Friday, July 11, 2014

Photo Challenge: Portraits

Can't believe it's Photo Challenge time again already! I'll have to delve into my archives again as I've had no time to plan or shoot portraits this month. Portraits are not something I usually shoot. Sometimes I try to get good shots of our pets, and on special occasions I try to capture the people involved. But as far as shooting posed photos of people, it's not something I usually do.

I'm saved this time by my nephew's wedding. He and his lovely bride tied the knot on May 17. Blue Mason jars, heirloom flowers, and burlap made for a vintage theme amid a beautiful farm setting. One thing that the photos don't show is that the temperature was barely 50 degrees and everyone was freezing during the outdoor ceremony! Thank goodness the reception was indoors, where everyone was much more comfortable.

On the left is the groom's childhood next-door neighbor. She's posing with my oldest sister.

This is my sister and her husband, parents of the groom.

The maid of honor was striking. Thankfully you can't see any goosebumps!

Once the ceremony was over, wedding guests relaxed with cocktails (and got warm!)
while waiting for the bridal party to finish with photos. This is my husband with
my cousin's wife.

During cocktails, guests were invited to pose for silly photos using a variety of props,
including boas, goofy hats, crazy glasses, etc. This is my aunt. She might not like it if I told
you how old she is. Let's just say she was 11 years younger than I am now when
I was 1960. Can you do the math?

My nephew, the groom, watches while his bride dances with her father.

And the bride watches as her new husband dances with his mother.

Their magical wedding ended with a sparkler send-off.
I'd never seen that done before. It was quite a sight.

Not only are the months flying by, so are the years. This handsome young groom was born just five months before my own wedding, 29 years ago.

Linking up with Donna at A Personal Photo Challenge

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Star Light, Star Bright

Do you remember catching lightning bugs in a jar? I do! Many a summer night found us neighborhood kids running around the yard, glass jars in hand, trying to capture those elusive creatures. The younger the child, the more running, jumping, and swiping was involved. The older ones had learned to move slowly and focus on a small area. One night I was particularly successful and found myself with a jar full of bugs by the time my mother hauled me inside for the night.I was so proud of my catch that I took the jar to the bathroom, set it on the side of the tub, and took my bath by firefly light! Needless to say, it was a dark bath, and I doubt I was very clean once it was over. But I still remember watching those bugs lighting so silently, and yet so beautifully inside the jar as I bathed.

Nowadays I'm trying to catch lightning bugs and stars with my camera. Thanks to a very helpful and easy-to-understand article in the Wonderful West Virginia magazine, I was able to take my first even remotely successful night sky photos tonight. I have tried before on many occasions, but this time a combination of reading that article, studying my camera's instruction manual, and a little advanced planning paid off. The secret setting that I've been missing is the ISO, the equivalent of what us over-50 folks know as film speed. A high ISO setting is necessary for capturing stars and lightning bugs, I've learned.

(Note: to see these photos better, click on them. That will give you a bigger image.)

Out of 50 or more shots, I ended up with two that are not bad. Ahh, the beauty of digital photography: being able to snap away without the cost of film, developing, and printing! If you look closely in the photo above, you can see the outline of the tree tops. Above them are stars. Below them, are lightning bugs. That cluster of lights in the lower center has a slightly yellow cast - that's the bugs! There were thousands of them lighting tonight. Wouldn't it be grand to capture that! 

For this photo, I pointed the camera almost straight up. There's a very famous constellation right in the center. Can you see it?? I won't give it away, but I'm sure you've seen it before. Leave a comment below if you can tell what it is. That will let me know if my attempts are successful in more eyes than my own.

The night sky is a wondrous thing to behold. Problem is, us modern folk don't behold it very often. We sit inside our comfortable houses and watch a TV or computer screen instead of gazing into the heavens right outside our door. I hope the sky is dark at night where you live, and I hope you go outside and look up!