Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Signs, Signs, Everywhere are Signs

The nice thing about Photo Meet-ups is that you learn from the folks you hang out with.  I guess I've always taken pictures of unusual signs. I have one in my office that I got in Hawaii that says "Quiet. Trees at Work." And here's one we found in Big Bend this past spring.  Good advice if you should run into a lion (and there was an absolute possibility that could have happened there).

It's also useful when traveling to photograph signs that give you information about where you have been. I could never have remembered the name of this place without my helpful image.

But my photo buddy just loved taking photos of murals and letters and symbols for her own personal archives.  She pointed out my initials as we walked around in downtown Austin. That's pretty cool!

She recommended keeping an archive of favorite signs and words = "you never know when you're going to be able to use them." 

So, now I am prepared for anything as I grow my collection.  I was ablt to use this one on a cover of a calendar I've created with Austin landscapes.

There are a few more in my collection I'm not certain how they might be used, but here's one I think I'll get a lot of use out of.....

All you need is......

Keep on shooting, friends, and let me know what you'd like to hear about!

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Discussion of Successful Photography

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."
                                                 –Albert Einstein

I am feeling totally inspired after reading an ebook provided absolutely free (for a limited time) by one of my favorite photographers, Robert Rodriguez, Jr.  This 45 page .pdf book, "Insights from Beyond the Lens: Inside the Art and Craft of Landscape Photography" can easily be downloaded for an ipad or as a .pdf.

I actually did download it onto my ipad a month ago, and immediately enjoyed looking at the pictures.  Rodriguez's stunning landscapes are always amazing – he captures breathtaking images of seemingly perfect settings. His philosophy, "less is more," and his holistic approach to enjoying the experience while studying light and shadow and balancing these with composition are what makes the final image appear "perfect." Go to to see more of what I am attempting to describe.  The photo below, he talks about as a "failure" and explains why in the text below the image

This image is one he describes as a success. He explains that successes are made by learning from our failures, and in the long run "Those who view and enjoy your work will only remember the successes."

In the long run, I preferred reading the .pdf.  I was impressed by the layout and the multimedia presentation of the ibook (especially his video-walk through the Hudson River School of Photography), but my poor eyes are getting old, and so actually reading the copy on my large monitor was far easier for me. 

I was fortunate enough to have taken a workshop with Rodriguez two years ago.  In this ebook he reminds me of the importance to stay motivated (and avoid clutter).  Today I was inspired by reading his carefully chosen words (and quotes) and he also provides a reading list of books that have inspired him.

Rodriguez works hard to create images that "go beyond the ordinary" and he is a very generous teacher who provides excellent information on his website, in his blog, in his newsletters and especially in this wonderful gift of an ebook.

"Success is not counted by how high you have climbed but by the people you brought with you."
                                                                            –Wil Rose

Robert Rodriguez, Jr. must be very successful because he knows how to take many people along with him and yet he continues to surprise us with newer and better images all the while he teaches and inspires and provides wisdom and beauty to anyone willing to share the vision.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Levitating Your Subject

I belong to several Meet-up groups. They are a great way to hang out with other photographers and shoot different things than you normally might shoot. I was intrigued recently when I got an invite to join a session of "Levitation Photography." People floating in thin air? How can we make that happen? I was wondering if there was going to be some machinery that allowed people to be blown by strong air currents into a floating position. No such luck.

When we arrived, it was explained to the group by the leaders, that Levitation Photography is actually a popular cult technique that students and photographers are playing with. Google it and you'll see all kinds of images others have come up with - you'll even find several You Tube videos telling you how to attempt it. Or, go here to see more.

Organizers Bryan and Allen told us all that there are two basic ways to achieve a "floating blissfully in the air" look. One is by instructing your subject to jump but be aware that they need to look like they are NOT jumping. Hair can't be flying, clothes can't be moving upwards, feet need to be flat.

The second method requires a tripod, several exposures and some photoshop expertise, by merging layers of the scene before the model steps into it and after.  A large group of us broke into two smaller groups and experimented with both methods. The experience was fun!

Don't know where I can ever utilize this experience, but I will say I enjoyed the camaraderie and seeing the results of other meetup members and it is always great to discover new photographic challenges.

Thanks to our very talented models! Keep shooting, friends!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Revisiting Scotland

I've been working at re-creating my website, It had been a place where I uploaded just about everything I shot and so it had gotten very cluttered and unwieldy.  It was time to clean it up and try and show, and hopefully sell, prints of the very best photos I've taken.

It has meant a visual trip through many trips taken in recent years.  Looking at my Hawaii photos from 2003 reminded me of what a great trip that was, but showed me that I have improved as a photographer since then.
While it was great remembering the seal we almost tripped over on a beach, most of the images were small .jpgs and fairly poor quality. The image above of the Na'Pali Coastline, taken from a helicopter window, was one of the best.

Last week I revisited the Aran Islands in Ireland (a place I go back to in my thoughts when I am having difficulty sleeping).  The photo above is my husband stopped on his bike, patiently waiting for me to take the picture. Oh how I love the geography there, ocean on one side, rolling green landscape broken up by stone walls and occasional cows all around you. And it felt like the island was all ours to explore. Definitely one of my very favorite places.

Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh, Scotland
 Today I've been strolling through Edinburgh, Scotland - a very different experience. A large city brimming with spectacular architecture,  history and ghosts of writers such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Walter Scott, Robbie Burns and J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan).  The great thing about photography is that it allows you to go back in time and relive special moments in life as well as to stop and appreciate the beauty of a particular area.

Edinburgh has the most spectacular skyline which we discovered immediately after hiking the 823 feet to the top of Artur's Seat.

Spires and gothic grandeur can be seen as far as the eye can see and beyond it all, the sea.  Buildings down below favor a mixture of old and new, but all are large and impressive.

Castles can be found throughout Scotland, but nothing is quite like the Edinburgh Castle that sits up high on a volcanic rock, a mile north of the Palace on a road strewn with great restaurants and shops, the Royal Mile.

The Royal Mile, looking down the road from Edinburgh Castle.

Edinburgh even has a sense of humor.  It is a magnificent city in a beautiful country. If only I could spend my days traveling and shooting and enjoying all that this world has to offer.

Saving right now for Alaska. Stay tuned!

Happy shooting, friends. For more photos of Edinburgh, go to

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Visiting Georgetown, Texas

When I first arrived in Austin, someone told me to check out Georgetown for it's charm and architecture.  It's been on my list of places to explore for the last seven months, and now it's on my list of places I must go back to - preferably on a Sunday morning when the light is low and the crowds are negligible. This trip, unfortunately was on a blazing hot mid afternoon which I know is not a good time to shoot, but somehow I can't help myself.
 I just love reflections and Georgetown has a great old town hall right in the middle, with all kinds of coll shops surrounding it on four sides. Here is a reflection of that traditional building.
The newspaper building has a "paper lady" sitting outside, made up of all kinds of cool headlines. Naturally she is reading.

Cool architecture, fun artwork and a real sense of community, I stopped in a few stores (for air conditioning and research) and it really felt like a place I'd love to live in...or even just spend a few days as a tourist.

More reflections - the traditional building in the background with beautiful Native Indian garb in the foreground.
Love the dolphin watching over the town. What a lovely place Georgetown, Texas is. Looking forward to another visit in the Fall.

Happy shooting friends!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Oh How I Love the Beach!

A recent trip to Long Beach Island, on the Jersey shore, brought home to me just how wonderful it is to be beside the ocean. Besides being close to the invigorating water, there are all kinds of special treats at the beach. World's best crumb cake, sticky buns, clam chowda and other assorted foods you just can't enjoy anywhere else.

And there are great sights and sounds.  The smell of the ocean, the feel of the sand beneath your feet, people watching... The boy in this photo is only 3 years old!

And gathering with friends and family is always the best part...sharing meals, playing miniature golf, hanging on the beach...

 And, as if that isn't all good enough, the icing on the cake was when my good friend Suzi Hoffman brought me to Watermark Gallery in Tuckerton, show me that some of my photographs
(as well as some of her beautiful watercolors and my son-in-law's lovely oil paintings) are on display and are for sale. I am so fortunate that she has included my work in redcanoecreative.com which is a selection of artists friends that she cares enough about to get their work exhibited.

All in all, a trip to the beach is rejuvinating and exhilarating. Just what the doctor ordered. 
Now I just need to find time to get back!

Happy shooting friends!

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Very Long Vacation

My sister and daughter posing in front of a Peep Show.
I always live for the next vacation and I generally pack a lot into to every trip. We just returned from a terrific, jam-packed, family and friend visiting, wedding-filled, fun times trip to New York.  

Unfortunately I had written this whole blog and somehow ended up deleting it - so, heavy sigh, here I go again. 

During our month-long trip, we got to 2 weddings: One, a very old friend's daughter who looked exactly like her mother did many years ago.
Jessica and John Murray
And a grand niece of my husband's who did such a great job with making her special day unique and fun. She wore hot pink shoes, the guys wore orange Converse sneakers and the girls wore flip flops with orange and pink flowers. The party was in an open barn and the day turned out spectacularly with lots of children dancing and good old fashioned family fun.
Justine Marsh toasting Jennifer and Robert Treto.

Naturally I had to squeeze in a Broadway play - "Nice Work if You Can Get It" which was hokey and hilarious. We sat in the front row and got to see the costumes and details up close. We had lunch at Carmine's and thoroughly enjoyed our "girls" day in NYC.
We were so close to the orchestra pit, I just had to grab a picture.

My girls, Liz, Teresa, Marian, Kiryn, Kathleen and Mom (Clare)
 One NYC day is never enough for me. I made another trip in a week later to meet my cousins Maureen and Eileen and check out the High Line. 
The High Line was an elevated railroad track that is now a super cool walkway with great views of NYC. In the background is the new Frank Gehry building. 

Some very unusual flowers

Nearby is  Chelsea Market which was a train depot and is now a lovely mall with all kinds of great food - even lobsters!

Our vacation included lots of lunches with old friends and a trip to Long Beach Island in New Jersey (separate blog coming soon). 
Me and two of my oldest and dearest friends, Carolyn and Mary.

One of the nicest treats we gave ourselves was a visit to the New York Botanical Gardens where there is currently a fabulous Monet exhibit. The flowers were outrageous colors and combinations. I could go on forever. Needless to say I took another 1500 images while we were gone.  All in all it was a VERY photographic journey and a wonderful time with so many important people in our lives.

Keep shooting, friends!  And enjoy your summer while creating some great memories to save for posterity.