golden hour (mostly queen anne's lace) | july 29th, 2017

Another back-post photo blog! I went out to take pictures during golden hour but they ended up mostly being Queen Anne's Lace... I decided it didn't matter how many Queen Anne's Lace photos I've taken; I'll take more anyway. Around this time of year, there's a lull in the wildflowers and the lace takes over.

I love photos like these where the contrast between the highlights and shadows is so intense.

Legend says that this plant was named after Anne, the Queen of England, who was an expert lace maker. According to the legend, she was making lace one day when her finger was poked by the needle and a spot of blood landed in the middle of the lace, just like the single red flower in the middle of this plant. I don't think that's true but I can tell you that the Latin name for this plant is daucus carota and it is also known as "wild carrot."

I know for a fact I've taken a picture incredibly similar to this one.. but.. I wanted to take another.

These were such a cool color. I don't think they blend well with the gold light though.

I love "messy" golden hour wildflower shots like these!

Some more facts on Queen Anne's lace:

  • it's good for nearby tomato plants
  • paintings from the past centuries document the history and changes of the plant
  • even though it's edible, it's safer to avoid eating it as two other plants look similar and are poisonous (poison hemlock and fool's parsley)
  • the white flower top can grow to be as wide as 8 or 9 inches

Keep taking pictures of/painting/writing songs about the same thing you love. If you're not doing your art it because you love it, then why are you doing it at all?

distance with dragonflies | july 26th, 2017

Hello all! This is one of two photo blogs I have from July to share! The other one should be up sometime next week.

This capture is actually from the 25th but I thought I'd include it in this post.

I have about a dozen other daisy shots that I chose not to share...

Had to include this in light of my last blog including wildlife. I got pretty close to this little guy as I was taking pictures and he just sat there like a statue.

Straight out of the camera! Look at that contrast!

I'm not very fond of dragonflies but thankfully I can capture these neat creatures with my 55-200mm lens without getting up close and personal. Did you know there are over 3,000 known species of dragonflies? (I didn't.) I think this one is a libellula luctuosa, aka Widow Skimmer. A dragonfly's diet typically consists of mosquitoes and flies, and sometimes butterflies!

..unintentionally awkward transition.. Saw this little beauty and tried to follow it enough to get a good shot of it. I love the light shining through its wings, sort of like a stained glass window.

Add Queen Anne's lace to my list of most photographed subjects... Even more so than daisies nowadays...

Thanks for checking out this blog! Let me know which picture is your favorite in the comments.

- Victoria

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#tbt | july 2010, 2011, & 2012

Hey everyone! How was your July? This month seemed to go by so quickly for me!

It's the last Thursday in July, so I am posting some throwback Thursday pictures from July of 2010, 2011, and 2012.

These two are both from 2010 and were taken with a Kodak EasyShare Z1012. Mushrooms are so cool and unique. Fun to photograph!

A still-life shot from 2011, again with the Z1012. This is one of my favorite passages from the Bible. Check out 1 Corinthians 13.

Fun fact: I LOVE Alice in Wonderland, and this teacup-turned-flower-pot reminds me of it for some reason. This one is from 2011 and was taken with the Z1012.

"Who's to say what is proper? What if it was agreed that 'proper' was wearing a codfish on your head? Would you wear it?" Alice in Wonderland (Burton, 2010)

When I took this shot back in 2011, I posted it on my Flickr. Since it was taken in the reflection of a mirror, it made me think about seeing things from different perspectives when it comes to disagreements with people. I wrote a little bit about that topic in the description. This photo was taken with the Z1012.

I really like these pictures and I've almost posted them a few times, but I feared they weren't aesthetically pleasing enough. But they're my photos, and I like them, so I'm posting them now. ;) I like the colors and the back lighting on whatever plant is there in the foreground. These were taken in 2012 with a Nikon D3000 (my first DSLR!).

I still love photographing Queen Anne's Lace! This one is from 2012 and was taken with the D3000.

Thanks for checking out this throwback! What was your favorite part of this past month? Let me know!

 

- Victoria

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when you have a cool hobby... | july 11th, 2017

Hey everyone! I wanted to take pictures yesterday since it's been a while, but it rained most of the day. Today I was literally dodging raindrops to get some pictures, but wowee was it worth it! Read through until the end to hear about my encounter with wildlife during the shoot...

Yellow is challenging to shoot, especially when the sun is hitting it. I was able to grab a few of these with decent exposure!

I used two different lenses for this shoot (35mm & 55-200mm) so if you're curious as to which lens I used for a particular photo, just ask!

Remember that "lovely stuff" I shot a few weeks ago and shared with you here? I'm pretty sure this is the dried version of the same plant. Isn't it still so pretty?!

These flowers were super cute! I couldn't pass them up and I didn't see them anywhere else.

Obligatory daisy picture.

There were so many butterflies! Click to view them in the larger lightbox.

I love the color of this plant and thought it was so cute all of these little guys were sharing the space.

This isn't a very good picture, but I wanted to share this because I didn't know such a butterfly existed in this area! The colors are so pretty.

HUMMING BEES. !!! Properly known as hemaris thysbe or hummingbird clearwings, these cool, fast, little creatures are actually a species of moth.

 

Okay, as promised... my wildlife story for the day. The place where I usually take pictures is somewhat of an overgrown field. I often hear animals rustling around, so I sort of tune it out. The rustling is usually caused by rabbits or field mice. Today, I came to a spot where the grass was bedded down. I knew there had been deer around, but I had also seen some...droppings...that weren't exactly deer-like. As I am contemplating the possibility of a bear having been near and whether or not they're nocturnal, I see/hear a brown animal tearing through the weeds, coming straight toward me. It broke through the clearing and stopped in a front-legs-crouching-toward-the-ground-with-rear-in-the-air kind of fashion. I gasped so loudly that I spooked the little baby deer that had just been caught off guard by the sight of me as I had been of him. It all happened so fast, I took a moment to calm myself. It's okay. Just a baby deer... OH MY WORD A BABY DEER! I quietly walked around to get a higher view to see if I could spot the deer again. Sure enough, the silly thing popped it's head up at me...

 

...and so did its friend!

I went inside for a few minutes but I was too curious. I grabbed my other lens and went back out.

And I found them again! This time they stuck around for a bit. Watch the video below to see what they did...

Needless to say, this shoot was a memorable one. Cute flowers, butterflies (including spotting that neat blue and orange one), hummingbird clearwings, and little baby deer... Yeah... My hobby is pretty freaking cool.

 

- Victoria

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#tbt | introducing throwback thursdays | june 2011

Hey everyone! I hope your June was fantastic. Today I am introducing a blog series I am excited to share with you all: throwback Thursdays! On the last Thursday of each month, I will post a few pictures from my archives and share some stories. These pictures might be really good, decent, or downright awful. I want this to be a way of showing you that a skill doesn't just happen. It takes practice. Your first five hundred pictures (or paintings, songs, basketball shots, etc.) might later make you cringe, but if you're giving it your all, you're probably making progress!

This month, I am bringing you pictures from June 2011six years ago! As you may or may not know, I started photography in 2008 but in 2011, I started taking it more seriously as an art.

I remember looking at this flower and thinking it was so cute! I wanted to capture it but it seemed like the only way I could get it in focus was to hold it. It reminded me of a Hawaiian flower for some reason and further reminded me of a book series I was reading at the timethe Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn.

I was really excited about this picture, although a little disappointed it wasn't exactly how I wanted it to look. But I tried!

I had (have) a fascination with keys and that was apparent in much of my early work. There were many key pictures I came across from that month but I decided to stick with one I had never shared. The biggest one and the second smallest one are my favorites from this collection.

Right. I know. Poptarts?! But hey, it was a chance to practice my skill and I took it. It does make me laugh though, some of the subjects of my pictures from that time. I took pictures of everything, especially my favorite things. Apparently blueberry Poptarts was one of them.

This location made me excited because this was the first wooded trail picture I had the opportunity to take. Wow. What a pro.

I was so excited when I snapped this pictureit was exactly how I imagined it should look!

This was my first real water drop picture. The surface? An Aquafina bottle.

Forever obsessed with daisies and dandelions.

Looking back at some of my old photos I often wonder, "What was I thinking?!" Then I catch myself; that was a time when I didn't let anything or anyone stop me from taking pictures. Nothingnot even Poptartswas too silly for me to snap a picture. I was doing what I enjoyed and was increasing my skill as a result. Sometimes we need to take notes from our younger selves.

"Do your thing. Do it every day. Do it ‘unapologetically’. Don’t be discouraged by criticism. You probably already know what they’re going to say. Pay no mind to the fear of failure. It’s far more valuable than success. Take ownership, take chances and have fun. And no matter what, don’t ever stop doing your thing." Asher Roth

- Victoria

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a new sunset everyday | june 12th, 2017

I went out to practice landscapes and yet ended up with all of this... I won't complain; very pleased with some of the shots I got. In fact, a few of the pictures I took are some of my favorites up to this point.

This was the back-of-the-camera shot I shared on the socials. That light! It made for some gorgeous pictures.

Straight-out-of-the-camera. Love the glow on the flowers. 

I took 464 pictures. I just clickclickclick to make sure I get the shot in focus. Narrowed it down to 97 of the best captures and now I'm sharing 12 with you here. That's why it takes so long for me to post sometimes...

I've been all about the high contrast lately...

Hey look. A landscape.

The color gradient on this is super cool.

If you haven't figured it out already, the lighting was GORGEOUS. I barely touched these in editing.

I was so amazed by what I was photographing. It felt like God was putting on a show and somehow, I had the privilage of capturing it.

These shots were particularly the situations in which I clickclickclicked at least 20 times for each angle. My shutter speed was set fairly slow and I didn't have anything to steady myself on. I'm sure it was quite a sight...bent over standing all funny, face probably turning red from holding my breath/holding the awkward position... Totally worth it.

As photographers, we get scared... We get scared that we'll run out of "new" stuff and that we'll keep recycling old stuff. (Or maybe that's just me.) But if we're constantly striving toward growing in our art and pursing it rather than chasing after the next newest bestest picture, it's going to show. It allows us to not think so much, but rather just do. No two sunsets are painted alike. That alone gives us a new, fresh canvas every single day.

Oh, and all of these were taken with my kit lens

- Victoria

 

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bonding with the kit lens | june 6th, 2017

You're using a kit lens?! I'm not sure why, but I typically avoid using my kit lens. I vaguely recall reading something years ago from a photographer (the snobby kind) that insisted kit lenses shouldn't be used; basically useless. And if you use them, well psh, are you really a photographer? That is probably where my subconscious avoidance of my 18-55mm came from.

Yesterday, I decided that thought needed to be tossed away. So I went outside and took pictures with my kit lens.

Look at those greens!

I had my ISO up a bit too high so many of the photos are more noisy than I'd prefer.

This one isn't the most astetically pleasing but I really liked the contrast and the deep greens.

I found this and it was so pretty! Spent most of the time getting pictures of this lovely stuff as the setting sun would occasionally peek through the clouds on the horizon.

What is it? Baby's Breath? Something poisonous? I don't know, but it sure is pretty.

Also not the most asthetically pleasing, but I love how the lovely stuff frames the purple flowers and is all around the base of the plant. 

I don't care how cliche it is; golden hour light is gorgeous. 

Fun fact: apparently I have an obsession with Queen Anne's Lace, even when it's just the stems left. Shout-out to the lens flares I am unashamed of. Acknowledging the poor quality of this photo. But this guy looked cool so I had to take a picture. 

I unintentionally took a break from nature and focused more on portraits. While I was touching up some of these photos, I realized how much my portrait editing has influenced the way I edit everything else now. Never underestimate how much experimenting with other styles can further your skill in other areas!

Here's the deal: photography snobs will always be photography snobs. To be an artist, you have to give yourself the freedom to stray away from the "rules" others try to impose. Because the thing is, it's not about being right. It's about expressing your art in a genuine way. There is a time for following guidelines, but there is also a time for following your artists eye. 

It's not about the lens, but the person behind it. It takes skill to use "less than ideal" equipment. It challenges you to work harder for the pictures you want. The kit lens isn't my favorite, but I want to use it more. I also want to figure out what other silly things photography snobs have said that have stuck in my mind...

- Victoria