Showing posts with label Photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Photography. Show all posts

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thankfulness in 2020

 



In this crazy year we call 2020, it is easy to find lots to complain about, but I would like to take a few minutes to reflect on those things for which I am thankful.  Won't you join me?

Family and Friends

I am very thankful for my family and friends.  During times when we couldn't get together we have family and good friends who have stayed in touch by phone call, texts, and emails.  At the beginning of April my husband and I spent 12 days in the hospital and we never missed a day without hearing from so many people that are near and dear to us.

Now that we are home, and our health is good, these friends and family continue to contact us.  When the weather was good and we could sit out on our deck with masks and social distancing our friends would join us.  We had several small groups gather and it was wonderful to see people.

My next door neighbor is working from home and we are able to take daily walks in the fresh air.  We often go to a park near our house.  I am thankful for Teresa.  Sometimes we bring our cameras and take photos along the way.





Technology

I am very grateful for technology this year.  It has allowed us to connect in ways we otherwise couldn't.
  • We have live streamed our church services every Sunday on our TV and it has been a great comfort to worship in this manner.  




  • Our church has increased online opportunities for Bible study and for prayer services.  They are available on Zoom, Facebook, and You Tube.
  • Zoom allowed us to have visits with our doctor while we were safe in our own home.
  • Zoom also allowed my photography club to meet so we could share ideas and connect with each other.  I had never used Zoom before and it has certainly been a blessing this year.
  • We also did a Zoom call with our family for my husband's birthday.

Books

I have always enjoyed reading books, but this year I am particularly thankful for the opportunities that a book brings.  Here is a quote that I think is very fitting.

           Reading gives us someplace to go
           when we have to stay where we are.
                         Mason Cooley

Photography

Hobbies are a wonderful thing to occupy your time.  I am very thankful for my hobby of photography.  It has certainly helped to keep me grounded this year and also to help me appreciate all that is beautiful in nature.

I have had plenty of time to take online classes in photography and various software programs.  I have spent hours honing my skills and this has brought hours of enjoyment to me.  

I have then taken the skills I have learned and visited "safe places" like my yard, my neighborhood, and nearby parks.  I am so thankful for all the time I have had to devote to my hobby this year.

Here are a few of the photos that I have taken. 






Today is Thanksgiving Day in the USA.  May you and your family have a blessed Thanksgiving.  May you take a few minutes to reflect on the things for which you are thankful.






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Thursday, November 12, 2020

Review of Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom Updates

 

Jupiter Lighthouse with Cloudy Sky

I really love the  new features of Lightroom and Photoshop that came with the updates in October of 2020.  Most of the time I have found that I have to practice several times and try to remember all of the steps for a new feature.  However, with these new features I read a summary of the changes once and right away I was able to use the new features.  They were that easy to  use.  In this post I will give you some examples of my three favorite new features.

Sky Replacement


One of the really fun new features in Photoshop is the sky replacement.  You could always replace skies on photos, but in the past it required you to remember several different steps in Photoshop and it was hard to select just the right amount of sky.  With the new sky replacement all you do is pull up "Sky Replacement" from the drop down menu and the sky is automatically selected.  You then have a wide variety of choices on sky replacements or you can create your own skies.  In the photo of the lighthouse above and the three shown below I replaced the skies with the selections already built into the system.  Each replacement only took seconds.  Which of these skies do you like best?
Jupiter Lighthouse with Blue Sky





Jupiter Lighthouse with Rainbow



Jupiter Lighthouse at Sunset








Color Adjustments in Lightroom

With the new updates in Lightroom, color adjustments have never been easier.  First there is a color grading panel that gives you opportunities to separately adjust colors for the midtones, shadows and highlights.  They are very easy to use, I suggest opening the color grading panel in the develop module and experiment with what each of the color wheels will do for your photograph.

In the  photos below I replaced the color of the flowers.  This was accomplished in just minutes using the adjustment brush.  I clicked on the brush, set the size of the brush I wanted and then adjusted the color in the hue slider.  Next I brushed over the parts of the photo that I wanted to change the color and just that easy I turned the pink flowers into a orange colored flower.


The photo above shows the original pink flower.  In the photo to the right, I easily changed the color of the flower with just a few simple brush strokes.




Neural Filters

I find it fun to try out different filters on some of my photos.  With the latest update, Photoshop added a new section of filters.  They are found under the filter tab and then under Neural Filters.  They are very easy to try.  Just click on the filter you want to try and you will see a preview of what your photo will look like with that filter. There is also a button to select if you want to preserve the color and another if want to focus on the subject.  Along with those two choices there are several sliders that let you determine the amount of filter that you want to apply. In the photos below, I applied four different filters to the same fall scene.






Zazzle Products from my Photos

If you would like to see my photos on a wide variety of products, please stop by my Zazzle store at www.zazzle.com/mbgphoto





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Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Reviewing The Joys And Uses Of Autumn/Fall Leaves

Autumn/Fall Leaves

I appreciate all the seasons and I love the time of year when the leaves start to change colour. Although the vibrant colours of the beautiful spring and summer flowers are now a fond memory, Autumn leaves are equally gorgeous. 

I love to see all the different colours and when you look more closely all the diverse shapes and textures of the leaves. Underfoot if it's dry they feel scrunchy and if it's wet they are all slippery.

When the wind blows you can hear the rustle of the dry leaves and some get caught up and fly higher into the sky like wild confetti! 

In the Fall/Autumn season we are treated to the stunning show of reds, golds, bronze and russets to lift our spirits as the days grow colder and shorter. I do have happy memories of Autumn that stay with me always.

There are many beautiful and lasting memories that can be made at this time of year between children and their parents or grandparents and I wanted to highlight some of the uses and joys to appreciate this season's beautiful falling leaves.

There is nothing quite like standing under a large tree when its leaves are changing color to golds and reds gazing up at the sky as the sun is streaming through, it is truly a magical experience.


Autumn/Fall With Children

This time of year always raises memories of my childhood. My parents always encouraged a love of the outdoors and Autumn always evokes memories as a child walking through deep rifts of crunchy leaves holding hands with my Mum and Dad kicking up the leaves, having fun!

We collected leaves of all shapes, colours and sizes to press, make into a picture and learn about. To succeed in this process on a basic level all you need is tissue paper and a very heavy book. Simply lay the leaf between 2 layers of tissue paper then place in the middle of a heavy book, close and leave. Before very long you will have beautifully preserved leaves. If you wish to learn more about leaf and flower pressing this book is a great starting point to learn how to create really lovely personalised art from simple leaves and flowers.

The Art of Pressed Flowers and Leaves


For younger children dried leaves can be laid down on white paper, the outline drawn and then coloured or painted in whatever authentic or imagined colours they like!

Autumn leaves are so beautiful to paint and also to take photographs of. They have amazing colours and shapes and are always interesting for the artist. Such gorgeous rich colours and moods to capture. 

When older children are involved in looking at and experiencing nature in this way it is then very educational to teach children about the different leaves and which trees they come from. 

This gorgeous book is a wonderful resource, beautiful, visual and well organised to teach children about leaves, trees, seeds, flowers and so much more to encourage an interest in and appreciation of nature.


Trees, Leaves, Flowers and Seeds: A Visual Encyclopedia of the Plant Kingdom




Children and adults can enjoy making a collage of beautiful shapes and colours together from collected Autumn leaves.

As a child, I did this activity throughout Autumn with my parents and it was an enjoyable craft in the long dark evenings.

 All we need is a large sheet of paper, a safe means of adhering them to the paper and dried pressed leaves. The only limits are our imagination!




Making Leaf Mould For The Garden

I heard a neighbour say the other day how he would like this time of year if it wasn't for the leaves falling. I was surprised to hear this as I always see this time of year as a bounty! Fallen Leaves are a great harvest for me. Each year I eagerly wait in anticipation for the leaves to change colour and then fall. My task is then to gather them all up to make gorgeous leaf mold.

I make it by first raking up all the leaves on a dry day, then I set the mower blades on the highest setting and give a gentle mow over to break them down into smaller pieces. This helps to speed up the process. Next, I either place the leaves into black bags or a simple chicken wire crate.

If they are in black bags I make holes with a fork for drainage.  If it is not raining I water them and place them out of sight around the back of the garage. This is so easy to do and I simply wait a year and then I have lovely crumbly free leaf mold to mix in with potting compost and use freely on our beds and borders!


Autumn/Fall Leaves And Wildlife

We can all enjoy the fall leaves but we should not forget about our wildlife. I always leave piles of leaves around in the borders of the garden in sheltered places so as not to be destroyed by strong winds. If we add large or medium-sized logs or piles of sticks that assist wildlife even more by providing protective cover.

Over the years I have seen blackbirds kicking these piles of leaves around to find dinner beneath, hedgehogs taking the leaves to another place getting ready for their winter hibernation, or even deciding that the pile itself will make a cosy home!

There are also all the unseen bugs, creatures and minibeasts who will inhabit the leaf pile to make it their home and find some winter comfort there. 


So just a few examples of how we and our garden creatures can enjoy and use this bountiful resource that is the fallen Autumn/Fall leaves. How do you enjoy Autumn/Fall leaves?   



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Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Last Correspondent Book Review

The Last Correspondent is a work of historical fiction written by Soraya M Lane.  It takes place during World War II just prior, during and after the invasion of Normandy.  The scenes are set in London and France during the war.  

This story is about three woman who fight to use their careers to tell their story in a man's world.  They show a tremendous amount of courage, grit and determination in order to get the story told.  This then is the story of a war correspondent, a photographer and a model.

I found this book to be a real page turner.  In fact after I was about half way through the book, I couldn't put it down till I read the whole book.  It is one of those books where the author does such a good job of making the characters believable that I couldn't wait to see what happened next.

The Three Women

  • Danni-  Danni is a seasoned photographer, who has photographed the war on several different fronts.  As the days close in on the Normandy invasion she finds herself in London.   Only the  men are allowed to get passes to cover the war during the invasion, but Danni is determined to find a way to get to the action.  She has teamed up with a correspondent, Andy, who has been with her during her last several assignments.  They have become good friends and cover each others backs.  Danni enlists Andy to help her sneak aboard a medical ship that is sailing toward Normandy.
  • Ella-  Ella is a reporter who has written stories  under a man's pen name in order to get her works published.  When she is found out, her publisher fires her.  She finds a job with a magazine reporting on the war from a women's point of view.  She interviews women working on the war effort and the magazine is so pleased with her work that they send her to London to report on the war.  Like Danni, Ella also finds she is limited in her access because she is a woman.  Ella goes by herself to try to find a way to the action and find herself on the same medical ship as Dani and Andy.  After a rough night hiding on board they decide to team up as they make their way to shore.
  • Chloe-  Chloe is Andy's sister who was a Vogue model prior to the war.  When she was in Paris on a modeling job she met Gabriel, an editor, whom she fell in love.  At the beginning of the story Chloe is at her home in England, longing to find a way to be with Gabriel in Paris.  She says she is a showgirl in order to make her way into Nazi occupied Paris.


The Men in Their Lives

  • Cameron- Cameron is a Lieutenant that Danni first meets and has a conflict with when she is covering the war in Sicily.  She meets up with him again in a bar in London and then in Normandy.  They have a real love/hate relationship.
  • Andy- Andy is a war correspondent and best friend to Danni.  They have been together on several war zones and he always has her back when she is pushing the envelope.
  • Gabriel-  Gabriel is Chloe's lover and she sneaks in to Paris to be with him, only to find out the it is very pre-occupied working for the resistance.  
  • Michael - Michael is also a war correspondent and Ella first meets him at the bar at the Savoy in London.  This is a meeting place for many of the correspondents and photographers.  She next meets up with him in Normandy.

Recommendation

If you are a lover of historical fiction this is a wonderful  read.  It is full of history, women's fight to be treated as equals, and just a bit of romance.  A great read all around.  I highly recommend it.




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Thursday, October 8, 2020

Fall is in the Air - A Review of 2020 Fall Favorites

 

Fall 2020
Fall is my favorite time of year.  I love the chilly nights, the cool and crisp days, and the wonderful array of colors in nature.  Fall is the time for apples and carmels, sausage and sauerkraut, colorful mums, and fall festivals.  Fall is also the time for candy corn, Halloween, jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin pie and of course Thanksgiving.  

Fall is also a wonderful time for photography.  The sun is not quite as intense and therefore the lighting is better for daytime photographs.  I love to wander in neighborhood parks and on trails and I always bring along my camera.  On this page I will review with you some of my favorite things from the fall of 2020.

Parks and Sculptures

This year in my town of , O'Fallon Missouri, we have ten sculptures on loan and displayed around town in various parks.  On my first fall outing, I visited three of our parks to photograph the sculptures.  It was late September and a little early for full fall color in Missouri, but I was pleased to catch a glimpse of color as I took my photos.

     Westoff Park

In this park I photographed a sculpture called Zig  Zag Zugguret by Michael Quintero.  I was also able to capture some pretty colors on the hillside.



     Dames Park

In Dames Park I photographed my favorite sculpture Solitude of the Journey by Jeremy Colbert.  I felt that whole photograph had a fall feel to it from the beautiful fall grasses surrounding theFh sculpture to the expressive clouds in the fall sky.

     Civic Park

My last stop on this outing was to photograph Blue Rail by David Lobel.  It was an interesting sculpture and I also photographed some of the colorful purple mums that were nearby.



Fall  Foods



In the fall I seem to have a renewed interest in cooking and baking.  I love baking apple muffins and pumpkin bread.  I especially like making anything with apples.  I made an apple cake last week and apple pie is always a favorite with my husband.  One of my favorite apple delights is homemade applesauce.  I love the smell of apples cooking on the stove.  My recipe is quite simple.  I just peel, core and cut the apples in chunks and then add them to a pot and cover them about 2/3 of the way with water.  I add some cinnamon and put them on the stove to simmer.  It only takes about 15-20 minutes and they are so good.  Can't you just smell them cooking in the photo below?

Another favorite is microwave apple crisp.  It is delicious and so easy to make.  See the recipe on the Zazzle magnet below.

Fall Decorations

I love to decorate my home for fall.  I usually put up my decorations in the first week of September and take them down after Thanksgiving.  My decorations are fairly simple, just a few colorful leaves and some pumpkins that I purchased at the local craft store.   The two special items that I have are the mini quilt on the entrance table that a friend made for me and the photograph on the mantle.  It is a photo that I took of a lighthouse in Minnesota during the fall and I was able to capture the fall leaves in the framing of the photo.  I had it printed on canvas and it sits on my mantle in the fall.  Here are a few photos of my decorations.

Front Door Wreath



Fall Zazzle Products from my Photographs




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Thursday, July 23, 2020

Visit Missouri-Fort Zumwalt Park


We have several parks in our area, but my favorite is Fort Zumwalt Park.  This 48 acre park is both scenic and historic.  It has a wonderful 3.5 acre lake and lots of trails and paths to enjoy nature.


Newly Renovated

The lake named Lake Wetsel, after a board member that championed the lake, was completely dredged during 2019.  At that time several small bridges and a walking path were added.  This makes it a wonderful place to take a stroll or go for a more energetic walk.




Historic Features


I love seeing the fort each time I go to the park.  It is a wonderful recreation of a log cabin from the late 1700's.  Here is a quote about the Zumwalt home from the O'Fallon city website.   https://www.ofallon.mo.us/fort-zumwalt-park
"It’s hard to imagine the O’Fallon area as the leading edge of the American frontier. But in 1799, when Daniel Boone and his family settled just a few miles away, the area was a wilderness in which Native Americans hunted, fished and trapped game.
At about the same time that Daniel Boone arrived, Jacob Zumwalt and his extended family settled in the O’Fallon area circa 1798, building a large log home. A few years later, when the War of 1812 set off deadly guerilla raids with Native Americans ambushing and killing American settlers, local families fled to the shelter provided by the Zumwalt’s home, which is said to have been fortified with a stockade fence.  A spring, which is now Lake Whetsel, supplied water.
Zumwalt’s Fort, as the fortified house came to be called, was one of 35-plus “settler forts” that once stood in Missouri. Boone’s Fort at present-day Matson, Missouri, was the largest.
The reconstructed Zumwalt’s Fort opened in 2015 as a gift to the City from the O’Fallon Community Foundation. It is the only rebuilt War of 1812 settler fort in the state.
Interpretive signs at the site provide structural details and information about the people who lived here in the days when the O’Fallon area was part of the American frontier."

Another historic house in the park is the Heald house.  It is a large brick home built near the fort on a hill called "Stony Point" .  It was first built in 1884 and was renovated by the City of O'Fallon in 2001.  I love taking photos of the flowers around the house.



Wildlife

Wildlife abounds in the park both in the woods surrounding the lake and in the lake itself.  I particularly like watching the colorful ducks in the lake.




















Here is an Iris I photographed along the lake.

Other Activities at the Park

The park features many other attractions and special events.  Here are a few of the most popular.
  • Picnic Areas
  • Pavilion for Group Gatherings
  • Large Playground
  • 18 Hole Disc Golf Course- this scenic 18 hole course winds it way through the park.  The course is free for open play and scorecards are available near the first tee.
  • Celebration of Lights- each December the park hosts a annual celebration of lights.  This celebration features a drive-through display of seasonal lights.  It also has nights set aside for a walking tour and some nights there are carriage rides available.
  • Founders Day Celebration-The park hosts this celebration in May with live blue-grass music, hands on activities and heritage demonstrations.
  • The Park is the host for The St. Charles Model Railroad Club.

Photo Shoot

I love to do photo shoots with my granddaughters and the park is the perfect place to take their photos.  Here are a few from their recent visit.






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Thursday, June 25, 2020

Visit Missouri-Klondike Park St. Charles County

Klondike Park Meeting Facility

On a recent beautiful June afternoon,  my friend and I ventured out into Missouri Wine Country.  After a wonderful lunch at a winery overlooking the Missouri River Valley, we stopped at Klondike park for a bit of hiking and photography.

Location of Park

Klondike park is located in St. Charles county just 14 miles south of the 40/94 interchange.  It is a wonderful location with over 250 acres nestled in the middle of Missouri Wine Country.

Boat Ramp

As we left the winery we took the first exit we saw for the park and found that this exit really just led to the boat ramp with access to the Missouri river and not into the park itself.  We decided to get out for a few minutes to photograph the river from this vantage point.

There is a power plant in this area and from the boat ramp we got a good view of the power plant across the river.
We had really wanted the main entrance to the park so we got back in the car and went down hwy 94 for about 1/4 of a mile and we came to the main entrance.

Features of Klondike Park

The park has a modern meeting facility (pictured at the beginning of this page) that is perfect for both family and business meetings.

One of the key features of the park is the beautiful bluffs overlooking the Missouri River valley.  There is a paved path that you can hike to the top of the bluffs for some scenic views of the area.

Hiking and Biking Trails

There are more than 4 miles of natural and paved trails for hiking and biking.  The trail pictured above is one that we took to go down to the river.  It was an unpaved path that went down a rather steep hill before it crossed the Katy Trail and eventually ended up at the river.

Katy Trail

The Katy Trail is a 237 mile hiking and biking trail that goes across most of Missouri.  Over half of the trail follows the path that explorers Lewis and Clark took along the Missouri River.

Camping at Klondike Park

If you are looking for a place to stay, Klondike park offers camping facilities including, 6 rustic cabins, 43 campsites, restrooms and showers.

Other facilities include:
  • Picnic shelters
  • Playgrounds for children
  • Large lake that is fully stocked

Unique Birding/Wildlife Area

We found there were numerous opportunities to take photographs.  There were many fields with wildflowers and birds.

Image from Klondike Park

Here is a canvas I found on Amazon which depicts a scene from Klondike Park.  Klondike Park is just north of Augusta, Missouri.

Here is a book with information on day hiking trips in Missouri.




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