Images by MEV: Blog en-us (C) Images by MEV (Images by MEV) Wed, 15 Aug 2018 11:33:00 GMT Wed, 15 Aug 2018 11:33:00 GMT Images by MEV: Blog 113 120 Wabi Sabi: A Second Look On a recent photo workshop, I was able to concentrate on something that I don't experience everyday:  fog coming in.


I was in St Martins, New Brunswick.  It's a small village on the Bay of Fundy.  What caused me to get out and take some photos was hearing the mournful cry of the foghorn overnight.  I looked out my window and thought it would be a good day to experience Wabi Sabi photography.


The fog was coming in.  The coolness on my skin felt good in the early morning.  There was dew on the grass.


Quietly. I enjoyed the moment through all of my senses.


Then I continued to walk and watch the scenery transform as the fog moved from the Bay of Fundy to where I was walking.   You can barely see the shoreline as the wave breaks, with the fog muting anything that you can see in the background.


Or just the beach and a wall of fog over the water.



Near the harbor area, the entryway to the Bay also had a light fog.



My walk continued and I was able to see the currents coloring the bay.



The fog was lifting somewhat so you could see further out into the Bay.





And on my return, I was able to see that the Kayak adventure was setting up for the day.



I appreciate the ability to start the day with the mournful cry of the foghorn and the appreciate of scenes that I don't have a chance to see in my everyday life.  What a delightful experience at St Martins on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick.

]]> (Images by MEV) sabi wabi Wed, 15 Aug 2018 11:32:47 GMT
Wabi Sabi, A First Look I am enjoying studying approach to contemplative design called Wabi Sabi.  It's all about spending time quieting your mind, understanding what is front of you, accepting it, and then appreciating it's beauty, with all of it's imperfections.  It's not about perfecting beauty, but understanding and appreciating , and taking the scene or object or person "as is".


I wanted to share with you a number of images that I've had the privilege of taking in the Wabi Sabi tradition.


This first image was taken earlier this spring while traveling on the Pacific Coast in Oregon.  I loved the whimsical display of Owls and birds on a tanks that travels along the diagonal.  What I appreciate about this image is the three pieces of bird artwork and how they are displayed on the tree.  It catches your attention and makes you smile.



We had a very heavy snowfall in mid-April, unusual for us.  Our street wasn't plugged for a couple of days.  I finally got some cabin fever and just had to go out and take a walk.  The snow was deep.  The roads weren't plowed.  The sidewalks were brimming with lots of snow.  At this time of year, this little statue would be sitting with early spring flowers.  What struck me when I spent time observing this before taking the photo was imagining that the little creature is spitting out snow.  Either out of disgust.  Or in revelry of snow.


PAD April 16 Even Gnomes are Bothered by the SnowPAD April 16 Even Gnomes are Bothered by the Snow


There is a wonderful tulip farm in Oregon.  And I had the privilege of visiting it this spring.  A definite Wabi Sabi moment.  I spent hours there looking over the various patterns, textures, colors, and light.  There was a storm brewing.  I was worried that I would get my camera wet, but I had enough plastic bags for protection that I felt safe and could enjoy the changing scene and sky in front of me.



And here is another , with the sky being ominous while the tulips are still very, very colorful.



More to come on Wabi Sabi.  I spent time observing and understanding before I took each photo.  The pause before shooting is incredibly important, allowing me to really appreciating the scene or object or person that stands in front of me.

]]> (Images by MEV) Sabi Wabi Tue, 14 Aug 2018 00:58:29 GMT
Another Camera Movement Day I so enjoyed playing around with multiple exposures and camera movement the other day that I decided to approach "movement" in a different way.  Actually the way that I approached it is the more traditional "slow shutter speed and move the camera" way.


My vision was to go after color.  It's July and the gardens are full of various colors.  So, I went so far as the pansies that are by our front door.  I set the shutter speed as low as possible and also the ISO.  And then I tried a couple of shots.  One of the nicest ones of the series is a shot that I took early on, when I was still in the experimental phase.  It's a slow pan of our planter.  What I like about the results is that it's such a nice blend of color.  I can imagine the planter with the brown dirt and the three different colors of pansies, but that gets overwhelmed the the wonderful display of vibrant colors.

Pad July 23 ICM of PansiesPad July 23 ICM of Pansies


Later on in this photo shoot, I decided to pan using a sine wave motion and I love the energy that is the final image.  A little criss-crossing and a lot of fun is suggested.  I imagine that the whole scene is dancing, reveling in the color.


Pad July 23 ICM of PansiesPad July 23 ICM of Pansies


The Flower Box attached to the garage is a different approach.  The Pansies are stacked up there and overflow the flower box.  I tried a slight sine wave pan and achieved this affect.


Pad July 23 ICM of PansiesPad July 23 ICM of Pansies


And my final photo of the series is the two distinct clusters of color, white and red.


Pad July 23 ICM of PansiesPad July 23 ICM of Pansies


It was a fun and exhilarating series to shoot and process.  I am enjoying the abstract results.  Love the color.  All in my front yard.

]]> (Images by MEV) creative expression Tue, 24 Jul 2018 22:16:27 GMT
Camera Movement There are some summer days that I just love the color that is around me.  The gardens are in full bloom.  The fields have the golden glow of wheat.  Today I decided to concentrate on taking photos that concentrated on the color in an abstract way using "Intentional Camera Movement" and the multiple exposure feature on my camera.

A few years ago I was at a camera workshop and some folks had equipment that allowed them to take multiple exposures and then process them "in camera".  I loved this feature and was waiting patiently for Canon to provide this same feature.  As soon as they announced that they were going to debut a new Canon 5D model with multiple exposure and HDR, I immediately ordered the camera and waited for it to be released in the US.

I was not disappointed.  Both features are things that I really appreciate about my camera.  And I use these features to enhance my creative expression.

Today was all about color and making fun, abstract images.  I tried conventional multiple exposure, with 9 exposures.  

Here are some of the results.

I spied a couple of pink blossoms with a whole lot of greenery.  I knew that the pink would do a nice bit of blending with the green and provide a colorful splash of green tones with some pink.  Swirling my camera around created the affect, with 9 exposures.

PAD July 16 ICM Because it's FUNPAD July 16 ICM Because it's FUN


This next shot was more experimental.  I saw lots of color and wondered what it would be like all blended together.  Movement wasn't a circle but more downward in nature.


PAD July 16 ICM Because it's FUNPAD July 16 ICM Because it's FUN

I returned to a swirling approach with 9 exposures with one lily in the frame and some greenery and some brown earth.  This time I slightly moved the camera in a clockwise position.


PAD July 16 ICM Because it's FUNPAD July 16 ICM Because it's FUN

Slightly different part of the garden more of a traditional clockwise rotation with a center focus and 9 exposures.  I can feel the thrill of the movement.

PAD July 16 ICM Because it's FUNPAD July 16 ICM Because it's FUN

Then I changed my approach completely and took multiples by changing the zoom of my lens.  A little more like a horror-movie than a celebration of color.


PAD July 16 ICM Because it's FUNPAD July 16 ICM Because it's FUN

Tried changing the zoom lens again, this time just focused on flowers and 3 multiple exposures.  A more subtle approach, but not the type of celebration of color that I was hoping for.  

PAD July 16 Flowers ShakingPAD July 16 Flowers Shaking

I liked the following affect a whole lot more.  White color with a little green background.  3-Shot multiple exposure with just a slight twist on the zoom lens.  In the future, I might play with a 2-Shot multiple exposure with just a little twist of the zoom to give it a slight ghost affect.  And I might change the whiteness to a purer white by overexposing a bit.


Pad July 16 MultiplesPad July 16 Multiples

I have to admit that it was great fun to play with color and creative expression.  Some really work well for me; others were a nice experiment.  But often, it's the experiments that I really like.  So, I will continue to play around and use the features of my camera and my ability to move and shake in order to create!.


]]> (Images by MEV) Creative Expression Intentional Camera Movement Mon, 23 Jul 2018 23:36:59 GMT
Delightful Clouds I was driving back from an appointment and the clouds were just gorgeous.  I changed my route slightly so I could see if the clouds were reflecting at all in the water.  There was a breeze and the water was a bit choppy, so I could my route again to see if I could find a quiet bay on Lake Winnebago.

I wasn't the only car parked there.  Others were enjoying the lower temperature day after having a string of two weeks with temperatures uncharacteristically warm.  It was around lunch time and there are a few benches here overlooking the water.

I got out my camera and surveyed the area.  To my eye, it looked like the reflections weren't all that apparent.  I thought I might as well try to capture some aspect of reflection.  The clouds were so cool.

When I got home, I was very pleased with my photos.

The dark cloud made an interesting contrast to the rest of the puffy clouds.  I liked the way the reflection of the clouds created a faint white line in the lake.  I also liked the tiny clouds, like three dots (....) form a connection between the big, dark cloud and the rest of the smaller ones.

PAD July 17 Reflection on Lake WinnebagoPAD July 17 Reflection on Lake Winnebago

Since I wasn't completely sure if I was getting the reflections that I wanted, I took a few more shots.

I shot both vertically and horizontally.  I waited for the breeze to subside a bit and was so pleased to see a slightly rippled reflection in the lake.


PAD July 17 Reflection on Lake WinnebagoPAD July 17 Reflection on Lake Winnebago

Changing my camera to vertical orientation and then I let the breeze create a slightly different version of the reflection.  I really liked the ripples of the reflection in this particular version.  The water and the breeze are playing with this reflection and each breeze, each ripple creates a different effect.


PAD July 17 Reflection on Lake WinnebagoPAD July 17 Reflection on Lake Winnebago

I probably stopped for only 10 minutes.  5 minutes to photograph; 5 minutes to pause and appreciate the clouds, the water, and the reflections on a summer day.

]]> (Images by MEV) Creative Expression Thu, 19 Jul 2018 13:09:53 GMT
"Slow" Photography Yesterday I had a discussion about studio photography and taking care to have the right conditions.  That got me thinking about slowing down and really spending time with each photo, much like what happens in some studio work.

So, I got home and fetched my tripod, my shutter release, and my 180 mm macro lens.  I went next door and concentrated on taking photos of our neighbor's garden using manual exposure, my shutter release, my tripod, and the cool ability to magnify the focusing area when in live view on my Canon 5DM4.

It took me a while to remember how to use my camera in this mode.  The set up in a little different in the 5DM4 vs my tried and true 5DM3.  I was amazed that these differences had an affect of slowing me down and really thinking about what I was doing.

While fumbling in the beginning, I didn't realize that I accidentally took a short video of the yellow lily gently blowing in the breeze.  Must have accidental hit "start" while in "movie mode" rather than "still mode".    Once I got my act together, I proceeded on slowing composing my photos and taking my shots.  

Slowly, I would turn on live view.  Compose my scene with my tripod head a bit loose so that I could move my camera every so slightly.  Then I would tighten the various knobs on the tripod head to make sure that all was what I expected.  It took a little getting used to since the 180mm lens is a bit heavier than the 100mm macro that I usually hand hold.  But I started to get a feel for it.  Feel is the right word because it was all about "feeling" the knobs on my tripod and camera to get the camera situated in just the right position.  It's a different way of thinking than if you just point and shoot your camera.  Your mind and your hands are engaged at all times, feeling your way through as you check your composition and then make sure that all knobs are secure before you gently remove our hands from the camera and let it sit securely on the tripod aimed at the subject.

The Canon 5DM4 has touchscreen features that are perfect for macro work.  I can magnify the focus area and really fine tune my focusing.  A slight breeze was in the air and the magnified image blew in the wind a bit.  But at the same time I was amazed at how precisely I could focus.

With cable release in hand, I snapped the photo when the conditions seemed right.  

Here are just a couple of the images that I took during this slow photography session.

The first image is what really took the most time.  I was fumbling a bit getting familiar with the camera, but I really like the resulting image.

PAD July 17 Perfect BloomPAD July 17 Perfect Bloom

Another image that I liked I took later in my slow photography shoot.  I was intentional about having a narrower depth-of-field.  And then when I was reviewing photos in LR, I was pleased to see the shadows of on the flower.  Something that I didn't see when I was composing.


PAD July 17 Pollen studyPAD July 17 Pollen study


I did have a few that were OK, but not exactly what I was hoping for.  The bee was a nice touch, but the overall flora was not the picture that I had in my mind's eye.  I think I was hoping that the the whole image was a bit more macro but the bee flew away as I was trying to move my camera even closer.


PAD July 17 The BeePAD July 17 The Bee

Then there was the entire "miss".  I saw this budding flower and wanted to capture it with its green leaves in an interesting way.  I tried and tried and this one was the closest to my vision.  But still not exactly what I was trying to achieve.  15 minutes of patience for a composition that I am not really liking.  I think it's all of the black areas between the leaves that takes my eye away from the lovely blossom, in my opinion.  Sometimes even slow photography doesn't achieve what's in your mind's eye.  What attracted me was the light on the budding blossom; what I don't like is the consequence of having bright sunlight which caused dark shadows.  


Pad July 17 Bloom Look TwoPad July 17 Bloom Look Two

My last photo was a quicker shot.  I was more familiar with what depth-of-field I wanted for a particular composition.  I zeroed in on the pollen and wanted the background to be a colorful blur.  And, a quick peek at the resulting photo and its histogram reassured me that I captured what was in my mind's eye.

PAD July 17 Pollen studyPAD July 17 Pollen study

After my 45 minutes of slow photography, I anxiously loaded my photos into my computer and previewed all of them.  I laughed at the short video that I hadn't intended to take.  I quickly accepted that the breeze affected the focus of a couple of my shots.  Not enough patience to wait for the right moment?  But I was pleased that I spent the time to use manual mode, my shutter release, the magnification feature, and my tripod.  I was pleased to spend time with "slow" photography rather than a quick snap.  

Slow photography is a bit like meditation.  You are present in the moment.  And with photography, you capture that moment forever.

]]> (Images by MEV) Slow Photography Wed, 18 Jul 2018 11:20:45 GMT
Bumping into Bucky It was a fun weekend in Madison and I was delighted to see that there was an array of various expressions of Bucky Badger throughout the city of Madison.  So, here are some of the photos that I took of Bucky around State Street, the Madison campus, and around the Capital.


Bucky in all of it's glory on campus by the Student Union overlooking the lake at UW Madison.


An inked version on State Street in Madison.



Contemplative in front of the famous Red Gym at the UW Madison Campus

One Leg Up while on Campus


As if you were sending a vintage postcard from Madison Wisconsin, showing key sites.

A Mosaic version of Bucky!

A dreamy, night time vision of Bucky with a lit up State Capital in the background.

This is just a small sampling.  There are 85 in total in all parts of Madison.  It was fun to explore those that I did see at various times of the day.

]]> (Images by MEV) creative expression Wed, 11 Jul 2018 10:51:44 GMT
Gosh, I Took a Lot of Photos on Vacation!! I’ve never taken so many photos before on a vacation.  I went through two 32 G memory cards with my Canon P&S camera.  And I had a great time doing it.


We went to Germany for almost three weeks on this trip.  We started in Hamburg and we totally were in luck because the gardens were in perfect bloom.  I am glad that I took photos on our first day because by the third day, the petals were starting to fall.  I think that is when I realized that taking photos often is a great thing because the “moment” can change very quickly.



We took a couple of river cruises during our time there.  One cruise where taking lots of photos was the right thing to do was when we were in Berlin.  It was very clear that we were not to stand up and take photos….too many low bridges.  There were a few very interesting photo opportunities on the other side of the cruise boat, but we were sitting 4 people deep on each side and I snapped a possible photo, but we happened to turn around and take the exact same route back.  When I was back on the other side, I was able to anticipate my shot and get exactly what I wanted to capture the first time around.


And I played around with some of the features on my camera.  I discovered that I have a built in neutral density filter that I just had to use when I saw some water fountains in the Hamburg park area and wanted to slow the water for a more feathery look.


Pad May 20 Water Action in HamburgPad May 20 Water Action in Hamburg


I also didnt bring a computer along, just an iPad.  And I didn’t want to spend time downloading and being tempted to edit photos while travelling.  We had a busy agenda each day from morning until night and downloading and editing wasn’t a part of our travel agenda.  I think I took more shots, just in case-wise, because I wanted to make sure that the lighting was good or depth of field worked, etc, etc.  So, a casual observer might look over my array of downloads in Lightroom and think that a lot of the shots were exactly the same thing….and they were “sort of”.  Just different settings or a slightly different composition or somebody accidentally crossed into my compositioin or the lighting in the museum was casting all sorts of nasty shadows.  All of these things did happen and I have lots of extra shots to prove it.


Although sometimes it was the first shot, like this one at Brandenburg Gate.  5 minutes later and the square was filled with people since the tour buses arrived.


Brandenburg Gate in BerlinBrandenburg Gate in Berlin


One shot that I took over and over again was a jeweled statue of St George slaying the dragon.  I took so many photos because the lighting caused all sorts of reflections.  When I got home and downloaded, I discovered one image that really captured what I saw in all of its jeweled glory.



And, now I have finally gone through and edited photos and uploaded to my photo sharing gallery.  Still lots of captioning to do.  But the sorting process is over for now.  The rough edits are over.  Now, I can enjoy reviewing and I can invite others to view my vacation photos.

]]> (Images by MEV) Tue, 19 Jun 2018 11:44:42 GMT
My Walk after the Blizzard I was in the house for over two days and had a serious case of cabin fever.  The blizzard had dumped over 2 feet of snow and there was a lot of drifting since wind gusts in our area were over 40 miles an hour.  Once they plowed our street, I thought I would go for a walk.

I put my tall boots on and my down snowsuit.  The winds were still brisk.  My first surprise was getting to our corner and finding out that many people had plowed the sidewalk, but not the portion of the sidewalk where the snowplow dumps the snow.  Huge drifts to walk over.  

My walk considered where things were plowed and where things weren't.  Part of the walk was to discover what got plowed first.  We live fairly close to a hospital so I figure the roads leading to the hospital and the sidewalks around there would be nicely plowed.  Although I discovered just because you were on a main street, don't assume that the sidewalk would be plowed.  Or if it was on a bridge, that the city would have had the time to plow the sidewalk over the bridge.


Memorial Street BridgeThe street is nicely plowed but the sidewalks on both sides hadn't been attended to yet. There was a pretty significant drift where the plow had dumped snow. Closer to the side of the bridge, it was passable but up to the top of my boot in spots. I never used the handrail before, but found it was handy as I walked over the bridge.


One of the side streets was nicely plowed so I started walking towards Pierce Park.  I was amazed at how nicely plowed the street was within the park.  Must have had something going on later that day.  The sidewalk along the park was also nicely plowed.  Figures, it was on a main street.


The Pavilion at Pierce ParkThe Road was nicely plowed here and not a sole around except for the workers finishing up cleaning the road.

I continued my walk and appreciated those who plowed their sidewalk along the busy street.  Made walking a whole lot easier.


Clean Sidewalk , Easy WalkingI appreciated when the sidewalk was pretty clear. Made for easy walking.

There were also interesting moments while walking.  Ephemeral moments that you realize would be gone later in the day when the snow would melt.  Time to enjoy them now and appreciate their beauty.  

Snow on Trees, an Ephemeral MomentIt looks like the trees are dancing with a little bit of snow on the trunks. Fun to walk by and also to realize that a few hours later this scene would look much different.


The winds were so strong that there was snow plastered along the side of the bridge.

Clinging SnowThe winds were so stiff that snow clung to the wall underneath the bridge. Although it probably melted later in the day.


Snow blocked by stone occurred often.


Stone Wall Blocks the SnowThe wall provided a barrier to the snow, but with the winds there were drifts on both sides.


This road surprised me since the sidewalk was perfectly clear.  It was along the river and a walking path for some.  It's nice that the city took the time to make sure that it was clean.  More a haven for geese than for regular folks today.  I was the only person walking.  Just me and the Geese that congregate by the river and were having fun waddling through the snow.


Geese Waddling throughThere is a huge flock of geese close to the river. Today they were waddling in the snow. Kind of fun to watch them!


My next part of the trip was to walk on the Fox Trot Trail.  My plans were changed, however, when I discovered that the bridge in the Flats area was full of snow and that the trail itself was also full of snow.  I came just a little too early because the sidewalk cleaner and the plow were right behind me.  I could walk faster than they could clean the sidewalk and get rid of the overabundance of snow.  Bridges seem to take a long time to clean.


Look Behind YouI had just crossed this bridge where the sidewalk was covered with snow. The sidewalk cleaner and the snowplow were behind me. I discovered that it takes a long time to clear a bridge.

This particular building always look so nice with a snow covering on the ground.  I like the white trim as well.  Don't know what it's being used for these days.


White Trim, White SnowI was attracted to the white trim on this red brick building and the layers of snow. Looks like this building is being used since the parking lot was plowed.

Over the bridge I went on Olde Oneida Street and saw this timeless photo.   


The Red Brick Building in the BackgroundI had just crossed the bridge over the Fox River and saw a nice shot of the river, the river bank, and the red brick building way in the background. Timeless.

My next destination is to start walking to the hospital.  I figured that the roads would be cleaner and the sidewalks pristine.  And I was right.  The only little problem was getting across the intersection.  The plow must have gone though after the worker bees of the hospital had cleared the area.  But I was happily pleased that there was plenty of salt and plenty of walking space on the sidewalk.  No shortcuts taken here.  This will make it easy for me to get home.



Lion and SnowEven the Lion signaling the entrance to the Breast Center at the hospital was full of snow. The pathways around the hospital, however, were completely cleared, with salt to make sure that no one slipped.


Now, I am almost home and this little gnome says it all about a Blizzard in mid-April.


Knowing GnomeThis Gnome says it all about having so much snow in mid-April.







]]> (Images by MEV) remembering Tue, 24 Apr 2018 05:39:03 GMT
Chronicling a Snowstorm Birds Enjoying our Feeder The weather forecasters warned about the upcoming storm for days.  There were prior storm warnings this season that came to nothing, but this one seemed to be real as the hours closed in on the start of the storm.  The birds were constantly at our feeder before the snow started to accumulate.

It started with a whimper.  First there was as bit of rain.  Thunder too.  Big Flakes mingled with the raindrops.

Early SnowfallRain, sleet, and snow as seen through our family room window.


Then there was a long pause.  The forecasteres continued to talk about the huge accumulations and we were in the Big Red Storm Watch areas.

The snow falling resumed.  When we went to bed on the first night, barely a just a few inches had accumulated.  Overnight, we picked up a few more inches.  I was a little disappointed, actually.   But the snow started again in the early morning hours and this time was accompanied by high winds.  Sometimes you were hear the pelting of sleet on the roof.  The type of snow changed over time; sometimes the little small flakes that would make the sky white; sometimes extremely large flakes that seemed to be over 2 inches in diameter as they slowly floated to the ground.


In the Midst of the StormBig Puffy Snowflakes caused a rapid accumulation of snow.


Seeing the Blizzard in our BackyardI spent the afternoon watching the blizzard in our backyard. Heavy snow at this point.



At about the half foot mark, my husband started to rev up the snowblower and clean the driveway.  My job was to make sure that the snow was cleared around all doors and the loosen the snow that had accumulated in big drifts in the driveway.  

Plowing Out Our DrivewayMy husband is fighting against the blizzard conditions as he tries to clean the driveways at about the 6 inch accumulation mark.

The winds were still howling.  As we worked outside, the snow was pelting against our faces.  There were areas in our yard where the drifts were huge.  Our back deck was one of those areas.  The wind was such that the snow whipped around and settled very close to the picture window.


Drifting outside of our picture windowThere was a huge drift outside of our picture window. The winds were such that about 3 feet accumulated right there. The birds are trying to still feed with the birdseed that fell to the top of the snow from the feeder.


It’s spring and the birds were trying to get to our feeder.  The wind made it tough, but there were time that the bird feeder was a welcome respite from the blowing winds.  All of the possible feeding positions were occupied.  My husband went out numerous times to refill the feeder or to throw birdseed on top of the newly formed drifts on our deck.  The birds and squirrels responded by visiting often.


Enjoying the Bird SeedMy husband threw birdseed on top of the snow drifts on our back deck. The various birds were grateful.

Bird at our FeederThe birds would congregate at our feeder. to feed and to stay away from the howling winds.

Even Cardinals came to feed.

A Whole Array of Birds Enjoyed Our Bird SeedWhen the drifts became too huge to fill the bird feeder, my husband would just throw some bird seed onto the deck.


And it still continued to snow.  Again, we went out to clear the snow.  We watched the weather on TV and noticed that practically everything was closed.  Wind gusts were over 40 miles per hour.  They finally announced that it was a bllizzard.

And still the snow continued.  One foot.  Two feet.  Drifts becoming even higher.  Our street wasn’t plowed.  I went on a short scouting walk to see what the main road was like.  Snow covered is an understatement when trying to describe what the road conditions were like.  Forget about sidewalks being plowed.  Tall boots were a necessary item to have when walking around.


Our RoadOur Road wasn't completely plowed. Just a once through so cars might be able to get through the blowing and drifting snow and make it from our road to the main road without getting stuck.

After two days, the snow finally ended.  Additional clean up was necessary.  Schools were cancelled on Monday, the day after the blizzard finally ended.  Too much snow had accumulated and there were layers of ice underneath.  The roads were very rough in the morning, but by noon,  the scene had changed significantly so I went on a walk.


Cleaning Up the Snow Once AgainOur street finally got a proper plow through and my husband is cleaning up the curtain of our driveway.

]]> (Images by MEV) remembering Wed, 18 Apr 2018 12:27:03 GMT
Playing with Time In my last post, I posted a picture of a metronome. It was one of my entries inspired by Wabi Sabi and appreciating an object (or person) for what they are in spite of imperfections.  I was attracted to the metronome because it represented an old way of measuring time, with its arm moving back and forth with an audible click.  You had to wind it up and you had to move the weight to the time indicator...adagio, adantate, presto, etc.  And the beat mechanically marks time.

I wanted to play with time a bit more after Wabi Sabi challenge for my small group.  I am especially interested in depicting time in music.  There arre several ways to think about musically-inspired time.


  • The time signature
  • Measures
  • Notes whose coloring and stems indicate the length of a particular sound
  • Metronome markings
  • Timing indicators:  Adagio, Presto, Rubato.


I wanted to bring these various "measures of time" together in a photo.  I had several building blocks that I composited together.


First the metronome that started this quest.  I spent some time catching photos that would indicate motion.  One big learning is figuring out when to press the shutter to freeze the metronome "arm" in an interesting spot.  I had a lot of misses.  But here is one that I liked.

PAD April 13 Metronome TwoPAD April 13 Metronome Two

Then I wanted to grab some music.  Something that would have elements of time signature, timing descriptors, and measures.  I took photos of several different musical pieces, but this is the one that I selected to "composite".


PAD April 13 Time SignaturePAD April 13 Time Signature But the page didn't really turn out the way I expected.  The lighting wasn't up to my usual standards.  What to do:

  • Retake? 
  • Play with filters?
  • Explore new features in photo editing apps different than PhotoShop or Lightroom?

I decided to play around with Luminar, a photo editing app that was introduced last year and had a dramatic upgrade recently.  The company behind this app was MacPhun that created all sorts of MAC and IOS apps.  Last year they introduced several new computer apps and expanded their range to PCs as well as MACs.  They also changed their name to Skylum.  I had played around with Luminar a bit and really liked how they allow you to set up a customized workspace. It could be filter/effects driven or you could use what they call professional workspace fairly similar to Lightroom.  Or you can make up your own.  I really liked that.

Plus, there were layers and the layers were easy to use.  A necessary component when compositing.

Back to my thought process about creating my composition.

To me the mixture of the music, the metronome and the coloring all helped to give an impression of what music and time means to me.  In that vein, I wanted to create several looks. I started out with using a Google Nik Plug-in that I discovered "worked" with in Luminar.  Ah, I miss my Nik filters.  I purchased all of them long before they became free and used them often within my workflow of old.  One of my favorite filters is Solarization within the Color Efex bundle.


I tried several different ways of solarizing.  And then decided that a white note piece of music would be extremely impactful against the background of the dark metronome.  I moved the array around so that my metronome was the bottom layer and then the solarized music filter.


PAD April 13 Solarized Music and Metronome with BlendingPAD April 13 Solarized Music and Metronome with Blending


I liked the look of the white notes and the dark metronome.  But I wanted to play a bit more with the filters within Luminar.  I tried a few one and like the vintage look below.  I think it represented the "oldness" that I wanted to convey.  I had the musical notation elements that I wanted to show:  time signature, metronome markings, various notes within the music, a metronome in action with its blurred arm.I was satisfied with the finished photo and I was extremely satisfied with my experience with Luminar.


PAD April 13 Solarized Music, Metronome, and Impression all within LuminarPAD April 13 Solarized Music, Metronome, and Impression all within Luminar

]]> (Images by MEV) creative expression Mon, 16 Apr 2018 13:09:58 GMT
Wabi Sabi Wabi Sabi really is in the spirit of contemplative photography.  It’s seeing the imperfect and appreciating its beauty and it’s loveliness.  And it's the challenge for my small photography group for our April meeting..

One of the things that interested me in Wabi Sabi is the approach:

  • Quieting your Mind
  • Understanding
  • Accepting (the Wabi Sabi that is in front of you)
  • Appreciating

I discovered that when I had Wabi Sabi on my mind before I went photographing that thinking about imperfection and patterns that can be broken helped me to “see” differently.  I looked with a quiet mind, a peaceful mind.  And then the subject came to me.  And how I wanted to photograph it came to me.  

Often my thinking about photographing the object or the person, changed a bit once I spent time trying to “understand”.  Often I tried several approaches while being very thoughtful in between.  I also made some connections that were important to me…. The unicorn hand carved in Jamaica and the worn unicorn toy that Marie had when she was much younger.  Seeing connections about representing an object even made it more beautiful.

There are some connections that I made, but didn’t necessary decide to show as a part of my 5 selected photos.  One thing that really interested me was the aspect of time.  When I walked, I saw the sundial at Lawrence, the clock between Main Hall and the Library.  When I went around the house, I saw another aspect of “Time” and that was the metronome.  Mechanical, with its clicking back and forth and the spring that winds it up to work.  Now, we just use something digital and forget about the graceful arc of the metronome.  It caused me to think of time differently and to appreciate “time” in music as opposed to “keeping time” to make sure that you are there for appointments or not. 



The Carved Unicorn


My desire to even consider taking photos of the Unicorn was prompted about thinking about Easter and all the fun we used to have with gathering Easter Eggs.  Instead of trying to re-create that, I started digging around my daughter's room….the things that she left behind.


I didn’t realize that she left behind certain stuffed animals.  There were the animals that I insisted that she leave behind….Big Bear, The Red Bear, the Paddington Bear.  But she left behind some others as well.  And the one that really surprised me was her well-worn unicorn.


Well, that got me thinking.  The unicorn looked a little scruffy.  It could have been classified as “neglected” rather than the "well worn" characteristic of Wabi Sabi.  The white looked a little darker with the dirt of being dragged from place to place.  Probably a better way to describe it is that the unicorn was constantly with her:  when we were traveling in the car, watching TV at night, in her bed overnight, and next to her in the kitchen when she ate breakfast.  There was a long period of time when she was inseparable from her unicorn.  Her affinity with the unicorn stuffed animal went way beyond well worn.

I looked around her room a bit more to search for more treasures that she left behind and became re-acquainted with her carved unicorn.  It was sitting amidst all of her sporting trophies.  That would be a picture in and of itself.  Nothing "well worn" about the unicorn; it had stood the test of time.

As I looked at the unicorn, I realized how ugly it really is.  But there is a story behind it.  And going from understanding to appreciating is an aspect of Wabi Sabi that is important to me.  Going over the story helps me to understand and appreciate the significance of the carved Unicorn.


The Carved Unicorn Story

I was in Jamaica with my friends for a long weekend.  We were staying at a wonderful place called the Plantation Inn.  We had a wonderful place overlooking the beach.  And it provided a haven from the busyness of Jamaica.  A haven that one person in our friend group really appreciated; she preferred staying at the Inn and ordering pizza to eat in the room while enjoying the rhythm of the surf crashing outside of our balcony.

We did go to the market and while there all of the merchants were aggressive about selling their wares.  There was a wood carver that had some interesting items. I lingered at this booth, closely examining the items there, but not finding the exact thing I was looking for as a gift.   I guess I missed my daughter or I had promised her something special to bring home.  She loved unicorns so I thought I could get this woodcarver to make her something since nothing else seemed to suggest an appropriate gift for my daughter. 

I should have realized that wood carver didn’t know anything about unicorns when we were trying to describe it.  My friends and I tried desperately to draw or gesture or somehow show him what a unicorn was.  It caused other "shoppers" to join in the conversation and it seemed like he was understanding what we were talking about.  This whole scene lasted for about 15 minutes or so.  Finally, I handed over $25 for him to carve it and then to wrap it.  I wanted it wrapped so that I could carry it on board the plane, pop it in the overhead bin, and bring it home safely.  We picked up this item wrapped in newspaper, sight unseen, on our way to the airport.

"Sight unseen" should have been a big clue.

My daughter couldn’t help but see the package when I got home.  She unwrapped it.  There were layers of newspaper and bubble wrap to rip through.  And then she saw it.  In all of its ugliness.


The Jamaican UnicornThe Jamaican Unicorn


She didn’t say much.  She put it in her bedroom on her chest of drawers.  She was glad that I brought something back, but she wasn’t happy about it’s look.


It has been in her room over 20 years.  It still sits on the chest of drawers with lots of trophies surrounding it.  When friends came over for sleepovers, they would comment about the wood carving and my daughter would tell the story.


When she moved to her new home, this is one article that stayed behind.  A reminder to Mom about her trip to Jamaica and the wood carving.  And having such an item paid for and given as a present, sight unseen.  And it is one of my treasured items and an example of an imperfect unicorn and appreciating a perfectly lovely story.


Other Photos Taken on Wabi Sabi theme and Their Connections

And, additionally, as I went through and took other photos in the spirit of Quieting my Mind, Understanding, Accepting, and Appreciating.


There are some connections that I made, but didn’t necessary decide to show as a part of my 5 Unicorn Story but was a part of the photos that I took during the month.  One thing that really interested me was the aspect of time.  When I walked, I saw the sundial at Lawrence, the clock between Main Hall and the Library.  When I went around the house, I saw another aspect of “Time” and that was the metronome.  Mechanical, with its clicking back and forth and the spring that winds it up to work.  Now, we just use something digital and forget about the graceful arc of the metronome.  It caused me to think of time differently and to appreciate “time” in music as opposed to “keeping time” to make sure that you are there for appointments or not. 

Metronomes in the old days when things were mechanicalMetronomes in the old days when things were mechanical


]]> (Images by MEV) wabi sabi Thu, 12 Apr 2018 12:44:04 GMT
A Photo Memoir (better entitled My Photo Memoir) The last few years I've been thinking about writing a memoir.  Mostly because I don't want to forget the past and I want a story from my perspective that shares my life.


A couple of years ago, I started reading all sorts of memoirs to get ideas on how to craft such a story and to make it interesting to others besides myself.  I started downloading all sorts of books that had memoirs in their titles or in their descriptions.  A couple of examples from this background reading stood out to me.  One, in particular, involves photos.

Ever since I was a kid I was intrigued by the power of photos.  I can remember going to my Aunt's house and going through the drug store photo albums that she would carry around in her purse.  Today's equivalent of showing photos on your phone.  I would pour over these photos again and again.  I would ask her who the people were and the stories behind them.  That is how I got to know the relatives and family friends who lived in other places.  And the interesting stories about their lives and how their lives intertwined with my Aunt, my Grandparents, and my family.

One of the memoirs that I read during this time was the photo memoir by Sally Mann.  I was reminded about this earlier today because she has a new show opening and there was mention of her book, Still Life, in the description of her show.  I thought her approach of mixing photos and narrative was especially interesting and caused me to think about a similar approach, but done in my own way with my own story.

Since that time I've written many chapters to my memoir and discovered many cool photos.  Some of the photos were found at my Dad's house.  Some of the photos were taken at my Dad's house and made me recollect a story from my childhood.  One such story is suggested by this lone bicycle, still in the safety of my Dad's basement that I completely forgotten about but rode extensive 60 years ago.


The picture isn't much.  But the prettiness or the composition of the photograph isn't the's the memories and the stories that it inspires in me.


This bike had a hard time.  It was my first bike and I rode it everywhere.  

In the beginning, I could only ride it to the corner, which is really only one house away.  I would sit for a long time on my bike and longingly look across the street at the playground that was in very much demand over the summer months.  One of the leaders saw my daily ritual and came over to my house to invite me to come to the park.  My Mom reluctantly agreed.  So, this leader would come over and pick me up in the morning and take me home at lunchtime and at the end of the day for a while.  Until I got the hang of crossing the street and coming over to the park by myself.

This was a freeing experience.  A whole new world opened up to me once I joined many others at the park and started becoming engaged in the games that went on there.  I changed my life.  I learned how to play, how to win at games, how to get picked on a softball teams, how to make craft projects, how to get along with others, how to get my way, and how to play all sorts of sports.  It opened up a big, big world of interactive fun.  Later, when I was in college, I worked at that same park as a playground leader for 2 summers.  I tried to return to other kids the advantages that Miss Melanie gave to me those long years ago.  I went to kids houses and invited them to the park.  I told parents about a field trip to the Brewer Game and told them I would take special care of their son and daughter.  All kindnesses to repay Miss Melanie when I was very young.


And that trike continued to be a source of transportation.  And a few other life lessons.  Like the time that I put it behind the car and it got very seriously injured.  You can see what happened to the seat in the picture.  The mangled front tire was replaced.  And I learned to never, ever put anything behind a parked car....a lesson that I adhere to to this very day.


There are many stories that are started by looking at photos of the past.  Now, I just have to read through those stories, edit them, make sure that I match the picture and the story, and just plain publish them.....


Sounds like a great way to write a memoir to me.  And in my own style.  With my own story.



]]> (Images by MEV) photo memoir Sat, 31 Mar 2018 12:17:54 GMT
I Loved Stained Glass While in Barcelona One of my delights when visiting Barcelona earlier in March was to experience all of the places that had Stained Glass of some sort, including painted glass.  Usually I associate Stained Glass with churches, but on this trip I got a new appreciation of how Gaudi and the other Modernistas looked at Stained Glass and Painted Glass as a medium for interiors of all sorts.


First, let me start with some of the churches.  Places where you would expect Stained Glass to be present.  And the type of Stained Glass that you would expect to see; a rosette.  This window is at Santa Maria de Mar in Barcelona.


Church of Santa Maria del Mar, BarcelonaChurch of Santa Maria del Mar, Barcelona

But I was also surprised by the variety of Stained Glass in this church.  I found another two that are extremely contemporary looking.


Church of Santa Maria del Mar, BarcelonaChurch of Santa Maria del Mar, Barcelona Church of Santa Maria del Mar, BarcelonaChurch of Santa Maria del Mar, Barcelona These two set the scene for later in the week when I saw some quite stunning stain glass pieces by Gaudi and other Modernistas.  But first the Opera House.  A lovely piece on the ceiling that I admired before we saw the Opera, Carmen.


Palace of Catalan Music, BarcelonaPalace of Catalan Music, Barcelona


A slightly different look....

Palace of Catalan Music, BarcelonaPalace of Catalan Music, Barcelona

Now, onto one of Gaudi's houses...where the colored glass and the pattern of the molding make for some interesting interplays between the interior and the exterior.


Glass and Stained Glass, Palau GuellGlass and Stained Glass, Palau Guell


And something a little more typical for the stained glass, with a nicely designed lamp to go with the mood of the room...


Lantern with Stained Glass in background at Palau GuellLantern with Stained Glass in background at Palau Guell


And a couple more from the Museum of Catalan Art showcasing the different Modernista Stained Glass that was used for screens and doors.  These first couple are Triptichs.

Modernista Style, Catalan Art Museum, BarcelonaModernista Style, Catalan Art Museum, Barcelona


Modernista Style, Catalan Art Museum, BarcelonaModernista Style, Catalan Art Museum, Barcelona

And here is a lovely, lovely door. More of a painted door that has a lovely, inviting look from the interior to the exterior. Modernista Style, Catalan Art Museum, BarcelonaModernista Style, Catalan Art Museum, Barcelona


And the last, a glass screen that I would love to have in my own home, separating portions of large rooms.


Modernista Style, Catalan Art Museum, BarcelonaModernista Style, Catalan Art Museum, Barcelona


Hopefully, you can see how I fell in love with Stained and Painted Glass in Barcelona.  There was a lot there besides what you saw at Gaudi's Sagrada Familia, which had an extremely lovely array of Stained Glass.  And it really does something to the mood of the room, filtering the light in all sorts of colorful arrays.  And, just plain makes you feel inspired.


]]> (Images by MEV) travel Fri, 30 Mar 2018 15:38:28 GMT
Sorting Photos from a Recent Trip to Barcelona and Sagrada Familia We recently travelled to Spain, focused on Barcelona, Madrid, and Toledo. We were mostly on a tour, but we had several days in Barcelona on our own before the tour began.


We used to go to Spain often in the 90's and early 2000's.  We loved traveling around, especially in the North.  But, it's been a long time since I was in Barcelona or Madrid.  And at that time, I was shooting with film and taking a lot of videos.


It was a big surprise to visit Barcelona again.  The city is bustling and there are a lot of tourists.  That wasn't my experiences in the 90's.  We would usually go in September or October, near the end of Tourist season and we were usually the only Americans around.  


One of the reasons that I wanted to visit Barcelona again was to see the progress on the Sagrada Familia. Wow!  When I was there 20 years ago, there was just a facade and a display talking about Gaudi and the plans for the basilica.  Wow!  That really changed.  Cranes were everywhere.  People were everywhere, taking in all of the sights as the church rapidly moves towards being finished.  They even hold some services there.

Its actually hard for me to articulate the drastic change between 20 years ago and now.  It was a modest construction site 20 years ago.  Now, it's a tourist destination.  It's the tourist entry fees that are paying for the completion of the church, which is expected in 2026.  And what a transformation!  Let me show you a small sampling of the photos that I took while inside.  


This photo shows the cranes and the array of pigeons in the park across the street from the Basilica.  Cranes are a familiar site in Barcelona so it doesn't really suggest anything about the interior.  I did note that there was a lot of progress made.  Lots of carvings on the facades.


Exterior, Sagrada Familia, BarcelonaExterior, Sagrada Familia, Barcelona Here is one example of the wonderful carvings on the external facade.  This is just one of many.  The stone is discolored so you can tell what parts are new and what parts are years or even decades old.


Exterior, Sagrada Familia, BarcelonaExterior, Sagrada Familia, Barcelona But it wasn't until I was inside, that I really began to appreciate the difference between my experience 20 years ago and now.  When I first went inside, I just had to stare all around me.  There was so much to take in.  More than I imagined.  More than I could even comprehend, without spending about 10 minutes just looking and looking and taking it all in.  Slowly.

Then I started to take photos.  First of the beautiful stain glass windows on the inside.  We arrived on a very rainy day and the inside was a welcome interplay of colorful lights caused by the wonderful, large stained glass windows.  No drab, dimly lit church here.  It was aglow even on a dreary day.  Some with warm tones.


Stained Glass within Sagrada FamiliaStained Glass within Sagrada Familia And some with cool tones.


Stained Glass within Sagrada FamiliaStained Glass within Sagrada Familia

The light was just amazing.  Almost ethereal.  I could look over the columns and see almost a whole rainbow of light.


Columns of Light, Sagrada FamliaColumns of Light, Sagrada Famlia

I walked around a bit more.  The central crucifix above the altar is a wonderful piece of modern art and catches your attention immediately.


Altar Crucifix, Sagrada FamiliaAltar Crucifix, Sagrada Familia And the ceiling, which wasn't there 20 years ago, took my breath away with its columns and unique white patterns..  The height of the ceiling is amazing.  It seems like the tallest church that I've ever been in (and I've been in a lot)


Another View:  Looking Towards the Altar, Sagrada FamiliaAnother View: Looking Towards the Altar, Sagrada Familia And then you looked towards the front and saw a golden glow.  There is nothing dark and forbidding here; it's all about light and spaciousness and looking at a church with a modern, progressive look.


Behind the Altar, Sagrada FamiliaBehind the Altar, Sagrada Familia I walked around and around.  Then even sat for a few minutes in a central area, where hundreds of tourists were looking up and around trying to take the whole basilica in.  Then I slowly got up and went around the church again.  Noticing the statues and other things that aren't as obvious as the stained glass, the ceiling, and the central crucifix.

I walked the "Stations of the Cross".  Many of the statues depict the "Stations" in a whole new way.  Here is just one example as Judas betrays Jesus.


Way of the Cross, Sagrada FamiliaWay of the Cross, Sagrada Familia There is simpleness too.  As seen in these floor drawings for Palm Sunday.


Floor Drawing, Palm Sunday, Sagrada FamiliaFloor Drawing, Palm Sunday, Sagrada Familia


And, finally, a door that has the Our Father in multiple languages.

Our Father Door, Sagrada FamiliaOur Father Door, Sagrada Familia


This is just a small sampling of the photos that I took. Sorting through is difficult because I want each one to work.  But in this piece, I just focused on showing a few examples of the things that WOWed me about my experience with Sagrada Familia in 2018.  And it is a WOW experience.

And perhaps that is a great way to sort through photos....what WOWed you that you can show in 10 photos or so....and still get that WOW experience across.

]]> (Images by MEV) travel Thu, 29 Mar 2018 17:25:17 GMT
Appreciating the Water that Surrounds Me I've been trying to take as many walks as I can during January and February.  The only time that I don't walk during the winter if the conditions are too icy or I have too many activities going on during the day and I just can't manage to squeeze in a walk.

After reviewing my photos over the last two months, I have to say that I really, really appreciate the amount of water that is a part of my environment.  There are lakes, and channels, and rivers, and streams.  We don't have the waterfalls that you find in other areas that you can be awed by, but we do have lots and lots of water power.  That's the reason this area thrived because of the water power that supplied the flour mills and the paper mills.  And also provided a way to transport goods from one area to another, including being connected with the Great Lakes.  We have dams and locks to support the power of the water.  Now, the flour mills are gone and the paper mills are few in number.  The river area, in particular, is being revitalized with walking trails, new housing developments, and new hotels and eateries.  New services, like kayaking trips and bicycle rentals, are being provided so that more people can enjoy what the waterways have to offer.

In January, there were many cold days when I was the only person walking on the Fox Trot Trail.  In this image, you can see the historic mill area where paper making and woolen mills were popular.  This area was transformed into condos over 15 years ago, interspersed with a few businesses.  There is one mill left that is still owned and operated by the same family where you can get customized quilt batting.

PAD Jan 8 Open WaterPAD Jan 8 Open Water

This area of the river doesn't freeze over and the dams control the flow.  Often the dams had interesting frost patterns during the winter months.  With a little imagination, you can see that it's transformed into a face!


PAd Jan 18 Faces in the DamPAd Jan 18 Faces in the Dam


Sometimes the water suggest abstract images, especially when there is a mix of water and ice near its edges.  These patterns change daily and part of their appeal to me is their changing nature.  The walk on this particular day was extremely cold, but the patterns in the snow and ice were so incredibly rich that I kept on walking and kept warm by the enthusiasm when I would see and usually capture one ice abstract after another.


PAD Jan 27 Ice AbstractPAD Jan 27 Ice Abstract


And sometimes you just point you camera downward and see an interesting pattern. I was walking along then saw the interesting bird tracks in the snow next to the water's edge.


PAD Jan 21 Abstract Ice TwoPAD Jan 21 Abstract Ice Two


I appreciate my winter walks along the river in particular.  It's a wonderful place to appreciate the wonders of nature and wonders of water.  All in my backyard, so to speak.


Now just a few more photos celebrating my winter walks along the Fox River....


PAD Jan 16 Water under the BridgePAD Jan 16 Water under the Bridge


PAD Jan 21 Ice Chunks at the EdgePAD Jan 21 Ice Chunks at the Edge


PAD Jan 30 Close up of Eagle Crop 2PAD Jan 30 Close up of Eagle Crop 2


PAD Feb 8 Abstract TwoPAD Feb 8 Abstract Two


PAD Feb 21 Walking along the Fox Trot TrailPAD Feb 21 Walking along the Fox Trot Trail

]]> (Images by MEV) fox river waterways Tue, 27 Feb 2018 14:11:47 GMT
New Editing Tools I often don't get caught up in changing my processing tools.  Don't get me wrong, I have lots of photo editing programs on my computer and photo apps on my phone and tablet.  But I don't get excited much about exploring new ways of processing the last couple of years.  After I felt comfortable with my workflow of downloading to LR and then slightly modifying using that tool the last couple of years, I often left my other tools alone.  I wanted to shoot rather than to process.

Yesterday was different.  I decided to spend the day exploring new editing tools that I could use on my computer.  Part of this provocation was because I wasn't satisfied with my "Self-Portrait" challenge that I gave myself for the month of February.  I took some shots, but they were more "selfie" than "self-portrait" and I felt that some of it was in the post processing.

One of the tools that I really enjoyed in the past for portraiture was OnOne's Perfect Portrait.  I really liked the quick ability to whiten eyes and teeth and to easily brush away facial imperfections.  It was my "go to" editing tool and I used it quite a lot when I was doing portraits for others.  But change happened and the simple tools that I had in Perfect Portrait aren't as easily achieved in OnOne's newer product Photo Raw 2018.  Not that I don't like Photo Raw.  I do.  It's just that I don't have the new workflow using this new product in my repertoire yet.

So, I started looking for other means to edit.  And there are a number of programs out there that are really trying to simplify the editing process.  

In the past, I was quite a fan of MacPhun's iPad and iPhone FX Photo Studio.  It was one of the first iPad photo apps that I really liked and used extensively.  But like most things app-wise, it eventually evolved to something else.  And I bought a number of products that MacPhun had, but never really got into using them like FX Photo Studio.  There was something about the simplicity of FX that I really liked.

MacPhun evolved recently into Skylum and introduced some new products.  At first I just slightly paid attention to Luminar.  Yesterday, I test drove it and really liked it's simplicity.  Many of the aspects that I liked about their earlier product, FX Photo Studio, is a part of this powerful editing software.  You scroll through a set of pre-sets that can be customized to suit your preferences.  And if you really like the look, you can save that as well.  Their mantra about being easy to use is exactly that.  And, they have layering capability that is easy to use.

And I was able to produce a "self portrait" that I really liked.  It fit in with what I was trying to achieve in the self-portraiture realm with using natural light.  The B&W treatment was a bonus as I went through various "presets" and appreciated the look of "Noble Beauty".


I tried other new programs as well.  I am a big fan of Topaz products and downloaded Topaz Studio when it first came out late last year.  I didn't play around with it much until earlier this week.  It's much, much easier to use than a former product.  Since I have all of the other Topaz products, I have a wealth of choices that I used to use either as a standalone product or with Adobe Photoshop. My only little quibble with this program is using layers.  I found it's layering capability a little more difficult to use, but I will continue to work with it to see if it's somehow there but I've overlooked it.  Good news is that there are plenty of tutorials to get you started.

The good thing about Topaz Studio is that you have lots of effects or pre-sets to play around with.  And play is a wonderful way to explore what is possible with Topaz products.  

One of the images that I rather liked is this one.  It provided the impressionistic look of me and my piano.  Ironically, the music that is opened is from the Impression period of music (which I didn't realize until just now)


I would have to say that both Luminar and Topaz Studio are similar in the sense that they give you lots of presets that you can customize.  And, if you like the look, you can save the preset.  Luminar also has the capability to create a workspace so that you have your typical workflow tools at your fingertips for quick edits.  In my mind that is an added bonus that I haven't seen in other desktop editors.  And something that I think I am really going to like in the future.

And the last editor that I played around with was on my iPad, Affinity.  I have the iPad version but haven't invested in the desktop version yet.  There are a lot of tutorials and the level of sophistication is on a par with Photoshop.  I wanted a pencil sensitive photo editor and that is what Affinity is.  I tried compositing yesterday and was able to do that fairly easily after watching the tutorial.


I would say that there is a lot of power in this app and it's fun to work solely on my iPad using my pencil.  There is a learning curve, however, and the tutorials are very great at explaining how to do things.  It's just going to take me a bit to get used to how best to use this interesting program.  

It was fun playing with different editors yesterday and I think I am going to have an edit day at least once a month to explore options and to look at things a bit differently.  Plus, I really, really want to learn how to do portraits in Photo Raw 2018 and I know that there is an exciting series sponsored by OnOne to do just that.

]]> (Images by MEV) editing photo Sat, 24 Feb 2018 23:38:25 GMT
The Lament....and then the Realization The Lament...

As I look over my photos taken since the beginning of the year, I am appalled by their sameness.  There doesn't seem to be anything special.  Then I made the mistake of looking over photos from last year or just previous years at around the same time and there just doesn't seem to be the same richness or diversity in the images.  

What's different?

The weather.  Instead of having consistent days of temperatures in the teens to twenties in Wisconsin, we've had erratic temperature variations.  We may have snow on the ground for a day or two, then the temperature rises to uncharacteristically warm amounts and the snow melts.  There just doesn't seem much inspiring about brown grass and brownish black tree trunks.  The zest for color and variety that is usually a part of Wisconsin's winter just doesn't seem to be there.

And then the temperature plummets.  It's cold and no snow on the ground.  It causes you to think twice about even venturing outside.

The Realization...

I decided to scan my photos one more time on an especially bleak day.  To my amazement, there is a whole host of wonderful photos.  I just have to be more open minded about the ones that have potential and represent something different and exciting to me.  Most importantly are the wonderful "moments" that I caught with my camera and can re-live as I review them often.

This first photo was on one of those warm days.  The ice sculpturing activities happened when the temperature was nearer to zero than I like.  I took note that there were some wonderful sculptures in the downtown area, but didn't take a walk to seriously photograph them until the temperature was a little above freezing.  On my walk, I discovered that the high temperatures had destroyed most of the sculptures that were in the sun.  They were just broken pieces or melting bases.

The ones in the shade, however, were still in good shape.  This particular sculpture of a woman was even enhanced by the presence of a red carnation.  I took several photos while across the street in-between the cars and then crossed the street to take even more.  I was amazed by the amount of detail and how much of the "ice" was still present.  And the rising temperature gave it a bit of a glow that was enhanced by the brownish building in the background.

PAD Feb 15 Ice Sculpture with a RosePAD Feb 15 Ice Sculpture with a Rose

And then there were many walks along the Fox River trail that resulted in many beautiful views of the Eagles.  Eagles hovering and catching a draft in the skies.  Eagles roosting and munching down part of their catch from the river.  Eagles in their nest.  Always a thrill to see these wonderful, majestic birds, and to realize that they've made a comeback to our area.  

On this particular day, it was a wonderful experience to observe this Eagle watching for the right moment to swoop down to catch a fish on the Fox River.

PAD Jan 16 Eagle OnePAD Jan 16 Eagle One


And then there is some serendipity that leads to interesting shots.  Fortunately I always have some sort of camera with me.   I was actually running an errand and saw the colors starting to form.  My vantage point wasn’t that great so I considered close-by locations.  There were a number of power lines that tainted the colorful display that was unfolding.

I realized that a pretty good vantage point was close by called Waverly Beach.  I had taken photos there just the other day and the way the sunset was lining up, it seemed like it would be perfect to capture the color without power lines or building structures in the way.

I quickly drove to Waverly Beach, hoping that the stop lights would be in my favor instead of causing me to miss the color.  I turned into the driveway and looked backwards to see if the light was still colorful and was pleased to see that it was but fading fast.  I had to quickly take these shots.  As I got out of my car, I love the way that the clouds reflected the color of the sunset.  And having the two cars with their headlights on while on the ice of Lake Winnebago really adds to the experience.  As quickly as I captured the couple of photos, then I watched the colors quickly fade.  Ephemeral, but the wonderful memory is captured in my mind's eye as well as in this photo below.

PAD Feb 13 Sunset on Lake Winnebago, Waverly BeachPAD Feb 13 Sunset on Lake Winnebago, Waverly Beach

There are many more.  I realized that this winter did have some photo gems.  Sometimes it just takes a review on a dismal day to really appreciate some of the wonderful photo moments that I've had this year thus far.

]]> (Images by MEV) self-expression Tue, 20 Feb 2018 14:58:28 GMT
Quick Reaction May 21 Getting Stuck by Detroit LakeMay 21 Getting Stuck by Detroit Lake

I was waiting on our way back from Bend, Oregon.  There was a huge traffic back-up that lasted for an hour and a half.  Most of the time our view of the Detroit Lake was blocked.  But at one stopping point, we had this beautiful mountain view.  My camera was packed up in the second row of my car.  My daughter who was sitting in the passenger seat couldn't easily get access.  Finally after a bit of squirming, I was able to reach my camera bag, grab my camera, and take a shot before we inched forward.  Quick reaction while stuck in traffic and a shot that was an unexpected and pleasant surprise.

]]> (Images by MEV) photo-a-day Sat, 03 Feb 2018 03:49:33 GMT
Things that You Overlook During January I've spent a lot of time along a walking trail that skirts the Fox River.  Often I walk from my house and join the trail.  If I take the long way, it can be a 7 mile walk, or I can shorten it by parking by the trailhead and enjoy just a short stretch of the River.

The River is why the town is built where it is.  It was the transportation route for goods, products, and the paper industry.  There are locks and dams to facilitate its flow.  And the river was used to power the first hydroelectric house in the world.  Quite an astonishing history.

I became intrigued with walking on this river trail to see what catches my eye over the month.  There are a lot of things that you simply overlook as you hurry by or drive by.  I was intentionally slow so I could capture the area with all of my senses and take photos of things that struck me at the moment.  Little things.  Ordinary things.

Footsteps in fresh snow is one of those little things that people often overlook.  They are too busy creating their own footprints and often don't see the patterns that others make.  I saw this on the trail where one brave individual decided to venture out and explore off of the city maintained and "clear of snow" asphalt path.

PAD Jan 8 FootstepsPAD Jan 8 Footsteps


Other little things are the amount of color that you can see on a Wisconsin winter day.  There are whites, but there are also lots of other colors, if you just look.  This is right after a light snowfall, where the snow is hanging onto the red sumacs.  Light was such that the reds really stood out, especially against the barren trees in the backgrounds.


PAD Jan 16 Sumac with White CoatingPAD Jan 16 Sumac with White Coating


And then there are days when you look up and see the unexpected.  Tucked away in a grove of trees close to the river, was an Eagle.  I think I tried to capture it in mid-flight while it was hunting on the river.  That capture wasn't successful.  But I just happened to look up and saw him perched.  He just sat there at first and I was able to maneuver around a bit more and take a few more photos.

PAD Jan 16 Eagle OnePAD Jan 16 Eagle One The next photo is not an everyday experience, but one that you can capture if you look at the world around you and just explore and then make discoveries.  I was pleased to see that my Eagle friend had been successful on his hunt as he eats away.  Its prey was carefully guarded so it did take some walking around in order to see what he was up to.


PAD Jan 16 Eagle FourPAD Jan 16 Eagle Four I wasn't looking for Eagles, I was just walking along and seeing what I could see.  And I kept walking to see what other discoveries I could make, this time really focusing on the little things.  And I smiled as I saw this park bench decorated for the holidays.  Great view of the river.  It could be that the benches benefactors decided to decorate the bench in memory of their relatives.  It could be that one of the frequent users of this bench wanted others to experience a little cheer over the holiday season.


PAD Jan 16 Memorial BenchPAD Jan 16 Memorial Bench

And sometimes the water itself delights.  Some parts are frozen.  Some parts are freely flowing.  What caught my eye was the reflection of some trees in the water that caused a very interesting abstract.  I only saw this once on this particular day.  That makes it especially special.

PAD Jan 16 Reflection OnePAD Jan 16 Reflection One

And sometimes you see things that just make you laugh.  Here is the dam that on a very cold, cold day has wonderful icicles.  This reminded me of a face, perhaps Santa like.  It is those little things, with a bit of imagination.


PAd Jan 18 Faces in the DamPAd Jan 18 Faces in the Dam

]]> (Images by MEV) everyday sightings Wed, 31 Jan 2018 00:19:39 GMT