Monday, February 8, 2016

Taveuni, Fiji

Taveuni, Fiji

Second day of Facebook 'tree' challenge.  This photo was taken on the small island of Taveuni, Fiji. Seems blissfully beautiful doesn't it........until I looked up and saw dozens of huge fruit bats roosting in the palms!! Yikes!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Pohutukawa Tree

Pohutukawa Tree, New Zealand

A Facebook photog friend challenged me to post a photo of trees for seven days.  Here is my first post.  These trees are very common in New Zealand and grow very big.  The kiwi's, (what New Zealanders call themselves), call them their Christmas trees because they bloom at Christmastime and are so beautiful.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Kolob Canyon, Zion National Park, Utah

Kolob Canyon, Zion National Park

It doesn't get much better for me than being outside at sunset, with my camera, in a beautiful location!!! This evening I had about one hour before sunset to jump in my car and find a 'photo opp'. I made it to Kolob Canyon, (part of Zion National Park), but it was so cold and windy that I quickly lost my enthusiasm for spending time outside, thus, this shot was taken out my car window. Lucky for me, it doesn't take much of a photographer to get a colorful photo when your 'canvas' includes beautiful orange cliffs bathed in the warm glow of sunset light!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Cedar Breaks, Utah

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Red cliffs, green pine trees and blue sky.....my favorite combination!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Cathedral Gorge State Park, Nevada

Cathedral Gorge, Nevada

Last winter I was on a photo shoot with a group of photographers to an old west town in southern Utah called Modena.  (HERE and HERE are posts of Modena.)  After we were done there, several of us traveled a few miles across the border to this state park in Nevada where this photo was taken.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Gunlock, Utah #2

Upon request, here is the previous post zoomed in and cropped to a vertical orientation.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Gunlock, Utah

Gunlock, Utah

I have not done any outside photography for several months, and finally today I had to get outside, if only for a few minutes.  My challenge was to find a scene to photograph under the following conditions:

*  I only had about 45 minutes to find something of interest to photograph
*  I only had time to travel within 10 miles of home
*  It had to be a landscape and not a macro
*  It is winter here and that means there was no snow, no flowers, no leaves or anything else really green.  In other words, the scenery is mostly brown.
*  In addition, the sky today was mostly covered with high, gray boring clouds, with occasional patches of blue.

The best I could do was reflections in a small pond.  Oh well, it still felt great to be outside taking pictures!


Monday, January 18, 2016

Salt Lake Temple

Salt Lake Temple in Winter

I don't like winter! I don't like cold, snowy scenes unless I'm viewing them through a window as I'm sitting by a nice warm fireplace! Therefore, my winter photo collection is slim. And so this photo of the Salt Lake Temple is a first for me. Most of my pictures of the temple include the bright, colorful flowers of spring. And the only other winter photos I have of this temple are surrounded by a gazillion sparkly Christmas lights. But, somehow, the soft, muted neutral colors on this day seemed to match my mood. Haven't decided if it is a keeper or not.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

My 13th Grandchild!


Welcome to the world, my sweet, little grandson.  
He is perfectly adorable and he is my 10th grandson, and 13th grandchild.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Nature Photo Challenge #7

Antelope Valley, California

For my last 'challenge' photo, I thought I'd post something to remind us that spring and summer will come again! This photo was taken in the Antelope Valley region of California's high desert. Often these hills are barren, however, in spring when the previous weather patterns and rain fall have been just right, they burst into riotous colors of blue, purple, gold, yellow, red and orange, dominated with California poppies and lupine that cover miles. It is a glorious sight. This post is something different with a bit of a painterly look.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Nature Photo Challenge #6

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona has some of the most beautiful red rock formations in the Southwest.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Nature Photo Challenge #5

Moorea, South Pacific

My photo today is of beautiful Moorea in the South Pacific. It is top of my list if you are looking for a small island paradise, with towering, craggy, lush cliffs and mountains, pristine turquoise water, minimal tourists, yet just enough accommodations from modest to luxury, and just a short ferry ride from Tahiti.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Nature Photo Challenge #4

Manukau, New Zealand

New Zealand is surrounded by the most picturesque beaches, bays, and coastline scenes.  They are clean, pristine and usually deserted.  Amazingly beautiful places.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Nature Photo Challenge #3

Cannon Beach, Oregon
 
It was just an ordinary day when we were there, but when the sun set, the magic happened!!





 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Nature Photo Challenge #2

Green Tree Frog
Costa Rica

If you are looking for some of the most colorful, plentiful wildlife on the planet, then Costa Rica is the place to go. This is a red eye tree frog. Pretty photogenic, don't you think?

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Nature Photo Challenge #1

Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
A facebook friend challenged me to post a nature image each day for seven days, which I have been doing.  Since I have put photography 'on the back burner' for awhile, I thought this would be a good challenge for me to look back at some favorite memories and pictures, and get me excited to do more shooting in 2016!
(Thought I'd post my 7 images here as well.) 

Monday, December 21, 2015

From My Home to Yours.....


Merry Christmas to all my blogging buddies!  I hope your homes are filled with friends and family, laughter and joy, pine boughs, peppermint sticks and presents, and mostly, the spirit of love, peace, gratitude and worship!

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Holy Bible

Good Reading for This Month 
(and every month)!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and there is nothing as beautiful and colorful as poinsettia plants from Costco!  Now if I can just keep it alive until the 25th!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I Am Thankful!

I AM THANKFUL!

Today was busy!  Shopping, cleaning, cooking... all the preparations for our Thanksgiving celebration tomorrow.  My mom taught me that setting the table the night before company comes not only saves time on the big day, but also creates a peaceful feeling and a few minutes to reflect on the reason for the celebration.  I continue my mom's tradition.  After setting my table tonight, I lit the candles and took a few minutes to enjoy the quiet and to say a little prayer of THANKSGIVING for all of my many blessings, far too many to name, and far more than I deserve!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING FRIENDS & FAMILY!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

She Bows in Submission

She bows her head in submission 
to her inevitable fate as winter finally arrives. 
 I hope she knows I still see beauty and grace in her old age. 

It is a blessing to see the beauty in nature 
in all seasons of life and death. 

This was shot out of my bedroom window yesterday, 
documenting the first snowfall of the season 
at our northern Utah home.  

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tech Talk Tuesday - Are You a PHOTOSNOB?


As noted in my last Tech Talk Tuesday, we all have our own preferences and personal style of photography, just as we do with other art forms, such as painting.  In the past decade photography has evolved and diversified rapidly into many new and wonderful art styles.  In my opinion, we have a responsibility to NOT be 'photosnobs'.  By that I mean, our own preferences should not be seen as superior, or of greater value than someone else's preferences......only different!

This week I've encountered several situations where photographs and/or photographers were judged solely on how their images were produced, not on the merit of the images themselves.  In other words, the process was viewed as more important than the result. 

For example, one might think the work of a photographer who composites several images into one shot, or who uses focus stacking to create a sharper image, or who digitally creates a beautiful 'painterly' look to a photo, is superior because that photographer has developed exceptional skills over and above the basic photography skills necessary to produce a traditional SOOTC image.  They view their computer and editing expertise as advanced photography processing skills.

In the other camp, the SOOTC shooter may think of himself as a purist, and he believes 'getting it right in the camera' and using traditional techniques should be the only way to create 'real' photography that holds the most value.  He may feel his photography skills are superior because he thinks the digital photographer is cheating or making up for poor photography skills by fixing bad photos.

In my opinion, both of these extreme attitudes show disrespect for personal artistic expression.  In my mind, this would be like saying the painter who uses something he sees with his eyes as his inspiration, is better than a painter who uses something he sees in his mind as his inspiration!  Ultimately, it's the end result on canvas that matters!

Consider the following.  You might be a 'photosnob' if:
*  You feel the need to ask a photographer if his image is edited. 
*  You tend to be critical of certain photo and editing techniques or methods used by digital photographers today.
*  You think that how a photo or image is made, does affect its intrinsic value.
*  You think that photographers who do not use Photoshop or other computer editing programs are old fashioned and are afraid to learn new skills.
*  You have changed your opinion or were disappointed in a photo you initially admired, when you found out it was produced in a way you think is unacceptable.

After many years as a photographer, (first traditional, now traditional and digital), I try to keep what I feel is a healthy balance between my 'in the field' skills, (just me and my camera), and my 'in the digital darkroom' skills, (just me and my computer).  There are many photographers I admire.  Some of my favorite photographers produce images that are minimally edited, and some produce images that are way over the top and blatantly manipulated.  I love them all!  I know the majority of the photos I love have been processed, some in traditional ways and others with modern technology, but often it is impossible for me to tell how they were edited, or how little or how much.  I don't know, I don't ask, nor do I care, because for me: 

 The beauty is in the image, regardless of how it was produced!!

JUST FOR FUN:

To check your 'photosnob' meter,  decide how you feel about the following photo then answer the questions below:


*  Do you love this photo?
*  Does this photo not appeal to you?
*  Does it look like a SOOTC shot?
*  Does it look like a composite or heavily edited image?
*  Would you like it less if I told you I added the background?
*  Would you like it more if I told you I added the background?
*  Would it be easier to decide if you liked it if I showed you the 'before' shot to compare?
*  Do you want to know if I added the background?
*  Do you like it less because the background makes it look more like a painting than a traditional photograph?
*  Do you think I shouldn't call it a 'photograph' because I digitally manipulated the SOOTC original and didn't tell anyone? 

Only two of the above questions are valid to me.  Guess which ones!!!  
If you guessed the first two, you are right.  These are the only questions that determine if your personal preference is based on how you feel about the image itself, and not on any prejudice about how it was produced.
  

(All right, a few of you might actually be curious to know if this is a SOOTC shot, or if I added the background from a second exposure in post processing.  Keep scrolling down and you'll find the answer.)













       




This is a SOOTC shot, with a slight crop.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Powell Plateau Wild Flowers

 Powell Plateau Wild Flowers

We were on a RZR ride late last summer near Bryce National Park.  One day we explored some of the surrounding area, and found beautiful 'secret garden', even though it was very late in the season for most Utah wild flowers.  (Would it spoil this picture for you if I said there is a very, large, very ugly cell tower right next to where I was standing!)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Tech Talk Tuesday - Edit to Enhance or Degrade

As photographers, when do we know our work is done and our photo or image is ready to print or to publish on the internet???

This decision can truly be confusing for photographers.  Back in the day, we would choose what kind of film we wanted to use, we'd take 36 shots, and then hope that a few would be 'keepers' when they were developed.  Pretty simple!  (I'm talking here about the average amateur photographer who did not have their own darkroom and did not develop or retouch their own work, which in those days, took considerable time and effort.)

With the technology of today, the possibilities are endless.  We still have the option of printing or publishing SOOTC (straight out of the camera).  But with the editing programs, plugins, apps, that are readily available today on our computers, pads and phones, the sky is the limit.  We can alter our images in minor ways, or we can create composites or manipulate our images so they are unrecognizable from the original shot.

Here are some questions:  When is enough, enough?  How much manipulation should I do?    How many editing programs should I buy?  How many different 'looks' should I create before choosing the 'best' one? How much time should I be spending on the computer to edit an image?  Do you find yourself sitting at your computer, looking at your images, and asking yourself some of these questions? I do!

The variety and complexity of the choices today's photographers have to make can be mind boggling, because as you already can guess, there is absolutely no correct answer to any of these questions.

The following is a good example of what I'm talking about:

SOOTC
Here is my original image.  It is acceptable, but for me, kind of boring.  I tend to not like totally out of focus backgrounds.  So it's time to start editing and experimenting.

Adding Bokeh
Since I'm a big fan of bokeh and interesting lighting and lens effects, I came up with this.  I think it is a bit more interesting and holds my attention a bit more than the first image.  But is this the best I can do?

 Softened and Topaz Impression
Recently I've seen some beautiful images on the internet where the artists have used the Topaz Impression editing program, so I downloaded a trial version to play around with.  I softened this image, while keeping the ladybug sharp, then added a texture.  When I manipulate a landscape or nature shot, I usually want to viewer to feel the image is 'believable' and could be SOOTC, so I strive for editing that is not blatantly obvious.  This treatment created a different and interesting look, but was not quite believable to me.



Blended in a Second Image
I often shoot out of focus images of foliage, flowers and other nature scenes to use as background interest.  This is what I did with this photo.  For me, adding some form and a hint of background foliage makes this image more believable and interesting. 

Of course this is all personal preference.  Some would prefer the SOOTC shot, others might prefer one of the other versions, and others would have a totally different editing idea.  But at some point we all have too decide when enough is enough.  We need to develop the ability to learn when our editing improves an image, and know when to stop before we over manipulate and ruin an image.
  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Valley Sunset Near Cedar Breaks, Utah

Valley Sunset Near Cedar Breaks, Utah
Our fall color in Utah is starting to fade, and is a reminder to me that winter is just around the corner.  At this time of year I am always a bit melancholy knowing that I will miss the bright, beautiful colors of spring, summer and fall during the winter months that will soon be here.  

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Milky Way at Lake Powell

Milky Way at Lake Powell

On this beautiful Lake Powell night, as the day's fading light slowly revealed the splendor of the heavens, I paused from taking photos to be still and enjoy this profound beauty. The tranquility and peace of my moment was only interrupted by the sweet sounds of laughter that was music to my ears, as 12 of my 13 grandchildren were all together in the houseboat, playing twister and eating more junk food than their parents would allow in a year. And, I would like to think, that somewhere among the stars, my 13th grandchild, my precious angel grandson, was watching over his brothers, sister and cousins and he was enjoying this moment with me. I believe that families are forever, God is in His heavens, and all will be well!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Autumn Aspens Basking in Sunshine

Autumn Aspens Basking in Sunshine

Doesn't this just make you happy!!!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Aspens in Autumn - Red, Orange, Gold and Yellow

Aspens in Autumn - Red, Orange, Gold and Yellow

All of the Autumn aspen colors mixed with soft meadow green, deep pine tree green, and brilliant blue sky.  What a beautiful world!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Aspen Fire in Autumn

Aspen Fire in Autumn

Many places in this area, were covered in thick forests mixed with both aspen and pine trees.  My photos of those scenes never looked as dramatic as they did in person.  I preferred compositions where the aspens were separated from thick foliage or other trees, like this one.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Walking Through Sunshine

Walking Through Sunshine

Such a beautiful place for an Autumn stroll in the woods!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Red Aspens in Utah

Color Pop

I love how the color pop of the grove of bright red aspens stand out from the otherwise neutral surroundings, and the cloud formations further draw your eye toward them.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Autumn Aspen Leaves

Autumn Aspen Leaves

As I was enjoying a few quiet moments surrounded by the aspens in my last post, I noticed the variety of colored leaves that had fallen from the trees.  I arranged a few of them on a lichen covered rock and took this macro shot, for those of you who have never seen aspen trees up close.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Red-Golden Aspens in Utah

Red-Golden Aspens in Southern Utah

I took a few minutes to enjoy this peaceful setting, beautiful weather and perfect autumn day.  Sometimes it is hard to isolate a distinctive 'subject' element to give a focus point to an image, but when I saw the sun shinning through this forked tree trunk, I found my composition.  I used a fisheye lens to add an interesting perspective and the sun flare. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Aspens near Cedar Breaks, Utah

Aspens near Cedar Breaks, Utah

Most people think of the northern Rocky Mountains when they think of aspens and fall colors in Utah.  But even though southern Utah is known more for red rock vistas and desert scenery, we have high elevation mountains down south with beautiful scenery as well.

This fall, I made several trips into the mountains near our northern Utah home looking for color, and have been disappointed.  At least so far, the colors have not been vibrant, and many of the aspen leaves have gone from green to dead, maybe because of lack of water, or weather conditions or whatever.

At any rate, we took a quick trip to our Santa Clara home this past weekend so that Jeff could enter a car into a car show, and I decided to take my one day and drive up into the mountains.  And was I ever rewarded! The aspens were at their peak with every vibrant fall color imaginable.   I had a wonderful day being inspired by this beauty, and felt very rewarded with the images I was able to capture.  I'll be posting some of my favorites each day for about a week.  If you don't have fall color where you live, I hope you can enjoy seeing what I saw on a perfect fall day in southern Utah!

As a side note, I have a few thoughts for you photographers out there who are specifically hoping to attract followers to your blog because they admire your photographic skills.  (Keep in mind I'm not talking about those of you who are writers and your blog posts contain wonderful stories that are more important or as important as the photos you post to embellish your words.)

I've said many times that for me, the measure of how much viewers like one of my images is determined by how long they are engaged in looking at it.  Are there enough attractive elements to sustain their interest and keep them looking and admiring.  In order to give them the chance to do this, it is important to avoid distractions.  And the biggest distractions are multiple photos in one post, because it is natural to only look briefly at the first photo, then move on to see what is next and what is next, etc.  This does not give each of your photos the attention they deserve!

My suggestion is to only post one or maybe two photos at a time, or three at the VERY max.  If you have a series of photos you want to post, let your viewers spent time enjoying the first photo and then say you will be posting additional photos each day.  If they have time to really enjoy the first image, this will give your viewers incentive to return to your blog regularly.

Another caution, and this is a hard one to do, and that is to be brutally selective about the photos you put online for everyone to see, because your skill as a photographer will be judged by your last few posts.  Be VERY selective.  We photographers are often not good at criticizing our own work and so we tend to post lots of photos.  Try not to post photos of the exact same scene shot at different angles.  This becomes boring.  Pick the best angle and post only that one.  When in doubt, ask a friend or fellow photographer you trust to choose between your best photos. 

Bottom line...... only post your very best images, one or two at a time, and keep your viewers anxious to see more of your brilliant work!!

(Remember, this advise does not apply if you are posting your images for your personal enjoyment only, or to document a vacation, or to support a story that is the main reason for the post.)       

Monday, September 28, 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Bridal Veil Falls, New Zealand

Bridal Veil Falls, New Zealand

Just thought I'd post an image of another waterfall named Bridal Veil Falls.  Unlike the last post, however, this Bridal Veil Falls is in New Zealand!  Both so different, yet each lovely in its own setting.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Bridal Veil Falls, Utah

Bridal Veil Falls, Utah

These falls are located in Provo Canyon, visible from the main road and very near where I live.  I pass by this way quite often on my way to various destinations.  Sometimes we fail to see the beautiful scenery that is commonplace where we live.  

Saturday I was out looking for a little fall color and didn't find anything that was interesting enough for me to stop and photograph.  On the way home I glanced up at these falls and decided I'd stop.  The sun was down and there was not much light, the sky was a boring faded blue and the fall colors were scarce, but I'm glad I stopped anyway.

  

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Golden Aspens


Golden Aspens in the Mountains above Richfield, Utah
(and some pretty cool looking clouds as well)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Happy Anniversary!

My wonderful son Dalin and his beautiful bride Emily recently celebrated their 6th wedding anniversary.
Wonderful memories!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Southwestern Utah Blooms

A friend of mine who is a journalist for a southwestern Utah newspaper asked me to submit a selection of my desert florals for consideration to be included in an article he is writing, highlighting four Utah landscape/nature photographers who live in southwestern Utah.  When I didn't respond, he contacted me and said since we own a home in southern Utah and spend part of the year there, that according to him, (and he makes the rules), I qualify.  I don't usually do stuff like this, but decided to honor his request.  Below are the images and the 'photographer's statement' I sent.

 Circle Dance

 Sunshine Shower

 Dancing in the Rain

 Beauty Among the Weeds

 Spotlight Please

 Stick 'em Up .....We've Got You Covered!

"My floral images are usually alive with vivid color, are busy rather than calm, and most always have unique lighting and/or interesting backgrounds.  Rarely do I place my macro flowers on a plain white or black backdrop, because this is too common or boring to me.  Instead, I try to fill the frame with unique and interesting elements that add information, such as the time of day, or unusual weather conditions, or dramatic lighting conditions, (I’m a big fan of sun flare and bokeh), that visually give the viewer a sense of how my subject flower fits into the scene around it.  While I most always have a main subject, I also try to have secondary subjects or additional points of interest that will attract the viewer’s attention.  I want to entice viewers to enjoy and stay involved with my image as long as possible!  My philosophy is that the longer an image can hold a viewer’s interest and attention, the more value it has for that person."