Saturday, April 21, 2012

Late Again - Favorite Fotos From FlickR for Friday, 4/20/2012

This was a tough week at my other job so I did not spend much time on FlickR. To catch up, I decided to browse through the latest 30 images from each of the groups I have joined to find five interesting fotos. Your  'groups' page on FlickR can be sorted in alphabetical order or by recent activity. I decided to try to browse the 'oldest latest' images and to do that I sorted by recent activity and then started with group at the bottom (oldest recent activity) and began working my way up. When you access a group, you are presented with the thumbnails of the most recent dozen images but beneath those images is a widget that expands the thumbnails to the most recent 30 images. So I went to each group, bottoms up in terms of recent activity, and then expanded the thumbnails to the most recent 30 images and began browsing. I found five favorites in probably 6 groups but I can't say for sure because the groups list will re-sort based on recent activity.

This weeks five favorites are:

In this first image, I like the overall composition along with the sense of movement conveyed by the lines of the water. I also like the leading lines of the rock stream bed.

This image caught my attention with the foreground sandstone leading to the dwelling as well as the repetition of the poles on the dwelling.

I like the 'rule of thirds' placement of elements in this image as well as the color and contrast used to draw your eyes to the maple leaf.

Pronghorn Antelope are one of my favorite subjects so this image immediately grabbed my attention with the subject. Additionally, I like the bokeh in this image likely created by the combination of a long lens and large aperture.

This last image struck me as one I would have composed had I been in the same location at the same time. I like vertical images, the use of the water pocket in the foreground to spark interest and the way the storm clouds lead into the image. I realized that IntrepidXJ had two of the this weeks 5 favorite images and so added him/her as a contact so I can follow the images that IntrepidXJ posts to FlickR.

 I hope you enjoy these FlickR images as much as I do. Feel free to visit my website, like my Facebook fan page, follow me on Twitter or add me to a circle on Google+.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Favorite Fotos From FlickR for Friday, 4/13/2012

The theme for this weeks favorite images is tranquility. As I was sitting listening to the rain (and now thunder and rain) and thinking about this weeks blog update, I realized that one of the reasons I like rain and rainfall is the sense of calmness and tranquility I experience when I stop, listen and watch. Living in Southern California, the opportunities to feel the tranquility brought on by rain are not very frequent but I also realized that there are other things that affect me in the same way.

The Photographic Exhibitions Committee (PEC) of Professional Photographers of America uses twelve elements when evaluating an image. One of those elements is impact. Impact is described as "the sense one gets upon viewing an image for the first time. Compelling images evoke laughter, sadness, anger, pride, wonder or another intense emotion." When I saw the water on the grass after a morning rain I realized the scene evoked the emotion of calmness. 

When I saw the smoothness in the water beneath the waterfall I had the same sense of calmness and tranquility.

So I decided to search FlickR for images that evoked those same emotions. I used search terms like 'japanese garden', 'water rock' and 'zen garden' and found these five images. All of these images evoke tranquility, calmness and peace but they are also interesting in other ways.

I like the placement of the central rock and sense of movement in this first image.
"Non-Rolling Stones" by Miodrag Bogdanovic mitja

I like the use of the water falls as a leading line in the next image.
"Botanical Garden Waterfall" by BARLEY MOON PHOTOGRAPHY

I like the clean edges, concentric circles and the placement of the lantern in this monochrome image,
"Zen Garden" by LomiMonk [Brian]

I like the shadow lines in the water and rock texture in this next image.
"Birdbath Rock" by bratjerm

I like the depth of field and use of the bamboo as a leading line in this last image.
"Bamboo for you..." by hollyberry1204

 I hope that both of my recent uploads as well as these FlickR images evoke the emotions of peace and tranquility when you look at them. Feel free to visit my website, like my Facebook fan page, follow me on Twitter or add me to a circle on Google+.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Favorite Fotos From FlickR for Friday, 4/6/2012

Another 'late' blog update. This weeks favorites are a bit of a mix. They range from the typical sunrise/sunset images that seem to grab my attention to a really interesting capture of a horse in a field to a monochrome image of man made things.

Recently I was out trying to find California Poppies. To that end, I have been searching FlickR for recent images of poppies to see what others have been finding (and where). That is how I came upon this image of California Poppies captured near Bakersfield, CA.

I was searching for recently uploaded images captured in states bordering California (I am thinking of taking a road trip) and I came across this spectacular sunset with surf.

I was searching again for recently uploaded images, but this time in California (still thinking I need a road trip) and came across this wonderful monochrome composition.

I may have to travel to Colorado for work. If that happens, I may add a day or too to the trip and take my camera gear. So I searched recently uploaded images from Colorado and came across this beautiful portrait.

This last image screams 'spring!'. The way I found it is a little different. As you see if you look at the bottom of my blog pages, I am on Google+. One of the photographers in my 'Nature Photography' circle posted this image and a description of an exchange with an un-named organization who wanted to use this image in a calendar they were selling. But they wanted it for free. Knowing that this photographer is also on FlickR, I searched out the image to include is this weeks 'Favorites'.

I hope you enjoy this weeks selection from FlickR. Feel free to visit my website, like my Facebook fan page, follow me on Twitter or add me to a circle on Google+.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Favorite FlickR Fotos for Friday, 3/30/2012

Another 'late' blog update. I had a long day yesterday driving on northern Los Angeles County and southern Kern County looking for wildflowers. I was partially successful. You can visit my Places Page on my website or my FlickR PhotoStream to see some of the images I created including this one of my new jeep (which I used to kill an hour driving down part of the unmaintained Old Ridge Route only to hit a locked gate). That day in the field might become the subject of another blog update.

This week I am highlighting macro images found on FlickR. Paraphrasing from Wikipedia,  a macrophotograph is a photograph where the captured image is larger than the life size of the subject. Macrophotographs are created using a macro lens. A macro lens is a 'long' barreled lens designed for close-up focusing. When photographing objects up close using a macro lens, the depth of field becomes very shallow. This shallow DOF is one of the challenges in macrophotography but it is also one of the tools applied in creating the final image. Because the DOF is so shallow, the photographer must make decisions on what will be in focus (and hence the subject of the image) and what will be out of focus (also called bokeh, which helps accentuate the subject of the image). 

Macrophotographers will use tools like a tripod, off-camera flash and a cable release to create the image. Depending on the subject they may have to use other tools including clamps or wire and sticks to hold the subject steady while composing the image. When you search on FlickR for macrophotographs you will find that two subjects dominate: insects and flowers. Obviously, the photographer is not using clamps to hold the insects steady but when you see some of the incredible images created, you will wonder where the photographer got the patience it must take to get the final image.

As I said, two subjects dominate (insects and flowers) but they not the only interesting subjects for macrophotography. Other natural objects make outstanding subjects as do man made objects. Here are five of my favorite macrophotographs from FlickR.

I hope you enjoy this weeks selection from FlickR. Feel free to visit my website, like my Facebook fan page, follow me on Twitter or add me to a circle on Google+.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Favorite FlickR Fotos for Friday, 3/23/2012

This week I thought I would spotlight some images created using optical filters. "The Basic Book of Photography" by Tom and Michele Grimm has a full chapter on filters. You can find a good discussion on photographic filters (including internet references) on Wikipedia. Given that I have immediately pointed you to other material, you may have guessed that this blog update is not a treatise on filters, their use, etc.

Filters are just one of the many tools that photographers use when creating images. There are hardware tools like optical filters, tripods and monopods, ball heads, panning heads, nodal rails and robotic panning heads, gimbal heads and bush hawk shoulder mounts. There are software tools including raw image editors, filters and processors and post-raw image editors, filters and processors. Manufacturers of these tools include Acratech, Adobe, B&W, Bushhawk, Cokin,, HDRSoft, Kirk, Lee, NIK, OnOne, Really Right Stuff, Singh-Ray, Tiffen, Wimberley and more.

Which tools to use and why is both science and art. Some hardware tools are used to stabilize the camera and lens for long exposures. Some hardware tools are used to stabilize the camera and lens while allowing motion on the X and/or Y axis. Some hardware tools are used to alter the light before it reaches the film or digital sensor. Some software tools are used to "stitch" digital images together to create panoramic images but most software tools are used to alter the affects of light after capture by the digital sensor or capture by film scanning.

Over time I have accumulated many of these tools and while I have many to chose from, my approach to creating an image has always been less work is better. I almost always use a tripod with a ball head. I sometimes use a gimbal head. When I am composing the image, I start out by visualizing the image. I then mix science and art by assessing the lighting and it's affect on the composition. Sometimes I use a circular polarizing filter, sometimes I use a graduated neutral density filter and sometimes I use a reverse graduated neutral density filter but I use them all with the same purpose: alter the light to fit the composition. Sometimes I find that the images did not turn out the way I wanted  and I will use software tools to try to alter the results. When using the software tools, I try to make changes using the raw image editors, filters and processors first. If the image is still not where I want it, I then use the post-raw editors, filters and processors. One thing I am not very good at is remembering to make notes about what filter (if any) I used when capturing the moment in camera. Sometimes I can look at the image and figure out what I did but when I am doing my best work, I can't tell if I used a filter.

Anyway, if you have read the blog update this far, here is your pay-off. The images I am spotlighting today were all found on one of two groups on FlickR. Some images were found in the group "LEE Filters" and some were found in the group "Singh Ray Filters". All demonstrate both the science and art of using a filter to create a memorable image.

"Beach of dreams II" by Vincenzo Mazza -

"Currumbin Rocks" by lovephotos10

"El Dragón Sediento" by Iván Cajigas

"Staithes Dawn Light" by Rob Ferrol

"Sunset" by Martin Mattocks (MJM383)

I hope you enjoy this weeks selection from FlickR. Feel free to visit my website, like my Facebook fan page, follow me on Twitter or add me to a circle on Google+.

Have a good weekend and think "rain"!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Favorite FlickR Fotos for Friday, 3/16/2012

Normally, I highlight five favorite photos in my Friday blog. This week, the list is a little longer.

I love the southwest United States. Images created in New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah desert environments capture my attention. So this week, I decided to highlight images created on the Colorado Plateau. Roughly, the Colorado Plateau is region centered on the 4 corners region of the U.S. and encompasses approximately 130,000 square miles. Wikipedia has a great overview of the Colorado Plateau including pointers to more information.

I have spent time exploring the Colorado Plateau by car (staying in motels) and on foot (sleeping under the stars). I have day hiked on the Colorado Plateau and I have backpacked on the Colorado Plateau. The backpacking trips include the Grand Canyon, Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs wilderness and areas north of Lake Powell on both Sierra Club and private trips. Through these adventures I became acquainted with some of the organizations (like the National Resources Defense CouncilSouthern Utah Wilderness Alliance  and Great Old Broads for Wilderness) who are trying to protect these areas for future generations. The Colorado Plateau is really unique and worthy of protection. 

The Colorado Plateau includes heavily visited places like Zion and Grand Canyon National Parks and less visited places like Coyote Gulch in the Glen Canyon Recreation Area. The heavily visited locations are usually easy to reach while the less visited are not. Some places are less visited because of the difficulty getting there (2 days by foot) and others simply because of they are so far off the main highways (60 miles each way on washer board dirt). Somehow the reward of getting there adds to the beauty. My list of places to visit on the Colorado Plateau is long. It is so long that I decided to expand the number of highlighted images from the usual five. I hope that these images inspire you to visit the Colorado Plateau and to think about the issues threatening the future of this area.

I hope you enjoy this weeks selection from FlickR. Feel free to visit my website, like my Facebook fan page, follow me on Twitter or add me to a circle on Google+.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Favorite FlickR Fotos for Friday 3/9/2012

This week, I decided to highlight great photographs created in California but with a twist in that the location could not be in a National Park. I put this restriction on the images because every week I look at many images created in National Parks located in California. I do this when moderating the photograph submission to the FlickR group, "Best of U.S. National Parks".

There many great places to create images in California. For "National" locations, you can chose from National Parks, National Historic Parks, National Monuments, National Preserves, National Forests, National Recreation Areas, National Historic Sites, National Seashore, National Historic Trail and the goes on. Then there are California State Parks, Preserves, Recreation Areas and more. Next there are County Parks and Recreation Areas. Then you have city owned/maintained areas.

There is a common theme to the images: all have a body of water in the photograph - two are of lakes and three are of the Pacific Ocean. Maybe next week I'll refine the restriction and eliminate images containing water. The images this week are all from areas that I have visited but never photographed: Lake Tahoe, San Diego, Big Sur, San Francisco and La Jolla. All are locations that are on my 'bucket list' of places to create images.

Here are this weeks 5 favorite images found on FlickR:
I hope you enjoy this weeks selection from FlickR. Feel free to visit my website, like my Facebook fan page, follow me on Twitter or add me to a circle on Google+.