I confess. I'm slow, very slow. But, I didn't forget!!! Sci Fi Chick, Gentle Reader, and Bonnie (in an order I no longer remember) all tagged me for the Blogging Tips Meme. And, since I was poky, it has literally exploded into a huge monster of a list - 142 tips, if you go to the source. 142 tips would take waaaay too much space so, I'm going skipster. I had some ideas, but I'll save them for later. Call me Little Miss Party Pooper. I do love being tagged, I want you all to know. Many thanks to all three of you for thinking of me!
So, no blogging tips. I do, however, have a couple of lovely tomato photos to share. I can just see you bouncing up and down in your computer chairs.
You can see that it finally rained!! Wahoo! Not for long, mind you, but we'll take what we get. Here's the same tomato from a different angle, a few minutes earlier:
Why on earth did I post two different photos of the same little green tomato? I'm glad you asked. I just happened to walk outside shortly after the rain (it was nasty out there, by the way - the heat, the humidity . . . ugh) to take photos of the tomatoes because I observed that the lighting was good. And, then it occurred to me that I haven't posted the photo tips I promised and this was a perfect example of an excellent lesson. The forthcoming photo tips were intended to start the odd "Photo Tip Friday" post, but then I got hijacked by my husband and it turned miraculously into Saturday, overnight. Sometimes you just can't rely on having the time to blog, darn it. So, you get Photo Tip Saturday, at least this time around.
Photo tips of the week:
1. Lighting is everything. You probably already knew that, but in case you didn't . . . there you go. Obviously, the light changes all day long with the movement of the sun. Lotus expressed interest in knowing how best to take photos of flowers in her own garden. And, this is what I do - I watch the light. It's best to have a full day to go in and out, observing how the light hits your flowers (or, in this case, tomatoes) throughout the day. Do take the camera along to play, of course. If you can set aside a weekend day to occasionally go outside to check how the sun is hitting them - and, of course, sometimes you don't have till the weekend before they wilt, so sooner is better - do so. Otherwise, just keep an eye on what you want to photograph as you come and go.
Professionals, I've found, seem to all have their favorite lighting, although most everyone agrees that the softer morning and evening light is best for scenic photography because side light casts attractive shadows and eliminates the harsh glare of mid-day light. But, there are occasions that direct lighting is best. Overcast, "cloudy-bright" light (meaning it's overcast, but not heavily - there's lots of soft, even light on cloudy-bright days) is especially terrific for portraits. I used to deliberately take my kids out to photograph them on cloudy-bright days. But, it's also great for flower photography because you don't have to worry as much about a digital camera's light filter over-reacting, the shadowed lighting causing one part of a flower to be overexposed and washed-out, while another part is perfectly exposed or too dark.
Sometimes, direct lighting is actually terrific. Take this flower photo, for example:
This was taking mid-day, when the light was harsh but spread almost perfectly across the flower. This next one, however, was taken when the sun was low, late in the day, and lit up the petals with a lovely glow.
2. Walk around and look at your subject from different angles to check background colors. Look at those two tomato photos, again, and you'll see that the lighting is just a touch different but the backgrounds are completely changed. All I did was shift my angle a bit to change the background from dark to light.
Now, in my case, I often use a long telephoto lens and the joy of a long lens is a blurring of the background; the disadvantage is that most people really need a tripod while using a long lens, hand-held. I have extraordinarily steady hands and there are still times I can't get away with hand-held telephoto photography, but I like the muted background effect. I think most people will tell you it's best to use a short lens and a macro setting for flower photography, if you've got one. You will definitely get a clearer photo with a shorter, fixed focal-length lens than with a telephoto.
If you own a point-and-shoot camera, the best thing to do is read your manual and find out what the best setting for close-up photography is (most have at least 4 standard settings), as well as the optimal shooting distance and then watch that light.
**End photo tips**
And, now, on to the visitor. Youngest son and I spent yesterday in Jackson, shopping and eating out, followed by a trip to the theater in Clinton to view The Bourne Ultimatum - which is so action-packed, I came out of it with a stiff neck from sitting on the edge of my seat. I'm pretty sure I didn't get a lot of oxygen, either, because I was holding my breath most of the way through. Boy, talk about extreme. Jason Bourne is the perfect example of superhuman Hollywood action guy, in this movie. I liked it, though. There's a reason they wreck cars and then have the hero walk away. We like to think it could happen, that it's possible to actually walk away from a car that has gone backwards off a roof or to jump off a high-rise building into the water and survive, don't we? Sorry, just getting philosophical about action movies.
So, we walked out the door around 10:00 to head out for the day and I discovered the kiddo had left his trombone in the trunk. We unlocked the car and climbed in, but then I said, "You know, I'm pretty sure we don't want to haul that trombone around. We need room for cat litter." So, we both hopped out, walked to the house to carry the trombone inside, and saw this visitor in the bricks directly beside our front door:
Well, hey there, little fella! Yes, naturally Bookfool and her son became ridiculously excited. I ran for the camera. Kiddo peered at the snake's pretty coloring. The snake pretended to be invisible and hung there, immobile. The moment we backed the car out of the driveway, we saw him slinking down the wall. Funny. For those who don't know, you can usually tell whether a snake is venomous or non-venomous by the shape of his head. Venomous snakes have triangular heads; the cheeky-looking pouches that give them that shape are filled with venom, you see. While the non-venomous ones have have slimmer heads, some call them "spoon-shaped". There are exceptions, such as the coral snake. It's a good idea to know your snakes if you plan to photograph them when they show up by your front door.
I finished Taking the Plunge by Stacie Lewis, last night. It's an Estella review book, so watch for a review of that one to appear in the September issue of Estella's Revenge.
Currently reads not yet added to my sidebar are Lesley Castle (a small Hesperus Press book with two novellas and the very silly "A History of England") by Jane Austen and Vineland by Thomas Pynchon. Both are incredibly fun for entirely different reasons.
Recently walked in the door:
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (thank you, Amy!!)
Villa Air-Bel by Rosemary Sullivan
The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald
Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
Fifty Acres and a Poodle by Jeanne Marie Laskas (thanks to Les for the recommendation!!)
Wild Swans by Jung Chang
Barefoot by Elin Hildenbrand (thank you, Barbara!!)
Most of those came from Paperback Swap, apart from the ones Amy and Barbara sent. Paperback Swap is so cool. All but one of the PBS books were recommended by bloggers, so if you see a title you've recently reviewed, you've probably influenced me.
Shameless impulse purchase:
Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene (I love Graham Greene)
Kiddo goes back to school next Wednesday! Oh, my gosh! It's too early for school (but not for cool weather - I'd be happy to take an early cool front, no problem). Where does the time go?
Hope everyone's having a terrific weekend! Hope to catch up on blog-hopping, soon. Smiles all around.
Bookfool with green tomatoes and snake on the side