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Ok here are the shots I took as I walked to and from the Chinese Garden.   The light ended up being fantastic.  I must have recognized it on some level at the time as I took many exposures of this street (but not volumes, thank god.)

I really love these shots.  Click any to enlarge.

photos under the cut... )


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  Photobucket  Photobucket  

I finally spent some time today to get through some of my back log of photos.   My photography class took a field trip back in November to the Portland Chinese Garden.   I was so excited and planned on working on getting some HDR shots and using my tripod (which was a bitch to carry.)   

When I got home from the excursion and looked through the photos I was both underwhelmed and overwhelmed.  I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of shots I had taken.  I mean seriously?   Talk about extreme overkill.  This is why one of my photography goals for 2012 is to concentrate on quality and composition and not on quantity.   The sheer volume of almost similar shots taken at different exposures (to try to get HDR material) was just overwhelming to my senses.

Plus since the sky that morning was stark blue with no clouds (seriously? no clouds in Portland in November?) it really wasn't the best place to try out HDR for the first time.  And my few attempts after I got home were extremely underwhelming.   

So I gave up on these photos.  And I also was demotivated from taking other excursions.  I was definitely in the "I suck" pit after this trip.

But good news is that a bit of time and detachment from HDR worked it's wonders.  I did have to go through a heck of a lot of photos, but I am very happy with the ones I ended up with.  None of the are HDR.  Very few are cropped - those that are cropped are only slightly cropped to straighten out some edges.   

Truly it's hard to take a bad photo of the Chinese pavilion.  Which is also what got me discouraged after I realized the photos really weren't that unique.  But I think I found a few buried in there that were perhaps a bit unique.

Portland Chinese Garden photos under the cut... )

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I talked about HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography in one of my posts of yesterday.  Here's a great example.   Click to enlarge.   (Sheesh I think I brain farted and called the acronym something else yesterday, oh well.)

This is by Trey Radcliff.  The photo lives here on Flickr.  And his site, Stuck in Customs, has an HDR tutorial.  There a lots of other HDR tutorials out there.   The main thing with HDR is that it is better to use a tripod and so far I hate using tripods.  But I need to get over that.  I have a lot of photos I took at the Portland Chinese Garden where I tried bracketing into multiple exposures (with and without a tripod) to take my first real try at HDR.   But my poor Macbook just about died under Photoshop trying to merge the photos.

Here is the one photo I was able to merge.    (Click to enlarge.)

But I kinda cheated and didn't do a true HDR merge. Plus since there really was nothing interesting going on in the sky that morning, the HDR effect is not really that apparent.  Usually you can tell HDR when both the land and the sky are in vivid detail.  DSLR cameras are unable to capture the full range of dynamic resolution between both the lightest (often the sky) and the darkest (the land), so for HDR you typically capture three exposures (called bracketing, which is also an available function on most DSLRs), one perfectly exposed, one under exposed, and one over exposed.   Then through the magic of HDR software (or the HDR function available in Photoshop), those (ideally) perfectly aligned via a tripod shots are merged into a stunning, high dynamic range photo.   

Except my first few tries have been less than spectacular.  I think there's more to it than a simple merge - I've merged photos before - I've taken single shots and adjusted them in Photoshop to be both over and under exposed and merged them.  I got better results at that than I have so far for HDR.   The HDR merge does something to the resulting photos that requires a type of photo adjustment that is different somehow than what I've experienced before.  And I've been using Photoshop for going on 10 years now.

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... but I need to set myself a photography goal for 2012.   

And no, I refuse to believe this is in any way contradictory to my "I don't believe in New Year's Resolutions" post I just made.   

No it isn't.   'Cuz I say so.   ;P

But back to the point.   I should push myself.  But I don't want to - or rather, am scared to.   

in which I ramble on about photography goals (perhaps using an SPN con as one) )

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From here


"A resolution is a one-time decision. A mile-marker on our journey, on which we look back when we forget from whence we’ve come and lost sight of where we’re going. But it’s nothing more. The moment you make it, it begins to lose its momentum, and there are very few of us for whom that resolution carries much lasting strength. It’s just the way it is. It’s a strong indicator of a desire, but a poor agent of change. It may, at best, be a compass, but it’s not an engine. And waiting for the magic of January One is just silliness. Do it now. Not tomorrow. Not later."


none of them come on a silver platter. They come with intention and resolve, they come rough and demand polishing, and they – all of them – extract a price. But I am amazed at how much we can accomplish when we pay that price, and stop screwing around"

thoughts... )

Note to friends - I doubt this LJ posting will continue at this rate.  Once the first rolls around projects will begin to take off and take more of my energy.  But I will try to post at least more often than 1-3 times a month.   

Full Moon

Nov. 11th, 2011 01:47 pm
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Photobucket  Photobucket  Photobucket

Just finished an 11-day in a row work schedule.   Anywhere from 9-14 hr days.   It was the final implementation of a software upgrade that I've been leading for the past 7 months.  Boy was I tired, but it went really well.   I've been told it was the smoothest go-live ever.   Now I'm on a three-day weekend!  \O/  So need it.

I celebrated as I left work yesterday by pulling over by the edge of the Willamette River and taking some shots of the full moon over the river.

photos under the cut... )

On the SPN front...I am REALLY enjoying this season and am looking forward to tonight's episode.   Fickleone and I are signed up for both the LA Con in Burbank in March and Vancon next August.   It will have been a year and a half since my last con by the time March rolls around.   Really looking forward to it.

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I love how taking photos can turn a stressful day into smiles for me.   I captured this random moment yesterday afternoon.

(click to enlarge)

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  Photobucket  Photobucket

Local Art Park

We have a new park in our small community.  It's located in our downtown and serves as a community gathering place and is dedicated to the arts.   It took at least a couple of years to plan, fundraise, and construct.   The project was conceived and run by local artists in our community.

While the park opened awhile ago, last night was the first time I'd really spent any time there.  I hadn't seen it after dark really until last night.  It is fantastic!   I took these photos at twilight last night.

photos under the cut ... )


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From [ profile] a_carnal_mink:

Ben Edlund's reply to someone who wrote to him on Tumblr.   He DREW Castiel people.  On a cut-up CD cover.

"This work made entirely with office supplies from the Supernatural office.
Thanks Melissa you crazy - but then me too. 
Ben Edlund."


On a personal note...Today I am bummed because I am sick with a cold and had to choose to skip a photography field trip to Portland Saturday Market (where the Portland Marathon AND the Occupy Portland protest is also happening.)  


I was SO looking forward to taking shots.  I hope to be able to go to Saturday Market next Saturday with visiting out-of-town relatives.   But I need to get over this cold since we are doing a major software implementation in 4 weeks and between now and then will be intense at work.



Oct. 1st, 2011 10:08 am
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Quote totally stolen from [ profile] wendy:

 "All things on earth point home in old October"

(click on any to enlarge)






(more here)

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5 Ways to Dip your Toe into the Business of Photography

  1. If you’re not ready to formally establish yourself as a business, then schedule portfolio building sessions with friend and family. Shoot everyone and everything and don’t charge a penny. Because, like I said, as soon as money changes hands you’ve entered into a client relationship and are liable for all sorts of yuckiness you’re not ready to handle.
  2. In these portfolio building sessions, set some of them up where you create the concepts, choose the wardrobe and location and get to flex your creative muscles. But also have some sessions where you ask what the client wants and see what it’s like for us paid-for photographers who have to cater to our clients’ every desire. This will help you learn to work with people on a professional level. You can even try it out like a full-on professional session with client questionnaires, a contract, an order form for prints – try out different versions of paperwork to see how you want to operate when you’re in business for real.
  3. Try all sorts of different types of sessions like children, couples, maternity, newborns. This will help you find your niche for when you’re ready to go into business.
  4. Even though you might not feel ready for heavy duty legal forms, at least have a model release that everyone (yup, even your own mom!) needs to sign so you’re free to do what you wish with your work.
  5. Instead of charging money for sessions, use your talents to raise funds for charity (don’t take the money in your own name – have checks written directly to the charity) or as bartering power with your babysitter, plumber, anyone! Trade sessions and prints for other products and services – everyone loves a good trade!

Read more:

Note to self:  There's an LJ-like button now???


Aug. 4th, 2011 06:54 pm
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 I never post anymore.  I know, I suck.   

Love the news about an extra SPN episode!  \O/

Also I just got my repaired Canon 40D back!  My Jenny!   So Jenny joins my new 7D camera.  Which today I decided to call Sammy.  :-)

We just got back from a 3 day weekend in Central Oregon.  Took some photos of a beautiful lake we went kayaking on Saturday.  (photos here)

Working hard, but having fun.

Bob's birthday is tomorrow and Tim's 18th is on the 22nd, so busy with those as well.

Is it September yet?   I'm very ready for season 7!

I gifted S1-S3 DVDs to my cousin Christine and hubby David who live in St. Paul.  I visited with them a few weeks ago in St. Paul.  Chris and I hadn't seen each other for about 20 years!  But we hit it off like wildfire.   They expressed an interest in SPN.   We watched the "Fight the Faries" episode together on Friday when it aired on CW.   So I sent them S1-S3!

I do read LJ regularly btw.  I just don't post much anymore.   Been kinda living on FB and now on Google+.  If anyone is on Google+ let me know--I'd love SPN friends on there.
growyourwings: (CHEER Take your shoes off)

Epic Trip  Epic Trip  Epic Trip

Madison Trip Photos

Grrr.  I did this post once before.  Got it all done.  Pressed post.  And got an internal server error and lost the whole damn thing.  Grrr.

Here are some photos from my recent trip to Madison for training at Epic.  The campus is HUGE.  And they are still building.  One of the new buildings will be an auditorium that seats 15,000!   Their current auditorium seats only 1,500.  

The training was in Voyager Hall, their training center.   It's just one (big) building in a very large campus.  They have walking tours, but I was not able to take advantage this time around for several reasons.  I'm going back in June and July and hope to take one then.  

The training center has many training rooms--each with a theme.   My room was Raiders of the Lost Arc.   There are pieces of artwork all throughout the buildings.  I'm told employees are given an allowance to go out and purchase any artwork they want to put in the campus.  

I know no one but me likely cares, but these photos are not very good.  I didn't want to lug my big camera on the trip, so I only had my small point-and-shoot camera.   I'm going to stay a few extra days in July in St. Paul to visit a cousin, so perhaps I'll bring my big camera then (or even bring it in June.)   It's an issue of how much I'm willing to lug through airports.  This time I already had way too much and just about killed myself with the weight of it all.

photos under the cut... )


growyourwings: (Pondering)

Photobucket  Photobucket  Photobucket

Practicing on Exposure...

I'm taking some online courses on exposure.   Learning how to use shutter speed, aperture, and ISO in different light settings.  And as a "side effect" of practicing correct exposure I'm also learning how shutter speed and aperture can contribute to focus.  Focus is one of my main goals.  I'm trying to get to that point of extremely crisp and in-focus shots.   Also learning a lot about the various bells and whistle camera settings and trying out a lot of manual settings as well.

Below are some shots I took today in our yard.  There are also some shots from my mother's house and a couple from downtown Portland from last year.  I'm supposed to be training myself to gain "muscle memory" so that I *always* check the light meter in the viewfinder for EVERY shot.   It's HARD!!!   I get so caught up in snapping shots that I forget 80% of the time!  Yesterday I took many shots of my mother to practice and I was constantly muttering under my breath that I kept forgetting to check.  I'll be posting those photos of my mother next (probably.)

I've also been playing a lot with photographing in RAW (thanks! bflyw!)   I've spent so much time with my camera and Photoshop the last few days that I am both energized creatively and also getting a little visual fatigue.

(click on photos to enlarge)

photos under the cut... )

growyourwings: (Pondering)

for Sunday, May 8th - Mother's Day

Day 1

   I'm grateful for Swedish pancakes (otherwise known as crepes.)   My father used to make these on the weekends.  He took it very seriously--making these pancakes.   His favorite way of eating them was to spread jam on them.  

   Emily made these for Mother's Day breakfast for me this morning.   Her favorite way of eating them is to spread them with powder sugar and squeeze fresh lemon juice on them.  Very YUMMY.

  (click photo to enlarge)

Part of 365 Grateful project.

growyourwings: (Pondering)

p r i n g    T e x t u r e


under the cut... ) .


Apr. 30th, 2011 09:58 am
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Tumblr is kinda pretty....

I can see the allure.

I just set up a second Tumblr account.  Been looking for an easy venue/blog for my photography.   Played around with LJ and Wordpress.   Tumblr may be so ridiculously easy, it may be the winner!

I had tried to figure Tumblr out a while ago but it eluded my understanding.   Last night and this morning I may have figured out the basics.

Now I look at my LJ layout and it seems so dull in comparison.




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