I had purchased the colored pencils for another project and decided that there must be another use for them – then I thought of the 52 Week Challenge Zig Zag theme. Getting the pencils in this pattern turned out to be harder than mastering the shot with correct lighting. I used double sided tape to secure the position once I decided on the pattern. Once the pattern was securely fastened, it was a matter of getting the lights adjusted. After an experiment with flashes, I decided to use my constant lights which gave me a much better result.
Continuing with my new love of focus stacking, I gathered up some items from around the house and put together a still life to give this technique another try. One of the challenges is to get the lighting right. I normally like to use available light but this arrangement called for some lighting techniques. After experimenting with flashes and LED lights I finally decided to use my large constant lights and I was pleased with the effect.
In July of this year, I took a Focus Stacking workshop at the LWRDPC. I’ve been intrigued with this process ever since. Yesterday my good friend Joseph Heil had some fun using Helicon Software to focus stack a bowl of daisies. The helicon software makes this process a bit less tedious and I love the results. The sharpness of the image front to back is amazing. Those daisies looked good enough to eat!
This week, the entire state of Florida braced for Hurricane Irma. We watched this monstrous storm rip through the Islands leaving massive destruction in it’s path. Both the East Coast and the West Coast were on a hurricane watch and evacuations began on both coasts. At one point, Sarasota was on the map as a direct hit. I 75 was a parking lot with residents trying to go north to escape this record breaking storm. My two brothers were visiting from New Jersey and staying on Siesta Key which became a mandatory evacuation area on Saturday. Gracious friends offered their empty house which is equipped with hurricane shutters and a generator. This is where my family (including my 96 year old mother) waited out the storm. Fortunately, Sarasota was spared any major damage unlike other areas in the state of Florida. These photos were taken this morning on Siesta Beach at 8:30 AM. Normally, the beach is very active at this time with people vying for spots on the beach and in the parking lot. This morning it was eerily empty without a sole for as far as the eye could see. The life guard stands still stood at the end of the beach where a tractor had removed them in preparation for the storm and the normally calm Gulf of Mexico has uncharacteristic white caps. I know part of living in “paradise” is the threat of hurricanes, but I sincerely hope that we have seen the last of these storms for this season.
For the past 2 1/2 weeks I had the pleasure of having my 6 1/2 year old grandson Brady stay with me. During his visit, we took a trip to Hilton Head Island to see some dear friends who also have young children. One of the kids toys that fascinated me was something called a ‘Champion Sports Swing Ball’. The description for this item is: “Swing Ball is great for coordination and timing. Put your ankle in the 5-1/2 in ring and swing your leg to get the ball moving. Ball is attached to an 18 in long cord. Swing Ball keeps kids moving, and can be used indoors or outdoors.” One thing for sure is that you must be coordinated to time the action or you will surely trip. Brady picked this up and was proficient immediately. In fact, his quick acclamation to this almost led me to try it myself but my common sense kicked in and remembered the new hip and knee that I have acquired in the last few years. No need to test how strong they really are!
August weather in Florida lends itself to indoor photography. I try and find some element that I haven’t tried before that will challenge my skills. I’m in the process of attempting to learn more about creative lighting so photographing rows of matches with directed light seemed to fit the bill. Trying to get the flame on one matchstick to direct in an upward direction took quite a few tries but all in all, I was pleased with the outcome. It’s a good thing that wooden matchsticks are relatively inexpensive!
My 50mm lens is quite often neglected and forgotten. Lately, I’ve been shooting a fair amount of macro photography using the focus stacking technique but today I decided to take out the 50mm with this challenge in mind. I’ve forgotten just how crazy sharp this lens is and what beautiful results it produces. I’ll definitely be using this lens more often. It’s fast and tack sharp!!