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Photo 101: Double 3.0

Day 19 goal:  Use a photo editing program to rotate your photos from horizontal to vertical (or vice versa) and see how it affects the feel of the image.

Squirrel Footprints

squirrel footprints in the snow

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” –inscription on the General Post Office in New York City

That seems to be the motto of the squirrels, as well!

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I’m always desiring to learn and improve upon my photography.  If you have the time, I’d really appreciate hearing your opinion:  Would you compare this post to the previous two and leave a comment telling me which one you like best and why?  Thanks!

Double 2.0 — Two little evergreen berries caught my eye in the sunshine, making a perfect subject for the double theme.

Double 1.0 — You can see doubled animals from my backyard for this theme the first time I participated in Photo 101.

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Artistic Cropping

Photography can be a fun hobby, even for amateurs like myself.  Creating an aesthetically pleasing image often requires more than simply clicking the shutter on a camera.  There are many things to consider before clicking that shutter and many options to employ after the digital image is in your computer.

As I develop my photography skills, I enjoy sharing tips I’ve learned that have helped me improve.  Today I’d like to encourage you to think about the artistry involved in simply cropping a photo.

Take this photo for example:

red quince blooms and buds covered in ice and snow

I asked my daughter if she liked it, and she replied “It’s alright.”  Since I had already (slightly) edited the image with PicMonkey for contrast, sharpness, and color, I decided cropping the photo might improve it.

When I first clicked the crop button, a box popped up in the middle of the photo; and I thought, “That’s not bad.”  I applied the crop and showed the frosty photo to my daughter again.

red quince blooms and buds covered in ice and snow

“That’s a little better,” she said, still with an unimpressed tone of voice.

So, I thought I’d randomly play around with the cropping tool and see what evolved.  It’s interesting how cropping a photo, even a little bit, can sometimes change the impact an image has on the viewer.

red quince blooms and buds covered in ice and snow

I tried pushing the initial cropping box into the bottom left corner of the photo, and swiveled my laptop toward my daughter.  This time I was rewarded with “I like that one!”

“Hmmm…” I thought.  “I wonder why…The ‘rule of thirds,’ perhaps?  Let me see how different the other corner looks.”

red quince blooms and buds covered in ice and snow

My patient daughter’s critique this time: “Yeah, I really like that one, too.”

“Maybe she just likes the focal point being in the corner?  Let’s see what it looks like when you really put it tightly into the corner.”

I changed the size of the crop this time, while keeping the original proportions.  Then I decided to compare a horizontal to a vertical image, being careful not to move the top left corner out of position.

red quince blooms and buds covered in ice and snow

red quince blooms and buds covered in ice and snow

Changing the orientation definitely gives the final image a different look.  I’m not sure which one I like better.

Realizing that the two buds near the center of the photo were the focal point of each cropped image, I worked around the edges of the photo to see if I could come up with a decent alternative.  This was the best of the crops I tried:

red quince blooms and buds covered in ice and snow

In this case, the long icicle became the focal point — again following the rule of thirds, as well.  There is so much detail in those icicles that I didn’t notice in the original photo!

If you had not viewed the original photo, you would not realize the two previous images came from one shot.  This is an example of how cropping can allow you to get more than one image out of a single photo, if your original photo has enough information in it to really zoom in without things becoming blurry or pixelated.  I’ve done this more than once on this blog for images that were too busy or too far away from the subjects.

The photos I typically use on this blog are only 640 pixels on the longest side, so having large file sizes on my photos is not necessary.  However, I have learned to set my old camera to the largest file size available, so that I have more opportunities for creative cropping.

If you are rather new to photography, like me, here’s the simplest way to get the most out of your cropping function:  Set your camera to take images at a large size (2,000+ pixels per side) and set it on the most detailed setting (“super-fine” on my Canon Power Shot, though shooting in RAW could be even better, if you have a good photo editing program to process it).

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Did this photo seem familiar to you?  You may have seen (part of) it before

Which image appealed the most to you?  Please leave a comment below and tell me which one you like the best and why.  Thanks!

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It’s Too Soon, Little Ones!

The changing of the seasons is a beautiful thing.  In certain places, they seem to change every couple of weeks.  We never know quite what to expect around here, and neither do the poor plants.
bush honeysuckle bud sealed in ice and snow

This honeysuckle bush is a wonderful plant to keep in the yard. Heat, cold, flooding, drought, there seems to be nothing that fazes it; yet, it is not invasive like most varieties of honeysuckle (Lonicera).

one bush honeysuckle bloom escapes the ice

I enjoy this particular honeysuckle bush because it stays green and sports fragrant flowers year round. Honeybees love it!  This provides food for stray bees that wander out on warmer winter days.

weeds growing out of a crack in the concrete, covered with snow

Don’t worry, this little green guy can’t die — it’s a WEED!

red quince buds sealed in ice

branch of red quince buds in ice and snow

Red quince is another beautiful bush to grow in the yard, but watch out for the thorns! I quickly get reminded of those when I lean in to get macro shots of honeybees in the spring!

quince bud with icicle to the side

Here are a few more icy images from this morning:

chain link in snow and ice

chain link icicles

icy green bird house

Icicles prevented the birds from going into several of my homemade bird houses this morning.

rows of icicles on a tree limb

 

icicles on a tree branch

Sometimes I like to frost or color the edges of a photo (in this case, it was to distract from the ugly storage shed in the corner). What do you think? Does it add to the image, or detract from it?

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B&W Photo 5-day Challenge: Day 5

Cynthia M Voss recently challenged me to participate in the “Black and White Photo Five-day Challenge.”  Obviously, I have accepted!   😉

What is this challenge?  As Cynthia explained it,

The goal is to post one B&W photo each day for five days…Part of the fun is to nominate another blogger, one on each day…There is no pressure to accept this challenge.  It’s just for fun! 🙂 

Today, I nominate Karen Anderson, who shares her imaginative photography on her blog called “Expressing my vision.”  She calls herself an “amateur photography enthusiast,” but in my opinion she is no amateur!  Her macro photos are incredible!

So…what do you say, Karen?  Feel free to ignore this challenge if you do not wish to participate.  If you do decide to join in, I look forward to viewing your photos!   😀

Here’s my entry for my final day, Day 5:

frosty toes beside black flip flops that have the shapes of feet outlined in snow

This is the result of playing in the snow while wearing flip flops. If the photo were in color, you could see that her frosty toes were bright pink. Must be nice to have such great blood circulation! ha ha

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B&W Photo 5-day Challenge: Day 4

Cynthia M Voss recently challenged me to participate in the “Black and White Photo Five-day Challenge.”  Obviously, I have accepted!   😉

What is this challenge?  As Cynthia explained it,

The goal is to post one B&W photo each day for five days…Part of the fun is to nominate another blogger, one on each day…There is no pressure to accept this challenge.  It’s just for fun! 🙂 

Today, I nominate Bob Henry, who has galleries full of beautiful photos on his blog called “Bob Henry Photography.”  His photos and writing style are quite enjoyable, and he gives great tips on capturing and editing images.

So…what do you say, Bob?  Feel free to ignore this challenge if you do not wish to participate.  If you do decide to join in, I look forward to viewing your photos!   😀

Here’s my entry for Day 4:

house with wooden railing and iron fence, blanketed in snow

I like how the snow makes the iron fence stand out. You can’t really tell in a black and white photo, but this house has a couple of pretty stained-glass windows.

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B&W Photo 5-day Challenge: Day 3

Cynthia M Voss recently challenged me to participate in the “Black and White Photo Five-day Challenge.”  Obviously, I have accepted!   😉

What is this challenge?  As Cynthia explained it,

The goal is to post one B&W photo each day for five days…Part of the fun is to nominate another blogger, one on each day…There is no pressure to accept this challenge.  It’s just for fun! 🙂 

Today, I nominate Michael Bizeau and Christine Schultheis, who display stunning nature photos on their blog called “nature has no boss.”  I recently discovered their blog and am impressed by the beauty of their photos.

So…what do you say, Michael and Christine?  Feel free to ignore this challenge if you do not wish to participate.  If you do decide to join in, I look forward to viewing your photos!   😀

Here’s my entry for Day 3:

a hen standing on one foot in the snow

Our young Easter Egger hen had never seen snow. She was not too sure about the white stuff that suddenly appeared that morning.