Between projects and work and life in general

The theme this week at the WordPress photo challenge is between. I’ve been working on a lot of things lately, too many perhaps, and I have decided that I have to choose between a few of them and make a choice about what I am going to focus on for the rest of the summer.

I was out biking a few weeks ago, and since my point and shoot camera is always with me, I got this shot while I was taking a rest:

4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/250

4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/250

I used the macro setting on the camera and was really pleased with the way the background was blurred, giving the field a bit of a romantic feel.

One of my work projects for this summer is learning Adobe Illustrator.  I’m taking an on-line course that you can do at your own pace.  I created this image from my original photo in Illustrator using Image Trace:

4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/250

4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/250

I imported my .JPEG file photo into Illustrator then chose Image Trace-Low Fidelity Photo.  Then I cropped the image.

I was pleased with the result, but what do you think?  Learning Illustrator is one of the projects that I am having to decide if I want to continue.  What that means though, is that I need to decide between this blog and the Illustrator class.  Because both the blog and class require on-line hours, I feel like I can only do one or the other if I am to keep the rest of my life and work in balance. I chose the class, it was actually a hard choice for me to make, I love writing this blog. I felt in the short term that the class needed to take priority, so this blog will be on hiatus for the rest of the summer.  Since I am behind in follow-up visits to other blogs I am hoping to take a bit of time every day to visit a few.  I am hoping this will keep my in the loop and excited to resume blogging in the fall.

As always, your comments are welcome below, and I would like to thank all of you who have stopped by to take a look at my blog.

Cheers!

Travel Theme: Fresh

For this week’s travel theme fresh I’m back in the classroom.  A freshly hatched chick:

ISO 3200 50mm 0ev f/4 1/25

ISO 3200 50mm 0ev f/4 1/25

And outdoors with newly hatched robins:

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/60

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/60

These photos were taken with different cameras.  The chicken photo was taken with my Canon 50D.  The lighting was quite dark but I wanted to give the photo a soft light look.  So the ISO is high, the f-stop is low, and the shutter speed is slow. The chick was resting it’s head on the shell and was being very still, so the slow shutter speed was not a problem.

The robin photo was taken with my point and shoot camera using the macro setting on the camera.  While I didn’t do any post editing on the chicken, the robin photo has been cropped and sharpened.

Cheers!

Chicken on the Loose

Extra! Extra! Read all about it here! One little chicken attempting to make a getaway!

You can see he has spotted the opening:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/100

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/100

Edging a little closer to check it out:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/100

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/100

Making his getaway:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/100

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/100

The truth is though, there is no such thing as an extra, unwanted chicken, so he was returned to his home.

I took this series of shots in relatively quick succession, so there was no time to adjust the settings.  I have decided not to do any post editing because I think the imperfections help to tell the tale of this attempted hasty escape. Do the imperfections bother you? or do you sometimes prefer a photo to be displayed as shot? Your comments and thoughts on the matter are welcome below!

These photos were taken as part of a life cycle unit in a second grade class that I was documenting this Spring as is my entry for this week’s photo challenge at WordPress.

Cheers!

Travel Theme: Unexpected

Sometimes you forget to be a tourist in your own town.  Then maybe you get an unexpected reminder.  For me  the reminder was in the form of birthday cakes.  Specifically the Cakeway to the West, a celebration of the 250th birthday of St. Louis Missouri.  There are 250 of these 4ft. tall cakes scattered throughout the St. Louis region.  Here are snapshots of a few of them:

ISO 100 7mm 0ev f/4 1/160

ISO 100 7mm 0ev f/4 1/160

Lone Elk Park

ISO 100 8mm 0ev f/4 1/80

ISO 100 8mm 0ev f/4 1/80

World Bird Sanctuary

ISO 100 4mm 0ev f/8 1/160

ISO 100 4mm 0ev f/8 1/160

St. Louis Art Museum

ISO 64 4mm f/2.8 1/278

ISO 64 4mm f/2.8 1/278

Cahokia Mounds, which is in Illinois.

ISO 100 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/00

ISO 100 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/00

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

I have a bunch more to see obviously if I want to see all 250 of them!  It is a lot of fun to run into these cakes around town.  These photos I have taken with my point and shoot or iPhone. In Photoshop I did a levels adjustment on a few of them and then sharpened them a bit. Have you ever played the tourist in your own town?

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Room to Roam

I was camping a few weekends ago and spotted this False Map Turtle:

ISO 100 8mm 0ev f/4.5 1/500

ISO 100 8mm 0ev f/4.5 1/500

Basking in the sun, which is an activity you are likely to find these turtles engaged in on rock outcroppings at lakes here in Missouri.  After a few minutes of posing for photos, he wandered off:

ISO 100 8mm 0ev f/4.5 1/400

ISO 100 8mm 0ev f/4.5 1/400

I was at the water’s edge with both my DSLR and point and shoot camera but reached for my point and shoot to get these photos.  I used my smaller camera because I really like the macro setting on it.  The other reason was that for the first photo I have my camera pretty much on the ground.  Getting a photo from that angle is just easier with a smaller camera.

Once I got home, I edited these photos in Photoshop.  I used a levels adjustment layer to get the color to be a bit more true to the actual coloring of the turtle.  The original images were a bit overexposed despite the low ISO and fast shutter speed.  The top image was also cropped a bit and both images were sharpened.

This post was written in part as a response to the theme room.  My favorite room? outdoors, where there is some room to roam.

I wrote a few weeks ago that I was a bit behind on my blog and that I was hoping to catch up soon.  I’m sorry to say that that hasn’t happened.  I’ve been under the weather for just over a week now, so I’m even more behind than before.  I’m happy to say though, that I am feeling better and am happy to publish this post after about a week off.

Thoughts on my turtle images? Do you have a favorite setting on your point and shoot camera? they seem to come with so many these days.

Cheers and good health to you!

Travel Theme: Metal

Cahokia Mounds, ever heard of it? It a UNESCO World Heritage site that is just outside of St. Louis Missouri.  Here is Monk’s Mound the largest remaining part of the site:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5 1/1250

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5 1/1250

Cahokia Mounds are the remains of a society that was living in the area in A.D. 700-1400.  At its peak there may have been as many as 20,000 people living in the area.  The modern stairs in the photo are on the site of stairs that would have been used when this older culture was flourishing.  When you climb to the top, you get a view of modern day St. Louis:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1250

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1250

The metallic glow of St. Louis is quite jarring in comparison.  Archeologists have found relatively little metal at the Cohokia site, just a few bits of copper.  Tools of bone and stone are much more common.  The site has a very nice interpretive center and if you go for a visit, that is where I would recommend you start.  It is interesting to look through what is known about the site and then think about all the things that aren’t known.

On the day we visited, I wasn’t really thrilled with the photos I was getting as I was looking on the back of my camera.  I decided to shoot bracketed exposures and edit them in Photomatix.  Once I was in Photomatix I decided to use a surreal setting for my final photos.  I wanted the stairs to pop in the first photo and the metallic glow and odd sky in the second photo.  I would say I was looking for a bit of drama to illustrate my story.  Below are two of the original photos, both the middle exposure I shot:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5 1/1250

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5 1/1250

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1250

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1250

I felt that the HDR and surreal settings help to illustrate between these two cultures.  What do you think? Does it make that point? Does it do it well, or is it too overdone for your liking?  Your comments are welcome below.

Cheers!

Twist of Fate

Where you are born can make a difference in your life. It turns out the same is true for chickens. Every year I have followed a 2nd grade class as they go through a life cycle unit that involves hatching chickens.  Not all the eggs make it to a healthy hatched chickens.  That’s true of chickens everywhere but sometimes if you are a chicken born in a 2nd grade classroom and you need a little help to start your life, you get a lucky break.  Meet this year’s lucky break:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/160

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/160

Not cute, like the other chicken photos I have shown you.  The reason for this is pretty simple, this chicken needed some help getting out of its shell, so it is still sticky and gunky.  Shortly after I took this photo though, he was cleaned up a bit, so the next day he looked like this:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/200

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/200

He is still not the cutest, although his feathers have begun to grow in.  Because he is small, he has to be separated from the other chickens who peck at him.  Here he is three days later, moving day:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/50

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/50

He is still small, but able now to hold his own with the other chickens.  He moved to his permanent farm home shortly after I took this last photo. So, he has lived his first week.  Under other circumstances, he would not have made it, but a twist of fate and he has enjoyed the luck of hatching in a 2nd grade classroom.

Not a pretty chicken is he? He was particularly hard to photograph because he was always in motion.  The lighting wasn’t helping me either.  While these aren’t my most technically good photos of the year, this was the most interesting storyline to develop in this year’s life cycle unit.

Cheers!