This week, guest host, Anne Sandler, has asked us to look at the world in Black and White for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. She also asks us to describe the process by which we convert our pictures to black and white images, so I thought it might be helpful to show both the original picture and the processed image. I don’t have an expensive camera or a lot of fancy software for doing this kind of work but what I have seems to be sufficient. For the first two b/w images I opened the originals in Microsoft Digital Image, converted them to black & white then made lighter and darker versions of both pictures. After that I sent them over to Canon Digital Photo Professional and put them through the HDR processor then sent the resulting images back to Digital Image for a final spruce up. Do I really know what I’m doing? Heck no! But I like the results. I find that the lack of color helps to focus the eye on the bold lines of the architecture.
The next two images were converted solely with the Digital Image software. I’ve used this program for years and it’s done the job remarkably well. Of course there are some things that it can’t do but I can live without all those extra features.
Here are two recent images from the photo files that really caught my eye and which I thought would work well for the theme of Orange in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week. Captured in our garden and at Volo Auto Museum.
This week, Nancy Merrill is asking us to look for groups of three for her Photo A Week Challenge. Having found plenty of twos for Cee’s B&W Photo Challenge, I realized that coming up with threes was not going to be quite so easy.
Three sea lions at the zoo. This picture was taken some years ago and I’m having a hard time remembering where but I think it may have been at the zoo in Indianapolis.
Three beautiful blooms at the Orchid Festival in the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Three naked ladies, part of a fantastic music machine at The House on the Rock in Spring Green, Wisconsin.
Three pelicans preening on the Mississippi River in Davenport, Iowa.
Three jockeys entering the enclosure before a big race at Arlington Park, Illinois.
Three koi swimming in a pool at Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois.
This week we’re getting in or out of focus, however the fancy takes us, for the Photo Challenge set by David at The Daily Post. I have a multitude of images that are unintentionally out of focus. I’ve even tried using them for competitions, claiming artistic license, although the judges just weren’t buying it. I do have a number of pictures that, all things considered, are quite sharp. And then there are those that, by some miracle, just seem to have the right balance. It’s sheer luck when this happens as I’m not one to fiddle around making adjustments to the camera when I’m out shooting. Even if I spent time reading the manual that comes with the camera, I’d probably never remember all the technicalities.
I like this shot of a swan at the Chicago Botanic Garden for a couple of reasons. The flowers in the foreground add some color to the picture but also, being slightly out of focus, give the impression that we are hiding behind them watching as the swan goes gliding by. A similar effect can be seen in this image of a moose taking it easy at Snowbird Resort near Salt Lake City in Utah, although who was hiding from whom I’m not sure.
I think the following images benefit from having the background out of focus, allowing us to concentrate more fully on the subject: flowers at the Green Bay Botanical Garden, a young man playing the part of a soldier at the Fort on Mackinac Island and a goldfinch enjoying some sunflower seeds in our garden.
For more on The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post go to Focus
Over the years, I’ve made a conscious effort to look at subjects from many different angles and, when possible, I’ve tried to get at least one shot that included a ‘frame’ so, when Nancy suggested this topic for the Weekly Photo Challenge on The Daily Post, I was ready.
The most recent opportunity came on Mackinac Island when I captured this image of the harbor framed by a doorway at the historic Mackinac Fort.
This archway made a nice frame for a colorful flower bed in the Cottage Garden at Green Bay Botanical Garden.
At Frederik Meijer Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, this piece of ‘artwork’ seemed to make an appropriate frame for a similar sculpture and the gazebo behind it. If I had to take the shot again, I might do it from a slightly different angle but I think at the time I was trying to incorporate the tree on the left.
This shot is really one from the archives. Taken back in 2006 at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Temple in Bartlett, just two years after it opened.
Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week calls for images that included the colors orange & green.
An orange signpost amongst the greenery points the way to a gnome garden at the Vander Veer Botanical Park in Davenport, Iowa.
Not only did we find gnomes in the garden but also beautiful orange canna lilies.
An orange dinosaur crushing pumpkins on the green at Goebberts Farm in South Barrington.
Pumpkins and other kinds of squash in a slightly more tranquil environment at the Morton Arboretum.
Despite the fact that this orange truck only has a hint of green, I find my eye immediately drawn to the color, perhaps because it is something of a leading line. Found at Bluesmobile Cruise Night in Mount Prospect.
We found this old tractor at West Street Sculpture Garden in Galena. Artist John Martinson works with scrap metal to make some interesting if rather bizarre pieces of sculpture and we weren’t entirely sure whether this was one of the exhibits or just something that he uses to move the pieces around. I think probably the latter.
A hummingbird and flower made of Lego on display at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle.
Introducing the incredible Billie; probably one of the smallest toys ever made. I was only very small myself when I was given this little guy, which makes him well over 60 years old. Billie and His Seven Barrels, manufactured in the UK by Kiddiecraft from 1945-55, was designed by Hilary Page who was possibly better known for his design of the original interlocking building brick which later became famous as Lego.
According to the packaging, the toy consisted of “Seven colored plastic barrels which unscrew in the middle and all fit into the largest barrel. In the tiniest barrel is Billie.”
Sadly I no longer have the barrels but amazingly Billie is still with us. This diminutive fellow survived the move from London to the suburbs when I was yet a child. Mum kept him safe at home when I emigrated to the US in the early 1970’s and brought him with her when she and Dad came to live with us ten years later. Here he remains, a small but very important reminder of my childhood.
A Japanese anemone, one of the smaller flowers in our garden, blooms in spring and later in the autumn.
A little sparrow making the most of a mild day in October at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
One of the largest photo files that I have is the one dedicated to images of the Chicago Botanic Garden. The Garden is probably my favorite place in the Chicago area to visit and I suppose you could call it my Muse.
It’s refreshes the spirit and soothes the soul.
I can’t imagine a world without the Garden. It’s a tonic for the mind and the body, providing color, fragrance and texture to a sometimes mundane life.
It provides inspiration not only for my photography but also my own attempt at gardening.
And when I try my hand at a little painting.
For more on this week’s Photo Challenge at The Daily Post go tohttps://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/muse/