Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Winter Solstice

Happy Winter Solstice

From the Christmas Bird Count
Cantigny Park, Wheaton, Illinois

December 17, 2011 (uploaded on the Winter Solstice - 12/21/11)

Looks better bigger (just click on the picture)

COPYRIGHT 2011 by JimFrazier All Rights Reserved. This  may NOT be used for ANY reason without written consent.

IMG_0176a1024-111217cs95

Friday, November 4, 2011

What can I say, I like Mums

Click on the pictures to see more information on Flickr. All COPYRIGHT by JimFrazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without written consent.

Yellow Muuuummmmmmmsssssss

Mums in the Arbor

Mummmmmmmmmmssss


Mummmmmmmmmmssss

Fall Tableau

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sunflowers

Click on the pictures to see more information on Flickr. All COPYRIGHT by JimFrazier All Rights Reserved. These may NOT be used for ANY reason without written consent. 

More sunflowers?!?  Please make it stop!

Yet Another Sunflower

Sunflower - No Sun

Another Sunflower

Friday, October 28, 2011

Is there a formula for taking a good picture?

Union Pacific 3090 in La Fox, Illnois

Nope.  The most important thing is that the picture "sings" to me.  Others will use different terms (eg. "beauty is in the eye of the beholder"), but "singing" is my metaphor, and I'm sticking with it.  Some pictures will sing to one or two people; other pictures will sing to thousands.  There's no predetermined formula.  It also means that there are many good pictures.  All any picture has to do is sing to a few people and it's a success.  It's just more of a success if it sings to thousands.

But there are rules of composition, like the rule of thirds, leading lines, vertical vs. horizontal formats, contrast, etc.  Following these rules doesn't automatically make a good picture.  But I HAVE noticed that most pictures that "sing" to me will incorporate at least a couple of the basic principles.  Deconstruct your favorite photographs, and you'll start seeing those concepts over and over again.

When you write, you don't have to use every word in your vocabulary.  You choose the words that will work for what you're trying to say.  For photography, choose the concepts that will help to build the picture you're going for.  You don't have to use all of them; just a couple.  And just like using the wrong word can ruin the point you're trying to make, some pictures are ruined by not choosing the right compositional rule - or using it incorrectly.

So, my advice would be to build that vocabulary of compositional concepts and try to make your pictures using a few of them.

But there is no formula.  That's what make this so interesting.

Here's a test.  The picture above is my all-time most popular picture on Flickr.  And I consider it one of my best.  There are several compositional rules that this picture follows.  It doesn't follow ALL of them.  But it does have a few.  Can you spot them?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Some Autumn Pictures

Click on the pictures to see more information on Flickr. All COPYRIGHT by JimFrazier All Rights Reserved. These may NOT be used for ANY reason without written consent.
Red and White

Red!

Grass

Miscanthus sinensis 'Strictus' - Porcupine Grass

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Endless Summer'

Crowded Path

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Steam Punk at Bristol Renaissance Faire

Click on the pictures to see more information on Flickr. All COPYRIGHT by JimFrazier All Rights Reserved. These may NOT be used for ANY reason without written consent.

Red Head Steampunk

Steampunk - Group Shot

Steampunk Enforcer I

The Green Fairy

Barely Balanced Steampunk

The Evil "Glass Blower" Threatens the Poor Fairy

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Looking North on the Fox River

Looking North on the Fox River

Fabyan Forest Preserve
Geneva, Illinois

October 8, 2011

COPYRIGHT 2011 by JimFrazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without written consent.

k111008bDSC_7764a640

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Maple

The Maple

St. James Farm
www.dupageforest.com/Conservation/ForestPreserves/St__Jam...
near sunset on October 9, 2011

Warrenville, Illinois

COPYRIGHT 2011 by JimFrazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without written consent.

k111009eDSC_7944a640

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Kate's "I seek dead people" tour

k110701cDSC_2884awm
[click on each picture to see more details about it]

Kate and I took a trip up to Minnesota on Kate's "I seek dead people" tour.  She has a great, grandfather, along with some other relatives, who are buried at the Woodlawn Cemetery. My job was to take pictures of the tombstones.  And I thought I might get to photograph some trains as well as work on my Mississippi Bridges project. 

June 30 - We drove to Sparta, WI for the night.

July 1 - On to Winona, MN to visit the cemetery.  We inspected and photographed the markers and Kate planted a flag at her great grandfather's grave (he was a Civil War vet).

Walter Perry Cross 1865 - 1906

Myrtle E. Firth 1893 - 1964

You can see all of the gravesite pictures here.


Some antiquing was also involved along with my photographing the Winona bridge.  Then we drove down to Trempeauleau, WI to stay the night.

July 2 - Trempeauleau is cool.  We stayed at the "Inn on the River" where the trains run by about 100 feet from the room.  The scenery is beautiful and the trains are fast.  I decided I would get up early in the morning to try to take some pictures since the lighting would be best at this time.  Maybe it was the holiday weekend, but for whatever reason, they weren't passing in review as I had hoped.  I did manage to catch this one after about two hours of waiting, so I'm happy.



Kate also discovered that another relative was also a Civil War vet.  We figured it out by decoding the letters on his seriously eroded monument (see the top picture).  So we headed back up to Winona to put a flag by his grave too.

We drove along the river road down to Lansing, Iowa.

Biggy and Small

Then we drove up to La Crosse, WI where we took an evening dinner cruise.

We're going tubing!

This took us past another Mississippi bridge (the swing railroad bridge).

La Crosse Rail Bridge

We also "locked through" the dam, which was a first time experience.

July 3 - We headed down to Praire du Chein to photograph THEIR Mississippi Bridge and did a tiny about of wandering around in McGregor, Iowa.

McGregor, Iowa

Then we headed home, past Kate's old home in southeastern Wisconsin and finishing with a fine repast at the Lena Drive-In.

I'll be adding pictures to this article as the editing is done.  So keep an eye out.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rose Garden Fountain at Cantigny

Click on the pictures to see more information on Flickr. All COPYRIGHT by JimFrazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without written consent.

Ice Fountain

Fountains

Cantigny Fountains, Prairie and Visitors

Rose Garden Fountain - Fast

Rose Garden Fountain - Slow

Friday, June 10, 2011

Some Railroad Pictures

Click on the pictures to see more information on Flickr. All COPYRIGHT by JimFrazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without written consent.

Elburn Co-op

Geneva Railroad Sunset

Heading into the sun

Train 29 - The Capitol Limited

Union Pacific 3090 in La Fox, Illnois

John A Blatnik Bridge

Number 261 (in La Crosse, Wisconsin)

Panning shot of CSX 669 northbound at the Folkston Funnel

Friday, May 27, 2011

Cropping - an example

Tombstones on a Wall

Kate is currently reading "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" which is a non-fiction book about Savannah, Georgia.  It's very good and I have been suggesting that Kate read it for years.  This way, if we ever go to Savannah, she'll be prepared.

I came across the book the first time I was there doing a seminar.  Just about everyone in the class recommended I read it.  It's funny how people in Fargo weren't that enthusiastic about their movie.

Anyway, I sent her a link to my Savannah pictures and she asked about the above picture: "…is there some artistic reason why you didn’t crop off the partial one on the right side of the frame?" 

Great, everyone's a critic.

Here's my response: "I don't remember, but I'd do the same now.  Sometimes, cropping like that implies there are more items in the pattern that continue out of the frame.  Which there were in this case.  If I recall correctly, there was about 50 feet of wall with these tombstones attached.  If I hadn't left that partial one in there, the viewer might have the vague impression that they're seeing all there is."

Here's another way to look at it: if I had cropped it so that only the whole markers were visible, the viewer would have a sense of closure.  By leaving the right one cropped, the viewer does NOT have a sense of closure.  Which is the desired result.

Or it could be that I was just too lazy to crop that day.  I don't know.


Jim Frazier

Take one of my photography classes

COPYRIGHT 2011 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Graveyards

Click on the pictures to see more information on Flickr. All COPYRIGHT by JimFrazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without written consent. 

Wray - Imenson Cemetery

Forest Home Cemetery

Small Tilted Tombstone

F.C. Barber, Died April 21, 1868

Green Hill Cemetery

Tree and Gravestones (BW version)