Monday, September 15, 2014

Experimenting with HDR

When I got my new camera last August, I noticed it had an option for HDR (High Dynamic Range) so I thought I would give it a try.  HDR photography is where you take several shots with different exposures of the same scene and put them together, one over the other.  That way you can incorporate all of the exposures together to result in a photo with more even lighting.  My camera's HDR setting will automatically put three different exposures together.  This is definitely the easy way! This is especially helpful with landscape scenes where the land is darker and the sky is lighter.  If you do it right, you end up with a photo that looks more like real life, but you can over do it too!  I still have a lot to learn, I've only tried it out three times in all!

These three pictures are ones I took on an early heavy-dew June morning.  My favorite would be the one above, as the wheat isn't quite as blue looking as the other two.  I also like the framing of the trees and the clouds.  I did a slight edge vignette to help draw the eye in to the center of the photograph.

Because the dew was so heavy, it caused the wheat to have a "frosted" look, even though there wasn't any frost.

This one also has a slight vignette.

 I'm definitely looking forward to the options HDR presents, along with the challenge of learning how to use it better to achieve the look I want.

Have you ever used HDR before?  Which picture is your favorite of the three?  What's your favorite thing to photograph?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Flowers of Spring

After a long winter, the thing I look forward to the most in the spring is all of the new flowers popping up here and there.  It's as if everything was asleep during the long cold winter and is just waking up, vibrant and newly revived for the coming months of summer.  There's nothing quite like all of the new life surrounding you to get your creative juices flowing!  This usually ends up in an over abundance of flower pictures, but of course not all of them are worth posting.  Here are a few that I was pleased with the way the focus, composition, and subject matter all came together to make a complete story.  Although each one of these definitely has room for improvement.

Wild Cherry Blooms
I think these are wild cherries, but I'm not positive.  So don't go eating a bunch of them! ;)

 Periwinkle Ground Cover 
These were growing around an old house I took pictures of this spring.

Rose Vines by the Pond
It was starting to get dark while we were fishing at the pond and I loved the way the colors were starting to change as the sun was going down.  I had to snap a few photos of the green rose leaves on the red vines.

What's your favorite part about spring?

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Busy Junco

During the winter months we like to fill the bird feeder and watch as all of the "overwintering" birds help themselves to dinner.  We always have a lot of Dark Eyed Juncos, all different kinds of Sparrows, a few Blue Jays and Cardinals, and every once in awhile a Tufted Titmouse or a Nuthatch will show up.  

On the warmer not-freeze-your-face-off days I like to bundle up and take my camera out to see if I can get some shots of the birds at the feeder.  This day was sorta in between the warmer and the freeze-your-face-off weather!

A Junco enjoying a Sunflower seed.

To capture these two pictures I was laying on my stomach in the driveway for thirty minutes waiting for some of the birds to get close enough.  I was finally able to get a few shots!  The rocks didn't make a very comfortable spot to wait, though!

Back in August of last year I purchased a new Nikon D7100.  At first I was having trouble with the focus, but after experimenting and reading through the instruction manual I figured out I could select where I wanted the camera to focus!  Most of you photographers out there probably already knew that, but oh well! ;)  These two pictures are from when I finally got that figured out!  I was so excited and was finally able to enjoy my camera more!

Here is a picture I snapped of my sister in her freeze-your-face-off-weather getup. :)  Luckily the sun was shining and the wind wasn't blowing too bad!

And here is the picture she took of me in my getup!  You always gotta carry an extra pair of insulated gloves! :)

How do you like to dress for cold winter photography?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Bountiful Harvest 2013

Last year our garden did fairly well.   We actually had watermelons!  That was the first time I've been able to get them to grow, so I was pretty excited!   The variety we grew was called Desert King.  They are a yellow heirloom watermelon.  They kind of have a mild fruity flavor and pale yellow flesh.  We picked several ripe off of the vine, but the rest we had to pick early because a frost was coming, they did seem to ripen okay in the basement.

A slice of Desert King Watermelon.

Seminole Pumpkin

Seminole Pumpkin from the garden.

We had a ton of these pumpkins!  They grew like crazy!  The vine tried to take over the whole garden!  They had deep orange flesh and very good flavor.  They are small 2-4 lb squash, perfect for when you only want to cook a small amount and not have a bunch left over.  Or as my sister says "Perfect for when you only want to cook one and have no more than one cooked!"   She's not ornery at all........ ;)  She likes to help me with my posts! 

A bunch of carrots, beets and radishes.

We also had carrots grow last year, too!  We usually don't have much luck with carrots, but last year we were able to freeze a few pints for the winter.  They're good for getting out of the freezer and plopping into soups for an easy-to-make meal.  We grew yellow carrots, red carrots, and orange carrots.  In the winter months I like to plan out the garden and take seed inventory.  If we are low on a variety of vegetable I always like to flip through seed catalogs and pick out a new kind to try.  The yellow carrots are Jaune Obtuse du Doubs (don't ask me how the pronounce it!)  and the red carrots are Atomic Red.  I think I preferred the yellow carrots over the red carrots, they had a better flavor, though both were good.  Unfortunately the carrots haven't sprouted yet this year, they probably need re-planted.

What kinds of vegetables do you like to grow?  Do you like to try new varieties each year, or stick to the tried-and-true ones?  Anyone have any tips for getting carrot seed to sprout?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Magnificent Clouds

So it's been awhile!  Almost a year since my last post. :(  Sorry about that!  We've had Internet issues and my computer has also decided to act up the last few months.  I'm still not sure if it's fixed yet....but while it's working, here are a few pictures!

These were taken during hunting trips last fall.  I like to take my camera along to see if I can capture some of the excitement!  Though it was mostly weather, a squirrel, and a few geese flying over, they didn't have time in their schedule to stop for pictures, maybe next time. ;)

I love the way this picture turned out!  If you look closely you can almost see them moving by!

Storm clouds are always my favorite!  I love the different hues in this one.

I call this one "Pink Wisps".

Over the last several weeks I've been busy in the garden pulling weeds, mulching paths, planting seeds and making raised beds.  I hope to finish mulching in between plants next week.

We've added a third garden this year!  It contains the unruly squash vines that try to take over everything.  We also added corn and a lot of melons.  This year with the corn I'm going to try planting pole beans along the rows to climb up the stalks.  I also plan on saving bean seeds from all three varieties I'm growing this year.

 Two days ago we got 2 3/4" of rain!  Hence, the blog post! ;)  I'm hoping this year will be a wetter one than last year.

I will try to post more often now that things are working again, although this might be a "rainy day" blog.

If anyone is still out there, thanks for reading!

"In the light of a King's face there is Life,
and His favor is like the clouds that
bring the Spring rains."

Proverbs 16:15