Palm of the Hand Story: A Tale of Birth and Death

With fall arriving in a little over a month, I thought I’d tell you a story about leaves. No words, just pictures – all taken this morning with my iPhone outside a coffee shop in Riverside, CT

Thirteen Exercises – Part 3: Four Corners

INTRODUCTION/RECAP: I recently read an article called ’13 Creative Exercises…’, yada-yada, by Todd Vorenkamp, yada-yada, link to the article at the bottom, yada-yada, this is my attempt at the third exercise. (See this post for a full explanation)

Exercise 3: Four Corners

The instructions for Exercise 3 were simple: Choose one subject and place it, where it exists, in each corner of the frame for four images.

I can already hear your sighs of relief: whew! Only four images. Sorry, I took about fifteen! Cheer up, though, I’m only going to post eight.

It took me a while to get this one done because I had hard a hard time coming up with a subject to photograph.

My reading of the instructions were that it had to be something that either couldn’t move or, at least, wasn’t going to move while I was shooting it. Okay, fine: I could do another tree or some more mushrooms, but the whole point of my doing these was to move away from that. Then, the other day, I’m walking around town (Greenwich, CT) and spotted Melvin.

The gallery opens at 10:30 yet, here is Melvin: 6:30 in the morning, impatiently checking his watch, anxious to pick up that new sculpture for his foyer.

Melvin is a statue standing in front of Cavalier Ebanks Galleries (not his real name, I named him after my late father-in-law – both solid men). Always looking at his watch as if waiting for the galleries to open, he is possibly the second version of the statue – I’m pretty sure there was a different one in front of the gallery at it’s original location before it moved three blocks up Greenwich Avenue (I remember him wearing a suit).

I cornered Melvin in the four pictures below.

Exercise Image 1 – Lower Right Corner: Looking down Greenwich Avenue
Exercise Image 2 – Upper Right Corner: Ground level, looking at the gallery storefront from the street
Exercise Image 3 – Lower Left Corner: from beneath the sidewalk bench
Exercise Image 4 – Upper Left Corner: Looking up Greenwich Avenue

So, I promised (threatened?) eight pictures. The four exercise shots plus the featured and the introductory images make six, below are two bonus shots.

Bonus Image 1: Across from Melvin is Saint Mary Church built 1900-1905 of stone cut from local quarries.
Bonus Image 2: Looking across at St. Mary’s Parish House

link to 13 Creative Exercises article on B&H:
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/tips-and-solutions/13-creative-exercises-for-photographers

Stumped

Taking a small break from the creativity exercises while I look for a good subject to use in Exercise 3. Meanwhile…

I paused for about fifteen minutes during my morning walk through the Mianus River State park to take pictures of a stump. I know: sounds about as exciting as… well, taking pictures of a stump, but I wanted to share them with you anyway.

This particular stump was interesting to me because, the closer I got to it, the more its top started to resemble one of those ancient villages built on the side of cliffs (my wild imagination pictured something like the dwellings in Mesa Verde).

As I thought about it I realized that, in a way, it was very much like that. Looking abandoned now, there was once quite a bit of life here: small creatures living here and mining this stump for nutrients. Perhaps some are still here, hiding during the day time from the giants walking the earth around them.

Aerial photography
Skyline
Urban canyon

Recovering From Carelessness

This morning I took a few pictures of the sun rising over an area called ‘Swamp Vue.’ To do so, I put my camera on ‘manual’ and took a few shots at different settings finally getting the shot I wanted with the aperture at f/22, the shutter speed at 1/160 sec, and the ISO at 250.

Swamp Vue

Usually, when I do this, I finish by setting the camera back to ‘auto’ before replacing the lens cap and turning the camera off. Well… I forgot to change the settings. Walking a little farther up the road I came to a bed of Chinese Roses (rosa chinesnis) and took a couple of quick pictures without paying attention to the settings. This is what I got…

When I got home later I was disappointed to say the least. Wondering whether I could rescue the shots, I transferred them to my iPad to go some quick editing with Snapseed – I figured if I could make a halfway decent job of it, I’d try a little harder later on my laptop.

I started by fiddling with the brightness, ambience, highlights and shadows; decreased the grain; then one thing followed by another. The results are passable – definitely worth spending more time on

Snow Bounding

Monday we had a large snowfall here in southern Connecticut – the largest in five years. By some reports we got 14 inches, by all we got no less than 12. Not a lot by some standards, but certainly more than we’ve become accustomed to here.

2021.02.01: Brookside Park, Old Greenwich, CT (Canon Rebel T2i – 27mm, f/5, 1/1000 sec, ISO 800)

Around 3PM, snow still falling heavily, wind gusting to 30 miles per-hour, I got cabin fever, bundled myself up, and went out for a walk – initially just around the property, eventually about six miles around town. Of course, I had my camera and phone for pictures.

2021.02.01: Walking up Marks Road, Riverside, CT (iPhone XR, Front Camera, 2.87mm, f/22, 1/121 sec., ISO 50)

Though the selfie above doesn’t show it, except for the occasional wind I was pretty comfortable.

2021.02.01: Skiing on Riverside Ave., Riverside, CT (iPhone XR, Rear Camera, 4.5mm, f/1.8, 1/184 sec., ISO 25)

I was happy to see I wasn’t the only person out. There were people enjoying the nearby Bruce Park and I was passed by a woman cross country skiing down Riverside Avenue.

In my editing of these pictures – all on Snapseed after transferring them to my iPad – I tried to give them a winter postcard effect through the combination of a number of different filters, sometimes using the same ones more than once.

I may have mentioned before that, in addition to Snapseed, I use GIMP on my desk- or laptop for editing as well, but I must say I was surprised (and continue to be surprised) by the variety of effects I can get out of playing around with so simple a tool as Snapseed, which I once dismissed as a silly phone app when my daughter first recommended it. But, then again, my daughter, recommended it and she knows what’s what, so I had to give it a try.

I hope you’ll enjoy these efforts as much as I enjoyed both the walk, taking the pictures, and the editing.

2021.02.01: Swamp Vue, Riverside Avenue, Riverside, CT (iPhone XR Rear Camera, 4.5mm, f/1.8, 1/217 sec, ISO 25)
2021.02.01: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Riverside Avenue, Riverside, CT (iPhone XR Rear Camera, 4.5mm, f/1.8, 1/98 sec, ISO 25)
2021.02.01: Old Farm Structure, Riverside, CT (iPhone XR Rear Camera, 4.5mm, f/1.8, 1/244 sec, ISO 25)
2021.02.01: Old Farm Structure, Riverside, CT (Canon Rebel T2i, 55mm, f/6.5, 1/100 sec, ISO 100)
2021.02.01: Ada’s Kitchen and Coffee, Riverside, CT (iPhone XR Rear Camera, 4.5mm, f/1.8, 1/320 sec, ISO 25) [SIDE NOTE/FUN FACT: Ada’s was at one time Riverside, Connecticut’s first Post Office. It eventually became a candy store run by Ada Cantavaro until her death at the age of 88, a very popular establishment with the kids attending the near-by elementary and middle schools. After her death, her family restored it and opened a deli in this location, keeping her name.]
2021.02.01: 127 Winters and Counting, 98 Riverside Ave., built 1894 (iPhone XR Rear Camera, 4.5mm, f/1.8, 1/235 sec, ISO 25)