Colorful Fall Trees at St John's University

Yes I know we're on the cusp of Spring here in central Minnesota. But after yet another snowfall (of varying amounts depending upon where in Minnesota you live) and/or slushy rain, I thought a nice splash of color of these colorful fall trees would brighten your inbox a bit. Plus, I'm giving you a little "how to" for some fun experimentation with your own camera!

Colorful Fall Imagery

red leaf on tree in fall
red leaf on tree in fall

Where

I had just finished a family portrait session last fall, and on my way home, I decided to stop out at St. John's University for a little more photography. These were all taken right beside the main road entering the college near the Vincent Court Complex.

How

You might be wondering how I took the images of the trees that look painted. I slowed my shutter speed and intentionally panned the camera, and in this situation, vertically. One gets lots of junk when doing this (I wouldn't recommend this with film). But luckily with digital, you don't have to worry about a lot of bad photos. You will get something you like, just stay with it.

If you want to try this with your camera, the key is that you need to be able to control the shutter speed on your camera. Even most point and shoots allow you to do that by selecting Shutter Priority mode. (Read your camera manual to find out how to set yours.) Your settings will vary from mine, but on this overcast day, I was at 1/15th of a second at an aperture of f/19. I was using my zoom lens, one of the photos was at 155mm and the other at 70mm. A longer zoom is more sensitive to movement, making it easier to create the motion blur.

Impression of Fall

Impression of Fall

Now this is all totally trial and error. You have to look at the back of your camera to decide what adjustments you need to make in your camera and if you need to pan slower or faster. It all depends what kind of look you're going for. Experiment!! It's fun to intentionally make something blurry.

Let me know if you try this technique and how it worked for you!

5 Favorite Images of 2013

Nature, Family, and Pet Favorite Images from 2013

white cosmos flower
white cosmos flower

Why share these with you? Because I think it's a nice way to show you a small sample of my work. Of course I'd love for you to explore all the images I have on the website, but let's be realistic, who has the time?

These images are ones that I keep coming back to...I just simply like them. They are pretty and make me smile. Whether they be soft and dreamy, or show an emotion, these are the ones that I want hanging on my wall. (Ok, the images of another person's family I wouldn't put on my wall, but you know what I mean.) These images really aren't in any particular order. I love them all, and for different reasons.

White Cosmos

white cosmos flower
white cosmos flower

This first image, white cosmos..., was taken in my yard last summer. I had seen other photographers' images of cosmos flowers, and so I decided to grow my own from seed. Oh gosh! Who knew you needed a planter deeper than five inches for these babies! They grow quite tall, and have thick stems. So it wasn't the prettiest display in front of my house, but my goal wasn't to make my house look pretty on the outside. The results you see here (white cosmos and summer dreams) were my goal! I wanted soft, dreamy images, and that's what I created. I love how the background looks like a painting, this was not something I did on my computer. Only minor color alterations were made to bring out the cooler blue/greens.

Mother and Daughter

mom holding daughter
mom holding daughter

The KW family session was really wonderful to do. The parents are friends of mine, and their daughter, well who wouldn't fall in love with her? It can feel awkward to work with friends; it's more difficult for me to tell them what to do. (They aren't afraid to talk back!) On the other hand, I can be more relaxed just because of our familiarity with each other.

It was a fall session. They were worried because of the on again/off again drizzly weather. We did take advantage of these trees for shelter when we needed to, but it really wasn't a problem at all. It was a little chilly, but with coats nearby to put on between images, it was a fun experience for them.

Summer Dreams

I had two colors of cosmos that I planted, white and these pink ones. Soft and dreamy...... You can see the greens in the background (grass), and if I'm remembering correctly, the tan color is actually the brickwork on the side of my house, it's just so out of focus that it provides a beautiful soft backdrop. I have plenty of seeds leftover from last year, so I'll plant some more again. In a deeper planter this time!

Summer Dreams
Summer Dreams

Marley's Favorite Spot

This session was a surprise for Marley's owner. It was all a bit cloak and dagger when I showed up at the scheduled time because the owner hadn't left on time, so I had to hide out. So I drove my car around the corner and waited for the "all clear" from the daughter I was working with.

The timing of the session was coordinated soon after his haircut by Nicole of Lucky Dog Pet Grooming in St. Cloud. Hey even a dog has to look his best!

Marley's session was split between the back yard and indoors. Marley loves his pink blanket on this chair, so of course this was a "must get" photograph.

dog lounging on a chair inside
dog lounging on a chair inside

Hawaiian Orchid

Hawaiian Orchids
Hawaiian Orchids

"Hawaii" and "orchid" -- need I say more? I honestly have no idea the name of this orchid. I photographed it while in Hawaii.  You'll notice a theme here, but I love this one for it's softness and painterly look, too.

Pelicans on a Lake

This one was fun to capture. My cousin and her husband were spending a week at a resort near Richmond, Minnesota. We took their pontoon out one evening and floated all stealthy and super spy-like by this party of pelicans. They were pretty tolerant of us, but they did break up and paddle away from us when we got too close. (Guess we weren't that stealthy after all.) The bonus was the bird taking flight into the woods (top center).

Pelicans on a Lake
Pelicans on a Lake

Mother and Son session, or, Things that make you go "Hmmmm"

This little guy is cute, isn't he? His mom swears he's a smiley kid, but whenever I'm photographing him, I get all sorts of other moods. Which I love!!! Kids aren't smiling and happy all the time, and capturing these other expressions for moms is just priceless.

young boy
young boy

And you probably noticed I have more than five favorite images. :)

My Dog

corgi on the couch
corgi on the couch

To date, this is my all time favorite image of my dog. And he's been photographed a lot! He loves napping on the couch, so this is SO him.

Ok, eight images later, this blog post is finally done. I hope you enjoyed seeing my favorites. If you've had a chance to explore my work on the website or at art fairs, which images speak to you, are favorites of yours? Comments welcome on the website, or an email reply is cool, too.

~Barb