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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Week 22: Kittens and Flowers

So for the past couple of weeks, I subjected my Mom to pictures of snakes and bugs on my blog.  Definitely boy stuff.  I get a text on Monday giving me encouragement on my photography, even the boy stuff, though she does want me to be careful around snakes!

So this week is for the girls, especially Mom.  You see, my family loves cats.  My Mom and Dad have two, Sarah and Abraham, and my brother and family have Drizzt.  (If you do not read fantasy, that name will mean nothing, however if you know who the Drow are, then the name is quite familiar).  Ginger and I would have a cat if Ginger was not allergic to them.  Me, I am definitely a cat person.

So this Saturday at what I refer to as my fun job, I was steadily working on the barn.  As I was cleaning up, putting up my equipment and finishing up the last of the jobs on my list, I noticed that the kittens that Rebecca's cat recently had were all up at the cabin by the front door.  They were as curious with me as I was with them.  Three were lined up and I practically ran to get my camera.  I had one chance to get this shot so it was not as in focus as I would like, but the shot was more important to me than the technical aspect.

It is one of my favorites.  The white and gray kitten was the most curious one, as seen by the shots below.  Very photogenic.

This is one that is a favorite of Ginger and I.  This one was very curious about what the man with the camera was doing!

Not to be out done, the shyest one was the black cat.  But the kitten also gave me one of the best shots and Ginger's favorite.

The striped kitten, however, gave me my closest shot.

And then I have a fascination with the flora out on Rebecca's ranch and so I took a couple of shots:  (I knew there was a reason I decided to throw my tripod in the Xterra when I left for work!)

On another note, Uncle Dinos and Aunt Susy are headed back to Greece tomorrow.  Susy gave Ginger a small painting of coffee and put it in a show box, so wanted to show her it is in a special place by our coffee bar:

So everyone, enjoy the pictures, I had a blast taking them.  Still learning the in's and out's of my camera but that is half the fun, discovering new things!

In my regular job, God continues to sustain me and give me strength each day.  Thank you to all who are praying for Ginger and I, we feel your prayers!


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Week 21: A Dead Snake, Cracked Egg and Dried Leaf

So it has been quite an interesting week.  I have my regular job and then, on Saturday's, I have my fun job in Lindale, working on Rebecca's land.  Usually I am working on the barn, but you never know what I will be doing!  So yesterday afternoon we had a little bit of excitement in that we discovered a copperhead underneath some hay.  Actually Rebecca found it.  There is a story about it's demise but that information has been classified.  I can say, with all certainty, it took just one hit.  And of course, as a photographer you have to know that I took a picture!

First bugs, now snakes!  I can just imagine what the text from my Mom will be.....

So I decided to take some less icky shots.  I am always looking for cool leaves believe it or not.  I got a new light pad to put in my light box and decided to use it to take a picture of this leaf:

Just another tool in my arsenal for still photography!  And then there is this next piece.  It is very rare to find a hatched bird egg, especially a small one.  So when I saw this I had to pick it up, put it in my car and bring it to my studio.

Just a mix of different photography.  I am so thankful to God for giving me this love of photography.  I have been truly blessed in my life, my beautiful wife, my wonderful family and extended family, friends like Rebecca, and my artwork and photography.  Here is to many more photographs to come.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Week 20: A Little Magic and Insect

So during the course of my week, I have my camera with me just in case inspiration finds me, or an opportunity presents itself.  We were laughing at lunch today, I was asked if I sleep with my camera under my pillow!  The answer is no, but it is not far.  I do take it with me just about everywhere I go, though not to the grocery store or date night.  I have a boyish curiosity, especially when it comes to cool looking insects.  Maybe I should have been an Entomologist.  I do think that curiosity is essential for an artist.  Ginger came home as I was going through the pictures on my camera and she squeals as this picture comes up.  Doesn't matter that it is a picture, lol. 

But that is not all I have been up to.  I have had, in my head, this next shot bouncing around.  It is actually a combination of two shots.  First the finished shot:

So what makes this shot hard is two fold.  First you have to blend the two shots below together.  It took about 50 shots to get the lighting right for both shots.  Then, instead of using the self timer, I was using my remote release.  However, I had it laying on the ground and I was using my big toe to half press the button to focus, and then press to take the shot.  The original shots for this composite:

And yes, the lights were on.  Makes it much easier to focus.  

Besides this I decided to play around with a Photoshop tutorial.  Naturally, I wanted to use as much of my own stuff as I could.  Decided I would play around with Stonecross Font and the result is:

I really enjoyed doing this tutorial, it really is how I relax.  Either Photoshop or Photography, I love the creative process.  I do need to work on the business side of it, but all I really want to do is create.  Such is the life of this artist!  I am thankful that God has given me this gift.  Thank you, by the way, to all the kind comments from my last blog.  Your words were truly heart felt and I know that I am a very loved person.


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Week 19: Words as Weapons

 Okay, before I get into the photo composite I did this week, today was Mother's Day.  I am truly blessed to have a very loving and encouraging Mom, who's faithful prayers, I believe, are the reason I am alive today.  There is a line in a song by Imagine Dragon's "I Bet My Life" that says, "There's you in everything I do", and there is.  I love my Mom so very much, I am blessed.   My blessings however, extend to Ginger's mother as well, who loves me as a son.  I could not be happier.

So this weeks photograph was inspired by an article in Photoplus and a song by Seether, "Words as Weapons."  I had decided, when I saw the article that I wanted to use my own photo's.  So I had to take a self portrait.  So I hooked up my flash unit with a honeycomb grid, put my remote release on my camera, got everything set up and took a shot.  Of course, once I figured out I had manual focus on my lens instead of auto focus, my shots started looking A LOT better (yes, even experienced photographers make mistakes!). 

So I love this shot for a couple of reason's.  First, it was taken with the lights on.  Second, I was able to get a black background with just the settings on the camera.  Third, I was able to use my flash with modifiers and everything just worked wonderfully.  Like I mentioned above, once I had manual focus off on my lens, I was able to get tack sharp focus. 

So the next step was following the article.  This is where the song came in.  In my life I have been called many things. People use words as weapons, whether at work, play, or even church.  When the article called for finding text on the web, I had other ideas.  I began by getting definitions of the things I had been called.  As the list began, I wanted to end the list with positive things I had been called by those I loved.  And so the idea blossomed, and the article became a template to my own creativity.  Here are two of the final composites:

If you look close, you will see that the words conform to my face.  I had to learn how to make a displacement map, which was pretty cool!  The difference between the two is the font used and I cleaned up some of the word spacing in the second one. 

My first two attempts did not have the words all the way across:

 As the words in the song say:  "All I really want is something beautiful to say"  Words as Weapons, SEETHER.


For those interested, this is the text in the photo:

Words can be weapons I have been called many things ad·dict adikt/noun noun: addict; plural noun: addicts a person who is addicted to a particular substance, typically an illegal drug."a former heroin addict" synonyms: abuser, user, drug addict; More informal junkie, druggie, -head, -freak, pill-popper, dope fiend "stealing money for your next high, just like the addicts out in the street" informal an enthusiastic devotee of a specified thing or activity. "a must-buy book for the crossword-puzzle addict" synonyms: enthusiast, fan, lover, devotee, aficionado; informalfreak, buff, nut, fiend, bum, junkie, fanatic, maniac "skiing addicts"  al·co·hol·ic alkəˈhôlik/ Adjective adjective: alcoholic  1. containing or relating to alcoholic liquor. "beer is the favorite alcoholic drink" synonyms: intoxicating, inebriating, containing alcohol, fermented; More strong, hard, stiff; formalspirituous "alcoholic drinks" caused by the excessive consumption of alcohol. "alcoholic liver disease" suffering from alcoholism. "his alcoholic daughter was the cause of his anxietyn noun noun: alcoholic; plural noun: alcoholics 1. a person suffering from alcoholism. synonyms: dipsomaniac, drunk, drunkard, heavy/hard/serious drinker, problem drinker, binge drinker, alcohol abuser, person with a drinking problem; tippler, sot, inebriate; informalboozer, lush, alky, boozehound, dipso, juicer, wino, barfly "he is an alcoholic"  sin·ner sinər/ noun noun: sinner; plural noun: sinners a person who transgresses against divine law by committing an immoral act or acts. synonyms: wrongdoer, evildoer, transgressor, miscreant, offender, criminal; archaictrespasser "on a mission to rescue these sinners from the darkness" Translate sinner to Use over time for: sinner rogue rōɡ/ noun noun: rogue; plural noun: rogues 1. a dishonest or unprincipled man. "you are a rogue and an embezzler" synonyms: scoundrel, villain, miscreant, reprobate, rascal, good-for-nothing, ne'er-do-well, wretch; informalrat, dog, louse, crook; datedcad; archaicblackguard, picaroon, knave “a rogue without ethics"  And yet regardless of what i have been called i have found re·cov·er·y rəˈkəv(ə)rē/ noun noun: recovery; plural noun: recoveries 1. a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength. "signs of recovery in the housing market" synonyms: recuperation, convale- scence "her recovery may be slow" improvement, rallying, picking up, upturn, upswing "the economy was showing signs of recovery" antonyms: relapse, deterioration  2. the action or process of regaining possession or control of something stolen or lost. "a team of salvage experts to ensure the recovery of family possessions" synonyms:                retrieval, regaining, repossession, getting back, reclamation, recouping, redemption, recuperation "the recovery of the stolen goods" re·demp·tion rəˈdem(p)SH(ə)n/ noun Noun: redemption; plural noun: redemptions 1. the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil. "God's plans for the redemption of his world" synonyms: saving, freeing from sin, absolution "God's redemption of his people" a thing that saves someone from error or evil. "his marginalization from the Hollywood jungle proved to be his redemption" 2. the action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clearing a debt. synonyms: retrieval, recovery, reclamation, repossession, return "the redemption of their possessions” exchange, cashing in, conversion "the redemption of credit vouchers" paying off, paying back, discharge, clearing, honoring "the redemption of the mortgage" fulfillment, carrying out, discharge, performing, honoring, meeting "the redemption of his obligations" archaic the action of buying one's·is ardəst/ noun noun: artist; plural noun: artists a person who produces paintings or drawings as a profession or hobby. Synonym designer, creator, originator, producer; old master "a mural artist" a person who practices any of the various creative arts, such as a sculptor, novelist, poet, or filmmaker.  a person skilled at a particular task or occupation.  It does not matter what a person says about you, you are not defined by them.  You are not defined by your short comings nor are you defined by what someone may label you.  I have indeed struggled with alcohol and yet I am in recovery now.   You will see that the words of weapons goes from addict, to alcoholic, to sinner, to rogue, to recovery, to redemption, to artist to creativity.  At one time I chose to identify myself as an addict.  Now I choose to define myself as an artist.  The road has been long and hard, but in my recovery I found my creativity.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Week 18: Broken Glass

It has been a good week, at least on the photographic front.  I am continuing to learn my new camera.   Even when I am at work I am thinking photography!  It just happens to be my outlet of expression. 

This weekend I was able to go out to Lindale and work on my favorite land!  No damage from the tornado where I was at, but when I drove in I saw plenty of destruction.  It was a reunion of sorts in Lindale, I was able to see Rogan (a very unique character who is a dear friend) and I got to see Moriah!  We go way back and it is amazing to see how she has grown up!  And then Gretchen, Rebecca's horse seems to be warming up to me (I am the one who makes all the loud noises!).  I swear she was poising for me, but just for a little bit! 

Of course I was working in the barn, at least for a little bit.  If you are scared of insects, then a barn is NOT the place for you!   You know me, I love taking pictures of spiders, wasps, and critters with more than two legs!  This little creature was skittish:

Every time I hit my head on the ceiling beams it would go under the wood.  I've got a hard head....  And then there is the chest in the attic that I cannot resist taking a picture of every time I can:

Just love the cob webs and the oldness it radiates!  I spent about 5 minutes taking pictures, could have spent about 5 hours out there taking pictures!

So these next set of pictures have a little story.  Ginger was in the kitchen unloading the dishwasher, picked up a glass and a part of it broke off.  Had a heck of a time finding the last piece that broke off.  Then she put the glass in the trash.  And then, and any artist knows this feeling, I thought, I have a photography idea.  Put the glass on my idea shelf, and let the idea develop.

So we start with the basic broken glass...

Then I had the idea to put some liquid in it.  Blood would have been just creepy, so cranberry juice was just the ticket!

So then I began to play with the white balance a little bit and I wanted more of a 3d look.

And then my favorite picture of the shoot.  I put my light box under the glass and turned it red.  So it gave me a bit of a red glow. 

It was a small 30 minute shoot, but I had a fabulous time.  Still learning about lighting, reflections, and such, and I couldn't be happier learning! 

Well, it is time to go snuggle with my beautiful wife!  I am truly a blessed man having such a wonderful woman who loves me with such passion and devotion.  Happy Photography!