Saturday, February 27, 2010

Stupid is as stupid does . . .

It was quite the morning for stupidity. I mis-read the tide table, not only the high/low tide part, but also the date! So when I headed out for a quick walk on the beach this morning, I figured the tide was going out. Wrong. It was almost at its height! I managed to stay dry and cut my walk short. At least I wasn't out there during the tsunami! 

And then I inadvertently set my exposure compensation to underexpose by 2/3 of a stop. I was shooting in bluish shady light to begin with, so my photographs turned out not only blue, but dark blue. Well, good excuse to experiment in Photoshop, right?

I purposely blurred out this photo and overexposed it by 4 stops before doing anything else. And even though this photo was originally of maybe 10 birds, I clipped out just a corner of the photo and blew it up big. Now I've got two big, overexposed, blurred birds. And I like it! And it's given me some other ideas, other things to try with a variety of subjects. We shall see . . . And now, back to work. ©Carol Leigh

What's a daily photo blog without a daily photo?

All photographic energies right now are going into creating and explaining my photomontage process for my class that begins on Monday, so "regular" photography seems to be on hold for the moment as I continue to critique students' work in my current class, create videos, combine photos, create lessons, and more. My camera is getting a rest while I am getting none. Right now, however, I wouldn't want it any other way. To see more of my daily creations at the moment, click over to my photomontage blog. -- Carol Leigh

Sunday, February 21, 2010

No parking . . .

Lines in a local parking lot. Who says you have to go far to create interesting photographs? ©Carol Leigh

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A good morning on the beach

I've been really sick. And I'm sick of being sick. So today I pretended I was well and went to the beach to photograph. I think it worked. I faked myself out and am now ready to roll.

The bluffs that I photograph are incredibly colorful. Even more so when they're in the shade, which is when I do most of my shooting there. My "technique" is to walk along the shade of the bluffs on the first half of my walk and then move out into the sun on my way back to see what else I can find. That is, if it's a sunny day. But look at what I see in the shade! Look at the blue and orange colors. Is this not cool, or what? And wait until you see what I've done with all these various rock photos I've taken. It's astounding, if I do say so myself. And I do.

I found a feather -- a very good-looking one -- and photographed it on a rock, then stuck it in my hat to take home to shoot again. I checked my shadow on the sand from time to time to make sure it was still there, still sticking up, making me look like some homely, decidedly un-Disney-esque Pocahontas.

As I was about to leave the beach, I took a moment to photograph some of the what I call "agateers," folks out in droves slowly walking the beach, agate scoopers in hand, hunched over, bent over, eyes glued to the sand, looking for that glint of shiny translucence that is an agate. This was a good day for them, lots of sand had washed away, leaving a gravel-like surface that's a treasure trove for agate-seekers (of which I used to be one, until one day I wondered what the hell am I going to do with all these agates and have I officially turned into a beach geek? Will a metal detector be the next step for me?).

And so you see here a frizzy-haired woman with a stick, peering intently at the sand, looking like I will probably look when I'm REALLY old (like next month). And do you see the fishing boat just off the coast? It's a beautiful day here today. I'm giddy with the sun. And now back to doing critiques in my current online class . . . ©Carol Leigh

And the sea turned silver . . .

My last evening in southern California. A very pretty sunset in Encinitas as the sky briefly turned orange and then the sea turned silver. It was a great trip, and I thank everybody who joined me for making it so much fun. And to my gracious and oh-so-patient hosts, you made me feel right at home and so welcome. Thank you. ©Carol Leigh

Friday, February 19, 2010

Another drive-by

Shot through the windshield yesterday. 200mm lens, 1/4 second at f/25, ISO 100. ©Carol Leigh

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Photo surprises

I like to be surprised, and while riding as a passenger in a car, shooting through the window, I've got nothing BUT surprises! We had an appointment inland this morning and en route I photographed (1) the pink and blue colors of sunrise at Ona Beach, (2) the soft pastel pink, purple, and green colors of trees in the distance, and then (3) bright sunlight coming through a line of trees.

This is easy photography (well, sorta). I use a 70-200mm L lens most of the time, setting my camera on shutter priority, using a shutter speed of maybe 1/5 second, and an ISO of 100. For these photos I also had a polarizing filter on the lens. I'm shooting primarily through the windshield, although sometimes through a side window. It was a good morning today. ©Carol Leigh

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Always a pleasure to shoot. ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Light and shadow

Outside Mission San Juan Capistrano, cactus plants grow against the mission wall. Bright sunlight created beautiful shadows which I incorporated into the compositions. And then inside the mission grounds, I liked the way bold shadows sliced across a warm yellow wall and added mystery to a deep-set window. ©Carol Leigh

Takes my breath away . . .

A morning spent at a nursery in eastern San Diego County always produces cool results, although most of my photos were primarily of texture and tree bark (don't ask). Old cars and trucks and their attendant rust and peeling paint make me hyperventilate. And a display of wrenches sits gleaming with beautiful patina on an old wooden shelf. Suitcases packed into the trunk of an old car provide a bit of color in an otherwise dark and monochromatic setting. I could live here. Easily. ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Riding the train between San Diego and San Juan Capistrano

It was a challenge photographing from the train window, and most of what I shot was awful: burred images through a dirty window. But the view from the train is unique, and so (to me) the pictures were interesting anyway. Here the train is zooming over a lagoon near Carlsbad and I like what I was able to create -- scenery with a sense of movement as well as a bit of clarity. Hoo ha! ©Carol Leigh

Santa Fe Train Depot, San Diego

Train depot in San Diego, California. I used an 18-55mm lens and ISO settings ranging from 100 to 500. ©Carol Leigh

Friday, February 12, 2010

It's a wild life in La Jolla

It was a sunny day in Portland when I arrived at the airport, but we had to wait 4 hours for a window of opportunity to land in San Diego, where it was POURING. I photographed this stack of La Jolla newspapers that featured a downed palm tree blocking the street.

A family of three sea lions lounges on the rocks at The Cove and a pelican lazily flies past. And then the last photo shows three pelicans snoozing in the late afternoon sun. ©Carol Leigh

Cedros Avenue Design District

CJ took me over to Solana Beach to see the Cedros Avenue Design District. Hoo ha! Although I photographed primarily texture and grunge (great tree bark, torn labels, spray painted things, slate tiles, numbers, etc.), I also took a few overviews. A coastal-blue sign arches across the street. A horde of horned toads crawls down the side of a building. And a funky store lends itself well to an exaggerated Topaz Adjust treatment.

My prize purchase was a set of vintage Japanese paperback books with beautiful calligraphy, torn bits, weathered covers, and more. Can't wait to find time to shoot them and then incorporate them into photomontages. I did create a photomontage of some palm tree bark from this visit, which you can see here:

©Carol Leigh

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Los Angeles yet again . . .

Three more from downtown Los Angeles and then it's time to move on. But you know what? I could spend an entire month photographing this city. There's so much to see that's hidden away, tucked away, reflected here, and revealed there. Truly spectacular. All together now, "I love L.A.!" ©Carol Leigh

Faux France

I am getting more involved in shapes, forms, darks, lights, and these two images from my downtown Los Angeles walk are a good example. It was Patti G. who pointed out the possibilities here, for which I'm grateful. Blinding reflections from a building on my left reflected onto the building directly in front of me, causing the bold forms of these trees to stand out beautifully.

I metered for the brightly lighted background building so that the trees would be underexposed and therefore blacker and bolder. I added some sepia toning and softening to give the image the look I wanted. It's oh, so France in winter, don't you think? Yeah. Right. I wish. ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get....

A few from my downtown L.A. photo walk. Am woefully behind in transferring photos, backing up photos, and processing photos. And currently have the cold from hell, where I can't even talk. (And yeah, I know, maybe that's a GOOD thing. I can hear your snide remarks all the way over here.)

And now back to bed with some hot tea and Grand Marnier. ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Hotel Angeleno Part 2

Another "waiting in the lobby" photograph, this time through the gauzy drapes at the scene outside. ©Carol Leigh

Hotel Angeleno

Waiting in the hotel lobby just before leaving to conduct the downtown L.A. photo walk, I was looking for photo possibilities and found this. I like the monochromatic look, the light, gauzy, airy feeling.

Will I confess to you that I accidentally had my camera set for tungsten white balance? Of course not! Luckily I shoot RAW and was able to switch it back to a more normal look in Photoshop. Will I tell you how long it took me to realize my camera was set for tungsten white balance? How many blue photos of the Disney Concert Hall would you like to see? Ha! ©Carol Leigh

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Recycled art

We found ourselves yesterday behind a recycling truck -- packed with flattened-down cardboard. While we were stopped at a traffic light, I photographed this through the windshield of our car. Total grunge!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Home again

My flight home from San Diego didn't arrive until late afternoon on Thursday and it was pouring rain, so we elected to stay in a motel and drive home today instead. (It's a 3.5-hour drive from the airport to our house and it encompasses one of the most dangerous roads in Oregon. In the dark, in the rain, and when we're tired isn't the best time to be traveling.) So this morning we set out before sunrise and, en route, decided to take a few detours to see something different. The lighting was exquisite. Beautiful clouds, no rain, little patches of fog here and there, and then the coast was crystal clear, with the ocean looking a rather tropical blue and green with big waves coming in from the south.

In the first photo, I liked the strong shape of the tree and how the road leads my right up to it. The second photo is especially appealing to me because of how the tops of the trees seem to echo the tops of the hills in the distance.

The third photo shows how sometimes loggers will leave one sentinel tree remaining on a hillside, and this one really stood out way up there. And then I took a drive-by shot of trees lining a golf course. The grass of the course was in blue shadow, so it appears quite aqueous in the picture. And then finally the Oregon coast, from a vantage point just up the road from our house.

I'll be prepping and posting some of the photos from my San Diego trip once I get them off my laptop and into my "real" computer. ©Carol Leigh