Black and White in the ‘Hood

Today’s offering is a random selection of black and white images, all taken close to home, within a few days of each other. The first one was shot near Lake Harriet, but it could have been anywhere.

This image was taken out of our kitchen window. By any standard, it’s incredibly flawed – lens flare, haze, and yet, I really like it although I can’t explain why. It looks good in color as well.

This is a random dead leaf on a tree across the street from our friend’s house. Again, this is one that looks good in color as well, although the leaf seems to glow more in the black and white version, which is weird when you think about it. Mostly I try not to think about these things too much, as it spoils the magic for me. Because there’s so much magic in a dead leaf.

The image below is a reflection in Minnehaha Creek, taken from the pedestrian bridge we cross when doing our neighborhood walks.

The final image is from our backyard. When I’m feeling like I have nothing to photograph, I look at images like these. They are all simple things captured within a few miles of home. Beauty is everywhere.


So Many Pink Flamingos

I’m just going to come right out and say it, five photos of flamingos in one post are probably too many. I don’t care. I love flamingos. I love their curved necks, ridiculously long legs and soft pink feathers.

I’d rather photograph them at the Phoenix Zoo, where they have a large flock outside, than in the dim interior of the Minnesota Zoo.

I had to pump up the ISO to get anything usable from the indoor Tropics Trail, but you can’t really keep a tropical bird outside in the Minnesota winter, now can you?

These are a little darker than I would like, but at least the feathers aren’t blown out. Happy pink flamingos!

Off the Grid Experiment

Not everything I try photographically is successful. In fact, I’d argue that I have a lot more failures than successes. I just don’t share the failures. Usually. A big part of failing is learning, though.

I wouldn’t put these images into the successful category, but I found them intriguing and I’ve filed the idea away for future exploration. What are they, anyway? They are very out-of-focus images of an outdoor metal table with a grid pattern of holes.

I liked the look and experimented with varying degrees of blurriness. Normally you get this sort of effect from small out-of-focus lights. (Think Christmas tree) Because the table was dark and the ground underneath it was lit by the sun, it worked in a similar fashion.

I like it, but the resulting images were pretty ‘meh.’ It needs something else, either in front of or behind the bokeh. But hey, not everything’s a home run here. I’ll definitely experiment with this again.

Magical Jellyfish

I’m not quite ready to move jellyfish into the category of a photographic obsession, but I have made a go at shooting them every time we’ve been to the zoo and I’m still not satisfied with the results.

One key thing I’ve learned is that the resulting images work much better converted into black and white. In real life, the light in the tank is blue and the jellies are an odd off-white color.

Even with extensive color correction, the result is just weird. In black and white, the details of the translucent jellyfish really pop. The other thing I learned is that isolating a single jelly, while difficult, gives much more dramatic results.

I’m definitely making progress in capturing more dramatic images of these otherworldly creatures. Speaking of progress, the last section of stucco on our new home was finished on Saturday. I can’t wait to see it with the tent removed.

Big Canadian Blow Out

It’s finally here, the big wrap up post from our Alaska/Canada trip. It’s five images that were all taken from the Rocky Mountaineer train. Otherwise they have nothing in common.

Other than featuring Canadian landscape shot from a moving train. And that I like them all enough to share them, obviously.

The image folder is almost empty. I have a few photos left from San Diego, some from the Minnesota Zoo and a scattering of random stuff.

Considering I have zero motivation right now to go out with my camera, I should probably be more concerned. But there’s just over two weeks left until the end of the year and I am not committed to posting daily after that point. I might just take a long break.

It’s Been Handled

I came home yesterday afternoon and found that my husband had reattached the handle on our door to the garage, sans the latch. So I’m feeling a little less like white trash today, which is nice.

I’m featuring three final images from our photo walk back in October. The first two obviously work well together and I wish I had a third that did. But, alas, no. It’s not that I don’t like the third image, it’s just totally different. This happens to me a lot, actually, where I end up wishing for a third image to fit the theme. I could have just featured two, I know. But as the end of the year approaches, I’m trying to empty the folder.

So it’s two reeds and one tree for today. I just finished the last of my online Christmas shopping today, a few more stocking stuffers for my husband that will be coming Amazon Prime. I’m having a hard time accepting that Christmas Eve is just over a week away, but I’m ready.

Surprise, More Trees

I promise this will be my last tree post…from Canada. Not ever, of course, that would be totally ridiculous. I mean, trees, right?

These are all images from our epic train ride. Speaking of which, I did receive my photo books from the trip ahead of schedule. They both turned out great, except for one tiny mistake I made on Nola’s book.

It kills me, because I proofread the thing like twenty times. It’s a tiny mistake, the edge of one letter in one block of text is cut off by the adjacent photo. Of course it jumped out to me immediately in print.

No, I’m not going to reprint the book. It’s ridiculous to do that for such a small mistake. Even though it bugs me. I hope Nola doesn’t notice.

Oops, Never Mind

I ended up bailing on the Como Conservatory yesterday. We got a dusting of snow, followed by a little freezing drizzle, and it made the roads just shitty enough that I didn’t feel like doing that much driving. Instead, I just went to my mom’s house and took her out to lunch at a nearby restaurant.

But first, I had to get out of the house, which proved to be trickier than you might expect. When I went to turn the handle of the door from our house to the garage, nothing happened. The handle moved, but the door latch didn’t. Just another thing in our current home that decided to break before we make our escape.

In the essence of time I went out the front door and opened the garage via the keypad. My husband’s a pretty handy guy, so I assumed he would come up with a solution within a day or so. Since he had an appointment yesterday afternoon, he was gone when I came home and I wasn’t sure whether I would have a path in through the garage or if I would have to use the front door again.

His short-term solution made me laugh. When I came home I found the door handle was gone and I could just push the door open. It turns out that the latch is truly broken, but the door has a deadbolt and there’s no lock in the handle, so he’s just planning to replace the handle without the latch. We’ll still be able to open and lock the door, which is all we really need short-term. The house has not thwarted us yet. Today’s photos are of cedar waxwings. Just because.

Back to the Conservatory

Despite the fall flower display being less than impressive, my mom and I enjoyed our visit to the Como Conservatory so much that we are heading back to view the Christmas display today.

For one thing, poinsettias definitely beat out mums when it comes to making an impressive display. But, more importantly, it’s a much needed boost to smell flowers and be surrounded by greenery.







As I mentioned previously, my favorite place was the lush and (relatively) cool fern room. Newly emerging fern leaves are favorite subject matter. I even had a decent percentage of keepers in this space.

I had much better luck than I did photographing ferns at the Arboretum in the spring. Go figure. So, in honor of today’s upcoming visit, I’m featuring these beauties from the fern room.

Just a Bunch of Weird Stuff

The hell with photo themes! Sometimes I need to throw a bunch of weird stuff out into the universe, just to see what sticks.

First up, a completely out of focus image of sea and sky, taken from the veranda of our cabin on the cruise ship in Alaska.

Then I have a slightly out of focus image of leaves and branches, taken from a park in Vancouver.

Next is another blurry tree from the same park, this time it’s a pine.

Oh shit, more trees, this time from the Butchart Gardens. I used the “zoom while you shoot” gimmick to get some crazy rays of light.

OMFG, more trees. These were along our brutal hike up to the Tea House and they are blurred by panning while shooting. So I guess I do have a theme of weird tree photos from Canada, except for the first image. Even when I don’t try to have a theme, I end up with one. Sigh.