I hope it rains…

I know, blasphemy, but I have a very good reason: I am worried about the frog eggs in the vernal pools at Nasketucket. There is a big sack of eggs, each with a tiny developing tadpole inside, but about a third of it, if not more, is above the water level now. They are sealed inside – in some kind of amniotic fluid, I assume – so maybe they’ll be okay, but it still bugs me. I almost wonder whether I should go back and at least maneuver the stick so they’re under the water? But then I think, no, let nature be. The pool and the life forms in it will either make it or it won’t. What would you do?

Frog eggs

Frog eggs

Frog eggs

Frog eggs

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Almost beach weather…

It was a bit windy to be on the beach today, and of course the sun didn’t come out until we were driving home (rrrrr!), but it was still nice to be ON A BEACH.

I started and ended my day taking silly photos of my newest Blythe doll:

Blythe dollBlythe doll

I then took some black-and-white photos of the dunes using a circular polarizing filter:

Sand dunesSand dunesSand dunes

Know what a Saluki is? It’s a beautiful, slender dog with a long, thin, super delicate face and long, silky fur. This is “Daisy”:

Saluki

There were more shells, and more of a variety of shells, on the beach than usual:

Shell and featherClam shellShellsShellCrab legCrab legShells

There were also tons of sandpipers about, but the light wasn’t great and those little buggers are FAST!

SandpiperSandpiper

Adventures in black and white

B&W  Color Magazine has another single image contest coming up, this one for black and white photography, and I am seriously considering entering at least one photo in it, even though it’s $30 for one image and then $15 for each additional image, which is kinda steep to someone like me who doesn’t like to gamble with her money. However, from the issues I have browsed through (my mom got me a subscription for my birthday), I’m not seeing anything so extraordinary as to be out of my reach. I mean, wildlife photography contests get discouraging because I don’t live in the Canadian Rockies, and my little frog photos or little praying mantis photos, no matter how good, can’t compete with, say, a hapless salmon leaping into a bear’s gaping mouth.

Anyhow, I’m finding I really like black and white photography. I feel like it’s gotten me out of a rut. Because I don’t take a lot of wildlife photos this time of year, I don’t take a lot of photos this time of year. I’m indoors a lot, doing other things and dreaming of spring. But now I can grab my camera and go someplace specifically for black and white photos. Today I went looking for decrepit old factories, but wound up having the most success down at the waterfront (which should not surprise me, since it’s one of a handful of places I always find interesting things to photograph, no matter the time of year or time of day, for that matter).

You have to train your eye to take black and white photos, because a photo that really pops in color may be super dull in black and white if there is no difference in tones. A lot of the textures I love down at the waterfront don’t translate well to black and white – but a lot of them do.

I also think black and white photography is like the original abstract photography, because it’s definitely not what your eye sees. Black and white photography can transform what is to the eye an extraordinarily ordinary scene into something mysterious and dramatic. It’s what gave film stars of the ’30s and ’40s their otherworldly glamor. Even Lucille Ball and Angela Lansbury photographed like a flawless Bernini sculpture.

Here are some rocks on the beach with great shadows on them from a bit of netting:

Beach

Here is a photo of a storm taken from the top of the parking garage by my work (with thanks to a co operative sea gull for the added interest):

storm clouds

Some buildings downtown:

wall abstractfire escape

An abandoned factory building:

Windowbuilding

And, finally, fishing boats:

Fishing boatsFishing boats

I really like these two for a contest:

Fishing boatsFishing boats

Plate photos and stock images

About a hundred years ago, iStock accepted me as a contributor, which was a huge honor because iStock is the BEST. (I know, because I am a graphic artist and often go to their site for images.) But the letdown was, they accepted very, very few of my images.

Today I thought I’d give it another shot, and set out to photograph some of my jewelry-making stuff to submit to them. That went OK, but… I soon got distracted with photographing the plates I’d set my jewelry on.

Now, this is what generally happens when I’m making pictures, especially still lifes – as I get more and more absorbed in what I’m photographing, I start to see my subject(s) in a different way. I started out photographing plates, but eventually I was photographing the patterns on them.

I haven’t submitted these to iStock yet, but I feel hopeful that some may be accepted because they have a lot of negative space, so they would be appropriate for ads, and because they are different than just photographs of china.

Here are a few of the images I made today, that I’m super pleased with:

Nippon plate

Nippon plate

Nippon plate

On the Beach – in February!

We took a walk on West Island yesterday, and it was just what the doctor ordered – warm sun, clear, calm water, some little sandpipers feeding amongst the rocks and Brandt geese galore – heaven!

WaterIceRockConchGeese

All of these were taken looking through the water:

Sea weedSea weedSea weed

And this one is my favorite for the deep purples and reds (also for sale on my Etsy shop):

Shell

Orchid Heaven

We went to the Cape & Islands Orchid Show today, and while it was pricy (Ulysse got a hotdog and chips for $6!!!) and crowded, the show itself was beautiful. There is nothing like a room full of blooming flowers in January!

I had been once before, but I hadn’t had my camera long, so I knew one setting – which I had read in a magazine – and that’s what I did for every shot. This time I brought three lenses and some close up filters and went to town!

These were taken using a flash which, of course, captures a lot of detail and the flowers’ “true” colors:

OrchidOrchidsOrchidsOrchidsOrchidsOrchidsOrchidOrchidsOrchidsOrchid

This is my favorite one, compositionally:

Orchids

These I took without a flash using my 50mm Minolta lens, and I think, of all the pictures I took, that they came out the most interesting:

OrchidOrchidOrchidsOrchidsOrchidOrchidsOrchidOrchidsOrchid

And, of the ones I took without a flash, this one is my personal favorite:

Orchid

First Snow

Well, we finally had our first “real” snowfall this weekend, which is kind of unbelievable. I was starting to think winter was never gonna get here. (Not that I’m a fan of winter or anything, but the seasons have a schedule to stick to.)

Before, we had had a wee bit o’ snow that stuck beautifully to tree branches and such, so I had gone out with my 100-200mm lens and circular polarizing filter and got some nice shots (IMO).

Red berriesRed berriesSnow and sky

SnowscapeTree trunk

I love, love, love the light in this one!

Tree trunks

On Saturday we got about a foot, which is melting away as I write this, so yesterday I headed out with my 75-300mm zoom lens and walked around the Hawthorn Street area, hoping to get some nice abstracts of the beautiful, rambling Victorian houses while there was still snow on all the roofs, etc.

It took me a while to start getting the images I wanted, but eventually I figured out that I needed to be looking at houses a street away, not right in front of me, in order to see the compositions I was after. (It probably does not help that I have no depth perception!)

RoofsRooftopsRooftops

Roof and chimneyRoof and chimneyRoof and chimneys