Back At It

It’s been almost a month since I took the camera out of the bag. The winter blahs get me every year about this time. Too cold to go out, crappy conditions to drive in, nothing to really shoot, and the whole lack-of-sunlight-depression thing. I got up Sunday morning to this beautiful world of white. My wonderful daughter, Kristen, had made sausage and pancakes for breakfast. I ate, started to shovel the driveway, then stopped to shoot. One shot after another, my spirits were lifted. I was pretty tickled by the time I got inside. Even moreso when I put the last watermark on the last photo.

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Amazing how snow can be so heavy to break branches on trees yet so light to just lay delicately on the long needles of a pine tree.

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nullMelting snow dripping into a puddle, splashed water onto my patio screen.

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Difficult to tell whether these are black and white or not.

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Gettin’ High on Flakes

One of my favorite lenses is the macro I got a few years ago. Christmas Eve I was doing my happy dance when I saw the snow just floating down. I hate the cold as much as I love doin’ macro stuff, but the thought of getting another shot at snowflakes was the deal-breaker. I tried without the tripod but after 3 shots, I saw that wasn’t going to work. I set it up, got 4 shots, and then the wind kicked up and blew all the snow off the south side of the truck. Really?? Had to set up again, and got about 70 pics before I called it quits. Some of these aren’t crisp shots, but you can see some good detail in the flake.

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Gulls Gone Wild

I rarely see gulls around my house, and when I do, there’s usually snow on the ground. That also means that there’s very little food available for them. So when I saw 3 gulls going at a few tiny pieces of bread the neighbor put out, I grabbed the half loaf of white we had and started tossing out big pieces before they took off.  As soon as I closed the door, and pulled the curtain to almost-closed, it began. Only a minute passed between the first and last photos. Needless to say, the bread is gone in the last photo.

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Back At It With HDR’s

It’s been almost 2 weeks since my last post, and almost 4 weeks since I picked up the camera. Having a cast on my arm for half of that time (broken thumb), not being able to dial the lens is frustrating. Having no drive or desire to go out of the house is bad enough, but having nothing that inspires you to shoot when you want to is even worse.

Saturday it snowed. I’m looking out the patio window at the drifts, and the peanuts in the feeder, and I start noticing details. I grab the camera and within 5 minutes, I’ve got over a hundred shots to play with. Wow, THAT felt good.

What I saw in the details was wood grain, and textures, and a possible sense of depth in the shots. I think it worked out quite well.

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I thought this was over processed, too bright, and not ‘realistic’ enough. I originally tossed it, but then I thought, “Why not do it again?” And with that, pulled the 7 pics out of the trash, and ran it through the process again.

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This was better, a little more real, for lack of a better word. And after shooting these, I realized I missed out on the backside of the swing. Duh.
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I was very happy with this. You can see texture in the snow (in the foreground), the detail in the wood, and get a good “feel” for the way the snow is mounded and has fallen through the slats of the swing.

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I liked this because I thought the edges of the snow on the tile looked soft, and the the slight blur to the grass.

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I was really blown away by the results of the tree shot. With a little tweak, there seems to be considerable texture and a 3D look to it.

So, the cast is off, I’m wearing a brace now, and can dial the lens. Two photographer friends of mine got some shots by Mile Long Pier, and I hope to get out there on Tuesday. But the main thing is, I want to.

It’s Cold Out There

It’s a really cool feeling to find a wild animal that trusts you enough to come up and take a peanut out of your hand. “Chuck” has been coming to the back door for a while now, and has even come across the street to come up to me (and recently Kristen and Michael), and if I rustle the bag loud enough, he’ll even come down out of the tree.  He came to the feeder the other day, and when I knocked on the window, he climbed down and came to the swing behind the house. I cracked the window and handed out a peanut (unsalted). He came up and took it out of my hand, and I left a handful there for when he came back.

LCMP: Winter Days Festival 2011

Saturday was the only day of the Lorain County Metro Parks Winter Days Festival, an annual get-outta-the-house-and-enjoy-the-cold extravaganza. Enjoy the cold? Are you nuts? Of course not, not when you can sled, take horse-drawn sleigh rides, watch ice carvers demonstrate their talents, watch sled dogs do their thing, or learn how to snow shoe. This was my fourth Winter Days Fest, having started in 2008. According to local news, over 800 attended the festival. Quite a turnout, and it seems to draw more every year.

I parked on the Bacon Woods side of the River, and there were quite a few people, young and old alike, sledding and sliding down the snow-covered hill.

Over to the Mill Hollow side, where all the activities were taking place. A new ice carver working on an eagle, and doing a great job of explaining his job and skills, and some of the tools that he uses.

The finished sculpture!

Steven Griffea, a chef from DeLuca’s and a Winter Days regular, carved these.

I watched everyone in line, talking excitedly, and waiting their turns for the horse-drawn carriage ride.

(I put both shots up because I really liked the ‘shot through the trees’, and I thought this one looked pretty good.)

Hey, is that horse smiling for his picture?!

Found these berries on the south side of the building, while I was waiting for the carriage to come back.

Everyone loves the sled dogs, they’re very friendly, and they love their trainer!!

Such beautiful dogs!

And I do mean everyone loves the dogs!

Inside for a minute, so I can warm up my hands.

Stirring a pot of chicken and dumplings, then hot coals on top of the pot with the dinner rolls.

Hope you enjoyed, and think about coming out next year!!