Fall Colors

The autumn colors are almost always guilty of giving a touch of envy to a person with a camera.  Many folks will come forth with oh’s, oooh’s and aaaw’s when they see the beautiful fall colors that nature gives us.  I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love to see the green trees, a field of green farmer’s crops, but it’s always very special to see the fall colors.

The northern west coast of Oregon to the Columbia river or all of western Washington to the Puget Sound gives some of the most vivid autumn colors of anywhere in the nation.  Oh yes, I have heard of the “New England” majestic colors, but I guess it’s where you are at the time and whatever you prefer.  I have heard that there are some pretty awesome colors in Michigan too, but I have not seen them. 

 Take this as one example:

Oregon flal colors, thank you AddieTaken just south of Portland, Oregon

My thanks to a good friend, Addie Isaacs

I have seen colors such as these because the northwest is my home and we lived there for many years as well.  We did find ourselves in McMinnville (south west of Portland, Oregon) one fall, and found colors like this.  I cannot tell you how much we enjoyed it.  Unfortunately, all those photos were lost.

 I’m sure that there are many places that can give beautiful autumn colors found in many parts of the world, but also, there are many places that do not have the capability of enjoying colors such as this.

New_1_Woodenville Oregon

My thanks to a good friend, Addie Isaacs

Where we currently live, we get God’s colors in a different way.  The next pictures I took out of our back yard, looking west.  We live 40 miles east of Tucson, Arizona.

Blog #30 - GUsed the flash – see the tree trunk?

Blog #30 - EMy last picture is one I am very proud of.  I took it with one of those little “hide in your pocket” flat cameras.

 Blog #30 - F

When you are taking pictures of what the fall season brings you, remember that there are also memories involved, so do a short written bio on each one.  Include the date, time and any detail that will enforce the memory, or maybe fill in the blanks for someone that enjoys the photos at some later time, even when you aren’t there.

Here’s hoping you thoroughly enjoy the fall and all it offers wherever you are.



Posted in Photo Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Working towards Getting Better Landscape Pictures

Many times you see a picture of something that some else took, but you remember taking that same picture earlier, and yours just doesn’t have the “bang” you wanted in your shot.  I’ve done that, and I’m sure you have as well.  Let’s look at what some of the professionals give their helpful suggestions – for free!  After all, everyone would like to be known for something that gives just a little edge in their favor.

Landscape Photography is one of the most widespread challenges anyone can face.  There are just so many things to watch for, such as the rule of thirds, or where is the light coming from, or more personal, will I get a picture with my finger in it?  You have to plan ahead, even on something that will not be moving or changing – but will it ??    Light and angle of light is always changing, so plan for it.

What’s in the foreground?  Background?  Light?  Angle?  What else?

If you’re a “snap-shooter, or the pre-planner, the one with the tri-pod, light meter and who knows what else, it doesn’t really matter.  What does matter is the end result – the planned end result.

 Blog 38   This picture is a very good picture of the Grand Canyon.  It shows a lot of depth and distance.  It also shows that there wasn’t one single cloud in the sky for the something other than blue and nothing in the “rule of thirds”.  There is nothing wrong with the picture.  In fact, this does tell a lot of the story of the canyon.  But —- (yes, I know, sometimes you just can’t get a better picture.)

 Blog 38 d

This picture is a little better.  Note the rule of thirds where there is something in the foreground that shows depth.  Still not the best, but getting there.

 Blog 38 F

This is the best of the three.  Changed location, different angle, different time (sun in different angle) and rule of thirds still apply.  Land mass is closer, giving more detail of the background.  This angle also gave the tree top which added to the picture.  All three pictures taken the same day, and in the deep winter so you will see some white spots here and there – snow.  It was very cold this day, and we had a wind chill to cope with as well.

One thing you might not realize, is the third picture places a lot of stress on the 3-D effect, even though the actual picture is a flat 2-D photo.  I won’t even try to go into why the brain is fooled into thinking it sees 3-D, but it does.  Also, I did not change the contrast nor play with the color.  This is actually what the camera saw.

AND — to show another difference, all three of these were taken with one of those little flat cameras, the one you carry in your pocket.  This camera is not my preference because of the danger of taking a lot of shots of a finger here and a thumb there.  We don’t have that problem anymore. 

By the way, take lots and lots of pictures, 2 or 3 of each thing you shoot.  The digital camera pictures are free, no film to buy, no fees for development – none of that.  Keep the best and dump the rest.

Landscape photography is very challenging – believe me.  There are things you don’t see in landscape pictures.  The conditions the photographer was in at the time he/she got the shot.  When we were taking the pictures of the Grand Canyon we were fighting higher winds with below freezing temperatures. Blog 38 G

I have seen breathtaking pictures of scenery, but where the photographer was up to his waste in cold mountain stream waters, or on the beach fighting wind and rain just to get that shot of waves crashing down on the sandy shore.

 Just have pity on your friendly photographer.  You have no idea what some people will do or go through just to get a picture —







Posted in Photo Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A challenge – Do an Interview

Try this one.  Ask a friend for an interview with pictures.  Have fun at it, and get the pictures.  It might be good practice for later in life, but right now, it will make a treasure of memories.

Try to pick a subject that is a favorite of his or her, and expand on it.  You could make this into a blog or even an article for publication if you handle it and have the proper pictures to back your content.

Does one of your friends like animals?  Get them to talk about it and what they like about their involvement in the animal family.  Find out why they want to get involved.  Let me explain it like this.

Blog #16 DLook closely at the picture and see all of it.  Notice that the little goat is about half asleep and seems to be very content.  Maybe it has a full tummy and is nice and warm.  This little baby outdoor animal is resting on carpet – different??  How about the apparent sofa he (or she) is against?  Now are you beginning to get an unusual mental picture with questions?

An interview with the owner would tell you a lot.  I know that this baby was rejected by its mom, and it’s wintertime with frost on the ground.  She brought the baby in, feeds it with a bottle and it’s kept in its own box by a heater.  She is saving the life of a young goat – that’s the story behind the picture.  Think of what your interview could give you.

Let’s try another one.

Seattle Trip - July 117What’s the story about seeing the butt end of a lot of boats?   Doesn’t say much, does it?  If you could interview someone that knew about it, it could be very interesting, especially if your interests are special vacations.

I know that this was taken on lake Coeur D’ Alene, Idaho.  It’s one of the most beautiful lakes I have ever been on.  True, it isn’t as popular as Lake Tahoe on the California/Nevada border, but it is none the less a fabulous lake to visit and vacation on.  This particular boat basin is on the north end of the lake and has almost all a person could want.  The stroll down town is very pleasant with some places serving sidewalk lunch opportunities with scenes like this one below.  They have these “flower balls” hung on many of the light poles down the streets.

Seattle Trip - July 130Interviewing and using your camera can give some very interesting facts with gorgeous pictures of many subjects.  Do be a little careful with taking pictures of people and the intent of selling them.  If you don’t have the proper signed permission paperwork you could find yourself on the freeway to a big law suit.

Relax and enjoy whatever you do.  Make it interesting and entertaining, and while doing all that, make better memories with your pictures.  Don’t forget to add the word picture to explain what it is that you’re looking at when.  You also need the information of the person you interviewed but be sure and get permission before you print any personal information – get permission.  Just imagine what you can create ————

Posted in Photo Tips, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Playing With Clipping and Contrast in the Computer

There are a lot of ways to enhance a picture after the camera is done and you are working with them in the computer.  One word of caution, however — make a copy and work with the copy.  If you wreck it, make another copy — If you wreck the original, there is no backing up.

Let me show you something!

Pine coneAs the camera saw the image (with the built-in telephoto)

New_1_Pine coneI adjusted the Clipping and edging in the computer

 There are so many different ways to get a great picture if you just plan ahead a little.  Sometimes, while you are editing, you will also find something you didn’t plan on, and that gives you an even greater bonus.

 Ever see a flower within a flower ???  Not like this one I bet –

Cactus Flower

A simple but beautiful cactus flower – Right ?

flower in a flower Now, go back and look at the flower above this one and you will find the smaller flower, but did you actually notice it before I clipped and enhanced it ?  I didn’t notice it until I had the pictures on the computer and was really looking them over.  I consider these to be bonus pictures.  One that you see I actually planned it with the pine cone, but the other one is an added bonus.

 When planning a specific picture, be sure to include in your planning the light source – if it is needing enhancement (flash) or no.  Also, look at the angle of your shoot, one angle will be good and from a different side, not so good.  To use the zoom or not — Be aware of what you are doing.

As I have said many times, never edit from your camera, wait until you have it on the computer, just to make sure you don’t miss something.  That beautiful rose picture you took just might have a bee in it, making the picture just that much nicer and it will give you an added surprise.  Never edit from the camera, just don’t do it.

 All pictures are taken with the Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR Digital Camera.(My opinion, you don’t have to have a camera with a 2 foot long lens to get great pictures.)

Posted in Photo Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Valuable Pictures Always Need Word Descriptions

In an earlier blog we chatted about the value of having word descriptions being very poor in describing a person, an item or maybe a good view.  This time, I want to stress that good pictures to go with the word description is just as important.  Just how would you describe a great sunset to someone that has never seen one?  Maybe a waterfall tumbling down the side of a hill from a deep cut in the high rocks above?  Think a little deeper and give an adequate description of a special business or an event, and do it without a picture?

Let me give you an example.  What do the pictures below mean to you?  The coffee cup painted on the window is a nice clue, maybe a restaurant or coffee shop of some sort – but is it enough?  The second picture below clears up some of the mystery, but it’s still not enough – agreed ?  DSCF0707


In that picture, the “T” in “Biscuits” is a good clue that says it’s probably somewhere in Arizona, but ——-  You did notice that, didn’t you ???

Well, let’s add to it.



The old wagon with this lovely mural painted on the side is a great hint, but if you haven’t been there before, it still doesn’t tell you very much except to peak the curiosity a little.  This picture on the side of the truck gives you the phone number, so you have enough information to track the restaurant down, but if this were an ad, it would still be a total failure if you didn’t live here.  Do you really think that someone living in Philadelphia would know where the area code “520” would be ?

 My point is that the pictures are telling you a very big overall picture of a specific subject, but you still don’t have an answer.  You need the city (Tucson, Arizona), the area (East) and some kind of a specific landmark to have a total picture.  The complete address would narrow it down specifically, but to those of you that know it’s Tucson, it’s in the middle of a strip mall on the south-west corner of Kolb and Broadway in East Tucson, that pretty well nails it.

Now, all you need is a quick description of the food, and you have all the information you need, but it does take both the word picture and the actual pictures as well.  I can vouch for the food – it’s about as close to home cooking as you can get.  Admittedly I have not had every item on the menu, (and I don’t intend to), but I do know what I like.

I’m one of those folks that really enjoy having a word picture along with a camera picture to complete the memory.  It’s been said that a “picture is worth a thousand words”, and I believe it’s true, but I also believe the words along with the picture are just as important – especially for later generations.  If you’re creating memories, use a little common sense and complete the picture before you quit.

 Take multiples of pictures but not with the same pose.  Take a couple shots – then you move a couple steps left and take more.  Go a few steps in the other direction and get some more shots.  Experiment with angles, distance, and light.  Back up a little from the subject and use the telephoto in your experiments.  You’ll end up with 15 pictures or so, maybe more, but take my word for it, it will be well worth it as you’ll get one or two shots that give you want you want.

Never try to edit with your camera, you stand to lose a prize winning shot if you drop the picture without putting it in your computer first.  Edit from the computer, never from the camera.  Keep the best – dump the rest.

 All pictures above are with a(Fuji FinePix HS30EXR Digital Camera)

Posted in Photo Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Look Around, Be Aware Of What’s Behind You

And a big welcome to you with another little tip or two on getting those better memory pictures.  This time I want to chat a bit about being more aware of what’s around you.  This applies to almost all phases of life.  This is an excellent tip on staying safe when you’re out; you never really know what is behind you and what your safety quotient really is.  Just be aware – stay alert!

But this also applies to God’s secrets of beauty as well.  Be aware of the magnificent display of life that circles you at all times.  To share this, you have to be ready with the camera to take advantage of the beauty.  There are all kinds of beauty around you, like the little lady bug that was on the leaf of that tomato plant you checked out earlier today.  That little red bug was a sharp contrast to the green tomato it was setting on.  Also – think about while you were checking the okra plant, you discovered those two ants in one of the blossoms.

Blog #31 - A

Now, added to this, it’s always nice to share all that beauty you’ve seen, but the only way, (at least today) – is to use a camera.  I don’t know of anyone that doesn’t enjoy something pretty, a nice flower, a sunset, a rainbow – whatever.  (Oh, I know, us guys even love the sight of a pretty lady).

I was looking over the sunset the evening of September 12, and not really very impressed.  I took a dozen pictures or so, but none of them really impressed me.  This one is the best of the bunch, and it’s pretty enough, but I wasn’t satisfied.  I figured that I would go inside and put them on the computer to see if there was anything interesting.  If not, just dump them and forget it for another day or two.

Sunset looking west Mescal Sept 12

I went around to the East side of the house, and was I ever impressed.  This is what I saw — An explosion of natural beauty.

Looking east from sunset Sept 12

Now, I am beginning to get interested.  This was taken facing east, away from the sunset.  I watched, waited, looked for different angles, using the zoom and not using it, just doing a lot of experimenting.  I walked around and looked west just to see if there was anything different – nothing.  Went back to facing east again and took more pictures.  Took 37 in all, and these are the three best ones of the bunch.  Many were pretty good, but these are the best.

I did not change the color, lens settings, nothing like that nor did I fool with the contrast or shading after it was on the picture.  This is just a few minutes different from the one above but at a different angle and using the zoom feature.  My total time invested was less than 20 minutes.

The lesson here is to play with the camera.  Use different angles, zoom vs. no zoom, maybe take pictures but be in no hurry.  Wait 10 minutes, even 5 and see if there is a change.  Remember, Multiple pictures on the digital cameras cost you nothing.  So you take 50 pictures and get only 3 or 4 that are good, look at the pay-off.  Was it worth it?  You be the judge.

From Mescal looking east away from sunset

Posted in Photo Tips, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Valuable Word Descriptions Always Go With Camera Pictures

Have you ever wondered why it is that other folks can get great pictures of family and friends, but yours seems to be all duds?  Oh yah, you take a lot of pictures, and with the advent of the newer technology of “digital photography” it’s sure a lot less expensive to “shot-gun” and hope for the best.  But even then, most of them you just throw away.  Well, I hope I can cut down on your practice and get better pictures the first time.  I’m still learning, but I try, and what works for me I’ll pass on to you.

I’ve always been interested in personal photography, at least that’s what I call it for lack of a better description.  I take lots of pictures of flowers, or various greenery, but getting good —- no – great pictures of people has always escaped me.  I am beginning to get better pictures, but I still hold to the theory of “take a bunch; put ‘em on the computer and sort, critique, pick the best, dump the rest”.

 Let’s start with some folks pictures.  A few years back we had visitors for a couple weeks or so, (life-long friends) and had multiple chances to get great pictures.  One occasion we were at a park, and my mistake was to have them stand in the sun with a background of a flowering bush.  First of all, background sucked.  Second mistake was to have them facing the sun, got gorgeous pictures of squinting eyes.  Further adding to this was I was shooting full body pictures.  Sadly, I lost every picture, couldn’t save even one for some decent memories.    Let’s look at this problem.  Operator error, big time.  First of all, I know that it was NOT the camera’s fault – period.

I was using one of those little hand held cameras that fit in your pocket.  These pictures below are from that camera.

Blog 15 BBlog 7 DYou just don’t need a commercial camera to get good memory pictures and I think this is proof.  You and your subject needs to be what is adjusted, not the camera.  There are a lot of little tips that make better pictures, just follow the ground rules, and also experiment to see what you want out of a picture.

These pictures (below) are with a newer camera, and I just happen to believe that there is no difference in quality for those special memories.

Early Snow Pea PlantBryson

Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR Digital Camera – (our personal camera)

I’m one of those folks that really enjoy having a word picture along with a camera picture to complete the memory.  It’s been said that a “picture is worth a thousand words”, and I believe it’s true, but I also believe the words along with the picture are just as important – especially for later generations.

Take the picture of that green thingie above.  Actually it’s a picture of a snow pea plant that’s just two days out of the ground.  I took it about 2 feet away using the telephoto.  I put it on the computer and worked with the size but not the colorization.  I trust the camera and what it sees when I can.  The picture now makes a lot more sense by adding the word picture to go with it.

Have you ever seen pictures that had history but they meant nothing to you?  Just who was that guy with the big mustache, or what was the picture of the house supposed to be, or maybe the elderly couple standing by that old car?  When I had to clean out my mother’s house, we had boxes of old pictures that I’m sure they meant a lot to her, but I had absolutely no idea who those folks were.  In her later life, she couldn’t remember either – no help.  I know they were probably relatives, but I had no clue to find out who they were.  End result was the pictures were destroyed but if they had been well marked; we could have passed our generation history down to our kids and grand-kids.  You really do need the word descriptions to go with the pictures.

See the young lady above that’s looking at something while she looks down.  It is as if she wasn’t aware of someone with a camera.  (She was).  The young man is very well aware of the camera, he posed for it.  That is a very natural pose for our grandson.  Notice that he has his body turned a few degrees, not head on.

If your taking pictures of folks that are outside, you have very little control of the background, but you can overcome this by being in the shade, using a flash and go for the heads and shoulders.  Get fairly close so the flash will cover all the unnecessary shadows.  You can do the clipping to get better centering etc. from the computer later, when you go for the best shot.   Remember, take a bunch, edit on the computer, keep the best – dump the rest.

Take multiples of pictures but not with the same pose.  Never have your subjects face on, but rather have them at an angle and turn their heads to face you.  Take about 3 pictures – then you move a couple steps left and take more.  Go a few steps in the other direction and get some more shots.  Have them turn just their heads to follow you but avoid the direct head on shots at all costs.  You will wind up with 15 pictures or so, but take my word for it, it will be well worth it as you’ll get one or two shots that give you want you want.

Posted in Photo Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment