SoFoBoMo…

Solo Photo Book Month.

I discovered this event, if you will, about two years ago and after checking it out I elected to not partake. I wasn’t so much concerned about the photography part, which I figured I could handle, but it was the creation of a book part that left me stumped.

Stumped because it would likely have required me to invest in some software. Perhaps pricey software. For a potentially one-off event.

Thanks, but no thanks.

But now… two years later….

I don’t even know what brought it to mind this year, but about two weeks ago I was doing something on the computer when the SoFoBoMo thing popped into my head. It’s almost karma-like in so much that the event starts 1 July and here it was only two weeks to the start. I reacquainted myself with the FAQs and such and tonight… just a few hours ago… signed up to partake.

Yeah!

I already have in mind two themes from which to select and I’m having some difficulty figuring out which way to go. One way, I think, may help me with another blog I’m looking to start very soon. A blog which I hope will lead to the self-publishing of a book. And here’s a hint:

The other route would, I hope, also be interesting for me as well as readers of my finished project. And here’s a hint for this route:

I don’t know…. But I have to make a decision right quick as I must start sometime between tomorrow morning and the end of July as I only have 31-days to complete the entire project. This includes the taking and processing of at least 35-pictures (which means to get those 35 I’ll likely take over 400) and then the compilation of such into a book-like format for uploading to the SoFoBoMo site.

No small feat for 31-days.

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Welcome Surprises…

Being an amateur photographer I’m accustomed to surprises. Unfortunately they tend to be of the un-welcomed variety.

Like the time I first took out my brand new 70-200mm lens. Photographing cardinals in an ice-covered tree I’d press the shutter release and nothing would happen. Then some seconds later “click”. I spent two or three minutes thinking there was something wrong with the lens, when in truth there was something wrong with me: I hadn’t changed the camera settings back from self-timer after my last use.

(sigh)

But sometimes we hobbyist photographers get lucky. Something cool happens. We’re playing in post-processing and chance upon a setting which really makes our otherwise average photo really sing. Or once home and in front of the computer we realize the pictures we took and thought were ho-hum on the camera’s LCD screen are actually pretty good. These are great moments.

But today I’m talking about coming across something within the actual image, which we hadn’t originally seen. For instance, we start with this basic flower picture…

A pretty picture of a pretty flower. But nothing surprising about it. Right? Well when working with this in Lightroom with a large, 24-inch monitor I came across this…

Isn’t it cute?

Sure… this isn’t a big surprise. A bug. On a flower. Outdoors. It could happen. But it was unexpected and unseen when I snapped the picture. Hell.. it was only because I was playing with cropping that I even saw this little fellow in the soft shaft of sunlight falling upon the petal.

And just the other day I was out at a local garden, Wegerzyn Garden (part of the Dayton, Ohio, area Five Rivers MetroParks system), snapping pics of late Spring flowers when I came across a bee. A bee doing its busy bee thing and so I started snapping a series of pics of it on this one particular flower.

When I got home and was going through the images I had, once again, zoomed in to better see the bee when I … well… well see for yourself.

The poor little bee has what I am certain is an unwelcome guest: a mite!

While I’m certain the bee could live without this Faustian nightmare, I can’t help but think how lucky I was to be in the right place at the right moment such that I could capture this bit of nature.

I’ll take these sorts of surprises any day of the week over not clearing previous session settings.

Firsts for 2011…

It seems a bit funny to be typing “Firsts for 2011” when one considers we are…. what…. half-way into 2011. But I think it will all make more sense when you see….

While certainly not the first butterfly to be found in the Dayton, Ohio, area in 2011 it is my first shot of one. I imagine folks who venture to my flickr photostream get tired of shots of my butterflies. But that’s their problem. I love photographing them. They are such beautiful little creatures and seeing them on my computer monitor makes me smile. Their bright colours. Sometimes iridescent.

Like I mentioned in one of my more recent posts, if I enjoy it why shouldn’t I photograph it? It is, after all, my hobby. My passion. I should shoot what makes me happy. Granted, I hope others enjoy those images as well, but ultimately the only person I need to satisfy is myself.

I also have a penchant for photographing…

Although I’m not certain what I’m really photographing in this image. I was shooting for the bee (I do love bees.. at least in terms of photography), but wound up focused upon the flower instead. But I do enjoy photographing flowers as well, just not as much as bees and other bugs.

At first I was going to delete the image from my hard drive as it wasn’t what I was looking for. You know… I nice & sharp picture of the bee. But before I could flag it as a reject in Lightroom I think I realized how this photo worked just fine after all. The flower is lovely and the bee, while out of focus, is still in-focus enough that I, and any other viewer, immediately recognize it’s a bee.

And upon further consideration I decided that this ‘mistake’ was actually a very nice photograph. Or at least I think so.

Mike Langridge…

This evening I received the news my fellow WordPress author, fellow flickr photographer and group photography project comrade, Mike Langridge, had passed on 1 June.

(photo by Darren)

I don’t recall the exact particulars of how we met, but it was via WordPress. I believe he came across my then recently started blog and posted a comment. Which led to me looking over his blog. Which led to me leaving comments. Pretty soon we were reading each other’s blogs and leaving comments all over the place.

In addition, it was Mike who turned me on to using Flickr as a place to put up my photographs, which were accumulating quickly after the then-recent purchase of my first dSLR.

(photo by Darren)

Mike was a prolific photographer before he became ill, but oddly enough it will not be his photography by which he will be best remembered in my mind. No. It will be his blog. He had such a gift for writing. His earlier stuff is fine, but as the years progressed he truly came into his own. His style was one to which I very naturally gravitate in that it was quite conversational. Very natural. Almost in a stream-of-consciousness manner, but with actual punctuation and the like. I gravitate towards this style because it is the style in which I wish I wrote. Well… I do. Sometimes. Not as much as I would like though and that’s mostly because I DO NOT PRACTICE doing such.

Lazy sod.

Regardless… Mike was a genuine character. Not a warm and fuzzy sort of guy, but that was alright. It simply wasn’t him. Those of us on this side of the Atlantic who knew him didn’t even know he was so sick. We knew he had been quite unwell… unwell enough that he wasn’t snapping pics or writing, but we didn’t know how bad things were. Or turned out to be (lung cancer). Again.. that was Mike. He wasn’t the sort to let on to such things for fear of being besieged with well wishes and get better soon stuff.

No.

He had no use for such things. And that’s alright. That was Mike. The only problem is that it meant I couldn’t say goodbye. I couldn’t tell him what a great man I thought he was. How much I loved his writings and how it was his writings often helped me to see things differently. To even change my mind on occasion. I regret the chance to tell him those things never came.

But that was Mike. Will miss you, you old fart.

(photo by Darren)