I Heard the Bells

Movie & PopcornYou must go see, “I Heard the Bells” at the Regal Theatres in Northtown. I guarantee you that it is absolutely worth the trip to town. Our dear friends invited us to go to Spokane and see this movie yesterday afternoon and what a blessing it was. I believe it was the best movie I have seen in years. Can’t wait to buy a copy of it on DVD so we can watch it every year.

The acting was absolutely inspirational. The story of the Longfellow family will embrace your heart. You will never listen to that beautiful “I Heard the Bells”, song again without thinking of this story in the background.

Max is the Talking Dog

Max 005

Max talks to us

Max is the talking dog, check out his YouTube video link above. He is a half Swiss Mountain Dog, half Pit Bull who likes to tell us it is time to go outside and play, time to eat, time to cruise in the car or pickup, etc. He is the very “vocal dude” in the house who wants to run the fastest, always, whenever he is outside because he is a racer. We love his voice and his fabulous eyebrow expressions.

Mountain Blue Bird Photography

Mountain Blue Bird 01Mountain Blue Birds. Imagine focusing on the bride and groom as they are taking their wedding vows. Then suddenly noticing, a bluebird perched on a fencepost right beside you. Some of the best shots I have ever gotten were accidental.

Mountain Blue Bird 02My brother and sister-in-law let me borrow their camera to take pictures of a wedding and reception at the Woelk family farm property that Dan and Ann owned.

Before digital photography became affordable, my photos had to be more carefully planned. When shooting with film the costs involved with developing and printing the film prohibit you from making unusable mediocre or bad prints.

Depletion of your wallet content is a great incentive to improve your photography skills.

Mountain Blue Bird 03I fell in love with Dan’s professional digital camera that day. Pete saved and bought me a “real” camera the next year, a Nikon D60.

Mountain Blue Bird 04It is a true blessing to be able to shoot as many pictures as you may want without the worry about the cost of developing negatives and printing to hold you back. The most time-consuming part of photography for me now is, sorting through, naming, and discarding the less than perfect shots.

As I worked on sorting through the wedding shots that week, I keep finding myself going back to these pictures of the Mountain Blue Bird and his beautiful cerulean blue plumage. The fence post with its twisted-up wire and fungus has a ton of character too. I was hooked.

Many paintings I do begin from love affairs like this with photography.

Yellow Rose 01

Rose Yellow PhotoYellow Rose 01 Tutorial. When your garden provides the perfect yellow rose, you just have to paint it. This photograph captured all of the curving surfaces so well that I could not resist.

Rose Yellow Sketch

Beginning with laying out the blossom I add some stem, leaves, and smaller buds alongside. I work with the arrangement until I feel a little interesting movement happening between the shapes and sizes.

Rose Yellow 02

Beginning with lemon yellow as the palest, and adding Azo Nickel yellow and then even some light cad I begin to get the first petals to curve and show me their light. Each and every petal has highlighted areas, medium tones, and the shadows making up the changing surfaces. Petals are not flat.Rose Yellow 03 As more of the petals are given their yellow base washes I begin to see the magic of three-dimensional illusion begin to appear. Flowers are so very amazing with the way they curve every which way showing light hitting their surfaces in ever-changing values.

The rose foliage is also given an initial watercolor wash in light yellow and thin sap greens.

Next

Dahlias Closeup 01

dahlia Closeup Layout 3

I take pictures of my dahlias closeup then use them to rearrange where they are on the canvas till I am satisfied with the layout before I paint them. These are two of the pictures that have the two largest flowers, so you can see what I mean by moving them around.

Dahlia Closeup 01
sketch

I see the beauty of the blooms popping out over a bed full of green leaves and stems somewhat blurry in the background. My eyes see this set of photos this way when I glance at them.

Now the trick will be to decide what amount of detail I want to include in the leaves behind and underneath the flowers. This is the layout sketch for this painting of Dahlias Closeup from our garden before I get the paints out.

Next

Games Kids Play

Jenka Lottie Isaac Ben 05
Jenka Lottie Isaac Ben 05

Games kids play. The amazing thing about this whole series of pictures is the changing facial expressions and reactions of all the people as they watched. Jenka affects the whole group and this game got the whole family going. In this first image you can see avid interest as Lottie selects which piece she is going to take.

Jenka Lottie Isaac Ben 04
Jenka Lottie Isaac Ben 04

With the middle of the column already pretty unstable, it was getting difficult to remove pieces without making it fall. Nerve racking. The boys are surprised at which piece she chose.

Jenka Lottie Isaac Ben 07
Jenka Lottie Isaac Ben 07
Jenka Lottie Isaac Ben 08
Jenka Lottie Isaac Ben 08

They watch the piece move. Look at the intense expressions while watching with anticipation (including a tongue).

Jenka Lottie Isaac Ben 10
Jenka Lottie Isaac Ben 10

She does it without having the blocks topple over and it blows Isaac’s mind.

Jenka Lottie Isaac Ben 11
Jenka Lottie Isaac Ben 11

Lottie is feeling truly triumphant! Yay! La Dee Dah!

 

 

Expressions Playing Games

Ben Jenka 13
Which one should I try?

Pictures that show youthful expressions playing games. Young people playing Jenka for New Year.

Ben Jenka 15
This one.
Ben Jenka 16
Ooooooh.

Even though the tower shakes, he keeps slowly pulling the piece out.

Ben Jenka 13
Stay up there, come on.
Ben Jenka 18
Whew! Got it.
Ben Jenka 19
I did it! Wow! Can you believe it!
Ben Jenka 20
Gosh.

What lesson does Jenka teach?

Trust that even if life places a task that looks virtually impossible in front of me, I can still succeed.

Photography Surprises

OCampo Wedding FOB 1 surprises
OCampo Wedding FOB 1

Surprises

I love to find photography surprises when I am wearing my photographer hat! As I swung around to catch the “father of the groom” with “the stepmother” I got the first photograph shot. Then stepped in for a better one and captured an unexpected wonderful surprise. Four members of the groom’s family instead of two.

OCampo Wedding FOB brothers surprises
OCampo Wedding FOB brothers

Right Place & Time

In the space of a second just between the two shots, the view changed to include two more who are the groom’s brothers walking behind their father. This would be impossible to orchestrate. Can you imagine trying to capture this shot right when the shutter opened. Take 1,000,000,000. It was simply one of those photography surprises. Lucky me!

New Equipment

I was not an official photographer for the wedding but fully enjoyed being able to use our new camera, a Nikon 7500 to capture the “non-pro” shots of the day. There is no better way for me to discover equipment capabilities than just jumping in and using a camera or lens to get familiar with it. The proof is in the pudding then, cause it either works or it doesn’t.

OCampo Wedding Photographer
OCampo Wedding Photographer

I was able to just relax and capture what was going on all around in the background. What a fully enjoyable day, I didn’t have to stress, because Pat and Kim Flanigan already had a wonderful lady doing a fantastic job in that department already. Sorry, I don’t know her name, but if you need a photographer you should get this one who is pictured above!

It is an honor to be able to attend our grand daughters wedding (alias Colleen Flanigan) this weekend. We are so lucky to have people who love us, and include us in their lives like our family does. There is now a proud couple in our family, Juan and Colleen OCampo! We love you!

Bravo!

Photography Pet Peeves

I have identified photography pet peeves as I wade through the trending volumes of unprofessional photography available on the worldwide web.

Butt Shots!

butt shotButt shots are the worst. How many “butt-shots” do we need to see? Honestly, it pays to get on the other side of the table to photograph the birthday cake. How many backs of, heads and butts do we need to see before we can actually see the face of the birthday girl blow out the candles?

Please crop the crowd showing us their backs to focus on the recognizable face or focal point! Do the world a favor. Delete the photograph if it is only a shot made up of butts.

Selfies!

selfieGirl
selfie Girl
selfie |ˈselfē| (also selfy)

noun (pl.selfies) informal

a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media: occasional selfies are acceptable, but posting a new picture of yourself everyday isn’t necessary.

Really! I love the way that this definition ends by saying a new selfie every day is not necessary. Selfies are overused to document everyday activities and companions by everyone. They have now become a standard portrait method.

Have you ever considered that those closeup faces allow widespread facial recognition and location tracking?

Is big brother watching? Yes, you bet he is!

I do not consider the selfie as an art form.

Art

An artistic image invites us in to feel, remember and become part of what holds our gaze. Those candid action shots that freeze the movement perfectly in the sports arena, or the thoughtful portrait that balances light and focuses with a memorable expression. Even the magnificent storytelling essence of an expansive landscape or event in history. Remembering, the importance of excellence makes me spat when I see a warped face in a group stacked together in a selfie!

Any image that we quickly glance at, see and move away from, does not fall into the category of art for me.

Certainly, a selfie’s facial distortion does not come close to the magical essence of the professional portrait capturing a storyline or personality elegantly.

Digital Photography

CellPhoneCamerajessica-cao-unsplash
by jessica-cao-unsplash

We live in a digital photography age with almost every person carrying a cell phone camera on their person 24/7. A craze that has literally taken over our world. Unfortunately, this virtual flood of imagery is a deluge of poor-quality random images. A large collection of un-named, un-cropped, out-of-focus, and non-adjusted photography. Very little thought about producing quality images happens.  As observers, we suffer from an over-exposure to more than our “fair-share” of terrible shots.

Don’t get me wrong, professional photographers and artist’s do the same as most “trigger-happy” amateur photographers in the crowd.

Pros put thought into focus, background, and lighting before they click that shutter. In contrast, amateurs create volumes of images without any kind of adherence to tried-and-true photography methods. The result is poor quality images, lacking focus, and no having no meaning.

girlCellPhoneClem-onojeghuo-unsplash
by Clem-onojeghuo-unsplash

We blindly stumble along with a cell phone in front of us. Becoming gamblers of photography, blindly shooting while hoping that luck will somehow prevail with an outstanding shot in the mess. Unfortunately, without any effort at improving our methods of photography, quality will not improve. Larger volumes, simply create a larger amount of “terrible shots”.

Amateur or Pro?

What are you? Do you have un-named sequential numbers for hundreds or thousands of images on your phone? Do you have to scroll through pages and pages looking for an image to share with someone? Can you search for a particular image by entering a name, place, or date?

cellPhoneGalleryhussain-ibrahim-unsplash

The difference between an amateur and a pro is the ability to discern what is “good” and what is “not good”. A learned recognition skill obtained by the study of photography field standards. It is so easy to learn this skill on the internet. There’s no excuse to not educate yourself. If you know what is good, it is easy to get rid of the junk, and only keep the best. 

Quality levels of your photographs won’t change, if no effort is spent.

You can improve things right away by establishing a consistent routine of sorting, organizing, and saving your photography. Once you are set up to sort through, save and share your work responsibly, you will see a marked improvement. Instead of wading through a flood of bad shots, you can experience the magic of only scrolling through a few really good images.

  • keep only the best and discard any that are duplicates or out-of-focus
  • check resolution, exposure, and color adjustments prior to cropping, naming, and saving