Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

December 21, 2012

Strange Days Indeed

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 4:14 pm
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The end of the Mayan calendar is what a lot of people have been talking about today.  While I don’t think anyone truly believed it was an apocolyptic day, it was certainly a strange weather day.  It started out with whipping wind and driving rain, and I saw a rainbow briefly while I was out running errrands.
rainbow

(taken with my Blackberry)

When I got home, the sun and clouds and spritzes of rain were all out at the same time.
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I was rather taken with the sun lighting up the trees around my yard against backddrops of dark, eerie clouds.
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I felt a little shiver looking around while I took these.  The temperature was oddly warm (nearly 50° F) for the first day of winter in New England and I couldn’t help but think of all the odd weather this area has experienced over the last year and a half.

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Even Teddy thought it was a rather blustery day:
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I know that busy days are ahead for us all.  If I don’t get back to the blog (I hope that I will) before Christmas, I wish you all a very merry one.  Hold your loved ones just a little bit tighter as we keep the families of Newtown CT in our hearts.

November 13, 2011

Best of, Part 4

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 3:46 pm
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I’ve been trying to neatly package this set of photos with a category name like the last three, but the best name has been eluding me.  “Fire and Rain” came to mind if you, darling readers, are willing to accept a little stretch.  “Light” was another thought I had, but then I started thinking, well, isn’t that really the essence of photography?  On the other hand, each photo in this group does showcase light in a different way, so we’ll go with that, okay?

As those of you who’ve been with me for a while may remember, I’ve been chasing a gorgeous moon shot for a long time.  I shivered in the cold try to do justice to “supermoon” and lamented my bad luck at missing a beautiful shot on Cape Cod.  Just a couple days ago I was out trying yet again.  My favorite photo of the moon that I’ve achieved so far would be this one from my vacation in Maine in August:
Aug. 13 full moon over Biddeford Pool

One thing I plan to do in 2012 is pay more attention to the cycle of the moon and try to get out the night before as Scott has suggested.

On this same vacation, I did something I’ve never done before.  I got out of bed before sunrise and took pictures.  Plenty of times  I’ve awakened, looked out the window and thought, “how lovely.. I should take a picture” and then promptly gone back to sleep.  This year I hauled myself out to the beach with my camera and waited.  I was rewarded:
sunrise, Hills Beach

Sun and water on my vacation makes a nice segue into my next photo, the beautiful rainbow over Stage Island, one of the group of small islands you can see in many of my vacation photos.
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And speaking of rain (you need rain to get a rainbow, right?) I found this curious formation of rain drops on grape leaves at home this summer:
raindrops on grape leaves

Moving away from the rain and back into the light, two holidays provided me with two fun lessons about using my camera.  Last December I discovered the “star” effect of a long shutter speed and tiny aperture on Christmas lights. I was delighted:

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After consulting several photographer-bloggers (thank you, Scott, for your helpful hints!), I purchased a shutter-release remote and using the “bulb” setting on my camera for the first time,  went out to shoot fireworks in July:
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It has been such a wonderful year of learning about my camera and how to use it – and I have many of you to thank for it!  Thank you to every one who has offered a tip or made a beautiful photograph and gone on to explain how you did it.  I appreciate it all.

I was trying to decide whether this would be my last post in this series or if I would have one more.  The subject matter is very dear to my heart, but my concern was that others would not find it to be as compelling of a subject as I do.  After reading a couple of persuasive blog posts (I’ll share the links to those in my next post), I’ve decided I will share one more.  Perhaps the subject matter won’t be a surprise to you.  Come on back tomorrow to see what I am talking about!

This was part four in my submission to Scott Thomas’s photo assignment #16.

August 22, 2011

Sun and Moon

Filed under: Travel — Karma @ 8:54 pm
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Hi everyone!  I’m back from Maine.  I took lots of pictures and have lots to say, and was having a hard time deciding where to begin.  So,  I decided to start at the beginning!  There’s an original thought, huh?  I’m still sorting through the 468 shots I took this past week, deciding what I’d like to share, but these are from my first evening at the cottage.  August 13th also happened to be the night of the full moon this month, so I wanted to be sure not to miss it this time around.  I checked the time for moon rise, and headed out about 20 minutes before that to get ready.  Luckily it was low tide, which made for plenty of room for setting up the tripod.  At Hills Beach in Biddeford, Maine, the tide goes way out:
sunset at Hills Beach

While the sunset isn’t quite over the water, it comes really close at this beach.

I waited patiently for the moon to rise while I set up my tripod and played around with different shutter and aperture settings.  Lots of folks were out walking, enjoying the warm temperatures and low tide.  One gentlemen stopped and asked me what it was that photographers are interested in in this area (he owns a house on this beach, lucky guy!)  I told him I didn’t know but I was waiting for the full moon.  He jokingly offered to “pose” for a full moon!  We ended up having a nice chat about the area – he’s owned his place for about 20 years, I’ve been vacationing there since my parents first took me as a child- and what a wonderful place it is for families.  His daughter and her children were there visiting him that day, and she showed me her lovely sunrise photos.  They were temptingly beautiful, but I am sooo not an up-before-the-sun kind of person.  I’d love sunrise shots but wasn’t sure I could drag myself up that early on vacation.

The moon finally rose above a small bank of clouds.  I took a few dozen shots at different settings and compositions.  This was my favorite of the batch:

Aug. 13 full moon over Biddeford Pool

After taking my moon shots, I turned my lens around for a few more shots of the beautiful colors left by the sun:
evening light

I had a couple more interesting “run-in’s” with the moon during the week.  On Wednesday of last week, the moon came up a bit later, but during the course of the evening the brightness was casting a gorgeous glow on the sand below.  I dragged the tripod out to the little sand dune in front of the cottage and again played with settings.  The brightness of the moon made it difficult for me to focus on, but I thought these two shots came out pretty well:

shiny moon

(10 sec., f10) The dots of light below are lights on the masts of sailboats.  I changed the settings to get a brighter shot here (30 sec., f5.0):

glowing moon

The next night, while we were down on the beach having a campfire and enjoying the distant fireworks of Old Orchard Beach, the moon rose in a bloody red color.  My family urged me, “take a picture, take a picture!!”  I knew I didn’t have the skill to capture that gorgeous color with so little light available, so I hemmed and hawed.  Finally, as we were heading back up to the cottage, it was higher in the sky, still glowing orange, so I gave it a try:
orange moon

This is but a whisper of its earlier color, and of course now I can’t help but wonder if I could’ve gotten an acceptable shot of the low, red moon.

So did I get up for a sunrise picture after all?  All week long,  I awakened around 5:30 am and took a gander out my bedroom window.  I could see the beautiful color, but I just couldn’t drag myself out of bed.  I considered taking the shot through the window, but I knew the screen in the way just wouldn’t do it justice.  On Friday when I awakened pre-dawn, I told myself it was one of my last chances, so get yourself down there.  I had no idea exactly what time sunrise was, but I walked down to my beach chair and plopped myself there and waited.  Surprisingly, I enjoyed the pre-dawn quiet – only the sea birds and gentle lapping waves making any sound.  I think for the first time in my life I actually saw the full orb of the sun creep above the horizon.  Here it is as it first peeked up:
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and again as the whole orb was first visible:

sunrise, Hills Beach

Of course I played around with the settings again, not really knowing what I was doing.  I changed white balance around too, but none of the settings really gave the true view which I find curious.  The actual view surrounding the sun was more blue, and the bright color more limited to the area right in front of the sun, but nothing I tried presented that image.  I’d love to hear from anyone with sunrise-shooting experience about what settings and such worked for you, or about any thoughts you may have about why this picture didn’t show up true to my view.

I’ve got so much more to share with you over the coming days.  The start of school looms in about a week, so I hope to sort through my thoughts and images to present some more blog posts very soon!  Hope you don’t get sick of hearing about Maine!