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Monthly Archives: March 2011

"Shooting Star" (Stargazer Lily, Lilium Oriental Stargazer) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/8, 1.3s, ISO 640

I really thought the deadline for Scott Thomas’ latest photo challenge, Close-up Photography, was March 28th but sadly, I realized last night that it was yesterday. Sigh.

Well, no matter. ‘Better late than never’ as they say. 🙂

As the snow fell outside today (mostly flurries, but seriously?!), my gaze turned towards the last remnants of a gorgeous floral arrangement hubby brought home last Tuesday to help chase the winter blues away. Though most of the flowers had seen better days, a single Stargazer Lily remained more than photo-worthy.

No extension tubes or teleconverters this time, I kept the set-up simple using just the 105mm macro lens. Natural light from a nearby window softly washed over the blossom, separating it beautifully from the background.

"Kowtow" (Stargazer Lily, Lilium Oriental Stargazer) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/3.3, 1/13s, ISO 1000

Now, while these two images are nice, the assignment afterall is Close-up Photography, so let’s see just how close we can really get! 🙂

"C is for Carousel" (Stargazer Lily Stamens, Lilium Oriental Stargazer) Nikon D30, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/4.5, 1/8s, ISO 1000

As I moved in tighter, I enabled Nikon’s LiveView feature which allowed me to frame the shot in the LCD monitor rather than the viewfinder, making it much easier to compose the image and insure a nicely crisp focal point.

Amazing what you see when get down to this level, huh? It becomes less about the flower and more about the shapes, colors and textures.

For me, the stamens have somehow become tiny gondolas radiating outwards on Chartreuse spokes. And, although the shallow DOF suggests radial motion, I assure you, the stamens behaved themselves and stayed perfectly still.

Okay okay, enough attention on the stamens, already! I think the last post paid them their due homage so let’s move on, shall we? 😉

"Slice of Summer" (Stargazer Lily Petal, Lilium Oriental Stargazer) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/4.5, 1/5s, ISO 1000

Asiatic lilies have wonderfully spotted petals, sort of like the coat of a Snow Leopard. Hmmm, but looking at this image I’m not getting spotted feline. Nope, it must be my yearning for warm weather because all I can think about is that first bite of summer watermelon. You know what I’m talkin’ about… hacking off a thick slice and settlin’ down, bare feet dipping into the pool as you sink your teeth into that sweet crimson flesh, juices drippin’ down your chin…yummmmm.

Uh, Stargazer Lilies are edible, right? 🙂


"World's Apart" (Dianthus Stamens) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro w/3-ring Extension Tube Set, F/6.3, 1.3s, ISO 640, Nik Color Efex Pro 'Antique Portrait' Filter

And now, the conclusion of ‘All My Stamens’

Her: [accusation] How could you?!

Him: [confused] What are you talking about?

Her: [eyes blazing] Don’t act like you don’t know! I saw you with that, that chika! Whispering and giggling!

Him: [defensive] It’s not what you think, Mi amor! We just work together!

Her: [sniff] I can’t even look at you…I must go.

Him: [hurt] Please, don’t go. I’m lost without you.

Her: [head shaking] I have to. I need some time to think.

Him: [tenderly] Niña, listen. You know me. I’m not like that.

Her: [doubtful] I don’t know…I’ve been hurt before.

Him: [takes her hands in his] I would never hurt you. Te Amo! 

"Come Back to Me" (Dianthus Stamens) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro w/3-ring Extension Tube Set, F/5.6, 1/50s, -0.7EV, ISO 640

Her: [eyes shining] Really?

Him: [wipes away her tears] We’ve been through too much. You are in my corazón … my soul. You are a part of me.  Always

"Sweet Embrace" (Dianthus Stamens) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro w/3-ring Extension Tube Set, F/5.6, 1/50s, -0.7EV, ISO 640

Him: [gazing deeply into her eyes] Look at me. You know this to be true.

Her: [sheepishly] Oh mi, I’ve been such an idiota…[throws arms around his neck]

"Love Infinity" (Dianthus Stamens) Nikon D300, 180mm (VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro w/3-ring Extension Tube Set and 1.7x Teleconverter, approx. 4x Magnification), F/13, 1/1.6s, ISO 640

Him: [laughs] No, no. It’s just all  that hot blood coursing through your veins! You do drive me loca, Cariño! But, that is what I love about you!

Her: [sly smile] Good. But, just so we’re clear…cheat on me and I will kill you…

~ The End 🙂 ~

“Marble Magic” (Cream Cheese Brownies with Milk) Nikon D300, 150mm, F/5.6, 1/20s, ISO 640, Built-in i-TTL-BL Flash, -0.7EV

Desserts…aaaah, the best part of the meal. 🙂 Well, they were when I was younger.

These days, sweet endings aren’t the status quo, therefore, when I do indulge, they best be special treats! (or, at least, ones that are worth the extra minutes required on the elliptical! 😉 )

Good thing I love to bake since pre-packaged cookies and snack cakes aren’t welcome in our cupboards (too many ingredients born out of a chemistry lab than a kitchen).

First up, one of my favoritesCream Cheese Marble Brownies. Layers of dark chewy chocolate brownies dotted with chocolate chips and topped with ribbons of sweetened cream cheese. No sissy portions here but a nice generous square to be washed down with ice cold milk (of course).

This next one may look like a pre-packaged item but I assure you, it isn’t.

“Fo Hos” (Chocolate-covered, Cream-filled, Vanilla Cake Rolls) Nikon D300, 200mm, F/5.6, 1/20s, ISO 640, Built-in i-TTL-BL Flash, -0.7EV

Inspired by my favorite childhood snack cake, Hostess Ho Hos, these chocolate-covered, cream-filled rolls are beyond tasty! I’ve also made them with chocolate cake (like the original) but discovered that when you only have a yellow boxed cake mix in the pantry, you simply have to rollwith it! 😉

“Salty Sweet” (Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream ‘Late Night Snack’) Nikon D300, 130mm, F/5.6, 1/30s, ISO 640

Not all our treats come from my oven.

We are HUGE fans of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and when he recently unveiled the latest Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Flavor created just for the show, we knew we had to try it!

The perfect combination of salty and sweet, Late Night Snack is ‘Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with a Salty Caramel Swirl & Fudge Covered Potato Chip Clusters.’

Yes, folks, you read that correctly: Fudge. Covered. Potato. Chip. Clusters. Genius! 

For a limited time only, so run out to your local grocer and scoop up a pint! 😉

Staying with the ice cream theme, this last image comes courtesy of Beaches & Cream Soda Shop at Disney’s Beach Club Resort.

“Mouse Cream” (Mickey Mouse Sundaes, Beaches & Cream Soda Shop, Disney’s Beach Club Resort) Nikon D300, 62mm, F/2.8, 1/25s, ISO 640

I didn’t sample these Mickey Mouse sundaes but they were simply too adorable(and too colorful) to pass up! 🙂

When Karma posted an invitation to participate in a Photography Scavenger Hunt I immediately thought ‘How fun!’ fully intending to give it a go despite the short time frame. But then, life got away from me (as it tends to do) and before I knew it, the deadline was looming and I had little accomplished. 😦

Turns out, I wasn’t the only one having difficulty so Karma extended the submission deadline to March 6th – hooray! 🙂

Right from the get go I planned on posting the images in a collage and when I went to assemble the structure itself, I realized I needed a few more images than the 12 in the hunt to make it visually appealing. (Birgitte, my dear, you do make it look so easy! 🙂 )

Scavenger Hunt Collage

All but TWO images were taken specifically for the scavenger hunt. The two in question are previously un-posted images that just fit the bill (details follow).

So here it goes:

“Bad News” (9/11 Headline, NY Times) Nikon D300, 80mm, F/5, 1/100s, ISO 640, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Bi-color’ Filter

(1). Newspaper Headline  – For my generation, the attack on September 11, 2001 has to be themost horrific event to occur on U.S. soil.

A day I will never forget…

“Tick Tock” (Clock Face) Nikon D300, 170mm, F/5.6, 1/15s, ISO 400, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Old Photo’ Filter

(2). Big Round Clockface-Didn’t have to travel far for this one! Here is one of three large clock faces painted in a row on a decorative board in my living room. One clock is set to PST, one to EST and one to GMT (since hubby travels often to the UK).

“25 W 893” (Fruit Truck, Disney’s Hollywood Studios) Nikon D300, 46mm, F/8, 1/250s, ISO 200, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Bi-color’ Filter

(3). A Big Lorry/Truck – On our October 2010 trip I spied this large, old-time Chevy truck parked along Sunset Boulevard in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Now, knowing Disney’s reputation for details, I imagine the license plate must have some significance… anyone know? Anyone??

“You Take the High Road” (Veterans Memorial Bridge) Nikon D300, 36mm, F/16, 1/100s, ISO 200

(4). Bridge – Not one bridge but TWO!🙂

Constructed in 1997, the Veterans Memorial Bridge connects Beverly to Salem and rises high enough over the Danvers River to allow boats to easily pass underneath without the need for a drawbridge (huge improvement over the old bridge).

The lower bridge seen in the background is used by the MBTA commuter trains.

“Open Seating” (Park Benches at Percy F. Lyons Park, Beverly) Nikon D300, 75mm, F/18, 1/250s, ISO 200, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Color Stylizer’ Filter

(5).Park Bench – Here’s the first 2-for-1!

(I really couldn’t decide which image I liked better and, with the collage requiring additional images to be balanced, I didn’t have to! 🙂 )

The first shot is definitely more indicative of my photographic style but, I was actually proud of

“Smoke Break” (Smoker on Bench, Percy F. Lyons Park) Nikon D300, 105mm, F/10, 1/400s, ISO 200, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Color Stylizer’ Filter

myself for the second shot since I am not all that comfortable photographing strangers. 

Turns out, the guy on the bench with the headphones and cigarette was completely oblivious of my presence… 🙂

“Directional Snow” (Snow-covered Fences) Nikon D300, 55mm, F/7.1, 1/100s, +0.7EV, ISO 100

(6). Stripes – This image is from February of 2010. While standing on the other side of our chain-link fence I thought the layering of textures and directional lines would make for an interesting photograph. Back then, I never did anything with it. I guess it was simply waiting for the right moment. 🙂

“Button Pusher” (Heart-shaped Button Sampler) Nikon D300, 130mm, F/5.6, 1/40s, ISO 640

(7). Something Heartshaped – I posted a close-up of this sweet button sampler for Valentine’s Day.

Serving as more than just a decoration in my livingroom, it reminds me that we are all stitched together with the common thread of LOVE.


“Eyes for You” (Sewing Needles) Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro with 3-ring Extension Tube Set and 1.7x Teleconverter yielding 180mm, F/9, 1/3s, ISO 640, Nik Silver Efex Pro B&W Filter

(8). Eyes – Yeah, I took creative liberty with this one… you gotta problem with that? 😀

“Sneaks” (Jack Purcell Converse Sneakers) Nikon D300, 56mm, F/4.8, 1/25s, ISO 640, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Color Stylizer’ Filter w/Selective Toning

(9). Your Shoes – NO closet should be without a pair of Converse sneakers.

These are my broken-in, well-worn, limited-edition, no-lace, slip-on, olive-green Jack Purcell’s.

Love ’em! 🙂

“Play It Again” (Wooden Toy Piano) Nikon D300, 40mm, F/5.6, 1/100s, ISO 100


(10). Musical Instrument – This wooden toy piano from my childhood will always have a special place in my heart.

They just don’t make ’em like this anymore!

“POST” (Stylized Mailbox Letters) Nikon D300, 70mm, F/5, 1/15s, -0.7EV, ISO 640, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Solarization’ Filter

 (11). Post Box – Another 2-for-1! 🙂

I happened to have my neighbor’s mailbox in my possession as it required refurbishment from all the winter abuse. (I built it for her as a birthday gift oh-so-many years ago). So, while  it underwent repairs, I snapped a few stylized images of the front.  Can’t get more literal than this, huh? 😉

“What Can Blue Do For You?” (Post Boxes in Front of Beverly Post Office) Nikon D300, 18mm, F/16, 1/125s, ISO 200

To make up for it, I went out looking for some real post boxes to photograph. At one time, you’d find post boxes on every corner but these days, they are becoming quite rare.

I risked getting run down by a car to take this shot outside the main branch of the local P.O.

Okay, it was worth it. 🙂

“Short and Stout” (Red Teapot on Stovetop) Nikon D300, 90mm, F/5.3, 1/10s, ISO 640

(12). Something Red – I struggled for days on this one since the prompt was beyond simple and so very wide open. You see, I have many red items in my home yet, none seemed all that interesting.

Then one morning, there it was, like a slap to the forehead as if to say, ‘Hey! What took you so long?’ 😉

So, there ya have it, folks, and just in under the extended deadline. Phew! 🙂

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