Tag Archives: macro photography

Marcelino’s Garden

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In my mind the word “art” encompasses so much more than mediums like drawing and painting.  I think artful endeavors also include things like cooking, working with textiles, making music and so on.  Some of us have green thumbs and bring beauty to the word via plant life.  My father-in-law, Marcelino, is one of those people – gardening is his art.

I’ve been a fan of my father-in-law’s garden since I first started dating my husband nearly 18 years ago.  I’ve enjoyed countless visits to my husband’s childhood home over the years, where his parents still reside, and during each visit I take time to admire my father-in-law’s “living canvas”.  His garden is a bit different each time I visit, and I always enjoy the arrangement, the colors, the scents, and the textures.

He moves some of his plants around, includes a variety of both ornamental and edible plants, and cultivates a playful feeling in his garden.  Chile plants and tomatoes help to nourish loved ones – beauties like roses, calla lilies and geraniums give our eyes something to feast on.  And while the contents of Marcelino’s garden are primarily plants accented with garden sculpture, you may also find a chandelier hanging from an avocado tree or see an old plastic toy lizard left over from my hubby’s childhood glowering menacingly at you from the crook of a tree.  Those whimsical touches are among my favorites.

The photos in this post were taken over Easter weekend.  I used a macro lens on my iPhone to capture these “up close and personal” images of some of the plants that my father-in-law nurtures and tends to.  I hope you enjoy them, and I hope you’ll join me in celebrating Marcelino’s favorite way to make art…

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Tomato plant

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Amaryllis

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Cactus

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Passion Flower tendril

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Rosebud

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Tiny orange chile

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Dandelion

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Seedling

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Chile flower

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Calla lily leaf

I hope you’re all having a great week thus far…

Warm regards,
Melody

Posted in art, family, gardening, nature, photography | Also tagged 2 Comments

Haiku: Floral Beauty

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Tiny bloom beckons,
intricate and colorful.
A heavenly sight…

I hope you’re all having a great week thus far!

Warm regards,
Melody

Posted in art, haiku, inspiration, life in general, nature, photography, poetry, writing | 6 Comments

Haiku: Tiny Bloom

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Such a tiny bloom
About the size of a dime.
Your beauty awes me…

Have you spied any tiny treasures in nature recently, dear readers?  Do tell!

Warm regards,
Melody

Posted in art, haiku, life in general, nature, photography, poetry, writing | Also tagged 4 Comments

Another Look: Photography

Welcome to another installment of Another Look!  This post is designed to share a handful of goodies from my archive while I’m recovering from my surgeries.  I hope you enjoy these links, whether you’re seeing them for the first time or have seen them once before.  Today’s category is photography! Just click on the name of the post to link over…

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6 Simple Tips for Taking Better Photos
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Harvesting Bounty at the Farmers Market
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The Joys of iPhone Photography
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Visual Nutrition
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I hope you enjoy these posts.  Please feel free to comment and share any photography tips you find helpful when you’re behind the camera.

Warm regards,
Melody

Posted in art, inspiration, nature, photography | Also tagged 2 Comments

6 Simple Tips for Taking Better Photos

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Once upon a time, I was a snapshot photographer.  I took tons of pictures, and they were good – but they weren’t great.  I started “applying myself” around ten years ago, and have improved a lot since then.  Today I’m going to share how you can improve the photos you’re taking with these 6 helpful hints.  I don’t profess to be a pro – and my photographic schooling is limited to one six-week adult education course that taught the basics – but I have developed my eye and some practices over time.  Hopefully this information will help you, too.

1. Always Remember the Rule of Thirds

Per Wikipedia’s wisdom: The rule of thirds is a compositional rule of thumb in visual arts such as paintingphotography and design.  The rule states that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections.  Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject would.

In other words, don’t always frame your point of interest in the dead center of your photo.  Sometimes it’s called for (and believe me – I love symmetry more than the next gal) but you’re likely to have a more interesting photo if you compose your photo so that the point of interest is at one (or more) of the intersecting points.

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2. A Fancier Camera Isn’t Necessarily Better

The best camera in the world won’t do you any good if you don’t compose careful, mindful, interesting photos.  So don’t focus on getting new equipment – focus on using what you have well.  A relatively simple point-and-shoot camera can still do a great job.  For example, I used a Canon PowerShot SD780 IS Digital Elph when I traveled to Peru a few years ago, and still got some amazing images.  Sure, I would’ve loved to have taken a DSLR with multiple lenses, but for safety and for simplicity’s sake I took a camera that fit in my pocket.  If you have a point and shoot camera with a decent macro feature on it (look for the little flower symbol), you’re probably good to go.

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3. Get Up Close & Personal: MACRO

And speaking of macro, I love shooting close ups.  If you’re familiar with my blog and/or photography, you know this already.  And while not everyone likes the close ups and detail photos as much as I do, it’s important that your camera has the capability – in case the mood strikes.  Want a close up of the texture of a ribbon you’re using on a craft project?  Macro.  Want to share the lovely center of a diminutive flower you stumble upon while out on a walk?  Macro.  Do you want to share the surface texture of your most recent baked dessert with your friends, family or blog readers?  Macro!  The macro features on my cameras are indicated by a small flower symbol.

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4. Eliminate Distractions!

Sometimes, particularly in fast-moving situations, you have to just snap the photo and take what you get.  However, if you have time to compose your shot carefully and make a few adjustments, look carefully at your shot before taking your picture.  Are unsightly elements ruining your shot?  Sometimes shifting a foot or two will remove a lamp post, a trashcan, or a parked car from your shot – making it much more pleasing.  Scan your shot for things you don’t want included, and adjust to remove them when possible.

Here’s a good example: While taking photos in Kansas, I came across an aged sign post with beautiful coloration.  My first photo, shot vertically, captured the colors on the post but the cars and buildings in the background were distracting.  By shooting horizontally (landscape) and pushing in so the post filled the frame, the photo became more interesting and more abstract.

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5. Photograph Children & Pets at THEIR Eye Level
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Photos of children and pets are much more engaging when they’re taken at your subject’s eye level.  It can be good to shoot from above if you’re trying to clearly establish their size in relation to the photographer, but the viewer will be drawn into the photo more if they’re seeing the child or critter at eye level instead of hovering above.

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6. Look for Interesting Perspectives & Angles

Take time to play and look for interesting angles when taking your photos – particularly when shooting buildings, nature, and scenery.  For example, when photographing a tree don’t just shoot it from straight on from a distance.  Why not walk to the base of the tree and shoot straight up the trunk?  The same suggestions apply to a building.  Taking a photo from near the base of the building will provide a unique perspective.  By using different angles and perspectives when taking photos you can capture details and sights that many pass by and miss entirely.

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Questions?  Comments?

Please let me know if you have any questions about what I’ve shared above.  I personally respond to all comments posted on my blog (giveaway comment entries excepted), and am always glad to hear from you!

Warm regards,
Melody

Posted in art, inspiration, photography | Also tagged , , , 6 Comments

Harvesting Bounty at the Farmers Market

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Living in the city I’m pretty far removed from most of the agricultural areas that produce my fruits and veggies, so it’s always a treat to visit the Farmers Market.  I’m not a regular attendee, but when I do go I usually visit the Farmers Market held at UC, Irvine on Saturdays.  And though I go to buy, even if it’s in moderation, it’s nearly as fun to people watch as is it is to shop.

That said, it is the edibles, and the other goodies for sale, that are the main draw. Not only do vendors sell fruit and veggies, they also sell breads, desserts, cheese, jewelry, plants, and flowers.  Armed with a reusable bag, I usually make a first pass through the market to see what’s available, and then revisit the stalls that have the goods I want and/or need.

On my most recent visit I was also armed with my camera, and took some photos as I made my way through the market.  I hope you enjoy them.

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I hope your week is going well thus far…

Warm regards,
Melody

Posted in inspiration, life in general, photography | Also tagged , 14 Comments

Haiku: It’s the Little Things

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Take a closer look
“Little” blessings all around
Make these days worthwhile

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Always mindful of the many blessings in my life, big and small, I’m particularly focused on the little things right now.  When life challenges you, why not try to endure with grace and gratitude?  That’s what I’m working towards, and though my results are mixed, and some days are better than others, this goal does help – and it certainly doesn’t hurt!

I hope there are many “little” blessings in your lives, dear readers.  Please comment and share the little things that make your days worthwhile, if you’re so inclined…

Warm regards,
Melody

Posted in haiku, life in general, nature, photography, poetry, writing | Also tagged , , 4 Comments

Visual Nutrition

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I pay attention to small details, and take pleasure in simple things.  Catching sight of a cobweb dusted with dewdrops, the drops sparkling like diamonds in the sun – things like this make me very happy.  Similarly, I find beauty in the texture and pattern of leaves.  I “ooh” over flowers blooming, and “ah” when I see the deep iridescent green of a male mallard duck’s head.

I find it’s all in how you look at things.  For example, some only focus on the edible nature of fruits and veggies – mindful of the dietary guideline urging us to consume a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.  I see more when I look at these foods.  I think they’re interesting and beautiful – not just edible.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m generally not waxing poetic over the shape of green beans when I’m prepping them for the steaming pot.  I’m trying to get dinner on the table!  I probably admire the shape, texture, and color of these plant-based edibles more than the average person does though, so I’ve taken a few photos that I hope will make some of you into bigger fans too.  I guess you could say today is Fruit and Veggie Appreciation Day!

So feast your eyes on these beauties, dear readers, even if they don’t actually make it to your plate.  Visual nutrition is better than no nutrition at all…

Warm regards,
Melody
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Red Chard

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Tomato

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Cactus Pear

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Pomegranate

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Cucumber

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cucumber-3

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Orange Bell Pepper

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Flowering Kale

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Lemon

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Butternut Squash

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Blueberries

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Photo at very top: Raspberries
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Posted in art, inspiration, life in general, nature, photography | Also tagged , 6 Comments