Images & Observations

Natural World

Common Ground

Nikon D7000 18-200mm @ 28mm ISO 200 1/50 f/22 Lr4, TpzSim; PsCS6

This is one of the passageways to the park in the center of our housing development.

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Daylilly #53

A Backyard Find

Nikon D7000 18-200mm @ 130mm ISO 400 3-bkts f/16, Lr3, HEP1, TpzSim; PSCS5

The Bird of Paradise plants and the Daylillies seem to have a symbiotic relationship along the back wall of the backyard.

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Daylillies #20

A Backyard Find

Nikon D7000 18-200mm @ 200mm ISO 400 1/250 f/16 Lr4

Something we have plenty of in our backyard.

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Floral #106

Nikon D7000 18-200mm @ 200mm ISO 200 1/60 f/16 Lr4, TpzSim; PsCS6

These blossoms were part of a bed of flowers just off the dining patio of the P.F. Chang’s in Chino Hills, California.  I was across the street when they caught my eye, and I moved across the street and captured a dozen frames or so of the flowers which were sprouting up in front of a low sand toned stucco wall, with a dark, shaded covered patio looming over the wall.  I isolated the flowers and darkened the entire background using layers and masking in Photoshop.  The Topaz Simplify “Harsh Color” filter was used to stylize the flowers.

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The Gauntlet

Nikon D7000 18-200mm @ 18mm ISO 100 1/15 f/9/5 Lr4, TpzSim; PsCS6

This was the gauntlet of palms that I passed through, avoiding the photography police, while trying to capture some images on my last visit to Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga.  The mall cops never caught me this time, but I kept moving, and did not use a tripod to avoid discovery.

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Bouganvilla #71; Climbing The Wall

Images From My Yard

Nikon D7000 18-200mm @ 82mm ISO 400 1/50 f/16 Lr3, TpzSim; PsCS5

This bouganvilla is climbing the south wall in our backyard, getting plenty of sun all day long, it was totally decimated a few years ago when the  block wall was built to replace the old wood fence and is making a good come-back.  The same treatment was given on the opposite side of the yard this past year when the wood was replaced by a new block wall.  I can’t wait until all the bouganvilla comes back and our backyard  perimeter will be covered by green and shades of red.

Bird of Paradise Study #79

Images From My Yard

Nikon D7000 16-135mm @ 40mm ISO 1250 3-bkts f/16 Lr4 HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS5

Another image found in my backyard.  This Bird of Paradise plant is one of three in my yard and it stands close to twenty feet tall.  I really dig the color, shapes and lines created by the leaves.

Daylilly #88

Images From My Yard

Nikon D7000 18-135mm @ 135mm ISO 1250 1/1600 f/16 Lr3

In the late afternoon of a late spring day last year this daylilly stood tall, basking in the sun and enticing the honey bees with its multi-colored plumage.

Daylilly Impression #9

Images From My Yard

Nikon D7000 18-135mm @ 135mm ISO 1600 1/50 f/16 Lr3; SnapArt3

Another image from my backyard exercise with an extreme painterly effect from the application of the Alien Skin Snap Art 3 filter set.

Floral Impression #4

Images From My Yard

Nikon D7000 17-135mm @ 135mm ISO 1600 1/640 f/16 Lr3, SnapArt3; PsCS5

This image is the first in a series of 15 floral images that were captured when I assigned myself a project to find images only in the backyard of my home.  I captured this image with a regular zoom lens, not a macro lens, hand held.  I achieved the impressionistic feeling for the image using an Alien Skin Snap Art 3 filter which applied an impasto like brushstroke, then using layer masking in Photoshop I applied a gaussian blur to the background elements.

This image reminds me of something you would find as the “face” of a greeting card, with of course a suitably sappy message imprinted on the inside.

Winter’s End

Nikon D7000 18-200mm @ 75mm ISO 200 3-bkts f/20 Lr4, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS5

Captured two days before the end of the winter season, Mt San Antonio of the San Gabriel Mountains range looming over some of the homes on Elk Cove Court in Rancho Cucamonga, California.  This is currently my favorite image in my collection, I am very happy with the painterly look that I achieved with this.

Tree Study #118

Nikon D7000 18-200mm @ 22mm ISO 200 3-bkts f/16 Lr3, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS5

These trees occupy part of the park like space that is adjacent to the Mathis Brothers store in Ontario, California as described in last Monday’s post.

To see a high resolution version of this image or to purchase a print, please click on the image above.

Black Friday Sale

Use coupon code “BFriday” today only, November 25 to receive a 30% discount on any prints purchased from my gallery which you will find at

Splotchy Leaves

Nikon D7000 18-135mm @ 135mm ISO 1600 1/160 f/20 Lr3, TpzSim; PsCS5

Found at a Lowe’s home improvement store garden department.  I believe this may be part of the syngonium family, commonly referred to as Arrowhead Vine, bur being wrong is something that I am very familiar with, so don’t try to win any bar  bets based upon my authority.  I was heavy handed with the painterly effects and it was by design, abstracting the image out so you can view it as you would a Rorshach ink blot, and let your imagination fill in the blanks.

Following The Sun

Nikon D7000 18-135mm @ 135mm ISO 320 1/125 f/5.6 Lr3, TpzSim; PsCS5

One more painterly floral this week.  These Daylilies were also adjacent to the tennis court and when the image was captured at 5:34 P.M. the stems were leaning towards the sun lowering in the southwest.  Similar treatment as the others this week using Topaz Simplify in Photoshop.  There were a lot of distracting elements in the background of this image so I burned in a much as I could in Lightroom, then in Photoshop I painted out the remaining distractions.

Yellow Daylily Trio

Nikon D7000 18-135mm @ 135mm ISO 320 1/125 f/5.6 Lr3, PsCS5, TpzSimp; PhFr4.6

Continuing my painterly experimentations these yellow Daylilies were growing adjacent to our neighborhood tennis courts and I captured them the same day as the Daylilies in my last blog post.  This image was similar to last Monday’s, during post processing,  I applied the Topaz Labs Simplify effect (via the Photoshop plug-in) to give the primary image some paint brush like feeling and then the texture in this image also came from my backyard, from a shot of our wood fence that has been aging in the elements for the past twenty years as a layer in Photoshop .  I also added a framing effect using the OnOne Software PhotoFrame 4.6 Photoshop plug-in.

Daylilies #703

Nikon D7000 18-135mm @ 135mm ISO 320 1/125 f/5.6 Lr3, TpzSimplify; PsCS5

For a change of pace this week I am experimenting with applying painterly effects to my images and the first of these images I am sharing originated in my backyard a couple of months ago.  The original RAW image was slightly overexposed, so I adjusted exposure and contrast in Lightroom.  I pulled the image in to Photoshop and used the Topaz Labs Simplify plug-in to create an oil paint effect and I used a Photoshop filter to create a background layer of artificial sandstone texture.  During these processes I also reduced detail and darkened objects that were in the background.  I really wanted to emphasize the vertical lines from the rigid green stems and contrast them with the flower petals which have an almost creamy soft look to them.

Flower #25

Nikon D7000 85mm Macro ISO 200 1/250 f/3.8 Lr3

Some macro action to start off the weekend.  Judy has planted a bunch of these in the backyard, but I don’t have a clue as to their name, so the title of this blog post comes from the image sequence number from this photo shoot.  I’ve got plenty more of this flower variety in  various stages of unfolding and may post more variations in the future, if someone would like to help me out with identifying this specimen I can be more specific in the future.  As it stands today, here is a flower that caught my eye, I like the colors and  am fairly happy with the detail, not satisfied mind you, just fairly happy.

Wheeler Avenue Tree

Nikon D7000 18-135mm @ 52mm ISO 320 3-bkts f/8 Lr3, HEP1 CEP3; PsCS5

A little change up this week from street life to a emphasis on color.   This tree stands on Wheeler Avenue in La Verne, California, backed up by the San Gabriel Mountains. The image was captured in the late afternoon at 5:46 P.M. on May 21.  I really like how the sun plays on the mountains during this time of day, the mountains are oriented on an east-west axis, and when the sun is getting low the light really delineates the contours of the south facing slopes. This always fascinates me as we parallel the face of the mountains when we drive along I-210 during this time of day.

After conversion from NEF to DNG in Lightroom, I tone mapped in Nik’s HDR Effects Pro working off of a preset furnished by Jason P. O’Dell, selectively dodging in, upping the contrast and structure in various areas of the tree using control points, slightly darkening the foliage to the left and right of the tree; using Nik Color Efex Pro, applied the Kodak Ultra Color 400UC  film effect.  In Photoshop I removed a distracting palm tree, light standard and electrical utility box that stood adjacent to the tree and attempted to mitigate the slight halo-ing effect by color masking in layers, but to no avail.  Back in Lightroom I sharpened and did a little noise reduction, and exported the TIFF file that was created by HDR Efex Pro to a JPG file.

Spring Blossoms Through Acid Colored Glasses

Nikon D7000 28-300mm @ 82mm ISO 400 3-bkts f/11 Lr3; HDR Efex Pro

A stylized version of some of the flowers blossoming in the sun outside of the local Lowe’s home improvement store.  Not that I ever took acid (LSD), but this is my imagination of an acid trip.

Bowl of Blooms

Celebrating Spring


Nikon D7000 28-300mm @ 135mm ISO 320 3-bkts f/10 Lr3; HDR Efex Pro

A bit of change of pace, found taking some sun in front of Lowe’s in Chino Hills, California.   The day I captured this was the first time I tried out my AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Zoom Lens.  I still need to get used to the weight of this glass which is designed for a full sized FX sensor (all my other glass is DX), it’s a good thing this lens has vibration reduction.

Tree Dormant In Winter; An Exercise In Black & While


Nikon D80 10-24mm @ 10mm ISO 320 3-bkts f/22 Lr3 HDR Efex 1 SEP 1

The tree with its branches bare of leaves during its season of dormancy presides over Waring Park in Piru, California, hard by the usually dry Santa Clara River bed.  I am surmising that the dark clumps of vegetation among the branches are nests for some of the local critters, but we did not see any while on the scene.  Whether avians or small mammals or marsupials, the creatures that made their homes up in the branches did so to stay safe from predators who might be roaming the neighborhood.

We were in the area to photograph an old railroad trestle, and I did capture those brackets before I set my sights on this tree.  I actually think the tree was the better overall image.  After the initial HDR processing and merging of the brackets with Nik HDR Efex Pro I processed the final image with Nik Silver Efex Pro, and did a little dodging with the adjustment brush in Lightroom.  I have pre-ordered a copy of Silver Efex Pro 2 and am waiting to get my hands on that, which appears to be even more robust than Silver Exfex Pro 1.

Protecting Your Work


Nikon D80 18-135mm @52mm ISO 200 f/11 (-2.0 0.0 +2.0) Lr3 HDR Efex Pro

I am using the image of  blue barrel cacti here as a metaphor for the need to erect a  protective perimeter around our work.  I just read: “Photographer’s Survival Manual: A Legal Guide for Artists in the Digital Age” by Edward C. Greenberg & Jack Resniki, and spent the day packaging and submitting all of the photographs that I published last year to the United States Copyright Office for registration of my copyrights.  I recommend this book to anyone who is serious about their photography, in a very easy and inviting style it will open your eyes to the basics that all photographers should know about copyright issues, and it will take you through the process of electronically registering your copyrights with the Copyright Office.

I am not going to discuss  what I learned about copyright law here as I am not a copyright attorney, but you can be certain that I will  be registering all of my applicable works in the future in advance of my publishing any images, anywhere.  There will be a brief interlude in my posting of images here on the blog, and in my portfolio at while I compile my current work for registration with the copyright office.  In the past I had posted images here and in my portfolio almost immediately after completing processing.  I will no longer do that.  I will be batching new images for periodic submission to the Copyright Office, and then, only after submission to the copyright office will I publish my images on any medium.

I really did get some great images that I am very happy with this past weekend, but please be patient, it will be a while before I publish them.  It will be worth the wait, and if everything goes according to plan we will be out and about tomorrow, capturing more new images.

Bird In The Backyard

Nikon D80 85mm ISO 1250 1/200 f/8.0 PSE8 HDR Efex Pro

Bird of Paradise, that is.  This is a revisit to images I captured earlier in the year while exploring the possibilities in my backyard.  I created a quasi-HDR out of two JPG’s that were shot with a macro lens, hand-held.  I like the sort of tough, leathery look of the leave, and the contrast  between the greens and yellows.

Our Mascots: Grevy’s Zebras

Nikon D80 55-200mm 145mm ISO 200 1/30 f/11 -2/+2 Lr3 HDREfex Pro

Grevy’s Zebras AKA Imperial Zebras are the largest zebras on the planet and were named after Jules Grevy, a president of France in the nineteenth century who was presented with one of his namesakes by the government of Abysinnia.  There are only about 2,500 of this species left in the wild, so viewing this trio was a special moment.  The zebra in the foreground must have some super model in him or her, as it seemed to be striking poses as I was triggering the camera. These striped beauties live at The Living Desert, Palm Desert, California.

If you know Judy and I, you know why these animals are our mascots.