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Window Box

Update!  As seen on Unseen Portland!
 
Window Box, originally uploaded by Roadduck99.

I was in Portland for a meeting the other day. Rather than rush back to my office, I wandered around downtown with my camera. Here are a couple of shots.

Hay Building at Congress Square

Play Imagine Act

Strange Maine

I recently acquired a couple of second-hand Minolta kit lenses that fit my Sony.  These shots were taken with the 28-80 mm lens.  It’s a useful size for me.

Dewey Morning

Bokehdew #12, originally uploaded by Roadduck99.

In lieu of going to the gym this morning, I spent some time in the yard photographing daffodils. Then I noticed the early sun sparkling on the dewey grass.

Dew-covered daffodil

I’m not sure what the neighbors thought of me lying on the ground in my pajamas taking photos, but they are probably getting used to it. Fortunately I was able to lie on the driveway to get these shots, so I avoided getting myself wet.

OOB Photo Meetup

(caro)USEL, originally uploaded by Roadduck99.

The Maine Photography Meetup group got together for a shoot on Saturday morning in Old Orchard Beach. Many members arrived in time for the sunrise. I love photographing the sunrise, but didn’t get up in time to make it.

The sunrise shoot was followed by breakfast at JJ’s Eatery (good food, bad coffee, terrible service), then a walk around the closed theme park and desolate streets of off-season OOB.

Photographers walk the empty streets of OOB

It turns out that downtown OOB is pretty small, so we next ventured a couple of miles to Pine Point in Scarborough. There we were met with boats in the water and on the beach, and a variety of hidden treasures.

Boats moored at Pine Pint

It’s always fun to get together with photo friends to share the joy of photography. The group’s Flickr page has lots of great images.

Montpelier, Vermont

 

Cool Jewels #15, originally uploaded by Roadduck99.

My job takes me to Montpelier a few times per year. Downtown Montpelier lies nestled along the river, but much of the city rests on the side of – or on top of – its many hills.

Panoramic view of the city at sunrise

Atop a hill behind the statehouse is Hubbard Park, and atop Hubbard Park is Hubbard Tower, a 54-foot stone monolith that offers 360-degree views of the town and the hills both near and far.

Hubbard Tower

When in Montpelier recently, I woke up before dawn to take some photos of the small city as it woke up. At the top is a shot of the corner of State and Main Streets. This was a two-second exposure that captured a box truck moving through the intersection. Below is a photo of the Winooski River running toward the State House, taken from the Main Street Bridge.

The Winooski River runs toward the Vermont State House

I had hoped to get “Golden Hour” light shining upon the dome, but cloudy sky that morning dashed the early morning light. This will be a challenge for my next trip.  For many more photos of Montpelier, check out my set on Flickr.

Spring Begins

 

Sunbathing, originally uploaded by Roadduck99.

The Earth’s continuous circuit of the Sun has brought us once again to the Vernal Equinox. Spring has begun, and though winter still has a thing or two left to offer – it’s snowing in Southern Maine as I write this – nature is starting another cycle. Sure signs of warm weather to come: the robins are hopping around the lawn looking for worms, and in warm patches of earth, the crocuses have appeared.

Flowers on the South-facing side of the Bank of America building in Brunswick always seem to be a week or two ahead of their brethren elsewhere. So it is with these crocuses, which are in full bloom while snow still covers my flower gardens. The daffodils and tulips are surely not far behind.

Moon 3/15/11

Moon 3/15/11, originally uploaded by Roadduck99.

Just a photo of the moon, to show that I haven’t forgotten about the blog. Shot from the top of Hubbard Tower in Montpelier, Vermont with the Big Beercan. The sky was still blue, but all the photos came out with a black background, else the moon itself was all washed out.

I love the details visible. This was what I had in mind when I got the new lens. I’ve shot the moon every month since I bought it.

Guitar Parts

 

Stripes, originally uploaded by Roadduck99.

The other day I made a makeshift studio on my kitchen table to play around with a variety of shots. Eventually I took out my electric guitar – a Fender Toronado – and took a bunch of photos with it. This was my first try on the guitar with my new camera. It was a fun experiment in light and focus and depth-of-field.

Close up of the bridge

Close up of the saddles

I got some decent shots with my old camera, but a combination of the camera’s and my own shortcomings in dealing with low light usually led to a fair amount of graininess, as in the Tuners photo:

Tuners on my Fender Toronado

Guitars, with their curves and shiny bits, are a lot of fun to photograph.  One day I hope to get a satisfactory image of the whole thing!

Moon Shots

Full Moon 2/18/11, originally uploaded by Roadduck99.

Since I got the Big Beercan lens, I’ve taken the opportunity to try to shoot the full moon. The first attempts didn’t go so well, but round two provided some good shots.

Maple tree branches are silhouetted in the moon

I recently wrote about what I have learned about shooting the moon in a recent piece at Examiner.com.

This morning I saw a sliver of the moon, so I thought I would give that a try. Not as good as the full moon. Perhaps I needed to kick up the ISO.

Crescent Moon at dawn

Challenging

 

Honey Bear: #94, originally uploaded by Roadduck99.

I’ve entered into a couple of new projects for 2011, to mix things into all the sunrises and keep the creative juices flowing. One of these new things is joining a challenge group on Flickr called “Take Aim.”
Every two weeks, two new challenges are issued. Photographers have a little over a week to come up with up to two entries for the challenge, then there are a few days for votes. The winners issue the next challenge.
I took a bunch of photos of a honey bear for the “Keep it Local” challenge. This challenge acknowledges that not everybody, especially those of us in colder climates, is getting outside during the winter to take a lot of photos. So the idea is to take shots of something close by – in your house or office, or any place you find yourself on a regular basis. Hopefully you’ll try an interesting new interpretation of the object.
This photo that I took of the honey bear fit well into this week’s second challenge: “Look into my eyes.”

Gaze deep into the honey bear eyes.

The photo below was take for the previous “Cold Cold Winter” challenge. For this shot, I waded through four feet of snow in the Pines Cemetery in Brunswick to capture the stones nearly – or in some cases, completely – covered over. I titled this one “Buried Again,” though a friend suggested “Ten Feet Under.”

Brunswick grave stones endure four feet of snow

I find the challenges to be a good way for me to think about getting away from comfort of the tried-and-true. The give me a reason learn new techniques and more about how my camera works. All of which will make me a better photographer.