It’s Still August – More Backyard Challenge!

The days are getting shorter and the nights cooler, but the wildfires in California are still wreaking havoc on the views and the air quality. My lovely bride’s efforts in the backyard are paying great dividends for me, however – take a look!

This is a Julia Child Rose.

It’s beautiful from all angles. My lovely bride planted this on while I was away this last Spring.

These were the last Blackberries in our yard. We had a decent crop this year – very tasty at breakfast.

I love our Hibiscus and it’s a favorite subject when blooming. I saw this bloom with a portion backlit by the morning sun and the lower portion of the bloom in shadow. I made bracketed exposures, merged them in Adobe Camera Raw, and applied a custom filter in Nik Color Efex Pro. I wanted to emphasize the texture in the leaves, so I combined a little Glamour Glow with the Detail Extractor to make it happen!

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

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What to shoot when there’s nothing to shoot…

Today started like any other day. I woke up, did my morning things, and went to the kitchen to make breakfast. I was just about to take breakfast to my lovely bride when she walks into the kitchen with her iPad showing a video presentation called ‘what to shoot when there’s nothing to shoot.’ We watched while we ate, enjoying the images on the screen and the commentary.

As we watched, I got to thinking about the current situation here in the Carson Valley. We have serious smoke from the wildfires in California – some news reports indicate that Gardnerville has the worst air quality in the country. Visibility is almost nil. We haven’t seen the mountains in a long time. Of course, the smoke makes for some interesting sunsets.

This has been our view of the evening sun for the last 4-5 days. I shot this with the Canon 7DII, big lens, handheld. Look close and you can see the outline of the mountains in the lower right corner of the image.

The guy making the presentation talked about a time when he was leading a photo workshop in Monument Valley and a snowstorm kicked up. The storm obscured the grand views and challenged his creative processes to make the trip worthwhile.

This is not the first time I’ve faced conditions like this. A year ago, my lovely bride and I were in Yosemite National Park and many of the vista shots were obscured by smoke, so I made the best of it and shot on a smaller scale. I came away with some beautiful images. And I see that I didn’t post any of those images – stay tuned!

With this year’s smoke, I’ve chosen to shoot on an even smaller scale – macro in the back yard.

This is a Rose of Sharon flower being pollenated. (Get really close and one can see pollen on his head and body.) Handheld Canon 7DII with the big lens, from about 9′ away.

Our Hibiscus has been a favorite subject for several years. More close up than macro, as these blooms range from 6″-12″ in diameter. This mature plant produces a large number of blooms for a couple weeks every August.

Another point the presenter made was to give yourself a challenge to make you get out and make images. Taking this to heart, I’ve decided to give myself a new challenge every month. I’ll continue my backyard challenge this month and set a new challenge for September.

Until next time…Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

How I Spent My Summer Vacation – Volume 4…

Olympic National Park – holy cow! What a fun and beautiful place. My lovely bride and I visited two of the three ecosystems: the Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.

We arrived at the road to Hurricane Ridge in the late afternoon, and the skies were less than cooperative. The scenery going up to the Ridge, however, was spectacular.

We hit the roadside flowers seemingly at their peak. This is one of my favorite images.

We saw several Black Tail Deer. This buck was on the hillside above the road. One has to wonder what happened to his antlers.

Our obligatory self portrait at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor’s Center. More wild flowers in the meadow behind us!

And my feeble attempt at a panorama. Despite my poor attempt to capture it, the view was gorgeous!

We tried to visit the Hoh Rain Forest, but construction caused us to save it for another trip. We drove down the Pacific Coast instead.

This is the view from the Kalaloch Lodge dining patio. Great lunch there and the cabins looked interesting. During our trip planning, we tried to get a room there but they were full. Oh well…

This is a view from US 101.

We stopped at Beach 1 and walked down to the shore. We saw a pod of whales apparently feeding off shore – lots of fins, backs, and blows. Here’s our selfie watching whales.

The view up the shore line. It goes on for a long time…

There you have it – fun at Olympic National Park. The whale pictures weren’t very exciting, so I hope you like the scenery shots.

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

PS Challenge – August 15, 2017

I’m still kicking around my backyard. A neighbor gave us the Quail yard art (thanks Terri!) and my lovely bride added the other elements. This image is one of those that you won’t normally see, because it’s usually at your feet and you’re looking down on it. Somehow, I saw it in my mind and then made the image.

I shot this handheld, but will likely grab a tripod for the next time. As always, bracketed exposures merged in Photomatix Pro. No further editing.

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

PS Challenge – August 6, 2017

The NFL pre-season is officially underway and college football is just around the corner. Wyoming’s football team is looking good in preparation for the coming season – Go Pokes!

What does that have to do with today’s PS Challenge? Well, today’s image comes from our backyard – one of our Black-Eyed Susan flowers. These beautiful flowers are sometimes called Brown-Eyed Susan, and they are the reason that Wyoming’s team colors are brown and gold! They were the decorations at a banquet at the then new university, subsequently chosen as the team colors.

We love having them in our yard. They are a not so subtle reminder of home.

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

PS Challenge – August 3, 2017

Today’s PS Challenge image is a close up of some Phlox blooms, from our back yard. I bracketed exposures but only used the under and normal exposures. I merged them in Adobe Camera Raw, cropped in PhotoShop, applied a Nik filter, and finished the image with a little more sharpening in PhotoShop. Please note, this is natural lighting – no flash used.

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR