Week 11: Landscape Reflection

I’ve been excited to post this one!  Reflections are always a fun thing to work with, and this time, I found the perfect place to photograph.

The last few times that I’ve gone to Florida, I’ve been searching for interesting little day trips to take.  I like where I go to visit, but I know there’s so much to see in Florida that is not Disney, and I want to soak all of that in, or as much as I can, anyways.  One place that I had been eyeing up was Bok Tower Gardens.  From what I could tell from quickly browsing their website a million times, they have an awesome garden and tower, with a perfect reflecting pool for this theme.  So I decided to read a little more in to it during my most recent trip, and I finally decided to go check it out.

It really was a beautiful garden, and a deceptively quick walk to the tower.  The weather was beautiful, and I was up for a long walk, but appreciated the extra time I had to browse around the gardens since it didn’t take forever to get to the tower.  So many things were in full bloom, so I was able to get plenty of great flower pictures, which you know I love.  The tower, I’m happy to report, did not disappoint.  It was much taller than I expected, and a beautiful pink coral color, with tons of intricate details.

We encountered a sweet older woman while we were there who gave us a great little history of the tower.  The builder, Edward Bok, immigrated from the Netherlands when he was a child.  His goal was to achieve the “American Dream”, as she put it, and with hard work, he did just that.  He became an incredibly successful publisher and author, and in retirement, moved to Florida.  The tower and gardens were a sort of passion project for him, and in it’s completion, he gave it to the American people as a gift.  How endearing, as was our sweet story teller.  He refused to disclose how much he spent on the tower and gardens because he wanted to keep the notion of it being a gift in tact.  I love hearing stories like this, of people overcoming the odds to achieve the “American Dream”; it always makes me think of my grandparents.

It was great hearing the story from her, and I kept that in mind as we were walking the gardens and admiring the tower.  It’s really quite impressive when you think of it.  It was all completed in the 1920’s.  Imagine how incredibly difficult it must have been to create something like this.  Within the singing tower, there is a large carillon, like an organ/bell tower, as she explained.  The bells had to be brought over from England via boat, with the largest weighing about 12 tons.  I really can’t even fathom how they moved it!

I’m glad that I decided to finally check this place out.  If you’re ever in the central Florida area, I suggest you do the same.  It will be a nice afternoon, and don’t worry, the gardens provide plenty of shade from the hot Florida sun.  Enjoy!

 

 

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Stormy Nights

Well, as I said, I haven’t been having the greatest of times, so it’s the perfect opportunity for my photography to reflect that.  Luckily for me, the hot weather has brought in storm after storm.  So while I’m not only enjoying the storms (because I love thunderstorms!), I’ve had some great chances to snap some interesting shots.

While about to leave for a friend’s house to enjoy one of these storms, I decided to take my camera along to catch some different rainy scenery.  She has a slightly older home, so it has some charming character, and with the rain drops and stormy weather, I think it photographed well.  With everything that’s going on, I’ve really been in a “stormy” mood.  Getting ready to move out of a place that I love and going to a far less desirable living situation, not feeling well, and going in and out of appointments have all gotten to me lately.  Everything seems so uncertain and negative, so it was really wonderful to have the simplicity of sitting outside and enjoying the wind, rain, thunder, and lightning.  Outside?  Yes.  We’re a little nuts and will sit outside during a “severe thunderstorm” and “flash flood” warning.  I’ve done this ever since I was little, sitting outside on the front porch with my dad and brother as the storms went by, so I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my (kind of scaredy-cat) friend liked doing this too.

This dramatic weather really couldn’t have come at a better time.  I almost feel as if it’s a representation of the inner turmoil and sadness that I’m feeling.  At the same time, it’s so relaxing and soothing to hear the water and wind acting up outside.  I suppose you have to take the good with the bad, and all of the things in between.  I’ll take the storms outside admist my internal ones, and enjoy them when I can.  Enjoy my many shades of grey from this stormy day.

Week 18: Nighttime

Considering the amount of time I spend awake at night, one would think that I would have an abundance of pictures which would fit right in to this week’s theme: nighttime.  To my surprise, while looking through my pictures today, the pickings are slim, and really similar.  Seems like I only think to take pictures at night when I’m at the beach.  Everything I have is either of the beach, or at the beach, with the exception of the astrophotography attempt I had earlier this year.   It was freezing the night of the astrophotography, and I would love to get some successful shots in a much darker location.  Maybe I’ll give it another go, or maybe I’ll continue the search for a model to do something completely different from what my night photography has consisted of in the past. Besides, nighttime doesn’t necessarily mean that I have to take pictures of nature at night.  The possibilities are endless!

I’m actually really excited to take this one on.  As you’ll be able to tell from my examples below, I haven’t always had the best equipment for night photography.  Don’t get me wrong — I still tried, but it’s incredibly hard to avoid camera shake when you’re working with a point-and-shoot camera and can’t control any camera functions, aside from setting it to “nighttime mode”.  Now that I have my “new”  camera (year old, so that still counts as new, right?), I feel unstoppable!  If feels so great to take a test shot, realize that something isn’t working, and being able to actually adjust things!  Silly, and so amateur sounding, I know, but I made do and got some great shots with my little, frustrating, point-and-shoots for many years, so I’ll be thoroughly enjoying the full functionality of my DSLR for a long time!  At least I can truthfully say I will never take having my D7100, and my film camera, for granted.  Sorry, little point-and-shoot, I love you, but I’ve happily moved on.  I’m still keeping you around for the more daring experiments, like underwater photos!

Even with the challenged, I like the photos I’ve taken in the past, not so much for their quality (I mean, they’re not terrible!  I am showing you guys after all!), but for the memories they bring me of being at the beach with family and loved ones.  So as I think of ideas, beg for model volunteers, and try to talk myself out of a spontaneous trip to the beach this weekend, I’ll leave you with a couple of beach nighttime pictures.  Goodnight 🙂

Bubbles

So this week was fun, but a bit of a challenge.  “Mirrored images”, to be interpreted however I chose, so I went with reflections; a literal interpretation of a mirror type image.  I wanted to do something different — I had a lot of ideas, but it seemed to me that they were relatively frequently done.  First I thought of doing a reflection from the surface of this little lake outside of my house.  Then I thought of taking pictures of my own reflection in the mirror, but with my face doing something/looking in a different direction than the reflection.  Then I thought about all of this glass I had saved from a broken table for future photo projects, and I came up with this…

Not too bad, and I like the images themselves, but the glass didn’t have the reflective quality that I thought it would.  My table actually has the strongest reflection, though I do like the one piece of glass which is reflecting the stem of the rose.  After messing with that, and moving pieces of glass to a million different positions on my table, adding water, and not getting any results, I had to move on.  So I started thinking about pictures that I have done in the past.  there were two that I had taken fairly recently that kept coming to mind:

One was a picture from Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge, MD, and another was from J.D. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Florida.  Both of them included water…just can’t seem to get away from that when thinking of reflections!  So I started thinking of water, different elements of it, and finally it came to me — bubbles!  So, even though the bubbles that I was going to make aren’t like anything that comes from water, like the foam of the ocean, that’s where my inspiration came from.

So off I went to seek the help of some more unwilling photo assistants (I’m always bugging someone for pictures 🙂 ).  Out in the back yard with my “assistants”, just around sun set, I had them alternating in blowing bubbles for me.  It was a lot of fun, but chasing bubbles around through my lens on a windy day was difficult to say the least!  I’m happy with the shots that I got, however, and I’m glad that we did it later in the day.  Some of the bubbles have that natural oily effect, but others reflect the evening light rather nicely, and the background has a natural dark, yet warm, effect.  Wish I could have gotten more shots with multiple bubbles to make things a little more interesting, but I guess that’s a project for another, less windy day.  Check it out!

Week 5: Mirrored Image

Well, this week has been off to a slow start.  I’ve officially started my last semester in school, which is bittersweet.  I’m so excited to be done, and even though I’ll only have an Associate degree, I’m happy with that.  I’m also really going to miss taking classes, since, let’s be real, someone without a job, and only working with crafty things and a slowly developing photography business (no pun intended….kinda) does not have the money for a 4-year university.  So my options are limited, but I’m still looking in to things, hopeful that I’ll be able to continue classes soon!

So I get to work on a mirrored image this week, and I want to do something a little out of the ordinary.  Not quite sure what that is yet, but I’m working on it.  I keep thinking of doing a reflection of a person, where one image has the opposite expression as the reflection, but I’m pretty sure that ideas like that have been well overdone.  Maybe I’ll do something along the lines of the image below, using water or drops in a way to play off of a reflection or catch a reflection.  I love how I caught this image; just as it was starting to rain and I was hanging out talking with a friend, I just stuck my hand out the window when I noticed the drops on the mirror, and there you have it.  It almost looks like the drops are falling into the palm of my hand — love the result!

Business wise, I have to organize my contacts, and still (sort of) play catch up from previous weeks.  Well, I suppose you could count this week’s task as done, since my list of contacts is non-existent, but perhaps I’ll be proactive in searching for vendors and contacts which I would like to use in the future.  And, as a progress report, I did reach out to a few vendors last week about showing my work in their shops, as well as for some juried art shows.  Wish me luck!  I’m hoping to hear something back soon!