Friday, April 16, 2010




Had a question from JERRY about the Fuji Cherry photo in yesterday's blog about how that was done.  Wished I could say it was some great photographic wizardry I performed but it was just basically a straight forward shot.  While at the computer I noticed a thin shaft of sunlight coming through the pine trees falling on a small section of our Fuji Cherry bush about 20 feet away.  Fortunately I had my camera & telescope lens already set up beside me for bird photos in the front yard.  I quickly focused square on the sunlit blossoms, guessed at a shutter speed of & took the photo.  A second later the sun had moved on leaving the bush in shadow.

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The lens is equivalent to a fixed 700mm & I have no control over aperture like a normal lens which means I have no control over 'depth of field' which means I have no control of the 'depth of focus.  Simplified, that means even at the best of times, only a few inches of the subject are ever in focus.  Everything up to a couple inches in front of the subject are out of focus & everything from a few inches to infinity behind the subject are out of focus.  That explains the blossoms behind the subject being out of focus & they are darker because they are not highlighted by sunlight.  The only control I have on this lens is shutter speed & even that is limited.  This is a very difficult & limited lens to use & I would not recommend it over a normal camera lens made specifically for cameras.  Remember, this is a telescope I am using and it is adapted to my Nikon via some adaptor rings & hardware. (binder twine, duct tape, crazy glue, hair clips, & an assortment of bent clothes hangers:))



While on the subject of photography I would just like to mention a few thoughts I have about 'seeing with a photographic eye.'  You do not have to have all kinds of expensive equipment to take great photos.  Thanks to the digital age my photography interests returned about 12 years ago.  My 35mm film camera days had ended years before that & my cameras sat unused in a closet.  After we got our first computer in about 1998 I slowly began to gain some interest in something called, digital photography.  Not knowing if this would interest me I bought a cheap little 1 megapixel camera at a store in London.  As soon as I uploaded my first few pictures to the computer screen I was hooked.  My head was awhirl with all kinds of ideas & possibilities.


I used that simple 1M camera for years before moving up to something better but it was this camera that renewed my interest in photography again.  Of course the resolution quality wasn't there but it opened my eyes once again to the beautiful world around me.  I began to see  things again in a photographic way.  Couldn't change lenses with this camera but I knew about composition.  Couldn't change shutter speeds or apertures, but I knew a bit about lighting.  Couldn't afford a more expensive camera but knew I didn't need one at the time.  It was first things first & the first thing for me was to get my photographic eye back.  The art of seeing!!  All the greatest camera gear in the world is not going to help you if you do not see or not aware of your immediate surroundings.


RICK sometimes jokes about Paulette's uncanny ability to spot Quilt Stores.  It's the same kind of principle as that.  Paulette is consciously or sub consciously on the look out for something she enjoys that is a hobby to her.  Rick doesn't notice the stores because his interests are focused elsewhere.  A Corvette Car Club member will spot all the Corvettes on the highway where I probably would miss them.  RV'ers will notice other RV's where many people wouldn't give them a second look.  It is the same thing in the photographer's world.  I see things that others don't see, simply because they are not attuned to them.  That Fuji Cherry photo is a good example of that. 



Ten people standing in our sunroom looking out the window at the front yard probably wouldn't have seen those highlighted sunlit blossoms against the darker background & the only reason I saw that is because of my 'photographer's eye.'  Out of those 10 people looking out the window, one might be bird watcher so it is the bird's at the feeders they will see.  Another person's interests might be aggregates so they are probably looking at the many rocks in the gardens.  Somebody else might be interested in old cars so their attention is triggered by the 56 Ford Crown Victoria going by.  A horticulture person will notice all the shrubs & greenery.  Out of all those things which I am aware of, my attention was grabbed by a ray of sunlight on a cluster of Fuji blossoms.

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In the beach sunset photos a lot of people would see the sun & water & take a nice picture of that. (which I did too)  However my eye spotted a lone chair further down the beach & my mind immediately began calculating the position of the descending sun, the water, & the silhouette photo that combination could produce.  That is the result of, 'the photographer's eye.' 

DSC_0034 Because I think in the terms of photography, I see in the terms of photography.  Everything out there is a photograph to me.  Shadows, cloud formations, colors, textures, foregrounds, backgrounds, people's faces, animals & birds, etc.  Everything.......  It is the art of seeing & it is the art of wanting to see.  The art of looking & understanding what you are looking at.  The art of seeing the finished photo in your mind before you even take it.


Now, let me back up on this 'art' word I have been using quite a bit.  It's one I hesitate to use but haven't come up with a good substitute for.  The art of seeing with a photographic eye is something that I believe most anyone can develop if they want to, but it takes time. The more you do it the better you are going to become at it.  But, the interest has to be there.


Ok, enough of all that, but first, here's what I suggest you do if you have a beginning interest in photography.  There are many great digital cameras on the market & I would say start out with a simple point & shoot cam.  And no, I do not mean a camera phone!!  I think my first digital cam was under a hundred dollars.  In this computer age we are soooooooo fortunate that we can step out the door, crack off a bunch of pics, step back inside, upload them in the computer, & within a couple minutes we can have our results right in front of us on a screen.  And, no cost:))  No more pricey film, expensive development charges, with days or weeks of waiting for results. Now, how easy is that.  What a great advantage for people with photography interests nowadays compared to years ago.  So, grab your cam, open your eyes & mind to your surroundings, & start clicking away:))  Don't just think about it.....get out there & do it!!  Oh, & a word of caution here.....these are just my opinions & are not coming from a professional photographer.  They are just the thoughts of someone who happens to enjoy the hobby of photography.


Our Woodstock trip this morning to visit my Uncle Harry went well.  We had a meeting scheduled with a lady from Community Care Services for all of us to talk about & go over plans to extend my Uncles care to a long term care facility.  He is at a point now in his 93 years where he will soon be needing the kind of additional attention that his assisted living facility where he is now doesn't provide.  We chose 3 Nursing Home facilities in the Stratford area & Harry signed the papers to get the ball rolling for an opening.  Could be in a couple weeks, could be 6 months, or it could be longer.  There are long waiting lists here in Canada.


Last week while Kelly was in Spencerport she was helping her Mother along the same lines with gathering info for her Dad if he should need additional care soon.  Now, here is something that really startled us.  Monthly care in a typical American nursing home facility is between $10,000 & 11,000 dollars a month.  In Canada the price is set by the government & all homes across the country charge the same monthly rate which is slightly in access of $2,100.  Harry is a veteran so that cost will be substantially reduced.  I hope I have those numbers right but I'm sure that is what I was hearing this morning.  Anyway, the meeting went well & Uncle Harry liked the lady that talked to him & explained things to him.  He was very tired & had just about enough time for a little snooze before his lunch time in the cafeteria so Kelly & I headed back to Bayfield.   Deer Park Lodge was waiting & Kelly had to be back to work. 

Would you believe upon returning home from Woodstock I fell asleep in my recliner with a two thirds full cup of hot coffee in my hand.  Woke up about an hour & half later & hadn't spilled a drop.  I had been resting the coffee on my lap so had I spilled any I am sure I would have had a rather rude awakening!

GROANER'S CORNER:((  The first man, Adam, was relaxing in the Garden of Eden when God said, "Adam, how would you like someone to prepare your meals, clean your house and wash your clothes, someone that loves and adores you and will obey your every wish?" Adam said, "That sounds pretty good, but how much will it cost me?" God replied, "An arm and a leg." Adam thought about it for a little while, then asked, "Well, what can I get for just one rib?"

Tourists see the world, travelers experience it.

The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...... AL.


  1. I liked your post today about the photographer's eye. I think I used to have it, back in the days of film cameras and a little window to look through. I think I got great pictures because I could line up a shot from a different perspective, and I was always interested in windows, doors, and portals to look through.

    Now with a digital camera and that small screen you have to hold out in front of you, plus my deteriorated eyesight, I simply aim the camera and shoot. Most of the time I can see a perfect shot but have no idea what I got until I download and enlarge it on my computer screen. It is extremely frustrating.

  2. You're absolutely right about the "photographer's eye" Al and you definitely seem to have it based on the consistent quality photos you post. I'm still working at it and finding it fun to look at a subject and instead of just snapping away, to step back for a second and try and visualize the result. I've got a long way to go but it is a lot of fun.

    Glad to see your Uncle Harry is o.k. with his possible new surroundings - that's great.

  3. Thanks for giving me a little boost in my journey to acquire a photographer's eye. I'm a beginner, but your photos help me "see" things (besides birds!) :)

  4. Loved the last sunset photo on the blog best. Hope everything works out OK for Uncle Harry and he finds the right "home".

  5. A long post today, Amigo, but a fascinating one. Suzy and I both have a share of the photographer's eye, but we move on too fast, and don't take the time to ponder each shot. Of course, you didn't have time to ponder that cherry blossom shot and you got it just right. By the way, thanks for answering my question so completely! You may not be a professional photographer, but you do professional level work, and we love to admire it!

  6. Thanks for the lesson. It does help to make me think more about what I am actually seeing. I'll try to put your ideas into motion.

    Good to learn that you have begun the paperwork to help your Uncle with his future needs. Hopefully, the wait won't be too long for him.

    Great sunset photo.

  7. Thanks, Al. With your permission I'm going to print this and give a copy to our camera group. It is one thing I have stressed to the group and also one thing I have to constantly remind myself to do. Don't just look for the obvious, look for the beauty around you. Even with the South-Western glasses off, there is a lot of beauty in the desert. The great thing about the electronic cameras of today is you can take bunches of pictures around a subject. Change angles, change your view, get closer, get further away. Some of the pictures go to the "Trash Bin" but it is really a great feeling when you see the "one" that is exactly as you thought of it.

    We do miss ya here, buddy. Keep the camera buzzing and don't forget to "enhance" a few for me. (lol)