Sunday, February 28, 2010

Goodbye, Group Dynamic, Hello, Group Awesome

On the Virtual Photowalk, our blogging groups will switch out every two months, so we get a chance to get to know, and learn from, different bloggers. March 1 marks the first switch.

I've really enjoyed my weeks with my fellow Group Dynamic Members, but I'm looking forward to some different parts of the country, and new friends, in the Group Awesome!

Care for a little casserole?

I planned to take a picture of a Reese's Peanut Butter egg for the category of "luscious", but I forgot, and ate it. It was quite tasty! At any rate, how about a luscious shot of this potato casserole I cooked up? Diced red potatoes, tossed in a roux of butter, Wondra flour, skim milk (hey...have to save calories where you can!), sharp cheddar, a 4-cheese blend of Romano, Asiago, Parm and Mozerella, with a little sour cream stirred in for good measure. Topped with a handful of Parmesan breadcrumbs. Mmmmmmmm. Luscious!

Shot on auto, with my flash. I know, cop-out.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Today is a play-with-Photoshop photo

We were in Arizona over the Christmas and NY holiday and took a hike near the Superstition Mountains one cloudy afternoon ( does actually get cloudy down there). I pulled this image into PS and added an overlay from Jerry over at Shadowhouse Creations (LOVE his stuff), a brush full of writing from someplace I downloaded ages ago, and tweaked and twiddled with levels. Just something fun to do after dinner on a quiet Friday evening.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The dynamic duo?

Double-dipping on this shot taken for the Elements Village Photo Theme #227. Thanks, BillZ, for the idea!

Shutter: 1/30, f/16 (opened it up for greater DOF), ISO 800, focal length 77mm, tripod mount

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Trip back in time

I'm really tired of snowy photos, so I pulled this one from my archives. In the summer of 2007, we took a trip to British Columbia, getting as far north as Whistler (of now Olympics fame). We spent one day at Butchart Gardens outside Victoria. I like the natural window cut into this hedge that looked out on the water. I took this with my Olympus 570UZ and remember taking several shots before I was able to expose for both the leaves and the boat/water beyond. I probably had this set on Shutter priority and metered off the leaves, then refocused on the boat.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I think I'll paint my nails

These appeal to my feminine side.

Shutter: 1/8, f/11, ISO 200, focal length 130mm tripod mount

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Oh no, more snow

Some berries from the Hawthorne tree in my front yard sport a fresh topping of snow.

Monday, February 22, 2010

They did the monster mash

Here's my favorite kitchen utensil. I haven't used an electric mixer to mash potatoes in years.

Shutter: 1/125, f/14, ISO 200, 70mm tripod mount

Does this look blue to you? I'm having some PS / Monitor issues that I'm trying to resolve...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Oh my...

Is there anything more tantalizing than a bit of chocolate?

Shutter: 1/60, f/5.6, ISO 200, focal length 200mm, tripod

While I was zooming in to check noise, etc., I found I kind of liked a cropped version of this image. Which do you prefer?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

From the motherland

What could be more domestic than a 1915 Model T? I liked the windscreen...

Shutter speed: 1/25, f/5, ISO 800, focal length 84mm Av mode, hand held. Processed with Topaz Adjust.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Zoom zoom, grownup style

You saw children's toys from the Chicago Auto Show in a previous post. Today, a glimpse of one for grownups.

Shutter: 1/250, f/5. ISO 800, 77 mm, Av

 (2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mini assignment: Self portrait

The first image was shot in the reflection of a hubcap at the Chicago Auto Show. The second, where I spend a lot of home office. I then used a sketch tutorial from the book Photoshop Photo Effects Cookbook, by Tim Shelbourne.

I'm a college teacher (business computer applications, web design & now Photoshop) who loves photography, hiking, travel, downhill skiing and messing around with software! This is year 2 of my photo blog and I love learning more about my fellow bloggers, their areas of the world, and photography.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Zoom zoom

Something for everyone at the Chicago Auto Show, including these really spiffy children's toys.

Shutter speed: 1/80, F/5, ISO 800, 77mm, Av (aperture priority)

Did you figure out yesterday's "What is this"? It was a close-up shot of a grille for the front of a car. Pretty hefty price tag, if I recall.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What is that?

Lots of bling! Any ideas??

(Answer tomorrow)

Monday, February 15, 2010


Practicing panning with flying geese. This is not cropped to exclude any geese; this shot caught five! I did crop to remove excess sky to the right. I was waiting for the sunset and I liked the light on their bellies.

Shutter speed: 1/500, f/5.6 ISO 400, focal length 142 mm

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Wishful thinking

It's an oddity to see beach furniture (complete with beverage!) on a chilly Illinois February day, but this home's occupants are hopeful that warm sunny days (Ron weather!) will return soon!

Shutter: 1/100, f/4, ISO 200, 42mm focal length

Saturday, February 13, 2010


The other morning, I was up early enough to think about dashing over to our local park to catch the sunrise (brrrrrrr!) This is the path that runs along the lake. Between the long shadows and early-morning light, the brilliant-white snow was, well, not so much white. Still pretty though!

Shutter: 1/125. f/7.1, ISO 100, focal length 18mm. Handheld. Temperature, about 18 degree F.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Return of the Purple Finch

Not sure why they call this pretty red bird a purple finch, but they do. Caught him perched on the snowy suet, enjoying a snack.

Shutter: 1/1600, f/5.6, ISO 1600, focal length 250mm

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Photographing a single drop - sounds simple, yes?

I marvel at the simplicity of an icicle, slowing dripping in the warming afternoon. Tough to photograph, though! I had to have my shutter speed fast enough to stop the drop (this bore out when I had to toss the first 30 images). Then I had to change the ISO settings to let in more light, because my highest f/stop on my zoomed-in settings was too dark (toss another 30-40 images...thank goodness for digital). Then I had to time the shots just right...I could see the water run down the icicle (snap) and most shots missed the drop. I was on continuous shooting, RAW+JPEG and could capture about 6 shots before I had to wait for the memory card to catch up.

After about 100 or so shots, I settled on this one. It's a little noisy but the drop is clear!

Shutter: 1/800, f/6.3, ISO 800, focal length 270mm tripod mount

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Chickadee in the snow

Snow day! The snow is white, the chickadee's breast and face are white, the world is white!

Shutter: 1/2000, f/5.6, ISO1000, focal length 250mm

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Big and Small

Although the 1000 Indonesian Rupiah note looks big, it's actually quite small...worth about 11 cents U.S. The physical size is big compared to the smaller coins atop it. I was playing with the smallest possible DOF at this focal length, really focus on the "1000".

Shutter: 1/20 (tripod mounted), f/5.6, ISO 100, focal length 218mm set to self-timer to avoid camera shake. Manual focus, Av (aperture priority). Shot RAW; clarity slide bumped for sharpness.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Downy comes back

The "alone" Downy Woodpecker was back yesterday. Caught him having a little suet lunch.

Shutter: 1/250, 5/6.3, ISO 400, 270mm hand held, Sports mode

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Too bad the Cardinals didn't make the Super Bowl! I've been chasing this elusive male (through my window) all winter. He finally sat still and was half on and half off the background (snow, and tree). I couldn't move...curtains would have blocked my view.

Guess I'll take this and continue stalking him!

Shutter: 1/250, f/6.3, ISO 400 270mm shot on Sports mode, hand held

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Eat your veggies

These olives, tomatoes, onions and red peppers await their place of honor atop our suppertime pizza.

 Shutter speed: 1/60, f/2.2, ISO 400, 50mm (prime lens)

Friday, February 5, 2010


Many of the birds that visit the trees and feeders in our yard come in pairs. This little woodpecker always comes alone.

Taken through the window. Sharpened up in PS RAW.

Shutter: 1/250, f/6.3, ISO 400, focal length 270mm

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Winter in Illinois

This high school sits on the river, just downstream from a dam. I've always enjoyed the geometric shapes in this castle-like structure. Contrasted again the frozen, turbulent state of the water, I think it's particularly striking.

Shutter priority (Tv). 1/250, f/11, ISO 200, focal length 77mm

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The glass in class

My "Glass...redux" shots posted February 3 were an attempt to replicate this setup we learned about in my Lighting class last week, at a local camera store. Scroll down one post to see my efforts.

Click here to see the instructor's setup.


Last week, in addition to the "Get to Know Your Rebel Class", some friends and I also took a Lighting class. One of the coolest things the instructor showed us was how to shoot glass. Clear glass presents a challenge because it's transparent. He reflected light off the glass and, with the help of a black background, shot some pretty cool images.

Here are a couple of my attempts to mimic his setup. I was using my light box, which is draped in a white sheet and has a white craft-paper "floor". I swapped out a black craft-paper floor and positioned it to also be a backdrop. Problem: It wouldn't stand up. I leaned it up against a tool box, but that caused a curve in the paper, which reflected more light. To fix that, I used the Dodge tool in Photoshop to darken up the reflected areas of the paper, while leaving the glass alone.

Also, I was dusting the glasses with paper towels..which left some streaks and dust motes. Next time, I'll take more care. A fun experiment!

Shutter: 1/100, f/4.5, ISO 1600, 55mm, hand-held, RAW. Only editing was to change the white balance to Tungsten (I forgot to do it in camera) and then use the Dodge tool as described above.

A party!

This third one, of the martini glass alone, is my favorite. I dropped the ISO speed down to 400, and switched off one of the side lights, which darkened the stem. It's straight out of the camera. Focal length 91mm. 1/100, f/5

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

One for Ron

Hey, Ron. As I was shooting this glass bottle, you came to mind for two reasons. This was shot with my 50mm prime lens...AND...look at the label!


Shutter speed 1/30, f4, ISO 100, hand held in my light box, aperture priority

Monday, February 1, 2010

Experiment in Exposure Compensation

Took a "get to know your digital Rebel" class at the local camera store this week. One button I'd not learned to play with was the Exposure Compensation button (the black & white A/V) These 2 images were taken of a classmate in the darkened room (only light was some leaking in from the partially open hallway door, and the light from the classroom projector, which was behind me). She was probably 10-12 feet away. I was pleasantly surprised at how much the image lightened up. With the level of zoom, I was at my lowest aperture setting and my highest ISO. Of course, if she had moved, it might have been a different story. Check out the slow shutter speeds! These were shot in Av (aperture priority) mode.