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

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Review of Spring Flower Photography

 

There is nothing like the beautiful colors of spring flowers to get me past the dull days of winter.  The brilliant yellow of the daffodil photograph above is a case in point.  I took it while on an excursion to the Missouri Extension Center.  On this page I will share with you the photographs I have taken this spring.

Flowers in my Neighborhood

I try to take a daily walk and as winter turns to spring, I look forward to seeing the new flowers poking out of the ground. This year I have a new dog that walks with me so rather than trying to take my camera, most of the photos I take on my walks are taken with my iPhone. I live in Missouri, and we usually see the first signs of spring in late February or early March.  The first flowers in my neighborhood are the crocus.  One house up the street from mine has a flower bed in the front yard that is full of all different shades of purple crocus.  I love seeing the green peaking up out of the soil and I always anticipate these lovely flowers.  With these tiny flowers I like to get in real close when I take the photos and take them from different angles.  Here are three of my favorites.










The next flowers to bloom in my neighborhood are the daffodils.  I have a few of these in my own yard and I enjoy looking at the bright yellow blossoms as I look out my window.

The last of the spring flowers that I photographed during my spring walks were the tulips.  I love these colorful flowers and find them in a whole rainbow of colors in the various neighbors' yards.  

As you will see in the photos below, I like to take the flowers in various ways.
  • Up very close
  • From above
  • From the side
  • Just a section of the petals







Springtime Flowers at Missouri Extension Center

One beautiful spring Sunday, my neighbor and I drove to the Missouri Extension Center gardens.  Here master gardeners learn their skills and hone them with other gardeners.  The grounds are open for anyone to come and visit.  We had the place to ourselves for most of our visit and were able to take our time and photograph lots of spring flowers.  I particularly liked the daffodils.  They were so many more varieties than I realized even existed.  Here is a collage photo I put together of the daffodils.  I used the Print panel in Lightroom to put together the collage.

Flowering Trees and Bushes

Springtime also brings beautiful flowering trees and bushes.  Here are a few I photographed on my neighborhood walks.
Redbud Tree and Forsythia Bush

Lilac Branch after the Rain

My Neighbors Beautiful Pink Tree

Capturing Bird by Flowering Bush

I particularly like it when I am able to photograph a bird by a flowering bush.  Here is a photo I took Easter Sunday of a Cardinal by my Lilac bush.

Zazzle Cards from my Photos

I love turning my photos into cards.  Here are a couple cards with spring flowers.




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Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Photography Reviewed on Review This Reviews!

Treasures from the Archives of Review This Reviews! 


Every writer, blogger, publisher, or editor knows how important images are in an article or book.  People love to see what they are reading about, especially in a review.

All of the contributors on Review This Reviews feature photos in their articles.  Many of us take our own pictures, and on occasion we even explain how we edited the image.  Or, we might offer the image printed on an item like a coffee mug, greeting card, t-shirt, etc. on Zazzle or Amazon.

While we all dabble in photography to some degree, none of us are more experienced than our own contributor, Mary Beth.  We are truly honored to have her as a member of our contributing team.  In fact, she is one of the founding members.  Mary Beth has been sharing her photos, photo tips, and photography expertise with us since day 1 of Review This Reviews!  We have all read excellent advice, tucked away her tips for our own use, and have learned valuable lessons from Mary Beth's photography pages.

Not only are there tips for taking better pictures on Review This Reviews, but there are recommendations for photography equipment, accessories, and editing an image. 

Some of the most popular articles on Review This Reviews can be found on our travel reviews where several contributors share their personal photos from fabulous destinations.  Our gardening reviews would not be complete without the lovely photos featured in them, while our recipe review photos will make you want to run to the kitchen and start cooking.

Photos also take centerstage in our Craft & DIY tutorials, as well as our Pet Product reviewsDiana Wenzel (Renaissance Woman) has a unique talent for combining those two categories with her wonderful DIY pet beds & bird feeders.  I might also mention here that Diana is an extraordinarily talented photographer.

Sometimes it is just fun to flip though the articles on Review This Reviews just to look at the pictures. 
 

We invite you to explore our world of photography!

The board below features 30 of our most recent reviews.







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Thursday, February 24, 2022

Reviewing a Veterans Museum

 

Scenes from Front of Museum

 
In early February of 2022, I had the privilege of visiting the St. Charles County Veterans Museum with a group of people from the Willows Way photography club where I am a photography mentor.  This museum is just over two years old and I had never visited before. I was in for a wonderful surprise.  The museum was a delight with lots of memorabilia and stories of veterans from World War I through the present day.  

The volunteers who worked at the museum were wonderful and really made our whole experience very inspirational.  They gave us time to explore on our own, but were always available to answer questions and tell the stories of the veterans that were featured at the museum.

On this post I will share with you some of the photos I took in the museum and also give your more information about the museum which I gathered from their website St. Charles County Veterans Museum

World War I Era Uniforms



After you enter the museum the first display you see is from World War I.  Here are some of the uniforms from the display.

Mission of the Museum

Plans for a museum that honored all of the veterans from the area was a dream of Ralph Barrale (1924-2018) a veteran of World War II.  He was able to get the location secured and the dream was becoming a reality when he passed on in 2018.  Unfortunately he was unable to see the actual opening in 2019.

Here is the stated mission of the museum. 
" Inspiring, informing and engaging the residents
of St. Charles County to honor the memories of County Veterans who served the United State of America with patriotic valor."

Korean War


There was a section of memorabila from the Korean War and several stories of county residents who had served there.  One of this heroes was a volunteer on the day that we visited and was very knowledgable about that era.

Telling the Veterans Stories

The museum is in the process of developing a program where high school students interview veterans to find out their stories.  The program is called "Interview our Heroes- Our Military Veterans."  The goal of the program is to unite generations and tell the stories of veterans.  The interviews will be on video and will be put on the museum's website along with being sent to the Library of Congress in Washington D. C..  This sounds like a wonderful program and I am looking forward to seeing these interviews on the website and on future visits to the museum.

Vietnam Era Memorabilia

Several stories have been collected  from Vietnam veterans.  Here is some of the memorabilia that is in the museum from that era.

World War II

There is an entire room devoted to the World War II veterans.  It includes uniforms, models, and a tent from the era.  Here are some of the photos I took in that room.







Paintings

There were some beautifully done paintings hanging in the museum.  This one was done by a local artist and depicts women in the military.

Wall Honoring Residents who Gave the Ultimate Sacrifice


In closing I would like to encourage you to visit a Veterans Museum.  It is a very moving experience.  If you are in the St. Louis/St. Charles area or traveling through please stop at the St. Charles County Veterans Museum.  It is located at 410 E Elm St in O'Fallon, Mo.

If this location does not work for you, I encourage you to look for a veterans museum near you to visit.






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Thursday, February 10, 2022

How to Speak Dog Book Review

Dixie 

 Last April we adopted a wonderful 2-year-old Jack Russell Terrier named Dixie.  We are really enjoying Dixie and when our grandkids came to visit, they fell in love with her.  She is very sweet, but sometimes I wonder what she is trying to tell me.  For Christmas this year my daughter gave me a book called How to Speak Dog.  This little book is full of ways to give you ideas of what your dog is trying to relate to you by their actions and body language.  

In the book you meet, Dr. Gary, a veterinarian and dog expert.  Dr. Gary gives you all kinds of training tips and vet and care advice.  The book is also full of fun facts, quizzes, hands-on-activities, resources to get more information and dog photos.



I love the way the dog on the front cover looks just like our dog, Dixie.  The book is listed for children ages 8-12 and in fact has won the Children's Book Award from the Animal Behavior Society.  I feel that the book is actually great for dog lovers of all ages.  I know I have learned a lot from the book.

On the rest of this post, I will have my dog Dixie show you through her pictures some of the different areas of the book.  This is only a sampling of the wonderful material in the book.

Body Talk


Dixie- Belly Up


Dixie loves to roll over and lay belly up when I talk to her.  She loves to get her belly rubbed.  In the book, Dr. Gary says the real meaning of this dog position is submission and trust.  She is saying that you are in charge and she's okay with that.  In this section Dr.  Gary gives a tip that massage feels as good to animals as it does to humans and if they are nervous a good way to calm them down is a back rub.

The chapter on "Body Talk" also contains several other topics such as paw on your knee, full body shake, wiggles away from you and one paw raised.  Each section tells what that usually means and gives you some tips.  Each topic is two page long.

Read my Face


Expressive Ears


The section on " Read my Face" has topics like the begging stare, ears erect, and teeth barred, pricked ears, licking your face and yawning. 

In the photo above you see Dixie's expressive ears.  Whenever she is interested in something her ears go up.  In the photo above she had been laying on the bed when something outside the window caught her attention.  Dr. Gary said that dogs will prick up their ears to hear better.  One of the tips on the page says, " Dogs can hear noises that are up to four times farther away than those humans can hear".  No wonder Dixie jumps to attention or barks when we don't hear anything.

Telling Tails


There is another chapter in the book just on tails.  It contains things like a showy tail, stiff high tail, crooked tail, scared wag, straight tail, tucked tail, and happy wag.  Dixie's tail is constantly going.  If we say her name, her tail wags even if she had been sleeping.  I can really see the "Happy Wag" on her.  Dr. Gary says " A wagging tail is a truth-ometer.  Dogs can't control when or how wagging happens.  The tail is like an electric line connected directly to the brain that transmits how a dog is feeling."

Wagging tail at squirrels.

This is just a sampling of the delightful material in this book.  If you love dogs, I know you will enjoy the book.   In closing I'll leave you with a few more photos of Dixie.








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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Reviewing The Joy of Bird Feeding

 

Eastern Bluebird


My husband and I enjoy watching the birds in our backyard.  We can sit at our kitchen table and watch the view through our sliding glass doors.  We were very excited when we received a Christmas gift from a friend to give us lots of great ideas for attracting and feeding our feathered friends. This gift was a book entitled The Joy of Bird Feeding. In this post I will give you a preview of the tips found in each chapter of this book.  I will also share some of the photographs that I have taken of birds in our backyard.




Chapter 1: The Five Steps to Bird Feeding Mastery

The first chapter gives a thorough plan on setting up your backyard to attract the biggest variety of birds.  It helps you to set up a plan to decide what foods to serve and when to serve them.
Downy feasting on Suet Pellets


Chapter 2: Thoughtful Bird Feeding Stations Elements in Detail

Details of the elements needed for feeding birds are described in this chapter.  One of the items suggested is year-round water.  In the photo below you see a group of bluebirds enjoying fresh water from the heated dog bowl I have placed on our deck on a cold winter's day.


Chapter 3: The Birds

This chapter gives us some interesting information on the birds that are found in our backyards.  The introduction talks about year-round birds, seasonal residents and migrant birds. It is also talks about how the birds find feeders.  The chapter then goes into photos of various birds and identifying information.  It is quite comprehensive.  Here is a Carolina Wren that is a frequent visitor to my backyard.
Carolina Wren

Chapter 4: The Foods

Great detail is given on the various foods that are available for birds. There is also a section on foods from your kitchen that are good for birds and a section on fun food shapes.  Here is a bird on a Penguin feeder that we received for Christmas.
House Finch on Fun Feeder


Chapter 5: The Feeders

Are you undecided about what types of feeders to purchase?  This chapter goes into detail on each type of feeder and tells you the pros and cons of each.  I like to have a variety of feeders in my backyard. Here is a photo of some Cardinals and a finch on one of my feeders.
Cardinals and Finch


Chapter 6: Poles and Hangers

Here we find some great ideas for poles and hangers including a nifty pole system.  I will need to look into that.

Chapter 7: Critter Solutions

Unwanted critters can play havoc with your feeding stations.  This chapter gives you ideas on how to mitigate the critter issues.  We have lots of squirrels in our yard and I have some squirrel proof feeders and others that the squirrels love to visit.  We enjoy seeing their antics too.  Here is a squirrel at one of our feeders.

Chapter 8: Situations and Solutions

Have you wondered why the birds aren't coming to your feeders or what you can do about the messy deck?  The answers to these and other issues can be found in this chapter.

Chapter 9: Buying and Storing Bird Food

Here you will find lots of tips for buying the best foods and storing solutions for your bird food.

Chapter 10: Common-sense Bird Feeding Hygiene

Here I find a lot of tips for making your bird feeding stations safe for the birds.  Some I have done, but there are certainly a lot of areas where I can improve.  

Chapter 11- Fun Bird Feeding Activities

This chapter is full of some great bird feeding activities including things like hand feeding birds and watching birds when you are not at home.  The activity that most interests me is photographing birds.  I love to set up my backyard to make some good backgrounds for taking bird photos and this book had lots of tips. 
 Here is a favorite photo I caught of some bluebirds turning their backs to the camera.  I thought it made a good ending for this review.





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Thursday, January 13, 2022

Reviewing Photos from 2021

 

Beauty from Behind

Whether you are taking photos for fun or professionally it is a great exercise each year to review the photos you took the year before.  By doing this you will help yourself to become a better photographer. Looking through the previous year's photos and picking your favorites will tell you a lot about yourself as a photographer.  It will give you a better idea of what type of photos you tend to gravitate to and also what types of photos you need the most improvement.  I challenge you to take some time to look at last years photos and pick out few that you feel are your best. 

My Review of 2021 Photos

I took this challenge in a couple of photography groups in which I participate.  I found it to be a fun and rewarding experience. 

I have three different cameras that I use on a regular basis.  A Sony DSLR A57, a Sony mirrorless 6300, and my iPhone 11 Pro.  When I went through the photos, I did not look for ones from each camera, but rather just looked for the photos I liked.  I was surprised to find that all three cameras were represented in the 13 photos I ended up choosing as my favorites.

I had played around a lot in Lightroom and Photoshop during 2021 and I found a few photos in my favorites that reflected some of the new features I learned.  But I also noted that some of my favorites just went back to basic good photography without any enhancements added.

My Favorites for 2021

One of the photos I really liked was a photo of the Wolf Moon taken on January 28, 2021.  This photo was taken with my Sony DSLR and a 600mm lens.  I used an f stop of 6.3 and a speed of 1/400.  
I always like to photograph birds and birds in the snow are particular favorite shots.  Here is one I captured in February with my DSLR with the zoom at 250mm.  It was taken through my sliding glass doors of some Cardinals at a feeder on our deck.

Since we were homebound much of 2021, I found that I had a lot of backyard bird photos.  Here is another favorite.  A bluebird I took in April.  Again, with my DSLR camera this time with the lens zoomed in to 600mm.

In April we got a new dog, Dixie, and she became a favorite model.  Here is a photo I took of her in May.  This one was taken with my mirrorless camera and a 25mm lens.  I edited it in Lightroom to select the subject and then black out the background with the exposure slide.  I like the effect.

In June I went to a lavender farm to find some new subjects for my photography.  I took several shots with my mirrorless camera.  This one caught my eye with the bee on the plants.  It was taken with a 210mm lens and enhance in Photoshop with a Neural filter.  I like the look the filter gave to the photo.
Lavendar Farm

In July I captured these coneflowers with my iPhone.  It really does take great photos and the colors are brilliant.  

A photo outing in September was to Art Hill in St. Louis where there was a display to honor those who were killed from 9/11.  It was called Flags of Valor and this photo was taken with my mirrorless camera with a 24mm lens.

In late September we took a trip to the Missouri Botanical Garden.  I had my Sony mirrorless camera with me.  It is really my go to camera now whenever I am out and about.  It is lightweight and I think takes a quality photo.  Here is a photo taken of some water lilies at the garden.
The next photo, also from the botanical garden is of the Japanese bridge.  Fall colors were just started to come out so I took this photo into Photoshop and enhanced it with a Neural filter.

In October I went to a farm with a group that I am the mentor for their photography club.  We took photos of pumpkins and animals and some farm machinery.  Here is a photo of a tractor.  I was using my mirrorless camera and this one I took into Photoshop and used one of the Neural filters.

In December I went with the group to downtown historic St. Charles.  Here is a photo I took of the visitor center.  Again, I was using my mirrorless camera.
 
The photo at the beginning of this article is one I took in October of a final flower on the pot on our deck.  I was using my Sony mirrorless camera.

My Photos on Zazzle

I enjoy making Zazzle products from my photos.  Here are a couple I made from my favorite photos from 2021.




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