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Shooting the Milky Way

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How do I let so much time go by between Blogs? Perhaps it's because I get very little feedback. Is anyone reading????

I started writing this blog when I was working at The Poughkeepsie Journal and I wanted to see if I could share some traveling experiences and tip as well as photographic knowledge with peers on a regular basis.

Somewhere along the way I fell off the wagon and would like to try and come back.  So, if you are reading this and find it valuable in any way, PLEASE comment!!!

This past weekend I had the joy of participating in a Milky Way shoot in Pocontoc, Texas.  I always love going out with my fellow photographers to try and overcome the challenges of space, settings, weather, bugs, atmosphere, and the unknown.  We had all of the above to contend with on Saturday night and I don't feel like I got the very best images, but I had a blast!


First of all, we had to meet early and stop off for good barbeque.  Coopers in Llano had the very best brisket I've ever ta…

Preparing Popsie's Pens

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My husband is terrific with wood - he has made many fun things from cradles to a puppet theatre to a giant tractor that now lives on our front lawn - and he recently discovered the art of making wooden pens.  He's enjoying the variety of woods that he can craft the pens from as well as the varied looks that he turns out.  I recently posted some of his pens on Facebook and he immediately got a few sales, so I thought it would be fun to document the process of pen making and let folks know how they might purchase one.


It's interesting to see all the pieces and parts and the effort that goes into forming the tubes that become the pens. He has to select the exact drill bit (and he has MANY to select from)



 Here he is positioning the drill on a tiny X

It's a delicate maneuver. He actually has to go up and down several times so the sawdust doesn't accumulate and mess up his work.

The smoothing process is interesting to see. I know I'd have bumps all over mine if I tried…
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I was speaking to an author friend, Susan Nelson, this morning at yoga, and realized that I used to be a regular blogger but I have fallen behind rather badly.


So, let me tell you about an inspiring day I got to experience recently with the famous photographer, Art Wolfe. If you don't know who he is or what he has photographed, do yourself a favor and check out his website or watch one of his classes at CreativeLive.

Years ago, a photographer and conservationist who I was fortunate enough to a student of and then  friends with, Robert Rodriguez, Jr., told me that Art Wolfe was someone who he followed and admired. I checked out Art's website at the time and got on his mailing list and purchased some of his books and have been a huge fan ever since. I even based a Landscape workshop that I prepared (and will be giving at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center this May 15th) using some of his images to show concepts like line, form, design, etc.

Six months ago I saw that he was comi…

Just Want to Share a Secret Tool

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My friend, graphic designer, photographer, speaker and author, Mark Heaps, helped develop a brand new plug-in for Light Room that helps with editing your photos.  The plugin, called Reactive Exposure, can be found by going to RAWPlugins.com and it changes the way you edit your images and costs only $29!

The Plug-in is designed to "speak natively with Adobe Lightroom" by adjusting the Luminosity and Tone controls as a response to Exposure controls.

I have been playing with this plug in a lot this past week. I've been going back in my archives finding images that I took a few years back that I probably should have tossed, since they seemed to have very little information in them, but I guess I was waiting for something that "brought them back to life."  I start out the Reactive Exposure plug-in and try to determine how the image looks like it has the "correct" exposure. I then make adjustments from there, opening up shadows, decreasing highlights as I …

Some Inspiring Photographer Heroes

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I've been preparing for a Landscape Workshop at Precision Camera in the Fall and getting my PowerPoint presentation ready. I started out with some of my favorite quotes and my friend Stephanie Sharif suggested I add photos of the people who spoke the inspiring words and perhaps an image that person is known for.

So, I researched George Eastman - and I was thrilled to read about his life - did you know that not only did he invent the first roll of film and the first actual camera, he was a major philanthropist, giving money to the arts, music, medicine and education including historically black universities in the south.
Wow! I'm impressed!  Another quote I've stumbled on and loved was from Elliott Erwitt:

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It's about finding something interesting in an ordinary place... I've found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”   -Elliott Erwitt Although I didn't learn a w…

Visiting Vivacious Venice

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I just returned from an exciting two week tour of Italy. Naturally I am inundated with all of the pictures I took. Thankfully, there are many good ones, and many fond memories of a wonderful trip.
I've spent the day trying to select a handful to make a book.  This was quite a challenge. I don't seem to be able to get past our first three days in Venice. 



We received a Rick Steves book on Italy as a Christmas present from a dear friend who was planning a trip of her own.  While the book was chock full of good information, we were somewhat overwhelmed with choosing which great things to see and do. I thought "I wish this Rick Steves would just offer a tour" and when I googled his name, I discovered that he does. (www.RickSteves.com) Not him personally anymore (although he still does do some tours) but he has a whole big company that provides tours all over the world.


So we booked ourselves on a tour in the Spring - at first we wanted April but, 8 months in advance i…

I Always Learn Something in a Photo Class

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I think I was born to be a student - I love learning as much as I can about photography, and, even though I've been practicing the craft for years, and taking numerous classes over time, I still find there is so much more to learn.

Recently I debated taking a Macro Class at Precision Camera with Scott Sitkiewitz. I've been playing with Macro for awhile - I've taken plenty of flower shots and water droplets - so could I possibly learn something new? 



It turns out, yes, I most certainly could.  First of all, Scott is an awesome teacher. He made a point of memorizing and re-using the names of all 12 participants in the class. His enthusiasm was contagious as he showed all of the many things he brought to photograph and showed us a variety of different ways to set up lights and make your own little backgrounds and lighting. Who knew clothespins had a worthwhile purpose? And construction paper can be used to bring color to objects. And there are better tripod heads for macro t…