Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Big Horn Sheep - Zion National Park

We were lucky to spot a herd of Big Horn Sheep while we were driving through Zion National Park.  There were mostly females and babies and they hung around the same spot for quite a while, nibbling on leaves and scrub for their evening meal.  This guy was the largest of the group, and had the largest horns, but was very elusive, staying by himself and usually hiding behind shrubbery and rocks.  I was lucky to be in the right spot to snag a couple of shots when he came out in the open briefly.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Second Place
Auckland Photo Contest - 2012

This week is the one year anniversary of one of those 'what was I thinking' moments, that at the time, I couldn't believe I did.  They say confession is good for the soul, so here is my closely guarded secret, that for the past year I've only shared with a few.

Shortly after we arrived in New Zealand for our mission in 2011, I was delighted to hear of an annual, month long photography festival.  There were special events, classes, photography shows, renowned photographers from all over the world presenting classes and lectures on all aspects of photography, throughout the Auckland area during the month of June.  

As part of the festival there is one day designated as a contest day.  Any one can enter photos relating to the theme, 'My Day in Auckland'.  The main requirement is that the submitted photos must be taken only on that day.  Since it was a Saturday, Jeff and I decided to explore downtown Auckland, and of course, I took my camera.  It was fun to see multitudes of photographers everywhere we went, taking photos for the contest.  At the end of the day, I decided to enter a few of my photos, and as I expected, I won nothing!

Fast forward to the next year when I started receiving emails announcing the events for the festival coming in June, 2012.  I clicked the link to the festival website and looked at all the winning photographs from the last year.  I noticed many of them were not typical photos of the beautiful scenery and sights of New Zealand, but often included people in compositions that were more unusual or even quirky.

The day of the festival photo contest I was up earlier than Jeff, and as I walked past the bedroom door and glanced in, I saw Jeff in bed, with his feet sticking out, and beautiful blue sky above his head.  I immediately had this composition come to me, with his feet in focus, (showing the havoc New Zealand weather had on his skin), and the rest of him in soft focus.  I hurried and got my camera and got the shot.  I thought it was a funny photo and on a whim, asked him permission to include it with the other two photos I was going to submit that I really liked and hoped might catch the judges' attention.  

I didn't think anymore about it until a few weeks later when I received word that I was awarded second place with this photo over around 1500 other entries.  First I was shocked, then I was pleased, and finally I was horrified!  Although there is nothing revealing or wrong with the photo, this certainly is not a very dignified pose for a missionary!!!  To add to my dismay, the photo and my name were published in the newspapers and on the web.  I held my breath for about a month afterwards, waiting for someone at church, or our other missionary friends, or some one at the church area office building where we worked, to mention they had seen the photo, but if any one did see it, they never mentioned it to me.

At the time, I did tell a close friend and photographer who lives in the Auckland area.  About a month ago she sent me a copy of the brochure used to advertise this year's festival, and sure enough, they used my photo.  Sigh!  Luckily Jeff is a good sport and was not too concerned about the whole thing.  

There now, I feel much better with that off my chest.  By the way, below are the other two photos I entered in that contest:


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Garden Bouquet

Flowers From My Garden and Mom's Tea Cup

You know, sometimes snapping the shot and trying to 'get it right in the camera', is just not enough for me.  Don't get me wrong, I love taking pretty pictures and I try to improve my 'in camera' skills, but sometimes that just doesn't satisfy my creative side.  I'm one of those photographers who love the artistic possibilities that technology has given us, and sometimes I find great satisfaction in using a photo as a starting point, and then creating my interpretation of the image.  

I was enjoying my garden this morning and decided I wanted to remember my peonies and yellow roses before they disappeared.  As I snipped a few and stuck them in a green plastic glass and set them on the counter, I remembered how much my mother loved flowers and gardening, which she did until about 6 months before her death at age 96.  Growing up in California where we had flowers year round, she would always have a camellia or two floating in a bowl of water, or a single hibiscus or gardenia, or a couple of roses in a bud vase, adorning our kitchen table.  But only a few at a time, because she would really rather enjoy them outdoors in their natural setting.  As I looked at my bouquet, I remembered a tea cup of my mom's, that complimented the colors of my flowers.  (She collected tea cups and was a china painter.)  I added the cup and saucer to my composition and took my photo.  When I downloaded it to the computer, it just begged me to add some editing pizazz, and the above photo is the result.  Below is the shot SOOTC (straight out of the camera). 

(In addition to the dust specks and light switch detracting from this composition, it is also under exposed.)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sea of Sego Lilies

Sego Lily - State flower of Utah
Between 1840 and 1851 food was very scarce in Utah due to a crop-devouring plague of crickets.  During this time the pioneers learned to dig up and eat the soft, bulbous root of the sego lily. 

This past weekend we had a wonderful time in Moab and Arches National Park with family.  While on one of our RZR rides, (side-by-side 4 wheelers), we came upon this beautiful field of yellow wild flowers followed by another beautiful sea of sego lilies.  I don't think I've ever seen so many sego lilies in one place at one time.  As is typical when we travel, I see some of my favorite scenes in the middle of the day, and this was no exception.  Here it is mid day with glaringly bright sun creating harsh shadows and washing out all the colors.... not at all conducive for great photography.....or for that matter, even semi-good photography.  As Joel Sartore, (a photographer for National Geographic), said in a workshop I attended, "good light is good and bad light is bad"!  So true!  Anyway, I did more editing than usual to try to make this less bad!!!!

Monday, June 3, 2013

June Desktop Image

Arches National Park, Utah

Usually when people photograph this rock formation, Balanced Rock, (just right of center), is the main attraction.  The day we were there, (however), the airplane contrails definitely decided that the formation on the left side should have a little attention.

As usual, feel free to go HERE and download a higher resolution copy for your desktop.  Share with friends, but please do not use for commercial purposes.