Friday, December 31, 2010

Adorama tutorial: orbs

Diane Miller writes Photoshop tutorials for Adorama and recently posted one about creating actions, and the action she created was from my "orb" tutorial. Here's the link to her article:

Here's a link to her website, where you can find more articles:

Well, seeing her cool shots made me lust for orbs once again, so I created this one. You can see the original image directly below it. Fun stuff! Thank you, Diane, not only for the reminder, but for linking my blog to your article. Very much appreciated. ©Carol Leigh

Pool art

It's almost embarrassing to say, but I love taking photos such as these more than I do a big landscape. To me, this sort of photography is so exciting, so much fun to do, with so many lines and angles and variations to explore, that (for me) the big picture, the overall swimming pool and its surroundings, fade into the background and my attention is concentrated on the twenty or so square feet in front of me.

Perhaps my New Year's resolution should be to expand my vision. To see the big picture rather than have photographic blinders on. Then again, maybe not . . . What are YOUR photo resolutions? Maybe I can be inspired by yours! ©Carol Leigh

Public Indecency Prohibited

I gotta say . . . those Floridians have a good sense of humor! ©Carol Leigh

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Urban Abstract: Within/Without

From the outside looking in? From the inside looking out? A bit of both? ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Door Detail, North Carolina

I'm sure Jill, June, and Gisela will recognize bits of this one. Thinking of y'all there in the snow. Well, except for June ... ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, December 26, 2010

It begins New Year's Day ...

The "26 in 26" project begins January 1, 2011... A letter a week for 26 weeks. For additional information click here. To register for the project (registration fee is $62), click here. What's YOUR photo project for next year? ©Carol Leigh

Norwegian blue ...

My defunct, deceased, late video graphics card has one final use, as I see how pretty the back side looks through the lens. Akin to the famed Monty Python Norwegian blue parrot, who allegedly was just "resting, pining for the fjords," this graphics card is passed on, is no more, has ceased to be, has expired and gone to meet its maker, is still, bereft of life, and rests in peace. (Link to Monty Python sketch.) ©Carol Leigh

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Peace on Earth

Wishing you all health, wealth, love, and peace, today and every day. ©Carol Leigh

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Rock Study #72

Went for a walk on the beach this morning, photographed some rocks, and came up with this ... number 72 in a continuing series. ©Carol Leigh

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Florida signage

While in Florida I saw lots of signs warning me about alligators. But did I ever see one? Of course not. And the gopher tortoise? Nope. I'm thinking that this is akin to looking for snipe, or the elusive desert pupfish in Death Valley, or Bigfoot ... and Bruce K., don't even THINK about gloating about your South Carolina 'gators!

I've gotta say, however, that Chris and Rich did see ONE alligator. One more than CJ and I ever saw... ©Carol Leigh

Monday, December 20, 2010

Facing Forward

I'm extremely fond of this "southwest" series that I'm working on. Here's one of the latest ... ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Florida palm

©Carol Leigh

Saturday, December 18, 2010

From 2 to 4

There were maybe six people on two miles of beach Thursday afternoon, including this solitary person walking a dog. When I left, at twilight, I was alone. Mine was the only car in the parking lot. The sky was a peachy, golden color, and the lights on a couple of fishing boats twinkled way out there. When I examine this image closely, I see a third boat, its light facing south, and lots of gulls silhouetted behind it as it sets out bait-filled pots or pulls up crab-filled ones.

What I like about the sunset shot is how the dark clouds upper right echo the dark part of the beach lower left, creating a subliminal diagonal line for our eye to follow. Did I see that when I clicked the shutter? I wish I could say yes. But nope, I just wanted to make sure I included some rocks and the lights of the fishing boats on the horizon! ©Carol Leigh

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I had an uneasy feeling on the beach this afternoon ...

... that I was being watched. I turned quickly and managed to photograph this shy Rockosaurus as he ducked back behind the boulders. I think I've been around Marianne Jensen too much, because she sees these things ALL THE TIME! ©Carol Leigh

Return Flight

©Carol Leigh

Wait a minute ...

It kind of takes you aback for a second, doesn't it? A scene of an old harbor with a modern NO PARKING sign? This is one of the murals along Newport's Historic Bayfront. The overall lighting, the reflections in the wet street, and the "time juxtaposition" lured me in.

Note to camera geeks: For the past four months or so I've been using a Panasonic Lumix G2 camera and two different lenses -- a 14-42mm and a 45-200mm. (When shooting macro/close-up photos, I use a Canon 50D camera with a 100mm macro lens and a variety of extension tubes and close-up filters.) My plan is to use the Lumix G2 as a travel kit (where I don't usually do much macro/close-up work) because it's lightweight and flexible. (And it's red . . . but you knew that.) It also makes me look less like a professional photographer, which I enjoy. The learning curve for the Lumix G2 was steeper than I thought it would be, but I seem to have a fairly good handle on it now, and am enjoying the ability to carry the camera and have the extra lens, batteries, cards, fit in a purse. The results are very good. The photos consistently pass quality control in the stock agency I belong to, which was a big relief. All the photos you see on this blog, beginning August 29th, were taken using the Lumix (except for whatever macro photos are in there). End of techno commercial ... ©Carol Leigh

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Raining, and I didn't even know it ...

 It's been raining here on the coast for oh, I don't know, 40 days and 40 nights, I'd wager, and everything is completely soaked. Today was a day of bright sun, followed by clouds moving through, followed by rain, more sun, etc. It's exciting weather! Very dramatic. These fishing nets looked great under bright overcast conditions, and I went nutso photographing them. So intently was I working that I didn't realize it was raining until I saw big water droplets all over my sweatshirt. A few more images and then it was definitely time to go. I keep a towel in the car to dry off -- both myself and my camera gear. Glad I had one today.

Although you're probably tired of seeing my fishnet photos, I find them incredibly exciting. I could visit this facility every day for a week and not get bored. Yeah, I know ... I'm weird. But you know what? At least I have a passion, something that takes me so out of myself that I don't know it's raining. But I do know enough to keep a towel in the car! ©Carol Leigh

First day of (relatively) little rain ...

A brief respite from the rain and I'm over at the docks to see what's going on. Most of the boats are out crabbing, but a few are coming in, weighed way down in the water, holds full of crabs. They're coming in to refuel, offload their catch at the processing plant, and then will head out again. Looks like it's going to be a good season for them.

In the first photo, one guy is teaching another how to tie a knot on a buoy line. "Then the rabbit comes out of the hole, goes around the tree, and jumps back in the hole ..."

Below that, two fishermen head toward the ramp and home for a brief nap before setting out again. And finally, the tools of the trade, sitting on the dock. More to come -- it was a GREAT morning for (a) lighting and (b) shooting. ©Carol Leigh


The Hotel Casa Playa in Ft. Myers Beach is amazingly painted with lush plants and cool pots. It caught our eye as we came over the bridge and we made a beeline for it. The owners were kind of perplexed at seeing four of us shooting like crazy (only a fellow photographer could possibly understand), but were quite agreeable with us taking photos. Perspective control was tough because we could get only so far away from the building, but the artwork, the repeating patterns of the balconies, and the bright colors make up for the wonkiness. What a terrific introduction to Florida. We must consider staying there next visit. ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Out on the beach in the late afternoon, I was playing around with "sweeps," selecting a small aperture, forcing a long exposure, and then slowly moving my camera right/left or left/right, seeing what would happen. The top photo is a good example of that. I love the softness, the pastel yet tropical colors. Then I spotted a couple as they walked the beach, collecting shells, all crisp in their red/white/blue colors. Without changing my camera settings, I took a slow-speed photo of them, not caring that they would blur out, thinking the blur might (a) anonymous-ize them and (b) might indicate a feeling of movement. The final photo was taken the same way — slow shutter speed, no details, just shapes, forms, colors of people walking on the beach.

And isn't this the beauty of digital photography? How we can play, experiment, try things, without spending anything but our time ... ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A touch of Florida

Having spent most of my adult life in California, I'm no stranger to palm trees. But in Florida, well, these are FLORIDA palms! So yeah, I took a bunch of photos. I'm such a tourist... I found one against a yellow wall and had a bit of fun with it, putting together this image which to me looks like a weird tropical flower (that one might find on an aloha shirt). ©Carol Leigh

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Egrets on Sanibel Island

It's rare that I previsualize an image (and yes, it's a flaw — I probably won't feel like a "real" photographer until I can), but when I saw these egrets all hunkered down against the wind at water's edge, I knew that I wanted a desaturated, sort of high-key look to accentuate the stark "sticks" formed by their beaks and legs. I therefore turned the image into black and white, softened it, and then let some of the yellow at the base of their beaks and on their legs come through a little bit — just what I was hoping to do when I originally took the photo. The beauty of photographing on Sanibel Island is the opportunity to be close to birds like this, birds who are aware of you, but you don't seem to matter much to them. ©Carol Leigh

Moon snail shell from Sanibel Island

Another shell from Sanibel Island, which I think is a moon snail shell. So simple. So elegant. So lovely. ©Carol Leigh

Sea shells from Sanibel Island

On-location photography can (for me) often be difficult. On Sanibel Island, I had to contend with sand, no-see-ums, light, wind, people walking by, no-see-ums, and minimal camera gear. So I brought these three little shells home where I could photograph them under more controlled circumstances.

Is this cheating? Is it more "proper" to take the photos on scene? Perhaps. But if you've got an idea of what you want, and that "vision" can't be achieved under bad light, surrounded by little biting bugs, and with inappropriate equipment, well, take the subject matter home with you (if you can legally do so) and do it justice there.

And that, my friends, explains all the little glass jars I have on my shelves that contain rocks, feathers, marbles, shells, twigs, eggs, metal letters and numbers, and clock parts. Not to mention the Priority Mail box full of magnolia tree "parts" that I sent myself from North Carolina and STILL am not sure how to photograph! ©Carol Leigh

Friday, December 10, 2010

Things are kind of back to normal ...

A new video card arrives on Monday, but in the meantime, I've got a work-around, which means my computer is home for the weekend, I can do some work, and then will take it back Monday to have the card installed. So, life is good! Here are a couple of trees I photographed in Salem on our way home from the airport. They were against old grungy walls, pleading to be photographed. So I obliged them. ©Carol Leigh

Computer woes continue ... no need to panic!

A week without a computer (actually, two weeks if you count vacation time) seems like an eternity. Obviously I can post here using my laptop, but my REAL work -- preparing for and conducting online classes, processing my photographs, creating photomontages, writing, creating, etc. -- takes place on a REAL computer with REAL software and a REAL tablet, not a mouse. That's what I miss.

Luckily I have all my work backed up, so I'm not losing anything but time. A non-working NVIDIA graphics card seems to be the problem. We shall see.

In the meantime, I continue to photograph, and the memory cards are stacking up on my desk, awaiting the day  I can finally download them, see what I've done (the good, the bad, the ugly, the sublime), and carry on here. And look what I found in the laptop! Three "handle" photos taken in 2007 in Colorado. Ah, now I feel better, seeing a bit of color appear in the blog. ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Blue screen o' death ...

I'm dead in the water right now with my "real" computer, the one where I have Photoshop CS5 and where I process my photos and where I do EVERYTHING. So blog posts and life in general is on hold until I can get this fixed. Please cross your fingers for me. Heavy sigh ...