Monday, May 31, 2010


As May comes to a close, it seems fitting to end with the iris, the most spectacular of flowers. Around noon one day last week, I couldn't take my eyes off the phosphorescent petals just outside my front window that had just bloomed.
Envisioning all the pictures of irises I had already seen, I was reluctant to grab my camera. "But these purple and yellow ones are so special," I thought, "and they're mine." Within minutes I was leaning over the tall specimen in the middle of my front garden experimenting with the composition.
As I zoomed in, I decided to focus on the purple patterns at F5.6, letting the yellow petals fall into a blur. However, the lightness of that blur overpowered the darker elements I was trying to highlight. So I set my digital camera on manual and underexposed by a little more than one stop. Presto...without Photoshop, I had toned done the yellow and created a more dramatic image.
It's no wonder that of all the flowers that blossom on Earth, they named this one after the color of the eye.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Photographing children is an art unto itself. Since they are in constant motion and so difficult to predict, the secret is to take lots and lots of pictures.
Last week an artist friend invited me to participate in a project celebrating life on the Peconic River at a festival at Art Sites, a gallery in Riverhead set for June 19th. The premise is to photograph people living, working and playing along the river. So on Saturday we set out to find out if indeed anyone was enjoying the balmy weather along the boardwalk constructed there a few years ago.
After shooting a few strollers, we noticed a family with some young children playing in a yard across the way. "You ask them," my friend said afraid that they might refuse.
To her surprise, they were more than happy to participate. Thirty minutes later, we walked away satisfied with the more than 50 images we had taken. Then, one of the little girls jumped on her rocking horse and asked me to take some more, just of her.
Rocking back and forth, she looked directly in the lens. The light danced in her eyes and on the grass behind her. Now comfortable with me and my camera, she rewarded me with this timeless image. It's my experience that the best usually does come last.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

No Swimming?

Having slipped back into stillness last week with the study of light, here I am with more motion. Another walk in Sears Bellows County Park in Hampton Bays with my puppy, Copper, produced this telling image. Celebrating the season of renewal, it also validates the axiom "seek and ye shall find."
Upon entering the park, we proceeded on the path circling the lake that I have trailed time and again. Speeding ahead of me, Copper lead me to this spot where the water lapped against the shore more robustly than usual as result of the rain the day before.
It was as if the sign had been knocked over and submerged right there to attract my attention. Again I slowed my shutter to enhance the movement and mix of colors.
No swimming? In such a glorious place? Whoever heard of such a thing?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Leaf Light

This month I've been taking my photography class on local field trips to take advantage of the beauty that abounds this time of year. Last week we took a walk to a little park down the street from my house. Created just a few years ago, this spot reminds me of public spaces in Europe where every square foot is utilized to the max.
Featuring a walking track, a playground, an amphitheater, a fountain and several lush gardens, I chose this place because it provides a plethora of subject matter to photograph. So when I became obsessed with photographing just one leaf hanging from a pear blossom tree, I'm sure my students were a bit perplexed.
As the late afternoon light flickered through the leaf from behind, I pointed out the detail it revealed. A sight so simple yet so easy to miss unless one is really looking. Soon some were just as enthralled and started snapping away.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Getting Close

After all that rain last month, this May is one of the most beautiful I can recall. The air is filled with the sweetest scent and wherever I look buds are bursting with color. However the problem with spring is that it passes in the blink of an eye. So while I'm blinking, I try to capture what's most memorable.
Last fall I planted a row of 40 tulips bordering my front garden. Having forgotten about them during the long cold winter, I was excited when they poked through the soil even though just a dozen appeared. But a week after blossoming, their petals were already drooping. Within a few days, they were completely spent. While tulips are one of the most fetching flowers, they are also one of the most fleeting.
To preserve the sight, I cradled one in my hands, carried it to my back deck and laid it out on a bench. Then I focused up close filling the frame with color.
Sometimes the secret to a good image is simply getting close.