Blogging & Photography

 Of the many things I have learned by blogging....and believe me I have learned so much...
 first is the importance of photography  
I started my blog on April 16th, 2009 and here is the first post...
 don't spend too much first few posts were pretty awful
 But lets get back to photography...when I first began the blog I was using a very uncomplicated but actually not all that bad
Olympus point and shoot style camera.

I now use a Canon XTi  Rebel and have two lenses
The Canon is a hybrid of sorts, in that you can use it off manual and change your speed and f-stop if you dare!

It's a "middle of the road" camera
and there are some newer XTi models that are even better

I usually just shoot on manual and swap out lenses

sooooo any hooo

I have a neighbor in Ojai who is 100 years old, named Mary
and she has some amazing gigantic Agave in her yard...which may be as old as Mary
 So how should I photograph these?
and do I need to tell a story about Mary or are the photos of this plant enough?

I took a total of 33 shots 
 and narrowed it down to these, to try to tell a story about Agave
and how beautiful they are
 I took this shot of this sunburned stalk and I sort of like it
but it too needs cropping and the photo is not all that interesting

 Here is Mary's gigantic Agave...about  25 feet across
The smaller plants in the front are the children or the "pups"
What I don't like about this shot is the mess in the background 
but that is Mary's yard
I guess at 100 or 90 or maybe even 80,
gardening just isn't as important as it used to be!

These shots are interesting in that they show the growth pattern of these huge Agave,
with the center stalk growing straight up (probably 25 feet at least) and then the leaves peeling away into this massive jumble

The stalks are really interesting and lyrical when they get this big

 Now I think I might get a bit more artistic and
use some of the really simple editing tools I have on  iphoto

 Agave stalks leave these tracks and patterns as they peel away
and the stripes are amazing 

The photo below reveals the edges of the thorns

I played around with color saturation and shadow...
Using a macro lens can give you wonderful close ups
These photos are a bit more abstract 

 I shot all of these in an auto shoot mode   
but focus manually

The photo below is a dying stalk and the wrinkles seemed really interesting  
This final photo of a very large blue Agave in Mary's front yard 
It tells the entire story of how the plant reveals itself
and how even the thorns are beautiful
I really like this photo

I have two lenses:

a 50 mm for close ups 
a 18-55 mm standard lens 
for all around photography

I keep thinking I need to upgrade my camera
but these really work well for me 
and I can use them for just about every thing I need! 

Have a wonderful and photographic weekend....
is summer really over?

; 0 )

  1. Thanks for the great tips! Photography is one thing (of many) that I need to work on!! I have a Nikon D60, but many times I just use my point and shoot because it's easier. Love your beautiful photos :)

  2. There is no question that photography is an important aspect to blogging.
    To me, if the photos are small, blurry or just washed out, I have a hard time staying interested in a post or blog. I too have a Canon Rebel. Several pros told me about the Tamron 18-270 mm lens, so I bought it and haven't taken it off the camera since. It supposedly is the only lens you'll ever need. It takes both close-ups and telephoto.
    YOur blog always appeals to me because not only are you funny with your writing, but your photography is fabulous! Those agave photos are amazing. Great detail Kelley! ~Delores

  3. These are great! I have a Canon T3i and am just now trying to learn to use it. Did you use a tripod for these shots? I want a macro lens too - especially for food photography. I can't seem to get the f-stop low enough for the blurry background even in the aperture priority mode.

  4. No question that blogging will improve anyones photo skills. I have always had Canon cameras and would never change. I love them.
    When I first looked at your plant photos I thought, "These look like a great pattern for awning material". You see so much more when you crop and go in close. I crop, and then crop again. I LOVE Aperture 3 for my MAC. I had over 8,000 photos and that was the way to upgrade iPhoto when you have that many pics on file. But what you can do with this software is amazing. I thought that eventually I would have to get Photoshop, but not so. I go to Apple at least once a week to take a
    project group and learn something every time I go. We just keep learning...gotta love it!

  5. Beautiful photos! Great tips, too. I have yet to graduate from my point and shoot, but have a new camera on my Christmas/Valentine/Birthday list. I'll be needing these tips when I finally move up to a camera with multiple lenses. Thanks for sharing.

  6. First - I sure do love your blog. I just started blogging and of course already want to upgrade my camera also. I even have a pretty nice Nikon D40 - but would love that really expensive Canon
    EOS. day!!

  7. Hi Kelley!,
    Thanks so much for sharing your photo stuff....and we're huge fans of Agave. (especially in our "desert Texas"...ugghhh this drought/heat!)
    I love that you shared your camera info b/c I've always thought you take amazing photos.
    Would love more info , maybe another post, on how you do such amazing lighting in your photos, for interiors. Are you using special props for lighting? Or maybe it's just that wonderful Calif. light...

    have a great Labor Day wknd....
    p.s. i have sooooo much to catch up on : blogging, pet beds, all those things i've kept promising in my posts....
    it's been wild/crazy summer..

  8. Thank you for sharing all of the tips and I love hearing about the different types of cameras bloggers are using. I will be be checking out all of the suggestions!

    Have a great holiday...kind of nice to know fall is around the corner!


  9. A great camera still needs an operator with a good eye for color, design, composition and texture, and you have enough of that for a whole room of people. These photos are all wonderful, and they'd be an excellent series matted and framed in a lovely assembly of striped and sunlit abstracts. If I had a sunporch, I'd hang a foursome of the closeups, and enjoy them every day. Especially knowing the story about their 100 year old caregiver, Mary. :)

  10. Hey Kelley,

    I love your tips! I got a new camera last Christmas and I was astonished at the difference in quality of photos...and in price too!!

    I love your thorny photos - you've got a good eye!


  11. What an interesting plant! It really looks alive and active- almost like an octupus! Love your textural studies! andrea @ townandprairie

  12. I have a Canon EOS Rebel T3 and am just starting to play with it and try different things. I think you are doing a fantastic job, Kelley. I love the stripes on the Agave. Very interesting and I think any of these photos would look really wonderful framed. I especially love the thorn shots because I never knew that they could appear so blue. Keep up the good work. I can use all the tips I can find.

  13. GREAT PHOTOS - I don't have trouble so much with the camera or the closeups but with the lighting - unfortunately I don't enjoy the luxury of photographing my food shots in lots of light - preferably daylight- very often. Here in New England lots of my cooking is done after work with dark descending and I am going to have invest in some kind of lightweight, movable light to really get the light I need in my kitchen!
    In the mean time may I suggest a tiny tip for you...
    You mentioned that the old Agave plant was 25 feet across! 25 FEET!! That is big but I couldn't tell that by the pic - it could have been 10 inches or 10 feet because there was nothing else in the photo to give scale reference - so when photographing something big or little - it is always good to have another object (a familiar one in terms of size) that can act as a scale reference.

  14. Hi Carol great tip....but the agave is in a very odd spot. I would suspect it has been there at least 60 years. I suppose I could have parked the pick up in front of it but maybe a tape measure would do!

    Any way it's really BIG!

    xxo k

  15. What gorgeous, artful photos! How true that making your own photography into art is great. I have a simple camera for now but it is definitely on my wish list to upgrade...although I have to say even with that camera, and great editing tools along with natural light, I haven't been too disappointed!

  16. Very good site you have here but I was curious if you knew of any forums that cover the same topics talked about in this article? I'd really love to be a part of online community where I can get suggestions from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Thanks!
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