Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Week Late

While both girls were home for Thanksgiving, I thought it would be generous of me to peel myself away from the football games for a while and do a holiday-ish activity with the family. I saw that the Grove Arcade in Asheville was having a lighting ceremony on Friday with several fun activities including a performance by the Asheville Symphony Chorus. Perfect!

The festivities weres supposed to begin at 5 pm, and we arrived about 4:45. I was a little surprised to find a parking spot right across the street, but attributed it to being a blessing for being a great Dad. When we went inside the Grove Arcade, we found it beautifully lit and decorated for the Christmas season. I began to wonder what other displays of lighting the coming ceremony would reveal. The crowds inside were light to moderate, but I'll never complain about that.

Five o'clock came and went with no indication of anything about to begin. There were a couple of balcony locations that I thought would be likely for the chorus performance, but no sign of any singers yet. As 5:30 approached with nothing exciting going on, I spied a table with some brochures displayed. One was a card announcing the event we had come to see. I looked over the card to see if there was a schedule of events. That's when I saw the date. November 21. The previous Friday. As in "one week earlier". Oooops!

My mind began to scheme as to how to announce my blunder while still saving face with my family. Nothing came to mind, so I decided to just fess up, and hope that dinner at Papa's And Beer would smooth things over. It did. I know my family. Mexican food can solve many problems.

Well, we missed the event we went to see, but I did get this nice photo of the Vanderbilt Apartments at sunset. So along with the Enchiladas Marias, the evening wasn't a total loss!

Vanderbilt Apartments At Sunset, Asheville, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Bigger Is Not Always Better

Thompson's Store, Saluda, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Thompson's is the oldest continuously operating grocery store in the state of North Carolina. In business since 1890, the store has operated at its current location since 1940. Take that, Food Lion!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Last Month

Lakeshore Tree, Buncombe County, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

One from last month before the colors left us.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Sharp Is Good; Soft Is Sometimes Better

Winter Dock, Asheville, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Lens makers always tout the purity of their glass, the precision of their grinding, and the resultant sharpness of their lenses. The clarity and sharpness of modern lenses is amazing, but is sharp always better?

Sharpness is good. If it's not there to begin with, there is really nothing you can do to put sharpness back in to an image after exposure. The various sharpening tools and filters contained in image editing software merely modify the pixels already present. These tools can give the appearance of sharpness, but if it ain't there, it ain't there.

I'm glad for the quality built in to the Zuiko lenses on my Olympus cameras. However, I find myself often softening images in post production, especially in portraits. The "show every pore and wrinkle" clarity my lenses are capable of does not usually flatter adult subjects, especially women. Even with younger adults and teens, a lens that reveals every skin blemish is not the positive that the camera ads make it out to be. Softening, or outright obliteration in post production is often called for.

Landscapes and other nature shots are where I most appreciate the fruit of the lens makers craft, but even there I'm sometimes tempted to soften the image a bit. I like the look of many of the pictorialist photographers of the early 20th century. Sometimes I try to replicate that softer look as in the photo above. The sharpness of today's lenses actually makes it even harder to duplicate the look of soft focus lenses of a hundred years ago. Softening a sharp photo is not as easy as just clicking on a softening or blur filter. Still, getting the softer look right is easier than trying to make a soft photo sharp. My hat's off to you Mr. Zuiko!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Early Bird Photography

Morning Cattails, Buncombe County, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Getting up, and getting out early offers many advantages for the photographer. The most interesting light occurs both very early and very late in the day, but you're less likely to run into other people in the early morning hours. I'm not anti-social. I just prefer not to have people in my nature shots, or have to compete with others for that perfect spot to set my tripod. Early on a Saturday morning when most people are sleeping in is a great time to get out alone with your camera.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sometimes it's just too easy.

I got the opportunity to do portraits for some newlyweds Sunday afternoon, Yam and Brent Burke. I am used to having to work, sometimes very hard, to get the best from people for their portraits. Sometimes with young children it can be a real battle; some adults aren't much easier. Then sometimes you get a couple in their early twenties, still enjoying the bliss of a recent marriage, and man, you're photographing on Easy Street!

Mr. and Mrs. Burke (I'm sure they're not quite used to that designation yet) arrived on time to our outdoor location, full of enthusiasm and ideas. I love it when my subjects have some ideas and poses they want to try. Yam even had some example photos on her phone to show me. This couple was very willing to experiment with my ideas and theirs, and we had a good time trying several "action" type shots. Not all of them worked exactly as we envisioned, but all three of us had fun experimenting. The only trouble I had from these two is when they both started laughing during a kissing shot. Sometimes it's necessary for a photographer to be tough and demanding, so I made them do it over and over until they got it right!

Brent and Yam, Canton, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

I chose one of the more traditional poses we did to show here. Altogether, we got about 15 keepers, including some they want to use for their first Christmas card. Sometimes portrait photography can be a lot of work. Sunday, it was just a lot of fun.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Fall Is Fading Fast

Inglorious Ending, Asheville, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Switching Gears

Somewhere Along The Virginia Creeper Trail  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge,)

I've been mostly posting portraits this week, but I'm out of victims, er, I mean subjects, for the moment. So I decided to go back a couple of weeks to a shot I made along the Virginia Creeper Trail for today's post.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Monday, November 3, 2014

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Seasonal Transitions 2

The Pigeon River, Haywood County, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Fall met winter in the western North Carolina Mountains Saturday.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Seasonal Transitions

Canton, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

In the western North Carolina mountains, we sometimes get to enjoy two seasons at the same time!