March 31, 2018

Cloudy, 39 Degrees, South Wind 10 – 15 mph.

After taking so many pictures yesterday, I decided to take it easy this morning and walk my local woods with Jamie. The temperature was mild, so no hat or gloves required. It wasn’t a pretty day, what with the cloud cover, and the woods remain pretty darned gray and washed out. Spring remains in the future yet.

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I was surprised to find I like these images quite a bit. I darkened and vignetted them to complement the spooky quality of the images. 

Yesterday was a very successful day in the woods. I got a number of very nice images and a few that I really like. These images have that power of mystery that I’ve mentioned before. One was taken along the trail, and the others were around the Pine grove that I explored.

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I’ve always liked the blur in these tree shots. 

There is something cool about a good path or trail photo. The path always implies something more than a hiking trail; the path or life or the progress of life always comes to mind. The Pine grove is always much darker than the surrounding deciduous woods and that gives a sense of the deep dark woods, perhaps the woods of a fairy tale, where there is always a sense of danger.

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Remember this was shot late morning. I’ve darkened and vignetted a lot. 

There were two Pine grove shots that come to mind. One was deep in the woods looking back at the open meadow, with the sun shining through the tree tops. This one gives the sense of deep woods, but with hope represented by the sunshine. The other photo was taken near the edge of the Pine woods, looking out at a deciduous forest beyond. This one too has the sense of danger and mystery of the dark woods but here it opens out onto another forest. The deciduous forest is open and much lighter, but it still doesn’t give a sense of escape or rescue. There is no path in either woods.

Anyway, I like these images a lot. They’re just the kind of thing I look for. I think I’d like to print them.

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Yesterday I received a new Lensbaby Composer Pro. Well, it is new to me. I bought it off Ebay for about half of retail. I have an old Composer, but the Pro adds the ability to adjust aperture by twisting the lens, where with the Composer, you had to exchange little steel discs with holes in them. These little apertures were easy to lose and a pain to change, so you tended to use one aperture most of the time.

This lens is designed to create a central area of focus, with varying amounts of blur around that area, depending on aperture. The Composer allows you to swivel and bend the lens from side to side, up and down, thus moving the area of focus to different parts of the image. It’s a strange effect, but one I have found interesting in the past. I wanted to play with it more, but I wanted the ease of changing apertures that the Pro model offers.

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I really like the mysteriousness of this shot. 

The lens I bought has a fixed 35mm focal length. You can buy other optics for the lens body that give you 50 or 80mm focal lengths. I’d like to have the 80mm for portrait and closeup uses, but I couldn’t justify the expense until I’m sure I want the effect the lens creates.

That was my purpose today—to play with the various apertures with various subject matter to see if this lens is just too weird for me or whether I see a use for it. Editing today will tell me more. Right now I don’t know. The images on the camera preview mostly looked pretty strange, but some shots of branches strike me as kind of cool. There might be others that work too.

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The blur can look a little more natural where you would otherwise have blur. 

It will take more than a single photo session to determine whether this is something I want to use. I’ve had some successful images with the Composer before, but it’s not something I use regularly. Still, it’s something interesting to play with. The 80mm optic would allow me to use extension tubes to do blurred closeups as well. The 35mm is too wide for this to really work well, although I’ll give it a try.

I wanted to take it easy today because I’m getting a little behind in managing the incredible number of images I’m making every day. There’s never a break to really consider what I’m doing, to refine my editing and do some printing.

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Looks like evening, but it’s mid-morning. 

Every day I try to do a decent edit of all of the images I consider to be of decent quality and then put the best of them in collections in Lightroom for easy access later. I’ve failed to do that for a few days now, so it’s time to catch up on that. I’d also like to do a little printing of the best images from the last week or two.

There’s no question that this project is very challenging. I spend a good half of every day shooting and editing photographs. There is never a day when I don’t have images to deal with. On the one hand, it’s cool to just keep shooting and shooting, always looking, and always creating. On the other hand, of course, it’s seven days a week and never stops.

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The road on the way home. 

There is nothing in this world that I would want to do seven days a week for hours a day—except possibly take photographs. But remember that when I started, I hadn’t picked up a camera for years. That’s quite a change, but so far, so good.

Today is the end of my second full month of shooting every day. I’ll write a wrap-up of the month that summarizes my experience and the results I’ve gotten. Look for it under the Monthly Summary menu. Okay—off to download and edit!

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Another evening like shot, done with exposure and vignette. 

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