Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Snow Days 2

Thanks everyone for the photo feedbacks.  I've been trying to go back to follow the advice given.  If you check back next week, I'll update this post with your feedback so that you can see if it makes a difference or not! 

This is another photo from last week's snow days. Honestly, I'm not sure why this photo caught my eye from the dozens that I shot that day.  I like the small snow shelf created by the branches.  They somehow seem to cradle the delicate snowflakes.  You can just see the hint of spring buds on some of the branches.  Maybe it is a sense of springtime hope or the momentary pause to take in one last gasp of winter beauty before the full jump to spring.  what do you see?

Rev 2 - based on feedback, I lightened it and changed to B&W.  I had an issue when I lightened things that the background in the upper right started to blow out.  To minimize the impact, I cropped a bit more of that corner.  Now I'm a bit too centered vertically.  I should have added a flash or taken the photo earlier than my twilight shot.  Next time.  :)  B&W is good, but different.  In B&W, you lose the spring buds on the branch. 


Friday, March 23, 2012

Snow Days

This week, western Oregon was treated to a rare snow storm.  A light dusting of snow arrives here only every 2-3 years.  We were surprised by this massive snow dump on the first day of spring. 

I struggled to get a clean focus through the snow.  Apparently, I should have gone into manual focus!  This image brings some happy memories.  Megan tested our zip line in the snow, taking a few snow balls on the way.  As she approached the sudden stop at the bottom, she forgot that the seat would be slippery.  This image captures the unusual snow, the zip line, our snowball target practice, and the sudden look of panic as she realized her error.  The blur works for this photo - showing her speed. 

For the record, she landed in a giggling heap on the ground.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Week 11 - Night Ball

This seems to be the week to share a photo of our children on Photo Feedback.  I've really enjoyed this forum as a place to get some critical feedback on photos.  What an amazing group of photographers who are willing to put their images out for discussion!

I spent last weekend coaching my daughter's softball team.  This is a very serious team - practicing all winter and braving the cold rains of Oregon springtime just for a change to hit the ball.  Last weekend, we played our first night game.  Her messy hair gives a hint that this is the 3rd game of the day.  In spite of that, I love the calm look on Jamie's face.  She is simply relaxing, taking in the thrill of the lights.  And a little light flair to add to the composition.  :)

From some of the feedback, I did a bit more editing.  I'm amazed at how a little edit makes a difference!  Here is how it looks with the suggestions: 

Original version

Lights in lower right removed. 
Increased blue saturation and reduced red saturation

Further cropped to increase focus on her face 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Week 10 - Joshua Tree

This week's photo comes from Joshua Tree National Park. 

Similar to my photos from Pulau Ubin, I like the sense of survival from Joshua Tree.  The rocky desert is inhospitable.  Yet, there are gardens of cactus and forests of Joshua Trees.  I like this image for the color contrast between the blue sky and the tan rock.  The simplicity of the Joshua tree that connects the two.  I love the depth of the rocky landscape - and the memory of my family climbing up and down the rocks for the day. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Week 9 - Impact

As much fun as I had doing photography in Singapore, I really missed photos of people.  In fact, one of my favorite shots from Singapore was a simple portrait of a young girl from the streets of Little India. 

Resting in her mother's arms and dressed for some kind of celebration.  She is so comfortable, yet aware and a bit curious.  I got the feeling that my brief photo session was a welcome break from waiting for the celebration. 

As much as I like the color and gaze of this child, I am more proud of this next photo.  On the surface, it isn't anything special - a basketball shot, where I was lucky enough to be close to the player.  But what makes me really proud is the player.  This is one of the 'developing' players on the team.  She is frequently found ambling downcourt after fast breaks - reversing near half court - only to reverse again before she finds her defensive assignment.  But for this moment, she is in the game.  She is ready and she is a star.  I sent this photo to her mom.  At the next game, her performance skyrocketed.  She believed that she was a star. 

I've read articles about great photographers making an impact.  Most of us take pictures.  But great photos happen when we decide what we want to do with our photos.   When we choose a cause in the world to impact.  Global warming, save the chickens, or whatever.  My impact is the self-confidence of my subjects.  The belief that they can be a star.  The belief that they are already a star.  After all, it must be true.  If their stardom is already captured in a photo, it already is true!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Week 8 - Stairway

I'm joining a weekly photo feedback group.   Part of my goal of my Photo 52 challenge is to share my photos and gather more feedback.  I have to admit that both sides of the feedback area a bit uncomfortable for me.  But I also know that I want to take my photography skills from good to great and that takes feedback. 

Week 8 and I'm wrapping up my photos from my Singapore trip.  This week is another shot from Pulau Ubin.  As I walked the wetlands boardwalk, I was surprised to find this overgrown staircase.  It was well cleared in its day.  I wonder what caused it to be abandoned.  How long has it gone unused?  I love that is it the hidden surprise in this photo.  I really see a rocky coastline shadowed by the lush greenery.  It is easy to skip over, but then I notice the steep staircase.  I'd would have loved to explore it!   

I believe that each one of us holds our own hidden staircase.  It might be part of our own overgrown history.  But it is still something special.  And that abandoned staircase is just waiting for someone to climb it to see the spectacular view that is just over the hill. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Week 7.5 - Silhouettes

A bonus post this week so that I can participate in the Silhouette challenge from the Kat Eye View
Both of these photos comes from Pulau Ubin - a small island off of Singapore.  I spent a fabulous day mountain biking around the island and taking photos.  I had an ah-ha moment as I attempted to compose photos there.  My history of sports photography has been trying to remove extra people and clutter from a shot.  But with landscapes, the composition is more about what I choose to leave in the image. 

The calmness of the island was a total contrast to the heavy population of the Singapore mainland.   This bay was so calm and quiet that I nearly missed the boat home as I relaxed on the sea wall. 

This amazing tree stands in the middle of the island.  I love the lace-like quality of the branches and the strength of the straight trunk.  How long has this tree graced this earth?  What an amazing reminder of Mother Nature's capability to produce something so perfect.