Perspectives by Scott: Blog http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog en-us Scott Beadenkopf (Perspectives by Scott) Thu, 03 Apr 2014 02:38:00 GMT Thu, 03 Apr 2014 02:38:00 GMT http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/img/s/v-5/u910113552-o463579147-50.jpg Perspectives by Scott: Blog http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog 90 120 March 2014: Spring at Last! http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2014/4/march-2014-spring-at-last Dear Friends,

  I am embarrassed, because you told me to take good snow pictures, and I just shoveled my driveway.  I did take a lot of photos of snow and ice, but few worth sharing.  It is not easy to get good snow pictures.  Falling snow can be pretty, but mostly it just obscures the scene. And snow is usually so bright that the camera will get confused and try to make the snow gray.  Use exposure compensation or a snow scene mode if your camera has such, to keep your snow white.

 

Shea BrookThis little brook is dry ornamental stones for about 352 days out of the year.   I spent a lot of time with my Nikon 10-24 wide angle zoom lens on, this winter, so that I could get shots like the one below. This little brook that runs through Neumann's Shea Garden is dry ornamental stones for 362 days out of the year.  But I have been keeping my eye on it.  When I saw it running fresh, I spread my tarp and got the camera as close to the stream as I could. Shea Brook was shot at 1/200, f16, ISO 500, 24 mm focal length.  At the narrow f16 aperture the wide angle lens has a huge depth of field, and focusing about a third of the way into the scene ensured that just about everything in view was also in focus.

  The wide angle zoom can also focus quite close, and as snow descended on us for another day in February, I shot images of snow laden twigs with the 10-24 wide angle.  But the results were uninspiring, both because the lens has a very narrow depth of field at f4.5 and also because I had not composed a picture with much interest.  The lens is also probably not as sharp as the 35 mm and 60 mm prime (non-zoom) lenses that have become my favorites.

The images here are available for download from my SmugMug gallery, in different sizes, for use as desktop backgrounds. Clicking on any of the images in this blog, however, takes you to the full-resolution image in my ZenFolio gallery, where you can purchase prints, framed and mounted products, T-shirts, mugs and even cutting boards with the images imprinted.

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I had visited and photographed the abandoned Chester Creek Branch line railroad tracks in the early winter, but I was eager to get back after a fresh snow, when the landscape might be softened and the rails enhanced.

To get images as sharp as possible I used the 35 mm prime lens. The township and local groups are in the process of turning some of the line into a hiking trail, and trees that had fallen across the tracks had already been cleared up on this, my second visit.

The image below is part of a panorama, made from five exposures with the camera held vertically, and stitched together in Photoshop CC. Chester Creek Branch Line was shot at 1/125, f8, ISO 500 at 35 mm.

Sun was shining on the trees in the background, and the mixture of yellows on the trees, blue in the sky and reflected off the snow, and browns and grays in the trees made for an image with too much going on.Changing it to black and white with a sepia tint has made the scene simpler and more understandable. Chester Creek Branch LineChester Creek Branch Line

Maple Buds on a sugar or silver maple on St. John Neumann circle at Neumann University.  Shot with the 60 mm (prime) macro lens at 1/640, f11, ISO 400, seven exposures at slightly different depths of focus were combined in Photoshop CC to create the final image.

Maple is WaitingMaple is WaitingMaple buds on St. John Neumann Circle, Neumann University

 

And finally we get to spring!  The crocus are wonderful with their built-in antifreeze.  You can find an image with snow (Snow Crocus) in the gallery.  But I was so glad to see the crocus fully out and open, spreading its flower to the sun and probably some pollinator.  I used focus stacking again, for Late Spring 2014, since the flower was quite deep, and one exposure would have captured only a part of the petals in focus.  Ten images were shot at 1/250th, f11, ISO 1600 with the 60 mm prime.  To reduce visual confusion, the leaf litter in the background was set to black and white with just a hint of color and a slight Gaussian blur. Late Spring 2014Late Spring 2014

 

Love to all!

Scott

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flowers railroad tracks snow spring http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2014/4/march-2014-spring-at-last Thu, 03 Apr 2014 02:34:13 GMT
January 2014 - Happy New Year http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2014/1/january-2014---happy-new-year Happy New Year 2014Happy New Year 2014Dark sky and bright stars over my house on the Pocono Plateau. Dear Friends,

I feel incredibly fortunate to have been able to go out in my insulated clothes to photograph the icy beauty of the night sky above the Pocono Plateau and then return to warmth and companionship. I hope you have had joy in your life in the past weeks, and I wish you a 2014 filled with beauty and relationship.

My last photo on the Neumann campus in 2013 I had to wait for. I had taken test shots a few nights before, of the Christmas lights on the Mirenda Center, but not all of the lights were on, there were too many cars, and the contrast between a black sky and the bright lights was, well, boring.  As I walked to my car at the end of the last day of the school year, all was still; light remained in the western sky; and the lights in the creche were on. I quickly unpacked the tripod and shot several sets of photos, panning across the lighted trees and Center, with the camera on its side (vertical); using the Nikon 10-24 wide angle lens to get plenty of sky. (2.5 seconds, f11, ISO 400, 19 mm on the Nikon 10-24 mm lens.)  Stitched together in Photoshop and cropped to fit my monitor, the image is still the one on my desktop.  Clicking on the images, below, will take you to my ZenFolio gallery, where you can order prints. (Silent Night would look particularly nice on metallic paper.)

Click this link to go to my SmugMug gallery where you can download images sized for monitors or the iPad.

Silent NightSilent NightNeumann University's Mirenda Center for Sport Spirituality and Character Development, December 2013.

A week later I was in the Poconos, walking the dogs after dinner, and felt almost scared by the fiery glitter of the stars.  I set up the tripod behind my house, because stars, by themselves are not so interesting, unless they are seen through a pretty big telescope.

Winter Night over the Pocono PlateauWinter Night over the Pocono PlateauThe stars were bright on this cold December night in the Poconos. Adobe Lightroom 4.4 with some help from Photoshop did a great job of bringing out the stars in Winter Night in the Poconos (30 sec, f8, ISO 200, 10 mm)   For those who care, the software update from LR 4.0 to 4.4 made a big difference in its ability to brighten the stars without making the sky horribly grainy.  Still, next time I will shoot at a higher ISO to make better use of the available light.

A few nights close to zero in Philadelphia led to ice on the Schuylkill like nothing I have seen before.

Polar Vortex Meets the Schuylkill RiverPolar Vortex Meets the Schuylkill RiverSeveral days of polar weather produced unusual ice formations on the gentle Schuylkill River Cold Snap - looking north from the South Street Bridge, a day after the December cold snap broke. Like the photo of the Mirenda Center it is a photo-merge of 5 or 6 verticals using the wide-angle zoom. (1/160 sec, f11, ISO 200, 22 mm)  Compare it with a panorama from February 2013 from the same vantage point, shot with the 70-300 mm telephoto lens (1/250 sec, f11, ISO 200, 85 mm), as the piers for the walkways were just being finished.

Love to all,

Scott

 

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Christmas Neumann ice lights night sky stars winter http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2014/1/january-2014---happy-new-year Tue, 28 Jan 2014 03:17:39 GMT
Autumn 2013 - Power of Place http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2013/12/autumn-2013-power-of-place Dear Friends,

It has been a busy fall for me, as it probably has been for you. But now that the leaves and flowers are covered by a coat of snow I can finally get you my autumn images.Images at various sizes for downloading can be found in my SmugMug gallery. Clicking on the pictures on this page will take you to my ZenFolio gallery where you can purchase prints, coffee mugs and more.
 
Arriving at Cabrini College early on the last day of October, I was entranced by the foggy autumnal scene, and the Adirondack chairs provided a sharp contrast.
Chairs in the MistChairs in the Mist
 
I was given a small zinnia early in the summer, and knew nothing about them. But I planted it, and it was a strong producer of colorful flowers well into the autumn. Its close-growing flowers in their countless shades of yellow/orange were fascinating. Capturing the zinnia in pixels, however, was a problem of focus. How to simplify the gorgeous crowd of blossoms to an image with a sense of direction?
I tried using the focus stacking technique to separate this Zinnia Quartet from the background. By stacking half a dozen images at varying depths to bring the foreground blossoms into sharp focus, while leaving the background flowers pleasantly blurred. Unfortunately, the image as a whole lacks focus. A 12x24 print will look very nice in the right place, but as an atmospheric rather than as a work of art.
 

Zinnia QuartetZinnia QuartetZinnia and goldenrod - stacked focus

 

Eventually I realized that the most interesting zinnia was an older, partially desiccated flower with some insect damage. I put the old zinnia on its own layer and de-emphasized the background layer with a black and white filter and a bit of blur. Old Zinnia would look great as a standout on canvas or paper at 10x15.

Old ZinniaOld Zinnia

 
The flower beds at the Bala Cynwyd post office are tended by dedicated volunteers, with great results. I pass the post office daily and have been wishing, for several years, for a chance to capture the blooming asters at the same time that the maples are showing their fiery autumn color. It happened, at last, a few weeks ago. Asters in Autumn is still my current desktop favorite, and I hope you like it as much as I do. 
 

Asters in autumnAsters in autumn

 
Several other vertical photos from the set may make even better prints, but will not be as useful for desktop backgrounds.

Aster in ChargeAster in Charge

 

Aster in Charge, at left, should look nice in any size from 8x16 up to 12x24, possibly on a stretched canvas mount without a frame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autumn Berries, below, will look best printed at 12x15 inches or larger.

Love to all,

Scott

Autumn BerriesAutumn Berries

 

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Bala Cynwyd autumn leaves macro stacking zinnia http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2013/12/autumn-2013-power-of-place Mon, 09 Dec 2013 16:57:47 GMT
Summer 2013 http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2013/9/summer-2013 Dear Friends,

  I took a lot of photos this summer on our trip to Niagara Falls, but none of those pictures made the cut for this blog.  For the most part, I chose to be a guy with his family rather than a photographer. My family might disagree.  What was clear to me, though, is that my artistic process takes time and thought and often solitude.  It is really difficult to separate what my normal waking mind sees - all of the interpretations and compensation that my visual center uses to make meaning of a landscape - from the color and shadow that the camera sees.  Walking along the cascades, for instance, downstream from the falls, the monstrous standing waves and rushing tumult of water is breathtaking and lovely. But most sill photos look like a windy day on the lake.

It also takes time for me to grow to know and love a place, to know when the light is good on that flower, to develop an affection for that chimney and its shadow. Or it may be weeks, even years of passing a tree, in spring and fall and snow before the clouds are fluffy and the flowers are bright, and I think - now! As we walked around Niagara Falls under an overcast sky and crowds of sightseers, I thought, "Wouldn't it be a luxury to have days or months here to wait for the time when the wind might blow the spray south and the sun might sparkle on the waves and the droplets might shine with rainbow colors and I might be in the right place to capture it?"

You may visit a few vacation photos from the gorge of Watkins Glen State Park and Niagara Falls in the selected photos gallery on Smug Mug.

The clouds were fluffy and the sky blue when I happened by Blakeslee Methodist Church in Blakeslee, PA in the Poconos. Captured with the help of the Nikon 10-24 wide angle lens I bought for the trip to Niagara Falls.

Blakeslee MethodistBlakeslee MethodistBlakeslee Methodist Church, Blakeslee, PA

I can't claim to have been in solitude at Citizen's Bank Park as we sat in the upper deck along with friends from Nashirah (the Jewish chorale of Greater Philadelphia, who had just sung the National Anthem). But I had plenty of time to gaze out across the park, with the setting sun lighting the sky and the distant skyline of Philadelphia rising over the outfield on a perfect August evening. Six images with the 10-24 mm lens, merged and straightened in Photoshop.

August in the BallparkAugust in the BallparkAugust in Citizens Bank Park - Phillies vs. Colorado Rockies
Panorama from 6 images

The zinnias were a gift that I decided to plant near the goldenrod and milkweed patch in my backyard. Who knew they would do so well? As I write this, the goldenrod has burst forth, and I hope to give you a photo update. Zinnia and Goldenrod is available in the Summer 2013 Smug Mug gallery as a horizontal, and makes a great desktop background!  You will find the other images there, as well, for free download. But to purchase prints and support this blog, please click on the images you see here. Thanks!

Backyard ZinniaBackyard ZinniaGoldenrod florets wait patiently, while Zinnia blooms brazenly

Shalom!

Love to all,

Scott

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baseball church flowers panorama http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2013/9/summer-2013 Wed, 25 Sep 2013 02:17:57 GMT
Perspectives #20: Beauty is Interesting http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2013/7/perspectives-20-beauty-is-interesting Dear Friends,

  Alexis Madrigal wrote recently ("Follow your own Curiosity," Medium, May 23, 2013) that his most popular writings were the pieces that he personally found most interesting, that paying attention to what the "public" wanted ultimately made his writing less interesting to himself and to his readers.  It would be nice if that were true! I am sometimes surprised by the photos people like.  I would like to know, so please write me, post in the guest book,  or leave comments in the galleries.

On the day I shot Cupola Blossoms, below, the sky was brilliant, the flowers stunning, and I was near Grace Hall on the Cabrini College campus, so I looked for a way to combine all three in one image.  After a few dozen tries I hit on this combination, shot with the 60 mm macro lens at f16, 1/250th at ISO 400.  You might think that shooting at f16, a very narrow aperture, would give me a large depth of field and make everything in focus. Focusing on the blossoms so close to the camera, however, results in a very small depth of field, and the narrow aperture is required to get the whole blossom cluster in focus.

Cupola Blossoms is available for download as a desktop background with the flowers on the right so they won't clash with your left-side desktop icons. As usual, you will find the downloads on my May 2013 SmugMug gallery. To purchase prints and other photo covered items, and to help support this blog, click on any of the images below to visit the Perspectives by Scott galleries.

Blossoms surround cupola against blue skyCupola Blossoms

The red bud blossoms - these are also on Cabrini campus - form a gentle purple lace in the distance, but seem rather bug-like and ugly to me when I draw close. It was not until I moved very close to a single blossom that i became really interested and entranced. When focusing this close, the resulting in a depth of field so narrow that not even one blossom could be completely in focus. I layered two exposures with focus at slightly different depths to produce this somewhat in focus Red Bud Blossom. Wind or camera motion made it impossible for me to line up additional layers this time. I will try again next spring. (60 mm, 1/320 sec at f14)

Magnified image of red bud blossomRed Bud Blossom By the way, the pictures you see in the blog are from my ZenFolio site and are adjusted for printing; they are brighter than the images to in my SmugMug gallery, which are adjusted for display on the computer screen.  

 

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Cabrini cupola flower macro spring http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2013/7/perspectives-20-beauty-is-interesting Tue, 23 Jul 2013 01:25:41 GMT
April 2013 - Spring Cannot be Restrained http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2013/5/april-2013---spring-cannot-be-restrained Dear Friends,

This photo has had the place of honor on my desktop for some weeks. Neumann University's Rocco A. Abessinio building is visible at right, red bud and Shea Garden at left.  The sense of space and peace appeal to me.  You may download it without charge for your desktop from my SmugMug gallery. You can purchase a print (and support this site) by clicking on the photo - the other photos, also. (Taken with Nikon D-7000 with the 35mm f1.8 lens and circular polarizing filter at ISO 200, 1/160 sec at f9)

Fir boughs frame spring blossoms at NU Abessinio Bldg.Coniferous Spring

At the end of March, the pitcher plants were poking out of the soil in the Blakeslee Natural area off Rt 115 in the Poconos.  Also shot with the 35mm lens and polarizer (ISO 400, 1/100 sec at f5.6). The polarizing filter reduces reflection off the surface of the plants, enhancing the lovely purples.  I reduced the color saturation of the surrounding grasses for contrast.

Pitcher plants rise from the earthPitcher Eruption

I took off the polarizer for the shot below, to try to get a little more light, but the reflections washed out the color so much that even strenuous efforts in Photoshop could only get back some of it.  Sigh!

Pitcher plantsPitcher Eruption 2

These abandoned railroad tracks off Knowlton Road in Aston, PA are part of the same line, I think, that crosses Chester Creek by Kings Mills. This picture is a photomerge of six exposures and can be printed at 28x28 through photos.scottbeadenkopf.com.  Someday I hope to get a good quality wide-angle lens that might reduce the need to merge multiple images, but the multiple images give me (and you) a lot of pixels and a lot of detail. (Six exposures shot with the 35 mm lens at ISO 800, 1/100 sec at f8)

abandoned rail road tracksEnd of the line

Love to all,

Scott

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Nikon pitcher plants polarizer railroad tracks red bud http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2013/5/april-2013---spring-cannot-be-restrained Tue, 14 May 2013 02:32:44 GMT
March 2013 - Trying to Bloom http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2013/4/trying-to-bloom Dear Friends,

  It has been a cold spring.  The forsythia are just starting to show yellow, and the daffodils are just waking.  Other flowers have not waited.  The snowdrops have already bloomed and passed, and the crocus have been blooming on south facing lawns and gardens for weeks.

I have been working on my "stacked focus" shots. Most of the images in this month's blog are macro (close-up) images combining three to twelve exposures taken with different focus depths, so that an entire flower or group of flowers can be sharp while leaving the background soft. 

The images are in chronological order, so you will see not only some change in the season (not enough!), but also some change in my skill with the technique.  Clicking on an image will take you to the image in the Zen Folio gallery, where you can purchase prints and other merchandise.  You may download lower resolution images for free for your computer screen from my SmugMug gallery. Images are sized for varying screen sizes.

This strange red flower, shot at the end of February, is a blossom from a bush on the Cabrini College campus.  Focus stacking was essential, to show the entire structure of the blossom in focus without losing it in the tangle of branches and other blossoms. Getting this    close with the 60 mm macro lens, even at f8 results in a very narrow depth of field.  Eight exposures were blended for this image.

straggly red flower on a bushEarly Blossoms

Snowdrops in Snow is such a gentle image, I almost did not include it, but it reminds us of how March has treated us.  

snowdrop blossom partially submerged in snowSnow bells

Then we had freezing rain!  I struggled with this image in post production (i.e., after the shooting), when I was assembling the exposures.  Photoshop had a particularly hard time blending the images - because of the subject, I think, and because my camera moved too much during the shooting.  After putting much too much time into the picture, I just cropped out the parts that did not work.

many irregular ice ballsFrozen Rain The same day in March I recorded the bowed but unbeaten crocus. They later made a great recovery.

yellow crocus blossoms with water and ice dropletsIce Crocus March still had some snow for us. In the picture below, a student walks past snow-draped statues of Mother Anna Bachmann and St. John Neumann.

A student walk through falling snow past snow-draped statuesSnowy Blessing

But the sun did finally appear.  In the last few days, with a little sun, the crocus have been incredibly brilliant, day after day. Perhaps the cool weather preserved the blooms, and March gave us a gift after all.

purple and yellow crocus bloomsCrowd of Crocus

Love to all,

Scott

 

 

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March flowers focus stacking macro snow http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2013/4/trying-to-bloom Fri, 05 Apr 2013 02:50:49 GMT
Water, water http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2013/3/water-water Dear Friends,

  Water is a key component in each of this month's photos, though though in very different ways.

Each time I had traveled from Drexel University to Neumann, I had noticed construction cranes apparently sitting in the Schuylkill River.  "What is that all about?" I thought, "And how can I get close to those striking objects?" On an afternoon in early February , too cold to work in the garden, I took my new Tamron 70-300 telephoto lens and went to stalk the cranes. I was able to get within a few hundred feet of the cranes, but the best view turned out to be from the South Street Bridge. Cranes on the Schuylkill is a composed of 17 exposures shot at 70 mm and then photomerged with Photoshop. Click on any of the photos to visit my ZenFolio gallery, where you can purchase prints and other photo products based on the full resolution images (and support my work), or visit my SmugMug gallery to freely download screen-sized images for computer and tablet backgrounds.

Construction cranes on the Schuylkill river looking north from South Street BridgeCranes on the River

A week or two later, sunshine had given way to low clouds and a misty rain. But when the sky is blah and the world is soaked, it can be a great time to look close. I took off the telephoto and put my trusty Nikon60 mm micro lens on the D7000, covered it with saran wrap, and went prospecting in the back yard for jewels.
I had learned a new technique for building in-depth in-focus images from Don Komarechka's posts describing his techniques for photographing snowflakes, and I was eager to try it out. I had used focus stacking before, but had learned two key techniques from Don. The first trick was setting the camera to rapid exposure mode and taking a large number of shots very quickly while moving the camera just slightly in and out to capture images at a range of depths. The second was to duplicate the many image layers in Photoshop before blending them, so that a particularly nice piece of an image could be recovered if Photoshop goofed. Rain Needles is a composite of six exposures.
water drops hang from pine needlesRain needles
The buds on the apple tree are still tightly closed and winter hard, but that will change very soon.
Rain Garments
One of my new favorite places to shoot in the Poconos is the Blakeslee Natural Area that includes several miles of Tobyhanna Creek, and the Tobyhanna Falls. Since our lakes were still frozen and we had five or six inches of snow on the ground I hiked over to the Falls to see if any ice was left.  The ice had gone, but the creek and falls were still mighty picturesque. Spring Thaw is a panorama composed of five verticals stitched together in Photoshop.
Rushing creek and waterfall with snow and dark skySpring Thaw
Love to All,
Scott
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Schuylkill River focus stacking macro rain waterfall http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2013/3/water-water Fri, 08 Mar 2013 21:01:23 GMT
Winter 2013 - Snowless landscapes http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2013/2/winter-2013---snowless-landscapes Dear Friends,

Now that February has arrived I have time to send you my January favorites. Strangely, none have snow.

I am including more of the technical back story in these letters/blogs. Feel free to bleep over it.

In 2009, Amazon tells me, I purchased my first non-zoom or "prime" digital lens, the Nikon 35 mm f1.8 AF-S DX, and it quickly became my favorite. When I hand my camera to people who have grown up with zoom lenses, they often ask, "How do you zoom it?" "You have to use your feet," I say. A zoom lens comes in handy at an event, with subjects all around me; but as you have seen, most of my subjects give me plenty of time to compose with my feet. The 35 mm is unfailingly sharp and lets in huge amounts of light and color. Perhaps a wide angle lens would make it easier for me to capture some of the landscapes below, but stitching together three, four or five images gives me a lot more pixels to work with.

This extra wide, View from the Bleachers, of the Neumann University sports field with the Mirenda Center for Sport Spirituality and Character Development in the background, with the Our Lady of Angels Convent behind, was built from five exposures, shot with the 35 mm lens, and the camera oriented vertically, to give plenty of height as well as width.

View across the turf field to the Mirenda CenterView from the Bleachers

For those of you who are new to this list, here's the scoop: You may freely download these photos for your personal use, for desktop or mobile device backgrounds, from my SmugMug sitehttp://fscott.smugmug.com/Landscapes/January-2013/27897107_vhq4NG.

Please use my ZenFolio site, http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com for prints, T-shirts and cutting boards. These images have much higher resolution and are fine tuned specifically for printing. The small profit I make from the prints will also help support my photo habit, if it ever covers the cost of the sites.

I had already framed up my shot and taken a couple of exposures of The Mansion at Cabrini, when a deer from the local herd cantered through. This image is from a single exposure.

The Mansion at Cabrini College with deer running byThe Mansion at Cabrini

 

The Foggy City image of Philadelphia City Hall on a foggy night is another panorama, composed of three images stitched together.  I had brought my camera with me to choir rehearsal, with the thought that I might get some images of boat house row and City Hall was just an after thought.  But it turned out to be too foggy for me to get much from the boat houses, and City Hall was magnificent.

City Hall in the fog at nightFoggy City

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City Hall Neumann Philadelphia fog panorama sports field http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2013/2/winter-2013---snowless-landscapes Thu, 07 Feb 2013 02:00:20 GMT
Late Autumn - Letter 15: Never too late for beauty http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2012/12/never-too-late-for-beauty It is late autumn. The clock has struck December, but a few leaves still hang on the trees, and we are graced with some warm days.  It is never too late for beauty!

Dried Mandevilla It was already late for the foliage when I went out to looking for beauty in mid-November. My neighbors, maintain a lovingly designed flower garden, with inviting benches, bird feeders and ornaments. With its leaves dry and browned, this Dried Mandevilla still dressed its cast iron trellis with color.

Feel free to download Dried Mandevilla as a background image for any of your devices from the November 2012 gallery on SmugMug. Download the "Original" size for best results.

For a print, please purchase from photos.scottbeadenkopf.com. This could make a great gift as a standout or stretched canvas print.

 

 

 


Grass seed head in front of red autumn leavesGrasses with Japanese Maple
 

The Grasses with Maple are from my front yard, with flaming Japanese maple leaves in the background.

I just purchased a telephoto lens and was testing its depth of field at different apertures. (The lens is a Tamron 70-300 mm.)

Telephoto lenses tend to compress the foreground and give a pleasantly blurred background (bokeh) at many settings.

 

I had left my car at the garage and was waiting for the train back to get it when I was struck with the contrasts in this scene.   
Radnor Station at Sunset and the grasses, above, both make much better desktop backgrounds with the busy part of the image on the right side of the screen, so you will find the images in the SmugMug gallery have all been reversed. As prints, however, the detail is better on the left, which you will find on my photos.scottbeadenkopf.com gallery.
Sunset over railroad tracks at a train stationNovember Sunset Radnor Stn

 

Ice crystals on a dead leafLeaf Frost

We were blessed, recently, with some clear days and frigid nights, and a coating of hoar frost on the grass blades and fallen leaves. Leaf Frost is on my desktop at home right now.  It is too busy for my work computer!

I am looking forward to getting even more intimate with ice crystals in the coming weeks.

Love to all!

Scott

 

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autumn beauty frost leaves macro http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2012/12/never-too-late-for-beauty Tue, 18 Dec 2012 02:24:50 GMT
Autumn 2012 - Letter 14 http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2012/11/autumn-2012-letter-14 Dear Friends,

The end of summer brought a trip to northern Michigan and at least one photo worth sharing, but it also brought a busy schedule that has kept me from sharing with you.  Apologies for that!

Moonrise over Lake Huron was the calm end to a long day of driving from Ypsilanti, near Detroit, to Cheboygan with a bunch of my brothers and sisters. As supper was being made we wandered down to the rocky beach and hung out as the sky darkened and the moon rose. Moonrise is probably not one you will print, but it makes a great desktop background!  Download a desktop version from my SmugMug gallery, here. If you do want to order a print or cutting board, just click on the image.

moonrise over rocky lake shoreMoonrise on Lake Huron Autumn seems brief to us, as greens turn to russet, but how does it seem to the butterflies? Brief Autumn wanted to be square, and it is too busy to put on your desktop, but it makes a great 12x12 print. Click on the photo to see your options.

butterfly framed by foliage and autumn leavesBrief Autumn Mother Anna Bachmann and St. John Neumann are seen in this Autumn Panorama of St. John Neumann Circle on the Neumann University campus.

autumn colors in leaves and flowers behind statue of Mother BachmannAutumn panorama Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Scott

 

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Lake Huron Neumann autumn butterfly moon http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2012/11/autumn-2012-letter-14 Fri, 16 Nov 2012 02:46:26 GMT
Preserve the Poconos! - Letter # 13 http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2012/9/save-our-native-plants Dear Friends,
I spent a week in the Poconos, recently, and worked in a  hike on the Skyline Trail in Hickory Run State Park. Much of the beauty of the Pocono Plateau is subtle; the scruffy looking field looks unkempt, but when you look closer you see that it is covered with low bush blueberries.  It was disheartening to see Japanese stilt grass along both sides of the more popular woodland trails. I worry that the blueberries can not compete. I now think that maybe population growth is a good thing - if it gives us lots of people to defend our native natural areas from invasive species.
Thistle and Butterfly
Just a short distance from the trail head I saw two gorgeous thistle blossoms glowing against the grasses. As I made friends with the thistles I thought how wonderful it would be if a butterfly would join us. Nature smiled on us, and I was able to get this lovely shot. The surrounding grasses, however, were more distraction than beauty, so I used Photoshop's "refine edge" process to help pull the main actors out of the background. This photo is available for download in the usual sizes, plus, I also created an iPad and a vertical, smart phone version of this image - all available in my Hickory Run Smug Mug gallery.
I think this would also look great on a T-shirt or in a print as large as 18x12, available through Zen Folio.
Butterfly on pink thistle, gray backgroundThistle and Butterfly
Fireline Trail
I detoured down the Fireline Trail to get a sense of how challenging it might be to follow it into the Lehigh Gorge. Given the heat and humidity I did not go far, but found this wonderfully peaceful forest scene. About a dozen shots have been merged to make this woodland panorama.  It graces my monitor at work. If I had an empty wall, I would love to print this as a wall wrap.
Forest Trail
Blueberry Heaven
Back on the Skyline Trail I found this brushy meadow that epitomizes the unpretentious beauty of the Pocono Plateau, a beauty that I fear will be lost as invasive foreign plants take over. In Blueberry Heaven 18x24, we see low bush blueberries and ferns covering the floor of this woodland clearing, with a scattering of scrub pine, oak and beech.
Field with trees and low bushesBlueberry Heaven


As usual, feel free to download these images in whatever size works best for your devices. If you want a print - or a cutting board or wall wrap, or almost any photo product, please purchase through Zen Folio or SmugMug.  Thanks!

Coming up soon - photos from the north end of Michigan's lower peninsula on Lake Huron.

Love to All!
Scott

 

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Hickory Run Poconos plants summer http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2012/9/save-our-native-plants Wed, 12 Sep 2012 00:35:30 GMT
Urban Landscapes - Letter 12 http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2012/7/urban-landscapes Dear Friends,
It has been a busy summer, with some events conspiring against getting out this newsletter (a busted computer) and others providing material for it (a conference in New Orleans).

I got a new printer for my birthday (an Epson R2000) and a sample pack of paper from Red River Paper, and I have been making some of my own prints. My Iris with Shield Bug 9, (at right) that most of you have seen, looks fantastic on metallic glossy paper! This does not mean that I will start doing all my own printing. I will continue to use a commercial service to handle the e-commerce, print and ship most of my photos. ZenFolio, which host this site, for instance, handles the sales, and farms out the printing and shipping to others.  I do plan to print special jobs and samples. purple and yellow iris with brown shield bugIris and Shield Bug
Not Tuscany

Not Tuscany

I recently bicycled down the new Cynwyd Heritage Trail to the old railroad bridge across the Schuylkill river into Manayunk. We hope that the bridge will someday become part of the trail, but at present it is fenced off and unimproved. The view over the daisies with the hills of Roxborough in the background looks almost Tuscan, so I call it Not Tuscany. As usual, if you want it for your desktop, feel free to download one of the images below:
1024 x 768 pixels
1280 x 768 pixels
1680 x 1050 pixels

North on Canal

New Orleans was bright and lively, hot and humid. This panorama, a merge of six photos, looking north on Canal Street, captures some of it. The French quarter is on the right. A few nights before we had ridden the trolley north to the end of the line, exited, waited for the conductor to switch the trolley pole and seats, and climbed back on - paying another fare, of course.
 

Save North on Canal Street to your Desktop
1280 x 768 pixels
1680 x 1050 pixels

Or order full resolution prints at: http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/p661299077/e233377d0


North on Canal Street, New Orleans



 

 

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New Orleans city flowers trolley urban http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2012/7/urban-landscapes Fri, 27 Jul 2012 02:47:50 GMT
Perspectives by Scott - Letter #9: It's all flowers http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2012/5/perspectives-by-scott---letter-9-its-all-flowers Dear Friends,
I am overdoing the flowers, but they have been so gorgeous!
 

Flower Power

The first photo, Flower Power, is from the Shea Garden on the Neumann campus. I have shot these lovely compound flowers before, but never tucked in so tightly with the macro lens, to see each little tiny blossom. By the way, I crop the photo carefully for each size, since a 1024x768 screen has a different "aspect ratio" than a 1280x1024 or a 1680x1050 screen. So while it is fine to click the 1024 link for the first look, if you want to use a photo as a screen background, please use the right size. In Windows, right-click the desktop background to learn about your screen resolution.

Flower Power: 1024; 1280; 1680


The other photos for this week are shots of rhododendron blossoms in my front yard, and both use "focus stacking" to bring into focus almost all of the main subject.
The first, Sprechen Sie Rhodo?, has a whimsical title, because the yellow and orange patterns on the blossoms look like they have been stenciled on by a Pennsylvania Dutch craftsman. This image was composed from ten exposures, five each at different focus depths for the top and the bottom of the blossom head. Because of its composition, it is available only as 922x1024., but it looks stunning on a black background.

Sprechen Sie Rhodo?: 1024

A few days later, under dark skies, the rhododendrons were wet and drippy. I decided to use the focus stacking trick to pull out the sometimes jewel like quality of the rain drops.

Sprechen Sie Rhodo?

Here is Rain Jeweled Rhodo: 1024; 1280; 1680.
Rain Jeweled Rhodo You can see the full gallery of desktop sized images here.
But to order prints, coffee mugs or cutting boards based on the full resolution images, please go to my ZenFolio gallery at photos.scottbeadenkopf.com.

Love and Beauty!
Scott

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blossoms flowers focus stacking macro rhododendron spring http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2012/5/perspectives-by-scott---letter-9-its-all-flowers Sat, 26 May 2012 17:28:18 GMT
Perspectives Letter 4 - Stacked Blossoms http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2012/4/perspectives-letter-4---stacked-blossoms Dear Friends,
  I have been watching our apple tree closely, following the buds as they expand and open.  The macro lens (Nikon 60 mm, f 2.8) does a terrific job of letting us in very close.  The closer we get, however, the smaller the depth of field.  In other words, one small slice of a blossom would be in focus and everything else blurred.  Sometimes this looks nice, but it gets boring.  There is a solution to narrow depth of field, and it is called “focus stacking”.  Using Photoshop, I can blend several images focused at different depths and create one image in which most of the blossom is in focus.

photo: apple blossoms not quite openFocus on Blooming

Here is my stacked image of the blossom shortly before opening. For use as a desktop background image, choose the size that best fits your monitor:

1024x768 pixels

1280x1024 pixels

1680x1050 pixels

You may need to go to my SmugMug gallery to get the 1680 resolution image.

Both of these images are in my Small Worlds gallery on my orders site.  Purchase these images there as prints, standouts, T-shirts and coffee mugs.

 

The blossoms have opened!  This is my current desktop image.

1024x768 pixels

1280x1024 pixels

1680x1050 pixels

Or go to the SmugMug gallery. Clicking the photos may work, also.

apple blossomsFocus on Blooming 2

 

Hurray for Spring!

Love to all,

Scott

 

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blossoms focus stacking macro spring http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2012/4/perspectives-letter-4---stacked-blossoms Mon, 09 Apr 2012 05:06:04 GMT
Letter #2 http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2012/3/letter-2 Photo letter #2

Any time I produce an image that I really like, the new image gets the honor of being my computer desktop image until it is displaced by the next honoree. With this email series, I get to share these honored images with you.
 

The first image, Foggy Circle is from January, when snow and fog combined to give St. John Neumann Circle at Neumann University an air of mystery. The combination of different shades of mercury vapor and sodium lights was truly garish, so I toned down the color in the image to almost black and white. As usual, I am providing this image as a free download in the most popular monitor sizes.
1024x768
1680x1050
"Foggy Circle" would look great printed on metallic paper at 12"x18" Visit the Landscape Gallery in Perspectives by Scott to order.
Foggy evening at St. John Neumann CircleFoggy Circle
snowdrop flowers with water dropletsSnowdrops Snowtears The snowdrops bloomed even earlier than usual and teased me relentlessly to take their picture. Eventually an early morning after a good rain, with more rain holding off, gave me the opportunity. Snowdrops, snow tears was shot hand-held, lying on a tarp, using the 60 mm macro lens.
1024x768
1280x1024
1680x1050 (wide screen)


Please remember that the links above allow you to use these images on your desktop or for educational purposes. If you want a print (or coffee mug or T-shirt), please visit Perspectives by Scott (photos.scottbeadenkopf.com).
I think the snowdrops would look great on a white coffee mug. "Snowdrops, snow tears" is in the Small Worlds gallery.
 

I took an afternoon off this week to check out the Natural Lands Trust's Wawa Preserve. I found it behind Wawa University and walked the Rocky Run Trail down the valley along the Rocky Run creek to where it meets the Darlington trail. The creek is picturesque, even with most of the trees and flowers still dormant. I had already taken a series of photos of this small waterfall and stepped back to leave, when I saw the beautiful frame created by this split tree. Sorry little snowdrops, you just lost your place on my desktop.
1024x768
1280x1024
1680x1050
photo: Small waterfallRill at Rocky Run


Rocky Run would also look great on metallic paper at any size. It is also in the Landscape Gallery. Note that before you place a print order that you can also choose framing and/or mounting options, such as foam board.

I would be glad to get your suggestions for improving these letters or even my pictures.
Thanks for your encouragement!
Regards,

Scott Beadenkopf

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fog spring stream http://photos.scottbeadenkopf.com/blog/2012/3/letter-2 Wed, 28 Mar 2012 02:47:58 GMT