Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Odd ball indeed

This (Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge) is a great idea. In fact, Cee you are kind of a great idea “generator” and I appreciate the creativity that you have demonstrated in what you are doing through your website (and, of course, in your photos too).

Here is an “Odd Ball” for the Week 9 challenge, both literally and metaphorically. I took this photo a few years ago, shortly after I had purchased a new macro lens. In this particular case, I was photographing a rock in our backyard. The rock had lots of crocks and crannies with plenty of moss growing on it. At the macro scale, the rock, which is about 2 x 2 x 2 appeared to have caves with dead trees (actually little twigs) scattered about. Other than the moss, the largest living thing was a pretty new four-leaf clover  that stood roughly an inch tall. For perspective, one of the leaves of that clover is in the upper right hand corner of this photo. The odd ball here is what sits below the clover leaf. This part of the photo, even with the macro lens was so small that I did not even notice it when I took the original group of pictures and first looked at the results. I still can’t say for sure what the critter is or what it is sitting on – one person suggested a drop of water. The only thing I can say with a little confidence is that this is an odd ball photo and I hope you enjoy it.

Followers of my blog may remember that I spent some time this past winter photographing the bald eagles along the Wisconsin River in Prairie du Sac. This may sound crazy, but I took so many photos that I am still working my way through ones that I took nearly two months ago. In part this clearly show how remarkably inefficient I am at this task but in part it is because I am almost as inefficient at other parts of my life. One good thing about this is, at least from this particular perspective, that I lead a balanced life. (Is there an emoticon for a wry smile? If yes, consider it inserted here.)

Another good thing about my review is that I continue to discover some pretty interesting photos. One such is the attached “double eagle” photo. These two eagles spent quite a while flying together and at this point came close to becoming one (no Photoshop here).  It is hard to tell, but the head of the eagle that is shown is that of the lower eagle. The eagle on top is looking down and almost certainly to the left (if it was turned right, I think you would see more of its head from this angle). You can see just a touch of the white neck feathers of the eagle on top reinforcing the fact that it is lower eagle’s head you are viewing.


This photo is of a worker out on the Tarmac at Denver International Airport. He may know which way, but I sure didn’t. The photo is digitally enhanced using Photoshop as well as the low-key filter in Topaz Lab’s “Adjust” Photoshop plug-in.

Worker on the Tarmac - April 15, 2013 - 0001-Edit

My wife and I live in a very nice neighborhood but I can’t say that we have an exceptional view most of the time. There are, however, certain times when the view gets pretty good if one is prepared and persistent, okay, really persistent. To demonstrate, here is our more or less regular view:


Here is the view of the same house (albeit with more sky) that you can catch  during a summer thunderstorm if you are very persistent and have quite a bit of luck:

3D Lightning

Alternatively, here is a view of the front door of the same house following a rather vigorous winter snow storm over the Christmas holiday in 2012:

Merry Christmas 2013

I hope you enjoy my contribution to the initial Photo a Week Challenge.

Here is my entry for Sonel’s Photo-Editing Challenge: Shadows and or Reflections. It is a photo of a shadow on the wooden slats of a window shade. I did some minor clean=up with Photoshop. The original photo is below.

Shadow on Shade - December 06, 2013 - 033-Edit

Oops, forgot the original. The photo above is cropped and cleaned and straightened from the photo below:

Shadow on Shade - December 06, 2013 - 035

I happened to be listening to a fascinating book that among other things has a discussion on how algorithms combined with powerful high-speed computing have affected our world. The consequences of unleashing powerful algorithms to make real world decisions affecting millions of people without any human intervention (because of the speed at which the decisions based on the algorithm take place) should give every thoughtful person pause. That is not, however, the reason for this post.

David Cope, a computer scientist, composer and otherwise very smart guy worked to create a computer program (actually several) that is more or less able to produce “new” and brilliant works in the style of long dead composers. He has created a storm of controversy with his works (no surprise there). I just listened to one of his “Vivaldi” works and truth be told, it is quite lovely. Judge it yourself at:

The original photo is of a group of Hostas with their flowers almost ready to bloom. I focused on one of the “pre-flowers” because it looked like it sort of had open arms and I could do some things with it.

Hosta - September 12, 2013 - 0228

In the second photo, I cropped the photo to focus on the opened-armed flower. I used Photoshop and as well as Topaz Lab’s ReStyle Plug-in to make the Hosta “Pre-flower” look like a star performer. perhaps at the end of a song and dance routine an adoring audience.

Backyard - September 12, 2013 - 010-(Wheat and Bluebonnets)


The final photo uses principally the “pre-flower” element from the original photo (selected using Photoshop’s Quick Selection Tool, Lasso Tool and cloning tool for clean up) along with some background from the Filter Forge filter mentioned below. The flower’s coloring was revised and enhanced using Topaz Lab’s ReStyle filter. Applying “The Epic Perspective Filter” available using Filter Forge (they are available on the website at no added charge; filters are primarily created by Filter Forge users), I made the pre-flower “star” into what might be many things from a quirky photo of part of a Hosta to what might be a stylized metaphor of a publicity shot or commentary on the ego accompanying stardom? Most likely, it was just me having fun:).

Hosta Epic - September 12, 2013 - 0228

I hope you enjoy my first contribution to Sonel’s Photo-Editing Challenge: Macro and/or Close-up.