When my friend Sarah and I planned our trip to Longwood earlier this month, one of the destinations I had in mind within the gates was its new Meadow Garden. Opened in June of this year, the 86-acre expanse was designed by Jonathan Alderson Landscape Architects and boasts three miles of walking trails and boardwalks that take visitors from the edge of Hourglass Lake up to the Webb Farmhouse and Galleries. We covered a lot of territory (and continued to struggle with the strong sun, photographically) and marveled at how beautiful and wild the garden is. Some friends who had visited in September had been able to see goldenrod in flower, at the end of the summer season, and we were a bit early for strong fall color in the trees. But these images should give you a good idea of how magnificent the space is.
Posted tagged ‘iPhone photos’
Last week I gave some background on the photo a day project I began at the end of March. It’s been a fascinating journey and one I’m still pursuing. This photo, of afternoon light coming through a window onto my dining room rug, epitomizes what I learned from the “Naked Vision” class taught by Colleen Henderson: look around you. There are photographs waiting to be taken everywhere. Small everyday moments that make you catch your breath and reach for your camera shouldn’t be ignored.
Trust your instincts. There is a reason you wanted to photograph that chair, that shadow, that building. Maybe the subjects aren’t grand, but they speak to you, so don’t ignore the urge to capture the image. You don’t have to go somewhere exotic to work on your vision. Another lesson I learned: don’t be afraid of high ISO’s or feel you always need a tripod to capture an image. The opening photo was taken at a high ISO, hand held.
So here are some images I took that are some of my favorites from the workshop. Many of them capture light and shadows, shapes and stillness. A few – to my surprise – feature animals or people (not usually my strong suit). I like them all!
I’m still shooting daily, and will continue to do so until it no longer appeals to me or I feel I need a break. This weekend and next I’m taking an intensive Photoshop class (again with Colleen) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, so an iPhone image may have to suffice. The important thing is to keep looking and shooting.
For part of the time I was in San Francisco in July, I was on my own while my son toiled at work (or whatever he does there). One of the places I decided to visit and photograph was SF’s gorgeous City Hall, a Beaux-Arts structure that has been reinforced since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. It’s a fantastically beautiful building, full of grand staircases and marble. Although I had my D600 with me, let’s start with an iPhone photo shot with Hipstamatic to set the mood.
Inside, I used the iPhone once more (same settings in Hipstamatic), then put it away.
Without a tripod to steady my shots, I set the D600’s vibration reduction switch to “on” and cranked up the ISO. (In retrospect I should have set it even higher than I did; I was using my excellent 24-120mm f/4 lens but many of the shots are soft 😦 . . . . ) The architecture is outstanding but I also loved seeing the folks who were there to be married, check out the big staircase, or just attend to business.
As readers of my last post know, I had a small mishap when I visited Longwood Gardens in early October – my Nikon D600 and its 16-35mm f/4 lens refused to part company easily after about an hour into my trip. So for the remaining three hours I used my iPhone 5 with various apps (primarily Camera+ and Pro HDR) to take photos. You can see those here.
Then I headed home – only to have a much bigger mishap in the form of my car’s fuel pump giving out. Long story short, I ended up renting a car about thirty minutes south of Longwood while the car sat in a garage awaiting for a new Subaru fuel pump to arrive and be installed.
So the next Tuesday, I returned to Kennett Square before picking up the car and took along my D300 because the D600 and lens had been shipped off to Nikon for de-coupling. I really missed the full-frame aspect, but the D300 is a trooper and I came back with some good shots. Here’s a sampling of them, and yes, I will take a DSLR over my iPhone any day when I’m after seriously good images. . .
In early October, my camera club organized a field trip to Longwood Gardens. I had agreed to co-lead the trip, after having helped with a presentation on garden photography the previous month. Since I hadn’t been to Longwood in a while, I was looking forward to photographing its early-fall glories with my new D600. That lasted for about an hour after we arrived. Then calamity struck. The wide-angle lens I was using turned recalcitrant and wouldn’t detach from the camera.
So for the rest of the day, I used my iPhone. I can’t claim these are terrific images, but once again it had become the best camera I had with me (since I’d foolishly forgotten to bring my D300 as a backup body).
Next time there will be D300 photos from a return trip I made a week later (for reasons too sad and banal to bother with here). But for now, enjoy the iPhone 5 images.
In July I headed to the Bay Area for a few days, camera in hand, to visit one of my sons. I had one full day, and several mornings, to devote to photography in and around where I was staying – the Union Square area of San Francisco. Yup, near all those “little cable cars.”
I was planning primarily to shoot architectural sights while there (and some of those will be featured in a later post). Imagine my surprise when right outside my door was an innovative landscape project by Walter Hood, the Powell Street Promenade.
Underwritten by Audi at a cost of $890,000, the Promenade consists of eight six-foot-wide “parklets,” carved out of traffic lanes and abutting the sidewalk. Given the huge numbers of tourists travelling Powell Street on a regular basis, having an attractive, protected spot to step out of the flow of people and chat with friends, sit down for a bit, or park your bike while you make a call or stop in a store is a great idea.
There are a few built-in benches, which always seemed in high demand.
All of the structures are fabricated from aluminum, which forms “rail ribbons.” They include planters with narrow borders that can double as a seating area in a pinch (I recognized a few plants such as Mexican heather and Yucca, others were not familiar to my East Coast eyes), guardrails to protect against the busy Powell Street traffic, and the “tables” and lower versions that Hood has suggested could be used for sleeping as well as sitting benches. No advertising is allowed in the areas, which boast free Wi-Fi. (How very Silicon Valley!)
For more details on this project, check out this blog post from the San Francisco outpost of Streetsblog. And the next time you’re in the City by the Bay, in the vicinity of Union Square, be sure not to miss this innovative design feature on Powell Street!
Time to visit Charleston – at least as I saw it in mid-March this year. This city is truly a photographer’s paradise in terms of the diverse subject matters there are to explore and try to capture with your lens(es).
Although I first visited this area in 2009, this workshop exposed me to so much I had not seen before. And this time I was using a new camera, bought only two weeks beforehand, a Nikon D600. Shooting full-frame at last, and with images captured at 24 MB each, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Fortunately, I wasn’t disappointed – the D600 is a champ! Aside from needing to clean some dust spots off the sensor one night (in my hotel room, under controlled conditions, thankfully), I was really impressed by the detail it captured.
One of the afternoons (and one morning) were spent wandering around downtown Charleston on our own. Most of the houses are townhouse style and sit right on the sidewalk. So the homeowners seem to take pride in dressing up their windows with beautifully-planted containers. Even in relatively chilly conditions, the plants seemed to be doing just fine, and brightened up the scene quite a bit.
This image was one of my favorites, not so much for the flowers as the overall ensemble.
Charlestonians who live downtown have small gardens that are not unlike those here in Georgetown. They may be postage-stamp-sized but quite glorious. In spring each year, the city holds a “Festival of Houses and Gardens,” which allows entry into some of these wonders. And this year, for the first time, The Garden Conservancy held an Open Days event which included a baker’s dozen of what are surely fabulous gardens, on May 25th.
I had to be content with small glimpses into some courtyard gardens, which were lovely indeed.
That’s it for this post. Next time – a visit to two “Magnolia” locations: Magnolia Plantation and Magnolia Cemetery.