McKee Gardens Landscape

McKee Botanical Gardens is known for it beautiful displays of water lilies. But it has other charms as well including this wonderful little bridge. A fine landscape image given the right light and a great reflection in the water. You can see the waterlilies, too. Olympus OMD EM 5 III.

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Welcome back

OK, welcome back is not for you – but for ME. I have been away for a while so I thought I would begin writing again. The image above is a”big splash”. Taken somewhere I can’t remember but with a slowish shutter speed to get all the wonderful splashing things going. This was one of the images in a recent Featured Artist submission to my community’s artist-in-residence program. Hope you taken with my Olympus OMD EM-5 Mark III which I love. Too bad that Olympus has just sold its photo division. Who knows what will become of this wonderful 4/3 format camera line.

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Nice lighting can make anything look good

This is an example of combining soft front lighting on the flower to bring out the detail. And, some lighting on the background to produce separation between it and the subject.

Here is a nice article on flower lighting techniques from the Adorama Learning Center. 

This closeup was taken at 75mm hand held.

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Butterfly Painting

Corel Painter and photos are made for each other. On a recent photo safari, I took this little darling with the Olympus 60mm macro and my Olympus EM5-II.

Then using the natural painting program from Corel, I created a painterly background and butterfly.

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Duck, Duck, Goose

No, this is not a goose but rather a blue billed duck. It probably is the female of Oxyura australis. But maybe not. I could not see the tail feathers, which on the real deal are sort of spiky. This guy was living at Flamingo Gardens, in Davie, Florida near Ft. Lauderdale.

I used her as the basis for a digital painting – Corel Painter and Photoshop were used.

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Down the Stretch

Over the years, I have taken many photos at the Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, NY. It is one of the most beautiful and family friendly race tracks in the US. Opened officially in 1863, it is the oldest race courses in the country that runs a full season with the top horse flesh and jocks.

The Travers (named after one of the founders of the course – another founder was Cornelius Vanderbuilt) is considered the “4th leg” of the Triple Crown and is also sometimes called the Midsummer Derby. It is televised on national TV. And many of the famous horses have failed at Saratoga – the first was triple crown winner Gallant Fox bested by a horse called Jim Dandy. Thus, Saratoga’s nickname of “the graveyard of champions” was born. BTW, the “Jim Dandy” is another of the race courses big races. At least seven major motion pictures had scenes at the course, including the bond flick, Diamonds are Forever.

For locals, the advertising slogan – the August place to be – means summer fun, not to mention those wonderful give-a-ways. Now that the racing season was extended to July, we have “the summer place to be” (ugh! as a slogan). The best place for the average photographer who does not have press credentials is at the top of the stretch. The photo to the left was taken from this position. It is easy to reach if you shove past the diners at the restaurant there. It has a great vantage point of the horses full throttle at the turn. The next best place is just before the finish line – see the photo above. But get there early because the crowds will get you (Saratoga can get 50,000 people on the best dates). Both images here were converted into a digital painting using my magic fingers.

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A Little Snow Won’t Hurt

winter-bench smLast week my eldest daughter was “stranded” here in Florida for several days due to a big snow storm up north. While I have not personally witnessed a lot of snow in the past 13 years, I do remember – with some fondness – taking photos in the snow.

So I searched around in my virtual shoebox full of old photos for one I took 16 years ago. I was teaching in a technical school in Albany and we had a wonderful fluffy snowstorm. Out back of the building was this picnic bench and a nice pine tree covered with snow. A great photo op. Enjoy.

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Artist and Muse

girl and painter painter smDoes the artist on the left look like the artwork she is copying? Is the artist wearing a talis?  Where is the world is this pair? Well, to answer these questions: the girl on the left is a student in St. Petersburg, Russia. The artist seems to have on a shawl to guard against the drafts. And, this is all taking place in the Hermitage Museum where students are allowed to practice in front of famous and quite valuable pieces until the place officially opens for business in the morning. We were there first thing in the am. On the afternoon that we were there, a certain president with the initials V.P. was visiting, too.

On the right is an image of an artist painting a girl. A sort of alternative to the one on the left. Where is this one? In the Piazza Navona in Rome where you can see the Bernini fountains, lots of cafés and artists (with art works for sale, of course). And a lively crowd of people. Both of these images represent an approach to “street” or candid photography.


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Morikami Falls

P3110043-Edit-Edit-EditHere is a photo of a water feature near the main building at the Morikami. According to the official Morikami map, “this dramatic waterfall combines massive boulders and flowing water in a composition of dynamic tensions.” Morikami Falls was funded by several local businesses.

The falls is a pleasantly serene area with a modest waterfall leading to a pool of water, rocks and plants. It would be a much nicer garden if it were not located directly on one of the main pathways near the entrance to the park. You can see a more detail view by clicking on the image.

This image was enhanced with Color Efex Pro 4 and Snap Art 4.

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Kotoji Lantern

P3110037-Edit-Edit-2This stone lantern is a symbol of Japanese creative symmetry in stone. It is named Kotoji meaning “harp tuner” since the two legs on which the body of the lantern stands resemble the tuning forks (or moveable bridges) of the Japanese musical instrument “Koto”.

It is located in Modern Romantic Garden in the Morikami. This type of garden was in vogue during the Meiji period of Japanese culture (late 19th-early 20th century). I processed the image in Alien Skin’s Exposure 2 software with fine tuning in Adobe Lightroom CC. Click to see a larger version.

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