Sunday, July 31, 2011


I had a tree service come in a few weeks ago and take down an old tree. No sooner had the service left than part of my neighbor's tree came crashing down. Here, he instructs his son on the proper use of a chain saw to remove some of the branches.

They got this taken down, chipped up, and the yard tidied. Yesterday, another part of the same tree (a huge, four-trunked oak) took a dive. Tomorrow, they will pull the entire tree. Sad to lose a tree, but it's not safe to have it up any more, especially given the crazy wind & rain storms that have zoomed through here lately.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Some Queen Anne's lace against a sunset, gently processed in Photomatix.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Summer theater

We enjoy supporting our community theater productions, especially when family or friends are in the cast, and in costume.This summer, we saw Jon's daughter at the Wicked Witch of the West, in "The Wizard of Oz", and one of his colleagues as Edna Turnblad (a role traditionally played by a male actor) in "Hairspray".

Both of these were taken handheld, at some distance, no flash, with my new "purse" camera - a Panasonic Lumix ZS8; 14.1 MP and 16x optical zoom. Nice little purse cam!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I stood watching and photographing this motionless, one-legged gull for a long time. He didn't seem upset by my presence.

Then, he put down his other foot and walked away. The "one-legged gull" joke was on me. Hahaha!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

T is for . . .

tutorial. I followed Boomer's link to a free HDR tutorial, popped in a 3-shot, handheld exposure from June's visit to the Colorado National Monument, and came out with this...

Thanks, Mike!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


To walk Crystal Cove Beach along Newport Coast in California is to take a trip back in time, where these weathered old cottages still stand. Recently, an organization has begun work to restore these fine old places and return them to their former glory. You can read more about the rescue efforts here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Traditional beach photo

When you visit the beach, as we did in Newport Coast, California, it's a tradition to take photos of the gulls. I liked the almost monochromatic look of this morning shot.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The La Sal mountains don't seem so distant

Cruising down Utah Highway 128 (from the northeast, heading sort of southwest, to answer Steven's question from yesterday), we were following the Colorado River. We came upon a curve and this stunning sight came into view. We'd been seeing the snow-capped La Sal mountains since being on Interstate 70, but they didn't seem so distant from this vantage point.

To learn a little more about this gorgeous highway, you can hit Wikipedia...

Took three hand-held exposures, then used Photomatix and a trial of Nik Color EFex to produce this. Not sure what I'm doing yet, but it's fun to see all the different "looks".

(Actually, this shot was taken before yesterday's, but, oh well...)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A multitude of colors

I've been playing around with some of my photos from our trip out west. This shot, taken from Highway 128 heading into Moab, Utah, shows off the many colors the desert has to offer. I like how the burgundy cliffs contrast with the strong oranges and greens of the desert floor.

I did a little tweaking on the vibrance and contrast in PS Camera Raw. Hope I didn't overdo.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Table for one, please

Late in our summer trip, we stopped to go bird-stalking and stretch our legs in the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oklahoma. We weren't too far into our hike before we came upon this female Summer Tanager, enjoying a bite of lunch. Not sure what kind of insect she's eating, and she didn't invite us to join her.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


During a recent bad lightning storm, one of the buildings in a nearby apartment complex was hit and caught fire. Thankfully, no one was injured. I happened to be near there today, and snapped this photo with my "purse" camera.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Earlier, you saw some photos from our stop at the Colorado National Monument. At the first parking lot, we stopped to check a map and change into hiking boots. Adjacent to this lot was a bicycle park where some teenaged boys were showing off their athletic skills on the course. My camera was already in my pack, so I used Jon's, which was mounted with his monster Sigma 150-500 mm lens. I felt pretty athletic being able to handhold some shots of the kids putting bikes through their paces.

 The third shot isn't as sharp as the other two, but I like that it really shows off just how high these boys were jumping off the ramps.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011


Three generations of Fords. Car shapes sure have changed over the years.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Saturday, July 16, 2011


Lamp post and its shadow.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Unique camera angle

One of our overnight stops was in Kingman, Arizona, which sits proudly on....

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Night shot

A little Photoshop enhancement was all this image needed to really shine!

What did I do? I increased the contrast, duplicated the layer, set the duplicated layer blend mode to Multiply and reduced the opacity of that layer to about 50%.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Other people's vacations

During one afternoon of our vacation, we found ourselves within striking distance of the Painted Desert, in the Petrified Wood National Park. We decided to cruise through to see what the fuss was all about.

The scenery was outstanding, but what really caught my eye was a roadside overlook boasting a sign that told of one man's love for the area. He had his picture taken when he was a boy of about 12, and 50 years later, he returned, with the photograph, to that same spot. He used the original photo to position himself, then had his granddaughter take his photo. I don't know how the Park Service got wind of the story, but they honored his respect for the park by posting the story of that long-ago vacation.

Some of the scenery we saw.

Hiking in the Blue Mesa

The overlook hosting the sign from above.

The Painted Desert

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Letter W

Experimenting with a 3-shot exposure in Photomatix. It did help bring out some of the detail in the shadowed areas.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Reaching up

Who knew a person could reach to the top of a Monument Valley monument?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fairy tale

When I was a kid, some of my little girlfriends wanted to marry Prince Charming. My fairy tale partner was always a cowboy.

Monument Valley Utah. June 2011.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Ah, childhood

My great-niece Mila is having a much different childhood experience than did I, or her grandfather (my brother). For us, Mom or Dad had to turn on the TV and find the channel. Mila just sets up the iPad and tunes into a Netflix video of an educational program teaching letters, numbers and colors.

Friday, July 8, 2011


The tour we booked on the Queen Mary told of its "haunted past" and described supernatural encounters recorded by previous guests. As we walked through various passageways of this great ship, I was photographing items of interest, with this blog in mind. One thing I enjoyed were the walls in the wings housing the staterooms. I took the photo shown below, thinking it would make a nice texture. When I saw it on my computer, a creepy face emerged. What's more creepy, is it resembles a creepy face I posted from my first year of photo blogging. Do you see it?

Eerie? Creepy? Supernatural? You decide..... Bwaahahahahaha!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"Did you remember to bring our shopping list??"

One of the exhibits on the Queen Mary illustrated how much food was laid in for a typical voyage. Not your usual grocery haul!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What might you see, at sea?

One day on our California trip, we drove up the coast to Long Beach, to tour the Queen Mary. She was quite a ship in her day, and still stands as a floating hotel and conference space. Our tour took us into one of the staterooms, where the not-quite-circular port hole looked out over the marina near Long Beach. This is a 3-exposure HDR combination, to compensate for the dim interior light and the bright sunshine beyond. The black and white seemed to fit this 1930s vessel.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I'm sure this will be just one of many post-Independence Day shots posted on July 5. Hope everyone had a safe and happy Canada Day and Fourth of July!

Monday, July 4, 2011

The group shot

Happy 4th of July to those who celebrate it!

One of the reasons we went to California was to join up with my family for a mini-reunion. Before we went our separate ways (back to Seattle, Arizona and Illinois), we took a series of group photos. Of all the ones we took, this "ugly picture" is my favorite. Look away if you are scared!

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Who knew photographing energetic children could be so fun....and so challenging! This is my three-year old great niece, Mila. She knew when a camera was pointed her way...and she would usually flee in the opposite direction. I lucked out with this shot, catching her unguarded expression while her mom called to her.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Getting creative with software

The day after our Santa Cruz hike, we took a boat trip out to a second of the Channel Islands, Anacapa. On this trip, we just cruised around for a couple of hours, looking for sea lions, seals, and other wild life. The early morning "June Gloom" hadn't yet burned off, and the trip out was somewhat gray. I took a series of bracketed exposures, planning to play around in my newly installed PhotoMatix once I got home. Of course, being on a bouncing, moving boat breaks all the rules about putting your camera on a tripod and carefully aligning your bracketed shots. Still, I had fun messing around with PhotoMatix and another creative program, Topaz Adjust (Spicify), to produce this image. Ghosting is apparent where the software tried vainly to align the three images, but I still thought the end result was fun!

Friday, July 1, 2011


On the boat returning from Santa Cruz Island, I was experimenting with trying to keep the gulls, who were following us, in my viewfinder. Bouncing, swaying boat; gliding, dipping gull; other passengers who had heads that kept bopping into my field of view.....tough! Did get a couple of good ones. Stabilized lenses are amazing.