Posted in Sunday photos

My photography journey 30Aug20

This morning, wanting to take some photos but also feeling very lazy and uninspired, I said to The Kid, “Hey! I haven’t taken pictures all week. Do you want to make a scene with your LEGO that I can take pictures of?”

He was enthusiastic! After setting a few parameters on size, he went to work and came back with a mountain with a crown of clouds in a jungle. After seeing a shot of it, he added two trees in the background. Then took the backdrop to his work space and added a cloud. Finally took the mountain to add a waterfall and a river. The low shot of the river is his favorite (left side, second from the bottom).

While he took parts and modified them, I took pictures of other things on the porch (where we were shooting).

We have quite a few potted plants. Most of them are plain old terra cotta pots, but only because outfitting the whole lot of them in pots like this isn’t cost-effective. A couple of pots at a time, the yard will be transformed…

And the errant extension cord…

We have an outdoor papasan, and in an effort to keep it usable for longer, it has a cover. The Kid is endlessly delighted that water beads up on it and he can race the beads across it just by tilting it. So we played with water just a little.

Finally, there was a shot from last week that I forgot to share! I had been out in the front yard, attempting pictures of lightning. I didn’t get any that were worth sharing but I did get a neat shot of our front door before I came back inside.

Posted in Sunday photos

My photography journey 23Aug20

People who exercise a ton on the weekends and not at all during the week are often called Weekend Warriors.

Lately, I’m a photography Weekend Warrior.

Last weekend, I had the honor of photographing this cutie pie. She lost both her front teeth, and her mama was lamenting the loss of school pictures this year.

They’re not school pictures, but they’re pretty cute.

Last night, we had a rainless lightning storm. I’ve never tried to shoot lightning before, and all of my photos came out very dark, a combination of user error and the lightning somewhat obscured by clouds. I had them here initially and decided that if you need to crank the brightness on your screen to see anything besides a black rectangle, perhaps they’re not worth posting…

A friend has an amazing huge saguaro in front of her house. Unfortunately, two of the arms broke off. We’re hoping the rest of the plant can stay healthy. (The image at the top of today’s post is my favorite from this lot.)

Their yard has other plants as well—mostly cactus.

I’m always impressed by the tenaciousness of desert plants, especially with this summer’s record heat (and not much relief in sight yet).

Posted in Sunday photos

My photography journey 16Aug20

We went hiking early last week at South Mountain, a local park with a zillion trails.

It’s been over 110 every day for at least a week, so even at dusk at 7, it’s still over 105.

The trails aren’t crowded.

The clouds this time of year are often amazing, and I’ve been trying to capture them at sunset when they’re still big and puffy but pink.

The Climbing Daddy, The Kid, and I went again last night. I took Sir Nikolas Cameron and stationed on one of the peaks. They continued on the trail.



Phoenix is called The Valley of the Sun. Most people know about the sun; not as many know about the valley. I took shots in a couple of different directions of some of the surrounding mountain ranges.

The Climbing Daddy can name most of them; I can name a few.

This is Four Peaks, also the name of a local brewery.



I don’t know what mountains those are (facing east), but it’s as close to the clouds that I wanted as I was going to get.



I don’t know which ones these are, either (facing south), but I love the layers.




The mountains on the left are all part of South Mountain, where I was. To the right, you can see a bit of the lights in Phoenix.



This one isn’t the best but I want to leave it here to measure growth. Because I really like the idea and wasn’t able to capture what I wanted.

From where I was standing, a creosote bush stood between me and Phoenix. I liked the juxtaposition of the bush and the city behind.

When I started, there was enough light to see the bush in the foreground and the lit city behind. Just as I got settings and everything ready, a slight breeze kicked up. While the breeze felt good, it prevented me from taking a sharp photo via long exposure.

I have a handful of shots with much better color and such where the bush is blurry from moving over the length of a longer-exposure shot.

So I threw my flash on and took this one with a fast enough exposure for the bush to be still. But it’s not great.

I will go back up soon and see about getting a better version of this. For now, this is what I got.


Posted in Sunday photos

My photography journey 9Aug20

The house next door has an odd little courtyard-ish area by the front door that might be big enough for a bistro table and two chairs, though there’s no hope of air flow. It used to have a fountain in it. Our new neighbor put in some flamingoes.

The Kid and I took a walk around the neighborhood one morning and brought Sir Nikolas Cameron along. The bougainvillea have outlasted pretty much any other flowering plant and are losing their flowers. (I’ve seen some photos of cacti in bloom now, but those varieties weren’t on our path.) Summer in the desert.


While there aren’t many flowers, many plants are, miraculously, still green.



This one is obviously very cropped. I loved the reflection of the cactus. When I showed this shot to The Climbing Daddy, he commented on it being tall and skinny. I showed him the original (including the house behind it, their trash can, water stains on the block wall, and more), and he agreed that the tall skinny was much better.


(I can see the whole shot in one look on my tablet but not on my computer.)

The Tall Daddy came over one evening. We went swimming, had pizza, and played Pictionary. I kept Nikki out and took a few shots during down time.



This one I love in both color and black and white.


Finally, I’ve been playing with Photoshop some more, when the intersection of time and brain space permits.

As I’m walking around the neighborhood snapping shots, I don’t want to include people’s house number, license plate, or other potentially identifying information. Which has stopped me from taking this shot for all of COVID.


Now that I am able to get rid of the house number, I can snap and share with you!

This sign I just noticed the other day and loved it. Ironically, it’s hanging out in front of a house with quite a bit of yard decor.


Posted in Sunday photos

My photography journey 2Aug20

The Kid loves all things space and astronomy, so of course, we’ve been on the lookout for Comet Neowise. None of us have been invested enough to get up in the middle of the night and drive to a less urban location on the hope of seeing it. Less than an hour’s drive, but more than dragging your butt out of bed and shuffling into the yard for a few minutes.

Without success, we’ve biked to a few locations very nearby—trying to catch it just after sunset—and finally went for a drive one evening. (Locals, we went up near Saguaro Lake.)

Success! Couldn’t see it with our own eyes, but Sir Nikolas Cameron with a 30-second exposure could see it, and The Climbing Daddy found it with binoculars.

My photos of it are not at all good and I’m not going to share them with you. I did get a nice shot of the sky and the mountains and a cactus, though! Lots of stars!



Starting the school year online, I needed a good shot to use in beginning of the year, introduce myself documents. So I set up shop with all the instruments I have here and got an OK shot. Good enough for why I needed it.



The Kid has a subscription to Kiwi Crate and was thrilled with the project in this month’s box. One of the pieces was two little dolls that “dance” on a stage. He asked if we could take some photos of them.



He was happy but not content with the shot.

“They need stage lights.” So with a box and a flashlight, we got two different shots.


Then he wanted a long-exposure shot of them falling and standing back up. We still have some work to do, but we were both happy enough with this one for now.



“I love the ghosts, Mom!”