macro

Twirls and Swirls

I’m still a bit enchanted with the swirling, twirling tendrils on these grasses- not tired of photographing them yet!

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Snow Drops

When we went outside last weekend, the melting snow on the evergreens sparkled in the sunlight- and I couldn’t resist going back in to grab my camera!

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New Year, New Word . . .

Happy 2016!

I started my photography journey in the summer of 2010; it’s been 5 1/2 years of excitement and learning and practice and discouragement and more excitement.  I am now starting the sixth year of this blog, which has become a record of my photography progress and also a bit of my life.  I had no idea it would extend beyond the first year, but I’m not thinking of stopping. Things got more manageable when I stopped the whole photo a day commitment; some days my photos are just not blogworthy. I still have the commitment to myself to publish five days a week, which may not be the best practice either, since I sometimes just post the best of the mediocre shots I’ve taken lately.  But my photography, like life, is a work in progress.

Pondering my photography goals and the progress I’ve made in the last year is something I do as the new year approaches.  I’m happy I can point to a few areas of progress:

  • Lensbaby- What a challenge that has been! I can’t say I have become a Lensbaby master, but  I have produced some photos that I really like. And I love Lensbaby photography!
  • Landscape photography-Although this often involves getting up early and using a tripod (two things I’m not crazy about doing), I’ve done it enough now to feel better about my skills and also enough to know it’s not my favorite type of photography to actually do.
  • Showing my work- This year, I again participated in my photography club- and also showed photos at the fair and our group show at the Raven. In thinking ahead to next year, I thought one of my goals would be to have the courage to submit photos to a local gallery or two.  But then, just before Christmas, two opportunities were presented to me unexpectedly, and, before I could think about it, I now have four photos in two juried shows at two different galleries in town! It’s a fun experience- and not as daunting as I thought. I don’t know how often I will want to do this, but it is nice to get the pat on the back of having your work recognized.

So then- what are my goals for 2016? I was talking to my friend Carol about what she is learning on all the photography trips she takes with expert wildlife photographers.  One of the things that resonated with me was the importance of being intentional when taking photographs.  I know this.  I’ve read this over and over. I intend to be intentional!  But somehow, I just keep clicking away- especially when I am out and about. When I am at home doing macro or still life- or just walking around the yard with my camera, I find it easier to look and really SEE.  This process all too often disappears when I am out in the world. So my over-riding goal is to be more intentional.

A couple years ago, I started the practice of picking one word for the year, rather than making New Year’s resolutions.  My previous words- TRUE and JOY are great words, but this year I wanted something that would have a meaning that could be interpreted broadly but also very specifically to photography.  My word is . . .

LIGHT!

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I love my word! It can be about bringing light into my life, living lightly on the planet, spreading light- but it also has a very specific meaning for me in photography.  Photography is all about light and using it to enhance the image. My goal is to be very intentional about finding the best light as I shoot. The photographers I admire all use light in beautiful ways.  I want to become better at that- that’s my word, that’s my goal!

What are your goals for 2016? Do you have a word?

Photography notes: The tulip photo above was taken using the Lensbaby Velvet 56. I was intentional (I am wondering how many more times I can use intentional in this blog post?!?) about finding early morning light and placing my tulip in the light.  🙂 I have no idea how the beams got there- they just appeared! I’m not sure if this is a quality of the lens (I have had this happen with the Edge 80)- or if I was using my new diffuser at this point and it had anything to do with that.  Something more to figure out!


Caught

Yesterday’s snowfall gave me the chance to take some macro shots of the snow that was caught in the little twigs of a shrub out front. snow_macro_diptychEdited with Topaz Texture Effects.


Texture FX Fun

I love editing with textures, and the new Topaz program, Texture Effects, is giving me a whole new way of approaching the process.  You can start from scratch, making basic adjustments and then adding dust or scratches, lens leaks, vignettes, borders, and/or textures OR you can start with a filter preset and then adjust everything from there. There is a masking feature, which works well, except that you can’t use the bracket keys to control brush size (I usually choose to mask in Photoshop, because it’s easier for me).  You can upload your own textures into the program, as well as create your own presets, which you can choose to share with a community of other users of the program.  To be clear- it’s not just about textures- it’s other effects as well.  You might decide to not use a texture, but just other effects- or add your own textures in Photoshop afterward.  It’s a very flexible program! With that said, I will add that many members of the FB group devoted to this program have had technical issues with installing it and getting it to save their edits.  I have had no issues, thankfully.

So here’s an edit of a macro photo I snapped last weekend in our front yard (I think I used a filter and added 3 textures in Texture FX and then masked in Photoshop).

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Just the petals again. . .

A companion to Monday’s orange petals post . . .

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Just the petals. . .

Nothing makes me more content than exploring flowers with a macro lens. Here’s a gerbera daisy from my latest grocery store fall bouquet.

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Bejeweled

Yesterday’s snow had disappeared before lunchtime- so I’m glad I made it outside with my macro lens before it all melted away.  Our shrubs and trees looked like they were decorated with little jewels as the melting bits of snow glistened in the sunlight.

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Winter is coming . . .

The hush comes with the deepening of Autumn; but it comes gradually. Our ears are attuned to it, day by quieter day.
But even now, if one awakens in the deep darkness of the small hours, one can hear it, a foretaste of Winter silence.

~Hal Borland

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For as long as I can remember, Fall has been my favorite season.  I think I like autumn leaves on the ground almost as much as the leaves on the trees. And to my eye, they are melancholy and mysterious in black and white- I love their fragile, crispy crunchiness and ragged, tired edges- reminding us that Winter is coming (a Game of Thrones reference, with my apologies). Snow is in the forecast in the high country, but I don’t think we’ll see any here.  In the meantime, I’m enjoying every minute of Fall!


Rolling, Rolling, Rolling. . .

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that I treasure little family trinkets from bygone eras and that I have quite a few- being an only child has its rewards! When I started my first Project 365 almost 5 years ago (!), my daughter suggested I photograph the contents of my father’s dental cabinet which houses much of my family’s memorabilia. Over the years, many of the items have been featured, but today I am featuring some trinkets from another family.

My friend, Claudia (who is a fantastic card-maker), has always encouraged me on my photographic journey. When she learned I wanted a dish of  old marbles to photograph (and to display), she gave me some that are from HER family treasures! I have puzzled how to photograph them in an interesting way. I did some shots last month that never made the blog, because they just weren’t appealing.  Last weekend, I tried again.

I got out my trusty macro lens and attempted to set up a simple still life. I discovered that the garage floor isn’t level, as the marbles kept rolling around and off the folding table I use for still life.  I finally set them on my old washboard, which gave a contrasting texture to the smooth roundness of the marbles- and kept them from falling onto the floor.

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As I was clicking away, the wind was blowing some of the leaves I had gathered for another still life onto the garage floor- which gave me an idea!

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Tucking the marble under one of the leaves on the floor kept it from rolling around. I was lying on my stomach for this shot- a pretty sight indeed!

Expect to see more marble shots sometime in the future. . .


Game of Pumpkins

This is what happens when I have been binge-watching Game of Thrones- and am avoiding the things I have to do by playing in Perfect Effects.

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Winter Halloween is coming. . . bwaaahaaahaah!


Ranuncu-LOVE

I had a photo already to post today, but then I came upon these ranunculus photos in Lightroom that hadn’t yet made my blog- one edited and one not.  I had fun editing the second one to kinda-sorta match the first- so here they are!

20150507-MMA_4728_melinda_anderson-Edit20150507-MMA_4723_melinda_anderson-EditEditing notes:  I really need to start consistently labeling my layers in Photoshop. I could tell I added a filter to a layer in the first photo- and then some texture (which comes in with a label automatically).  I assumed I used Topaz Impression- but which filter??? No idea.  For the second one I used Cezanne II, one of my favorites.  And another thing- is there a way to mark favorites in Impression? Anyone, anyone?


Lily Abstracts

I took some time a few days ago to take some abstract macro shots of lilies. I added a couple textures for that painterly look I love- and the first one I also took into Topaz Simplify.  Truthfully, because of the shallow depth of field, it looked pretty painterly already, but I love to fiddle around with my images.  It is my form of a mindfulness meditation and satisfies my childhood ambition to be an artist when I grew up. 🙂

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Playing with Dandelions

I think dreamy macros of flowers, weeds, or leaves are my favorite photos to take. There is something so relaxing about seeing objects so closeup, so different from the way you would ordinarily see them- and then moving the camera or changing the aperture or area of focus just a slight bit to get an entirely different view.  It’s like a mindfulness meditation. And then there’s the editing- so much fun! I used different Lightroom presets as starting points in editing the dandelion macros below- I’m not sure which I like best.

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Documentary, from Clickin Moms Paparazzi Collection:20150606-MMA_6955_melinda_anderson-2

Same photo as above, kk_toucha from Kim Klassen:20150606-MMA_6955_melinda_anderson

kk_light and airy from Kim Klassen:20150606-MMA_6963_melinda_anderson

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Butterfly Memories

Posting from the archives today- here are some butterfly images that never made it to the blog.

20150421-MMA_3826_melinda_anderson 20150421-MMA_3918_melinda_anderson 20150421-MMA_3955_melinda_andersonAnd I couldn’t resist this super closeup- this one was on Lonnie’s shirt!

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The Final Chapter

It was hard to let them go, so I took a few lensbaby shots of my peony petals before saying good-bye.

From above:

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With added texture:MMA_5250-EditAn abstract:

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Tumbling

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.

tumble_duoThe 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.

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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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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!


Backyard Blur

My photography goal for April is to practice with my Lensbaby every day.  We’ve been out in the backyard the last couple days, so the Lensbaby came out with me yesterday.

The fountain is up and running again.  Is it just me, or does this look like a lady juggling?

20150331-MMA_2349_melinda_andersonHere is a macro of photinia leaves- with some added texture.

20150330-MMA_2285_melinda_anderson-EditAnd here is the same basic shot, edited with a black and white preset.  Notice how the lensbaby blur shows up in the black and white- interesting!

20150330-MMA_2285_melinda_andersonThese were all taken with the Sweet 50 optic, macro converters added in the last two.


BLUR

I love the soft and dreamy Lensbaby look for flowers. I was missing my Lensbaby this week, so I spent a few hours playing with some flower macros I took when my Nikon was still functioning.

I love black and white- even for flowers- so had some fun editing this image 3 ways.  I created a preset a few months after I started with Lightroom. It’s kind of a dramatic, over the top black and white with some tones applied that I first used on a photo of the Clocktower in Benicia.  Although it doesn’t work well with most images, I still find uses for it occasionally. For this daisy photo, I first applied the preset at 87% (using the Fader plug-in). The second shot has the same preset applied, but its effect is reduced way down.  The third photo is edited the same as the second, but has a texture added at low opacity.

fadingOne of the things I love about Lensbaby macro images is that they have that soft, painterly look without adding texture.

20150208-DSC_2303_melinda_anderson-EditBut, often I feel that a texture adds to the look I want, as in the image below.

20150103-DSC_0045_melinda_anderson-EditHave a great weekend!

 


Just Having Fun

Last week I showed some friends how to add textures to their photos, which inspired me to play around with this Lensbaby photo I took last month with my Nikon. I added several textures, one being a freebie I downloaded from a Photoshop Elements website- fun!

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Fleeting Glimpses

The daffodils are all gone, but here are a few images I took before they faded. All photos were shot using my Lensbaby with the Sweet 35 optic and macro converters.daffodillayout