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Just For Fun!

Refraction of Light in Photography

I saw a Facebook post on group site I participate in about refraction of light.  The images were very interesting. I decided to put together a few items for our camera club to use at a future meeting.

If you google refraction of light you come back with a lot of scientific information. However when you google refraction of light in photography a lot of nice images appear!

With help from a friend of mine, I put together several backgrounds; some had color some were black and white. I purchased scrapbooking paper and used double stick tape and old scrap mats to mount the paper to so they would not bend.

Using a pole lamp with 3 lights to light my subject, I put up my backgrounds and filling glasses with water. I also laid some of the backgrounds flat and used them as a base; the patterns then reflected on top of the water.

My camera settings (Nikon D800E) ISO 640, f/14 – 16, shutter speed ranged from 1/5, 1/3, 1/13 sec depending on which background was being used.

This is a fun winter project as you do not need a lot of supplies, just clear glasses, vases, bowls, water (distilled is recommended because tap water bubbles), and paper or fabric with a design. You can make your own designs using Photoshop and printing the off of you printer.

Have fun experimenting!

Photographing Americana: Signs and Structures of our Past: Chapter 3


The Anna Plaza Motel sign in Anna, Illinois is very much a “blast from the past”.  The actual age of the sign is unknown but based on the style and shape it is likely late 1940’s or early 1950’s.

Take note of the conveniences listed: Modern Electrically Heated (I assume that means the rooms) and TV.  Then as the times changed a sign was added at the bottom to include Cable TV with remote, water beds, and direct dial phones.

Think about what we consider modern conveniences today. Free wifi probably tops the list for most people. I remember traveling with my parents, we looked for places that had a pool; a heated pool was a bonus. We stayed in Ithaca, New York one summer and it was unseasonably cold. The motel said they had a heated outdoor pool, but after an evening swim I was as blue from the cold water as the guy in Big Fat Liar after his swim in the blue dye!

Think about having “direct dial phones” when the majority of the nation has cell phones. How times change. I found an article written in 2005 by someone who also photographed this sign. They said in their article that this sign probably would be gone soon. Here it is 10 years later and it still stands.

As for staying at the Anna Plaza Motel; no thanks! I am sure in the early days it was a very fine establishment. The town of Anna has many old structures and other interesting signs. I look forward to sharing those with you in the future.

Image Enhancement

Since posting my blog on using On1 10, I have received approval to be an On1 Affiliate. You can click the link at the bottom of my post to learn more about the On 1 software.

On1 10 was released in November. I have been an On1 user since about version 6.  I received a free version of Perfect Effects for attending a Kelby Photoshop Workshop. I thought it was odd they had another company promoting their products at the workshop, but I took the time to watch the demo during our lunch break.

What I found out was On1 can be used as a plug-in or as a stand alone software. I have used it both ways.  I make my adjustments in Lightroom then move my image over to On1 Effects to further process my image.

For me On1 is a very simple way to enhance my images using the filters they have built into the program.  I am able to layer and mask my images to bring out the details I want or to add in textures or other color enhancements to make my images stand out. And as an O1 user, I receive several preset packages throughout the year. Most of the time I create my own images, but I also try the others out.

My favorite adjustments in On1 Effects are the Amazing Detail Finder located under the sharpening tab and clarity under the tone enhancement tab.  I find that these two adjustments bring out details in my images that I may have not noticed.

I use a Nikon D800E DSLR and shoot in RAW. The image above was taken with a Tamron 28 -75mm f/2.8 lens. My settings were ISO 320, f/11, 28mm, 1/160 sec. The light was behind me and it was about 4:00 in the afternoon. While I was happy with my original image I decided to work with it in On1 Effects.  I used the adjustments I mentioned above and then worked on the highlights and shadows. On1 works similar to Photoshop in that you can make adjustments in different layers and if you are not happy with the change you can always go back and change or delete the layer.  I also added a leather texture to the image which created a warm feel. When I photograph a landscape with an older structure, such as this grist mill, I prefer to age the photograph to give it character.

The image on the left is what was captured out of the camera. On the right I used the On1 Effects to pull out the detail in the bricks and to give the image a more surreal look.  The time of day I captured my images made the reds pop. My settings were the same as in the images above. After I adjust in O1, it saves it back into my Lightroom catalog and I can

This is a collection of bottles in a potting shed. I thought this made a nice grouping. I did not move anything, just photographed it “as is”. My settings were ISO 800, f/4.0, 1/125, at 38mm with a Tamron 28 – 300mm.  I like how the coarse detail in the wood was revealed using the Amazing Detail Finder. I also used a subtle HDR look in this image. I like photographs with lots of texture.

Many times On1 offers the On1 Effects module as a trial; that’s how I started. In the full suite they had enhance, portrait, resize, and B&W modules, too. I have used all of these at one time or another. What I like about On1 is it’s ease of use. I have produced several images with On1 that have been in exhibits, competitions, and have won awards.

Thanks for reading!  Photography provides infinite opportunities for learning!

Photographing Americana: Signs and Structures of Our Past: Chapter 2


Standard Oil Service Station, Vienna, Illinois

Having grown up in a small rural community, I remember an old castle gas station in the center of town. It is long gone and I so wish I had taken a photograph of it to preserve its heritage. Vienna, Illinois has a beautiful gem that has fallen victim to vandals and decay.

The station was built in 1930 by the Standard Oil Company. It is one of several that was built across the country to fit the space available. Many of these old stations have been converted into private residences and other businesses.  I spoke to a resident of Vienna and he said, “Many people have expressed interest in the building, but there it sits, decaying each day.”

My imagination wandered to the days of “full service” stations. I could visualize the service man rushing out to gas the car, clean the windscreen and “take a look under the hood!”

As you can see from the above photographs, the torch (in photographs of other stations, it was a beautiful gold and red torch) has been chiseled away. It also appears that someone has tried to removed the entire “service” emblem!  The lettering on the crown has also been removed leaving behind a skeleton of the past.

Other views of the building show the decay that is occurring. It is just a matter of time this beautiful landmark will be a memory just as the castle in my hometown is a memory for me.

I could only see inside the bay area; there were broken panes of glass that I could aim my camera through.  I read other articles lamenting the sadness people have for this wonderful icon on the corner of Routes 146 and 45. It is a shame that someone will not step up and take charge of the restoration. I’m sure the expense is a hinderance.  The red tiled roof, the yellow brick; a wonderful contrast of color!

Take the time to notice the images around you; pause and reflect on the past.

Photographing Americana: Signs and Structures of Our Past Chapter 1


When you take the roads less traveled there are gems to be found!

While driving through Carbondale, Illinois this sign caught my attention.  I stopped and took as many photographs as I could.

The sign says closed for the season, but according to research this Dairy Queen on 508 South Illinois Avenue is a busy place!  The building is the original structure that was built in 1951 by Jack Clover. According to a 2014 article in the Southern Illinoisan, the stand has been owned by Mark Waicukauski for over 25 years and was owned by his father before him. In the article, Waicukauski says, “That old sign’s been there since the beginning!”

While traveling across the country, take the time to look around you! The gems you uncover may be diamonds in the rough!

MidWest BunFest: It’s All About The Bunny! 2015


MidWest BunFest vendor area

One year ago my daughter adopted two bunnies, Smokey and Shadow.  They are both girl bunnies and had been purchased together.  The family who had them was having difficulty caring for them and were looking for a good home.  Libby had always wanted a bunny, so I thought, why not?  They go well with the rest of our menagerie!

A few months ago heard a squeal come out of the living room; “Mom, mom, I want to go to BunFest!”  Ok, what is BunFest?  The more we read about BunFest the more excited she became.  You can bring your bunnies; they have a spa; they can have a check-up; they can even get glamor shots!  Further research showed that BunFest was in its 5th year!  We must investigate this!

My idea of a “festival” or trade show is usually photography based.  When I enter the vendor area of a photography trade show, I get an adrenaline rush!  I assume rabbit people feel the same way about BunFest!  It was bustling with excitement and stories about how their bunnies were rescued and there was plenty of toys and bunny related trinkets to fill a shopping bag!

There were many rescue organizations represented at BunFest. They had catchy names; DARN (Dayton Area Rabbit Network) and EARS (Erie Area Rabbit Society).


Erie Area Rabbit Society display

I did not realize there was such a need for rabbit shelters, but I guess rabbits are much like other pets; people purchase them (likely seasonally) and then realize they don’t just take care of themselves and decide to get rid of them.  Rabbits require a lot of care and attention. Our rabbits live in a hutch outside. The hutch requires regular cleaning, the rabbits need toys to keep from being bored, and they need plenty of food, water, and hay.  Indoor bunnies need supervision to keep from chewing on electrical cords (because rabbits love to chew) and other objects that could cause injury to them.  They need cared for, brushing and they require regular exercise.  They can succumb to stress and have a heart attack.  During cold weather we move our rabbits into the heated garage to keep them from freezing.


I particularly liked her bunny shoes!


I can’t remember this rabbit’s name, but they had Lucy, Desi, Ethel, and a cat named Fred! They had 4 bunnies with them.


This is a therapy bunny from F5RS (Frisky Ferrets, Fuzzies & Feathered Friends Rescue and Sanctuary); if she has her hat on, she’s working! http://www.facebook.com/F5RS1

Rabbit people come from all walks of life.  They are passionate about their furry companions.


Kaycee Jane of Clover Patch Sanctuary in Franklin, Tennesee


I noticed people gathering a round one of the booths.  There was a vendor who made clothing for rabbits.  She said she made a pattern and picks out different materials for the clothing.  Her website is AnnieElleBunnies.etsy.com. I think they looked adorable!


Fashionable rabbit attire!


Dressing the bunny to show off her style!

I stood at one of the tables and watched Andrea Biggs of Breath of Life Illustrations (www.facebook.com/breathoflifeillustrations) sketch bunnies for the crowd.  She worked from photographs that were sent to her phone.  It took her only about 30 minutes to go from  the sketch to a full color rendition of the photograph of an individual’s beloved pet.


Andrea begins her sketch.


The rabbit’s features begin to take shape.


Andrea fills in the colors and the details.


She shows the finished print to the young customer.

The rabbits could go to the Chillaxazone to stretch their legs and relax and refresh.  There was plenty for a bunny to see and do while at BunFest!


Curious as to what might be going on!

Bunnies, Bunnies, Everywhere!

PDC_8317 PDC_8320 PDC_8321 PDC_8310


Our bunnies, Smokey and Shadow experience BunFest for the first time.  We borrowed a pet stroller from a friend of ours.  Having the stroller was very beneficial to transporting two bunnies around the event.  People would stop to pet them and talk about their bunnies.





BunFest 2015 is an exciting event for rabbit owners.  You can purchase products such as toys, hay, habitats, and treats!  You can go to sessions on how to care for your bunnies and there was even one on how your bunny communicates!  The event is very worth while if you are in the market for a rabbit. For more information, website for BunFest is http://www.midwestbunfest.org


I realized after reading Terrance Jones blog on using bicycles as advertising that I had quite a collection of bicycle photos.  Why are we intrigued with shooting bicycles?  I think it has to do with the shapes and colors they come in. Enjoy the collection I am going to share with you.

The above photo was taken at Shady Trails Family Campground in Hillsboro Ohio.  It sits at the entrance to one of the trails on the property.  It has the colorful silk flowers in the basket on the front and the saddlebags on the back.  It has been a fixture at the campground for as long as I’ve been there (at least 7 years).


These two bikes were on display outside the hardware store on Market Street in Portsmouth Ohio.  The bright colors caught my eye.

The above bike is also located on Market Street in Portsmouth Ohio, in front of the Market Street Cafe.  It is a Huffy and I liked the fact that it was rusted and the wheels are flat!  Not exactly “road ready”.
This bike is suspended above a bicycle shop in Chillicothe Ohio.  It causes images of ET to flow through my mind.
ImageThe above bikes were seen at the Wheelersburg Ohio Flea Market in 2010.  I loved the colors and how the vendor had them lined up at his “booth”.
ImageThis bicycle is located on Second Street in Portsmouth Ohio and is decorated for fall.  I like how people are “re-purposing” these old bikes and using them as decorations.
ImageLast, but not least, this is a bike that is used by the Amish in Bainbridge Ohio.  It was parked outside the produce market there.

I hope you enjoy viewing this photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.  I am sure I will take more pictures of bicycles as time goes on.  It is such a simple yet efficient mode of transportation and it makes for a nice “center piece” for your shop or yard.