Friday, December 31, 2010

Evening at the Cathedral of Saint Paul

I recently attended a Minnesota Wild game in Saint Paul. They played against the Detroit Red Wings and lost handily, I don't even want to post the pictures I took there. So here's a photo of the great view I had when we returned to our car after the game.

Cathedral of Saint Paul

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snow Dogs on a Snow Day

It snowed here in central Minnesota over the weekend. Perhaps that may be an understatement. We got dumped on! And boy did our dogs love the winter wonderland!

Snow Dogs Digging

Snow Dog Spirit

Snow Dog Calvin

Friday, December 10, 2010

Lesson #4 ~ To Flash or Not to Flash?

More Las Vegas vacation photos have been uploaded, and it gave me the chance to observe something and report what I've learned to other beginner, amateur, or self-taught photographers out there. To flash, or not to flash?

Monte Carlo Goddess (with Flash)

Flash is an invaluable tool that brightens a dark space. At night, flash can make all the difference between seeing your intended focal point and a dark frame full of unrecognizable features. Like any other light would, a flash can help illuminate what's in front of the camera.

Monte Carlo Goddess

Flash can also obscure what's in front of the camera. Notice that you can see a lot more of the details of this goddess outside the Monte Carlo Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. That's because basic flashes are mounted on the camera and pointed straight at the subject, reducing the occurrence of shadows that would normally add depth and detail. Additionally, the intense brightness of the light washes out the whiteness of the marble on this statue.

Photography is one of the few practices where less light can actually reveal more.

Las Vegas Vacation Photo Album
Las Vegas Vacation, Part I
Las Vegas Vacation, Part II

Friday, December 3, 2010

Brightness & Saturation

I'm not real big on editing my photos, for the most part I like to leave them as they are except maybe to make play with brightness. My reasoning is brightness and contrast are things that could be adjusted in a dark room. More recently, though, I've been working with color saturation, too - something else a little time in a dark room can fix. Here are two photos from my Vegas vacation and road trip that I thought didn't quite look right and needed to be fixed.

Smoke Blotted Out the Sun {Before}

Smoke Blotted Out the Sun {Fixed}

Traveling through either Arizona or Utah, a tree-covered mountain was on fire. The smoke was so thick that it blotted out the sun. The first photo was way too dark. The sun struggled through the smoke, but it was slightly brighter than that. The sort-of eerie lighting of the second photo is way more accurate.

Smoked Out {Before}

Smoked Out {Fixed}

The same with this photo, it was just a little dark and needed help. When it comes to saturation, there is a fine line between enhancing and making the coloring look fake. For both of these photos, I made the minimal adjustments to saturation, brightness, and contrast to bring out some of the details and make them look more accurate to what I remember.

See more Vegas Vacation photos at Flickr and at True to Words Friday Photography - Vegas Vacation, Part I.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dog Days of Summer Past

I can see the finish line. I have 13 folders worth of photos left to sort through and upload, then I'm all caught up! This photo of my black lab/Siberian husky, Spirit, is one of my favorite recent uploads from the tail end of summer.

Spirit at the Lake

My husband (fiancé at the time) was fishing off the dock at a friend's cabin Up North. She loves fishing, watching intently until the bobber sinks and then getting really excited as it gets reeled in. I think there was a fish getting a hook taken out of its mouth when this photo was taken. Sadistic dog!

Friday, November 19, 2010

1966 Rambler Rogue

I didn't get to take as many photos of classic cars this summer as I had expected. I was quite busy and couldn't make it to any of the usual fairs where these autos can be found. But I did snap this beauty.

1966 Rambler Rogue

This 1966 Rambler Rogue was parked at a classic car dealership down the road from me for a few months. One day while out on a photo hike with the dogs, I snapped these pics.

Headlight & Front Fender

Sweet, sweet vehicle, even if I did somehow end up with the song "Little Nash Rambler" stuck in my head every time I drove by. It was worth it.

Steering Wheel & Interior

Not familiar with the song? You're in luck, YouTube has everything.

Sara Duane-Gladden is a freelance writer and photographer in the Twin Cities area of the great state of Minnesota. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Burning Love

This year, I didn't just have food in my garden. In addition to seed-producing sunflowers, I tried to grow three types of ornamental flowers. Only one survived.

Burning Love

This is burning love. Sort of. I just now found out that this is a pretty weak version of it, it's supposed to look like this. I chalk it up to a small container.

I didn't realize at the time how hyper focused this was going to be on the blooms. It almost looks copied and pasted!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

2010 Growing Season Wrap-Up

Well, its been cold enough to have killed my plants since just before Halloween. Documenting the progress of my potted garden fell severely by the wayside in the months leading up to that point. I was still taking photos, though, even if I wasn't posting them.

Mini Green Bell Pepper

Everything was great until August, as the hot weather we had wasn't particularly nice for the plants. It seemed during the hottest times, the garden became dormant and when it started growing again, the fruit seemed stunted. The thickness of the flesh of these peppers was unusually thin.

3 Perfect Vine-On Tomatoes

These tomatoes only grew to be about half the size they should have been, but they still made some tasty BLTs. Check out the great color! I like these tomatoes, but I think I'm going to see if there is a good heirloom style tomato I can grow in a container next summer.

Opal Basil Blooms

My herbs grew abundantly and voraciously though. And I even left my opal basil alone long enough for a few stalks to flower. The blooms really are so beautiful it was worth it. The seeds even produced a few volunteers in some of my other pots and in a patch of grass in front of my house.

Genovese Basil

One herb that for sure didn't get to bloom was this lovely basil. I made so much pesto, it was awesome. I am completely bummed that though I did get some herbs brought into the house so I can have access to them all winter long, both varieties of basil died of cold before I had time to break the plants into smaller pieces and into smaller pots.

In addition to two varies of lavender, oregano, and thyme, I also currently have 3 mini bell pepper plants in my windowsill. They're all growing pretty well, I hope it keeps up. I'd like to have fresh peppers all winter long, too!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Photo Catches Thief in Action

Sorry, I haven't been very interesting, but I did find a story about a special photo that is. Remember the Perfectly Timed Photos post from earlier? Its along those lines.

A family photo snapped by a New Jersey tourist managed to capture the image of Wisconsin resident Glenn R. Lambright as he stole items from behind their back.

John Myers' family from Bloomfield, N.J., had stopped in Madison several months ago and posed for a picture in front of the Wisconsin State Capitol.

Myers set the self-timer on his camera and hustled into the frame with his wife and two children. Behind them, someone grabbed their bag that held Myers' wallet and credit cards.

After Myers discovered the bag missing, he checked his camera. The image showed Lambright taking their bag.
Lambright was sentenced to five days in jail.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Abandoned Horseshoe Saloon

Spotted this towards the end of summer, somewhere along Highway 25 between Becker and Brainerd in Minnesota. Yeah, that's a lot of mileage in between, but really all the small towns tend to look the same.

Old Rusted Sign

This sign is really what made me stop. If I wouldn't have seen this sign, I wouldn't have even noticed the abandoned building it was in front of.

Abandoned Roadside Bar

Must have been abandoned for a while, there are a bunch of trees growing right up next to the foundation.

Horseshoe Saloon

Isn't this a great sign? The other side was so faded, you couldn't read the name of the bar. Grain Belt, before it was hipster!


Yup, love this sign. So simple, so sun faded. The other side wasn't as faded and had more red on it, but I liked this side better.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sam Really Can Shoot...

...I have just been busy. Though my Flickr and photo blog activity dropped off in August, my photo taking did not. Part of the reason for the update freeze was it only takes a millisecond to snap a photograph, it takes hours to sort through 900 milliseconds. Or in this case, closer to 4,000. And though I had plenty of time to snap photos, I had none to sort them.

But I've finally started muddling through because my busy-ness has decreased: As I mentioned in my True to Words blog, I recently got married and had a vacation/mini-honeymoon in Las Vegas! That meant lots of preparation before, and photos galore during. I couldn't download them for a while because I have snapped and downloaded without sorting so often since July, I had filled my hard drive and reduced its memory access capacity. I couldn't even open multiple photos at a time!

I'm finding that I haven't really been that great at sorting since I bought my camera last September. In my quest to free up space, I've been going through each folder to find the ones I haven't sorted through. Some of them were "sorted" already and yet there are still redundant photos. I guess I am a packrat even in the digital world, but because I need the space, I shall be changing my ways!

On the plus side, I am noticing that I take fewer photos to get the right capture than when I first started. In the beginning, I would take ten photos hoping just one would turn out. Now I have a three takes rule! I attribute that change to gains in knowledge and confidence as a photographer. But I think three is as low as I'll go if I can help it. More often than not, all three of the photos will be completely different.

So now I shall away and reconvene my photo sorting. Expect more updates in the near future!
(These random photos are some I hadn't previously uploaded to Flickr, click through to find out more about them if you're curious :))

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Perfectly Timed Photos

I have been so busy, I haven't had time to do some of my extra curricular activities. Though I have been taking plenty of photos, I haven't been sorting, editing, or uploading them. Gotta start the blog up again somehow, or it could just sit languishing forever!

So I share with you Perfectly Timed Photos. This website is so much fun. I was alerted to its presence by this link, which has a handful of the best perfectly timed photos on the site.

"Told you I could beat the elevator"

"Everyone stands quietly as Susan magically hovers above the mud."

"Pew pew pew"

Such fun and unique photos! Kinda makes you want to keep your finger on the button at all times. I will certainly be checking back at this site in the future!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Baby Fruits

The work and love I've been putting into my container garden are bearing fruit. Literally.

Triplet Tomatoes

Aren't they beautiful? But this mini bell pepper and all of its ilk are what I am looking forward to the most. It looks a little misshaped though.

Baby Bell

And I think they're going to be okay. I found aphids on my sunflowers, but not on a single one of my peppers. Last year, the full size bell peppers were eaten alive, but the mini bells seem not to be attracting them. Either way, I know what to look for this time and I know how to get rid of the buggers organically without burning my plants, like I did last year. Oh how I've learned! This year's growing season has been going so much better than last year by all measures.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Balloon Flowers Burst into Bloom

I love balloon flowers. I had never seen them before last summer, when I noticed them growing in the garden of the Ames Florida Stork House in Rockford, MN. Aren't they beautiful?

Purple Balloon Flower

So why are they called balloon flowers? Observe what the bud looks like before it blooms.

Closed Balloon Flower

Neat huh? I love the lavender hue of these flowers. This white variation is also delicate and bright, almost like a star!

White Balloon Flower

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Pair of Hummingbirds

I spotted a pair of hummingbirds in the garden of the Ames Florida Stork House today. At least I'm pretty sure they are paired. They looked so alike, the only difference was that one was brighter than the other.

Female Humming Bird #1

Female Humming Bird #2

Male Humming Bird #1

Male Humming Bird #2

These are not the most perfect photos of hummingbirds, but the pictures of the female are pretty good. If you click to view the larger size, you can see her furry little body. I think those two photos are the best I could hope for under the amateur-still-learning-my-camera circumstances. I'm okay with that, though, because I was just excited to have the chance to try to capture their image.

[Update: This has been identified as a Hummingbird clearwing moth. It is not a bird, but it's still cool! :) ]

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Photos... Out There...

Some of my photos have been used recently by local news organizations which I highly respect!

First, David Brauer at MinnPost published an article entitled Sid Hartman and the Statues of Downtown Minneapolis. In the article, Brauer considers the people who are honored with statues in downtown Minneapolis. Included is a photo I took of the Joe Mauer statue outside Target Field.

Second, the new Minnesota Today section of Minnesota Public Radio includes an area that highlights photographs taken of life in the state. A photo of performers from Ballet Minnesota dancing at the Taste of Minnesota was recently featured on the site as the photo of the day. Thanks to Rob from North Metro Photo for pointing it out to me! :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bell Pepper Blooms

The buds on my bell peppers have bloomed into flowers. Now these guys are really growing! Since I took this picture, the blooms have already fallen off and there are tiny, baby peppers starting to grow.

Bell Pepper Blooms

It seems like they're growing faster than last year. The seeds were from some miniature bell peppers, so maybe they're intended to grow more quickly.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth of July 2010

These photos were taken on Saturday. I spent the real 4th of July safe at home in my pajamas.

Bouncing Light

Squiggly Light

Green & Red

Red Fountain

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Freshest Raspberries

Saw these raspberries (and promptly ate them) at a friend's home. They were so much better than whatever you could buy at the grocery store.

Fresh Raspberries

I love fresh fruits and veggies, particularly berries. It doesn't get much more fresh than this!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

First Bird at the Feeder

This year was the first time I put out a bird feeder at the place I live currently. I was a little disappointed when for weeks the food went untouched, so I sprinkled some seed on the ground nearby. That's where the birds began to congregate, still ignoring the bird feeder. Then yesterday I saw this:

First Bird at the Feeder
After I snapped this photo I realized the little gnome that is my bird feeder was facing the fall. Just a little creepy if you ask me. I fixed it as soon as the bird left.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Wyandot County Court House

I was recently on vacation in Ohio. While I was there, a bar called Shotzy's in Upper Sandusky was having an opening night. We pulled into town just as the sun was going down and parked by this, the Wyandot County Court House. Though the lighting wasn't so great, I just had to snap a few photos!

Wyandot County Court House

Justice & Liberty

Wyandot County Court House Sign

Didn't really read this sign until I got the photos home, though. That's just a little creepy.