Day 272 – Colors of Autumn


Autumn is upon us and the leaves are blazing with color.

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Day 265 – Half Moon Autumnal Equinox


Yesterday was the Last Day of Summer, so today we celebrate the First Day of Autumn, also known as, Autumnal Equinox. The new season brings with it the colorful leaves, football, baseball playoffs and the world series.

Day 257 – CDT Test Cases – Upper and Lower Partial


Many of you know my wife, Vicki is a partner in the Schmitt Dental Lab. Vicki’s grandfather started the business back in 1928 and when he passed on, her father took over. In 2010 Vicki and Mary Ann purchased the business from Ed, Vicki’s father. In August Vicki went down to Lexington, Kentucky to take the practical exam to become a Certified Denture Technologist in Removable Partial Dentures. The test required a lot of preparation, as she had to fabricate an upper and lower partial. I am not able to list all of the steps it takes to build these partials you see in the photos, but I will say the key ingredient during the prep time was that bottle of Advil in the middle picture. Recently Vicki received her test scores, she had to anxiously wait 4.5 nerve wracking weeks for the results. I am so proud to say that she scored 100%. Way to go Vicki!

Day 251 – Coffee Lovers


I had originally planned on posting a vintage car photo from Auto Fest tonight. This is the night when Main Street, in Frankenmuth, is closed down and classic cars line both sides of the street. It’s like a big block party, only it’s the whole downtown area in Frankenmuth. It makes for a great evening out. The only problem, rain. We decided we did not want to venture out in the rain, so we stayed in tonight. Now I had to plan a new photo. As I looked around the house in search of something I had not already shot, I saw the bag of Seattles Best coffee. Vicki and I love coffee, and we really love Starbucks coffee. We have one of those coffee makers that you fill with whole bean coffee so each pot of coffee is made with fresh, ground coffee. We rarely venture away from our beloved Starbucks. Well, recently Vicki had a coupon for Seattles Best coffee. Once you become a coupon shopper, you know you must buy the brand you have a coupon for. So, she brought Seattle’s Best home and we tried it. You know what? We really enjoyed the coffee. It was full bodied and tasted just about as good as Starbucks. The only problem is that the bolder flavor isn’t available in whole bean, only ground. But we did save $2 vs. the Starbucks. Now days you take your savings whenever you can.

Day 248 – Zoom Blur Effect


I read an article on “How to Take Photos with the Zoom Blur Effect“.  The photo above is my attempt at using this effect.  It’s relatively simple, you use a zoom lens and a long shutter speed, I used 1 second.  Then you press the shutter and zoom either in or out while the shutter is open, working hard to hold the camera steady as you zoom.  I am anxious to try this technique on some other subjects.  This one is just a shot of our breakfast nook area.  There are some nice examples in Darren Rowses’ article.  This is just one more technique to help us be more creative while we are out taking photos.

Day 239 – Happy 1st Day of College


Today was the first day of college for Amanda and Justin, even though they attend different colleges, they both had their first day today. The first day of school was always an exciting time in our house while the kids were growing up. We always made sure to take a picture of them dressed in their new school clothes, adorned with their back packs, and anxiously waiting for the bus. This year we were not able to take a picture, with Justin attending Concordia University Chicago, and Amanda attending Saginaw Valley State University and living on her own, Vicki and I were not able to see them off. So, Happy 1st Day of College to Amanda and Justin, and all the other college students!

Day 227 – Ground Fog


This morning as I made my way out of the house, I was taken by the ground fog, especially looking back at the willow trees. The fog provided a nice soft filter effect on the willow trees with a beautiful blue sky filled with white puffy clouds. Foggy and clear at the same time, a natural contrast.

Day 218 – Kaylea’s Photo Shoot

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We had beautiful weather for Kaylea’s Senior photo shoot this evening. Here are a few of the shots that we took. We were on location at the Bridgeport Bridge, Bridgeport Historical Society, Gugel Bridge, and some studio shots. Kaylea was a great sport and Elisa was a very good lighting assistant. Together we made a great team. Thanks Kaylea and Elisa.

Day 217 – D.I.Y. Pringles Speedlight Snoot


I am always looking to add to my photography gear. The problem with adding to my gear is, everything I want to add usually has a high price tag. One of the pieces that I’ve been meaning to add for quite a while is a snoot for my Nikon SB900. A snoot is a light modifier that concentrates the light from the flash down to a much smaller point. It is very useful in portraits as a hair light, adding dimension and separation from the background. I was looking at ordering a snoot on Amazon, then wondered if I could make one myself. So I googled do it yourself snoot for speedlight and found a Youtube instruction video from Conrad, “Do-it-yourself: Speedlight Snoot”. Wow, how much easier could a project be? Off to Meijer I went and $1.79 later, I had my new gadget as shown above. Thank you Conrad for posting the youtube instructional video.

Day 215 – Fire Escape

The Opera House fire escape, Lexington, Kentucky

We drove down to Lexington, Kentucky today. Vicki is scheduled to take the practical exam to complete her Certification in Partial Dentures, giving her certification in two specialties, Dentures and Partials. Vicki is co-owner of the Schmitt Dental Lab. As we were driving through downtown Lexington, we noticed the Opera House, and I especially liked the way the fire escape looked, the black steel against the red brick. I hope to have a little more time tomorrow, after Vicki completes the practical exam. Good luck Vicki, I know you will do well.

Day 212 – 1 Light Portrait


I wanted to experiment with shooting portraits with 1 light. It’s hard to find a willing guinea pig to sit and pose for me. So, another self portrait opportunity. I shot this with my camera tethered with Lightroom 4. I like being able to see the shot right away in a larger format than the lcd screen on the back of the camera. I especially like shooting tethered for self portraits so I am not running back and forth checking the lcd screen. I used a pair of Yongnuo receivers that I bought on Amazon. These are great for triggering your camera remotely and also for off camera flash. They are reasonably priced too. Here is a link to the Nikon version that I use, Yongnuo RF-603 N3 receiver. Make sure you choose the correct model for your camera. The link is from my Amazon Camera shop. If you do make a purchase, I will receive a small commission.

Day 203 – H.I.M.


Serendipity is a word that describes something pleasant that was unexpected. I experienced serendipity earlier today while shooting photos at Ogemaw Hills Bike Week 2012. A couple decided to get married at the small church in the woods. I was asked to shoot some photos of the wedding service. I wasn’t sure what to expect, just like the rest of the week. There were two big burly bikers at the church welcoming everyone to “Biker Church”. One of the bikers had the pin pictured above on his worn leather vest. I asked him what it meant, it looked like some sort of foreign language with letters I didn’t recognize. He asked me, “don’t you see it?” I could not see it, but then realized it was one of those optical illusion puzzles. Can you see what it says?

So, back to the serendipity thing… I never expected to find two strong Christian men actively ministering to the lost and the hurting, at Bike Week. Both men had experienced the hurt that comes from living in a broken world and clinging to that world and all the stink, filth, and sorrow that goes along with it. Now they both reach out to others who are in need, but may not know or realize it yet. Our Lord loves everyone and asks us to do the same, like the song we learned long ago in Sunday School says, “They will know we are Christians by our love.” Oh, want to know what the acronymn H.I.M stands for? Hogs In Ministry.

Day 201 – Mechanical Bull


Wow, I didn’t know they still had these… not since I lived in Houston, many years ago, have I seen or even heard of a Mechanical Bull, let alone witnessed any riders. Well, you never know what you might see at Bike Week, and this proves it. Not only one rider, but two riders at the same time! Well, I guess if you’re a biker, you can ride anything. They sure looked like they were having a good time. 🙂