Monday, October 31, 2011

Boo !

Happy Halloween, whatever costume you may or may not be wearing! ©Carol Leigh

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Yesterday we drove up the coast and, passing Seal Rock, noticed all the pelicans on the rocks. But what really caught my eye were the pelicans down on the beach, something we don't see all that often. Pelicans and gulls were clustered around the mouth of a little creek, preening, resting, seeing what they could find to eat.

Two people climbed down to the beach and began walking south, keeping their distance from the birds (yay), but the pelicans were especially wary, and slowly began taking off. A shutter speed of 1/25 second enabled me to capture the motion of their wings.

Driving back home, late in the day, all the pelicans were gone, and a big storm was coming in. Wonder where they went to ride out the storm? ©Carol Leigh

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fall feathers

About eleven years ago one of my students, Ingrid K., gave me a pheasant "pelt." I don't know if "pelt" is the correct term, but it was part of a bird's skin with all the feathers intact. My plan yesterday was to photograph Indian corn, but when I saw the pheasant, I changed my mind. Aren't the colors lovely?

May your fall be filled with colors like these. ©Carol Leigh

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Count your blessings

Tacked to the bulletin board at the fishing docks. ©Carol Leigh

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

After the dentist visit . . .

After this morning's dentist appointment, in lieu of a lollipop, I treated myself to a walk around the fishing boats in Newport. First off, I was drawn to the turnbuckles, and anyone who has been with me here at my Oregon Coast photo workshop will recognize these, especially you, Janet G.! Their high-tech forms and repeating patterns make them a photographic natural. I commented on Janet's turnbuckle photo just yesterday, so it was fresh in my mind and made me think of her as I shot.
Next is a reflection in the water of a rusty fishing boat. Love the zig-zag pattern and the rich brown/orange colors. The pattern of the reflection sort of moves down the frame in a quasi-diagonal way, thus catching my attention.

The next shot of the drips of water, rust, paint, and general weathering on the stern of a fishing boat is something I'll probably use in a photomontage sometime, somewhere, somehow.

The bright orange float hanging down off the blue boat (and its accompanying reflection) is a good example of complementary colors, and maybe something I'll use to illustrate the concept. Plus the colors were just outrageous and pixels are free.

Below the buoy photo is a shot I took of flags flying from the mast of a fishing boat. The colors are what caught my eye, plus the sky was a lovely blue, something we don't see too often here on the coast. We're close to Halloween, so a photo of a pirate flag seemed like a natural.

The kind of blah brown, white, and black photo is (once again) something I will use down the road in a photomontage. I took a number of versions of this image because, well, you just never know when you'll need something like this.

And finally, a shot of gouges in the metal side of a fishing boat. They were up so high I just held my camera over my head and pointed. What I like is how the scratches look kind of like Asian calligraphy, and that's always useful for a lot of the photomontages I make.

I also took images of cormorants with their wings spread, overviews of the boats in general, more reflections in the water, a bunch of overexposed seagull photos that NO ONE will EVER see, and shots of ropes, cleats, buoys, etc. 

So there you have it, kind of a typical shoot for me after a dentist appointment. Or jury duty. Or after an office supply run to Staples. Or if it's a Thursday. Or . . . ©Carol Leigh (who is conducting yet another Oregon Coast Photo Exploration September 9-12, 2012)

Note: Blogger has been doing some strange things lately. If you click the image to make it larger, often a panel will come up and all three images will be at the bottom, so you can click one after another. But if you click the back arrow to return to the blog, the blog often disappears. Instead, click the "x" in the upper right corner of the panel. The photo panel will disappear and you'll be back in the blog. I'm sure somebody thought this was an improvement... 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Another day, another leaf

I found a leaf, quite pretty. I placed it on top of a piece of paper I had painted. I stretched the photo and cropped out the edges of the notebook that the paper was in. And then (in the last photo) I tweaked it (as is my wont of late). Fall. Sometimes all you need is a leaf, a piece of paper, and some paint. ©Carol Leigh

Note: Blogger has been doing some strange things lately. If you click the image to make it larger, often a panel will come up and all three images will be at the bottom, so you can click one after another. But if you click the back arrow to return to the blog, the blog often disappears. Instead, click the "x" in the upper right corner of the panel. The photo panel will disappear and you'll be back in the blog. I'm sure somebody thought this was an improvement...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Six windows in Salem

We did a bit of walking around in Salem last week and, before getting sidetracked in an art store, I found myself photographing windows. These two shots are the ones I like best from that quick walk. Must go back and spend more time. ©Carol Leigh

Friday, October 21, 2011

Not so obvious . . .

We may be seduced by the outrageous color of autumn leaves, but often it's the subtle elements of the backs of leaves that hold our interest.

I continued to work with the soft-focus properties of f/1.7 during our two days spent this week at The Oregon Garden in Silverton. Much more to follow as I begin working through my photos. ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Yet one more note of thanks

And to the "Bears..." Your package arrived -- very heavy -- full of money! Thanks for all the foreign coins. Canada, Denmark, Bahamas, Israel ... beautiful graphics on the Bahamas coins. And then I thought I'd show you how good the Chinese lanterns still look. Thank you for EVERYthing. Wish I were half as generous as you two. Love, Carol (and, of course, Chris) ©Carol Leigh

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thank you, Sandra T.

Sandra Torguson is a photographer, quilter, fiber artist, and calligrapher. In response to a post I'd placed elsewhere, she kindly sent me a copy of a magazine containing an article pertinent to my post. I gotta say, her packaging was almost as good as the magazine! The envelope was beautifully addressed and the note she enclosed, written on a piece of painted watercolor paper, was quite pretty. Thank you, madam. I may just rip up your note and use it in a collage! ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Thank you

Click to enlarge. ©Carol Leigh

Friday, October 14, 2011

Think. Turn around. Buy fish.

"Think" spray-painted on a railroad car in Santa Fe, a sign here in Waldport, Oregon, and a composite of a building in Bandon, Oregon with a little painting on a wall in San Diego. Love photographing signs. ©Carol Leigh

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Over the transom ...

Because I'm weird and people like to encourage that weirdness, I receive interesting things from my peeps. Some of these things arrive in person, some in the mail. Here's what came in the mail this week. . .

Big ol' rusty nuts, bolts and washers from Janet and Ira. They're large and frame-filling, so will be relatively easy to shoot and turn into something else.

And then a pretty card and some lovely Japanese stamps from Jim and Patty. They say they have more they can send, if I wish. Let's see what I can do with these first, even though I'm lusting for the rest.

Janet and Ira again . . . Not content with sending rusty metal, they also sent a bamboo knife, fork, and spoon, which I know I'll have fun photographing.

I'm extremely lucky to have people such as these around me. And extremely lucky that they understand my oddness and actually promote it! Thank all four of you. You know me way too well . . . ©Carol Leigh

Fall to Winter

I like how the warm brown colors contrast with the cooler blues. Kind of like a transition from autumn to winter. ©Carol Leigh, wishing for a looooong autumn.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Nine Sycamore Seed Pods

Yesterday's post was about how all you need is one leaf. Today we apparently need nine sycamore pods! All conveniently numbered for your viewing pleasure. Click to enlarge. ©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

All you need is one leaf

We dream of orange and yellow aspens flowing down hillsides like lava, leaf-strewn country roads, fiery red maples framing a covered bridge. But sometimes Mother Nature doesn't cooperate. Freezing storms turn the leaves black; wind blows the leaves from the trees; or autumn didn't arrive the same time you did (or left too soon).

But surely you can find ONE leaf to shoot! One good leaf to evoke a feeling of fall. Which is what I did yesterday. We have a few red-flowering currant bushes in our back yard (kind of — the deer snack on them). I picked up a fallen leaf, put it in a book for a couple of days to flatten it, then took it out to the studio to photograph.

I rummaged around, found some various papers to put it on, and began shooting. The orangey-red photo is the leaf on handmade paper; the blue/brown photo? Hand-painted Japanese paper. Next is the leaf placed on top of a piece of rusty metal that Chris found (this one's my favorite), The golden photo is the leaf on a piece of paper that I painted with watercolor paint. And finally, you see the leaf on a piece of paper I used to clean my paintbrushes. This is just the tip of the iceberg; I have more than 30 variations from this one shoot.

What's my point? We have expectations of what we'll find this fall, what we'd like to shoot. Sometimes those expectations aren't met (especially for those of you in California's eastern Sierra right now). Rather than bemoan the fact that you're not seeing what you want to see, look around and see what's there. Put a leaf on a rock, on a bed of pine needles, float it in a stream, or, like Stacy B. did one year, lick the leaf and slap it onto the trunk of a tree to shoot at eye level!

All it takes is one leaf and a decent background. Happy fall! ©Carol Leigh

Sunday, October 9, 2011


A 20mm lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.7 is a very cool lens to play around with. It forces you to look at things differently -- and that's always a good thing. The beauty of this lens is (a) it's small, (b) it's fast, and (c) it's easy to focus on a foreground object and have everything behind it go soft, soft, soft.

I decided that today I would limit myself to this one lens and always have it set to f/1.7. As a result, I lost out on photographing a couple of cute cats we encountered on our walk, but that was okay, I was on a QUEST!

In a restaurant, I set the camera on the table and focused on a spoon. All the condiments in the background are completely out of focus, but they still retain their shapes enough to be recognizable.

In Nye Beach, I focused on a foreground post and let everything else, including the beach in the background, go out of focus. Same thing in the picture of the "open" sign: The lettering is in focus, but everything else went soft. THIS is the beauty of this fast lens -- shallow depth of field.

The lens focuses rather closely, too, enabling me to shoot a couple of wet hydrangea blossoms and a starfish affixed to a garden gate. And in the last picture, I used the lens just as a "normal" lens, the only difference is that I had to move in much closer to fill my frame, much more so than I would with a longer lens. Since I use a longer lens most of the time, it was a novelty having to step right up to my subject rather than lurking in the shadows.

Thanks to the "bears" for this wonderful gift of new eyes. They know who they are. ©Carol Leigh

Friday, October 7, 2011


A vintage inkwell, a vintage pen, and a photo I took of a page from an antique Japanese book combine beautifully here. The warm color comes from a background I painted and then photographed to add to the mix. All the elements in this piece were photographed here and then, not unlike a collage, pieced and blended together into one picture. Click to enlarge. ©Carol Leigh