” You’re a Butterfly …

…  and butterflies are free to fly,

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butterfly

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            … fly away, high away, bye bye ”  

                                                                                                           Sir Elton

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Butterflies are beautiful flying insects with large scaly wings. Like all insects, they have six jointed legs, 3 body parts, a pair of antennae, compound eyes, and an exoskeleton. The three body parts are the head, thorax (the chest), and abdomen (the tail end).

The butterfly’s body is covered by tiny sensory hairs. The four wings and the six legs of the butterfly are attached to the thorax. The thorax contains the muscles that make the legs and wings move. wiki

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The average adult butterfly lives for only two weeks.  As adults, butterflies have two basic jobs: to eat and reproduce. Butterflies are “cold-blooded” which really means that they do not generate enough heat from their own metabolism to provide them with the heat and energy they need to fly. Therefore, butterflies rely on heat absorbed from the sun.  They eat by sipping liquids, most often nectar, through their proboscis. A butterfly’s proboscis can be found curled neatly on the lower side of the head when the butterfly is not eating. When a butterfly does eat, the proboscis is extended through hydrostatic pressure into a relatively straight “straw” which it can then insert into the deep tubes of a flower in order to sip the nectar.

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This is my second month taking an on-line course with photographer Anne McKinnell.  Anne is a stunning photographer whose main interest lies in capturing the beauty of landscapes. I have been following her for over a year now, and jumped at the chance to join in on one of her classes. Last month we concentrated on the weather, and how to portray it. This month it is all about the critters that crawl or fly. If anything were to crawl, you’d better believe I’m not in the same room, soooo, I went to the Peggy Notebart Museum to shoot the butterflies.

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drinking the nectar of the gods ….

This was a fun assignment, I love shooting something new and out of my ordinary. I will be critiqued by Anne and the other students, then I will reshoot with the C&C in mind. The class is small and Anne is very hands on, the reason I decided to sign up.

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This last photo is the one I admitted to the forum. I like it for a couple  reasons. 1) I love the soothing color scheme, brown is beautiful … and 2) I love the shallow depth of field that draws your eye right to the eye of the butterfly. Simplicity is key in this image. It looks as if Madame Butterfly is stepping out tonight, and ready to spread her wings…

 

Savannah, with love …

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It is always fun to visit family, especially when they are as gracious and fun-loving as EddietheCruiser and the ConArtist. This past week I spent time with them in their lovely home, in the even lovelier city of Savannah, Georgia. At a comfortable Southern pace we hit the marsh, the two of them are a team, a team who love to show and tell. We explored from the Islands to the city, from the historic district to Fort Pulaski, back to the shores and everything in between, no stone was left unturned.

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Savannah-6“Savannah’s recorded history begins in 1733. That’s the year General James Oglethorpe and the 120 passengers of the good ship “Anne” landed on a bluff high along the Savannah River. Oglethorpe named the 13th and final American colony “Georgia” after England’s King George II. Savannah became its first city.

The plan was to offer a new start for England’s working poor and to strengthen the colonies by increasing trade. Under the original charter, individuals were free to worship as they pleased and rum, lawyers and slavery were forbidden – for a time.Savannah-2

Upon settling, Oglethorpe became friends with the local Yamacraw Indian chief, Tomochichi. Oglethorpe and Tomochichi pledged mutual goodwill and the Yamacraw chief granted the new arrivals permission to settle Savannah on the bluff. As a result, the town flourished without warfare and the accompanying hardship that burdened many of America’s early colonies.” wiki

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Savannah is known as America’s first planned city. Oglethorpe laid the city out in a series of grids that allowed for wide open streets intertwined with shady public squares and parks that served as town meeting places and centers of business. Savannah had 24 original squares; 22 squares are still in existence today.

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I suppose you are curious as to where the images of the squares and beautiful architecture are ?  Well I tried, but my eye cannot see that type of photography … yet.  Yes, I did snap off many, but that is just what the are, snapshots. So I decided to capture the ambiance of Savannahs laid back Southern charm the way I see it, from my lens to yours.

Savannah 1-3

This is a Live Oak Tree drenched in Spanish Moss. The moss lives non-parasitically upon another plant. It derives its moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, and sometimes from debris accumulating around it, instead of the structure it is fastened to.  While it rarely kills the trees, it lowers their growth rate by reducing the amount of light to a tree’s own leaves.

The South is a way of life, not just another pretty face or geographic location. The beauty of Savannah also lies in its terrain, and can rein in the Northern pace with the simple rising of its tides.

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Savannah 1 … Savannah 2-4

 

If you can feel the Southern warmth that I have tried to portray, then mission accomplished, if not I can only get better.

Thank you Eddie and Connie for 5 days (ago) of pure delight that I will cherish forever. A time filled with shrimp and grits, music, laughter and giggles.  Remember !  what  happens in Savannah ….

 

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.                                    Happy Birthday Connie !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Split Personality …

I can hear my husband now, ”split personality ?  I’d say !”  

Spring is Near-5

Well, that’s not what I’m saying, I’m referring to my photography.  I can peg myself as the Queen of the up close and personal, however I’m hooked, line and sinker, on the wide-angle view. I have been reviewing my photos from the past two years, and I am amazed at how easy it was to delete many of them. I had kept them around to remind me of where I started, and to see how far I’d come. Since I have moved off of the table and into the field, I can see, and critique, better than before. Yes, I heard you, but I couldn’t see it.

Whoa, look at the muffin !!  Back off chubby!

What I realize now is that I did not welcome the viewer to enter into the frame, I stopped you at the entrance. This is my epiphany, right here, and right now, as I type.  It will be interesting to see how I use it.

In the meantime, I am working on photographing ‘weather’.  Today I will show you that Spring is near.

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ice

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My typical style is to zero in on a subject and to shoot wide, allowing the background to become blurred …. hence, a beautiful Bokeh.  Bokeh has been defined as “the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light”, and occurs for parts of the scene that lie outside the depth of field range. The first two images capture that scenario, but I wouldn’t call them suitable for framing.

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Spring is Near-3

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I took several photos of this icicle, a few different times, and each time with different camera settings.  These two were captured with an ISO of 200 at f11 and shutter speed of 1/1000. I was shooting with my 60mm micro lens.

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Spring

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I wasn’t crazy about any of these captures, so I went back outside to try again, only to find that my icicle had melted….

   So there’s your proof !    Happy Spring    …

 

I’ve Got The Blues …

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Yes, I’ve got the blues…  You see my son, my one and only, my pride and joy, is heading off to college next year.  I realize a mothers job is never-ending, but on a day-to-day basis my main purpose in life will be coming to a halt. At first the phone calls will be frequent, then they will taper off, and the next thing you know it’s the obligatory call on Sunday. Ohhh, but wait, welcome to the 21st century ! … I can text him, I can facebook him, I can Skype him, I can email him, I can viber him, and I can call him anywhere at anytime !!   Now who has the blues?

St. Louis

I’m just having fun, the real reason I’ve got the blues is because I’m in St. Louis.  I’ve got the St. Louis Blues ! My one and only was accepted to SLU, St. Louis University.  A fine institution run by the Jesuits in a city with the down home mid-western hospitality that keeps a mothers worries at bay….

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Also home to St. Louis is the Gateway Arch, a 630-foot high monument clad in stainless steel and built in the form of a flattened catenary arch. It is the tallest man-made monument in the United States, and was built as a tribute to the western expansion of the United States. It has also become the internationally famous symbol of St. Louis.

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The arch was designed by Finnish-American architect and industrial designer Eero Saarinen, kin to my pal Kip. Eero was famous for varying his style according to the demands of the project: simple, sweeping, arching structural curves or machine-like rationalism.  Construction began on February 12, 1963, and was completed on October 28, 1965, at a total cost of $13 million USD. The monument opened to the public on June 10, 1967 and is now considered one of the masters of American 20th-century architecture.  wiki

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One of the several challenges for me was how to capture the Arch with a different twist, a new angle or perspective.

Well, I think every angle possible has been photographed of this monument, and a new dimension to this subject is slim. The “difference” here is that I took these photos. I shot some photos as the sun was rising, I captured the afternoon light, and I went back out to fiddle in the dark. The early bird shoot was tough, I had spent the evening with old and dear friends, then continued to photograph after that. The morning rolled around quickly, and a much-needed hour was lost in space, only to be found in the Fall. I slapped the buzzer and wondered if I really wanted to get out of bed, get dressed, stumble to the elevator, and face the morning light. My next thought was that I’d never know what I could do if I didn’t try. So I tried, hence the “difference.”

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Morning Light

My Mac Attack …

The Big Mac, The Mighty Mac, The Mackinaw Bridge

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The Mackinaw Bridge was designed by the great engineer David B. Steinman and opened on November 1, 1957. The structure took 48 months to complete with over 3, 500 workers and $99,800,000 dollars. The Big Mac stretches 8,614 feet making it the fourth longest suspension bridge in the world. With a total span of approximately 5 miles, the Mackinac Bridge connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan uniting Mackinaw City with St. Ignace.

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Mackinaw Bridge 3 . Mackinaw Bridge 1

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The main bridge cables are made from 42,000 miles of wire, and the towers stand 554 feet above the water, and 210 feet below to the bedrock. The engineering of the Mighty Mac was designed to accommodate the high winds, temperature changes, and constant changes of weight. In severe conditions the deck at center span could move up to 35 feet. Under more subtle conditions, the deck could move slowly in one direction based on the force and direction of the winds.    wiki

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Not sure what my fascination is with bridges lately, but I couldn’t wait to snap this one. I rented a wide angle lens, which is out of sorts for the queen of UC&P, hopped in the car, and with my husband took the 406 mile trek to Northern Michigan.  I am also hooked on Night Photography. I had visions of grandeur in my head knowing how spectacular this bridge would be to photograph, and it was!   Wow ! The Mackinaw Bridge..

*89,000 blueprints
* 71,300 tons of structural steel
* 931,000 tons of concrete
* 4,851,700 steel rivets
* 1,016,600 steel bolts .
* 350 engineers
* 522 feet tall
* 1,024,500 tons in total weight
* 7,500 men and women that worked in quarries, shops, mills
* 1951 Chevrolet Styleine Deluxe owned by Albert Carter was the first car to cross the Mackinac Bridge

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It was another bitter cold day, my fingers could not take more than 10 minutes of clicking away.  We’d shoot one location, warm up enroute to the next, and shoot again. Yes, I use the term ‘we’ as my husband has also taken a fancy to the camera. His shots are good, sometimes really good, but I’ll be jiggered if his are better than mine, that just won’t do !

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We worked the bridge. We photographed every angle possible to us, and from all 4 sides. Please click on the images for better viewing.

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I never would have gotten this shot on my own, I never would have thought to shoot thru a window.  As it went, the “driver”  was taking the picture (?!) so I protested in a clear and deliberate tone, ” I’ll get it, I’ll get it ! “,  and viola!  I got it!   Looks like a photo from the early 60′s.

Around the dinner hour we stopped at the Key Hole Bar in Mackinaw City, inhaled a hot toddy, or two, and devoured some delicious appetizer’s. My buddy Scoot and her Old Man were there to join us. It’s always a pleasure to see friendly faces from the past, especially theirs.

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This shot looks as though the Northern Lights may have been out, but we weren’t that lucky. However, there was a full moon, we saw it for a brief moment but my fingers weren’t quick enough to fiddle, they were moving slow motion frozen.

 

To my surprise, and delight, I like many of my photos from our trip to Mackinaw City in Northern Michigan. I have more to share, but the fear of boring you enhances my fear of losing you …  This will be for another time, on another day.  So, until then, stay warm and stay dry, but don’t stay inside …..

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.                                                                                            Paradise Lake, Michigan

Mackinaw Bridge

Q.T.Hush …

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Feb 8,2014-18

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I had the opportunity to shoot another Q.T. Hush feast, but this time I was seated at the table. I partook in the full ‘Kindred’ experience, how lucky was I?

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Feb 8,2014-5

My photos are good, but they did not turn out as well as my first clandestine event. So, per Angela, I will explain to you why.

My first and foremost issue was the lighting. I brought with me my table top light, the Lowell Ego. The light emitted from my Lowell is ‘daylight’. Also shining brightly in the same room were a few floor lamps, which brings me to problem number 1:  incandescent light (tungsten) vs. daylight.

“Daylight and soft white light refer to the correlated color temperature that the bulb emits, measured in degrees Kelvin. The higher the number, the brighter or colder (bluish) the light, and the lower the number, the softer or warmer (yellowish) the light. Daylight bulbs generally emit greater than 5,000K, shedding a colder light, while soft white light bulbs emit less than 3,000K and shed a warmer light.”   wiki

It was my mistake, I thought I could get away with it, I thought I could fix the ‘problem’ in post processing.  Yes, someone with more experience may be able to, I tried but these images still look grey to me, my whites just aren’t white.

You can see the tungsten light source on the left rim of this bowl, my lighting is coming from the right side.

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Feb 8,2014-11

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Problem number 2:  Can I multi-task? Can I shoot and eat and shoot and eat ?

I gave it a good shot! (hee hee), but I like to work my subject, and take my time.  I love toying with different angles and different focal points. Depth of field is a must play, and concentration is right up there with it. I have one more secret dining adventure to photograph. I will have to let the party roll at its proper pace, and I will join in when I can. Photographing these ‘edible delights’ is my party of choice..

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Feb 8,2014-3

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Problem number 3: As John has told me many times, look, then look again. Something may be awry, whether it is a stray alfalfa sprout, or a smudge on the side of the dish….. look again!

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Feb 8,2014-14.

On the whole I like these images. I opened them last night, took a quick peek, and hoped they’d look that much better in the morning.  And they did … (it’s my theory of aging.)

The dinner was a smash. The invite list was hush hush, the menu a surprise, and the meal, well, as you can see it was out of this world. We were served 11 courses. After each final bite I was focused on the next entre’, could it be as good as …?  The answer was yes! the next plate was just as good as, or better than the last.  When all was said and done and my napkin placed back on the table, I waddled out the door, and rolled into my car.

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Feb 8,2014

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The chef has titled these events as “Kindred”.

Definition: natural relationship.  Kindred Spirit: having the same belief, attitude, or feeling.

We all savored a Kindred Dining Experience ….

 

When all else fails ….

lie!   No just kidding!  I have nothing new to show you this week.  Yes, I took some pictures, but what I mean to say is that I have nothing presentable, nothing to show for my efforts. This past week was a bust. I couldn’t get anything right through the eye of my lens. Sooo, the next best thing is to post an older shot, or two. 

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Chicago Train Station

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These photos were taken that same bitter cold night that my husband and I gallivanted around the city in the wee hours. Trains are always a must shoot. Every young boy in America couples a train car in his hand, and wakes up with it in the morning. The fascination with railcars is never ending. Great movies were filmed in or around the tracks. ‘Doctor Zhivago’, ‘Murder on the Orient Express’, ‘North by Northwest’, and one of my favorites,’ Planes, Trains and Automobiles’.

This shot below was taken after closing at the Navy Pier. A guard was hollering at me to move along. He seemed to think I was in a precarious spot, but I heard my husband say to him, ” Let her just take the picture please”. However, that didn’t stop him, he kept his pace, and his focus. Fortunately I was clicking away at that very moment.

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Navy Pier

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This frigid night was a success. Did my luck run out?  I sure hope not …

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