A Cross to Bear

I’m guessing you can figure out the location of today’s photos from the title. I just couldn’t resist.

5DSR53795DSR5385This is one of the last areas of the cemetery we photographed. I’m afraid I don’t know the significance of these blocky little headstones with the crosses on top. I just loved the photographic opportunities they presented. I wish there had been more of them. In this arrangement of three, I resorted to a tiny bit of Photoshop trickery to remove a small floral arrangement that was ruining the composition for me.

5DSR5390The lighting was tricky, but I tried to use it to my advantage. The image on the right only works because the cross in the back is strongly back lit, creating a halo effect. Without that, it would have been lost against the somewhat busy background. Isolating the crosses against the grass worked better, but I couldn’t always get the right angle to make that work.

Morning at the Prom

Time to head back to Australia again. These are some additional photos from our trip to Wilsons Prom. 5DSR4536After we spent one night in our somewhat rustic accommodations close to the park, we went back for a slightly longer hike than we had managed on the prior afternoon. Essentially, we walked from one beach to another along a ridge with spectacular views of the ocean and several bays.

5DSR4560This one, in particular, was stunning. As far as I could tell there was no way to reach it. Apparently it is possible to climb down to it, if you are part mountain goat. Way beyond my skill level, so I settled for photographing it from our high vantage point.

5DSR4674We had to hike the same trail to return to the car, so I took advantage of the return trip to put on a longer lens and photograph some details of the rocks along the shore line.

Military Headstones

We’re back in the cemetery today. Well, I am, anyway.

5DSR5359This time I’m featuring the simple headstones found in the section of the cemetery devoted to military veterans.

5DSR5367This is often my favorite part of any cemetery. There’s something about the repeating lines of modest, identical headstones that I find compelling. St. Mary’s doesn’t have a very large section like this, so it’s nothing like taking photos at Arlington (which I’ve done) or even Ft. Snelling (which I haven’t) but then it’s a relatively tiny cemetery. You have to work a little bit harder to get something good, which just makes it all that more satisfying.

5DSR5370I’m pretty close to finished with my posts on St. Mary’s. I’ve got one, maybe two more left in me before I move on. Then you’re stuck listening to me drone on about the house stuff, which is occupying the majority of my waking hours these days. It might be awhile before I break out the camera and take any new photos. Enjoy the break.

Wilsons Prom Redux

Today’s Australia reboot is Wilsons Prom. This is the national park we visited on our second road trip. It’s a gorgeous place, but much of it is only accessible by hiking. Which gets tricky with a cranky toddler and her middle aged aunty and uncle.

5DSR4362We arrived later in the day, but had enough time for a little hike down to the beach.  Along the way we passed this wide swampy area filled with bushy grass. When we reached the beach, Nola immediately plopped down in the sand and started making castles.

5DSR4432She wasn’t very happy when we told her it was time to go. On the way back to the car she dawdled, running in and out of this little stream that fed into the ocean. It gave me plenty of opportunity to photograph these awesome boulders.

5DSR4476We made a quick trip to another beach. This time Nola insisted on being carried. Her dad obliged, but of course she wanted mom so she screamed bloody murder on the way there. There were quite a few people on the beach, but I managed to get a few shots that didn’t include any human presence. This is one of them.

Living in a Construction Zone

When I left the house this morning there was a backhoe on our front lawn. Always a fun way to start the day. We’ve been under siege ever since returning in mid May. Our neighborhood is currently undergoing major street renovations that include replacing gas lines, water mains and sewer lines. That will be followed closely by replacement of the asphalt and curbs.  Invasive is an understatement.

They are doing the streets in two phases. Technically, our street doesn’t start until phase two, but they are using it as a staging area for equipment and supplies because we have a park across the street. So in addition to having huge holes dug in our lawn, we get to dodge heavy equipment every time we want to leave the house. It really makes me not want to leave the house. Actually, it makes me really wish we were in our new house already.

Now my goal is to get out before they hit us with the assessment for all of this work, which is currently estimated to be about $12,000. The final number won’t come out until Fall of 2017, at which point we hope to be long gone. We are planning to put our new house on the Artisan Home Tour, in June 2017. Right now that feels like a ridiculously ambitious goal, but I’m clinging to it.

Silent Sentinels

5DSR5282We’re back in the cemetery today. Well, not literally, but you know what I mean. I was trying to go with a theme of cemetery statuary today, but I could only come up with two images. For some reason I have this need to include three, so I just broadened the category a bit.

5DSR5288Okay, so maybe this large monument doesn’t really qualify as a sentinel, but it’s not the first time I’ve stretched a theme past the breaking point. “Vertical Compositions Featuring Large Monuments” doesn’t really make for a snappy title. And on the internet, a snappy title is everything. That’s why clickbait works. We all fall for it.



Actually two of these images aren’t even that vertical, they’re closer to square. So I guess this just becomes three more random images from St. Mary’s. How’s that for an incredibly non-catchy blog title?

Roses in Melbourne

On the day I found out that Prince died, I went to the park across the street from our apartment and photographed the roses.

5DSR4295It was an attempt to find some beauty in a world that suddenly seemed a little bit dimmer for the loss of a musical icon. Taking photos of the beautiful flowers made me feel just a tiny bit better. Getting some nice images was just a bonus. I’m sharing a few of those today.

5DSR4287The roses came in just about every color you could imagine, but for some reason all of my favorite images turned out to be pink ones. Well, there was that one amazing purple rose, but I already shared that on Facebook and I hate to repeat myself. So today we’re sticking to the pink.

5DSR4297It’s actually difficult to get good photos of deep red tones with a digital camera. Reds get really saturated and look fake. So I have to tone them down quite a bit to get something that looks realistic. Not a problem with these pink beauties.

Monumental Details

5DSR5329Today’s cemetery post is about details of monuments. Well, mostly details. To be fair, this first image covers a little too much area to be considered a detail, but I wanted to include three photos and so I had to stretch the definition just a bit. Not the first time I’ve contorted to fill a quota. All of these images were converted to black and white using the Photoshop plug-in Nik Silver Efex. This is my first time using it.

5DSR5353Previously I had been using the Topaz B&W Effects plug-in. I’ve also done the conversion via a black and white layer directly in Photoshop. But I’m pretty lazy when it comes to processing, so anytime I can get a plug-in to do the heavy lifting, I’m happy. I’ve tried to get more proficient with Photoshop, but the truth is that I’d rather spend more time creating images and less time messing with them.

5DSR5394I actually looked at purchasing some software that is supposed to improve landscape photos. One of the tricky things it does is completely replace a flat, dull sky with something more dramatic. I downloaded the trial and played around with it. But in the end I concluded that it just felt like cheating. I want images that reflect what I saw when I captured them, flat sky and all. Not that I’m above adding a little moody atmosphere, as I did here.

MacKenzie Falls Flashback

It’s back to Australia today. Specifically, our hike by MacKenzie Falls. The falls were backlit, so I didn’t get any really great photos at the base of them, but I have a few nice ones from along the river.

5DSR4100This is one of my favorites. Actually, it’s one of my favorite images from the entire trip. You can just see the falls in the background.

5DSR4138This is from a little further down the river. I have an obsession with photographing moving water. Waves crashing against the shore, river rapids, that sort of thing. Why? Who knows?

5DSR4172I have a lot more photos taken along the river, but at some point they just get repetitive. So, I’ll move on to our second hike, which led to a rock formation called The Balconies. The rocks themselves weren’t anything special, but the view was amazing.

Mausoleum Secrets

I converted almost all of my cemetery images to black and white. It’s pretty rare that I take a photo in a cemetery that works better in color. This post is about those rare exceptions.

5DSR5310These are stained glass windows in mausoleums. It never would have occurred to me to peek through the door of a mausoleum if not for my friend Jane. She spotted both of these.

5DSR5318The tricky part is that the mausoleum doors have wrought iron bars, so you have to shoot through a very narrow opening, often at an odd angle. It’s similar to photographing zoo animals through the bars of a cage. The combination of a longer lens and the inability of the camera to focus on anything too close allows for a little photographic magic that makes the bars disappear. Pretty nifty effect.

Sometimes the window is set high in the wall with nothing in front of it, like the image at top, and sometimes it’s just above a little altar.

5DSR5322blueOf course it’s really dark inside the mausoleum, so trying to get both the backlit window and the items on the altar exposed correctly is a bit tricky. I think this last image is a pretty good compromise.