Love Stands Still

pausing for moments that matter

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Macro Therapy: Getting Creative

In the world of photography, there are very few things that can be more relaxing than nature macro work. There is something soothing about the slow nature of macro. It is not conducive to fast shooting and quick movements. On the contrary, shooting macro often falls apart if you are not entirely present in the moment. There is a sense of magic with macro too. You never know what you are going to get from the same old location you have used dozens of times. You may discover the curl of a new leaf,  a lady bug that decides to stop in for a visit, or a flower bud just moments from opening. Macro can shine a light on the smallest areas and bring out details you would have missed without a little effort on your part. I just received my new Sony 90mm macro yesterday and was chomping at the bit to see what I could find hiding near my home.

The relaxation doesn't stop after capture. Processing the macro images can take on a life of its own. Part of the fun is to see the potential lurking within the pixels of an image. This image is an echinacea bud. It was lost among the full blooms jockeying for my attention in the small garden outside my kitchen window. The green bud was rather uninteresting at first glance. It was uniform in color and the pattern of twisting triangles covered in little hairy edges were not visible without the help of my 90mm macro.

I could see some potential there, though. My mind sorted through various options as I experimented with various effects in my processing programs. The process of finishing a macro image is always relaxing for me. I play and put it away and come back over and over. I declared the image complete with this version:

I was feeling a little 'moody', so I processed the image with a rich black and white conversion and a touch of grain. The files were smooth as butter, but my little bud was calling to me to make it feel a little more film-like. Highlights and shadows separated as I played and the resulting image both fit the subject and my mood at the time. It is a small, visual record of my day and left me feeling refreshed and relaxed. Don't forget to give macro a try if you are needing a new way to experience photography!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I love my VEO tripod!

Our family recently got the chance to explore Yellowstone National Park. We spent our days hiking and exploring while being in constant awe of the landscape and animals that crossed our path. Boiling water bubbled up from the earth and the topsoil breathed hot steam at unexpected times. You can imagine that it is most inconvenient to lug heavy gear around when navigating through crowds and treacherous landscapes, so my aim was to travel light. I knew that I wanted to bring a tripod for video and for tricky exposures, but weight is a big deal when hiking. Enter, the VEO 265BC. It folds down to just 15.4 inches, which makes it the perfect size to stuff in my backpack. May I just say that this tripod is FAST to set up and take down? Yes! The leg clips are strong, but super fast when you want to latch and unlatch them, even in very low light. :)

My gear consisted of my Sony a7r, a 16-35mm lens, and my VEO 265BC  tripod. This tripod is LIGHT. Seriously, this carbon tripod is very sturdy, but it weighs in at only 3.3lbs. This is strong enough to hold my camera on rough terrain, but light enough to throw over my shoulder and keep moving without even thinking about it. I usually stuff my tripod back into its carry bag after use, but on this trip I literally used it all. the. time. Seriously. I really didn't retract the legs and store it unless I was getting into the car! It is so light, but that doesn't mean it is weak, on the contrary, it beat my expectations! Another bonus is the padded leg that doubles as a handle. It is secure, even with wet hands! I dealt with sweaty palms, but I would imagine it would rock in snow and rain too.

The ballhead is also very secure and super easy to adjust. Ball heads can be HEAVY. Not this one. It is strong and precise, complete with level, but small enough to not weigh me down.

Here are a few shots taken using this tripod. I particularly LOVED it for creating video on the fly. I fell in love with creating cinemagraphs, which are created from short video clips.  You must use a tripod to create these! 

Here are a few of my favorite shots taken in Yellowstone National Park: 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Living Waters

"He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'"
John 7:38

In the wilderness tabernacle the presence of YHVH (God the Father) was felt and seen as a cloud, often filling every crevice and filling the hearts of His people. We are told later that living waters would flow out of those whose hearts believe and trust in Y'shua (Jesus). This image is a collaboration between all of my children, who helped me create frames to place together. 

My prayer is to be filled with His presence and in return, humbly pour out His love. I am not perfect, but He is, and I rely on His strengh alone.