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I don’t typically post a yearly wrap-up but, Scott Thomas’ latest photo assignment, “Best Photos of 2011” had me looking back today. Hmmmm, was a pretty lean year for posting… I must do better in 2012! ūüôā

To make it easier, I approached this task with the desire to select the best photo for each month starting with November 2010 through October 2011. Three months proved more difficult and I allowed myself to select more than one image.

Here we go! ūüėÄ

Back in November 2010, fresh from a trip to Disney, I had posted a series of photos from Hollywood Studios. The giant scrabble board complete with green army man was my favorite:

“You’ve Got a Friend in Me” (Oversized Scrabble Board with Green Army Man, Pixar Place, Disney’s Hollywood Studios) Nikon D300, 34mm, F/5.6, 1/125s, ISO 200, ‘Poster Edges’ CS3 Photo Filter

In late December, we were hit with the first of many Nor’easters. Even so, the abundance of¬†heavy, wet snow couldn’t put a¬†damper on our holiday spirit!

Frosty

“Frosty” (Snow-covered Holiday Wreath) Nikon D300, 82mm, F/5, 1/60s, +0.7EV, IS0 200

I couldn’t pick a favorite from January. Both images hail from our October Disney trip since by then,¬†I simply had HAD it with winter! (Molten Mickey post is here).

“Coquettish” (Lesser Flamingo, Disney’s Animal Kingdom) Nikon D300, 200mm, F/7.1, 1/200s, -0.3EV, ISO 400, Nik Color Efex Pro Bi-color Filter

“Molten Mickey” (Turn-style Gates at Disney’s Hollywood Studios) Nikon D300, 52mm, F/7.1, 1/200s, ISO 250, Nik Color Efex Pro Detail Stylizer & Bi-Color Filters

February brought some fun with my 105mm macro lens and 3-ring extension tube set. I wanted to see just how ‘up close and personal’ I could really get!

“Missing You” (Dianthus Stamen & Petals) Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro w/3-ring Extension Tube Set, F/11, 1/30s, -1.0EV, ISO 640

The macro fun continued well into March

“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

After a visit to the doctor in February got me back into a fitness routine, I was in serious need of¬†motivation to ‘stick with it’. I found exactly that in April! ūüôā

“Motivation” (Marc Jacobs Swimsuit) Nikon D300, 36mm, F/4.2, 1/20s, ISO 640

Critters are often featured in my photos and this adorable little chipmunk stole my heart in May:

“Home is Where you Make it” (Eastern Chipmunk in Birdhouse) Nikon D300, 200mm, F/5.6, 1/200s, ISO 640, Built-in Front Curtain i-TTL Fill Flash, -1.0 EV

June turned out to be all about flowers. I couldn’t decide between these three beauties:

“Yamaboushi” (White Kousa Dogwood, Cornus kousa) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/4.5, 1/200s, ISO 320, Built-in i-TTL Fill Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, +1.0 EV

“Love” (Dicentra spectabilis, Pink Bleeding Heart) Nikon D300, 260mm, F/5, 1/640s, -1.0EV, ISO 200

“Hope” (Pink Herbaceous Peony) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/4.5, 1/320s, -0.3EV, Built-in Front Curtain i-TTL Fill Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser

As a die-hard foodie, I love to cook and sometimes, I actually remember to take a photograph of my creations! We chomped on these delights all throughout July:

“Summer Cubed” (Watermelon, Mozzerella & Procuitto Bites) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/4.5, 1/30s, ISO 1000, Built-in i-TTL Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser

Feeling very proud of myself for not only sticking to my fitness committment but also exceeding my expectations despite breaking my left foot, I decided to show off the results of my hard work in August!

“Good Form’ (Female Fitness Portrait) Nikon D300, 28mm, F/4.5, 1/10s, ISO 640, Built-in i-TTL Fill Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, -1.3EV, Nik Silver Efex Pro ‘Silhouette II’ Filter

Another entry for August… when I wasn’t sweating on the elliptical, I¬†made sure¬†to enjoy the summer sunshine and was rewarded with a unique photo of a bee in flight:

“Flight of the Bee” (Carpenter Bee in Flight) Nikon D300, 280mm (VR 200-400mm F/4G w/1.4x teleconverter), F/5.6, 1/640s, ISO 640

I got all ‘artsy’ in September¬†with a series of¬†cucumber tendrills…

“Undulation” (Abstract Cucumber Tendrils) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/4, 1/320s, -1.0EV, Built-in i-TTL Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, -1.3EV

…and finally was able to say a proper Au voir to summer in October.

“And the Sun Sets on Summer” (Rudbeckia ‘Gloriosa’ aka Black-eyed Susan) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/7.1, 1/125s, ISO 400, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Photo Stylizer’ Filter

So, that’s it folks…a small photographic slice of 2010.

Yes, it was a VERY good year! ūüėÄ

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"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]¬†Ni√Īa, 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 coraz√≥n … 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, Cari√Īo! 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 ūüôā ~

"Jealousy" (Dianthus Stamens) Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro w/3-Ring Extension Tube Set, F/10, 1/15s, -0.3EV, ISO 640, Manual Focus

I was hoping to post fabulous shots of snowflakes today but, alas, while the snowfall we received yesterday was the right consistency (the light and fluffy kind), the bitter cold and gusty winds made an already difficult process pretty much impossible. (Those of you who have ever tried to shoot super-macro know exactly what I mean).

But since I already had my 3-Ring Extension Tube Set affixed to the 105mm macro lens, I went back to the Dianthus blooms to see what more of the love story those curly stamens might have to tell.

What’s this? Is trouble brewing in the mighty ‘Land of Dianthus?’ Gasp! ūüôā

"Missing You" (Dianthus Stamen & Petals) Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro w/3-ring Extension Tube Set, F/11, 1/30s, -1.0EV, ISO 640

Now you must realize, these flowers are¬†the size of a US penny (3/4″ or 19.06 mm), with the stamens as small as a straight pin!

Here lies the beauty of using extension tubes! While they contain no optics what-so-ever, they¬†magically decrease the minimum focussing distance of whatever lens you are using, allowing you to get¬†‘all up in one’s business’, so to speak. ūüėČ

Now the closer one gets, the more consideration one must pay to the tiniest of details as they will be magnified ten-fold in the resulting image.

‘Hmmm, I don’t understand, Tracy. What are these tiny details of which you speak?’

"Forgive Me?" (Dianthus Stamens) Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro w/3-ring Extension Tube Set, F/8, 1/40s, -0.3EV, ISO 640

I’ll explain.¬†Down at the microscopic level (okay, okay, they aren’t that small), life can be well, quite dusty. I didn’t notice the dust before when I was shooting with just the macro lens, but now I found myself pulling small dust bunnies off of the stamens with tweezers! Seriously!

While you’re cleaning your subject, you might as well make sure your¬†lens, CCD and focussing screen¬†are also dust-free. (And hope the¬†fantastic light currently illuminating the blossoms doesn’t decide to change!)¬†

Yes, at times it can be frustrating but, if you persevere, you get a bug’s eye view into a secret world, where trials of love and betrayal play out on tiny colorful stages.

How will it end?

Stay tuned for our next episode of ‘All My Stamens’ to find out! ūüôā

“Fantasia” (Common Dandelion Calyxes) Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro w/3-Ring Extension Tube Set, F/5.6, 1/20s, -1.0EV, ISO 800, Color Efex Pro ‘Bi-Color Filter’

 
I hope you are not tired of dandelion photos! ūüôā¬†

This¬†time we’re focussing our attention on the calyx ends¬†(those hairy things that help¬†to carry the seeds along the breeze to their final destination which typically, ends up being my lawn ūüėČ ).¬†

For some reason, this shot makes me think of¬†that famous ‘March of the Brooms’ scene from Disney’s Fantasia.¬†

I don’t see any buckets of water so I think we’re¬†safe from drowning! ūüôā

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