Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Fishing With A Camera

Fish In A Window, Waynesville, NC  -  2016
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Fishermen are often accused of exaggerating the size of their catch, or of being outright liars. Many bring a small camera along to document their trophies. I think that's a great idea. I caught this whopper on Dellwood Road on the way back from Maggie Valley a couple of Saturdays ago.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Persian Shield

Persian Shield, Canton, NC  -  2016
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Another one of my wife's plants growing in a pot on our front porch. The open shade of the porch provided perfect lighting for the texture and color of these beautiful leaves. All I had to do was wait for a lull in the breeze.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Where's the water?

Lower Falls, Graveyard Fields, NC -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Once again, we're experiencing drought conditions in western North Carolina. We started off 2016 very wet, building up a surplus of rainfall for the first two months or so. Now, it's gone dry again. We got a brief shower early Friday morning at my house, but that's about all we've had for the last three weeks. I made this photo back in June of 2013 when the water was flowing quite abundantly at Graveyard Fields.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

On Second thought . . .

Church Blues, Waynesville, NC  -  2016
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

When I download photos from a camera to the computer, the first step of editing is to cull out the obvious losers. Out of focus, blurred by camera shake or subject motion, un-fixable exposure misses, and other mistakes - they've got to go. Then, since I usually make several exposures of the same scene, I pick out the best version of each. I learned a long time ago that the secret to being perceived as a "good" photographer is to only show your strongest images. Too many people show everything, including their screw-ups. Why? Just show your best stuff!

After I've thrown out the obvious mistakes, and selected the best shots for further editing, I'm usually left with quite a few "maybe" photos. These are images that aren't really that good, but I hesitate to trash them because I think maybe I can salvage them later in Photoshop. The above photo made at church last Sunday is an example.

The strong, blue backlighting rendered the bass player almost, but not quite, in silhouette. On the left side of the frame was half of a singer that would have to be removed. (You can't have half people in your photos.) It looked like too much work, but there was still something about it that made me hesitate to delete it. Last night, I finally decided to take a shot at salvaging it.

It took quite a bit of time and effort in the digital darkroom to finally come up with a version that I was happy with. It's not one of my best photos, but I think it's a fairly interesting image, and I had fun working on it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Stealth Photography

The Conversation, Waynesville, NC  -  2016
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Shooting unnoticed from the audio/video booth, I was able to candidly capture this conversation before church last Sunday. Being able to make this photo from a distance allowed me to capture a much more natural look than if the subjects had been aware I was pointing a camera their way. Stealth sometimes has it's advantages.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Taking My Camera To Church

"You even take your camera to church?" Yeah, occasionally. If there is something special going on, like a holiday celebration, several other people might bring their camera, so why not me?

Yesterday was just a normal Sunday morning; nothing special going on. Our Pastor wasn't even there - he's away on vacation with his family. Another preacher from SC was filling in. I decided to make some photos as an experiment, just to see how the lighting was in this church. In  my experience, most churches have awful lighting for photography, in both quantity and quality. First of all, it's usually relatively dim. That's to be expected. After all, it's a worship service, not a Broadway musical. Then there's usually mixed sources (fluorescent/incandescent) that play havoc with color balance. Adjustable white balance on a digital camera only helps a little. Since using flash is out of the question, blurred photos with LSD-inspired colors are often the result. This church, one we've been attending for only a few months, was no exception.

So as not disturb the other worshipers, I shot from the little booth where the audio/video people work. I used both my Olympus DSLR, and my little Lumix, both mounted on a tripod. From that distance and angle, I couldn't get an individual photo of everybody on the platform, but I tried to get as many as I could. Out of almost 200 exposures made during the worship service (and a couple from my Sunday School class), these were the few keepers (by my standards), and they still required quite a bit of tinkering in the digital darkroom. Enjoy. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Friday, June 17, 2016

Old Barns

Roadside Barn, Haywood County, NC  -  2011
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

I love to photograph old barns, and there are plenty to choose from in the area in which I live. If I remember correctly, I found this one on Rabbit Skin Road as I was riding around one Saturday morning.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

More From Theresa's Garden

Petunias, Canton, NC  -  2016
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

My wife grows a variety of flowers in front of the house, and in pots on the porch. I don't have to walk far with my camera to have a choice of floral subjects. These are some variety of Petunias (I think) growing in a pot. The open shade of the porch gave just right kind of light for this group portrait. Once again, I used my little Lumix point and shoot braced on a porch rail.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Yellow Calla

Yellow Calla, Canton, NC  -  2016
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

A few days back, I posted a photo of a white Calla Lily from my wife's garden. Since then, three more white ones have bloomed, and also a solitary yellow Calla. I think I like the while Callas better, but this one had such a deep, rich yellow that I had to get a photo of it too.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Front Porch Photography

Hen and Chick, Canton, NC  -  2016
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

I spent most of Sunday afternoon on my front porch reading. It was warm and breezy, and I wasn't in the mood to do anything more than just relax. I was flipping through some photography books that I hadn't looked at in quite a while when I came across some close up cactus photos. It was then that I spied my wife's Hen and Chick plants on the other end of the porch. My little point and shoot Lumix was just inside the front door, so I decided to try some close ups of my own.

The whole point of a point and shoot camera is simplicity. Not wanting to complicate things with a tripod, I braced the camera on the porch rail, and with the camera set to macro mode, I tried my hand at some plant portraits. I thought this one wasn't to shabby for a lowly point and shoot at ISO 400, braced on a porch rail.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

What catches your eye?

Charleston Window, Charleston, SC  -  2012
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

There is much to grab one's eye in this photo of a window on a home in Charelston, SC. The bright colors, the contrasty lighting, the pretty window box of flowers - all are attention grabbers for anyone walking past this window. However, what originally caught my eye was the little pig in the window. It made me think that at least one resident of this home was a pork lover, perhaps even a BBQ fan, like me. Even though I'd never met anyone who lived in this home, I felt there was a connection nonetheless. So, click! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Virtual Photo Albums

Lone Tree, Cherokee County, NC  -  2005
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

In the old days (pre-digital photography), we kept some photos in albums, but many remained in the envelopes from whatever photo processor we used. This made it hard to find specific photos, and the rest were largely forgotten.

Today, we have it much easier. Using any one of the scores of image viewing and sorting programs available, we can easily find and view our photos. My favorite is FastStone Image Viewer (http://www.faststone.org/FSViewerDetail.htm), a program I have used for several years now. It's great for doing initial sorting and editing after I download from my camera to my computer. It also has some pretty good editing tools to make adjustments to your photos if you don't have a program like Photoshop. And one other great feature: it's FREE!

While scrolling through my photos with FastStone, I came across the photo above that I made back in 2005. It's one of my favorites, so I chose to post it today. In my pre-digital days, this one may have been forgotten, tucked away in an envelope in a drawer somewhere. Today, I can find it easily.

Monday, June 6, 2016

What can I say about it?

Portal, Asheville, NC  -  2016
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Several posts back I mentioned how I had gotten lazy about posting photos to My Viewfinder 2, and instead, just posted them on Facebook. When I post a photo on Facebook, I don't feel like I have to write anything except maybe a short caption or title. On a photo blog, it just doesn't seem like a proper post unless I write something too.

But what to write? I like to think that my photos can stand on their own, without me having to explain what or why. Realistically, I know that's not always true. To make things worse, I don't always know if I am helping by answering those questions. The above photo is an example of that. It is the interior of a small dress shop in downtown Asheville. It was closed on a Sunday afternoon, so I made the photo by pressing my camera against the front window. The mirror in the back of the shop reflected the street scene behind me, but suggested to me a portal into another world. Now, by giving that explanation, have I weakened my photo by not letting the viewer come to his own conclusions? Yeah, that's the struggle I sometimes have with posting my work to a photo blog versus just slapping something up on Facebook.

"Even a fool is thought wise if he remains silent."  -  Solomon

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Right Kind Of Light

BB&T At Sunset, Asheville, NC  -  2016
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

On an overcast Sunday, the clouds parted for a moment to let the late afternoon sun hit the BB&T Building in Asheville. I was on my way back to my truck to head home for the day when that normally drab building lit up like a golden temple. It's amazing the difference the right kind of light can make.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Calla Lilies

First One, Canton, NC  -  2016
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

I saw my first Calla Lilies several years ago on the campus of Haywood Community College, and they immediately became one of my favorite flowers to photograph. The folds and curves of this species give the photographer something different and beautiful from every angle. Knowing my fascination with this flower, my wife planted some for me in her flower garden. This one is the first bloom for this year.

I don't often discuss gear on this blog, but I feel I have to mention that this photo was made with the little Lumix point and shoot that I bought last December. Although it has some limitations and cannot completely replace my DSLRs, I continue to be amazed at the quality of photo I have been able to produce with this little camera.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Eye-Catching Color

Red Door, Asheville, NC  -  2016
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

When I saw this combinations of bright colors, I was reminded of some of the work of photographer Joel Meyerowitz. In the 1960s, Meyerowitz was one of the early advocates of the use of color at a time when only black and white photography was considered worthy of being called "art". His book, Cape Light, a 1979 collection of photographs made on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, has become a classic of color photography, and was very influential in color's acceptance by the art world. Is my photo "art"? I don't know, but I like the colors!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

I Love Street Musicians

Banjo Picker, Asheville, NC  -  2016
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

In the warmer months, one can usually find a variety of street musicians performing on the streets of downtown Asheville. From classical to bluegrass, they're out there performing with a sidewalk as their stage. I love listening to them (well, most of them), and I love photographing them too. It's an Asheville tradition that I hope always continues.