XDrive Photo Lesson 18 – Golden Hour (Again)

This is my second submission for XDrive Photo Lesson 18 – Golden Hour.

We had many cloudy days recently, but once in a while we did see a clear sky. It was too cold to go out, so I took these photos from inside of the house. I didn’t make too many changes in post-processing. They were beautiful (the light) as they were. I want to share them with you, because I believe that beautiful things (or light) are meant to be shared.

This maple leaf is probably 10 year old. It has lost all its color, but came alive during the golden hour.

My neighbor’s willow tree looked prettier than other time, too.

This is another tree that I often stare at. I haven’t figured out why I like it as much as I do. Because of the direction of the light, there is no shadow of the tree trunk or all branches. Is that something to watch out for? (Wish I could position the sun…)

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Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge – Jan. 7, 2018

I am happy to see that Cee’s Odd Ball Challenge is back. (Thank you, Cee.)

Here is my submission.

You probably wonder why I took this photo. Well, I finally figured out when to use iPhone camera to shoot and when DSLR, so I decided to make a photo to celebrate. 😉

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XDrive Photo Lesson 18 – Golden Hour

This is my submission for XDrive Photo Lesson 18 – Golden Hour.

Do you know there is a Golden-Hour web site (smartphone app, too), which tells you your local Golden-Hour time? Check it out here.

Of course, time is only one element in the equation. Some days we have great golden hour; some days so-so; and cloudy days it’s simply not there. This week (since Raj posted the lesson) started with several very cold days, followed by some cloudy days. Just as I was going to dig out some old photos, it got warmer 😉

Let me start with one of my favorite golden hour photos… just because I found it.

(F7.1, 1/200 Sec., ISO-100, FL 32mm)

Yesterday’s golden-hour was okay.

(F11, 1/160 Sec., ISO-200, FL 34mm. Can you feel the cold air?)

We had a cloudy morning today, but to my surprise the sun came out for a short while. I knew I wouldn’t have enough time driving to any place.

(F11, 1/30 Sec., ISO-200, 34 mm – F11 is probably not a good choice. I didn’t think ;-( Yes, I shouldn’t rush even though the sun was about to move behind clouds…)

When I did a photo session with Molly, it was during the golden hour.

(F/4, 1/20 Sec., ISO 100, FL 38 mm. My camera was set to f/4 most of the time in that day, if not all. This is a good example of why we should check the exposure frequently while shooting in golden hour. With the same setting – f/4 and ISO-100, a few minutes earlier it only took 1/250 sec. I was lucky on this one.)

I love golden hour. It has the magic transforming an ordinary scene to a special one.

(F/11, 1/200 Sec., ISO-200, FL 62 mm)

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Photo Experimenting 1: Playing with Water

I like watching videos on different subjects of photographing. The other day the video “I Photographed Boiling Water” showed up on my YouTube home page. It is a short one, so I watched it right away.

But, I don’t have a see-through kettle like the one showed in the video, and I don’t want to do a complicated experiment. I remember taking photos of bubbles in a cup that was placed under running water, and decided to give that another try. For these photos I used: a red vase, a blue wine glass, and a small flash light. I placed the vase and wine glass in the sink, under running water.

Slowing down the water flow, I don’t see bubbles, but …

Next, pointing a small flash light at the red vase… (What I saw surprised me, even though I wasn’t crazy with the photo 😉

Blue wine glass with water drops all over…

Finally, if you google “Frozen Bubbles”, you will see many interesting photos. I tried it yesterday, and only managed to produce a tiny bubble. It was too cold to stay outside… probably next time. Since I had the mixture ready (7 oz warm water, 1.2 oz dish soap, 1.2 oz white corn syrup, and 2 table spoons sugar), I thought I would take a couple photos indoor.

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Happy New Year!

What? 2018 is already here? But, I am not ready for it yet!

I wish you all a Healthy and Happy 2018!

Christmas was nice. For those who remember that I was planning to write a letter to my daughter once a week in 2017 – well, I failed terribly. One of the reasons was that it was difficult to write, blog with the same material (which was my original plan), and, at the same time, to maintain a certain degree of privacy. But I did manage to produce around 15 and gave them to my daughter as one of her Christmas gifts.

To be honest, I had given up guessing what young people may think or feel. I honestly had no idea how she would react. I’d prepared for the worst – if she showed any sign of confusion, I would quickly add, “You don’t have to read them now. You can read them later… much later.”

With a slightly choked voice, she said, “Oh, Mom, this is the best Christmas gift!”

My eyes became wet instantly. Those words meant so much to me. It was one of my happiest moments! And you know what? I think those letters brought us even closer. 😉

In spite of how unready I was for 2018, yesterday, the New Year Day, I felt extremely peaceful. Some new goals came to my mind and I like having goals. Let me give you one example – I will do more photographing experiments this year. After watching a tutorial video, I will shoot some photos based on what I see in the video. It may or may not be the same idea as what is on the video, but it will be somewhat related 😉 That will be fun, won’t it?

Thanks for visiting my blog. I have a feeling that we will have a wonderful 2018! I am ready now!

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XDrive Photo Lesson 17 – Rim Light

This is my submission for XDrive Photo Lesson 17 – Rim Light.

I was going to say this was the most difficult lesson for me. Then I remember feeling the same way with a couple of previous lessons. I think the difference is that in previous lessons, after I studied the subject, the real shooting time was a half day at the most. But this time it took 3 days and several tries on each day. (So glad we have two weeks to work on this!)

Again, After reading Raj’s lesson, I read more articles and watched some videos of the subject. Most of them, if not all, said rim light effect is EASY to achieve even for the beginners. Eliminating the guy who had fancy lighting equipment, and the guy who did outstanding post processing work, there were still a couple doable ones — that was what I thought.

Well, I carefully followed their steps, but my photos didn’t look like theirs at all. So, for 3 days, I tried to move the light forward and backward, left and right, turn the light toward the front and back, up and down… I am sure you get the picture.

Anyway, here is the first photo.

I took several photos of this glass. Like I said, it didn’t look as good as the one showed in the article. I was ready to give up, but I thought I should at least check it out in PS. It turned out that all I had to do was to make the black darker. Wow. The result surprised me. In a good way, I mean.

I took a photo of a wine bottle, which I would not post it here. I don’t understand why we have to work so hard to get our subject in focus, and yet dusts always have their own way to steal the spotlight.

Next is… well, another bottle with natural light. It does have the rim light, I think. I hope, anyway.

Then, I thought of the fireplace. It would be a good background, wouldn’t it? Let me tell you, it was very difficult to ask those bears to sit still. Not to mention the flashlight kept falling off from the box…

Finally… I hate selfies… but DIY is always easier. So, the last photo is a photo of me. I took this photo with a timer set with 2 seconds delay, so I could have enough time to run to the spot. This, again, took many tries, moving the light here and there… thinking… moving lights again… After taking so many selfies, I think I know exactly where each wrinkle is!

Thanks to Raj for another wonderful lesson. I also want to mention that my friend Amy at The World Is A Book… has an excellent post for this lesson. You may like to take a look. 😉

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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To Lois

A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.
— Jim Morrison

Dear Lois,

Happy Birthday! (This is the Monday, isn’t it? 😉

Picture this… we are sitting by the ocean drinking wine, hearing pelicans singing “Happy Birthday” – one, apparently, sings louder than the others (one off-key?) Look, they brought fishes to the party! Lots of fishes. Hmm, I wonder which fish man they stole those fishes from.

The sun is setting. The sky and water are turning orange, yellow, and red. I sit there thinking if you know that you have made this world more beautiful for many of us. Your sense of humor… I start laughing. I laugh so hard that some pelicans fly away.

I remember the first time I read that you started a Toastmaster club in a prison. I was happy for club members because I believe it would improve their communication skills and help them deal with problems in future. But, at the same time, I couldn’t help worrying about your safety. The trust you had built between you and them was amazing. I learned I should never give up on anyone. (Even though I had applauded you until my hands were red, I still couldn’t build up enough courage to do what you have done!)

Then, you shared your bad news and later some good news with us. Throughout the time, you were stronger than most of us. Even when you didn’t feel well, you continued commenting, sending us warm feedback, as much as you could.

So, I’d like to make a toast… thank you for all the things you have taught me (by acting more than talking), for making me laugh, and for allowing me to be me. I press my hands together; I am grateful to have a friend like you.

Pelicans are dancing… or it’s me having too much drink… 😉

Happy Birthday, Lois!


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