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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

still life: mountain bike shoes

This week's Be Still 52 challenge
was to
"create a still life photo
inspired by a still life painting."

After a little bit of research
a lot of thought
I captured this
still life
my beloved
mountain bike shoes.


And once I had
through my lens
I felt compelled to
with pencil on paper.

When, at last, while seeing/drawing,
you see for the first time
what all your life
you have only looked at and recognized,
it reveals itself to be of inconceivable intricacy.
The commonplace becomes uncommon.


I have been biking the trails in these shoes
for years,
from the foothills west of Denver
to the steep summertime slopes of
Winter Park, Copper Mountain and Crested Butte
to the rugged cliffs overlooking
the Colorado River.


You might say
these are my favorite shoes.
They securely fasten me
to my trusty
Specialized Stump Jumper
and are
comfortable enough
for hiking long distances
in all terrain.
(I once walked over a mile in them
with my flat-tired bike.)



Canon EOS 6D
Tamron SP 24-70 f/2.8 lens
Manual Mode
on tripod
ISO 400
f/5.0 0.6 sec
incandescent light
I purposely chose to shoot in the laundry room
as that is where we store our bike gear
and I wanted to capture
an authentic

original capture SOOC

Staging in a cramped space,
my back against the wall

Lillian doesn't like the laundry room

I experimented a lot with
color saturation, vibrancy, clarity, exposure
because - face it - bike gear can be gaudy;
and the basement laundry room
is not the most flattering setting.
Then I applied
Kim's kk_walnut preset
and further adjusted
a bit more.

I auditioned a number
of textures and combinations
before settling
on this one
Font: Carbon Credit

I was inspired by these still life paintings
pinned from http://cargocollective.com/creativesyrup/Still-life-painting


Linking up with

Saturday, October 25, 2014

comic relief

Lately I've been exploring
thanks to my friends
Roxie, Sarah, and Viv
who have been tempting me
for months
with its
myriad of
creative possibilities.

So much to learn!
I have only just
scratched the surface.

was not exactly at the top
of my list;
however, one day last week
as I was sitting down to
draw this little dried rose petal
- in a quiet, contemplative, Zen-like state of mind -
who should happen along
and plant herself
right in the middle
of things?

couldn't resist
this set-up.
my plans were


I am always fascinated
by the dexterity of her
comma-shaped paw

as she daintily
sweeps small objects
hither and yon.

And then she glanced back at me,
as if to say,
'Well, what did you expect?'

God bless
for her
gift of
comic relief!

Good thing I had
my iPhone

iPhone 5

initial capture
(rapid fire mode)

Details: Sharpening ~25-30%
Drama: Bright 2 - default filter strength
which nicely lightened
Lillian's 'darker side'
and oh-so-subtly
brought out just enough
detail in
the sketchbook.

Second layer: kk_tuesday texture
Blend Mode: Soft Light 20%
I wasn't really after any
'dramatic' texturizing,
but rather to see how
subtle texturizing could enhance
an image.

Linking up with

Saturday, October 18, 2014

weekend walk: just up the street

Most of us lead far more meaningful lives than we know.
Often finding meaning is not about doing things differently;
it is about seeing familiar things in new ways.

There is an irrigation ditch at the top of our street,
and the path alongside it
is a popular destination for folks
in our little neighborhood
to go for a stroll.

Recently I took
my iPhone camera there
for a little spin
(funny how I think of my iPhone
primarily as a camera -
probably because that's the main reason
I got an iPhone in the first place)

No definite intentions
or real plans
for what I might

...just delighting
in the
simple beauty
of the place.

The dirt path is shaded by
many big old trees.

A couple of these
big trees
had been recently
cut down.
I mean
b i g.

Someone had
gathered some apples
and then left them
to rot.

I was of course
drawn to this rusty old
piece of machinery;
I think it controls
the water flow

The entire ditch property is bordered by
several fenced-in back yards
with gated access
to the trail.
Lucky for me
the gates are weathered
and rather rickety.

One property
has this little old cottage
on the banks
of the ditch.
I like to imagine it
as an artist's studio.

October is a beautiful time of year,
with its contrasting colors
of early fall.

This was my favorite
fence/gate shot;
I am fascinated by the
tenacity of nature
as it overtakes
man's efforts.


iPhone 5
ProCamera app
I love how I can control
focus and exposure
especially useful
on a hazy-bright day
with plenty of
dappled sun and shadows.

I haven't yet figured out
how to efficiently
edit a batch of iphotos
(I'm sure there's an app for that)
so I just imported everything
into Lightroom.

Minimal editing:
just a bit of the basics
and minor cropping.
Then I auditioned several presets
and finally chose Kim's

No texture work needed;
I tried a few but found
that it interfered with
the clarity,
and literally
muddied the waters.

Linking up with

Saturday, October 11, 2014

unforgettable: fen meets kermit

Have you ever
inspired to
grab your camera
and just
'shoot from the heart'

I mean
what's the worst
that could happen?

The photos
might not
'turn out,'

or you might
fall flat,
not capturing
that special
that made you
pick up your camera
in the first place.

You might even end up
each and every
in frustration.


you just might
end up


I did just that
one afternoon last month
when Fen came over to
Grandma & Grandpa's house
to play.

I have been reading
George Lange
who says,

"Which moment will provide the unforgettable picture isn't much in your control...If you can't see the moments, you can feel their flow, like feeling the flow of music. That feeling is essential to taking good pictures; it's as important as having a good eye...I shoot using my heart more than my eyes."

I highly recommend
this book.


Someone's nose is out of joint
'noisy little bald kitten'
comes to visit.

 for a nap
- safe and secure -
in Grandpa's arms


Canon EOS 6D
Tamron SP 24-70 f/2.8 lens
Manual Mode
ISO 3200
f/4.5-3.5 1/125 sec

Minimal editing:
just a bit of the basics
and minor cropping.
How often does that happen?


Linking up with

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

autumn gatherings

An invitation to
'gather, drop and place'
a few signs of the season
onto a
was simply too much
to resist.

This moodboard was
really a joy
to create
from an ever-growing stash
of dried florals,
satisfying an inborn urge in me
to select, arrange, and compose
(I am a collector and organizer of things, after all)

I gathered 'stuff' casually
- over the course of a few days -
as I spied something on the ground
or 'on the vine,' almost dried
and fair game for picking
this time of year.

And while I had all this bounty
scattered about my studio,
I felt the urge
to set up
a still life
photo shoot.

One stem spoke to me
poignantly of life:
sadly fading, yet still
s a c r e d

I needed
to draw that stem
to see
how this

I wanted to draw
the simple beauty
of the five cherries
- one at a time - 
to see and capture
the uniqueness of
each one.



Here's what I started with:

on my
sewing table/desk
before Lillian marched through it

my moodboard set-up
in our garage:
I was hoping for some filtered afternoon light
but the wind forced me to close the garage door
and turn on the overhead light.
Canon EOS 6D
Tamron SP 24-70 f/2.8 lens
Manual Mode
ISO 3200
f/5.0 1/125 sec

 my still life setup:
same camera and lens
ISO 400
f/5.0 1/4 sec

Lillian temporarily occupied
with a wad of paper


I cropped and did my own basic edits,
then applied Kim's Moodswing preset,
following her accompanying video
to get those rich, moody tones.

Simple editing,
the same for all three images.

Linking up with