Thursday, December 31, 2009

The last of yesterday's shots

As I ended my walk yesterday, the sun was getting lower, making the bluffs to the east look golden brown. They reflect in the wet sand left by the receding tide. Usually I'm walking just below those bluffs, looking for rock patterns, but this day I was way out, following the tide.

The second shot shows how the beach looks down to the south, down to the big formations known as Seal Rock. The top of the photo is where I begin my walk. Love how the clouds reflect in the wet sand.

We rarely get cloud formations such as this at sunset. Usually the sun sinks into an offshore marine layer, things turn grey, and it's over. This afternoon there was a bit of drama before things turned grey.

And finally, just because I could, I took the second photo, copied it, flipped it, and then turned it into an orb. I liked the surprise of the infinity symbol turning up. World without end. Amen. ©Carol Leigh

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Minus tide

A big minus tide this afternoon and NO RAIN! Hoo ha! Scurried over to the beach to see what I could find.

I liked the clear, clean look of this footprint in the sand, and included part of a little "creeklet" of water at the bottom for a bit of interest. There are bowling ball-like rocks that show up at very low tides and the golden sunlight caught my eye. Metering is a challenge with such directional light and I find myself talking to myself, saying "meter here" (lock in the exposure), "focus here" (wherever that happens to be), "recompose, click." So repeat after me, "Meter here. Focus here. Recompose. Click." And in the third shot you can see the beach as I saw it on my way back to the car.

A good little walk. A bit of exercise. Away from the computer. And photos that I'm pleased with. Yowza! ©Carol Leigh

Two and a half years later . . .

In June of 2007 I photographed, just before sunset, this "urban tree" piece of art in San Diego.

It's now midnight, 2½ years later, and I've been rummaging around in old files. I always liked this shot, especially the copper glow on the woman's face. This time, however, I applied Topaz Adjust to the face and here and there on the seaweed. Why? Because Topaz can bring out hidden details in some images and can even out lighting and make it glow a bit. By applying this filter judiciously, I enhance what I originally loved about the scene.

I include both versions here so you can see the difference. The face stands out more. So do the complementary colors of copper and blue. And now back to bed. Perchance to dream. ©Carol Leigh

Monday, December 28, 2009

Geological detail

From yesterday's walk on the "secret" beach. I'm enjoying the colors, the jagged cracks, and the texture. The rocks are all wet, so even in overcast light they have a shine to them that a polarizing filter doesn't cut through entirely. The solution? Don't photograph smooth surfaces; look for the texture. Must make a note to return in July when things might be drier. ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Outgoing tide

I spent about an hour this afternoon walking on my "secret" beach, managing to time my departure just before the rains began. Most of what I shot were rock abstracts taken along the bluffs, but I also liked this orange rock sitting on blue-black sand, with grasses swirling around it. The outgoing tide swept the grasses in one general direction and created gentle, photogenic curves. ©Carol Leigh

Reindeer rock . . .

Kinda funny . . . ©Carol Leigh

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Harsh sun + wet rocks = major challenge

When walking the beaches here we need to be aware of what the tides are doing. Pay no attention and you may end up trapped, wet, and cold against the bluffs. Alas, low tides don't always occur when the light is right, and yesterday was a perfect example. Low tide was at 1 p.m. We were there around noon. And it was a glaringly bright, sunny day. Ick.

In addition, the rock faces are quite wet, as recent rains come seeping out from the soil above, dripping down the sides of the cliffs. Bright sun. Wet rocks. The challenge is huge.

What was really exciting is that this is a new beach for me, with different types of rock formations, striations, permutations -- all of which create hyperventilations!

Here are a few shots that came out fairly well. Can't wait for the next overcast day at low tide when I can take some better photos. I am working on a montage concept involving these rock pictures which I'll present sometime next year. I've created 44 so far, but don't really know what I'm doing yet -- not that I ever do . . . ©Carol Leigh

Scarf detail

A lovely present from some wonderful friends. Thank you! ©Carol Leigh

Friday, December 25, 2009

Fishing boat abstracts

Christmas Day and most of the fishing boats are in port, lots of them weighed down in the water with loads of crabs, waiting to offload after the holiday. Bright sunshine created pretty reflections and dark shadows, which are fun to work with. The same bright sunlight made our beach exploration tough for photography, but it's a brand-new beach and it's PACKED with photo potential. Next overcast day that's where I'll be. There's even a little waterfall there.

What you see here is a spliced rope in front of a bright blue and black reflection. Then the aft section of an orange fishing boat reflected in the water. And finally a plain old white-prowed boat. Love the shadow on the right. Very stark image, and it's my favorite of these three. All taken with a Canon 70-200mm "L" lens and a polarizing filter.

Wonderful day. Hope yours was, too. ©Carol Leigh

Final shot

As the light began to fade, I put the camera on a tripod and created this shot, a 2-second exposure at f/32 to soften the entire scene and to create a feeling of time and movement. Love the green glow in the wave -- a hint of color in an otherwise monochromatic image. ©Carol Leigh

Las olas de Yachats

More from yesterday's incredible wave action. Woo hoo! ©Carol Leigh

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Big waves on the coast

It was a beautiful sunny day today and so this afternoon we headed down to Yachats to take a look at the surf. Wow. The waves were moving in beautifully, curling over with the sun backlighting the curl slightly. And the spray lingered over the tops of the waves as they came in. Just beautiful. And it was a metering nightmare! But most of them came out okay. These are the first four I've processed, with hundreds more to take a look at. Eyes are getting blurry, however, so it's time to stop for now.

All were taken with my 70-200mm Canon "L" lens, for those of you who care. Wonderful afternoon. May our lives be filled with them. And to all, a goodnight. ©Carol Leigh

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Beach walk . . .

Clear and cold today, so I thought I'd head for the beach to see if there was any ice about. Not more than 100 yards after I'd turned onto the Coast Highway I passed an accident that had just occurred. Major ice on the roads. Hmmm... Undeterred I continued on, cautiously. When I approached "my" beach, no one behind me, I began my left turn. Nope. Car began fishtailing about, so I continued straight ahead. Eventually made a U-turn and came back, no problems. Icy roads? Probably lots of ice on the beach, right? Nope. Ah, well. Let's find some other stuff.

Those of you who took my online class that had the "hearts" lesson in it will know how jazzed I was to see this large strand of kelp. Once you've taken and worked on that lesson, the concept sticks, doesn't it?

The other three shots are just simple little images of what I was seeing -- barnacles on rocks, surrounded by water left by the receding tide, rimmed with foam, or filled with bubbles.

Just five people on the beach during the 1.5 hours I was there. Saw two ravens (love those birds), a skein of pelicans headed south, lots of feathers, lots of agates, and a green rock with white dots on it that I'm planning on photographing some rainy day.

Peace and quiet. And no ice on the road going back home. Tracy brought over some of her excellent fruitcake. Life is good. ©Carol Leigh

Beach Bum

While some people are finding faces in rocks, fishtails in ice, and whales in the sky, leave it to me to find a butt on the beach. And not a very good-looking butt at that! Maybe he's a plumber . . . ©Carol Leigh

Monday, December 21, 2009

Local fauna

Abby looking deceptively sweet and sleepy here in the office. A bit later, we hear her grousing about in the guest room. The complaining continues and we decide to check it out. There in the back yard (HER back yard) is a large deer. She's never seen one before, and she wasn't pleased to have it there. I zoomed back downstairs to get the camera, set the ISO to 3200 and began shooting through the window. It's dark out -- it's been raining all morning -- but there's currently a break in the storm. He stood there, watching me, Chris, and Abby, and then went back to his business of pruning all the plants we foolishly hadn't gotten to yet. Handsome fellow, don't you think? ©Carol Leigh

Happy Holidays!

©Carol Leigh

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A brief digression . . .

I'm having the most wonderful morning, sitting here on the couch with a laptop on my (duh!) lap, watching a video about painter Wolf Kahn. I have had one of his books on my Amazon wish list forever (it's too pricey for me right now). But we were at a neighbor's house the other day and they had an art book of his work which they loaned me. So I've been reading about his life, his work, and then, coincidentally, I read on someone's blog about this video online. I'm just partway through the first of two videos and am finding it so applicable to photography.

And that's my point.

I believe there comes a time when we need to STOP READING ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY! Just stop it. Stop getting so wrapped up in lenses, shutter speeds, built-in GPS units, gizmos, photo backpacks, must-haves, etc. and begin concentrating on the image, the feeling of that image, the structure of that image.

Stop reading about photography.
Begin reading about art in general.

Or maybe continue reading about photography but begin reading about art as well. Expand our minds. Expand our vision. Become visual artists, not just photographers.

And that, my friends, is my New Year's resolution. I believe I'm already on my way, but haven't really put it into words/actions. Twenty-Ten. Ten-Four.  -- Carol Leigh

Offloading crabs

The boat pulls up to the dock and containers of freshly-caught crabs are lifted out and set on the dock to be briefly scrutinized and then weighed and carted away. That one fisherman seems to be quite enamored of his catch! (Alas, he closes his eyes every time he smiles!) Are these good photos? Nope. But they're photos that, when seen as a group, tell a story of sorts. ©Carol Leigh

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The sum of the parts . . .

While photographing the bridge, I was attracted to a wall that looked like it had been painted — paint to cover up graffiti. I liked the texture, the subtle shades of grey, beige, taupe, black, etc. So I created a number of individual images from this wall, and finally, in the last photo, I show you what the wall looked like when I first saw it. Cool stuff, no? ©Carol Leigh

Getting in some shots before it starts raining again

It was a good morning. I made a quick stop at the Alsea Bay overlook to photograph the bridge (looking south over the bay at low tide to the town of Waldport) before it began raining. Then it was over to the fishing boats where there were hardly any in port -- 'tis the height of crab season, and someone told me the fishermen are now receiving $1.95 for crab.

A pair of cormorants create a pretty silhouette against bright water. Next, a couple of crab rings sit lonely on the dock. (Everything around and behind the crab rings was dark. I metered off the bright yellow buoy and let everything else remain underexposed.) As I headed back up the gangplank, I stopped at the bulletin board to see if there was anything interesting posted. Found two items I thought worth shooting and I share them with you here.

I then went over to the crab pot staging area, where this time last month it was covered with stacks of crab pots. They're all in use now and everyone's concentrating on pulling in the crabs. More photos to follow. ©Carol Leigh