Only two defining forces have ever committed to die for you:
Jesus Christ for your soul and
The American G.I. for your freedom.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Oldest Daughter's Quest For Her Ancestry

Tracy is my oldest daughter and is here pictured with her younger sister, Leslie with their great-grandmother, Mary Szuch on September 23, 1962. Mary Szuch was born in Hungry on June 25, 1894. She died in 1982.

I remember clearly that she would articulate that this was the last time she would see us -- no matter how many times we would see her. She attended every family event including my two graduations from the University of Alabama in 1955 and again in 1967.

Tracy is really into tracing her ancestry with And since I have in my possession our journey through life recorded photographically since about 1933 - the year after my birth, it makes it possible with modern technology to preserve, in digital form, our unique family history. The website provides the tools to access world-wide data that allow integration into a historical family record.

Tracy has made significant progress in tracing my mothers side of the family. She has become somewhat obsessed and a bit driven in her quest to answer the question: "Who am I, and where did I originate from?"

I personally wish her success so that when she finds the answer to her question she will have also answered the same question for me.

I love her dearly.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Red-bud Apple Tree and Dogwood In Full Bloom

Another HDR image to capture the full bloom of the Red-buds, Apple Tree and Dogwood trees in full bloom.

Until someone suggests that I stop with the HDR photography - I will continue.

What beauty there is within our sight - just look around you and have with you the best camera you have, i.e. the one in your hand and record what you see and share with me.

Remember to click on the photo to see it full screen.

Patch Our Wonderful Dog

Patch, our 5.5 year old mixed breed female (fixed), is never far away if we are out and around our property. Caroline was photographing our newly planted pink dogwood.

Apparently, something caught Patch's eye. She loves running the 2 miles of gravel roadways in our Wildwood Acres development.

Oddly, we have yet to see any ground squirrels or rabbits that are normally numerous in the area at this time of year. We have seen a normal population of tree squirrels that attract Patch's attention. Of course she trees them immediately and foolishly stares at them expecting that they will return to ground level.

Caroline is responsible for the photo while I did the Photoshop work.

Click the image for a larger view

Butterfly's on an Azalea Bush

Two butterfly's on an azalea bush in full bloom. Caroline is responsible for the photograph using a Sony A100 DSLR that was our first mid entry level camera.

Because it was both windy and the butterfly's were flapping their wings I set the camera to shutter priority 1/250 and increased the ISO to 200.

Click on the photo to enlarge.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

St Thomas Episcopal Church In HDR Revisited

Dr. David Johnson and I went "birding" this past Friday. It was a long arduous journey that eventually got us to the Blue Ridge Parkway with a pit stop at Mt Mitchell (about 6200 ft +). Last year David agreed to help me photograph our church by providing his pickup truck bed for my tripod.

If you look at my earlier posts you will find my first attempt at HDR for the our church gave the church a Star Wars look -- that was not well received by one of my favorite upper echelon parishioners. Only 80% of those reviewing way-out HDR extremes like it -- the other 20% do not find it appealing at all and my favorite parishioner especially did not find it appealing.

My hope is that this photograph will assist her to forgive me my transgressions.

Friday was a warm sunny day and since David and I did not find any appealing photogenic birds, we decided to attempt another HDR photo-shoot of St Thomas. This, of course, was after descending the Blue Ridge Highway via Hwy 80 where we stopped to have lunch at Hillbilly Ted's (Highly recommended) besto.

Don't forget to click once and sometimes twice to view the new HDR depiction of St Thomas in Burnsville, NC

Saturday, April 17, 2010

More Art by Johnny Thacker The Blacksmith

Johnny Thacker is an artist and an outstanding neighbor and friend. He is an expert in repairing my tractor scraping blade that I continually misuse in working on our gravel roads.

As a small measure of my appreciation for his efforts, I photograph his art. Next Saturday the local Smith's are having a show in Spruce Pine, the next town north of us and I plan to be there with oxygen and my D90.

Caroline just had to have the first candlestick and it is now stationed upon our dinning room table in prominent view. Don't forget to click to enlarge the photos.

Woody The Woodpecker

We have many tree stumps on our lots and we never considered the necessity of having them removed. Why should we? We have Woody who has found a great source of food on our property. He or she visits almost on a daily basis.

Caroline was standing on the deck looking at our newly planted pink dogwood when she heard Woody pecking away. I actually took 130 photographs with the camera set to four exposures per second - had to set shutter priority because his head was moving so fast.

Be sure to click on the photo twice to fill your screen.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Closer Look at the Red Buds

A closer look at the Red Bud trees blooming photographed in HDR. Waiting for the clouds to fill the frame helps while I catch my breath with oxygen. The real fun in digital photography is making the picture.

This one took some lens correction to make sure that the house was depicted as horizontal.

The colors of the Red Bud trees are breathtaking. Come visit and see for yourself.

Click on the photo twice to fill you screen.

More Springtime Depicted in HDR

This is a HDR photo looking on the rear of our home from a road that winds its way up the mountain. Note that the Red Bud are in bloom. Although unseen are the buds on our Gala apple tree.

Click on the photo twice to fill your screen.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Beautiful Spring Day in HDR

I tried creating this image using nine different exposures. I then used the first three exposures consisting of the normal exposure and two (+/-) stops. The latter exposure turned out better than the nine exposure version.

I conclude that more pixels is not necessarily better for the photograph.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

John Thacker Blacksmith

I am ethically required to post my failures as a photographer so that I can assess my enthusiasm for the medium and correct my mistakes on future photo shoots that I volunteer.

Johnny is not only a dear neighbor but a most helpful friend when I screw up something on my tractor.

My major error was to not evaluate the ambient lighting that existed in his dinning room/living room at the time (9:30 am). The black backdrop that I brought with me was not dense enough to prevent back lighting the set. Click on the image to enlarge.

In addition, I should have used a back drop that provided contrast to the table so that a selection of the table could have been easily made. I could have then placed a good selection of the table onto any background that I desired.