We all need to create and experience beauty. I enjoy finding beauty in the under-foot and commonplace. We are literally walking on beauty and surrounded by it. I hope I can open up some part of this world to you. If you are new to this site and would like to be on my mailing list, please visit the guest book and leave a private message for me with your email.
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)
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.
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!
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)
Love to all,
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.
Snowdrops in Snow is such a gentle image, I almost did not include it, but it reminds us of how March has treated us.
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.
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.
Love to all,
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.
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.
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 site: http://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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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!