Thursday, July 30, 2009

I Kan Write But I Kan't Spell!

Here is a female writing spider, Argiope aurantia, found in my back yard this morning. This species has always been a favorite of mine. I know some people are terrified by spiders but this one won't bite unless provoked and is a great spider to control insects in the yard. You may also appreciate the fact that the female is a great parent, protecting her eggs from other predators until she dies during the first hard freeze.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Road trip!....Well, beach trip anyway

I dedicated a morning to Vilano Beach photos this week. Getting up early and down there by 5:30 AM hurt but I wanted to get some predawn shots, dawn shots, and general daylight shots of what I could find interesting. I used the new Nikon D5000 for the photo shoot and the 55-200mm lens for most of the photos since they were almost all distance shots. I plan on going back for some macro shots of beach debris at a later date. I took 192 photos and have been going through them. I came up with 9 good photos from the bunch. Here is a sampling. Remember that these are lower quality jpegs and the originals are large files that have better sharpness.

Early dawn Vilano Beach jetty

Sand Piper running from the waves

Dawn at Vilano Beach

Hunting breakfast at dawn

Indian blanket wildflower

I never get everything I am looking for on a photo shoot but I think these shots capture the spirit of the beach pretty well while I was there. As always, high quality versions of these and many of the other photographs on this blog are available for digital upload for use on websites, greeting cards, etc... for $6.00 each in 4-6 mp jpeg format or $20.00 for 35-70 mp uncompressed high quality TIFF files. If interested contact me at for details and to arrange the upload.

I will have some exciting news in about 8-10 days to post about a way to purchase my photos on canvas, professionally matted and framed, as well as on greeting cards. Think 'unique gift' for special occasions! Till next time I hope all of your dreams come true.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lord of the Dragonflies!

You've heard of Lord of the Flies. I am starting to feel like the title. I must have done something good to a dragonfly in an earlier life because every time I go out to take photos they come up and pose for me. This one flew up to me on a photo excursion to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm two days ago. I went to take alligator and bird photos and I got a few nice shots I will post later but this little female amber wing dragonfly came up and demanded that I take her picture so I obliged. Amber wings are tiny guys on the order of an inch long. They are fairly common in nature but since they tend to hang out over swamps and ponds a lot of people never see them. To combat their tendency to be bird lunches they have developed the skill of imitating wasps. They fly and sit more in a manner similar to wasps than dragonflies and this fools many predators into leaving them alone.

I took 180 photos at the alligator farm and weeded them down to 5 great shots. One nice thing about digital photography over film photography is you are not always worrying about saving film. I have a 6gb card in my D5000 camera so I can take more than 1000 full size photos. The battery only lasts for around 500 shots before recharging so shot capacity is not a limiting factor and you can snap as many extra shots as necessary to ensure you find that perfect shot.

One thing I found out quickly is that I really need a more powerful telephoto lens. My 18-55mm lens is wonderful for closeup and portrait shots but I missed some potentially wonderful shots of birds because they were just too far away. This weekend I am going up to get a 55-200mm lens so I can cover those far away shots as well. Other than that I am very pleased with the new Nikon D5000 camera. I am still learning the intricacies of it but a lot of my earlier photographic knowledge learning in the stone age film era still applies to this new era of digital photography.

I have a new artist web page to sell photographs at Fine Art America. Right now I am just privately selling uploads of my images for use on websites, magazines, and other use. In the near future I am going to also be selling through their website so I can expand my sales. If interested in a photograph you can contact me at and I can easily arrange an upload of it for you. I will post a seperate blog post for this at a later time. I am very excited to be able to offer the type of photos I am best at taking rather than just sticking to bland stock photographs for sale on microstock sites. I enjoy taking the type of photos that I would be proud to see framed on my walls so this is what I am offering.

That's about all for now. I am going to be finishing my current batch of photos today and uploading them. Till next time!

Monday, July 20, 2009


I was fooling around with the Nikon D5000 this evening trying to learn more about it. The better half was on the computer so I asked her to turn around for a quick shot. She had just come in from work not long before and was not "made up" for this but I think it is a nice offhand shot of her nonetheless.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

An Inquisitive Anole

These little lizards hang out on the house sunning themselves in the afternoon. This guy was very curious about the camera and not the least bit shy.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Dragonfly Closeup

I am still playing with the new Nikon D5000, trying to get comfortable with it and learn all of its capabilities. Here is a backyard shot of a cooperative dragonfly. It is one of my favorites so far but not anything the stock photo companies would be interested in. Why is it that my best pictures are not marketable? Something is warped with what people are buying from web-based companies. Personally I want to stick to making photos like this one.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Flashback Time!

I am sitting here watching a Bachman/Cummings DVD and it reminded me of a time I briefly met the Guess Who. The year was 1970. Our economics class was on a field trip to the airport in Chattanooga, Tennessee (don't ask!) when a group came off of a private Lear jet and walked into the lobby surrounded by staff. Mom had always taught me not to talk to strangers so I was rather freaked out when this long haired bearded guy in a fringed buckskin jacket and jeans came up to me and said "Hi there. How are you doing, man?" Several minutes later I found out that they were the Guess Who coming to town for a concert. The guy who spoke to me was one of their guitarists, Greg Leskiw. He was a replacement along with Kurt Winter when Burton Cummings left the group for a solo career. I found out later that Greg stayed with them for a short time and then moved on to several other groups. This was my introduction to the hippie era. I had a signed photo of the group I got from them there but it was probably thrown away in one of our moves and is gone now.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

New camera/ thoughts about stock photography

Well, I found out in a hurry that my submitted photos were not what stock companies were looking for. Even my best, most artistic work was rejected. I then went back and looked through several site's "best photos" to see what mine were missing. What I found was that they are not looking for photos you could hang up in your living room. They are using photos of objects with white backgrounds that can be utilized as illustrations in books, magazines, and websites. They also are sometimes interested in extremely color saturated photos of surreal scenes with people. If I am going to be successful I am going to have to devote at least part of my creative energy to making stupid shots of objects on a white background that can be cut out and used. For that reason I just made a light box for photographing small objects with no shadows on a white background. A little Photoshop work will clean up any remaining problems and leave me with a sterile looking photo. Oh well, if I want to sell then I will have to give them what they want.

I also realized that my little camera was not going to have the quality and low noise necessary for this type of work so I invested in a Nikon D5000 as shown above. It is a nice 12 mp camera with all sorts of bells and whistles and a reputation for great photos. I could not afford a $5000 high end Nikon so I went hunting for one in the $800-1000 range that would be the best buy and give the sharpest, cleanest photos. It was close but the D5000 won in the reviews I went through. I have been playing with it this week and still have a lot to learn. Here is a closeup test I took of a grub on a tree stump in my yard. It is not anything the stock companies would be interested in but I was impressed by the sharpness of the image. It is somewhat degraded in this compressed jpeg photo but is still a nice shot of the little monster taken at an approximate distance of 4 inches.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wild Kingdom

I wish I could have captured this one photographically but it started sprinkling and I didn't want the camera to get wet. While mowing I saw a 4 foot long corn snake slithering around in the back yard. I stopped mowing for a few minutes and sat a couple of feet away from it. We checked each other out and then it was time to get back to mowing.