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Monthly Archives: March 2010

Dear Mother Nature, 

In utter desperation, I feel compelled to write to you to beg for your mercy!  

After enduring such a long and difficult winter, I may have spoken unkindly about you of late (and I sincerely apologize for that), but you must admit, you have not been playing fairly. Springtime should be full of hope and renewal, with crisp mornings that evolve into lovely days filled with warm sunshine and gentle breezes. The kind of days that draw us outdoors to the garden, to prune away the dead and to rake away the leaves, revealing the new life that awaits underneath. 

Sadly, this has not been the case! 

"Spring Glory" (Chionodoxa luciliae aka, 'Glory of the Snow') Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/7.1, 1/160s, -0.7EV, ISO 200

Instead, you’ve sent countless rounds of torrential rains, which flood our homes and gardens, along with damaging wind gusts that down our trees and destroy our landscapes. You’ve also teased us with a few unseasonably warm days only to strike us back down with snow flurries and chilling temperatures. 

Haven’t we suffered enough? 

Please, Mother Nature, if you could find it in your heart to put winter to bed once and for all and also, end all the cold and rain, I would be eternally grateful. 

Your humble servant, 

Tracy

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Extra: How’d she do it?

When I showed my husband how I took the above shot, he thought all of you might also like to know. Since we were experiencing chilly temps along with a brisk wind, I only went out shooting with my D300 (equipped with a 105mm macro lens) and SB800 speedlight (equipped with the Gary Fong Lightsphere Cloud w/inverted dome). I was actually hoping to find Crocus blossoms (nope) but instead, came across one little bunch of ‘Glory-of-the-Snow’. It was just after 2:00 pm so the sun was still fairly high – not the best light for shooting flowers.

When I wasn’t achieving the results I wanted (notice the loss of detail in highlights and overall faded flower color in the image below), I thought about simply coming back later in the day when the sunlight wasn’t quite so harsh.

But first, I decided to give an unusual idea a try. I removed my Gary Fong Lightsphere from the flash unit (I wasn’t using it anyways) and popped it over the flowers (sans inverted dome):

It instantly diffused the harsh light and also, served as a great wind block! Took some jockeying to achieve the background and composition I desired in such a tight shooting space, but my efforts were well rewarded.

So, now you know! 🙂

Not many playgrounds have seesaws anymore (I only located a couple in my area and one of them had only individual tot-sized ones). Fortunately, two large, lovely, creaky old metal sets remain at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester, albeit with some (ridiculous) modifications.  

“Old Yellah” (Seesaw, Stage Fort Park) Playground Series (#12), Nikon D300, 50mm, F/6.3, 1/400s, +0.3EV, ISO 250, ‘Old West’ Toning Action

Not understanding why each set only contained a few seesaws when there was clearly room for more, I spoke with the Salem Director of Park, Recreation and Community Services who explained that nowadays, each individual seesaw has to be spaced such that riders cannot be within arms reach of adjacent riders.

So, to make the old girls conform to the safety restrictions (rather than replace or eliminate the equipment altogether), every other seesaw was removed. In addition, to prevent any rider from bumping their rump on the ground if (and when) their riding partner decides to jump off without warning, rubber tires have been buried part-way into the dirt right under each end.  

Really?  

The deeper I delve into this series, the more amazed I am that I survived childhood. I mean, look at all the dangers I faced! Thank goodness my parents took the time to teach me the ways of the world all the while allowing me the freedom to enjoy taking a little risk – even if it meant getting a boo boo.  

Thanks mom & dad! 🙂

“Coy” (Dairy Goat Kid) Nikon D300, 200mm, F/8, 1/80s, ISO 200

The last time I went to Richardson’s Dairy, I was amazed to see the rafters of the cow barn filled with pigeons. It was really cold out that day and the pigeons were certainly smart to find refuge inside the warm barn. 

At the time, I made a mental note to return on a sunnier day with the hope that the sunlight pouring in through the roof windows would make a nice image (something like this… pigeons above with beams of light shining down on the herd of Holstein cows grazing and sleeping in the stalls below).  

Today I returned to the farm thinking THIS would be THE day to capture that 

“Cute” (Dairy Goat Kid) Nikon D300, 200m, F/8, 1/125s, ISO 200

image. However, the light wasn’t all that great and with 60 degree temps, the pigeons weren’t even IN the barn but rather, sitting outside on the electrical wires! Sigh.  

So, I hung with the cows for a bit waiting for some divine inspiration to occur, but when the stench reached an intolerable level, I decided to take a stroll around the grounds. 🙂  

The young calf’s roaming freely in the outside pen were sweet, but it was an adorable dairy goat kid that stole my heart!   

Just look at this face!  

The li’l goat kept posing for the camera as if in its own impromptu photo shoot! 

“Flirt” (Dairy Goat Kid) Nikon D300, 200mm, F/8, 1/80s, ISO 200

Don’t these look like they were shot in a studio?? 

They weren’t. 

The little goat was standing just inside the doorway of an ingloo-shaped shelter made of thick plastic. Toplit and backlit, the inside glowed yielding this suede-looking backdrop.  

Cool!  

I could have photographed him (her?) all day long but, unfortunately, other stops were still on my to-do list. So, I bid the sweet little creature Adieu and went on my way.  

I smiled all the way home and then had to laugh when I realized that goat was the most cooperative model I’ve ever had! 🙂

Just one of those days where I desperately needed something sunny!

"Quarter to Sunrise" (Gerbera Daisy) Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/8, 4s, -0.7EV, ISO 640

“Quarter to Sunrise” (Gerbera Daisy) Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/8, 4s, -0.7EV, ISO 640

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