Yesterday, I had to return the incredible 50mm 1.2 lens I’d rented from borrowlenses.com; before I shipped off this sweet lens, I got a few practice shots of my students. While most of them hid their faces, this young lady, after a few warm-up shots, relaxed enough to give me this. (She later told me that she wants to be a model.)
These Euryops color the desert foothills and my back yard (er, patio). Because yellow flowers seem so joyful, I have surrounded myself with them this spring.
I’m renting a fabulous 50 mm 1.2 lens from BorrowLenses.com and before I send it back I’m taking pictures of everything around me. It’s a great portrait lens, but with no human model nearby, my worn gloves and shoes serve quite well as still-life models, don’t you think? I used a shallow DOF for this shot, focusing on the thumb.
Spring Break: Time to take my camera out. I tried out two wide-angle lenses while hiking in the desert mountains on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. On Wednesday afternoon, my young friend agreed to be my guinea pig (eh, model) as I practiced portrait photography. I’m learning that there is SO much to be aware of (camera settings, lighting, background, model’s expression, composition and so much more), and I applaud those of you who are professional portrait photographers.
Spring Break! Yesterday, I took a hike in the Dreamy Draw, one of our Phoenix mountains, to try out two wide-angle lenses which I borrowed from BorrowLenses, a Sigma 1-20 and a Canon 10-22. Notice the lens flare? I found out today this is a problem when amateur photographers don’t know what they’re doing with a wide angle lens. (This shot was taken with the Canon lens.)
I don’t know if I’ll buy either of these lenses; the image quality is not nearly as good as the images I get from my 24-105 lens (better glass). I don’t have the ultra wide capabilities, but I think I might sacrifice this to get the sharper image.
Next, I will borrow the 50 mm fixed. I’ll let you know how that works out.
Oh yes, I’m also trying out a new blog look (I change hair styles frequently too).
In the past, I posted nearly every day. Like a child showing every drawing and scribbled attempt at poetry, I snapped away, made a few edits, posted, and said to the world hey look at me look at what I did! I did it!
I’m still taking pictures; having the camera in my hand is like holding the hand of a trusted dear friend. However, there have been a few changes in my life. First, I’ve promised myself better health, which means getting more sleep. Second, I’m more focused on work, prepping for classes and preparing reports. Finally, I moved into a small place, by myself. (Someday, when I find a way to write about this without hurting others, and in a way that it will help others, I will….maybe.) The move has almost doubled my drive time to work and to my son’s house.
Consequently, I have less time to edit pictures, write, post, and read other blogs. And I miss it so.
Most important, for some reason, I’m rarely happy with my pictures. Is my eye becoming more discriminating? Or am I in an artistic slump? The truth is probably a combination of the two.
Last week, between appointments, I stopped at a city park and worked on getting a sharp focus. The above shot of the ducks is the only one out of 83 shots that does not disappoint me.
But I had a treat today as I babysat my best playmate, my granddaughter. She had just gotten out of bed, and because I was focused on work, when she asked, “Grandma Mona, I need your iPad please!” I handed it over and took out my camera, forgetting all about the work.
I took this shot July 3, at a city park where I worked in Feicheng, Shandong Province, China. I’ve returned to this image frequently, trying to attach a story to the woman. At first look, this might appear to be peaceful scene, but the more I look at it, I don’t think it is.
The reflection of trees at the top of the image give us a feeling of peace, and the woman is resting in the peace of the evening. However, the lotus leaves cut across the shot, right in the center, creating a feeling of unease and unrest. Look closely; there is a discarded paper cup littering the lotus leaves. A metaphor?
The woman, herself, appears to be more troubled than peaceful. Her brow is raised; her posture is not relaxed. She has carried her portable stool down the hill to the lotus pond, possibly searching for a quiet rest, for a moment of peace. Is she praying for someone? Her husband? Her child? Herself?
You can find other posts in response to Jake’s Sunday Challenge at his link: http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com
I’ve been away … Well, I’ve actually been right here in this bizarre southwestern city that clings tenaciously to the heat. I’m wearing a sweatshirt tonight just because I miss the change of seasons, thinking that possibly, if I wear winter clothes, we might experience a chill in the air for longer than the 15 minutes before the sun rises.
But I’ve been away from my blog in order to catch up on reports, lesson plans, grades, and sleep. Another reason I haven’t posted is that I had not had the camera in my hand for a while, and when I did, the images I produced were either boring or totally awful. I think exhaustion saps creativity and crumples knowledge and skill.
Last week, with a few days away from school, I got some good shots when my little family of six gathered for Thanksgiving.
I had handed my camera to someone else for the first shot above; that’s me on the left, toasting my son & his fiancee, who combined their engagement party with my sons’ dad’s Night-Before-Thanksgiving-Casino Night. (How’s that for a mouthful?)
My beautiful daughter-in-law asked that I not post any pictures of her on FaceBook (does that include this blog?) because she is expecting my 2nd grandchild in February. She has no idea how beautiful she looks. Respecting her wishes, I have not included any pictures of her.
What am I thankful for? I am thankful for my family: Two handsome, intelligent, and successful sons; two beautiful, intelligent, and talented daughters-in-law (soon); one incredible granddaughter; and one baby on the way. I am blessed!