Each day is a new day. Happy Tuesday, everyone!
On Thanksgiving night, a huge storm blew in- and in the morning we woke up to this view from our front porch:
It continued to snow for most of the day, blanketing everything in 8-10 inches of the beautiful white stuff. It has been frustrating to not be steady enough on my feet yet to walk around with my camera in the snow- but on Saturday, we did take a drive around Prescott. I was able to capture some decent shots with my iPhone from the car or standing beside the car- and I’ll be posting those later.
The tree across the street has a slight tilt. . .
It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood!
I love to take photographs when it is snowy! The world is covered in a white blanket which eliminates details and simplifies the shapes, creating a toy village effect, at least in my mind. I am a fan of simple compositions in art and photography, and I think I got this shot of the house across the street down to about as simple as I could make it!
It was a white world out there yesterday morning! I knew it was supposed to snow during the night (and then maybe rain later), so when I woke up at 5:00, I didn’t try to go back to sleep. I ventured outside before the sun came up- trying to take photos in the DARK (not too successfully)- and kept going out until it was light enough to shoot without a tripod. The photo below is an iPhone shot- just as good as my Nikon photos, I think. I added a few touches in Photoshop.
The play of light and shadow reminded me of the term, chiaroscuro, that I learned in art classes in college. It’s not Renaissance art- just another shot from my driveway- but pretty light all the same. I added an oil paint filter at low opacity to complete the look.
A view of the snowy hill and houses across the main road from us- bathed in the early morning sunlight- fingers crossed that we have more snow this weekend!
A little impression of our sunset view last night- smoke and pink sky. Multiple exposure layered with a view of the moon from the other direction and an added texture. The fire continues to grow as I write this. We are far enough away to feel safe, but it is scary how fast it is growing.
A sad view indeed . . .
The Goodwin fire has been burning since Saturday, I think- and is over 4400 acres, forcing the evacuation of the town of Mayer and other small communities southwest of Prescott. And no, it is not contained or controlled. If you look closely at the photo, you can see one of the planes that were flying over the fire this afternoon. With this area’s still vivid memories of the 2013 fire that took the lives of 19 hot shots, fire is taken very seriously here. Although we are in the monsoon season, no rain is in the forecast.
A monochrome view:
It is pretty much guaranteed that, when I can’t find anything to photograph, a subject will appear during a walk in the neighborhood!
I’ve always loved blue and have recently become a big fan of the hour before the sun comes up, when the sky and clouds are streaked with shades of blue.
Here are some driveway and across the street shots from yesterday.
If you look closely, you’ll see a layer of fog between the far and near hills- I’m guessing over Watson Lake.
As I walked out of our bedroom this morning, I could see a bright orange glow on the living room wall. I ran (yes, ran) to the window to see a gorgeous sunrise peeking out under a dark, cloudy sky. I knew it would only last a minute or two, so I ran around the house- where is my camera (on the kitchen counter!)?, grabbed it (with MACRO lens attached, no time to switch), fumbled with the lock on the font door, and raced to the driveway in my nightgown and slippers to get about 10 shots, before the orange glow faded. No photoshopping- just a little brightening of the snow. This is what it looked like:
On the day after Christmas we woke to a thick blanket of fog obscuring our view of the houses and snowy hills. The fog lingered until nine or ten, when the blue sky and sun broke through.
We were dreaming of white Arizona Christmas as we checked the weather apps each day. As the weekend approached, the forecasts kept showing a snowflake for most of Christmas Eve day- and they were right. It rained in the late morning, quickly turning to sleet and then snow- heavy snow that lasted all afternoon. We ended up with about six or seven inches at our house, and it is still here. Beautiful!
I posted this photo on Facebook- and then noticed the fire hydrant in the foreground, which I have since removed (fire hydrants and garbage cans are what cloning brushes are for!). After I took this shot, I walked toward the tree- and fell against the curb, cracking my lens hood and banging my arm and knee. Happy to report that the only damage seems to have been to the lens hood (which is a replacement for the one I cracked in Montana. . .)- the camera and photographer are just fine!
I have spent perhaps 4 days editing the photo I’m using for the final in my photo group. It is sharp, sharp, sharp- but, other than that, the project was pretty much a disaster. The editing time was basically spent trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. More cloning than anyone should have to do in their entire life! I am hoping the result is adequate. No, I’m not yet posting it.
To recover, I spent an hour in the land of blur, producing some ICM images- abstract or impressionist landscapes, I’ve discovered they are called- achieved by long exposures and camera wiggling.
Here are two edits of my across the street view. I think the black and white looks like an ocean view.
This morning I was out with my macro lens, trying to capture the early morning light on the flowers when I became aware of some movement across the street.
It was a javelina!
He seemed on a mission and continued up the hill and up the driveway of our neighbor’s house, where I lost sight of him.
We have lived here almost three years and, although herds of javelinas can be seen throughout Prescott, especially in early evening, we had never seen a javelina in our neighborhood until today. I know from neighbors that they are around, but they seem to avoid my camera. In fact, last month something rooted up all our bulbs in the front flower bed- and damaged some of the drip system. And now I have a potential suspect!
Unfortunately, my 80mm macro lens was on the camera, so I wasn’t able to zoom in on our visitor. The first two photos are cropped.
FYI, javelinas are collared peccaries, not boars or pigs. They are usually in small herds or family groups and can be aggressive.
And they sound like this! http://www.desertmuseum.org/books/audio/javlina_medley.mp3
This is an early morning view from our driveway of the hills to the southeast of us. I posted the original photo on Facebook last week, but had fun playing with it yesterday, using two filters from Topaz Impression plus an added texture.
This is one of my first images using my brand new (drum roll, please!) Lensbaby for my Nikon!!! Santa was very good to me this year- he brought me the Lensbaby Composer Pro System kit, which includes the Sweet 35, the Sweet 50, and the Edge 80 optics- and a couple macro converters. The Sweet 35 was attached to the Composer Pro, so that’s what I used for all my photos (I actually haven’t learned how to swap optics as yet). There is quite a learning curve with Lensbaby- more than a few of the photos I shot were completely out of focus- but I knew to expect that.
The above image DOES have a sweet spot of focus in the tree, blurring off into the clouds. I decided to convert it to black and white and texture it in Photoshop.
I am beyond excited to have these new toys to play with on my camera!
BTW, I’m taking a bit of a blog break- more of a long weekend, actually- to play with my Lensbaby and, more importantly, spend time with my family. I’ll be back Tuesday or Wednesday. See you then!
A year ago last summer, when we were looking for houses to buy, my friend, Debbie, noticed a listing on the internet for the perfect house (which we did end up buying), but the Google map for the neighborhood was confusing- there were two consecutive streets with the same name. Which street was the one with the house for sale? From time to time, I noticed that Google glitch on the map- and last week decided to let them know their map was wrong.
I guess it’s not an uncommon thing for Google to make mistakes, because there is actually a form to fill out when you spot an error. I compared their map with the satellite image and discovered that several little streets off the thru street were labelled incorrectly. The error started when they misidentified a driveway as a street- and then got off for the next four streets ending up with an extra street, which they named the same as ours. I filled out the form, and they responded that they would look into it.
Less than a week later, they wrote me an email saying “You were right!”, and that they had corrected the problem. I checked the map and discovered that they had now correctly named the street before ours with its correct name- but had left that name on the street before that one and continued the incorrect sequence (including labeling the driveway as a street). Aaack!
So, on Saturday I walked the neighborhood taking photos of houses, streets, and signs to make sure I was accurate- and wrote them again. I haven’t heard anything back yet.
I took my husband’s new Canon Powershot SX50 with me on the walk. I’m trying to learn it, because its zoom has a fantastic reach (and it shoots RAW!), and I plan to use it for wildlife photography. I’ve already customized 3 buttons on it with my settings, so I won’t interfere with his AUTO settings. All of today’s photos were taken with this nifty camera. For me, the most difficult part is controlling the zoom- so I need to practice on some backyard birds.
Here are a few more photos from last weekend’s walk in the neighborhood:
Our weather has turned chilly, the leaves have mostly all turned gold and are starting to be blown off the trees, so I decided to take a short walk in the neighborhood to capture leaves on the trees while they were still attached. I did take a few tree photos, but, inspired by my abstract photography class, I also found myself attracted to the shapes and patterns around me.
Berries in the sidewalk cracks:
Leaves in the rocks:
I’ll post trees tomorrow!
Here are two more shots I love from last week’s (short) walk up the hill to the top of our lot. I want to make clear that none of this land above is ours- and it does crack me up that it took me a year to walk through our weeds to get to the pretty ones above. Just know that I don’t like the possibility of snakes- or even lizards. Or frogs. I think that covers it.
And here is a view of Prescott’s iconic Thumb Butte.