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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

"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.¬†ūüôā

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! ūüôā

"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? ūüėČ

"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? ūüôā

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