Friday, February 29, 2008

Day 61 POTD Eternal Flame on Leap Day

I shot both of these with my 18-135 mm lens, in RAW, manual mode, f/13; wb shady, ISO 200. Bottom photo is at ss: 1/40; 28 mm. The top photo was at 44 mm, ss: 1/160.

I needed to do very little in photoshop with these. I slightly increased the saturation, slightly, sharpened, and that was it. I might play with them a little more later, using an action to pop the colors in the top one a bit.

This is the Eternal Flame at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. It represents the eternal quest for knowledge.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Day 60 POTD--A Rabbit

I used my 35 mm 2.0 lens for this, shot in manual, custom white balance, RAW, ISO 1600; f/2.0; ss: 1/80. After adjusting all the stuff in the RAW converter, I then ran EZ Action Pro Color Pop.

With this shot, the adjustments I needed to make were minimal compared to the lamp yesterday. . . mostly it needed the exposure increased.

Thanks for all the comments yesterday. One of them, about RAW, escapes me, and I'm going to go and google Jimmy Neutron, and then, most likely, feel really dumb! (but in a truly unoffended sort of way, I'm sure, because that's just who I am!)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

If I Could Put Time in a Bottle. . .

Maya bottles; ateets whitie tities; jbolt delight photo stitches;
Tag clock A Aspnes; antique camera 2 maya DSLR prize; KPertiet Jewelry Tag1

"Time, which changes people, does not alter the image we have retained of them," Marcel Proust

Day 59 POTD 1950s Lamp

This is a 1950s Space Age lamp in our bedroom. (Between the town, and some of our stuff, it's beginning to look like we live in Pleasantville! This was tough; the light was low, natural light from two windows on either side in this corner, and this is one of the first photos I've ever taken in RAW. I used custom white balance, 35mm 2.0 lens, manual mode and manual focus. Settings were f/5.6, ss: 4", ISO 400.

Then in Adobe Raw converter, I just played with some of the sliders trying to get colors and lighting better. The main thing I did was increase the exposure (although if the camera said it was metered correctly for exposure, why does it need a great deal of adjustment??) The walls are actually a pale green, although with the sun just beginning to set, it probably does seem to have more of a blue cast.

Any suggestions? Shooting in RAW was much more difficult than I expected. . . or at least working with the converter was difficult. The photo was quite dark, given the low light, so maybe I was just expecting too much from RAW, in terms of what it can salvage.

Thanks for looking and any CC!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Day 58 POTD SNOW Dogs and Vintage Kegs

Just thought I'd post this again because I wanted to try a vintage action on it. . . (If you want a laugh, read Mandy's comment in yesterday's POTD on my blog! She's so darn funny!)

Just warm up Grand Forks a tad, and all sorts of weird things happen! Look at this cute SNOW DOG that some kids made! (Not to be confused with my prior post of SUN dogs!) This is one time when I really wish I had shot the photos in RAW. It was very challenging trying to remove the blue cast. . . Some of the pink was genuinely there because the sun was going down.

Thanks for looking! I was just playing around today. . . .

Talking, but not to us!

I digiscrapped some of my older photos today. My kids really do talk to us, but there certainly have been stages where the words were more forthcoming than others! I especially love this 1983 photo of Scott in a laundry basket, looking at the doll dressed in my own baby clothes. My mother gave me this doll shortly after Scott was born. (He had a crib, in case you're wondering! But sometimes, it was convenient to toss the poor guy into a basket!)

LivEdesigns 3x3Grid template; Weeds & Wild Flowers loving you papers & pngs; FR Love in the city tags and pngs; Wave 8 Text bytes;

Monday, February 25, 2008

Day 57 POTD More Grand Forks Oddities

I know these two photos are very similar to one another, but I wanted you see that this is in a residential neighborhood (2nd photo), and I really liked the greater closeness of the 1st photo. I'm still practicing with my 35mm 2.0 lens. I used custom white balance, but even cwb catches a lot of blue in the snow. Removing color cast in PSE5 still seemed to leave the pretty light of just pre-sunset. This was shot in manual mode, manual focus, ISO 400, f/11 and both had a ss of 1/80.

These are "The Kegs". Those weird, garbage can small red things in the front are actually drive-up speakers. In the summer, young women on roller skates actually come out to the car with your food. The hamburgers and shakes are great, and you feel like you really have stepped (or driven) back into the 50s. Please note that as weird as Grand Forks is, we don't have poor young'uns coming out in shorts and roller skates during our chilly winters!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Day 56: POTD-Winter Play

It may be cold, but why let perfectly good playgrounds go to waste just because it's winter! If you look closely, you'll see kids in the background, sledding, and playing in this really cool playground.

I'm using my 35mm 2.0 lens, and they say that with primes, you "zoom with your feet." But I didn't wear boots, so this was as far as I was going! Settings were manual mode and manual focusing; ISO 400; custom white balance; ss 1/125 for the top photo, and 1/250 for the bottom. Even with custom white balance, the snow was a bit bluish, so I adjusted levels slightly, and sharpened slightly, added the frames, and that was it!

Oh, and unfortunately, I also had to add the comment verification back in because of the malware creeping into the comments with links, and I'd feel wretched if someone got a virus from my blog!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Day 55 NOT a Sundog!

35 mm lens at f/5.6; ss 1/8; manual mode & focus; custom wb; ISO: 400. I ran the EZ Action acid wash on it, and lightened the edges a little.

Lest you be confused, this is definitely NOT a sundog! This is actually a very strange statue that belonged to my dear, sweet friend, Lila. Lila was like the adopted grandmother to my children; we have always lived far away from family, and Lila was the only "grandmother" my children really ever knew! She loved them, and she loved us. Lila died a few years ago from Alzheimers, and we had known her for a little over 20 years. It's hard to imagine anyone NOT loving Lila! She was a Wave in the Navy in WWII, and had moved to ND from California. Lila's interests ranged from opera to science fiction and she was a truly brilliant woman. She was one of those gentle souls who could not stand to hurt any living creature, and saw animals as being fellow travelers in the universe. Lila said she did not believe in God, but when my oldest son was about 3 years old, she was gently presistent in convincing me to go to church and meet this particular minister. She knew I'd like this peace activist, animal-loving, sweet man, and I think what Lila's actual plan was to get my children into church (even though she herself did not continue going there)! And when she died, I discovered that she had been insistent about keeping a rosary in her purse!

Anyway, I have no clue what this very weird statue is! My kids were fascinated by it at Lila's house, and after she died, insisted that we get it! It sits by my treadmill now, apparently keeping watch over me when I walk, but I have no idea what its intentions are or what it means!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Day 54 Old Downtown Buildings

These are two old downtown buildings. The first one is a firehall converted into a community theatre building. I used the Ez Actions Acid Wash on this.

This firehall theatre was shot in manual mode and manually focused with my 35 mm 2.0 lens at f/11; exp 1/5; ISO 400; wb: shade.

The settings for the City Hall building were the same, except exp 1/8, and I used the EZ Action Contra Pop Soft on it. See the guy smoking in front of the building? Just after I started shooting, he went into the building, and I got a little paranoid that maybe I wasn't allowed to shoot photos of municipal buildings, and he was heading into the building to contact security. . . to come throw me in jail with bread and water, and confiscate my Nikon D40. So I jumped in my car and sped recklessly away, NOT EVEN STOPPING TO PUT MY CAMERA LENS CAP ON! (so now you know how I spend MY exciting friday nights!)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Day 53 POTD Lunar Eclipse and Saturn!

Oh, my, it was cold out there! Not the greatest photos, but they make me happy! Shot in manual mode, with manual focus, 18-135 mm lens at 120mm; ISO 400; f/5.6; exp 2".

In the 2nd photo, I adjusted the levels significantly. And see that little planet/star thingy-in-the sky toward the bottom left? Not a smudge on my lens; . . . I checked and I think it's Saturn! The other little ball toward the top right may be Regulus. This is what says, " As the moonlight dims - it won't go totally dark - Saturn and Regulus will pop out and sandwich the moon. Regulus is the brightest star in the constellation Leo." Jupiter is going to be visible Friday night. Whatever it is, I really don't think it was the satellite shot down by the navy out in the Pacific! (which I think was going on at about this same time; lots of action in the sky these days!)

I wish I had gotten photos of the Perseid meteor shower I saw last summer in Minnesota from a houseboat in Voyageur National Park!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Day 52 - Beautiful but Deadly Cold!

Just a pretty little gazebo near the river. I may head out to this area tonight to see if I can get a photo of the lunar eclipse! Unless I can't bring myself to step out the door:(
I shot this photo with my 35mm 2.0 lens. I got this lens for Christmas, and rarely use it. I've been busy learning my way around with my 18-135mm lens, but think it's time to try and learn something about using the 35mm 2.0 lens. I did shoot the last 2 Sundog pictures yesterday with this lens; the first two were with the 18-135mm lens. I shot this photo in landscape mode, ISO 280; f/10; exp 1/250. I adjust levels, sharpened, added the frames. With the Nikon d40, I have to manually focus it, but usually that's pretty manageable. If anyone has any suggestions in learning the 35mm 2.0 lens, or what kinds of shots it would be good for, let me know!
Thanks for all the wonderful comments on the sundogs yesterday! All of You warm me up! Someday, I'd love to get a picture of the aurora buerealis, but I've never seen it!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Day 51 POTD: Sundogs-They mean only one thing: COLD!!!!!

The bright light to the far right of the tower IS the sun, but the rainbow -like light to the immediate right is a sundog.

These two photos are with different white balance settings to try and capture more of the colorful streaks in the sundogs.

Sundogs typically appear when the sun is low, at sunrise and sunset, (although these photos were taken at 9am or noon) and the atmosphere is filled with ice crystals, diamond dust, or ice fog. They are often bright white patches of light, almost looking like the sun, but often have rainbows of colors, and are shaped like halos around the sun. White sundogs are caused by light reflected off of atmospheric ice crystals, while colored sundogs are caused by light refracted through them. Both the angle of the sun rays and the orientation of the crystals affects the shape and color of the sundogs. Misaligned or wobbling crystals produce colorful and elongated sundogs. The parhely circle is a horizontal circle at the same height as the sun, barely visible in the photo above, more so in the photo below. There may be brighter points on it, at the intersections with the halos called parhely, at 120° called parenthely and at the opposite of the sun called anthely (rare). When those points are bright, they are often called "fake suns" or "sun dogs" and they are visible here.
And just in case you're wondering, yes, it IS cold here. Very cold. Un-frickin'-believably COLD. 40 to 50 degrees below windchill cold. Minus 32 degrees WITHOUT windchill! The kind where if you boil a pot of water and throw it up in the air, it freezes into crystallized vapor instantly. And no, I'm not going to do it and take a photo of it, I don't care HOW MUCH I love POTD!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Day 50: Sunrise, Cacti & Snow- All in One Day!

6:30 am in Grand Forks. Shot in manual mode, using 18-135mm lens at 66mm; ISO 400; f/11; exp: 1/15.

Shot at the All Seasons garden center. In manual mode, ISO 200; f/5; exp 1/40; 18-35mm lens at 35mm.

Shot outside the garden center, in manual mode. 18-135 mm lens at 52 mm; ISO 200; exp: 1/400; f/5.6.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Day 49 The Shape of Things to Come

My blog name has the word "oasis" in it, but Debbie (a fellow pea) and I found a Real oasis yesterday. We found one of those "invincible summers in the depth of winter," that Albert Camus talks about (see my digiscrapping layout on January 26th). We found a steamy world exploding with color, tropical sounds from a fountain in a pond and the "Qwahh! Qwahh!" from cockatiels! Camus was talking about inner strength, but this little trip to All Seasons, a local nursery, with a dear new friend, was a very welcome oasis in our winter yesterday!

All of these pictures were shot in manual mode using my 18-135 mm lens, custom white balance, ISO 200. The photo above was shot at 62 mm, exp 1/30/ f/5.6.

These prickly guys were shot at 100 mm, but also f/5.6 and 1/30.
And the photo above was shot at 35mm, exp 1/50, f/5.6. If you look closely at this photo, you'll see I'm actually on theme! The hedge type thing is cut in the shape of some kind of being with "arms", pushing the cart with the flowers. Hopefully, it's a hedge, or I've really insulted an unfortunate employee. (When you click on this photo, the frame blends into the background, giving the impression, almost, that you're outside. Oh, lovely delusion!)

For those who asked about the size of the statue yesterday; it's approximately life-sized.
Thanks for looking!

Day 48 Firepit and Airport Statue

This is something that I don't take for granted in my wintery life: a firepit outside in February in a shopping mall, adding just a small amount of additional warmth even though it's 63 degrees; grass and cacti and plantlife. . .

Several people asked about the full statue, so I included this shot of it today. It looked to me like it was made out of brightly colored strips of paper, almost in a paper-mache type medium. Maybe this is what San Franciscans make when they can't build snowpeople??????

Friday, February 15, 2008

Day 47 : San Francisco Airport

This is amazing! This is artwork in the AIRPORT in San Francisco. I read somewhere about a person who came to the US from an impoverished area in India, landed at the airport, felt the air conditioning, drank clean water out of a fountain, looked around and said "You live in paradise and don't even know it!" I don't think anyone much noticed this statue, but after I started taking pictures of it, people started walking up to it and studying it. I should probably put the full photo up, but was particularly taken by the head, so wanted to post this.

I so hope I get a chance to visit San Francisco again, but in the meantime, I'll have to find "paradise" even in Grand Forks!

Shot in manual mode, ISO 400; hand held, exp 1/13, no flash, wb: shade, using my trusting 18-135 mm lens at 90 mm and f/5.6.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Day 46 Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentines Day, Everyone ! Love Quotes - WH Auden

“Will it come like a change in the weather?
Will its greeting be courteous or rough?
Will it alter my life altogether?
O tell me the truth about love.”

Palm trees, shot in manual mode, ISO 200, using a polarizing filter on my 18-135 lens at 28mm; exp 1/200; f/5.6; wb: sunny.

And this is a 2 page layout of photos from San Francisco, made for the Now We're Rockin' class.

Thanks for looking! Even though I've returned physically from San Francisco, I haven't quite returned yet emotionally! (check my weather pixie!)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Day 45 More of San Francisco

The top photo is another photo of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, shot at night, from way out on a dark, scary, pier, at Fisherman's Wharf. Both of these photos were shot in Auto mode, with my 18-135 mm lens, at 18mm, using the flash, 1 second exposure, f/3.5. I used a post for the bridge photo, which helped stabilize the camera. The bridge was at ISO 800.

The sculpture below was shot with the same settings, except ISO 400. Unfortunately, no post, so there's considerable blur in the photo, but I thought it was abstract and weird enough that a little blur wasn't going to totally do it in. I don't know much about this sculpture, other than that it was in some courtyard near where I exited the BART and was a bit lost as I looked for Fisherman's Wharf.

Neither of these photos were actually taken today. I'm back in Grand Forks, and it's pretty , um, white, outside right now.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Day 44: The winner is declared!

"At last the Dodo said, 'everybody has won, and all must have prizes.'" from Alice in Wonderland.
And the prizes were. . . . comfits! (Comfits are sweetened nuts!)

Well, dear friends, you are right! I was in San Francisco, a very beautiful city, and a photographer's dream city. Unfortunately, I had to spend much of the time at my hotel, but still, I did manage to get to Fisherman's Wharf one evening. So here is the obligatory photo of a
trolley car! (which looks suspiciously like a bus to me!) But it really was Kari who was the first to suggest San Francisco, but everyone gets the prize: a truly great recipe for sweetened nuts:

Candied Nuts

1 lb walnuts, almonds or pecans
1 t vanilla
6 T milk
1 cup sugar
2 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt

Toast nuts for 8 minutes at 350 F.
In a small pot, stir sugar, milk & cinnamon until mixture reaches "soft ball" stage, 236 F. WATCH THIS CAREFULLY! Remove from heat, add vanilla, pour over nuts. Spread on wax paper and cool.

Straight out of the camera. Shot in Night mode; ISO 1600; exp: 1/15; f/4.0; 18-135 mm at 28 mm; wb: shade.

Levels adjusted; exposure increased.

Antique wash

Acid wash action.

For awhile, I won't be on theme, and my photos might not be taken on the day of my post (I'm back in Grand Forks now), but I LOVED being in San Francisco, and I'll want to post more of these photos. It was quite a challenge, the 2 1/2 hours I got to roam around and see touristy things; I took a shuttle, a bus, and then the trolley to get to this area, but I was determined to see more than my hotel, to feel AIR (outside air) that was super-heated to 50ish degrees, and to photograph more than just my little corner of the world. And strangely, very strangely, I missed being home in my frozen world. Very strange.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Day 43: I bet you know where I am now!

Well, I guess yesterday's clue wasn't as obvious as I thought. . . You'd probably have to live in this city to know of a city with giant heads rolling around in it! This famous bridge might make it more obvious. This was shot in manual mode through the windshield of a car that was going WAY too fast! I used my 18-135 mm lens at 52mm; f/11; exp 1/200, and with a polarizing lens. I sharpened and boosted color ever so slightly. If you don't guess the city, I'll give a much more obvious clue tomorrow! This is a wonderful city for photos, but sadly, I was mostly stuck in a hotel room near icky concrete, but did manage some photos every chance I had.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Day 42: Can you guess where I am?

Night programmed mode; 18-135 mm lens at 24mm; exp 1/1.6; f/4; ISO 400; Ren's defog and 20% glow. This should be a pretty substantial hint about where I'm at!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Day 41 Flat landscape, but NOT a wasteland!

Two views of Grand Forks from many feet up in the sky! I'm traveling, and will be back in GF soon with pictures of a completely different landscape! Thanks for all the wonderful comments; I'm being a bit of a slackard in commenting these 3 days while I travel, but will catch up when I get back. I know it'll sound strange, but even though it's wonderful and warm where I am, I'm even missing Grand Forks!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Day 40: Old Train Depot

This photo was shot in manual mode, using my 18-135mm lens at 50 mm; f/11; wb: sunny; ISO 200; exp 1/125. I ran the urban acid action on the top photo, and the photoblast demo b&w ezaction on the the bottom photo. This is a photo of an old train depot in town that has been converted to an office building

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Day 39: Icicles

Not a daily sight, because there's signs of some melting! Shot in manual mode with 18-135 mm lens at 50 mm; f/11; ISO 200; wb sunny; exp 1/250.