Little but Not


The little bird said, ” You people talk all your life, but how many of you have actually practiced your belief and lived a life you truly loved? We have the whole universe as our home, and we soar or land as we please.”

Little children are inspirations. They are curious about everything and fearless to try anything. They are the adventurers. I lived on ‘I can do it! Just do it!’ all my life. While I am gradually winding down as the age progressed, I find them extremely rejuvenating and inspiring.

Playing with composite and being energized by the image at the same time.

Secret of Desire

 

I love Cedar Waxwings. For years, I have been pursuing them for pictures, but they are usually too distant to reach. A few weeks ago, I saw a flock of them enjoying the berries in a park. The juveniles were flying from one tree to the other, sometimes they even landed on the grass. It was on the day when I decided not to carry the long lens. I was so bombed.

Spent a few hours in the streets doing panning, I took a break at a park. While I was pulling my car out of the parking space, I saw bird activity among the trees above. Whenever the birds sing or move, I cannot help but want to find out who they are.  And, the final answer is, another flock of Cedar Waxwings !!!  I was so thrilled to see the babies on the grass probably only about 10 feet away from me.

When your heart is set on something, you will give it your best attention. The successful rate is naturally increased. This is the secret of desire.  We can say it’s luck. But sometimes when the luck kept knocking on the door, it can not be just luck. It is a blessing from above.

Birder vs Hunter

The parking lot of a birding site was full.  I expected to see some happy birders. Instead, I saw several groups of people with rifles walking out of the site. One of the women even showed off her prey, a breathless pheasant! 

The gunshot was off sparsely, and we saw a pheasant hiding under the tall grass. Though pheasant’s head is quite small, the red and white looks too conspicuous among the green. I sweated for the poor thing. Luckily he was only visible to us birders, not the hunters.

 

The Last Colors

The rain came to cool us down, and most importantly, diminish the blazing forest fire. Summer finally stepped down.  While the floral colors are going away, the foliage fall colors are showing up. I have not photographed much of the flowers this year, just to grab the last bit of colors.

I bought a small bouquet for a birthday party, but these common mums turn out to be the only flower I like. While I am ‘dreaming it away’ by blurring the background, her subtle tint of colors looks charming for my taste.

My desktop computer is back to the shop. The newly installed larger hard drive is proved to be a defective one. We pay a premium for quality, but branded products do not seem to hold on to their names anymore.

 

Blur

Everyone wants to take sharp pictures, not necessarily me. I do want the details of my flower images to be crisp and sharp. I think the facial expression of the portraits should be clearly illustrated. Otherwise, I really love shallow depth of field with that blurry or fuzzy backdrop.

I am still playing with Lensbaby lenses. This one has a slice focus that I love. I can get more blur using a larger aperture, but that small slice is certainly hard to aim.  Tripod makes the focus easier, but not for the moving subjects I am more interested.

Born without drawing talent, I was also born with impatience.  Hand painting is a mission-impossible endeavor for me. And that’s when the photography came in. It satisfied me when my photograph resembles a painting or painterly like. You know, we always desire something we don’t have.

You saw the trees, a small piece of yellow, a park bench, and this dedicated runner in the col;d morning. It’s a bit story-telling shot, I thought. Fall is stepping in. I love to see the color change. I cannot wait for fall colors. (Above image is a regular lens panning.)

Standing by the entrance of the bridge, I pointed my camera at the bridge and snapped whenever someone with colored clothing came through. In that case, nobody (except the photographers) would think I am taking their pictures.

Back to the Street

If I am an extrovert and more daring to approach strangers, street photography can easily be something I do regularly. People’s candid expression and natural emotion are precious that I value, appreciate and enjoy. 

People are a natural subject in the street. The architecture is probably my number two interest. The aged with sculptured moldings and crafty details or the new with contemporary geometrical structure and patterns are both tempting to me. To me, a smartwatch has no comparison with an old-fashioned clock. I like to be able to think and figure things out myself and not to rely on high tech for all solutions.

An ice or snow image can calm us down and feel less heat on a hot day.  When the street is packed with cars and the dusty air is churning, you can still enjoy the conversation and company as long as that’s where your heart (mind) is set.  “What’s on your mind?” will set you free from other trivia. Guess Facebook has that long figured out.

 

In Retrospective

 

Three-quarter of the year 2017 has gone, I found myself making no major accomplishment of anything outside of my comfort zone in respect of photography. My photo library is small in comparison with previous years and nothing much stands out that excites me. I blog for the sake of learning photography and I am not too thrilled when I don’t feel that I’ve made progress in my content or the images I posted.  Instead of keeping up my weekly posting schedule, I make a decision to post only when I am inspired and have something meaningful to talk about. I need more time to be further educated and experiment new ideas and concept.

I recently converted my old posts at blogger.com to WordPress. These posts were written at my elementary stage of photography adventure. I can see what I can do better to tweak the composition or use the software I’ve since learned to edit each picture.  This is another item in my todo list to go back and rework on some of the pictures.

I love to photograph flowers but I want to try something different either through the camera or the editing. As always, I like the dreamy and blurry look, but sometimes a touch of dainty detail adds a sense of reality.

We were through several really cold weather and ice has now become my favorite subject. In a hot day like today (high 96), I can look at this image and be feeling a chilling breeze. Believe or not. This image was selected to be on the cover of a post card used to invite people coming to the art show I attended.

Earlier this year, I received a notification from Facebook informing me that this sail boat picture has received 4654 views. It was just a shot I took at Shore Acre Park in Coos Bay, Oregon during Christmas time two years ago. If FB is true with the number, it is surely an encouragement.

For my college reunion, I was fully occupied during the tulip season this year. This is the first year when I did not go to Woodenshoe Tulip Farm. I can never get tired of being there and crawling on the ground for hours and hours.   You can come out hundreds of different shots by simply shooting from different location of the farm, under the various light condition and with varieties of lenses. Every year I brought home completely different images.

For work, I have my share of intensive traveling. Now in retirement, I don’t have equal opportunity to travel and I missed all the pictures taken during the trip.

This story will be retold for years to come. We saved the baby Stella Jay when he fell out of his nest and had him stay overnight in our house in July 2010. His parents came to claim their baby the next morning and the baby (we named it B.J.) jumped down to the ground and hid in a cedar tree behind our house. In the next week, we watched how he was trained to fly. To our amazement, this bird came back to see us many times. I don’t always have the chance to take his picture. But, how do we know it’s B.J.?

Stella Jay is very loud and they usually behave aggressively. All the Jays showed up for the food in our feeder except this one. I have not seen B.J. eat the food from our feeder. He usually stood on the railing or the tree limb and looked into our house for a long time. While other Jays are making their harsh calls, B.J. was always quiet. His demeanor and our mystical emotional attachment to him help us to identify him. It has been seven years. We often wonder if he is still alive.  Why I like to photograph birds? This story explains it.

 

Simply Flowers

Another sizzling week of 90’s degree. Wildfire is burning and spreading. Not only the sky is hazy, the air we are breathing is also smoky. We are shutting the doors and windows to block the smoke; meanwhile, making a roasting oven for ourselves. Making soft-looking images is how I keep myself cool.

A few major activities and trips took place from spring to summer this year, I was on the go a lot and have not taken time to calm down and took some flower pictures. Suddenly I have an urge to photograph flowers. On a trip to a local farmer’s market, I happened to see their you-pick-flowers and decided to pick some singles home. Except that it’s now the end of the season, there are only three kinds of flowers. The good news is, there are quite a few varieties of colors. I thought just to give myself a photo challenge and see what I can do with my $4.00 investment.

I intended to come up some images over the weekend, but I was buzzed badly by the yellow jackets and almost swallowed one down the throat.  The buzzer crawled into my smoothie and buried while I concentrated on taking pictures. (By the way, I am getting a powerful bug zapper.)

Indoors is hot, but no bees. This picture was taken with Lensbaby lens and with a couple of sheer texture added. It has my favorite soft and dreamy feel.

Just did a large family portrait session with my photographer friend Elvie yesterday. Instead of removing the batteries from the flash, I decided to finish them up with my indoor shoot today. I used my 85mm prime lens for this one. Even I shot it handheld, the image is still quite sharp.

I want the images to bring me calm and cool spirit, but it is bright and sunny outside. How do I illustrate the visual environment and also preserve the quiet ambiance? Soft but warm is what I tried to transmit here:

I don’t use my flash often enough, but as long as I have it, I have a hard time to let go of it. It is so fun to play with it and have the light come from all different angles.

Can you imagine how much fun I had with the $4.00? The flowers are all still in good condition. I expect my fun to be continued…

A morning of solar eclipse

Today is the solar eclipse day. I happen to live close to the eclipse trail, but for all what I have read, I seemed not interested in taking on the adventure.  I will see tons of pictures from my club members and from all over the country, why bother?  However, since it is an extraordinary phenomenon, I have to see it with my own eyes. So, I chose to be a spectator than a photographer.

Without any advance preparation, I headed out for my daily walk with my lightweight camera attached with a wild angle lens. It was a normal sunny morning.  Just when I passed through the first section of my regular walk path, I subconsciously looked at the sun and saw a patch of cloud was traveling fast towards the sun. Not long after I’d raised my camera, the sun was completely wrapped in the cloud.  It was then about 1-1/2 hours before the totality.

The image I took seems to tell me that the Cloud was rushing to say farewell to the Sun before He was totally covered by the Moon. The glorious flare of the Sun colored the Cloud golden.

Without special filter and telephoto lens, I was aiming to simply take some landscape pictures in the neighborhood. The first picture below was taken at 8:30 am and the second one at 10:18 am when the Sun was almost fully hidden behind the Moon. My location is a bit too south from the center of the trail and I could not observe a perfect Totality. I am posting two pictures in the same location just to show you the Day and Night experience I had. I expected the totality to bring in a total darkness, but it was more like a late afternoon before the sun hit the horizon.

My wide angle lens is adequate for me to include the sun and some trees in the scene, but it is not set to show you the Totality. However, I looked at the sun closely in this image, the radial sun rays seemed to become more intense and sharper (compared to the image on the right taken earlier). I guess the light was forced to burst sideways to form the Corona which still provides enough strength of light to shine the earth.

At 10:32 am, the Moon has slightly moved to the left, and a small slice of the sunshine was shown on the right. The ground began to get brighter and brighter. On the way home, I felt a golden glow and an unusual calmness that I have never experienced. I pondered what will be like if the sun has dimmed down to the degree of totality and we don’t have that majestic sunshine anymore…

At a Wedding – story telling

I photographed another wedding over the weekend. Hard work, I am still recuperating a week after.  A load of fun, the photographer is the orchestrator, and you tell them where to stand and what to do. I am glad that I am not the professionals who charge big bucks and work under tremendous pressure.  A wedding is (normally) a once-in-a-lifetime event, and we all try to capture the most precious moment at our best in spite of the variables.

Perfect posed portraits are the tradition although the trends go to lifestyle and illustrate modern living and environment. This wedding was on a private ranch. Other than acres of fields, barns, haystacks, horses, beer barrels and farmhouses are the backdrops.

The bride is in a pure white wedding gown adorned with a red-laced draping on the back which ties in with her red shoes. No tux’s for the groom and his boys, they are all in cowboy hats, Levi’s and western belts. The guests wear casual dresses, trousers, and jeans. Casual, Natural and Free-spirited.

For privacy concerns, I intend not to post any people pictures on this blog though I have lots of favorites. Just grab a couple of fun shots here.

The moment when I spotted this cake decoration, I could not let go of it. On this day of the union of two hearts, the guests are invited inside the tent to celebrate and give their best regards to the newly-wed. With this thought in mind, I took this picture.

The tent structure and chairs offer a bit of architecture background. The table flowers are my main subject while the man and the beer help me to tell the story. Men & Beer vs. Women & Dog was what came to my mind…

I love the shape and the sculptured lines of this piece. Used it to play a little more. While multi-colors are often more striking, I like the black and white version of this one. It’s the purity and subtlety that I like black and white images.

I wanted to shoot the cute little heart-shaped tea lights on the table, and I also liked the sunset light shadow in distance. Besides, it is an event and people need to be in it.  ‘Heart’ is not clearly shown here, but I seem to like the negative space of the image. People and the row of chairs do tell the story…