52 Week Challenge

52 Weeks of Susan's Life

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Week 44 #52 Wild Card

Bride and Groom, Small People Photography, Bride and Groom in apple, Apple heart

                                                          Wedding Photographer

I have a thing going  with these HO scale figures.  I like combining them with my love for food photography.  These projects are a lot of fun but require imagination and much patience.  This photo was taken in studio.  I used my Nikon D850, 105mm Macro lens, F8, 250 SS and 200 ISO.  I used a soft box to the right of the image and also another flash with a snoot directed towards the bride and groom.  I shot the scene on black plexiglass.  what I find fascinating about the HO figures is the detail that is put into each figure. The photographer is carrying a camera bag and two cameras much like a wedding photographer would.  I have a few more ideas up my sleeve and am happy that we have so many wild cards in this years blog categories.


Week 43 #48 Wild card


Little People Photography, Watermelon Scene

I guess you might say I’m addicted to the art of Little People Photography combined with food.  I find it fascinating and I love the creative part of coming up with new ideas.   These scenes take much preparation and (because the HO figures are so small -1 inch)  a lot of patience.   My first challenge with this photo was finding a seeded watermelon.  Most watermelons these days are seedless!  The next challenge was to place the small figures in the watermelon in a manner that looks realistic. This scene was a combination of 15 photos taken with the focus stacking feature in my Nikon D850.  I then combined the photos in the application Helicon Focus.  I used my Nikon 105 Macro lens at f8, ISO 200, SS 1/10 with natural light and a reflector. I’ve already moved onto my next project so stay tuned.


Week 42 #36 Wild Card


Crimini mushrooms, little people painters, painted mushrooms
“Little People” photos combined with food items have always intrigued me.  Several months ago I ordered a set of “little painters” and have been trying to find the time and inspiration to set up a scene to photograph.  This week it all came together. I purchased some crimini mushrooms and painted them a bright red with white polka dots. That was the easy part.  Setting up this scene was very time consuming. Trying to work these little figures into my scene proved to be more difficult than anticipated.  In the end it was worth the effort and I am already scheming for my next creative effort.  Stay tuned. This was shot in natural light.  Nikon D850, Nikon 105mm lens, F9, ISO 250 and SS .08 Sec.

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Week 41 #32 Wild Card

NY Skyline,Freedom Tower, Hudson River

Doesn’t everyone remember where they were when they heard the Twin Towers were under attack?  Those memories stay with you for most of your life.  In 2011, I was making frequent trips to NYC as my sister lives there and we were designing tee shirts together.  She lives near Washington Square where I would often take morning runs with the Twin Towers as a backdrop.  After 9/11 the skyline looked so vacant and the absence of the towers was a constant reminder of that horrific day.  This past weekend I was in the NYC/NJ area for a beach reunion.  We decided to take a ride to Manhattan via boat and view some of the sights from the water.  I had not seen the One World Trade Center since it was constructed.  One World Trade Center (Freedom Tower) stands proudly in the NYC skyline as the tallest building in the USA and the Western Hemisphere. It is also the 6th tallest building in the world.  The tower’s height of 1776 feet is symbolic of the year of America’s independence.  The building tells an important story and is towering symbol of 9/11.    I captured the flag from our boat and felt its addition was a statement of our freedom and resilience. We will always stand proud as Americans.


Week 40 #28 Wild Card


Huntington Beach Pier, Huntingdon Beach CA

Huntington Beach Pier, Huntington Beach CA

On a recent trip to Huntington Beach CA to visit my son, I was determined to photograph the iconic Huntington Beach Pier.  This is normally a very busy beach but on this particular weekend there was a surfing competition which not only attracted crowds but the beach was scattered with tents and stands.  Not exactly condusive to the photo I had in mind.  My first trip to attempt for a photo was at sunset. I envisioned the sun setting at the end of the pier which I had seen in many photos.  Not happening at this time of year. The sun position was in the middle of the pier which did not provide the beautiful photo I envisioned.  I went back the next morning determined to capture some part of the pier.  Since it was quite close to high noon, I decided to use my 10 stop ND filter and see if I could smooth out the waves.  This required a 13 second exposure which was almost impossible considering the crowds, people taking selfies under the bridge. life guard training runs and beach goers in general.  After many ruined shots I did manage to capture one or two without any distractions and accomplished my goals  I want to go back in the winter when the sun will be in the perfect position for the sunset shot.  All I will need is the perfect sunset!


Week 39 #24 Wild Card

Labrador,Polar Bear Lab, California, Catching ball

Spending a few days in California with my son Drew and his Polar Bear Labrador Retriever.  We took him to the dog park to see how he would be retrieving a tennis ball.  He did manage to catch a few but several of the balls hit him in the head before he was able to catch them.  I think he needs some more work in his ball catching skills.


Week 38 # 20 Wild Card

Magnolia, Florida Botanical Garden

Magnolias are one of my favorite flowers to photograph.  Once they stopped blooming in my neighborhood I thought I was finished for the season but a trip to the Florida Botanical Gardens led me to a few more photos.  One of the things I love about this bloom is the flower within the flower. The center is so interesting as are the folds of pedals that are endless waves of beauty.  This is probably my last bloom for the season but I will be at it again next year. Enjoy.


Week 37 #16 Wild Card

Dragon fly, Scarlet Skimmer Dragon Fly, Florida Dragon Fiies

Yesterday a few photog friends and I ventured to Largo FL to visit the Florida Botanical Gardens.  We were in search of Lotus Flowers to photograph and heard that they were in bloom at the gardens.  We discovered that there were only TWO lotus flowers in the entire garden and one of them was past bloom.  We took a fair amount of that one lonely flower but decided since we had made the trek to Largo we would venture around the grounds to see of we could find any other worth subjects.  I did discover a pond with lots of reeds which seems to be a breeding ground for dragon flies.  I managed to capture this beauty in perfect light.  After doing a bit of research of dragon fly species, I believe this to be a Scarlet Skimmer.

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Week 36 #48 Fear


child playing in tree, Crawley Nature Center, Florida Fun, Tree climbing

I know the theme is “fear” but my grandson is the original “no fear”.  He lives in Anchorage Alaska and spends a good deal of time exploring the outdoors. He has developed an affection for climbing.  Fear doesn’t seem to be in his vocabulary.  I recently spent 8 days with this adorable, smart, funny and fearless child.  I witnessed him climb up a 6 story water slide and come down the slide with confidence and pride.  He has difficultly passing up a potential climbing tree.  What is in his future?  Certainly fear will not stand in his way.


Week 35 #12 Wild Card

Water Lily, Florida, Flowers

There are 58 species in 6 genera of freshwater plants native to the temperate and tropical parts of the world.  Others species prefer the cold and are found only in northern Canada and Alaska.   I was fortunate enough to be invited to a home in Sarasota where the owner grows and sells many species.  She invited a few photographers to come and photograph her plants.

Water lilies create shade and protection for fish in landscape ponds, and they provide a gentle resting spot for frogs and dragonflies. The large leaves or pads of the water lily that float on the surface of the water are attached to the soil at the bottom of the pond by a long stem. The roots of a water lily are rhizomes, fleshy tubers that store nutrients. Water lilies live only in fresh water that is shallow and still, around the edges of lakes or in small ponds. The flowers stand above the water on slender stalks.

Although the whole flower is lovely, I personally like to focus on the center of the plant where you can find beautiful texture and color.