Thursday, August 18, 2011


Toadstools SOOC- 2011 (Straight Out of Camera)
In my late 40s I attended several photography workshops in New England and won a work scholarship to a multiple craft workshop in the Blue Ridge Mountains for which I received college credit. I completed two home studies in my 20s and 30s for which I have certificates. None of these accolades make you an artist; photography, in my opinion, is an art form where technology continues to implement improvements in  the "tools" of the artist, like cameras, lens, etc. 
Today the digital camera gives us options and editing programs which often save an otherwise disposable shot for snapshooters. But do not be deceived-- professionals use ADOBE PHOTOSHOP or similar programs, too, often to create special effects, but occasionally to salvage a photo.

Two Toadstools 2011 (not quite sharp focus)
However, it still takes an "eye" for the great shot, not just a technically good shot. Every workshop photographer/instructor emphasized they expected to keep only 1-2 shots from a shooting of several rolls of film.

Today we hit "delete' or "wastebasket'" instead of discarding "shots." And that is what today's post is about, as you will see as I continue this dialogue.

Most of you have been subjected to my maladies, particularly a soon-to-be 75 yr. body that resists bending and kneeling, twisting and turning as in my youth, even my 40s. Heart patients are supposedly not to bend down so that their heart is below their waist. I am only 4'10". If I bend down at all, my heart is below my waist. Some of this stuff I think is 'old wives' tales.

Two Toadstools 2011 (top view)
In my 40's I laid on my stomach to take ground level macros of flowers, mushrooms, bugs, kids, etc.

Blogger Abraham Lincoln, some generations removed, yet kin to Pres. Lincoln, is an award winning journalist and photographer. His knowledge of his varied subjects, too, is very impressive.

He often gives  photo tips, and is kind enough to endure this old lady's questions. He and I have lovely spouses who endure our propensities to photography and writing. Unfortunately, he and I share the maladies of COPD.

Sometime ago he wrote a post about putting your camera between your feet and taking ground level photos if you could reach your shutter button.
4 Toadstools 2011
almost SOOC
The toadstool photos in this post have used a modification of this technique, and hence I deleted a GREAT number of shots. I placed my brand new lens ( same as Lincoln recently purchased with a new camera) on  brown mulch mounds and aimed it at the toadstools. I deleted so many shots I lost count. Some of these are not up to my best criteria, but with persistence, I garnered several I have scattered throughout the post.

4 Toadstools 2011
Toadstools and mushrooms are used interchangeably. I always called this particular variety toadstools. I refuse to get in the debate of which are edible, etc. as I have develop allergies to the most common ones in cans or fresh.

The shots of 3 or 4 toadstools  are the same toadstools. The shots of two toadstools are the same, also. I found no toads, frogs, gnomes. fairies or other netherworld characters living in or near them.
Naked Ladies 2011
But in another part of the yard, those naughty, brazen darlings of bawdy vaudeville have finally made their late summer appearance parading in their nudity up and down my side lot line.

I have a monopod and know there are some right angle viewfinders, too. I also have a remote control for my shutter, so with practice I think I can improve on this ground level technique. The lower back and leg muscles are aching from my bending in this experiment.

Naked Lady Buds
[kind of remind me of
the Girl Scout Salute]
Another technique I am practicing is called zooming with long exposure. It is pretty neat, but can be overdone. When I have something respectable, I'll post.

Around Christmas I hope to buy a new camera body that makes movies. and has some other neat features. My husband approved my buying  one on Internet at unbelievable price--so was the dealer, so I passed. Always read the bad reviews; they really tell the true tale.

Now that weather has dipped below 100 deg. here I hope some or all of you can get outside, at least early a.m. and late p.m. I have seen a couple of photo reflections when the sun and clouds come together at just the right time....I am waiting patiently.......

4 Toadstools
God on the mountain is still God in the valley"


Jinksy said...

Your photos are good enough to eat, even if the toadstools aren't!

Arkansas Patti said...

I agree with Jinksy,those are edible looking photos.
I don't think the "eye" can be taught. You have it so enjoy yours.
The remote would be helpful with ground shots.

Anonymous said...

I am no longer able to get down. If I do, the last foot or so is simply a fall down and the landing is less than perfect. I am not able to bend over as my stomach pushes the air out of my two bad lungs making me breathless instantly. So I have learned to stand off a bit and use the zoom lens and crop it to look, more or less, like a macro shot. Some people can't tell the difference.

I still take way too many photos. I would be in the poor house if these were on film but it is easy to take 50 - 100 photos and scan through them using select them all at once and then click on "Preview". You get them all and can look and eliminate the dead beats, out of focus ones and so on. I usually end up with half of what I took.

I still look at some of the photos I took with the camera on the ground, steadied by my shoes. I used the DMC-TZ3 Lumix by Panasonic. You have to depress the shutter button half way to get the camera to focus. So it is pretty easy to do with a stick and then pause and press down to take the picture. It works for me but may take some practice.

Mushrooms and toadstools are crazy things I refuse to pick and eat. My neighbor goes to Michigan to find them and drags home ice chests filled with them his wife fries in butter and he slobbers them down as fast as they cool off.

Lorna said...

I am waiting till I finish my wine before i really focus on what it must mean to put your camera between your feet to take photos. I often unwittingly take photos of my feet, but I guess that doesn,t count.

Linda Starr said...

Nature provides such a bountiful amount of photo opportunities; I find mushrooms or toadstools so endearing for some reason; loved seeing all your photos, they look so soft and edible, but I would never eat a wild one; I recently took photos of so many varieties of mushrooms surrounding my home I couldn't believe the number in so small an area. I have a hard time getting down due to a bad back and knees, I really need to get a cable to depress for those photos on the ground. I don't have much of a fancy camera, but it's lasted and is easy to edit so I stick with it. I always have many photos I discard due to out of focus, wrong angle, etc. with digital it's much easier now than it used to be with film.

Linda Starr said...

Oh I meant to say my mom once grew naked lilies and as children we thought it a somehow innocently wicked delight being able to say their name over and over again. Ha.

Pat - Arkansas said...

Love your photos of the toadstools/mushrooms! Whatever method you chose to photograph them worked just fine!

Grandma Yellow Hair said...

I can tell you your title of this post certainly caught my attention.
You know me I was thinking OMG what has she saw now. hahahahahaha
Thank goodness it was not what I was thinking.
Anyway where was I...oh yes love your pictures. I too am so short if I bend any everything is below my waist.
Great photo's and post

Amber Star said...

Your photos are so beautiful today. I espcially liked the one where you were talking about having a good eye to take great shots and the little mushroom/toadstool had two little black dots that looked like eyes to me. One of these days I'll get serious about photography.

I'll have to check to see if my Naked Ladies have come up. It has been so durn hot here this summer and it continues to be so, that I don't know if they made it. Today is forecast to be 107F.

Dimple said...

I haven't tried putting my camera between my feet, but I will file that tip away for future reference...

Throwing shots away is part of photography, as you pointed out, but I try to see something to salvage before I hit 'delete.' I'm very glad digital editing is possible!

Your toadstools are beautiful!

jeannette said...

Nice toadstools and flowers! Never heard of not being able to bend as a heart patient! But then, I'm not a medical person!

Small City Scenes said...

Super shots of the shiny toadstools. What no wee people lurking underneath?