July 2014

Hi. My name is Karen and I am a procrastinator.

If it wasn’t for the last minute, I might not get anything done! My problem is that the list of things I should be doing and want to be doing is unrealistically long and my decision-making skills are too weak to time manage effectively. Has anyone else out there borrowed time management help books from the library and returned them unread (and late) having not been able to make time to read them?!

Phew. I feel slightly better having expressed that; not sure it will help but it explains why the calendar is late and the photo quality less than usual. I took the photo this morning with my iPhone 5. My DSLR and gear got left behind at my daughter’s place during a recent visit and I won’t have it back until the week end. Of course I hadn’t scheduled time to capture a calendar worthy photo prior to being away at the end of the month nor had weather conditions been suitable until this picture perfect, calm lake, clear sky morning. It actually, finally feels like a summer day!

What does this scene invite you to do? Don’t you just want to run and jump off the end of this dock? Or dip your toes in the glassy water? Or set out in kayak or canoe to explore the distant shore? Where ever and however you choose to savour such days, enjoy!

free desktop calendar July 2014_1440x900

Sunset Country Sky Calendar

The area in which I live has been designated by our provincial tourism body as “Sunset Country”.  We regularly get spectacular vistas throughout the year. Of course, those over the water are most beautiful because of the duplication created in the reflection. Part of my daily routine includes checking the west sky for colour as the sun dips below the horizon. Last June we were treated to one of the most colourful skies I have seen. The processors in my camera had difficulty dealing with the vibrant hues.

So, here is a desktop calendar for you to download and enjoy. For different screen resolutions, drop down the Free Calendar menu for June 2014.

free desktop calendar june 2014_1440x900

Night lights

Didn’t see the expected meteor shower at 1:30 this morning but was treated to the beauty of a moonless night sky!

Night Sky

 

I found this article very helpful in getting my gear set properly the evening before so I wouldn’t have to do it ‘in the field’ in the dark. I used my widest, fastest lense a Tamron 17-50mm at f/2.8, 17 mm, ISO 3200 set the mode to BULB and used my wireless timer remote shutter. It was impossible for me to see well enough to fine tune the focus so I crossed my fingers. made sure it was on manual focus and dialed to infinity.

Because of the brightness of our yard light, I took several images with different exposure times. In Lightroom, I selected the image shot at 25 seconds for the horizon and sky (on the left below) and one with a 4 second exposure for the foreground.

exposure time comparison

 

The two images were then layered in PhotoShop. I added a layer mask to the darker shot then applied the gradient tool to reveal just the bottom of image for the foreground.

layered image

All definitely worth the effort, I’d say. :)

 

 

Wet Willows

Damp dreary days don’t normally draw me out with my camera but after such a long, cold and snowy winter, I was eager to get out in spite of the soggy conditions. Driving some back roads in a light drizzle I noticed what I thought was pussy willows on the branches in the ditches.

water droplets and bokeh

The light rain was clinging to the branches creating the effect of soft, white pussy willows.

There were also willows starting to bud with furry catkins present.

pussy willows and water droplets

I was entranced the juxtaposition of the buds above and droplets below. Then noticed tiny droplets that appear as bulging eyes on the the buds at the end of the branch! I was wishing I had brought my tripod to more effectively zoom in for a clear shot.

A few other branches held some different bud and droplet configurations.

wet pussy willows

A wet day well spent.

May 2014 desktop

Although we’ve had some spectacular snow days recently which I captured with my camera, I am certainly eager to look ahead to the liquid version of the lakes around me! So with memories of summers past and in anticipation of fish jumping, I offer the re-work of a moonrise shot from last summer at Raleigh Lake. Enjoy!

free desktop calendar may 2014_1440x900

Larger and specific screen resolution options are available here. For more about capturing this image last summer (in case you missed it) check out this post.

April 2014 – Spring?

free desktop calendar April 2014_1440x900
This is definitely not the view out our window currently. As I write this, we are preparing for another blizzard bringing up to 30 cm of snow! The image above was taken two years ago on March 19, one of the earliest springs I can remember. Pussy willows likely won’t be showing up around here for at least another three weeks but eventually they will herald spring.

March Moon

The moon reached fullness March 16th. In anticipation, I kept an eye on the eastern sky the day before, though I wasn’t very diligent (a casual glance out my front door). Then all of a sudden there it was! Although my camera was accessible, I couldn’t locate my tripod so snapped a quick hand held shot. Not bad.

near full moon at sunset

Lesson learned; sort of. I had 25 hours to gather my gear in preparation for the rise the next evening. According to my favourite photography app The Photographer’s Ephemeris, the moon was scheduled to rise an hour later which would make the sky and surroundings darker than the night before. The forecast was for cloud cover by sunset as another snow storm was moving in from the west. An hour before the scheduled moon rise, I headed out to locate a suitable angle for a shot assuming the gap between cloud and horizon would be sufficient. I had all but given up when I noticed a hint of colour.

rising March moon 1
rising March moon 2
rising March moon 3Although I had located and packed my tripod, I didn’t bring my remote shutter which would have given clearer shots.

Photo Tip: When you don’t have a remote shutter, use your camera’s delay shutter option. My camera has a 10 second and 1 second option. I prefer the latter in this type of shot. Your camera should be on a tripod but can be propped up on something. Mittens or a jacket work well to create soft, flexible platform. The brief discomfort in the elements might be worth the shot captured.

I will have to remember that next time.

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