Friday, November 6, 2009

Our Calendar Girl

If you have never gone through the process of helping get a 14-year-old young lady ready for her first calendar girl contest, I highly recommend it. This was my granddaughter's first contest like this, and I was thrilled to be able to go with my daughter and my first grandchild on this wonderful adventure.

This was literally an all-day event, so I'll keep it brief and hit the highlights of the day. First, we were off to get the pedicure/manicure. My daughter and I sat in the WONDERFUL massage chairs while the "beauty" got beautified. Oh, my, I didn't want to get up. What an incredible invention those chairs are! Then, it was on to getting the hair done. Cala decided to wear her hair simple and just let it hang long. That was a good choice.

Okay, so then it was on to get the "perfect" necklace and earrings for the gorgeous dress she was going to wear. Aren't malls just marvelous? That day, we didn't get to do too much dilly-dallying around. My daughter is a speed walker, and she was on a mission! Found just the set she was looking for in the second store.

Now, the only thing remaining was makeup. We went to one of those Mac beauty counters and had a great makeup artist accentuate Cala's beautiful face. We didn't want to overdo it, though, because she has such natural beauty. He did a great job.

So, now we were finished with the main work, we headed back to the house to get her dressed. I have only included a few of the pictures here to give you an idea of the final results. By the way, she didn't wear the fuzzy shoes in the contest, but those ARE her favs!

It was a great night with some beautiful girls. There were 26 contestants in this very first calendar contest for a brand new school. They were all so excited and nervous. The first part of the contest was the modeling and in the second section they all had to answer the same question. One girl was picked for the cover, and 12 others were chosen for the months of the year.

Unfortunately, Cala didn't win ... at least not that contest. But we were SOOOOO proud of her. What impressed me the most was her attitude. At the end of the night, there was some of the usual back-and-forth conversations about all the other contestants - you know how people can talk. Someone asked Cala what she thought about one of the girls. Her reply was that she wasn't going to talk about the others. She thought they were all great. And the ones that won were really pretty. She went on to talk about all the positive things of the other girls, and not once did she cut any of them down. I was sitting behind her at the time and had to reach up, put my hand on her shoulder and tell her how proud I was of her attitude.

My daughter and son-in-law are doing an incredible job raising three children in this crazy, mixed-up world of ours today. It is awesome watching my grandchildren grow into loving, intelligent, responsible young adults.

So, here are a few of my shots from that day. Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Images Available On My Website

New images have been uploaded to my website and are available for purchase as prints and many other products. Hope you enjoy.

Tomorrow I'll be posting some images from my granddaughter's first Calendar Girl Contest. Oh, MY! Do, I feel old!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Picture Of The Day - "Serenity"

Back on August 6 of this year, I posted a sunset picture of the lake at Riverhills Park in Tampa, Florida. I was going back through some of my image folders and found this image I had taken at the same park. What a beautiful place this is to visit! This particular day I think I shot over a hundred images during a short period of time watching as the lake changed. This image spoke "serenity" to me - peaceful - tranquility. It makes me want to just sit on a bench and stare out at God's beautiful canvas as He paints in the colors. I know the process of condensing the image for web viewing will not do it justice.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Picture(s) Of The Day - "The Passion"

This past week, I went back to Eureka Springs Park. This is one of my very favorite spots to shoot nature. My photo friend, Nancy, and I spend a lot of time there. The park had been closed for several months for renovations so a lot of things died out. These last few visits have started to show promise again as we are seeing a lot of new growth. More to come on some of the green house images.

Today I'm going to feature some of my Passion Flower shots. These are absolutely gorgeous flower vines. Unfortunately, the time of day was a little too bright, but they didn't turn out too bad, all things considered.

When we first approached the fencing, I was watching Nancy carefully making her way through the bushes. I was standing about six feet behind her when it looked like a long black thing started falling from the fence right in front of her. Oh, my gosh! I yelled. It was a SNAKE! Eeeeek! Nancy didn't budge. "Oh," she said, "it's just a black snake. I like snakes." Needless to say, I kept my eyes open from then on out. I DO NOT like snakes!

Hope you enjoy these passions.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Picture Of The Day - "Dragonflies by the Dozens"

The last many weeks have been very challenging ones. I finally got my hard drive straightened out. With all the back and forth and transferring folder by folder and/or file by file, I got all of my images back. I am truly grateful that out of 215gb, I did not lose one single file! Thank God!

Then, this past weekend began another test for me. Apparently some sort of virus found its way into my computer. Did all that I was comfortable doing to fix the problem, but after two days battling with it gave it over to Norton. After about three hours (and a decent little monetary exchange), they were able to remotely clean out all traces of the infection. I'll have to say that I have been blessed. This has been my primary computer for about three years, and this was the first time I have been "invaded" by a virus like this. I've heard nightmare stories from others who didn't fare so well.

So, hopefully, now that all the computer issues are resolved, I'll be able to get back to paying attention to my blog and get back to the Picture of the Day. I haven't been out shooting very much for the last several weeks, so my new material was running a little dry. But I was able to go to the Hillsborough State Park and another local County park one day. Also made another trip last week to one of my very favorite local parks called Eureka Springs Park here in Tampa. They were closed for renovations for several months, so I was excited to be able to go back and see all the new growth since my last visit. I'll be putting some of those up through the next few weeks.

But to get back into the swing of things, I will start with an image I took while on a walk around the property where I live. This property abuts a natural mangrove swamp preserve next to the Bay. Although not very smart (because it was a gazillion degrees outside!), I took my walk around 3 p.m. Once I got out on the boardwalk, I started noticing dragonflies everywhere. They were zipping in and out on all the bushes and landing on the water. Some of the growth was covered with them like butterflies cover freshly blooming trees. I got really excited shooting them. Although I couldn't get as close as I would have liked to, my Nikon 70-300 lens did a pretty decent job. The other problem was that they were so active, it was hard to get focused on them before they were moving again. It was a lot of fun, though. Here's just a sample of what was out there. This is a Carolina Saddlebags - Tramea carolina.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thank You Veterans

I know they've been around for a little while, but I just found Animoto. What a GREAT program! They have several options you can choose from to create your videos with music including unlimited free 30-second, All-Access Pass, and Business. Since I just found them, I am using the 30-second to create some quick videos. However, I do plan to upgrade to the business. With the All-Access Pass you can create an unlimited amount of videos for $30 per year. Plus you are not restricted to the 30-second time frame. You can't sell them, but you can use them on your computer, your TV or project them on a screen or wall for weddings, parties, meetings, etc. With the business account, you can do just about anything with them. You also have the option to remove all Animoto branding, and you can sell your videos, too. I'm excited about this new find. If you click on the Animoto link on the side of my page, you can get a $5 savings on an All-Access Pass or one extra month of commercial use for free with the business account. You can also just use my referral code of fwruvtdn where it asks for Promo Code and receive the same discount.

Veterans have been on my mind quite a bit lately, so I decided to create my first 30-second video with some images that are dear to my heart. Hope you enjoy this.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Almost There!

Well, I'm almost there now. The computer guys have been able to retrieve 167gb of my 215, and they should have the rest by today sometime. What an ordeal for them. Apparently, the hard drive can't be run very long before it reverts to the messages that "the drive has to be reformatted before you can continue" or something else that won't let you retrieve any other files. Let it cool down, and you're good to go for a few more gigs of transfer. I am so very, VERY thankful that they have been able to get this far with it. The files are being transferred to my new Western Digital 1TB external USB hard drive, and I am looking forward to bringing that baby home!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Things Are Looking A Little Brighter

Well, it has been quite an experience for me since last Friday. I ended up having to leave my 1TB hard drive with the computer guys. Apparently, it was a serious problem. What was frustrating was that it would go in and out. You'd think you had it working because it was recognizing all the folders. However, you couldn't get to them because it claimed they were read only. I had to leave my computer with them for awhile, too, because we still weren't sure whether part of the problem could have been the USB ports, but it turned out not to be the issue.

What they ended up doing was transferring as much information as they could, while the HD would let them, to a good HD. Then, when it quit again, they would have to wait several hours or overnight and pick up where it left off later. I had a little over 215GB of images on it so, needless to say, I was seriously considering what my game plan would be if they couldn't get it all back. I did a REALLY stupid thing and had all of my images on that HD with NO backup. SERIOUS lesson learned here! I knew I could get my images back from my website host. And, if I asked nicely, I may have been able to get most of my stock images back from the stock sites. But that was just the tip of the iceberg. I really did not want to have to go that route if at all possible.

However, I had a peace about the whole thing, too. It was what it was, and there was nothing I could do to change that now. I will admit I prayed an awful lot about it!

I ended up buying another HD today, and the computer guys were going to transfer all that they had retrieved over to it. We talked about putting it all on DVDs. But after they told me it would take their guys a minimum of half a day of billable hours to transfer my images to 50-60 disks at $90 an hour, I changed my mind about that idea real quick.

So, hopefully by tomorrow sometime I will have my HD back, and I'll be able to start catching up with things again. You don't realize how addicted you are to that stuff until you have to do without it.

Thanks, Patricia for your comment and concern today. A by-product of not having access to my images on my HD is that I had to dig around for old images on CDs that I had. I was able to get a few more products up on my Zazzle and Greeting Card Universe stores, so that was good.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Oops ... "Houston, we have problems!"

Some of you may have noticed that I haven't had a "Picture Of The Day" for the last couple of days. My computer and external hard drive have decided that my time is better spent struggling with them than posting. So far, I haven't thrown, broken, smashed, anything ... yet! None of my USB ports want to work for me, and I keep getting "Failure using the VxD loader, Code 19" error message. Been doing lots of searching Internet for solution, but so far nothing is working. My external has decided it wants to be "read only", but won't even let me access it. Worse yet, it says in order to use it now I have to format it. I think NOT! Occasionally, it lets me see the folders so as to tease me and let me know the files are still there. But I can't get to them.

So, tomorrow and through the weekend, if necessary, I will be trying to get "professional" help for this dilemma I'm in. If anyone reading this has come across this problem before, I sure would appreciate a comment or email as to how you solved it.

In the meantime, until this situation is resolved ... HAPPY SHOOTING!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Picture Of The Day - "Rained Out Carnival"

I went to the Sarasota County Fair in Sarasota, Florida. It was late in the day when I got there, and the clouds were looking threatening. Later that evening, the rains came. I took cover under a tent next to the carousel and waited for it to pass. I was noticing all the patterns and colors that were being made in the pavement by the rain and colorful lights of the ride. I love how the patterns reflected on the ground.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Picture Of The Day - "Floating"

I was practicing shooting water drops falling into this bird bath and the ripples they produced. A red leaf fell into the water and just rested there. I loved the way the colors in the background and the floating leaf complimented each other.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Picture Of The Day - "King Of The Hill"

I had an opportunity back in October of last year to visit the Cades Cove area of Tennessee with a friend. We stayed in her beautiful home up in the mountains. During that visit, I saw another side of nature that you don't see in Florida, and I loved it. The colors were absolutely gorgeous! I'll be posting some of those pictures from time to time.

My friend's cabin was set up in such a way as to "invite" all sorts of wildlife. There were bird baths and feeders set out over the property, and they were constant entertainment during my stay. This Picture Of The Day reflects one of those times. I sat for quite some time watching dove fight over the "top spot" of this feeder. It was very amusing to watch how they would fight for their "favorite" spot. Out of all my shots, there were not very many where I could get all of the birds still in one image. But that was okay. I like the motion of the wings as it helps to tell the story.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Picture Of The Day - "Pink Flamingo"

I love these beautiful birds. They are so graceful. One thing about them that really draws me in, besides their beautiful colors, is that yellowish eye that seems to be always staring straight at you. I'm lucky because there are several places in my area to photograph these creatures.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Picture Of The Day - "Nature In The Park"

There is a local park that I love to visit, and I do frequently. It's Eureka Springs Park in Tampa, Florida. They closed down several months ago to do some renovations to the covered facility and I almost went into "Eureka withdrawal". They just opened again, so I plan to go back next week. If you ever get the opportunity to go there, you will not be disappointed. It is a very small County park, but it is full of photographic opportunities. In the meantime, here is one of the plants that I photographed on one of my visits.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Picture Of The Day - "Nature Slideshow"

Well, I thought I'd do something different today and put in a slideshow from one of my website galleries. Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Picture Of The Day - "Happy Face"

You just have to love this guy. What a happy face! Found this funny-looking bird at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida. He is an Emu and is native to Australia. I needed a laugh for the day, and he definitely made me smile!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Picture Of The Day - "Back In Time"

Do any of you remember having or riding a bike like this? I love "things of the past". I was with some friends doing just casual photography when I saw this bike in a field. It was such a different setting. The pictures I post here because of the downsizing don't have the "punch" that the full versions do. So I know this won't do justice to the colors. But I can't help but be taken back in time with this image. I wonder what kind of life these people lived. How many stories (love?) could this bike tell? What do you feel when you see this image?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Picture Of The Day - "Butterfly Garden"

When I first got my digital camera, my workflow was to go through the images and separate the keepers from the trash. Sometimes, I would be a little bit lazy and let some of the bad ones stay on my hard drive. One day, I decided I would just play around with some layering and filtering effects that I had seen. I had kept an image of a butterfly from a local park that wasn't very sharp, but I couldn't bring myself to delete it. It was perfect for what I wanted to do. Filters are so much fun, and you can create some real works of art sometimes almost by accident. This piece has become a good piece for me on my Zazzle site as a postage stamp, mousepad, and card. So, now, I keep a LOT of images that I normally would get rid of.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Picture Of The Day - "Beads and Candlelight"

Here's another shot from an inside session at home. Even the most simple things you have laying around the house can become a great image.

Picture Of The Day - "Daytona Beach Pier"

I have vivid memories of my youth and going to Daytona Beach, Florida. The hard sand seemed to run forever. Part of the fun was driving along the beach and checking everyone out. People would be stacked almost on top of each other it was so crowded. What fun that was! I remember the Daytona Beach Pier, the rides, the boardwalk and all the games and eateries. The bandstand always had something going on.

Fast forward to May 2009. My husband had a convention there on the beach, so I went with him. I thought it would be a great photographic opportunity. It rained most of the time when I was free to go out to the beach, but I did get some shots. This picture is of the Daytona Beach Pier Restaurant. You can still go fishing on the end, and the restaurant is open. It wasn't very crowded this time, though. All the rides I remember are now gone. The bandstand was still there, but there wasn't anything going on while we were there. Don't know if they still use it or not.

It was sad to see how things had changed. My husband and I reminisced about our childhood days and what great times we had there. Sometimes, it is good to go back and re-visit your youth.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Picture Of The Day - "Lines Of The Tree"

On one of my photo walks in the park, I found this very interesting tree. I loved its lines. For some reason, the colors just looked too bland or uninteresting. So, naturally, I had to play it up a bit with different filters in Photoshop Elements. I have a black and white version of this image, too. But, as I said in a previous post, I tend to be drawn more to saturation in colors. I've still got some work to do in learning how to process black and whites in a way that appeals to me.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Picture Of The Day - "Sunset On The Lake"

This sunset image was taken in July at one of my favorite local shooting spots called Riverhills Park in Tampa, Florida. It was an exercise in using manual settings at sunset. I think I spent five hours at the lake that day. That's my kind of fun!

I guess we all have our tendencies when post-processing images. Mine seems to be that I like to over saturate a bit. Sometimes that works. But sometimes it doesn't. This image is pretty much as it was out of the camera with just a tiny bit of saturation added, a little exposure compensation, and very minor noise reduction.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Picture Of The Day - "Mmmmmmm - Good!"

Can you guess what this little guy has his eye on? You really don't need words, do you. By the look on his face, you can tell it is something really good!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Picture Of The Day - "Snakes"

Well, since I did spiders yesterday, it only seemed fitting to do snakes today. As I said, I am NOT fond of snakes. This guy must have seen me coming and laughed himself right out of his skin. Look at that grin on his face!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Picture Of The Day - "Spiders"

I really don't like spiders OR snakes! But I couldn't resist shooting this Banana Spider (or Yellow Silk Spider). Their actual name is Golden Silk Spider or Nephila clavipes, and they are harmless. Yellow silk spiders can be found in Florida to the Carolinas, the West Indies, Central America and into South America down to Argentina. There are even larger cousins in the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, and Madagascar, where the natives consider them a food source! I see them quite a bit when doing nature photography walks.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Picture Of The Day - "Beads And Glass"

Ever have one of those days when you can't seem to find anything to photograph? Look around you, there is ALWAYS something to shoot.
It was too hot outside, so my friend and I decided we were going to shoot little things in the house. This would be a good exercise in playing with lights and existing light, using backdrops, and being creative with props. This was the first time Nancy had been to my house. While I was getting busy setting the table and lights up, she searched through the house to find objects to use. I was amazed! There were things that had been around me 24/7, but for some reason I never thought to photograph them. She found shells, candles, glass containers, mirrors, beads, cereal, jars ... all KINDS of stuff! We had a blast that day exploring the possibilities of the photographic world with all these items. This is just one of my favs from that day.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Picture Of The Day - "Port of Tampa At Night"

A photographer friend of mine and I decided that we wanted to practice night photography. Tampa is a great place for it, but we couldn't decide where to go. We drove all over the Harbour Island and Channelside area looking for the "right" spot. Just before the sun started to set, we decided on a location on the back side of Davis Island. It was very quiet there. We could see the tall buildings of downtown Tampa starting to light up and our tripods and cameras were set and ready to go. But another area was catching my attention. It didn't look all that "pretty" when we first got there. But as the night was setting in, I began playing with different shutter speeds to see what I could get on the other side of the water. Using a Nikon 70-300 lens on my D70 I was able to watch ships being cleaned and worked on. Steam was coming up all over the place. Every now and then a tug boat would cruise by. At the end of the night, this was one of my favorite shots.

Picture Of The Day - "Beyond The Red Curtain"

What secrets are hidden behind our red curtains? How many dreams are waiting to be explored? Can we handle the truth?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

My First Online Wedding Portfolio

This past Sunday, I finished uploading the second wedding I have photographed. The first one was a couple years ago before I actually had a website. So, this is the first online wedding portfolio for me.

What a great time I and my second shooter (Nancy, called herself "sniper") had. This is just the slideshow from the reception. This was such a fun group of people to be around, and you couldn't help but feel their happiness with them. Visit my website to see the other two galleries for the Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner the day before and the Ceremony. Hope you enjoy!

Picture Of The Day - "You're Making Me Dizzy!"

How long can YOU stare at the center of this? I love playing around with fractal images. Sometimes, you can come up with some very interesting creations.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Picture Of The Day - "Rocky Waterfall"

A walk in your local zoo presents opportunities for photography other than just animals. Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, FL, has several waterfalls that are beautiful.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

Art In The Eye Of The Beholder

I've been thinking a lot lately about how other people view my "art". What makes one of my pieces sell where another one I thought was better doesn't.

You know the stories about the visit to a psychiatrist’s office - not that any of you reading this have been there - LOL! - they have these little pictures they supposedly show you and ask what they look like, right?

Well, I had this picture I had taken of a beautiful orchid. From the angle it was taken, it looked like an angel to me cradling a child in her arms and the wings spread wide. It was obvious to me the first time I saw it on my computer. I asked two people (without telling them what I saw) what it looked like to them. Neither of them saw anything but a flower. I even went to the extreme of circling the parts I saw and labeling what they were supposed to be. They STILL didn’t see it. My eyes did.

So, bottom line, as photographers and artists, we have to shoot or create not only what we see with our eyes, but what we feel with our heart. Some may get it, some won’t. But that’s okay. That’s all part of the journey.

What do you see here? I would be interested in any feedback.