Ripples, copyright Shirley Udle
It’s a warm, sunny April day. The cul-de-sac is filled with kids who last fall seemed half the size and half as loud as they are today. My morning chores completed, I head out for a walk with my dog charlie and my camera – this week’s Project 52 theme is “breaking the rule of thirds”.
Charlie’s an understanding photo companion, for the most part anyway. Generally he sits beside me patiently while I frame up my subject. It’s when people walk by that we sometimes have a problem. Charlie is fond of the sneak rear attack which means he pretends not to notice or care about the approaching human. At the moment she passes, he enters stealth mode making a swift approach from behind so as to get a good sniff. If I’m not paying attention, which can be often, someone gets startled, I have to apologize and of course I lose the shot.
Charlie’s other trick is to verbally challenge other dogs no matter the number or size. I think his intent to to warn them to keep their distance. Mostly they look at him in mild amusement because Charlie happens to be a cute but small Shih Tzu . Today he tried to intimidate a pair of German Shepherds, happily for him and me they were very well trained.
Some 45 mins later we’ve returned to our street. Ahead of me are two boys on bikes. They’re peddling like mad in obvious danger. The boy in the rear shouts something about Zombies, he’ll shoot them while his friend races off to safety. I’m smiling, I played this game as a kid although in my case rather than zombies I was fighting off a band of outlaws. The first boy breezes by on the far side of the street, charlie looks confused. The rear guard approaches, his gun blazing at me as he slips by. I’m the zombie! Mom will be so proud.
The feeling by the way is mutual. Mom’s birthday was on April 1st. I won’t give away her age, but I’m 52 the oldest of 4 children all of whom were born before Mom’s 38th birthday. Last year she decided to buy a new camera, on our advice she got a Panasonic Lumix bridge camera – a nice compromise between point and shoot and DSLR. I’ve been working with her for a number of months now offering some basic and intermediate picture taking advice.
I’ve been so thrilled to see her really working hard at learning this new hobby In January or February she joined our Project 52 photo group with predetermined themes for the pictures. It’s fair to say that her creativity and natural eye for detail has surprised the rest of us in the group. It’s not that we didn’t think she was capable, rather I think we’re surprised both at how hard she’s working at it. All her work is paying off in some great pictures, like the one at the top of this post. This wonderful shot was taken on a nature walk near Orleans. She found this reflection in a pool of water at the base of a picnic table. I probably would have walked right on by.
Good for you Mom and a very happy birthday. You’re solid proof there’s no reason to avoid starting something new.
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Location:Orleans, ON, Canada
“I’m heading out to a bead store south of town, want to join me?”
This was Sandi’s invitation on Saturday morning. If you haven’t been to one, a bead store is four walls lined with various beads, wires, hooks and everything one might need to craft wonderfully creative pieces of jewellery. Turn around and in the centre you find a rectangle of cabinets with even more gems, probably the more precious ones. I’m always amazed at how anyone can find inspiration in the midst of what seems to be chaos. Sandi is particularly good at it.
“I’d love to go, let’s take the van this time.” I reply. My motives are different and she knows that. I too am in search of inspiration; in place of trays and strands, I’m searching the city for a Franchised Landscape.
I borrowed this idea from Jeff Brouws’ book “Approaching Nowhere”. My take on it was a typical landscape style picture that includes some element of enterprise. In some sense, the buildings replace the trees or mountains that I’d normally shoot, the pavement substitutes for the rivers and lakes. The Franchised Landscape was our Project 52 theme for the week and my earlier ideas on the subject had not produced results. So off I went with Sandi, both of us in search of inspiration.
We head out during the middle of the day. I knew the light was too harsh, so for me this was very much a scouting expedition. Sandi doesn’t normally travel in the van and I only mention that because it was that change in routine that got us lost. The maps were in her car. She knew the general area but as we later discovered, after buying a new map for the van, that we were one main street West of where we needed to be. Our mapless search, however, took us along several roads I’d not been on before including Fallowfield Road and the Via Rail station that I didn’t realize even existed. Looking at it from the distance, I figured this would be ideal for this week’s photo, open, likely to have lights on at night with an expanse of field in the distance. A quick check of the weather confirmed there would be a clear night, and that sunset would be around 7 PM.
We did find the bead store and Sandi found inspiration there, although I believe she went in with a rough concept in mind. I headed back to the station some hours later arriving just as the sunset colours were fading. I found a spot near the tracks, got lower to the ground than I usually do, framed the scene and took one shot before another photographer approached asking if a train was coming, was I there to photograph the moon, and so on. Soon the light was gone.
I did take a few shots of the moon but nothing really that good. I’m pleased with this one though. It is close to what I’d pre-visualized. The framing came more naturally this time, as did the exposure settings. There was some post-work in LR3 but not too much. Hey, maybe those courses at SPAO are beginning to pay off.
wait up, originally uploaded by ken.udle.
Last Saturday night was cold. Very cold. Too cold to be out in the By-ward Market trying to capture that critical moment on my digital sensor. But that’s exactly what I was doing. Session 4 of my Photography class was moved from Sunday afternoon to Saturday night. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell everyone else – there was not much happening that night.
The objective was to position yourself where you’d see people passing by, blend into the background, observe, and capture that exact moment when something significant, moving, or exciting happens.
I was dressed in at least 4 layers of clothing, my camera is set to ISO 1600, cause there’s not much light happening. Aperture is around f4.0 and my focus spot is set to the middle. I check my exposure, everything looks good so I position myself near a corner where I hope to see people moving from the parking garage towards the Rideau Centre, or McDonald’s. So I wait. cars drive by, some slow down like I represent some other kind of street corner action. They drive on, probably confused.
Eventually a group approaches. Dad is skipping along the sidewalk, kids in hand. I figure the children are getting restless. They get a red light, I’m all set, green light they go, Dad and kids are skipping – I fire off 3 shots in that brief moment.
Right behind them comes another group, this time they’re running to catch the light before it changes. Click, click, click. Three more shots. and then nothing. So I move on to a new spot only to discover my camera has decided it’s too cold or something – my card is full. It shouldn’t be, but it is. I have to call it a night – no I didn’t bring a spare card.
Back at home I don’t have much hope for the night’s efforts. In fact I don’t even look at the results on the computer for a couple of days. As it turned out, I had two useable shots. Both are in my Flickr stream, one is at the top of this post.
I still don’t know why my SD card acted the way it did. I did a low-level format this time and it seems to be working again. I’ll see how it handles on Saturday when I try the exercise again. This time I’ll bring a second card.