Leading Lines ….

Leading lines in photography are not to be confused with ‘leading lines’.

“Michelle, did you have Lucky Charms for breakfast?” 

 ( Why yes, yes I did ! Why do you ask? ) 

“Because you look magically delicious !”

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Those types of ‘leading lines’ are cute and corny, and they cut to the chase in a very sweet way. The leading lines I am referring to are lines within an image that leads the eye to another point in the image, or occasionally, out of the image. Anything with a definite line can be a leading line. Fences, bridges, and even clouds can lead the eye. This is not a new concept to me, but it is new to me because I am now consciously looking for it. I noticed that some of my street photo’s captured a pretty strong direction. Those are the images that spurred my interest to look again.

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Let me back up a bit. I have an ‘eye’ that helps me to hang pictures on the wall, and to proportionally balance a room. That is just innate to me, but now I want to understand what it is that I see, so I am looking with intent for  ‘leading lines’.

I went to my files to look at a few of my past photo’s, I was curious to see if any of my older images were guiding my eyes. Here are a few that I came up with:

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“Leading lines are used to draw the viewers eye through a photograph. They are intentional, or unintentional, natural lines created in the space of the photograph and are used to create a visual narrative in the composition. Leading lines are also used to draw your eye to a focal point in the shot that you would like to highlight.” wiki

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In early October I was photographing with my son when I saw a man walking through the woods, so I clicked away. I hadn’t noticed that he was between two very directional leading lines. Hmmm, sometimes you just get lucky!

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“Leading lines are one of the most effective and under-utilised compositional tools available to photographers. Our eyes are naturally drawn along lines and paths in photos, as they tend to make us feel as if we’re standing within the photo itself. These leading lines are a great way to experiment with the space and create relationships between the frames of the shot, the subject matter, and the space.” (google)

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I guess I had one up on myself, not realizing what I saw, yet something seemed right. And, as you know, the only way to get better is to keep shooting, so I’m gonna keep shooting …

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I’m Walking the Streets ….

……. hittin’ the road, and pounding the pavement.

 

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What for? For me. I wanted to shake it up a bit, I needed inspiration. So what did I do? I joined a Street Photographers Club, a meet-up that took place once a week in the Windy City. The group consisted of 6 eager photographers, ready, willing, and able… and one ‘real’ photographer that shared guidance and direction.

(real= makes a living with photography)

street photographyBut what is Street Photography?

Street photography is photography that features the human condition within public places and does not necessitate the presence of a street or even the urban environment”. 

That’s the way Webster defines it.

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As my instructor defined it:

Street Photography should elicit some sort of reaction in your gut and/or heart, and it’s not just about the homeless. He referred to photographing the destitute as picking low hanging fruit, it’s there, but there is so much more if you just look. So I looked …..

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Do any of these images elicit a gut feeling ?  Yes, to me they do, however that’s a must, it’s a pre-requisite. I also enjoyed fussing with these photo’s and trying out new post processing techniques. Some of these I processed in an ‘almost’ high-key style, where light or bright tones dominate the photo, I also ‘softened’ a few to create a mood.

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These images were taken over a two month period. My instructor promised his wife he would not shoot the streets alone, and I won’t either. I know I’m too timid to cause a stir, at least for now, but I’d definitely feel better with a companion or two …. 

 

The Martini

Martinis-4Over the years, the Martini has become one of the best-known mixed alcoholic beverages. H.L. Mencken, a scholar of American English, called the Martini “the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet”

 

There is no cocktail more distinctly American than the Martini. It’s strong, sophisticated and sexy. When ordering it’s everything we hope to project, and more …. Martinis again-2

A traditional Martini is a cocktail made with gin and dry vermouth served very cold, and garnished with an olive or a lemon twist. In the Martini’s earliest formation, the ratio of gin to vermouth was 1:1, but the amount of gin has steadily increased, in fact, hold the vermouth. When the vodka replaces the gin, it’s known as a “Kangaroo,” and a “Gibson” replaces the olive for a cocktail onion.

Martini Gimlet

James Bond favors the “Vesper,”  the “true” 007 Martini, and the one that he claims to have invented in Casino Royale:

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‘A dry Martini,’ he said. ‘One. In a deep champagne goblet.’
‘Oui, Monsieur.’
‘Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large slice of lemon-peel. Got it?’

 Got it !  “Shaken, not stirred”.

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Pink Flamingo MartiniThe Martini has been associated with both the rich and famous for years, from FDR to Frank Sinatra. The famous line, “I must get out of these wet clothes and into a dry Martini”, has said to have been the invention of Peter Benchley, who was an extra on the set of the 1935 MGM film China Seas.  W.C. Fields started his day with two Double Martinis, and reportedly carried an oversized Martini shaker with him on the set.  Another who preferred to shake … rattle, and roll.

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“The popularity of the Martini never seems to wane, and it was particularly prevalent during the 1950s and 1960s, when the “three Martini lunch” was a widespread practice for cosmopolitan executives and business men. Our societal stance on daytime drinking (not to mention standards of productivity and workplace culture) have changed somewhat since the Mad Men era, and these days the Martini is more commonly consumed in the evening hours … at least on weekdays.” wiki 

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Lately, the practice of attaching the suffix “tini” to a number of cocktails is all too prevalent, particularly among fruity, sweet drinks like “appletinis,” and the “mochatini.”

Many of these drinks have little to do with the original cocktail, but are named because of their use of the V-shaped glass, often thought of as ‘The Martini Glass’.

Martini Glass

Uh uh. I know what you’re thinking. “Did she drink all six Martinis or only five? ” Well to tell you the truth in all this excitement I kinda lost track myself. But being this is a Martini shoot, the most powerful cocktail in the world, you’ve gotta ask yourself one question: “Do you want one? well do ya, punk?”

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4000 Unspoken Words

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What do I know?  I know I am one who needs a focal point to compose a picture, that’s what makes me click. Color, detail, and texture …

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 and God Bless America …

It’s not about the Camera …

…. or is it?

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I am in the thick of another temporary setback. Let me explain. It has been 2 and a half years since I started to focus on photography. I have been learning different lenses, any and all lighting, tricks of the trade, software that has me spinning, and of course my camera, a Nikon D90, not to mention how to blog ..

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cities of Ireland-2My subject of interest was, and still is food, however, lately I have been exploring different types and styles of photography. The type and style I know best, but not necessarily the best at, is the photography of food. This is due to 2 years of diligence.

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I am now going to contradict myself: After reading many books on photography the consensus seems to be that it is NOT about the camera, it’s about the glass. Believing most of what I’ve read, and almost all of what I see, I had wisely invested in quality lenses. Way to go girl!

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Now the contradiction: After many debates with my alter ego, we agreed that it was time to bite the bullet and buy a full frame camera. It’s my next move, ready or not I want it. So today I am the proud owner of a Nikon D610. There were many reason for this decision. It was a drawn out, yet thoughtful process, and I am thrilled the debates are over. No more tossing and turning, I’m sleeping well.

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What’s the matter?   Where’s the setback?

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Well, ignorance is bliss, but not for long. New equipment has to be paired with newer technology….  Really?  yes really… 

When composing a scene I anticipate my finished product and set the camera settings to the best of my knowledge, but I have yet to see the difference this ‘full frame’ camera will make. The pictures I shot last week are held captive in my camera, waiting for the arrival of my upgraded software to set them free. So, is it about the camera?  I don’t know  …..   yet!

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The dilemma you ask?  Well, I’m back in the neighborhood where trial and error share the block with hit and miss.  The up-side? This time the learning curve should with me, and I’ll be packin’ my bags sooner than later.

 

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In the meantime I have filled this post with photo’s of Cork, Ireland. The ones that are cartooned, or tweaked, were not pleasing to the naked eye, so I had my way with them ! I also need to correct an error from my last post. The photos of ‘Bantry’ at dusk, and dawn, are of the town ‘Kinsale’…. Big mistake, BIG!

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Please stay tuned for more updates, and hopefully progress that will be noticed …  many thanks!

The Colors of Green …

Ireland- high country-3I spent the past 12 days with my one and only, my pride and joy, in the land of the color green. It was our last trip together before the sun will set, and a new chapter will begin. Cherish is the word, and Ireland was the setting.

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I have always wanted to go to the country of my ancestors, and I thank the Lord they were Irish. But this wasn’t your typical trip, it was a ‘Backroads’ biking trip. Just as it sounds, we biked the back roads of Ireland. Before I continue, let me fill you in.

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With 18 bikers in total, 2 leaders, and one behind the scenes ‘special ops’ man, we rode thru the Counties of Cork and Kerry. The crew was fantastic, the trip flawless, organized and tight, no need to worry, no need to fret. ‘Backroads’ has been in business for over 30 years, the kinks have been ironed out, and the itinerary perfected, it was full steam ahead.

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I am not a true biker, but I held my own, and when I was struggling, or lacking behind, the van was sure to find me. I took many photos of the country but I never felt confident about them, and I was right, most of my images were disappointing. I haven’t the eye for landscapes …. yet.  However I did manage to capture a few good ones, and a couple that I found exceptional.

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The images above were taken in the first 48 hours of our ride in County Kerry. The gradual and long climb to Moll’s Gap allowed for stunning views of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks range, the range that boasts of Irelands tallest mountain, Carrauntoohil.

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We spent the first two nights in the lovely town of Kenmare. Kenmare (Irish: An Neidín, meaning “the little nest”) is a small town in the south of County Kerry. The town lies on two noted Irish tourist routes, the Ring of Kerry, and the Ring of Beara, approximately 32 kilometers (20 mi) from Killarney. As a result it’s a popular tourist destination and many of the businesses in the area cater to tourists. Kenmare is noted for its food and pubs, we were never left hungry, or thirsty !

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I would have liked to have photographed the town, but BR ‘kma’ and I went straight to bed after the dinner hour.

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The third day we rode past charming towns on a fairly hilly route. The town of Bantry was our next destination. Mind you Bantry may only be 5 kilometers away, but BR took us a circuitous way, a way that took me all day, and then some …

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‘The Bantry and West Cork character is considered the most friendly, helpful, outgoing, quick witted, generous and possessing the gift of unlimited conversation with a great sense of humour. West Cork is recognised as one of the last bastions of true Irish hospitality. You are assured a warm welcome.’  wiki

Yes, that says it all. I’d love to go into more detail, but I may end up talking to myself …

August 5th was my sons 18th birthday. When the night was said and done, we circled back to Ma Murphy’s for a final pint, or two.  Here he his, pulling his own legal pint.

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Below are photos of Bantry at dusk and dawn.

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I lugged my tripod with me and felt the want, and need, to use it. The tripod assures me of a diligent shot, but had I pulled it out more often I’d still be somewhere over the rainbow …

Day 4 and 5 we biked the Kinsale area.  Ireland- high country-7

Kinsale is a fishing village in County Cork on the coast near the Old Head of Kinsale. This town is a popular holiday resort for the Irish and foreign tourists. Leisure activities include yachting, sea angling, and golf. The Old Head Golf Course is one of the best in the world, and also rich in it’s history.

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The town of Kinsale is known for its restaurants, and holds an annual “Gourmet Festival”. Chef Keith Floyd, the British celebrity chef, now deceased, was previously a resident of Kinsale.

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Now let me discuss my photos. As I said earlier, the majority of my shots were (are) poor. Of course you haven’t seen those, but coming up with these few images was still a tuff decision. Too bad for me, it was a great opportunity to show my abilities as a wanna-be travel photographer… The up-side? I can only get better…. and I will ! I do have other photo’s to show you, better photo’s, however I am going to enter them in a contest. Of course I am aiming for 1st prize, but no worries if I lose, been there, felt that. After I have submitted them I will post them. The grand prize is $3000.00 towards another BR trip, and I want to win! So, if you will, cross your fingers and dot your i’s for me, I’m ready to get back in the saddle and behind the lens. BR is an exceptional way to see a country, or part of a country. Their packages include walking, biking, and other multi sports adventures, something for everyone. The Dalmation Coast? Amsterdam? or how about the San Juan Islands? I’m a day dream believer  …. and believing in my dreams!

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Pure Michigan

The last time I flew in a small aircraft I was reciting the Hail Mary, my head was tucked between my legs, and I was fearing for the worst. This time around was different, it was sheer ‘bliss’.

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My family is from Michigan and Northern Michigan is our home base. The 4th of July week is a special time for us, and everyone tries to make an appearance. This year we were short two family members out of 31, next year will be better..

I hadn’t planned on flying high this day, but my nephew called early, he had an open seat with my name on it. I was up and at’em, in the car and on my way within seconds … the perfect morning.

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We took flight at approximately 7am. Thin clouds were hovering the ground, a look I liked …  The body of water you see is Lake Michigan, and across the way is the City of Petoskey.

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Our route took us north, passing over Nub’s Nob Ski Resort. Nub’s is hands Kieferdown the best ski area in the Midwest. It offers 53 ski slopes, and trails, on 3 separate peaks. The staff is exceptional from top to bottom, east to west, and north to south. Nub’s loves to boast of their fresh homemade food, an award winning lodge, and the most highly decorated snow making and snow grooming crew in the Midwest. I can attest to all of the above.

We continued north towards Mackinaw City. By car the drive takes a good hour or so, but as Kiefer flies … minutes!

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Inland Michigan is rural, hilly, green and lush. Dotted throughout the countryside are wonderful little restaurants, all with their own unique ‘up north’ ambiance.

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The Big Mac. Impressive view? I’d say!  The body of water you see is the Straights of Mackinac, the narrow waterway separating the U.S. State of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula from its Upper Peninsula. Bella !

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We then banked to the right and followed the Eastern shoreline south towards the Point Nipigon area. The second photo is of Nipigon….

I have relatives in Nipigon, if I’m wrong, I’m sure I will hear …

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The next spectacular view,from my perch, was of Little Traverse Bay, the City of Harbor Springs, and the mile long peninsula, Harbor Point. In other words, my Heaven on Earth.

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The pilot had us, my mother and I, in the air for just about an hour. I couldn’t have asked, or dreamt, of a better way to start my day…  Thank you Kiefer!

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