More Tulips

Here’s another photo taken yesterday of some of the tulips in our yard. This one is by the mailbox next to the street. One aspect of the flowers I like best are the bright colors in the center of each bloom, with all the pollen waiting to be picked up by passing insects. (Canon G11, ISO 80, 6.1mm, f8, 1/125sec. Developed in Lightroom 3, Beta 2)

Tulip Time Again

Each year in early April, the many tulips planted in our yard start blooming. More than any other flower, they seem to photograph nicely, at least for me. Our colors range from bright yellow, to reds, to pinks, and to orange. They don’t last long, but while they are in bloom they add much to the “greening” landscape here in SW Virginia. (Canon G11, ISO 80, 6.1mm, f8, 1/160sec. Developed in Lightroom 3, Beta 2)

Hesitate and you lose

Too often I find myself drawn to interesting people while touring around with my camera, but I never take the time to actually talk to those subjects. Afterwards I always feel bad that I lost an opportunity to learn more about them. Case in point was this older sponge fisherman in Tarpon Springs, FL. He was cutting sponges in half with a large band saw, and selling them as vase sponges to tourists standing close by. While I was snapping away with my camera, he was talking to a customer, who unlike me was engaging in conversation. Later after I downloaded all the photos I’d taken that day, I saw this photo (and a few others like it) and mentally kicked myself in the rear end for being so shy when I’d had a great opportunity to get to know more about this interesting person. Perhaps he had spent years suiting up in heavy deep underwater diving gear searching for sponges. Whatever he did, I’m sure I would have learned much had I been more personable. Lesson learned—I hope. (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 112mm, f11, 1/1215 sec. Developed in Lightroom 3 Beta2 with a Topaz Adjust 4 layer in Photoshop to make the image more dramatic.)

Easter Weekend Rest

After several days working to enlarge our backyard garden (I doubled its size this year), plus yesterday carrying and spreading almost 500 pounds of packaged cow manure (loading it all into my vehicle at Lowes, unloading it into my garden tractor’s cart next to the garage and hauling it to the garden; and then, finally, carrying it bag by bag into the garden to spread with my tiller), I was (to say the least) pooped. Therefore, like this Laughing Gull taking a break in the warm sand in Florida, I’m going to do the same (less the sand) this weekend. Back Monday. (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 200mm, f11, 1/640 sec. Developed in Lightroom 3, Beta 2)

Colors and Patterns

The original photo of this was just so–so, but when I took it I was thinking of applying a Topaz Adjust layer to it in Photoshop to give it a painterly look, and to make the colors more vibrant. What is it you ask? It’s a retaining wall designed like waves at a public beach parking lot at St. Pete Beach, FL. I’ve seen a lot of public beaches in my time, and this was one of the very best. Lots of parking (free), clean and large public rest rooms, and a refreshment stand. (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 65mm, f5.6, 1/800 sec. Developed in Lightroom 3 Beta 2)

Birds in Flight

Photographing birds in flight is, for me at least, a tough learning experience. One of my favorite photographers is Moose Peterson, and I read his blog daily. About the time we were getting ready to take a week in Florida near Tampa/St. Petersburg, he had several tips posted pertaining to bird photography (he is a wonderful wildlife photographer and research person so what he says and writes means a lot). He offered one special tip involving “panning” the camera while taking a photo of a bird in flight. Easier than it sounds. Problem is to have the photo crisp and sharp. Shooting high speed frames with my Nikon D300 helped greatly, and usually one of nine or ten shots taken one after another would be relatively sharp. The other challenge is to have the photo composition correct, so you don’t wind up with just a portion of the bird in the frame. So, I’m still learning to get better, but at least I have the basics in mind. (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 200mm, f11, 1/500 sec)


When I saw this large Florida Cormorant swimming by the dock we were standing on near Tampa, with a relatively large catfish firmly grasped between its hooked beak, all I could think of was “gotcha”. Evil looking bird, eh? Shortly after he swam past, he flipped the fish up and swallowed it whole, but not without some difficulty. Ought to be his main meal for that day, at least! (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 300mm, f5.6, 1/80 sec. Developed in Lightroom 3, Beta 2)

One (only one) Colorful Sunset

When we left for our week–long visit to the Tampa/St Petersburg, Florida a week ago, I was sure I’d be able to photograph some spectacular sunsets. Surely to be excellent candidates for placement on some Florida tourist brochure; or at the minimum, nice photos to print and hang prominently somewhere in our already photo–cluttered house. (Most of my best selections are displayed on our kitchen refrigerator—with magnets like we do with kids’ “look what I made” stuff.) As each day evolved, I looked for clouds to develop as the afternoons wore on. Nada. Not to be. Zero. When clouds were present, they were 100% coverage variety, and lots of water poured down as a result. Nothing that made be want to go “click” with my camera. Then, on the last night we were there, I was rewarded with what you see here. Nothing spectacular, but in the line of what I was looking for. (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 120mm, f5.6 w/-2ev, 1/640 sec. Developed in Lightroom 3 Beta 2.)

Tarpon Springs

If you like (a) Greek food or (b) fishing boats or (c) SPONGE fishing boats, then Tarpon Springs, Florida will suit you just fine—as it did for me last Tuesday. On the other hand, if you don’t like bumping into people, or finding a place to park close by, then maybe you won’t enjoy it. But then, you can’t have it all when you’re on vacation. The colors of the docked fishing boats is what I liked the best—as in this photo. A close second favorite were the incredible smells on the warm breezes wafting out the open doors of all the greek cafes and restaurants along the dock area. Greek music ain’t bad either. (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 24mm, f11, 1/400sec. Developed in Lightroom 3 Beta 2)