Archives for posts with tag: photography

Florida is a place of beauty, abundant nature to observe and photograph, and unexpected experiences. When given the opportunity to go to Busch Gardens, I knew there were animals there. What I had not realized was how many and how close I could get to some of them. Add a zoom lens, and I was able to take photographs I had only dreamed of before I got my DSLR and traveled to The Sunshine State.

I love palm trees too, so they were high on my priority list. These tall, spindly ones are among my favorites.

Many of my animal photos were taken from the steam train ride. I didn’t always catch the guide’s descriptions in their entirety, which unfortunately means I don’t have a proper kind for this beauty. Just an antelope. I really like the way it stands out against the pop of green it grazes.

Though the head of this white rhino is nearly in silhouette, its distinctive horn is unmistakable. Rhinos are so tragically endangered that it makes me both incredibly happy and incredibly sad to see one. These creatures deserve to live on Earth as much as we do. Hopefully, some way, some how they will be given a renewed opportunity to thrive.

I read somewhere that modern DSLRs have something like 5,000 setting possibilities. Um, no. I’m learning how to use it and may continue to do so for as long as it’s mine. I concentrate on lighting and composition to get what I want. Or try to. I end up with a higher and higher percentage of shots I love, so I’m satisfied with how I’m doing so far. I still have some trouble with depth of field. Sometimes those mistakes turn out to be happy accidents. I was able to crop this giraffe one so that it looks like an intentional piece of pop art. I’ll take it!

Elephants have such timelessly beautiful faces. They look old and ageless at once, with wisdom gained and emotion endured etched into the lines around their eyes. Just like us. It’s my understanding that they are very similar to us in many ways. They bond with family and friends, love them, grieve them when they are gone. It would be a pretty wonderful thing to have an elephant for a friend.

Emus are so cool and fluffy. They seem sweet, but I’ve heard they can be cantankerous, kicking very hard among other things. Years ago I was at a wildlife park in New South Wales, Australia. I was enraptured, photographing koalas high in a eucalyptus tree (The koalas were high in the tree, not me!), when I felt a presence behind me. It didn’t touch me. I could just sense that something was close. I reluctantly removed my face from my viewfinder, and slowly pivoted. It did not take a full body turn to come face to face with an apparently curious emu. When I say face to face, I mean that it was really close. We gazed into each other’s eyes for a heart stopping moment. Then, I slowly backed away, until I realized it was still standing where I’d left it. At that point I beat a hasty retreat, glad to have had such a close encounter, and also glad to walk away emu kick free.

I’m glad this zebra was in the shade, so that its amazing markings were able to really be showcased. Bright sunlight could have caused too much contrast or glare, but this is perfect. Really studying the complex patterns of striping on its forehead and knees in particular, show what a wonder zebras are. Beautiful, almost but not quite comical looking, they’re a gift nature has bestowed upon us. Let’s enjoy every stripe.

This lion and lioness seem content in each other’s company. They’re both gorgeous. His mane surprised me by how rough it looked and how much actual red was in it. Nearby, a lioness had taken up residence in the fake bed of a fake truck that decorated the exhibit. By looking at her through the glass right over where she lay, I could see, count even, the individual hairs on her back. That is the closest I’ll ever be to a lion, I’m sure. I could have stood there, gazing upon such majesty for hours. It was an experience I’ll always treasure and never forget.

I’ll close this out with a pic I took with my phone. It’s not sharp like the ones from my camera, but it gives an idea of how beautiful the Christmas decorations were. I rode the Skyride and loved dangling, swinging, and swaying high above the gorgeous lights, but nothing quite compares to being close to them. it was a day filled with many of my favorite things, the top favorite being, as always, the magic that comes out of my camera.

Here’s a lovely article about Virginia Woolf as a photographer. I find it so captivating that she enjoyed capturing moments of her life through photography, as she captured mental snapshots of her characters’ lives. Her writing is so vivid that the imagery it conjurs can be like stills taken from a movie that plays out in the reader’s head. The photographs in the article seem like a continuation of this, only in this venue it is we who must make up our own mental stories to accompany images that only Virginia Woolf knew the true meaning of. What she was thinking as she pressed the shutter, then as she later looked at the developed images…that is a mystery only she knew. For her admirers, however, it’s a book lover’s thrill to be given the privilege of seeing her world through her own discerning gaze..

Last week I heard on the news that a lake not too far away had frozen over. I remembered going to see it during another frigid blast and decided to go again. Not only did I want to refresh my memory about how beautiful it was, I also thought it would be a great opportunity to gain some experience with my new DSLR.

I hadn’t been there often since I was a child. Back then we went every year for a family reunion picnic, and sometimes just to walk around and enjoy the water views. So, of course I took a wrong turn and wound my way around the entire lake, before eventually arriving at the familiar picnic site. I stopped to take pictures of many beautiful spots and intriguing details as they appeared.

Farther out the ice was smooth as glass, as seen in the image above.

Close in it was made up of a giant sheet of circles. The surface of individual circles was concave, which gave large areas a rough textured look.

Along the shore thick ice settled on various types of vegetation. As time passed, it grew brittle and shattered. Shards resettled to make new formations that could look like milk white broken glass.

Trees near the water wore ice dresses that seemed to flow and freeze, according to the direction of the wind, until the rippling mass was captured in place like vertical waves.

Reelfoot Lake was formed during a series of massive earthquakes, in 1811 and 1812, when this huge area of land collapsed. The Mississippi River flowed backwards to fill in the depression and the lake is the result. Cypress trees like the one above are the tops of the original trees jutting out of the water. The cypress knees capture the ice and make a platform for it to build into oddly shaped clumps.

The bases of the cypress trees near the shore look like the feet of some animal not of this world, dipped in ice and frozen in place to await the coming thaw.

I’m very pleased with how my camera performed. It’s a real pleasure to use, though I’m sure I’ll be discovering new aspects for a long time. It was nice of Mother Nature to provide me with such a gorgeous subject to start my DSLR journey.

I didn’t think anything could really cheer me up tonight, after a day of news watching.  This Upshout piece proved me wrong. From the first cross eyed lady to Tsar Nikolas acting silly, these pictures of Victorians loosening their legendary stiff upper lip made me smile.

My favorite one isn’t even funny. It’s just cool. I mean, two well dressed women building a snow lady that puts any of our modern day Frostys to shame? Complete with a nice snow dress and icy hairdo, their creation is more a snow sculpture than lowly slapping together of three big snowballs, with a carrot and a couple of lumps of coal. Theirs doesn’t even need outside accessories. Her natural snowy loveliness is all the decoration required. The one above her is a bit scary, once you look closely enough. Not because of the scary face the woman is attempting. No, what creeped me out once I noticed was her waist. Modern “waist trainers” can’t hold a candle to this slave to fashion’s method…whatever it may actually be. It looks like she’s wearing two  funnels under a lot of black lace. Maybe she’s not really trying to make a funny face at all. It could be that her stays are holding in everything all the way up to her face muscles and she has to give a little help to her smile mechanism!

Beyond my fascination with Victoriana, another reason I really love these pictures is that they show how the lack of entertainment as we know it really brought out the creativity in generations of Victorian loonies. Without TV, MP3, DVDs, and the rest of the alphabet of our lives that we can’t live without, however did they survive? No matter how flip I’m being about it, I really cannot fathom life without all our technological marvels. They rose grandly to their situation, however, and well above it.

They had fun with the mundane, because the mundane was all they had. I can’t help but wonder if our Civilization Selfie is missing out. I mean some of  those group poses are really cool. Not that I want to go lifeswap with people who were thrilled when they only had to strike a pose for fifteen minutes in order to make their mark on posterity. But they did leave a legacy of awesome portraits that can make us smile with true admiration of their humor and offbeat style.


My phone doesn’t take the best pictures in the world. Maybe it’s that I forget that it tries to be autonomous every chance it gets. Sometimes what I end up with is an instant toss. Sometimes I like the mistakes.


When my flash kept firing automatically, I got a series of Christmas decorations shots that look intentionally abstract. I can’t exactly take credit, but kudos to my phone for being good at accidental abstracts.


Raindrops on the windshield took over with the pretty, once I finally wrested back control and  turned off the flash.

Some articles stand out from the Internet usuals. I find a gem like Christina in red
A girl at the beach, one year before WWI such a thrill to devour, my gaze eagerly leaping from one stunning image to the next.

I didn’t even realize color photography like this existed so long ago, but it did and the photographer made the most of it.  Bright red is such a dramatic hue. It stands out beautifully against the wash of neutral tones and watercolor subtlety of the young girl’s seaside backdrop.

Unlike in modern images arranged to evoke the past, there’s something about authentic historical images that’s strikingly…other. The drape of clothing and hair, the silhouette of body and features…unmistakably Edwardian. The time of the Titanic, Downton Abbey’s timeframe, and the cusp of the Great War all live as background music to everyday lives. A walk on a beach, posing by a pool, a father lovingly capturing beautiful images of a daughter hovering between girlishness and womanhood. And inadvertently he captures a world hovering between innocence and horrific, world changing war.

I keep going back to look at the pictures and imagine the feel of the shale beneath her feet, the sea spray against her skin, the pale warm sunlight of a day stopped in time to be marveled over for generations to come. All thanks to the Internet that had not yet been invented.

I just cannot get over the incredible delicate beauty these many times human eye ability photographs reveal in the sand beachgoers have been taking for granted for as long as people have walked on beaches. I’m not totally surprised, because I found incredibly tiny red or green sea shells among the sands of Waimea Bay on Oahu. The sand there seems to be made of bits of pink tinged white or offwhite shells, as well as the rare tiny intact ones that award anyone patient enough to sift through handfuls looking for them. The variety of textures and materials among the sand particles in this article is simply stunning. Kudos to the photographer responsible for these amazing images.

I was looking through some old photographs, and was reminded of how much I used to enjoy shooting with black and white. Old school. It took me longer than most to make the switch to digital. I loved the weight of my Pentax K-1000 in my hands, the giant macro zoom sticking way out and wanting to dip down from its own weight. Depending on the light meter to give me what I wanted. Bracketing shots. Now, I just use my smartphone. Point, squinting around and through glare. Hoping what I can’t really see that well on the screen comes through as the still image I want. Sigh.

I thought I’d post a few of the old ones.


Sometimes glare is good. When it’s the lowering sun’s version of a moonglade on a rippling lake.


I love the way waterfalls  photograph in black and white. The water takes on a lacier look than in color. Maybe it’s the contrast.


From a natural canyonlike structure surrounding a waterfall, to concrete canyons surrounded by water. Manhattan and its emerald centerpiece, Central Park, in shades of black and white and gray.


Our lost icons. Shades of past and present, in memory and remembrance.


Something I’ve enjoyed since I went digital is to take a picture and crop it into different microscenes. This I don’t think works as well with black and white. Not old images at least. And scanning lessens it still. It is interesting even so the way the crops look so different once they’re separated out of the original.

Old school black and white photography will fade out of existence entirely. It’s probably ninety percent there already. Pity. It’s just not the same to decolorize super sharp digital pics with filters and call it black and white. Seems to me that while they still may be cool and beautiful they lack the minute flaws that give the old style stuff such character. Flaws can be good. Through the right lens.

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I’ve been thinking of posting some of my photographs here for some time. Now that I have my 2013 screenwriting competition entry packages out the door, and seem to be settling back into my more normal writing routine, I have some breathing room for side projects.

Being a serious amateur photographer for a very long time has given me a large collection of personal photographs. In addition to images from my travels on three continents, I decided to photograph every blooming thing in my mother’s yard. That last part sounds simple enough, but the woman’s legendary green thumb is no joke. I also found that a surprising number of minute wildflowers crop up in one far from large yard.

For the first Random Images post, I’ve picked a flower that intrigues me. It’s a pale purple iris, with textured petals that bear slight variations of sometimes irridescent hue. They’re also referred to as flags. Understandable, considering the way the large petals unfurl themselves, giving the feel of subtle flapping even when still.


From a bit of a distance, it has a regal look. Like a certain fictional Dowager Countess, head held high, supremely confident of its place among lesser beings in its garden.


Move in closer and it becomes a brazen beauty. Boldly flaunting, demanding admiring gazes from passersby. (for big screens, its best to move well back for the sharpest viewing)