52 Week Challenge

52 Weeks of Susan's Life


Week 24 #7 View from below

Great Horned Owl, Ft De Soto Park, Florida Owls

On a recent trip to Ft De Soto Park in St Petersburg, Florida I came across this Great Horned Owl sitting high up in a tree watching over the nest of babies in a nearby tree.  The owl was very high up in the tree which required me to set my tripod and camera at a very steep angle to look up and capture this magnificent creature.  I often wonder what the various wildlife are thinking when they are looking down at a handful of photographers with their giant zoom lenses.  She would occasionally close her eyes or rotate her head as if to say how bored she was by our activity.  The photographers on the other hand were fixated on her waiting for a flight shot.


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Week 23 #33 Water Drop (Technical)


Water drop

This technical challenge required patience and (literally) hundreds of shots.  The challenge is to get the drop in action and also in focus.  My set up was to place a bowl on a table covered in a shower curtain.  Inside the bowl was another glass container which held the water. Hanging overhead was a zip lock bag filled with water and suspended over the bowls. A tiny pin hole in the zip lock bag provided a constant drip to the bowl below in order to catch the perfect splash.  I had a flash set up on the right side of my bowls.  I also set up a green back drop behind my set up and then added a little blue food coloring to the zip lock bag. I held a pen in the water where the drips were landing in order to focus on the area where I hoped to catch the drip.  I used a Nikon D850, 105mm Macro lens, 400 ISO, 250 SS and F11.  I was able to catch several in focus drops but I really like this one because of the size and also that it incorporated several smaller drops.  Hope you enjoy this tedious but fun project.


Week 17 – #43 Contrast

Red Tailed Hawk, Bird on tree, Blue Sky, Hawk against Blue sky

Contrast means difference. In the case of photography, the most common differences are achieved by changes in the tones (light) or colors that compose the image.Contrast has been a key element from the beginning of photography. It is the degree of difference between the elements that forms an image. Higher contrast will give your image a different feel than lower contrast, but the type of contrast can also influence your images.

Creating images with different color contrast makes for a more interesting photograph.   Choosing colors that are opposite on the color wheel provide the most contrasting colors. In this image I thought the colors in both the branch and the Red Tailed Hawk (orange) against the blue sky make the image pop.

This was shot with a Nikon d850, 200-500mm lens at 350mm, F8 on a tripod.


Week 15 – #29 Sky Overlay


Alaska, Anchorage, Snowy Street, Snow covered trees, snow

I traveled to Anchorage AK to spend Christmas with my family.  Anchorage is having a snowy winter which  I was very excited about.  The first day of my visit was just glorious;  blue skies and snow covered trees – a true winter wonderland.  After a full day of traveling, I was too tired to take any photos.  I knew I was going to be there for 8 days so no rush to take the camera out into the elements.  It turns out I missed an opportunity to photograph the snow covered trees with a blue sky backdrop  as most of the remaining days were overcast and grey.   I decided this was a great oppotyunity to do a sky overlay.

I captured this refracted snowy scene with my crystal ball but the sky was rather dreary.    I used Luminar to do the sky replacement and attempted to recreate the blue sky that I missed photographing on my first day.


Week 14- #47 My Back Yard

Moose,Male Moose, Antlers, Alaska, Anchorage AK

I was fortunate enough to travel to Anchorage AK for the holidays where my son lives with his family.  Although this isn’t technically “my backyard” it was my backyard for the 10 days that I was there.  I know when you live in AK moose sightings are fairly common but for someone from Florida seeing a large moose in your backyard is not something one would expect.  Moose roam freely in the yards of this neighborhood and go about their crazing unfazed.  I know that moose can be aggressive.  I was told they are agitated when the hair on their neck stands out so I proceeded with extreme caution.  Mr. Moose cooperated just long enough for me to snap a shot.


Week 13 # 32 Wild Card

Snow scene, old book, glasses, Christmas Decorations, Christmas Cookies. Snowy trees

Joy and Good Cheer to all!

For the last post of 2018, I decided to try and recreate a peaceful winter scene that conveys the sprit of the holiday.    Several months ago I purchased an old window from the Sarasota Architectural Salvage that I have been anxious to use for a still life photo.   Although the window is exactly what I had been looking for (a dated window with chipped paint and old glass), it is very heavy.  In order to create this scene I had to find a place to safely prop the window.   I ended up leaning the window against the garage door and placed a dark background behind the glass.   I also added some fabric on one side of the window to recreate a curtain.  Once I got the lighting situated I began to shoot some scenes.  Originally I was just going to add falling snow to the windows but I decided to look for a snowy scene to put behind the window to make it more realistic.  It was a great lesson in select and mask which is something I’ve wanted to improve on for quite some time.  Once I was happy with the outside scene, I did add some falling snow.

As with most still life set ups, the time involved is usually lengthy. I knew the bubbles in the coffee cup would not stay fresh looking for long.  Tip of the week – use a small amount of coffee and dish washing liquid with an eyedropper to make lasting bubbles.   This was shot with a Nikon D850, 60 Macro lens, SS 250, F-11 with a soft box to the right of the scene and another small flash situated in the front to add some light to the cookies.  Wishing all 52 Week Bloggers a joyous and happy holiday and peace and good health for the coming year.  Susan Beausang


Week 11 # 51 Rule of Odds

Rule of odds, Christmas scene,Christmas Cookies, Hot Chocolate, Christmas Presents

The Rule of Odds states that photographs are visually more appealing when there are an odd number of subjects.  I decided to join  the early Christmas spirit with my photography.  I din’t originally intend for this shot to satisfy the Rule of Odds post but after I processed it I thought it would be perfect.  The photograph would not have the same feeling if I had introduced another element to make an even number of subjects.  This was shot in studio with a 60mm Macro lens at f11, 250 SS and Iso 160. Shh – here is a little food photography secret.   I discovered that shaving cream is a great substitute for whipped cream. It keeps its form for a much longer period of time and you are not temped to take a taste!