Monday, November 30, 2009

Abstract reflections

During my last few forays up to the fishing boats, I notice that I've come back each time with a couple of reflection shots -- pretty patterns in the water. Why? Because of the time of day. When we're out there shooting early and shooting late, the waters may be calmer (more reflective) and the directional light on the boats creates more intense colors and reflections in the water. So if I were to think of putting together a series of photographs, a photo essay of sorts, the concept of "reflections" might be a possibility. Here are a few I shot in the past couple of days. ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The end of the day

The end of the day. The boats are back, the pots have been set, here's hoping for a good season for these folks. ©Carol Leigh

Art Deco

Before walking onto the bridge to photograph boats, I took a few quick photos of the architectural detail on the north bridge abutment. The bridge was built in 1936 and the sweeping Art Deco details are fantastic to photograph. You can click here for more information about this bridge, which, by the way, just received a grant so that it will be lighted at night. Hoo ha! Should be done next year, I hear. ©Carol Leigh

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Crabbing season has begun

Crabbers can begin setting out their pots today, but can't begin pulling in crabs until (if I recall correctly) December 3rd. So after midnight last night they were out there, little lights bobbing on the horizon, doing their thing. I walked out to the middle of the Yaquina Bay Bridge this morning, hoping to photograph a few stragglers heading out, boats loaded down with pots, but the only boats I saw were the ones coming in, having dropped their pots and perhaps coming back for a second load.

Here you see the Delma Ann coming back into port and then the Golden Dolphin (not a crabber) heading out. Hate to say it, but the guy at the stern of the Delma Ann looks suspiciously like he's taking a leak . . . But nope, my telephoto lens as the boat got closer indicated nothing flashing as the boat "whizzed" past . . . ©Carol Leigh

37 minutes on the beach

Lots of people on the beach this morning, but then I was a bit later than usual. I went looking specifically for "sand trees," and invariably the best ones had a footprint or a dogprint on them . . . The tide was way out and lots of people were scrabbling about, looking for (and finding) agates. When we first moved here, Chris and I got a rock tumbler (yes, we're nerds) and went out in search of agates. It's fun! For about a year. And then you wonder what the hell am I going to do with all these polished agates? Which is why you see jars of them for sale at thrift/antique stores! So now I see 'em, admire 'em, and leave 'em for some other lucky soul to find. But I digress . . .

Here's one of the better sand trees I found, as well as a solitary feather. I find something so poignant about feathers on the beach, and in this case I especially like the way the sand has swirled, depicting the movement of the feather in the tide. ©Carol Leigh

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The art of seeing - 091125

There's a beach down the road (maybe a half-mile to a mile away) that's accessible only at low tide. So yesterday morning I followed the tide out, seeing what I could find. I seem to be on a roll with all this beach stuff, and each beach is different, offering different photo possibilities. Once crabbing season begins (on the 28th), I've got a different beach project in mind that I'll share with you when the time comes, but in the meantime, I'm photographing rocks and sand.

Marianne Jensen has been finding faces in rocks and posting them over at her blog, so I thought of her when I found this "parrot." Here's the shot, and then here's how it looked as I walked past. See? It takes a weird mindset to notice little things like faces in rocks . . . and I know I'm not insulting Marianne when I say that!

A photo that looks sort of mountainous is actually part of a sandy cliff, where the sand has dripped and slumped downward. You can see the photo and then how the scene actually looked.

And finally, yet another rock abstract, something that I extract from a wall of rock -- all at eye level. I took about five different photographs from this one section of the bluff face.

Half a mile from home. And it's taken me what, about 8 years to discover it? Sheesh. ©Carol Leigh

P.S. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The art of seeing - 091124

Here's the overall scene and here's what I made out of it. And I KNOW there are a lot of you thinking, "I'm finding the overviews much more interesting than the abstracts!" Yeah, I know . . . I'm weird. ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

59 minutes on the beach . . .

This morning the tide was low and it wasn't raining — perfect opportunity to go exploring on the beach. I'm now more attuned to sand patterns and so created a photo of these "sand trees," which I think look pretty cool. And then the way some smaller rocks were wedged into a large crack caught my eye and turned into and interesting shot. And finally, an overview of a row of rocks lined up below the tide line. Overviews are something I really have to struggle to take, and am trying to do better. ©Carol Leigh

Monday, November 23, 2009

The art of seeing - 091123

I found a very cool section of rock today on the beach -- lots of perfectly round circles. I don't think this is man-made, looking more like a tafoni rock sort of thing. Anyway. Here's what I created, and here's the overview of what the scene actually looked like. 18-55mm lens used on both. Neat, huh? ©Carol Leigh

82 minutes on the beach . . .

I had just the best day today. I finished a major project this morning and gave myself permission to take the rest of the day off. It was almost low tide, so I went to the beach to see what I could find. It was just me, two other people, and two dogs. Wonderful. And it wasn't raining.

We've had lots of wind and rain lately and a few birds didn't make it. There's a certain beauty in death (don't mean to sound ghoulish) and I liked the curves and shape of this seabird as well as the feeling of transience and sadness.

And look what I found next to a washed-up log -- a sand pattern that looks very much like bristlecone pines! I've never seen a pattern as striking and bold as this is.

And then there's me, wearing hat, jacket, and gloves. Any time I can take a picture of myself that makes me look tall and thin, I'm on it!

What a great day! The rest of the day I lounged around, read a mystery novel, poked around on the computer, and relaxed. And didn't feel guilty for not working. Life is good. ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thirty-five minutes on the docks . . .

Taking advantage of a brief break between storms, Chris and I headed up to Newport to the library late this afternoon. The light was so pretty, we stopped at the docks so I could take a quick swing around. Everybody's gearing up for crabbing season, which begins after Thanksgiving, and pots are all loaded up on a lot of the boats. I shot an overview of the scene and then moved on.

I'd forgotten about the Helen McColl. This very old wooden fishing boat sank a few weeks ago. All we can see are her masts sticking up out of the water.

A red-necked phalarope (thank you, Bruce K. for the I.D.) was swimming about in the reflections. Man, these guys are fast. All I had with me was an 18-55mm lens, so I couldn't zoom in tight on him, but I still like the look.

And then I can't seem to stay away from these colorful fenders, and this one, hanging down from the deep orange-red Miss Berdie, looked particularly luscious.

Good light. No rain. Lots of color. Exhilarating! ©Carol Leigh


I am ATTEMPTING to de-clutter my studio. (And my head, but that ain't gonna happen.) And in the process I came upon a box of pins. Hmmmm . . . I put a piece of red construction paper on a styrofoam block and held it in place with a couple of thumbtacks. I then arranged the straight pins in a sort of curving line. Using a 50mm lens and a 12mm extension tube, I focused on the first pin. I selected an aperture of f/1.8 for minimum depth of field and here's what I got. Fun stuff! ©Carol Leigh

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The art of seeing - 091121

I am constantly going through my photos, seeing old stuff, new stuff, re-worked stuff all the time. I also see what I haven't yet processed, and this is one of those instances. I was walking on the beach this past April and found a cool rock with all sorts of holes in it. I took a photo of the rock and then stepped back to take an overview so that you can see what I saw.

Some photographers see the big picture and have trouble zooming in on the details. My problem is just the opposite: I see the details and the big picture usually eludes me. In fact, just after I wrote this, I went online and noticed someone had photographed the number "28." I recognized the metal numbers as being the ones you see on telephone poles (which I photograph a lot). And then I laughed. I would have photographed the "2" or the "8," but wouldn't have thought of photographing "28!" See? I don't see the big picture. ©Carol Leigh

Spicy photography

Yesterday morning, while grating fresh nutmeg (thank you, Jan), I was struck by how pretty the inside of a nutmeg "seed" looked. Who knew?! ©Carol Leigh

Friday, November 20, 2009

Port of Alsea, Oregon

Yesterday it was just sprinkling, so I made a quick stop at the Port of Alsea here in Waldport to see what I could find. An overview shot (which I softened and sepia-toned) shows one fisherman doing a bit of crabbing. And then I saw this little bird darting about below me, snagging things off the surface of the water. I've yet to look him up in my bird book to see what he is. And finally I saw this whimsical thing — yup, it's a seahorse! ©Carol Leigh

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

26 minutes on the beach . . .

It wasn't raining this morning, so I headed over to the beach. Alas, the tide was coming in quickly, so I only had a few minutes to work. We had 95mph wind gusts Monday night, seas were still high, and I didn't want to become one of those stupid tourists I see from time to time paying no attention to the ocean. In front of me on the sand was a gull who hadn't weathered the storm. I moved in close to photograph its outstretched wing. Bright sunlight made photographing difficult, so I decided to incorporate the resulting dark shadows as part of the composition.

This particular beach features beautiful cinnamon-colored rocks, and I liked how the blue-black small boulders were sitting on the reddish background.

And finally, on my way back home, I stopped at the Seal Rock overlook. I had seen a bald eagle flying over the rocks on my way to the beach, and he was still there on my return, perched on a sea stack offshore. My lens (a 28-135mm) was way too short to take a frame-filling image, but when you see an eagle, you just have to photograph it anyway, don't you? So I cropped in really tight in Photoshop, and, just for grins, turned it into an orb. Ha! The eagle stands out quite nicely over there on the right. Fun stuff.

Two more storms are headed this way, so I was glad to be able to get out and enjoy some sun, some photography, and some quiet air. And a bald eagle! Hoo ha! ©Carol Leigh

You've got . . .

Sometimes I'll open BreezeBrowser and, without looking, click on a photo album at random, just to see what's there and what pops into my head. I clicked one of the San Francisco albums and selected this photo to work on. The choices were to either delete the photo entirely (it looked washed out and wonky) or to play with it. So play I did. I altered the perspective to exaggerate the wonkiness, added some darkening here and there, as well as the heart.* When you have a crappy photo to begin with, you don't feel so serious about junking it up, for some reason. Lousy photos encourage experimentation. And if that's the case, I've got years of experimentation ahead of me! ©Carol Leigh

*Why the heart? Because there are heart shapes in the wrought iron door and my drawing a heart on the mailbox sort of ties the two together and it creates a sort of wistful feeling, I think. And because I could!

And now do you want to see the bad version? (I shouldn't do this, but I will.) See what I mean? It's awful! Usually I would never keep something like this. I can't even believe I took it!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Crabbing season about to begin

I'm offering an online "Creating a Photo Essay" class that begins July 1st and so to prepare for it, I'm creating my own photo essay right now. I've decided to put together a 10-15-photo "story" about the local crabbing industry and I'll be showing you the photos as I go, as well as the final result. I'm limiting the class to 15 photographers, so if you'd like to get in on the fun, I encourage you to sign up now. Here's a web page describing the class, as well as links to where you can register. The registration fee is $65 per person.

When creating a photo essay about a place, signs are often useful things to include in the mix. Here's an example of a sign I shot the other day while at the Alsea Bay docks. Not great, but it's bold and colorful and could be a good inclusion in my essay. We'll see when it's all over. ©Carol Leigh

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Boats in Depoe Bay

We made a quick stop in Depoe Bay this morning where I found a couple of colorful boats to shoot. Used an 18mm lens (for those of you who care, and you know who you are!). ©Carol Leigh

A walk around the block . . .

As soon as I pointed my camera upward, the crow on the wire took off. Bright sunlight glaring off some of his feathers makes them look white. You never know, sometimes, what you're gonna get . . . ©Carol Leigh

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rain clouds heading north

Taken through the windshield of our car as we head south over the Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport, Oregon. A shutter speed of 1/640 second ensured everything remained in focus. ©Carol Leigh