My Summer of Bliss …

Blissfest. I started to tell you about this event before, but my site prematurely published, so here we go again…   Bliss-5

This very cool festival is a three day musical romp in the woods, the woods of Northern Michigan. “Blissfest” has been around for 34 years and it only gets better. This musical event is organized, clean, friendly, and a throw back to the 60′s. Let me show you:

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Bliss-18. Bliss Fest 2014-5

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bf-5‘Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers’ is the band that I followed. I’d like to represent them in Chicagoland, they are that good!

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BlissThe food at Bliss is also good. Mostly fresh, some organic and some gourmet. All of the meals go well with a side of mushrooms and a brownie for dessert… can’t have it any other way!

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bf.bf-2. Pete, is that you??

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Blissfest is rated number 5 in the country for ‘family entertainment’(so I was told). There is a main band shell and two other stages that are hosting music at all times, 4 kiva’s, and several spots for children to play, paint, and dance. I neglected to show you that side of Bliss because I wanted to capture the ambience. I hope you could ‘feel the bliss’.

We, family and friends, are already planning for next year. We have two campsites, a 10×10 tent, carpets, tye-dyed boundaries with beads, two large coolers, plenty of blankets, chairs and tables, lights, cameras, and action….  What do you say? Wanna go? 

 

 

 

 

Planes, Trains, and …

Automobiles ….

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Cars and more cars. I am surrounded by mechanics, geeks, oil, and gas !   I rank second to a Viper, and third to a Challenger. The gal my boys fancy has a chassis, an axel, a pair of headlamps, and a tail pipe, how can I compete?    I should have had a clue when my husband presented me with my very own license plate, personalized with our initials. It was our first Valentines …..

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In my family cars aren’t just a way of life, they breathe life. ‘Our’ cars are treated like royalty. They are pampered and spoiled, scrubbed and bathed, dressed and diapered. Their palace resides behind our hut. In this manor every hook has a tool, every screw has a drawer, and every nook has a tranny.  My boys to men are serious !

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Now lets fast forward to 2014.

The drive to SLU, where my son will be attending college, is a monotonous drive. En route there are two car dumps, I mean depots, that we must stop and see … every time.  My well oiled boys circle each and every buggy, they hem and they haw, then they circle again. It’s nothin’ but fun !

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So you ask, what about poor me? Well, not wanting to see the art of the hand-written note fall to the wayside I have started a note card business using my photos. I also want to emphasize the importance of manners. Remember, manners can open many doors…   Well, after handing my son card after card of blueberries or watermelons to express his gratitude, I decided to make, for him, his own personalized stationary. I photographed other focal points, but for this post I felt the deer in the ‘headlight’ look was fitting.

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Now I thoroughly enjoy our visits to these dealerships, it’s an hour or more of sheer delight. These two automobile establishments have something to offer each of us. Perhaps it’s an old muscle car, a dilapidated Ford F50, or some rusted-out, fallin’-off, beaten to hell front fender. What ever the draw is, remember, ‘beauty is in the eyes of the beholder’,  and a simple ‘thank you’ is long remembered…

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Summertime, and the living …..

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… is easy

The Blue Light Special …

What is this Blue Light ?  I have heard about it but have never taken advantage of it, until now …

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“The blue hour is the period of twilight each morning and evening when the sun is a significant distance below the horizon and the residual, indirect sunlight takes on a predominantly blue hue. This effect is caused by the relative diffusability of short blue wavelengths of light versus the longer red wavelengths. During the blue “hour” (typically the period is about 40 minutes in length), red light passes straight into space while blue light is scattered in the atmosphere and therefore reaches the earth’s surface. Because of the quality of the light, this period is treasured by artists. Photographers call it “the sweet light.”  wiki

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The images above were captured around 9:50pm in Northern Michigan.  I did not add a tint to these scenes, they are truly blue photos taken during the ‘blue hour’. When photographing for the richer tone, keep the direction of the sun at your back. In the evening shoot to the East, and for the morning light shoot to the West.

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The two above images were taken around 5:20am … again, no color added. Not sure I fancy the hue, but this ‘hour’ can produce stunning images.

In English culture the term was used to describe the period of inactivity and uselessness a drinker encounters when pubs and other licensed premises have closed after the lunch-time session (typically 3:30 pm), but have not yet opened for the evening session (typically 6:30 pm). The blue hour has now been largely abolished in England, Scotland, and Wales in favor of all-day opening…. just a fun fact.

Capturing the blue hour requires a steady platform and a longer exposure than normal daytime photos. While many cameras now include image stabilization (VR) either in the camera body or in specific lenses, most of your blue hour exposures  will be long enough to require an actual tripod, … right up my alley. Because of the fading light strength, and a smaller aperture to capture the detail, your exposure will be seconds long.  Some of the water in my images look as smooth as glass, that is due in part to the length of my exposure.

Because I usually shoot with a fixed lens, (one focal length), manual focus, and on a tripod, the VR,(vibration reduction switch), is of no use to me. However, I do have a couple of newer telephoto lenses with the VR feature. Here is a tip worth its weight in gold …  When using a tripod ALWAYS turn the VR switch off. It is counter-productive, and your lens will adjust regardless. The out come is a photo less than sharp. I had to learn this the hard way, I thought it was my eyes. Perhaps you can tell in a few of the above shots where I forgot to turn the VR switch off …. typical and frustrating on my part.

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Wedding Inspired …

 

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My post today was inspired by the most beautiful flowers I had ever laid eyes on. Last weekend I attended the wedding of my niece and was captivated by the thousands and thousands of ‘wedding white’ flowers. Yes, all white. Who would have known how beautiful a lack of color could be.

I started this shoot with the intent of capturing only the anemic in color, but that just wouldn’t do. After one of the whitest winters in years, I couldn’t resist a palette that was rich in hues.

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The Calla Lily is a Southern African plant which has a white funnel-shaped spathe exposing a yellow spadix.

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All of these images were taken with my 40mm micro lens, a lens that I have neglected. Glad I gave it another shot!

I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t know the names of some of these flowers, although I did when I was shooting them. After I cropped these images I hadn’t a clue as to what they were. It’s amazing what the naked eye can and cannot see. The up close and personal sheds light on a totally new world where only Horton can hear a Who. Recently I joined The Garden Club, perhaps it’s time to brush up on my blossoms.

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Ahh, the Rose  …  any of the wild or cultivated, usually prickly-stemmed, pinnate-leaved, showy-flowered shrubs of the genus Rosa.  Bella !

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“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly,

our whole life would change”   buddha  

 

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Uno Mas …

 … or dos mas butterflies to show …..

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….. win, or place .

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The Prairie Bread Kitchen …

A few weeks ago I stopped in The Prairie Bread Kitchen to grab a cup of java to go. I noticed original artwork hanging on the walls. Hmmm, what does one have to do to get hung on that wall?  

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.                                                                                                     click on the Rustic Italian, it is to die for

Then I asked myself, ‘what more could a food establishment want then to have photos of their edible delights hanging on their walls?’ So I bought a loaf, tucked it under my arm, and headed for home.

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ham and cheese scone…deeeelicious!

Doran Payne is the owner of the PBK, and former Chef of the Four Seasons Hotel. In 1995 Doran left his home on the Island of St. Lucia and headed to Europe to begin his culinary training. 8 years and 5 cities later Doran landed in Chicago. He purchased the PBK in 2009 and has continued to grow his reputation with some of the most delicious bread, among other edible delights, in Chicagoland.  The trendy downtown restaurant with an exceptional reputation, The Purple Pig, buys their bread from Doran… impressive? I’d say!    

Doran and I got together one afternoon to discuss ideas. To my delight the Chef also shares a photographic eye and the love of the macro lens, the up close & the personal. That little tidbit, my dear Watson, was the clincher!

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Photographing food is different from other photography. All photography is about the light, but food is that much harder, for me. Don’t ask me to explain, I really can’t, you will just have to take my word for it. I am also not a stylist, but along with the lighting I have learned more and more. Rarely do I use light other than ambient light, and I am now more adept at controlling my light. It may take several different sessions, at different times of the day, but that’s what fuels my energy. I’d say I’m a decent photographer, probably better than the ‘average’ bear, but it’s a long and winding road …, I just have to keep-on keeping on …

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.                                                                                                                              cinnamon bun …OMG

I am not going to show you all of the photos that will be hung on the wall of delights, but I do have one more to share. I hope your glands are salivating, it took everything in me not to eat this ham and turkey sandwich on Emmental Cheese bread before I photographed it. So, when you stop in for a slice, a sammy, a loaf, or a bowl, remember …. “never resist your KNEAD to EAT !”

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                                  May 1st – May 31st

                      103 Marion Street, Oak Park, Illinois 60301 / tel 708.445.1234

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