Silver Lining

I’m trying not to be upset over the fact that I had to send in my main camera lens for repair. It refused to focus properly, especially when zoomed into infinity.

I don’t mind, so much, that I am without my lens for a few weeks… I mind that the repair cost may be several hundreds of dollars that I do not have. (At least it isn’t my expensive macro lens on the fritz!)  I tried to get away using it with limited focus range but after a photo shoot on the observation deck of the Carew Tower (the tallest building downtown Cincinnati) I discovered I was getting way better photographs with my iPhone.

So now I am without my lens but not without my need to capture everything I see. I started taking lots of iPhone photographs and then out of boredom I searched the AppStore for camera editing applications. I was ultimately fascinated with the “Grunge” apps, downloaded a couple of them, and they have become the silver lining in this whole lens fiasco!

Now I keep my mind consumed by learning all the texture and tone varieties in the apps, and capturing my world thru a new (dare I say… grungy) pointy of view.

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Summer Solstice


The sun rose directly in front of me today. This is the most northern sunrise of the year.

This morning I was out on the back porch overlooking the river at 6:00am waiting to celebrate the sunrise with the birds on this first day of summer. It will be the longest day of the year! Right as the sun breaks the horizon there is always a lot of movement as the clouds expand and get sucked down into it’s heat. Only momentarily did I see the full sun and it disappeared into all the clouds that gathered to welcome it.

Today the sun rose at its most northern point, and will travel the closest to earth that it will all year. Tomorrow it will rise a tad to the right of where it is in my photograph, and there will be 2 whole seconds less of daylight. There is still time to celebrate though, sunset at 9:08 (giving us 14 hours, 55 minutes, and 36 seconds of sunlight here on our little slice of plant earth).

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River Sweep

River Sweep is sponsored by the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) with funding though the Foundation for Ohio River Education (FORE) and is an annual riverbank cleanup for the Ohio River and it’s tributaries. Throughout the years this nationally recognized event has grown into one of the largest cleanup efforts of it’s kind. It encompasses more than 3,000 miles of shoreline from Pittsburgh, PA to Cairo, IL.

Increased water quality of the Ohio River and its tributaries has increased recreational use, in turn increasing the amount of litter along the riverbanks making yearly cleanup vital. River Sweep also increases public awareness of water quality and promotes stewardship of the Ohio River and it’s tributaries. Last year over 20,000 people volunteered to collect trash and debris from the riverbanks.

This year extensive spring flooding has an ever bigger mess along the banks of the Ohio but even today’s rain didn’t keep volunteers from putting on their gloves, grabbing a trash bag, and hitting the bank of the mighty river. Free tee-shirt are also given to volunteers who come environmental organizations, civic groups, recreational clubs, scout troops, local businesses, FaceBook invites, and families wanting to play an active roll in improving the environment.

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A New Experience

Capturing the day with my iPhone.

I am finally recovered from all the excitement of my first show at Augusta, Kentucky’s “Art in the Garden” where I had my new 10′ x 10′ tent set up on the banks of the Ohio River as one of 60 artists. I don’t know if I will do it again but the experience was priceless. I sold 4 framed pieces on site and have sold 3 others since so I did earn more than experience!

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My Unexpected House Guest

Heading out for the day I decided to forgo the elevator and take the stairs when down on the 3rd floor I serendipitously ran into a female cardinal trapped and trying to escape thru the window glass. I ran back upstairs, unlocked my apartment, set down my purse, and rushed out on the back porch to grab a handful of seeds from the bird feeder as bait. The bird only let me get so close then took to flight playing hide-n-seek with me in the stairwell. Finally I coaxed her from behind to fly up to the top floor and into the open doorway of my apartment. She flew right to the front room with all the windows and I freaked-out a little as she banged into the window trying to fly on out into the treetops. I cautiously approached her with the food I still had in my hand but she didn’t completely trust me. She did, however, graciously pose as I grabbed my camera from the other room a proceeded to take some close-ups of her. She flew from the window and perched on a rung of a wooden chair as I opened up all the windows and their screens, giving her several escape routes. She decided to stay a little longer so I grabbed my tripod to get some really steady shots of her. As she watch me take a few with natural light and then a couple with the flash I imagined she would tell her friends similar stories to those of sci-fi abductees about flying saucers and being probed by alien creatures. About a human with her big black box that had one giant eye and an occasional blinding light that emmitted from it. I empathsized with my feathered visitor and gently set the camera aside to guide her attention toward the open windows and her freedom. As fast as I could blink she was gone, leaving me with nothing but fond memories and a permanent image I would share as my “Pic of the Day” on facebook

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Tromp & Trolley

Sunflower Field

Friday Evening was the first Tromp & Trolley I participated in since joining the Ohio River Valley Artists Guild. It started out raining and the weather was hot and muggy but still I Tromped around (I should have used the Trolley!) downtown historic Maysville to see all the other artists at their locations. Pictured is the latest piece I had framed by Russell Hughes (The Home Frame Shop) for this occasion. It is called “Sunflower Field”. I photographed it at a farm I visited in Franklin, Kentucky last September where I photographed my sunflower prints. My next projects are getting “Winter Barn” framed in the same panoramic format for Art in the Garden in Augusta Kentucky and “Butterfly on Sunflower” for the Maple Knoll exhibit in Cincinnati, Ohio. I’m hoping for better weather that first week in June!

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Lost in the Bright Side

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse

So what could possibly be the bright side of spending 3 days in bed trying unsuccessfully to appease an angry sciatic nerve? Just about the sweetest capture of this Tufted Titmouse that visits my feeder everyday.

As I lay there in agony, alternating heat treatments and ice packs on my lower lumbar, I decided I might as well open the window closest to the corner post of the balcony railing outside where the neighborhood birds occasionally stand to wait their turn at the feeder or suet pack. The winter sun has not shown here for so long, resulting in all my fowl photos being taken in the heavy north shadow of my home (blowing out the bright Ohio River Valley in the background).

 I sat the camera on it’s tripod close enough to the bed so I could hold the cable shutter release in my hand. I aimed it at the white post all ready for a feathered creature to land while I watched TV. –Auto Focus. Continuous Shooting. Aperture Priority 3.2– Well they didn’t fall for it! Not with the open window and the huge eyeball of a lens staring directly at them. I decided to lure them in by sharing some of the Trail Mix I was snacking on. Then to add to the beauty of the shot I moved a potted vine closer to the post and wrapped some of the leaves around the railing. They couldn’t resist! Once they saw the red-bellied woodpecker come and get a treat unharmed every other species took its turn picking their favorite selection from the mix of nuts and berries. All I had to do was push and hold my thumb down on the cable shutter release.

Day 1 – All the shots I took were out of focus because the camera’s auto-focus zeroed in on the vine in front of the post. Tomorrow I will set the focus manually.

Day 2 – The depth of field was too shallow on everything from the big Blue Jays to the tiny Chickadees. Tomorrow I will set the Aperture to 5.6 and up the ISO to 200

Day 3 – Perfection!

Taking advantage of my confinement with photography does so much more than just keeping my mind off my misery!

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