Visioning

photography and digital scrapbooking


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Spring Flower Photography

Flower photography is a joy this spring. The weather has been excellent for weeks, providing lots of warm sunshine and cool breezes. Many flowers are in full bloom, but none have captured my interest more than the Foxglove plants. I started them from seed last year. They do not bloom the first year, so it has been a long wait! The twelve plants are blooming in shades of purple, pink and white. The Snapdragons were also started from seed last year. They over-wintered in our raised-bed garden, spreading and growing to a height of three feet. Photographing the tall Foxglove spires and Snapdragons was a challenge, because they sway constantly in the wind. Fortunately, I had plenty of light which allowed me to freeze motion with a fast shutter speed.

Which flowers are currently blooming in your gardens? Are you enjoying wildflowers too? I would love to hear from you and see your spring flower photos!

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Watching Winter Birds

The window feeder is getting a lot of traffic these days. At various times of the day I check out the activity and photograph the birds as the light changes. The House Finches are fun to watch. The female sometimes feeds the male. I included three photos showing him waiting, leaning forward for seed, then seed hulls around his beak. I was shooting high-speed continuous, but missed the exact moment she gave him the seed!

When I saw the black areas around the American Goldfinch’s head, beak and eyes, I thought he might have Avian Pox, a common disease of finches and other feeder birds. But after doing more research and comparing photos, I think those areas are due to molting which happens in late winter and again in late summer.

A Carolina Wren visits, but she is so fast I miss her every time. Cardinals are checking out the feeder, but are reluctant to land. Maybe they will get braver over time. A Cooper’s Hawk sat on our fence last week and ate his catch. I was not able to get a photo, but enjoyed watching him through the binoculars.

Have you seen interesting activity at your feeders this winter?

All photos Canon 60D.


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Tufted Titmouse and Carolina Chickadee

Little birds are visiting our window feeder this winter. Peanuts and a few dried cranberries added to the seed mix have kept them active, especially mornings. The cloudy, rainy weather has been a photography frustration since attaching the feeder. But I was able to take a few photos and plan to try again when different birds visit and the light is better. A male cardinal flew in for a closer look, but has not actually fed from the feeder, as far as I know.

I learned from researching these birds that the Tufted Titmouse nests in tree holes and stores seed and nuts in winter. They shell sunflower seeds before hiding them. Normally found in the eastern half of the United States, Tufted Titmouse pairs remain in their territory through the winter.

Carolina Chickadees live in the southeastern United States. Pairs bond in small flocks and defend their territories against other flocks throughout the year. These tiny birds excavate a tree hole, or choose a cavity for nesting. They normally choose seeds and nuts from a feeder and carry it to a branch to eat. Tufted Titmice associate with the Carolina Chickadees, but are dominate over them.

Photos: Canon 60D, tripod mounted.


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Sweetwater Creek in Autumn

We spent an afternoon at Sweetwater Creek State Park last week. We always enjoy the hiking trails, sense of history, and the soothing sound of water splashing in the rocky creek. I like the trail that leads to the ruins of the New Manchester Textile Mill. This structure was burned during the Civil War to hamper production of Confederate uniforms. Holes for windows and crumbling bricks create a haunting sight along the shadowy trail.

I used my least favorite lens that day;  an older Tamron 18-270mm. It gives me some trouble with a loose focus ring and other problems, but I knew I would need the wide focal length for shots of the creek and wooded areas. I used RAW format and expected to work on the processing quite a bit. However, these files were more desaturated than expected. Not even close to the color I saw that day. So I adjusted basic tonality, clarity, and vibrance settings in Lightroom. Then applied some Nik filters mostly for saturation, tonal range, and in some cases a gentle high key filter. I quickly discovered that processing autumn landscapes is not easy! The challenge was to reveal the range of colors while keeping them natural. I hope you enjoy these and please let me know if you have any tips for processing autumn tree photos!

All photos: Canon 60D, handheld.

Click on the first photo to open the new WordPress photo carousel.



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Small Town Charm

Our recent visit to Ashland, Ohio included a walk through lovely city streets and the campus of Ashland University. The charm of this town (and many others in the area) is best enjoyed in person. But I hope these photos and my brief captions communicates some of the natural beauty of this midwestern town.

Click on the first photo to open the photo carousel. All photos, Canon 60D.


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Enjoying Nature on My Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday, so it was the perfect excuse to take a break and spend some time outside. We decided to drive to Kennesaw Mountain for a leisurely afternoon of hiking. The weather was warm and the yellow autumn leaves were bright and beautiful in the sunlight. I enjoyed taking some photos on the trails, then we spotted a few deer near the base of the mountain. After a few minutes, one curious little doe broke away from the others to investigate a rake that was left near a pile of gravel. She approached it very timidly, sniffed, then quickly trotted back to the cover of the woods. I love deer and seeing them is always a great event for me! It was a happy day and just what I needed to relax and refresh my spirit.

All photos Canon 60D


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Amish Farm Scenes

Amish farms are found throughout Ashland County, Ohio. Typically, Amish farmland and buildings are well maintained, even though residents do not use electricity from the grid or own motor vehicles. Power for the household is generated by windmills and gasoline generators. Teams of horses pull wagons and equipment for planting and harvesting crops.

My goal for this set of photos is to explore the beauty of the farms and to respectfully meditate on this antiquated farming community. I was careful not to overtly photograph the faces of the Amish, since they adhere to the scriptural admonition to avoid “graven images”. And they simply do not want to draw attention to themselves by posing for photos. How the Amish live and conduct themselves interests me, but I neither idealize nor judge their lifestyle.

All photos: Canon 60D.

Click on each photo to enlarge and see details.

amish farmhouse

ISO

Amish farmhouses are usually large and have an early 1900’s look. A row of rhubarb plants can be seen in the foreground.

amish farmer harvesting crops

ISO 640, 50mm, f/13, 1/640.

This Amish farmer is harvesting corn by hand; bundling the stalks and stacking them neatly. His young children are along for the ride.

amish house and long lane

ISO 500, 100mm, f/18, 1/125.

This plain house with rustic fence posts made a lovely setting when viewed from the road.

amish milk cans

ISO 500, 100mm, f/18, 1/125.

I found these milk cans at the end of a narrow lane. Amish dairy farm practices are definitely old-style.

amish signs at mailbox

ISO 640, 100mm, f/18, 1/160.

I enjoyed seeing the charming display of  hand-lettered signs! (I altered the address on the mailbox to respect the resident’s privacy.)

amish laundry on clothesline

ISO 640, 100mm, f/18, 1/200.

Hand sewn Amish clothing carefully hung to dry in the sun. Plain styles and colors are traditional.

amish produce stand

ISO 100, 50mm, f/6.3, 1/320.

A charming produce stand next to a township road. We selected some items and drove down the lane to deliver the money. We saw five or six smiling children working in the garden. They were all carrying baskets full of vegetables!

amish for sale signs

ISO 400, 100mm, f/18, 1/125.

Interesting to see the items and services for sale at this Amish residence.

amish horse and buggy

ISO 100, 50mm, f/7.1, 1/400.

A young woman and child enjoying a ride in the autumn sunshine.


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Ohio Farms: Antique Barns and Landscapes

The plentiful antique barns in north central Ohio are fun to photograph. Some are restored and others abandoned, but I find all of them interesting. Most of the barns were painted white in years past. Red paint is now more common and I think the color adds to the charm.

I took these photos in the area where I grew up. Even as a young child, I appreciated the landscape views of valleys, hills, and grain fields. You might have guessed – I miss this rural area where the pace of life is slower and the beauty of nature abounds.

All photos: Canon 60D.


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Antique Windows

We made a spur-of-the-moment trip last week. I wanted to help my parents with some tasks around the house and shoot photos in the rural areas of north central Ohio. The landscape there is full of interesting things to photograph:  farms scattered in gently rolling hills, Amish culture, antique homes and barns, wildflowers, quaint villages, ancient cemeteries, and wetlands. I now have many photos to enjoy and categorize, so look for Ohio-theme blog posts in the weeks to come. We enjoyed every minute of our visit and hope to return soon!

While traveling around the countryside, I was drawn to the windows of old buildings. I decided to start a series of window photos and was able to get nine examples. I especially liked seeing the landscape reflected in windows, or curtains that hinted of a simple decor from decades ago.

All photos: Canon 60D.

Click on the horizontal photos to enlarge.

vintage window and door

ISO 800, 100mm, f/18, 1/20.

This abandoned house in Savannah, Ohio had a mystery door next to one of the windows!

window in antique red barn

ISO 640, 50mm, f/13, 1/800.

Small window on a barn built in 1880. The window and texture of the painted wood were the features I found most interesting.

ancient window in abandoned house

ISO 640, 25mm, f/18, 1/100.

This window is from an abandoned farmhouse in a wide valley. I like seeing the reflection of grain fields and sky.

four windows in an old house

ISO 500, 100mm, f/18, 1/80.

I found this house in a small Ohio town. The lovely designs under the soffit and over the windows are still pretty after many years in the elements.

handcrafted window in restored brick church

ISO 640, 100mm, f/18, 1/40.

This handcrafted window is one of many in a restored brick church near Ashland, Ohio. Hints of the perfect autumn day reflect in the glass. (A future post will include more photos of this building, which is now a residence.)

old storage shed windows

ISO 800, 100mm, f/18, 1/80.

I found this old storage shed in a small town. The windows displayed a plethora of items and pride in the state of Ohio.

diamond window in old brick church

ISO 320, 100mm, f/18, 1/250.

This little diamond window is on the west side of an ancient church. Light from the setting sun illuminated the strong focal point.

country town post office window

ISO 800, 100mm, f/18 1/640.

The wall of windows on the front of this post office face a busy road. Taking the photo from the side was my only option, but this angle provided interest as well.

tall window in antique house

 500, 100mm, f/18, 1/15.

This fancy window hints of a once elegant brick house.


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Duke Gardens

Our trip to Raleigh, North Carolina included a visit to Duke Gardens. Surrounded by the colorful landscape, I immediately began taking photos. That was important, since it started to rain twenty minutes into our visit. We had no choice but to head back to the car – getting completely drenched on the way! My camera was ok, since I protected it by holding it under the hem of my shirt. After a soggy ride home, we changed clothes and went on with our day. Duke Gardens is a glorious place to walk, relax, and enjoy photography. It was disappointing that our visit was short, but I hope to return someday.

  • All photos: Canon 60D, 50mm 1.8 prime lens, manual, evaluative, RAW, handheld. I shot the last photo in the rain under a leafy (and leaky) gazebo!