Posts in Category: portrait

Figures in the foreground

Carol and Anna, with the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the background.

A front was coming through Santa Fe yesterday. We got out in the morning to walk along the lower Santa Fe river along the bike path while the sun was still shining…though it was completely overcast by the time we got back to the car. This is my wife Carol and my daughter Anna, who is in grad-school in Santa Fe. We are on a bridge over the Santa Fe river channel. You can just see the snow caps on the Sangre de Cristos far back under the mountain effect clouds. They are expecting 2-4 inches of snow out of the storm today, so this landscape will look considerably different by tomorrow. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sony HX90V in-camera HDR at 24mm equivalent. I really enjoy the subtle HDR effect of the Sony, which makes landscape portraits like this very pleasing. Nominal exposure 1/1600th @ ISO 80 @ f3.5.


Grey Squirrel, The Yard. Kennebunk ME

We have more squirrels in our yard this year than I can ever remember seeing. They are after the acorns, of which we also have more than I can ever remember seeing…and of course they are after my birdseed and suet blocks. I have to admit, squirrels are cute…when they are not on my feeders. This one popped up while I was testing my newly repaired Nikon P900 and I could not resist.

As I mentioned yesterday, I am in Texas at the moment, and hopefully tomorrow will have some butterflies or birds to show. But for now, you are stuck with this squirrel ๐Ÿ™‚

Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent field of view. 1/100th @ ISO 800 @ f6.5. Processed in Lightroom.

Coyote in the morning sun…

Coyote. Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum, Tucson AZ

Coyote. Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum, Tucson AZ

I do not generally like zoo shots, but as I have mentioned before, the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum is somewhat exempt from my dislike. The exhibitsย at the ASDM are very well done…about as natural looking as you can get, and provide the animals with at least of slice of their natural habitat. This Coyote was laying on a rock in the early morning sun in its large enclosure, apparently content. When you visit the ASDM in August, you go early, as soon as the museum opens at 7:30, when the animals are more active, and the heat is more bearable. Coyotes are semi-nocturnal animals, and this one was apparently resting and warming before finding some shade for the day.

Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent field of view. 1/500th @ ISO 250 @ f6.5. Processed in Lightroom.




Carol and Anna at Bandelier National Monumnet

My wife Carol and my daughter Anna posing at the largest of the cavates (improved rock caves used for living and storage) at Bandelier National Monument. The Ancestral Pueblo peoples lived in Frijoles Canyon for hundreds of years, growing beans and corn, and improving many of the small caves in the cliffs, then building along the base of the cliff, and finally building a free-standing 400 room circular complex on the floor of the canyon. It is possible that a combination of drought and the exhaustion of the firewood supply for a day’s travel in any direction forced them to resettle closer to the Rio Grande river…either to build or to join one the pueblos that still exist. At its height, the Ancestral Pueblo culture supported a substantial population, and maintained trade routes that brought in goods from deep into Mexico and Guatemala, and across the plains to eastern North America. The ruins are testimony to the people who became the Pueblos that remain.

Sony HX400V in-camera HDR. Processed in Lightroom on my Surface Pro 3 tablet.

Anna in the Cavate

Anna at Bandelier National Mounment, NM

Though Carol and I lived in New Mexico for 12 years, Anna, our third daughter, was only 2 when we moved to Maine, so she has no memory of place…or should not! Yet she says she felt like “coming home” when she got to Santa Fe a few months ago. I told her she might have some buried memories, but, in fact, I felt the same why when I first got to New Mexico, and I was born in upstate New York. It is something in the landscape that speaks to certain souls (and equally, does not speak to others). Anyway, we took Anna to Bandelier National Monument for her first visit yesterday, and returned for our first in well over 25 years. It is such a great place! Anna had climbed into one of the cavates (improved pockets in the tuff stone, used as dwellings, for storage, or for ceremonial purposes). Who could resist?

Sony HX400V in-camera HDR. Processed in Lightroom on my Surface Pro 3 tablet.

Wild Chickadee.


We get Chickadees at our back deck feeders all the time. They are the most constant, the most faithful visitors, and they are incredibly bold. They will perch on one feeder while I am filling the other. And of course, I know the stories about people teaching them to eat out of their hands. It is easy to see how it might happen.

This is not, however, a feeder Chickadee…it is (or appears to be) a wild Chickadee…caught on a winter day in the wilds of the marshes beside the Mousam River, at least 1000 yards from the nearest feeder! Notice how much more handsome the wild variety is…how full of vim and vigor. Almost like the difference between a domestic dog and a wolf…there is that air of mystery…that sense of almost danger…that only the truly wild creatures possess. Yes, this is definitely a wild Chickadee. (Of course, when he, as he surely does, visits the feeders in the housing development that is just across the marsh, he  certainly loses all that ๐Ÿ™

Canon SX50HS. Program with -1/3rd EV exposure compensation and iContrast. 1800mm equivalent field of view. ISO 640 @ 1/1000th @ f6.5. Processed in Snapseed on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014.

I know there are folks out there who are totally immune to irony, so, just to ward off the well meant comments: just kidding!

Grandpa on his 82th!


If you follow my Pic 4 Today posts, you know how rarely I post a people pic. I do take them, but they tend to be family record shots of significant events, and the occasional personal portrait in a unique environment…a visual memory of a particular person, a particular time, and a particular place…neither of which I would normally share. This shot is both. Grandpa (my wife’s father, my children’s grandpa) at his informal family 82th birthday celebration. As a portrait, it just about captures the man (or that is what I think. ๐Ÿ™‚

As an image, it is interesting as well. It is one of my first shots with my new Sony NEX 3NL and it’s 16-50mm zoom (24-75mm equivalent field of view). Natural light at ISO 3200. 1/15th second hand-held at f5.6 at the long end of the zoom. I am impressed! I did some basic processing in Snapseed on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014, and then some finer color correction for the too warm incandescent lights using the Color Curves tool in dev.macgyver’s Photo Edit. Even at that high an ISO, it holds up well under magnificaiton, and would make an excellent 8×10 print. Not bad at all.

And now, undoubtedly, back to the regularly scheduled program of nature shots! ๐Ÿ™‚

Too Cute the Squirrel


Like I say, I really quite like squirrels when they are not on our bird feeders. The little paws which they use so much like we use our hands, the big eyes, the pert ears and the bushy tail…what is not to like? This specimen is another from the park in Virginia which I visited last week. The squirrels were busy foraging and feeding. I am not sure what this one found but she decided on a nibble rather than a store. ๐Ÿ™‚

Canon SX50HS. Program with – 1/3rd EV exposure compensation and iContrast. ISO 160 @ 1/160th @ f6.5. 1200mm equivalent field of view. Processed in Snapseed on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014.

Scary Sunday (Snowy) Selfie. Happy Sunday!


We are getting our first major winter storm here in Southern Maine today. It started before mid-night and by this morning there was nearly a foot on flat ground and considerably more where it has already drifted. My wife, Carol, had to be at Church by 7:30 so we were both out before dawn, shoveling. Of course, it had drifted the driveway full. She is gone, and I am not done yet by far (besides it is not supposed to stop snowing until noon anyway, and the plow has already put 5 inches back in the end of driveway). It is time for a breakfast break. Hot oatmeal with raisins and cinnamon. Hot oatmeal was specifically invented for mornings like this…I am convinced! And, of course, a cup of hot chi.

Carol refused to give me a kiss when she left, and as soon as I realized why, I was inspired to this slightly scary Christmas themed and Sunday selfie. Didn’t someone say it was the year of the selfie? I can play too! Just, please, if you have small children in the house, please shield them from this. I would not want be responsible for planting this as a Christmas memory in any young mind. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Samsung Smart Camera WB800F. Processed in Snapseed on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014.

And for the Sunday Thought: My sincere prayer this morning is for anyone who has to be out in this weather…especially travelers on the highways. I pray too for wisdom among those who might be tempted to go out, without urgent need. This is no morning to be brave. I might get out sometime after noon, if the snow tapers off, for a photo-prowl, but only if the the roads are passable by then. No, this is a morning to draw the comfort of home around you and think cheerful, thankful thoughts. And that inspires a prayer for those who are without the comforts of home…the basic necessities of shelter and warmth and food today, in this storm or out of it. And considerable thanksgiving. Even if I froze my beard shoveling, and even if I will have to do it again before the end of the storm, I know I am blessed well beyond the basic necessities.

Carol might even give me a kiss when she gets home.

Carol in the aisle of birches: Happy Sunday!

This aisle of White Birch trees, all of an age, that runs along one side of Great Meadow in Acadia National Park, is one of my favorite views. In the right light it is simply beautiful. Add my beautiful wife, Carol, and frame with moderate telephoto on the zoom for some compression of the length of the aisle, and it makes a classic natural portrait. (The “true”, and much shorter, focal length of the small sensor camera I carry, provides the perspective of a telephoto shot, with the depth of field of wide shot. The effect is very pleasing, at least to my eye. It does not always work well for portraits, but it works here.)

Canon SX50HS. Program with iContrast and Auto Shadow Control. -1/3EV exposure compensation. 170mm equivalent field of view. ย f5 @ 1/1000th @ ISO 800. Processed in Lightroom for intensity, clarity, and sharpness.

And for the Sunday Thought. Simply beautiful. It can have at least a couple of meanings.

“Simply” because no more complex or precise an a description of this particular beauty is required. It is beauty itself. The object being described is one of those which provides beauty with its meaning. Simply beautiful.

Or, “having the beauty of simplicity.” For most of us there is a beauty to simple things, things with combine economy with elegance…things which are not overworked, overly adorned, overly artificial (in the sense that the the artificial is more art and artifice than substance)…things that are close to natural. Simple things. Simple beauty. Simply beautiful.

It describes the image, the aisle of arcing birches in the morning sunlight, and my wife in equal measure. It describes the person. It describes the experience. And, if you will allow it, it describes the catching of the experience in this image. ย All three make me want to clap just once, or bow slightly in acknowledgement, or tip my hat in recognition. All together it makes me smile. It makes me want to kiss my wife, to sing a note of praise to the creator of such beauty, and it is what has kept a camera in my hand all these years, and what I attempt to catch in every image.

Simple beauty. Simply beautiful.

Happy Sunday!