Welcome to the Perspectives Blog!

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.

April 2013 - Spring Cannot be Restrained

May 13, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

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,


March 2013 - Trying to Bloom

April 04, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

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,




Water, water

March 08, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

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.
Love to All,

Winter 2013 - Snowless landscapes

February 06, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

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.

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

Late Autumn - Letter 15: Never too late for beauty

December 17, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

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!



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