Thursday, April 28, 2011

Azaleas on Canvas

I played around a bit with fabric texture over some of the photos I took of my friend's azaleas.  These are a little more feminine than something I would normally do, pretty none the less.  After distressing the edges a bit, I think they really look like paintings on canvas.

azalea floral photography canvas

azalea floral photography canvas

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Color Challenge

I finally got started on my MLK online photography course. I did the assignment for week 1 and now that I'm into week 2, its rained every day. The first assignment for week 2 is to fill the frame with color. I haven't had a large enough window of non raining time to go out and find a lot of subjects or get very far from the house so most of what I have are more photos of the azaleas in front of my Father in Law and a friend's house. There was a large dandelion in the yard today, so I went with it.

Dandelion West Virginia Nature Photography

To not have a macro lens, I think I did a pretty decent job.

I'm also liking the new watermark.  The one I'd been using before with the terrible terrier was cute, but I hadn't figured out how to simplify the process of opening a png file, copying onto a new layer, then adjusting opacity and size.  It was a bit much for every photo, so I was rarely using it.  This is just a brush, so its so much faster and easier.

In case you didn't notice, I've made a few other changes as well.  Babe Jr is out of town this week, I'm done with school for now and being stuck indoors during the rain I got pretty bored .  I started out by taking time to sit down and finally type out a bio so for a "My Story" page, which I had been putting off, but I got a bit carried away.  I'm happy with the look though, and now all my blog decorations are officially my creations rather than free downloads.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wild Flowers

Some more pics of wild flowers growing near my house.  

West Virginia wild flowers nature photography

West Virginia wild flowers nature photography

West Virginia wild flowers nature photography
Wild Violets

West Virginia wild flowers nature photography
Fire Pink
This is one of my favorites.  I remember my Dad picking some while he was logging in the mountains and bringing them home to me when I was was a very little girl.

West Virginia wild flowers nature photography
These are very small, I was nearly laying on the hillside to get this photo.
The next 2 I actually stopped the car on the side of the road about a mile or so from the house to get.

West Virginia wild flowers nature photography
Wild Geranium
These are all over growing on the road sides in bunches, so pretty.

West Virginia wild flowers nature photography
White Trillium
This had the largest blooms of any I photographed, and this was the only specimen of it I found.  I actually spotted it while driving and startled Babe Jr by stopping so unexpectedly to get a shot.  Very pretty.  I found out that they also grow in pink, I hope I find some and have my camera handy.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Photo Challenge: Pets

yorkie Yorkshire terrier pet photography
The Terrible Terrier makes the cut again.


Thanks for looking.

Princess Tree

I'd never noticed these flowering trees before this Spring and had no idea what they were.

paulownia princess tree West Virginia photography

I posted some of the shots I took yesterday to facebook last night and a lovely friend of mine from high school that now manages a nature conservatory enlightened me.

paulownia princess tree West Virginia photography

Its Paulownia, or princess tree.  I looked it up on Wikipedia, and found out that its originally from Asia but named after a princess from the Netherlands.  Traditionally, one was planted after the birth of a daughter, then the wood was harvested and made into a dresser as a gift for her wedding.  They are very fast growing.  Here's a closeup of one of the blooms that fell off.

paulownia princess tree West Virginia photography

The tree was very tall.  The fallen blooms were then only ones I could get close to.  This is a branch after the blooms are spent and the seed pods opened and dried.

paulownia princess tree West Virginia photography

They are often used to reclaim areas of deforestation and are great for places with poor soil.  This would make them beneficial where mountains have been strip mined.  After reading up on them, I think this tree is probably very helpful to our area and I can see how they made their way here.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A few Spring flowers

I finally got out today and shot some of the pretty flowers popping up everywhere. I've already missed the bloom time on a some of the flowering trees in our area, so I'm making an effort to capture more than I let slip by. This is a bush in my Father-in-Law's front yard.

WV photography flowers flora

I'm not sure what type it is, but this little bugger seems to like it.

West Virginia photography flower flora insect

I took very many pics of native wildflowers, but still have lots of editing to do to them.  Promise I'll post them ASAP.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Big Yellow Truck

WV photographer yellow truck rearview mirror

Today on the way to pick Babe Jr up from school I was stuck waiting while the State Road Crew cleaned out the ditch.  This bright truck caught my eye in my side mirror.  My camera was in the back seat so I had to snap it.  I think it looks pretty cool after running PW's Boost action and CoffeeShop Urban Grit.  Although I do wonder if the truck's driver noticed or thought I was nuts.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wild Horses

Last weekend I wanted to take some photos on top of a mountain. My sister volunteered to be my subject and we piled in the truck with my dad and went to a reclaimed strip mine. Little did I know it is also home to at least 50 wild horses.

wild horses West Virginia

I'm not sure that wild is a totally accurate term.  Supposedly someone released a bunch of them a few years ago and they bred and thrived.

They let us get really close, but not quite enough to touch them. 

wild horses colt West Virginia

There were several colts.  They were so pretty. ♥

Time for the baby to eat.

This song was stuck in my head the rest of the day.  Its originally The Rolling Stones and has been covered by half a dozen different people, but this is the version I kept hearing.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Coal Fair

Since we live here in Coal Country, the school doesn't have a Science Fair, we have a Coal Fair.  The kids can choose a subject to which their project applies and pretty much make whatever they want as long as it relates to the coal industry.

Babe Jr chose art.  She found this illustration online, a lot of people in our area have this logo as a decal on vehicles and such.  She decided she wanted to make a clay model.

 We went to Walmart and purchased some fast drying clay and a set of poster paints.  With minimal help from Mom, she came up with this:

I helped her decide how big each body part should be, then she would roll them out and I stuck them together bracing the joints with tooth pics.  She then formed his little hat and light, I helped with the eyes nose and hands since they were so small and fiddly, last she smoothed it all out and added his belt.  We then let him dry and harden a few days after which, as it shrank... both legs fell off.  There wasn't time to let another one harden and set up before the fair so we just super glued them back on.

Once he was put back together, we got out one of Mr Backwoods' work shirts and decided where the reflective stripes needed to be.  Babe Jr started painting and I mixed up the bright blue and black poster paint to get a more authentic uniform color.  She let him dry, added a second coat the next day, and he looked great.  So great in fact................................that she got first place!

coal fair project

Please overlook the dirty table, I took him out on the porch so I could get a shot in good light and the outdoor furniture has not yet been spring cleaned.  She now gets to enter him in the regional coal fair and compete for cash prizes!  She's going to touch up his paint job again and make a little platform with a few pieces of real coal to serve as a sort of diorama backdrop and give him a base that we'll sticky tack him to in hopes that he's less likely to break.  Wish her luck!  I'm already such a proud mama, just hoping he holds together so that we can keep him and display him proudly on a shelf at home after the big completion.

Monday, April 11, 2011

POTD: New Charm

My mom sent me a new bead for my charm bracelet for my birthday.  When I opened it and saw what it was, I knew I had to blog about it so I could add it to the "Photo of the Day" thread on my favorite message board.  She got me the little camera!

The "♥ to Shop" and "family" beads were picked out by my sister and step mom when they gave me the bracelet for Christmas.  The plain one is a just a lock to keep the others from falling off the bracelet when I'm not wearing it, but Mr. Backwoods bought it for Valentines day because I asked for it.

Charm bracelets are so cool because they are accessories that show off your personality.  I think the next beads I need are a tiny coffee cup and sterling silver version of the terrible terrier.  I will probably buy some nice colored glass ones for myself though, just because I think they are pretty.  Both charm bracelets I've owned have only been built upon with gifted charms, I wonder if its a faux pas to buy your own?  Because everyone knows I always abide by traditions and social norms, haha!

Mother Nature might be Bipolar

Yesterday we got this:

Yes that's marble sized hail.  It looked like mothballs all over the yard.

It was reported to be as big as tennis balls the next county over.  Today it was 88 degrees and sunny, not a cloud in the sky.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I'm not dead & a failed photo shoot

It's been a while since I last posted.  I'm still here and I haven't forgotten about you, I just haven't had much to post.  We are stillllllll waiting for the electric company to come out to upgrade the transformer and get us powered up.  I called yesterday to follow up as tomorrow will make 2 full weeks since my inital request, but all I got was "You're on the list, there are still other people in front of you.  I cannot give you a definite timeframe."

Awesome.  One of the drawbacks to living in rural America is long waits on this type of thing, but I still think the pros outweigh the cons.

I attempted to take some engagement photos of our best couple friends.  I'm not exaggerating with use of the word attempt.  The groom to be, who is usually the most easy going person I know and doesn't comprehend the word shame, got all freaked out and embarrassed because we were shooting close to his house on a main road.  It didn't help that we began to get heckled by residents at the apartment building across the street.  Here's a few shots I managed to salvage somewhat with extensive post processing, but we're going to try again in 2 weeks when they are both off work.

Of course some good did come of this, I found some awesome places to shoot.  But when I say things when horribly wrong I meant it.  Between the hecklers and the groom rushing me, I didn't check my display to see if my settings were right.  I'm nowhere near good enough yet to know if my shots are right without checking.  I shot the first several on manual focus, thinking I was on auto.  Nothing but a blurred mess.  Then, something went horribly wrong when I set custom white balance and about half of what I took that day looked like this:

Yeah, getting the green out of these was fun, not.  Not long after this it started raining.

But, lessons learned that day:

Scout the location before the first time you take a "client."  Even though I did this for free, I could have saved us all some time if I'd done a practice run with Babe Jr, or even a cardboard cutout, ha!

Take anyone who's likely to be self conscious or get embarrassed to a more remote location, at least to start out.

Always bring a reflector.  Both of these lovelies have beautiful blue eyes, but he tends to photograph with heavy shadows over his.

Take a deep breath, and don't allow yourself to be rushed.

Try, try, and try again.