Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Wildflower Afternoon

While carrying some limbs I had pruned from our shrubs back to the woods I spotted some blue eyed grass in the back field. It is one of my favorite wildflowers. When I was a little boy (a VERY long time ago) I used to pick handfuls of them for my mother. For those not familiar with them, they are a small flower, no more than 3/8s of an inch across, on a flat stem and they often grow in clumps (see below). It was a bit breezy so I had a hard time getting sharp photos. The flowers kept bobbing out of the frame, moving just as I tripped the shutter and blurring the image. I shot a whole series of one flower with a bee on it but the wind blurred every frame. I posted this one to Google+ where someone has decided that by default every uploaded photo should get "enhanced" by their software before it appears on their page. It made this image brighter than I wanted and added sharpening so that it was over-sharpened. I searched through the settings page and turned off that feature for future uploads but I can't fathom why Google thought their software could automatically make better aesthetic decisions than I can. That should have been an 'opt-in' feature, not an 'opt-out' one. Flickr has made some changes to their site too but at least they don't try to "auto-improve" your images.
Some other flowers from the back field: Sheep Sorrel
Hoary Alyssum
And a Common Pussytoes gone to seed.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Rainy Days

We've been getting a lot of rain lately. It's at the point where the next person who tells me 'we need it' will get the response "no, we don't". I've been working on some images from several weeks ago using Lightroom, Photoshop and PostWorkShop 3. The Clivia above is the latest. I have modified it using the Topaz filter set and PostWorkShop in layers to create the texture. The original photo was made in our livingroom. The plant sits on a stand in front of a west window which was the only light source.

Our local Arts Council is having rainy days lately with their budget falling far short of expenses, a combination of increased costs and cutbacks in support from patrons. The county has stopped contributing at all and other sources of support have cut back severely. We're at the point where we may have to close our shop in Potsdam if we can't raise more money. To that end we are seeking donors, new members, setting up special events, whatever we can to make a buck.

The Council has a website at http://www.slcartscouncil.org/ . As you can see on the site the council does a lot of things in and for the community. As Beka, our director says "It is the arts that make us civilized". The council provides an outlet for local artists and craftworkers but also classes and other events and entertainment. If you are a resident of St. Lawrence county we would appreciate a donation or becoming a member which will also get you the newsletter of all the Council's doings. You can donate or join through the "Support Us" link on the website. If you don't live here but would like to donate/join anyway, we'd love to have your support.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Spring Flowers

I've been playing with PostWorkShop 3 again, this time with a  photo of some violets that I photographed last week on the Stone Valley Trails. The photo actually has several filters applied in layers to get the effect above, first in Photoshop using two different Topaz filters and then in PostWorkShop with two more. I don't see a lot of work being done with PostWorkShop and that is too bad in my opinion. Although most of the effects are way over the top for my taste you can tone them down by varying the opacity and blend mode just like layers in Photoshop.Used judiciously it is possible to get some very nice effects. I particularly like the engraving style layered over painting effects as I did with the image above. I like this photo even without the filters but I feel that they add a bit of interest that enhances it.

Remember that if you click on the image you will see a larger copy. Please respect my copyright and do not repost without my permission.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Sudden Spring

We have a sudden burst of spring in the North Country and I have been doing a lot of yard work. Friday I decided I needed a day off and drove South to the Adirondacks to relax, make some photos and see a new show opening in the Adirondack Artist Guild Gallery in Saranac Lake. My first stop, as is usually the case, was at Mountain Pond where the leaf buds were just beginning to open creating a multicolored haze on the deciduous trees over the pond. Spring color is often more varied, although less intense, than autumn color. It can run from silvery grey greens to yellow greens to orange and several shades of red. If you can find a vantage point overlooking a mountainside when the buds are at their fullest before opening it is quite a sight. I suspect that an experienced forester could inventory the trees by simply counting the tree tops of each hue.

I spent some time Both going and returning home, sitting on the shore watching the light play on the water and made a few exposures of the color and reflections..

The show, called The Wild, Wild West, was paintings by Sandra Hildreth that she made in her travels to western parks. I believe they represent her best work so far at least among her paintings that I've seen. If you are in Saranca Lake between now and May 28th I suggest you stop in the gallery and see her show. As always there is other work by the Guild members hung as well.

When I am just cruising for photos with nothing particular in mind I end up photographing a lot of roadside scenes and details like the image above. I didn't really see the "5" when I was shooting it but instantly saw it went I imported the photo as did Diane when I showed it to her. It was her first comment (without hint or prompting). I suggested that it might actually be an "S" for Supermoss but she's sure it's a "5".

The last photo of that day is this one of some evergreens (White Pines?) on an island near the Santa Clara bridge whose needles are turning orange, a bad sign that the trees are sick, perhaps dying. Aesthetically interesting but ecologically dismaying.

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