Friday, April 30, 2010

More Copper

Lately, motion seems to be my mantra and the focus of my recent photography class, also called Learning to See. Until now, I've concentrated on stillness in my work, perhaps, because I've been practicing yoga for years. By staying still, looking inward then outward, I've developed the patience to wait and watch.
Now I'm using those same skills to study motion. By choosing a spot, standing my ground and shifting my shutter speed, faster or slower, the effects are eye-opening. The one on top of Copper romping up a hill in a nearby park was taken at 1/30 second at F11. Notice how his coat blurs seamlessly into the background. When he raced down the hill toward me, however, I selected a much faster speed of 1/125 sec, to delineate his face.
While my puppy continues to fascinate me, I mustn't let this blog become all about him, so I'm also including a reflection found in a huge puddle that blocked our path during a walk yesterday in Sears Bellows Park. Interesting how copper is the predominant color.

Monday, April 26, 2010


This month I've traveled to Manhattan by train more frequently than I have in the 22 years I've lived on the East End of Long Island. Usually, I use the two hours to catch up on my reading or my sleep.
But last week I turned my gaze to the slide show that sped past my window. To slow it down, I set my shutter speed to 1/25 second and pointed my camera outside. Warehouses, parking lots, strip malls and graffiti flew by. Instantly, I scanned the images I had collected so quickly on my digital camera.
While the blur created an interesting effect, I found nothing that inspired. Trying again, I tilted my lens downward toward the ground and kept pressing. Rails flashed; metal moved side to side, up and down. Life was passing and so was time.
Apropos after this past weekend when I traveled back and forth to the city to see old friends from Syracuse University and to attend a reunion we had been planning for months. Is life passing forward or backward? Sometimes it's hard to tell.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Since I lost my 11-year old golden retriever, Buddy, on New Year's Eve 2008, I was certain I'd never fall in love again. However, I guess whoever said "never say never" had a point.
Yesterday while driving through Westhampton Beach, I noticed lots of commotion on the main corner in the midst of the spring sidewalk sale. Cages full of puppies were on display and up for adoption by a local rescue group called Last Chance.
Parking quickly, I darted toward the puppies and immediately set my eyes on a brown and white beagle/retriever mix (or so they said). An hour later, I was driving home with a 12-week old in the passenger seat. Since then, he hasn't left my side.
When I sat down at the computer tonite, Copper curled up on the rug behind me just as Buddy was so apt to do. Grabbing my camera, I set the ISO to 1600 and focused on his soulful eyes. Photographing indoors at night is always a challenge, especially when you refuse to use flash.
ps...while I was busy writing this, he crewed my USB cord...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Sunny and in the sixties, I donned my sunhat, grabbed my camera, and headed for the beach. Although I live just five minutes away, I hadn't been there since December.
Upon arriving, I marched downed to the shoreline aiming my lens at the surf. But the waves themselves failed to hold my interest. As the whitecaps moved in and out, my eye gravitated to the impressions left on the sand just as the water receded.
Then I started to see things, shapes that looked like fish stenciled in the sand. The more I looked the more I found. Schools of fish one after the other. Incredulous, I snapped away zooming in and out. I had to work fast since they dried and disappeared as quickly as I spotted them.
Once I was fairly certain I'd caught something worth writing about, I stored my camera in the bag slung over my shoulder and moseyed down the beach enjoying the long-awaited sun. About ten minutes later, however, I happened upon the most remarkable catch of all. So I reached back in and captured this.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bowing Out

Yesterday afternoon while I was raking my yard and clearing all the debris cast upon it since the fall, I kept glancing towards the skeleton of snow-capped hydrangea towering over my front flower bed. The lacy flowers, once Wedgewood blue spotted pink, had faded to a translucent ivory so delicate I yearned to preserve them.
As I raked and raked, I decided to reward myself when the job was done by photographing them. But how could I do them justice? How could I transform the withered specimen before me into the object of beauty I perceived in my mind's eye?
An hour later, at about 4:30 when the sun was sinking behind me, I grabbed my camera and set to work. Choosing the largest cluster, I focused on the bottom pedal and the adjacent buds letting everything else fall into a blur. This time I chose an F8, however, to emphasize the flower yet include enough detail of the green growth coming forth from behind to take its place.
Hydrangea, they're otherworldly, especially when they're bowing out.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


As the harbinger of spring, forsythia is one of my favorite plants. Its delicate flowers and wispy branches appear magically like feathers just as the birds start chirping.
Throughout the torrential rain that hammered the East End this past week, however, I feared that spring would never come. Fortunately I had a project on the computer that kept me busy indoors for hours. But one evening I was so stiff I found myself knocking on a friend's door to ask if I could use her yoga studio.
As I waited on the doorstep, I noticed tiny yellow buds hanging from a branch that reminded me of teardrops. Pitted against the gloomy gray dusk, they cheered me somehow, seemed to be planted there to let me know that brighter times were ahead.
Originally I called this post Teardrops, but when a subscriber said they looked more like the little lanterns strung across yards in the summer, I agreed and changed the title.
To achieve this effect I opted for a shallow depth of field by selecting a F5.6 and focused carefully on the pedals, throwing the background into a blur.