Last Sunday we celebrated my birthday in Santa Fe. We walked around the downtown taking in as many of the sights as we could in one day and sampling northern New Mexico cuisine. Here are a some random detail shots gathered taken on our walk around the city; all were taken with my lensbaby.
We are home now, after a LOOOOONG drive through Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico and a day off to celebrate my birthday in Santa Fe. There are a lot of photos to go through- especially from Santa Fe, where I tried to take enough photos with my Lensbaby to satisfy the photo essay requirement for the last week of the class (even though I’m not a full participant and won’t be evaluated).
So today, I again celebrate the flat horizons and vast expanses of Kansas with these minimalist shots, both taken with the Edge 80 optic.
Driving across western Kansas yesterday, I snapped photos from the car as we went along, and a few are decent. But Lonnie spotted this farm along the way and pulled off onto a country road so I could take my time and the photos would have a good chance of being in focus. I love the barn and silo! I know I could never have been able to hack it as a country girl, but I love rural scenes.
The Old Neighborhood
Portraits of Kiki
No longer having pets, I was eager to take some lensbaby photos of my inlaws’ 18 year old cat, Kiki. Normally she ignores me, but this time, she kept coming over to me while I was attempting to take her portrait. I decided to go for a really shallow depth of field and just focus on her whiskers. My favorite is the first one.
Lensbaby on the Road
I’ve been keeping my Lensbaby on my camera all the time, trying to get as much practice as possible. When we are on a long road trip, we almost never stop for photos, so it has become my habit to take photos with my phone through the window as we drive along. On this trip, I started using my big camera instead of my iPhone to take these photos.
One of the assignments in my Lensbaby class was to take photos of objects that are moving (using manual focus, the only way you CAN focus a lensbaby). Although the subjects of my photos weren’t moving, the car certainly was! As we drove through eastern Colorado, I used the sweet35 optic to capture the scenery along the way. My favorite photo is this landscape (I love the light), which is NOT in sharp focus. I used Topaz Simplify and some added textures to give it a painterly feel.
The next day, as we drove through the plains of western Kansas, I used the Edge 80 optic on my lensbaby, which I found fairly easy to focus at 60 plus mph. The sky was very overcast and eventually gave way to heavy rain as we drove along.
Lonnie knows I have a bit of an obsession with photographing grain silos and farms, so he actually took an exit so that I could take photographs of this one from the road instead of from a moving car!
A Walk Around the Inn
Thursday night we stayed at a circa 1936 inn in Santa Fe, which had many photo opportunities for the road-weary photographer, eager to get a few photos before the rains came (which they did). Since I am taking a lensbaby class, my lensbaby was on my camera- and I managed to capture quite a few shots before we headed out to dinner. Here are just a few details noticed during a quick walk around the grounds.
The other evening, I glanced over at my entry hall as beautiful light from the setting sun cast a golden glow over my forgotten ranunculus arrangement on the cabinet. I am always complaining about the lack of good light in our house, so I felt compelled to run and get my camera and snap photo after photo until the light faded. My lensbaby Sweet 35 was on the camera- and of course I don’t remember what the aperture was set at- maybe f/4, which produced a lot of blur on the sides (more than I usually like). The second shot shows my adjustment- pushing the bottles together to put more of the flowers in focus. Closing down the aperture would have forced me to raise the ISO more than I wanted to in the excitement of the moment, so that was my speedy solution.
The Final Chapter
A Lensbaby Still
Next week I start an online Lensbaby class through Clickin Moms with Caroline Jensen! I’m beyond excited to learn from this Lensbaby guru (and also from some of the amazing photographers taking the class- Holy Cow!). I’m taking it “study-along”, meaning I won’t get any feedback except from my classmates, but I will have access to all the class materials and can read the feedback Caroline gives the other students. We’ve already been given “pre-assignments” well in advance of the class starting, so I already have started learning.
Because I’ll be so involved with the class, it is possible that I’ll be pretty behind in my still life assignments, unless I combine the two (which I may in fact). But since I often use a lensbaby for my stills, I’m going to try to step outside of my comfort zone and practice outside and with people.
So here is a lensbaby still life of PEONIES (surprise, surprise!) and my chair.
Monday night I was inspired by a prompt in Kim Klassen’s Studio to create a still life potting bench . . . of sorts. . . inside. . . in my entry way. I long ago let go of the idea that all still life photographers just come upon these beautiful vignettes in their houses- well, some do- but most often they are created or styled for the camera. Since I was avoiding making dinner, I quickly gathered some pots and garden-y props to create a still life. I enjoyed it so much that I kept it up and took even more the next day.
Here is my first photo. If you’ve been to my house, you might recognize the antique dental cabinet. I had to remove some of the liqueur glasses and little dishes in the cabinets, but missed a few (thank goodness for Photoshop!). I also added some texture to rough it up a bit.
And here are a few other shots from the next morning. I took more time with these, using a tripod so I could slow my shutter to add more light (it has been dismal and rainy here). I used my lensbaby for the first one and edited them all with one of Kim’s presets for a dark and earthy look.
The Merry Month of May!
It’s May! When I was teaching, May was a big CRUNCH month: testing, Open House, Authors’ Party, Mother’s Day presents to make, field trip, parent helper gifts, student gifts, end of the year party, report cards, room pack-up, etc. etc. It makes me tired just to think of it! Now, May is SPRING, for sure, and summer isn’t far behind. And in Arizona, I know monsoon season is only 6 weeks or so away!
Our latest lesson for BeStill 52 asked us to find an unique vessel for flowers or whatever to use in our stills- so I thought of this new teapot I bought this week to replace the cracked one, which didn’t make the cut when we moved. Turquoise is becoming one of the colors I love to use in our Arizona house, although my husband thinks it doesn’t match our multicolored walls. So far, I’ve acquired Mason jars, a bowl, a lantern, and now this teapot in shades of turquiose. I just really love the color and am so glad that it’s popular again!
In my life, a teapot isn’t an unusual vessel for flowers, but I do have an idea for another take on this challenge. Stay tuned!
Linking up with Kim’s Friday Finds today.
One of the new experiences we’ve had since we’ve moved to Arizona is tumbleweeds in our yard. Last week we discovered a new one, and before my husband could capture it for yard waste, I picked it up with gloved hands to take into my garage studio for some macro and still life shots.
The first photo above was edited with Kim Klassen’s kk_moody-ish preset; the second just converted to a high contrast black and white.
The photos below (showing how sharp and prickly these guys are!) were taken with the Lensbaby Sweet 35 with macro converters. All have Kim’s kk_organic preset applied.