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Elusive Butterfly

20150421-MMA_3408_melinda_anderson-EditWhen we visited Butterfly Wonderfland, we were immediately captivated by the big beautiful blue butterflies that flew all around us, seeming to never land- except for on the sidewalk! We would come upon one here and there lying motionless on the walkway, seeming to soak up the warmth before speeding away.  The sidewalk didn’t appeal to me as a very natural background, but I did finally snap a few photos of them this way.  As I took the 800 plus photos of the thousands of butterflies among the flowers and leaves, I was so frustrated because of not being able to find any blue ones on the leaves and flowers.  I tried to capture them in flight, and all I was able to get were little blue blurs in my photos.

20150421-MMA_3380_melinda_andersonAmong the butterflies I photographed was this beauty above with its richly patterned wings.  I mostly saw them feeding on fruit set out in dishes on the ground. It took almost an hour before I realized that these were the blue butterflies I had been looking for; their wings are blue on top and brown below! Named Blue Morpho, their contrasting wing colors make them seem to appear and disappear as they fly, confusing predators (and photographers!).

20150421-MMA_4111_melinda_andersonLinking up with Friday Finds today.

D A R K

20150421-MMA_3981_melinda_anderson-EditI had fun changing things up, editing this butterfly in a black and white grunge style.  It actually was a whitish, monochromatic butterfly (don’t ask me what kind!) to begin with, and I just took it from there!

Flutterbies!

Happy Earth Day!

Yesterday’s visit to Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale produced over 800 photos- yikes! Here are a few of my instant faves- and there are more to come!

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Where Ideas Come From

20150420-MMA_3344_melinda_anderson-EditThe above image is the latest of my still life photos for The Studio- a continuation of the One Thing theme.  This time, my one thing is not the subject of my composition, but the background – my walls.   I thought it might be interesting to explain the evolution of the idea and execution of this image.  I’ve read that photographers find their inspiration everywhere- from nature, from music, from paintings, from the color palette in an advertisement- ANYWHERE.

In this case, my idea came from a movie.  We went to see The Woman in Gold with our friends, Debbie and Dale the other night. The movie was a fascinating true story of a woman (played by Helen Mirren) who sued the Austrian government to have them return her family’s paintings (by Gustav Klimt!) which had been stolen by the Nazis and were now “owned” by the Austrian government. No, this photo was not inspired by the Klimt paintings.

In one scene, as I remember, there was, in the background, a painting or photograph of a still life composed of a dry arrangement (wheat?) in front of a two-tone wall. I somehow noted it and then dreamed about trying to recreate that image, using my colorful Arizona walls. That was the beginning of the photograph above.  I took quite a few shots of these dried weeds and flowers in front of my bright walls, gradually moving away from the traditional still life I was envisioning to a textured black and white closeup image which is my favorite. All the photos were taken with my Lensbaby, which I’ve been practicing with every single day for the last 3 weeks.

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SHORT walk

Yesterday’s late afternoon walk at Willow Lake turned out to be a very short one due to the HUGE quantity of gnats, no-seeums- whatever they were. We are accustomed to being annoyed by a swarm or two of these creatures on part of the trail, but on this day, at this time, it was ridiculous.  Someone on the trail said they always seem to come out more around 4:00- back to morning walks!

We were happy to see wildflowers and blossoms on the part of the trail that we did- so here are a few (all taken with the Lensbaby and Sweet35).

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Ocean Dreams

Just a couple more from San Diego today (the top one is a Lensbaby shot with added texture):

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Sailing

A beautiful view from Point Loma in San Diego

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Spring Color

Our front flower bed is doing its thing!

20150414-MMA_3245untitledLensbaby Edge 80

One Thing Again . . .

I think I might be finished with the One Thing challenge for BeStill52 and The Studio, but no promises. . .

A couple Lensbaby shots:

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Top down with my 35mm 1.8:

20150413-MMA_3216_melinda_andersonAlso with my 35mm 1.8, softened with a couple of Kim Klassen textures (linking up with Texture Tuesday today):

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One Thing

We were challenged to photograph one thing, shot different ways, different days, with different props in both BeStill and the Studio.  I decided to use my blue lantern, which my son gave me for Christmas.  I’ve done a couple different photo shoots and plan on doing more this week. All of these were taken with my Lensbaby and Sweet 35.  The top one has a couple textures added.

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Flower Fields

When we were in California, we stopped at a beautiful flower farm, where there were acres of ranunculus blooms.  Of course I took dozens of photos, but somehow they never made it into the blog.  Here are a couple of my favorite images; expect to see more soon!

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Saw this. . .

One of my favorite things about photography is how much I NOTICE now! And it’s contagious- even my husband notices more.  As much as I enjoy creating a still life, the most exciting part of photography for me is when I happen to catch a glimpse of beauty in the every day. Then the challenge is to somehow capture what I saw.  The other day, it was this reflection of a tiny bowl on the black surface of my dad’s dental cabinet.  The Edge 80 was on the camera, so that’s what I used.

20150407-MMA_3002_melinda_andersonI edited the photo in Lightroom, and then I took it into onOne’s Perfect Effects 8 for a couple finishing touches.  I realized recently that I have never really MASTERED this great program (and now there’s a newer version!), so I’ve been playing with it more lately.  I’ve even used it to add textures (you can import them from your hard drive or use the ones within the program).  For this image, I adjusted the color, added a bit of glow to emphasize the reflection, and then added a vignette.

 

Macro Magic

I bought a Clickin Moms Lensbaby tutorial series back when I only had my Lensbaby Mobile for the iPhone, (no Composer Pro, no optics), because I was so eager to learn how to use these cool lenses.  One of the tips I learned was that the Edge 80 with macro converters does a great job capturing sun rays, especially when taking photos under leafy trees.  I only have one tree at this point that has enough leaves to provide a canopy for the sun to just peek through, so I spent 10 or 15 minutes the other day crouched uncomfortably beneath the plum tree looking up at the sun. I thought I didn’t get anything much until I played with a few images in Lightroom and discovered that I did get some interesting effects from the sun- including sun rays. Fun!

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The image below is the same as the last photo in the collage at the top of the post, except it has some Florabella textures added.

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Raspberry Macros

I’ve been keeping to my word about practicing with my Lensbaby every day.  I thought a major part of my practice would involve getting the Edge 80 off the Composer (so tight for these weak hands!), but so far, so good! Maybe it’s loosening up- or I’m getting stronger! I hadn’t done much with macro using the Edge 80 until recently, and I’m having fun with it. Raspberries were on my breakfast menu on Easter, so I took a few moments to take some macro shots.  I’m finding the Edge 80 to be nice and sharp- similar to my 85mm macro.

Edits:
1- edited in onOne Perfect Effects (tonal contrast)- and then Photoshop, adding kk_chill to soften what I did in Perfect Effects!
2- kk_lettherebelight preset
3- kk_eve preset

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Edits:
1- onOne’s Perfect Effects
2- my basic edit
3- kk_lightairypastel preset

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Getting back in the groove and linking up with Texture Tuesday today!

Crated

One of our recent assignments in Bestill52, was to create a still life in or on a crate.  I have had two pepsi crates since our early married days.  One is for individual bottles; the other is for 6 packs, I think.  Because this was before the days of shabby chic, we stained the crates to make them darker (and to go with our antiques).  They hung on our walls in each of the places we lived, until we moved to our Arizona house. I haven’t quite decided what to do with them here, but they work well for still life props.

crateAll 3 images were taken with the Lensbaby and Edge 80 optic.

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