Sunday, September 27, 2009


I love cats - really I do. They are continuous sources of entertainment. While Napoleon runs around the house with his tail all poofed out, chasing straws, Pharaoh observes the festivities from behind the planters.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


New toys... we all love new toys. This week brought 2 my way: a set of extension tubes and a new lens.

I love macro photography - making small things look big. Flowers, bugs and the like. But macro lenses are very expensive so, in order to try it out before I outlay a huge wad of cash I wanted a set of extension tubes to allow me to get closer in to my subjects.

If you've seen any of my flower photographs you may sense a certain affinity (at least I hope you would) that I have for flowers. I've also mananged, in photographing those flowers, to get a bug or three. The tubes have no optics, so I plan on using them with my fast 50mm f/1.8 lens because it's the sharpest lens I own.

Which brings me to my other new toy - the lens. I stumbled across an sBay auction of an old Canon film camera that came equipped with an 18mm f/3.5 Sigma lens. Since my camera has a 1:6 cropped sensor in order to get a nice wide angle I have to go way down on the mm. Even my 50 is morelike 85 on my camera. So for my grand 'hills of home' landscapes I wanted something good and wide. And I still wanted a moderately fast lens. Yeah, f/3.5 ain't that fast, but it'll do for now to experiment. I got the old camera and lens for under $100 so it was a good deal, because the lens has good optics.

Here's to experimentation!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


This is another photo from my vacation that I love. This is me and my brother Greg taken at Miller Park in Milwaukee.

Why do I love this shot? Because it's one of the things that photography is about - capturing the moment, family and friends, happy times. This photo evokes the closeness I feel to my brother and some of the fun that I have when we're together. Greg and my older brother Terry and I all share this wonderful hobby of photography. They are more advanced than I am, b ut we share our knowledge and experiences - we learn from each other.

And that's another thing that I love about this hobby - the generosity of photographers. I've met a lot of wonderful people who share some of the many facets from expressions of true art, to documenting daily life, to self expression - and all of the people I've met both live and online have been willing to help me refine my technique and to teach me new skills.

Hope you like Eleven....

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I'm going to cheat a little tonight, but I know you won't mind. This is actually a photo I took on my vacation, but I was so happy with it I had to put it here.

I took a lot of great shots on my vacation, but I especially like this one because: 1. it shows the beauty of the Milwaukee Lakefront and 2. it was exposed correctly (thanks to Ken!). I went out shooting with my friend Ken, who came up for the day from Chicago and we knocked around Milwaukee's lakefront then out to the Boerner Botanical Gardens. Ken was feeding me readings from his light meter and helping me compose. He was a photography major and for me, who's completely self-taught, it was a wonderful experience. I'm hoping I can meet up with other generous souls who are so willing to share their experience with me because we have no local camera shops or anywhere to take intermediate classes.

WARNING: Soapbox time!

You'd think that the capital of New York State would have more to offer in the way of specialty shops (i.e. photography, crafts...) rather than just the national big-box chains. The only fabric store in the area is virtually out of business - taken over by Joanne Craft and Fleece. The only camera shop that isn't a Ritz is so expensive that I can't afford to shop there - and they don't offer any classes. The closest scrapbook store is in Schenectady - 25 miles away and the best one is in Massachusetts! There are no yarn shops left, no upholstery shops, only one bead store in Troy - don't people craft any more? Have we as a society grown so lazy that we've forgotten the joy of creating something with our hands? Or is it just that small businesses can't survive in this 2nd most expensive state?

A lot of people cop out by saying 'Well New York City is so close'. Close my left foot! New York City is 3 hours away - not the place I want to go when I need to run out for a trim or a button.

People also say 'You can shop online'. I do, but I'm a visual, tactile person. I like to feel a fabric/trim/yarn/paper before I buy it. Plus my monitor may not render colors the same way the website thinks it should, so the colors I buy may be off. Did you know that even black has different shades?

For all it's flaws, Milwaukee seems to do a much better job of nurturing small businesses. Yes, Art's Camera (the most excellent photo shop in SE WI) is down to one location from 3. Yes, a couple scrapbook and yarn shops closed - but there are still others to shop at.

So please, people - if anyone out there is listening - please support your local craft or hobby store. You may not realize it now, but your hometown will be very poor indeed if you should lose your arts and craft community!

Sorry gang - off the box now.....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nine - I'm back!

Wow! It was so busy while I was on vacation and in the week after I had NO TIME to either take or post any photos. But we're back on the horse now.

This was an interesting accident. I was sitting in my big chair and Pharaoh grabbed the arm before Napoleon could. So the little guy went over to the other chair to pout and look daggers at us both. I was trying to capture his little put-out expression but I had the settings wrong on my camera, so I had a RELLY LONG shutter speed. I managed to stay steady enough to see Poli through the fog of lights, but it was certainly not a great shot.

But it looks like one of those photos that ghost hunters take of spirits passing through a frame. I liked the effect. So this little imperfect photo turned into a keeper - for me anyway.