Thursday, November 15, 2012

Images of and Tidbits on Thanksgiving

Canada's celebration is a memory, but the Americans are looking forward to their Thanksgiving in just a week.  Here on offer is a cornucopia of things in keeping with this American tradition.

While expressing gratitude for the harvest and  counting one's blessings are the historic messages behind the occasion, there are many other practices associated with the holiday today.  First of course, are the ones most significantly tied to the origins of the event — food and family.  Extended relatives gather together to enjoy a feast usually comprised of turkey with all the fixings, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie.

Then there is the Thanksgiving Classic, in existence since the inception of the NFL in 1920. This is a series of football games played during the holiday.  And of course, we couldn't mention Thanksgiving traditions without touching on Black Friday,  where bargain hunters fight off others of like mind to get a start on the Christmas list at some of the best pre-season sales.

Now just for fun, here are some interesting tidbits about the holiday:
• 102 pilgrims, took 66 days to cross the Atlantic in 1620 in the Mayflower. They arrived at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts on Dec. 11.
• Fifty per cent of Americans put the stuffing inside the turkey
•  92% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving
• About 280 million turkeys are sold annually for Thanksgiving which is about 7 billion pounds of turkey and about $3 billion dollars worth of sales
• About 20 per cent of all cranberries that are consumed in the US per year are eaten on Thanksgiving

And finally, if you're looking for some wonderful Thanksgiving clipart collections, these links will take you there:

iCLIPART.com Thanksgiving Illustrations

ToonClipart Cartoons

Acclaim Images Thanksgiving Images

Best-of-Web Thanksgiving Clipart

ClickartOnline Fall and Thanksgiving Images

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What About Tilt-Shift Photography?

When I was first interviewed for a journalism position more than two decades ago, one of the questions the publisher asked me was if I considered myself to be a curious person.  To him, the need to know because you must know, was a necessary desire in a good news reporter. 

Well, while my mother would have probably described the attribute as the less attractive "being nosy",  I felt confident in my affirmative answer.  It was a trait that did serve me in good stead, as first a reporter, then editor, when I became the one asking the questions and making sure they were asked.

That need to know and understand remains with me. So when I recently stumbled upon a photography technique that I'd never heard of,  I was compelled to find out more.  With a little help from Wikipedia, I learned that tilt-shift photography is often used to simulate a miniature scene. It involves movement with small and medium format cameras and the use of tilt for selective focus. Also the term may be used when a shallow depth of field is simulated with digital post processing.  When the effect is produced optically a tilt-shift lens is used.

Wikipedia says that: "'Tilt–shift' encompasses two different types of movements: rotation of the lens plane relative to the image plane, called tilt, and movement of the lens parallel to the image plane, called shift. Tilt is used to control the orientation of the plane of focus (PoF), and hence the part of an image that appears sharp; it makes use of the Scheimpflug principle. Shift is used to adjust the position of the subject in the image area without moving the camera back; this is often helpful in avoiding the convergence of parallel lines, as when photographing tall buildings."

Okay, so I still don't completely get it yet.  But I'm hoping a little time with these sites may satisfy my need to know and understand:

thePhotoArgus Examples of Tilt Shift Photography

ePHOTOzine Tilt Shift Photography Tips

Visual Photo Guide Tilt Shift Photography Tutorial

Tilt Shift Photography Photoshop Tutorial Miniature Faking

TiltShiftMaker Create Tilt Shift Style Photos in 3 Easy Steps

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Landscape Photography Tips

Landscapes and skylines may be beautiful,  but when I'm the one with a camera, a picture isn't a picture without a person in it. 

Going way back to one of the first trips my husband and I took together,  I remember having a rather negative view of his photographic subjects.  He was forever pointing the camera at nature and vistas, which I argued at the time would have little meaning down the road if we didn't have a familiar face in the shots as well.  For the record I assume it was this attitude that has led to me now being the one always behind the camera when we travel. It would seem that finding fault isn't a great idea unless you want the job yourself.

But I digress. When we go back in our albums now,  it would at first seem that I was right, that it's the shots of friends and family giving us the most enjoyment, while the ones of places are flipped through with little interest paid to them.  However, experience has since prompted a more honest look. The reason our landscape photos are given short shrift just may very well be that neither of us really knew how to take great ones. After all,  I doubt that anyone has ever ignored an Ansel Adams landscape.

I will, of course, still be the one taking the photos full of family and friends.  I wonder, though if we'd had these helpful links might our landscape pictures have been every bit as memorable as the ones with all those faces I love in them?

DigitalPhotoSecrets Tips for Urban Landscape Photography

National Geographic Landscape Photography Tips

Digital Camera World 10 Great Landscape Photography Tips

Photo Naturalist Tips for Landscape Photography

Light Stalking Landscape Photography for the Serious Amateur

PictureCorrect Landscape Photography Tips

PhotographyLife Landscape Photography Guide

Monday, November 12, 2012

Cleaning Up Outside for Winter

This past Sunday was one of those rare gifts from Mother Nature, a balmy November day,  designed I suppose to give you one last chance to get all of that necessary outdoor work completed before winter drops its blanket.

Having taken a page from an article I read recently, which suggested not clipping and cutting to benefit birds and aesthetic appeal  (we'll see how that went this spring I guess) we were facing a little less to do than in previous years. However, even with that in mind and the fact that plenty had already been done, it was amazing how many tasks remained to finally put our outdoor living spaces to bed.  Not taking advantage of the perfect day just couldn't happen. 

So, I set my fearless warrior to the necessary tasks — gutters were cleaned,  the last leaves were raked and the flowerbeds got a makeover as plants were transplanted. 

As misery loves company here are some inspiring photos and entertaining images of others attacking the autumn 'honey-do' list: 

Acclaim Images Yardwork Images

iCLIPART.com Yardwork Images