Archive for the ‘Flowers’ Category

We have finally had a few warmish days (hooray!) that are making clear the promise of an end to a long and bitterly cold winter here in the North Central U.S. In celebration of the impending arrival of spring and as my entry for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside, here is a peek inside of a tulip.

Inside a Tulip

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We have a Magnolia tree in our backyard. I know nothing about them except that I treasure the grace and elegance of the flowers it produces.

The Magnolia isn’t like the bold crocus or the slightly more timid tulip which are signals that the back of winter has been broken in this part of Wisconsin. The Magnolia arrives on nature’s stage only after the opening acts have performed. When it does there is almost a whoosh as our tree fills with blossoms. While there is a lot to treasure about the permanence of a special object, the promise of the annual return of this sultry beauty is my entry for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure.

Nature's Treasure - October 07, 2013 - 1-2

I have had this blog for less than one year and recently I posted my 365th post so I decided to memorialize the occasion. Point-of-View.com has been pretty difficult for me. I suffer from a chronic disease that makes it hard to concentrate and to stay focused and I am often in pain and quite tired (thus the “fog”). When I started this blog I had no idea how much energy it would take and what a challenge it was going to be (thus the “war”).

I started this photo blog in part because the writing that used to come so easily to me now comes slowly and messily like the last bits of toothpaste squeezed out of the tube. Until relatively recently, I was able to work at least part-time in the career I had long pursued (I was an attorney working with intellectual property and technology law). That work is no longer available to me because it requires more energy, a better memory, and greater nimbleness of mind than I currently possess. I tell my friends that I am not dumber, but I am slower.

During the early days of my illness, boredom was a constant companion. Then, a few years ago, my wife bought me a new camera. While I had always enjoyed photography, suddenly I had a lot of time available in which to pursue it. So off I went on a photo binge. Many of my photos are taken of things very close to home – typically in our yard or neighborhood; indeed I have a category in my blog for “Photos Taken within 100 Meters of Our Home.” Many others are taken on the way to visit or at my in-laws. (My wife has a great family!)

As the years went by and the shutter clicked, hundreds and then thousands of images filled up space on my hard drive(s) and I began to think about sharing my photos. I am and always will be an amateur photographer. I do not have the energy nor do I have the desire to sell any of my work (although I do donate my work to non-profit auctions and the like).  Eventually I decided to try blogging and started start Points-of-view.com.

Keeping up with this blog has been difficult for me. What has made this easier is that many of you who have visited this blog have been extraordinarily generous with your thoughts about my photos. I am not too proud to admit that when someone says a photo of mine is “stunning” or “wonderful” or “amazing” it makes me feel good. That isn’t the sole reason for the blog, but it sure doesn’t hurt! More important for someone who had spent all too much time just sitting at home is that my blog brought me into a community of people from around the world whose blogging about their lives and travels has made boredom impossible and made frustration, fatigue and pain more bearable. While it is still so very much more difficult to write than it used to be, I have all of the time I want to do it and so it is okay.

This post contains some of my favorite photos from my first 365 posts. When I was looking through the posts to put together this collection, my biggest thought was how thankful I am that I have had this opportunity. Mostly I thank all of the people who have visited my blog. I also want to give a shout out to WordPress because I really doubt I would have had a “Post 366” had I not been blogging with WordPress, which has made setting it up my blog and keeping it going so much easier for me than would otherwise have been the case.

I hope you enjoy this collection.

Still Life3-Edit

A simple flower-pot on a table in a window with a lake in the background is my contribution to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Object. It is not perfect, but I rather enjoy it for that reason.

Still_Life_Browallia

One of the things that I like the most about digital photography is the ability that it gives me to create the new and unusual. The tools available in the digital darkroom fascinate me and I enjoy playing with them. In a real sense, I am like a kid in a room full of wonderful and exciting toys. This particular photo is of a flower (a Browallia) growing in our backyard. I digitally manipulated the photo using Photoshop and its Plug-in Filter Forge. Filter Forge is one of my favorite plug-ins. I don’t know that it is widely used but you can do some nifty things (sometimes after many hours of work). To the best of my knowledge, Filter Forge does not create filters. All of the thousands of filters available at no cost to users of its product on Filter Forge’s website were created by its users. The filter used here is called Glass Ball Shot.

Submitted to Sunday Stills.

Yellow Butterfly Sips Nectar - August 27, 2010

The bitter cold continues here in the North Central U.S. Thank goodness for this Word a Week Challenge: Yellow because it caused me to look through my photo catalog and find this bit of cheer, a Clouded Sulfer butterfly sipping nectar from a flower in our front garden  two summers ago.

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.