It has been nicknamed "The Castle" because of it's beautiful architecture, but from the stories told from within the walls, the similarities end there.

It housed over 86,000 military inmates during its time, with over 3000 inmates at one time in there during World War II.

The Marine guards took their job very seriously, and no inmate ever escaped from this prison.

The incentive for them to do a good job: If an inmate escaped, the guard on duty who was responsible would have to serve out the rest of the inmate's sentence.

Whether this is true or not, I don't know, but it seems to have worked.

And from what I know about this harbor - the Piscataqua River has one of the fastest moving tidal currents in North America, and trying to swim to the mainland from the island is not recommended if one wants to live.

You can't see it from this photo, but about 15 years ago, I was on a boat and was able to get a closer view of this building, and the disarray that has befallen it is sad to see. You can see if look to the right of the sailboat mast - the green shingles on the roof are beginning to come off.

And since this is still military owned land, I am not too sure about those boats that are dry docked in front of it.

It was a beautiful day in mid October when I took this photo, and I thought the turbulent looking clouds fit the subject perfectly.

This is the fourth round of ABC Wednesday. If you would like to join in please visit this site for the details.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Wet Sand Texture for Green Thumb Sunday

Wet Sand Texture for Green Thumb Sunday

wet sand ripples at the ocean

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I was lucky enough to find this patch of sand that had not yet been disturbed by the many little feet running around in the sand.

The outgoing tide had left behind these ripples in the sand - some of them still filled with little pools of water.

Nature's art - the next time she works on this little patch, it will be totally different.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday's Photo Tip - How to Control Digital Noise

Friday's Photo Tip - How to Control Digital Noise

the nubble lighthouse with a bright blue sky

Lynda, over at Peripheral Vision - Inner Sights by Lynda Lehmann, wrote last week:

I am having a problem with noise in some shots, with my digital camera, but can't afford to spend on another camera!

I first mentioned about digital noise a couple of weeks ago in this post.

We were discussing ISO, and how the higher the number the more the noise in digital images.

And the longer the exposure, the more the sensor heats up. It is this heat that is responsible for most of the noise in digital photography.

Most of the time the heat issue is out of the photographer's control - especially in the warmer months.

All digital cameras produce noise - even the high end ones, especially at higher ISO settings.

So what is a photographer to do?

Once again, technology comes to the rescue, this time in the processing of the image on the computer instead of in the camera itself.

There are programs and plug-ins for programs that work with your photo processing software that can help remove this blasted noise that plagues us photographers.

Some of them let you isolate certain areas, and some of them will handle the entire image.

The one I use is Noise Ninja, a photoshop plug-in, and I would be so lost without it.

I evaluate my image several times during the processing of it so I can track the noise level each time I do something.

One reason I do this - processing the image too much can also add noise.

Sharpening is notorious for adding noise, both in the camera and in the computer processing too.

So, the less you manipulate the image, the less the noise.

But suppose there is noise that needs to be removed.

These programs work their magic, but as you know, if something seems too good to be true, it usually is.

Using too much noise removal will leave you with lost details and soft edges. Image quality can suffer when it is used too heavily.

Once again, a light hand and sometimes just using it in areas that are prone to noise - skies, shadows, and some textures, will yield great results.

It is all just a matter of experimenting and learning what works.


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