Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Something a little different than a portrait of Lauren's face.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Tim T Has Nothing to Fear From Me

 For the past several years I have noticed ibises at our pond in the spring.  Maybe next year I will remember to stake it out early in the morning and will get some better shots.  I know these are pretty bad and are posted only as a record of the event. This year had to be the most ibises I have seen at one time --- 30.


 The dark area on the far right is the edge of a tree I was hiding behind.  This is about as close as the group came to me and they turned around when they heard my shutter clicking.

A jogger sent the group into flight and they were gone for good.

Since it was just after noon on a cloudless day I had set the camera to underexpose the white birds, but got tons of noise as a result, since I was using my D200.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wildflower 8

These flowers are so interesting, I would love to have them in my flower beds.  They are a little larger than the others I have been finding, probably 4 to 5 inches tall.  While I was crouched over them shooting I heard a strange squawk and looked up into a tree nearby to see several white ibises.  They flew down to the pond and joined a few already there.  It was near noon on a cloudless day so not the time to photograph white birds, but a few minutes later a larger group flew in.  I counted 30 ibises! I'll post a few of those shots tomorrow, I had to try to document that.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wildflower 7

It seems like every day I notice another plant or flower that I have not seen before.  Now these bulb-shaped ones are emerging in the low, boggy areas near the woods.  Just a few have opened and I must say the bud is much more interesting than the flower.   I did not shoot any opened ones because they had not fully opened --- I thought I would wait for them to reveal more. But unfortunately our fields were finally mowed so I will never know what the blooms look like.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Wildflower 5

Nikon D700, 60mm macro lens at f3.5 and 1/350th, ISO 400

This plant is very small, only a couple of inches high so the tiny blooms are minuscule. The color and form of the blooms remind me of orchids.  I don't know why this year I have suddenly noticed all these miniature wildflowers.  Are they just showing up because of all the rain we have had?  Am I more observant this year?  Or maybe because the area where I walk my dogs has not been mowed yet this spring as it usually has been in past years.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Wildflower 4

Nikon D700, 60mm macro lens at f11 and 1/500th, ISO 1600, -.5 exposure compensation

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Wildflower 3

Nikon D700, 60mm macro lens at f4.8, 1/1500, ISO 1600, -1.5 exposure compensation

This flower is VERY small, about 1/4 inch across and growing in my yard (some people might call these weeds, but any photographer will tell you differently). There is not much detail in the petals and if I had used a tripod when shooting I might have been able to get better detail,  I just thought the tiny hairs on the triangular shaped leaves were interesting.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Wildflower 2

Nikon D700, 60mm macro lens at f4.8 and 1/6000th, ISO 1100

Again a blend of 2 shots for more depth of field for this small flower.  It was about 1 and 1/2 inches in size.  If the shutter speed seems rather fast, it was necessary for handholding the camera in one hand and trying to hang on to 3 dog leashes attached to 3 very impatient canines with the other hand.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wildflower Walk (Allergies Anyone?)

Nikon D700, 60mm macro lens, f11 at 1/125, ISO 1100

Well, that sounds better than "weed walk". I have no idea what the name of this wildflower is.  I spotted only a couple of these at the edge of the woods along Clear Creek where I walk my dogs.  It is pretty small, maybe 2 and 1/2 inches across and growing from the ground, not on a tree or bush.  I combined 2 shots to get the center and the petals in focus.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.
~Irish Blessing
 or how about:
Never iron a four-leaf clover, because you don't want to press your luck.  ~Author Unknown

Monday, March 15, 2010

We Have a Visitor

Yesterday we were sitting on our back porch when this little parakeet flew by.  He let us get pretty close to him and I could tell he was really tired because he kept nodding off. There were 3 hawks calling and hunting all around our house so I knew he would soon be a meal if we couldn't catch him. Eventually we were able to entice him to eat some birdseed and Mike was able to get him to hop onto his hand and put him into an old cage I have.  So far we have not been able to find out who lost him.   When I was a child we had a parakeet for a while, but I have no desire to keep one these days, so would anyone like a very sweet (and tired) parakeet???


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Seaside Survivors

Nikon D200, 70 - 200mm 2.8 lens at f3.5 and 1/1000th, ISO 200

This was my other submission for our Get Rhythm assignment.  While there are repeating elements in this scene, I am not sure about how "rhythmic" they are.  Maybe the varying heights of the fence posts are like notes going up and down on a scale...According to our assignment the definiton of rhythm is "an ordered recurrent alternation of strong and weak elements" and I don't really see that here but something about the posts being large in the foreground and the palm trees smaller in the distance gives me a feeling of strong main notes and quieter, staccato notes playing in the background.  I just knew I loved the weathered posts standing isolated in the golden grass and with my telephoto lens I was able to change the angle of view so that only the palm trees showed in the distance and not the several stories high condominiums just to the right of the trees.  I did clone out a very interesting little Japanese-looking hut on the left and a wooden bridge on the right, both were back in the palm trees and just did not fit with the theme of repeating elements that I wanted in this one version.  And while I really liked the golden light and the color, for the assignment I chose to covert it to black and white which seems to make the repeating vertical elements stand out more.  Below is the color version.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Nikon D700, 24 - 70mm lens at f11 and 1/250th, ISO 400

We came upon this surreal scene unexpectedly on a recent trip to Galveston.  I had not been to Stewart Beach in many years but this was a cold February evening and not many people were there so we pulled into the entrance with the intention of shooting the clouds and waves.  These frames are not apparent from the road, or maybe I just wasn't looking --- they are behind the large abandoned building that had the restrooms and souvenir shop, maybe food places, which is still closed since Ike.  I cannot imagine what the purpose is for these wooden structures though at Honor's night Keese told me that for him this is a very morbid image because they look like the hangman's frames used in Germany during WW 2.
I have not been to the concentration camps and to me the frames had a "twilight zone" or Alice-in-Wonderland feeling.  They cannot support an umbrella, but maybe an awning of some kind?  It could not be very stable with just 2 uprights and a crossbar.  I hope someone with contacts in Galveston can tell me why they were built.  It had to be after Hurricane Ike.  I tried different angles and compositions and was thrilled to see a person wearing black walk along the beach and so waited until he was framed to shoot.  This image is actually a composite with another shot because I was not at this exact angle when he walked by, I think a mother and a little girl in hot pink were inside the frames in this one but not in as ideal a place as I wanted.  I also removed a ship on the horizon and cloned away a couple of distractions in the sand.  

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wortham Park 4


I am not sure but think these trees may be Cypress...however I do not see the knots of roots coming up that are usually seen with that tree.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Wortham Park 3

This is at the back of the park and has fountains down the center of the pool but I cloned out the metal pipes since they were not spraying anyway.  Photographing here at dawn or maybe on a cloudy day would allow a more evenly lit image --- the bright sunlight on the columns to the right are distracting, I know.  It is hard to tell but there are benches under the ivy covered walkway. I cloned out distracting patches of sun from the lattice windows on the left foreground also, but decided there is just too much uneven light all over the image to continue with all that.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Wortham Park 2

Another slightly different angle of the waterfall columns.  You can see how the trees are planted in multiples and behind the waterfall columns is a narrow reflecting pool with two rows of stone colums, ivy covered roofs and lattice windows and benches.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wortham Park

Nikon D700, 24- 70mm f2.8 lens at f11 and 1/125, ISO 200

When we had the big freeze in the Houston area in January I wanted to find the frozen waterwall in the medical luck.  But we did find this park that I was not aware existed ---  Gus and Lyndall Wortham Park at Holcomb and Main, built in 1991 (note, this is not the Gus Wortham golf course).  
Talk about repeating elements!  Ivy colums, waterfall columns (turned off), rows of trees, rows of bedding plants, a reflecting pool with fountains (off too), arbor columns, benches, lattice windows and shadows from all the vertical elements.  It is not possible to shoot all the elements in one frame, and we arrived here late in the morning so the light was turning too harsh but this is a place I would like to return to.  Here is a 3.3 gigapixel panorama of the park taken by David Engle (Texas_Photo) with a Canon SX110 camera but while the waterfall columns do gradually increase in height, they do not curve through the park as this image seems to show : Panorama

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Maggie's Quincinera

Before I composited Beautiful Bride I practiced on this image from a Quincinera portrait.  The shoot was done in 2008 so could not be used for our photo club assignmentIn this one I left Maggie's ears instead of the human model's...for some reason when I tried that on the bride it did not work well.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Beautiful Bride

This was my other submission for our photo club's February assignment of Surreal Composite. Thank goodness, the human model is an animal lover and was not offended by my replacing her face with our dog's.  The original portrait was shot in Galveston on our one and only "trash the dress" session and was one of the latest portraits I had shot and since the images submitted for assignments have to be recent, I didn't have a lot of choices.  Every time I do the club assignments I learn something, and this time I had to work a lot on my Photoshop skills in order to get a believable composite. I still have problems with the whiskers...  The birds are actually PS brushes that I downloaded from Jerry JonesThen I had a really hard time trying to get them to look like real birds and ended up layering duplicates in different blending modes, with lots of masking.  FIrst I tried putting wings on the bride --- I knew I wanted something in that negative space on the left, but I never got the wings to look the way I wanted them to.