Thursday, September 30, 2010


New Mexico's wide open skies enable us to see "edges," those incredible spaces where the darkness of a departing storm meets the brilliance of a setting sun. Bright against dark, saturated colors and strong shadows — it's magical. And that's the feeling I'm getting here.

I went to bed at 9:30 last night and at 12:30 this morning got up to create this, which took probably six hours to finish. This, to me, is what photography is all about — exploring, seeing, noticing, composing, combining — making something so different, something that, had I not created it, would never be seen.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to bed! ©Carol Leigh

P.S. Happy Anniversary to Chris, without whom I never would be able to do as much as I do. Love you.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A view from a couch

In a couple of weeks I'm giving a short talk in North Carolina and so right now I've got "seeing" on my mind. The other day I was sitting on the couch, getting acquainted with a camera, and I quickly took a few photos. This morning I realized that for just sitting on the couch, snapping away, the photos aren't bad. They're not great, but — and this is important — I made the most of the situation. I looked, composed, and clicked the shutter.

Abby across the room stayed put for a few minutes, contemplating a basket of agates, where she will carefully select one, drag it out of the basket, and hide it under a chair or cabinet. A vase of dried poppy pods on the "Holly Cabinet" caught my eye, the way the sun shone on a floor lamp, shadows on a knob, and the simple inlay on a cedar chest completed the mix.

Could I have taken more? Yes. But photography wasn't my goal right then. Figuring out the functions of the camera was what I was working on.

The point of all this is that seeing, looking, noticing are the quietly important aspects of photography. Cameras do so much for us and so easily that we often forget the human being behind the viewfinder, our unique vision, the thing that makes our photos ours. Teaching someone to see is the most challenging part of my job. But sometimes it just requires sitting on a couch, looking around. ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Aquarium ...

As our Oregon coast photo workshop came to a close, our final stop was at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, where the tufted puffins were in the last stages of their molt (losing their tufts, except for this one guy you see at the bottom). The sea nettles were looking good -- golden orange colors against a complementary blue background. And then there were the little things that few people notice: how the door handles are sculpted in the forms of kelp, herons, and, as you see here, octopus tentacles. Three days later we conducted another Oregon coast workshop and got to see all the same things again, this time under different lighting conditions and through the eyes of new participants. What fun! ©Carol Leigh

Monday, September 27, 2010

Aerial patchwork

Metal and peeling paint appear as aerial views of farms, villages, and orchards. ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Last car show of the year ...

The "Cruzin' for Crab" car show took place today in Waldport, probably the last car show of the season around here as the weather begins to turn. I visited it twice. First thing this morning it was way too sunny (hard to believe, I know), but I did what I could. When the fog began rolling in in the afternoon, I went back to work it again under better lighting conditions.

I try always to look for something a bit different, and this time, instead of looking AT the cars, I looked for reflections of light, how a brightly colored car would reflect its light onto the one next to it. So after taking a straight shot of a headlamp (first photo), I then concentrated on how a yellow car reflected right onto a black one (second photo), and then how a yellow car hit the chrome on a white Oldsmobile Delta 88 (third photo).

Gotta say, photographing at car shows is one of my more favorite ways to spend time. But then I also enjoy shooting bits of trains, architectural detail, cats, flowers, oil cans, fishing nets, skyscrapers, shadows, hot air balloons, boats, buoys, and, every 20 years or so, even slime eels.

Hope your weekend is progressing as well as mine. ©Carol Leigh

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September Cormorants

This was the last day of our second Oregon coast workshop and we filled the morning taking photos of architectural detail, gulls, pelicans, boats, reflections, and more. I liked the way these cormorants looked -- so dark and stark against the weathered cement. Here you see a cormorant plummeting head-first off a ledge. And then two cormorants practice synchronized grooming, while in the third photo a cormorant observes her domain. ©Carol Leigh

September Crows

A couple of crows sit against a background of the sky reflected in the bay. A peaceful morning of quiet photography yesterday at the marina. ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


In a couple of hours our workshop group is going to be photographing at a local marina, a seemingly nondescript place that I find extremely peaceful just before sunrise. Here's what we saw last week on a foggy morning. It'll be interesting to see if there's a different feel and look this morning, which may be very clear (surprise!). ©Carol Leigh

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sheet Metal

I'm conducting a second Oregon coast workshop right now as well as an online class, but there's ALWAYS time for creating a photomontage! I like the subtle strip of blue in the middle of this one. ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Seventy percent chance of showers? Not on us!

Man, it's been raining like crazy here and I was concerned that our workshop, that began here today, might start on a damp note, but NO! Today was foggy and overcast but DRY until just after our last stop of the day, so the rain gods smiled on our group as we photographed fishing boats, stacks of crab pots, and lots of buoys.

What I especially love is seeing how differently we all see, how people in the group were creating compositions that I never would have thought of making -- it's inspiring! Here are a few quick shots that I took today along with my people. ©Carol Leigh

Fake right, fly left ...

I have another Oregon coast workshop beginning today, and the weather forecast (see below) makes me long for the foggy-but-at-least-it's-not-raining weather we had last week, when I photographed these little sandpiper-ish birds on the beach. The photograph is actually a merger of two shots -- one of the birds on the sand and the other of the birds in flight. Individually the photos were just too wimpy; together they tell more of a story. Not unlike the weather forecast for the upcoming week. Heavy sigh. ©Carol Leigh

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Did I mention fog?

It's billed as "the most beautiful view on the Oregon coast," but our workshop group didn't see much of it! Instead we made do with the way the fog crept in among the forests and hills off in the distance and then how the sun's rays shone through the surrounding trees from time to time. Beautiful. Quiet. Just the sound of water dripping from the trees. ©Carol Leigh


Composed of my photos of rust, gulls, paint, and more rust! ©Carol Leigh

Friday, September 17, 2010

Major monochrome ...

It's the nature of the Oregon coast to provide a lot of photo opportunities for monochromatic images. I.e. it's often foggy! During my recent workshop here, we had lots of chances to shoot under overcast skies. In the first photo, I exaggerated the overexposed look in post-processing by sliding the clarity slider more toward the left and the exposure slider more toward the right. This is a painterly effect that I'm very wary of using, but it seemed to work in this instance.

And then it just wouldn't be a coastal shoot without the ubiquitous gull. This one stationed himself on a rock wall, and didn't move from his spot at all as we photographed him. I purposely overexposed these two photographs for a more high-key effect.

More monochrome to follow ... ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Classic Oregon coast sunset ...

Well, the PLAN was to photograph sunset on the Oregon coast this evening, but the fog came rolling in rather quickly, making the scene completely monochromatic. Undaunted, we played around with long exposures, panning, swirling, twirling, and zooming. Fun stuff! The photos aren't so hot, but we had a great time — nine lunatics cavorting about in the fog. ©Carol Leigh

Oregon coast workshop began today ...

Our Oregon Coast photo workshop began this morning and, as luck would have it, it was SUNNY! Good reflections, though, up at the fishing boats. And there were PLENTY of sea lions to photograph. Great group of people, with Jill M., June W., and Gisela D. from North Carolina, Anne and Roy A. from southern California, Pat F. from San Diego and Betty F. from Fortuna. Taking a quick break right now, meeting again in 10 minutes. How lucky am I that this is my job?! ©Carol Leigh

Saturday, September 11, 2010


©Carol Leigh

Friday, September 10, 2010

Counting down ...

We've got a photo workshop beginning here on the coast Sunday and so naturally I had to go out to make sure that the sea lions were still out in force and that boats were still doing their thing ... work, work, work! ©Carol Leigh

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Another in the southwest series I'm working on. ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Small Town

I'm not even going to try to explain this one! Except: I used photos of a bus, paper, metal, and peeling paint to create it. I think the secret to all this is going to sleep at 10 p.m. and then getting up at 1:30 a.m. to do the work. Madness reigns! ©Carol Leigh

Monday, September 6, 2010

Rojos de Taos

Woo hoo! Am on a red roll these days! Love how the ladder went blue.  ©Carol Leigh

San Diego H

The letter "H" that I photographed at the San Diego Convention Center merges with a photograph of peeling paint from Oregon. ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Red I

The grungy vibrance (is that an oxymoron?) appeals to me here. I combined photos of a shipping container, torn paper, part of a bus, some holes in metal, and more to put this together. But what am I doing inside? It's a gloriously sunny day here on the Oregon coast and I'm getting my butt outside! ©Carol Leigh