off to the races...

Fillies Race for Hope at Canterbury Park

This is the second year of Fillies Race for Hope benefiting the Hope Chest for Breast Cancer Foundation and Pay It Forward Fund. You might recall me attending it last year, as well. Canterbury Park is such a great place for an event—a nice change from the typical round table dinner with an inspirational slideshow. Don’t get me wrong, indoor events can be just as enjoyable. But the novelty of being able to spend an afternoon at the races is very nice!

What a wonderful afternoon in Shakopee, Minnesota to watch some amazing animals, and of course photograph them, too!

For you photographers reading this, you’ll appreciate a straight RAW-to-jpg conversion. I shot in Manual mode for this. Only needed to increase the exposure on one photo. It’s nice to know that when I take the time (and can take the time), I am a little smarter than my camera in Aperture Priority mode. I had plenty of time to set up my shots, pre-compose them, tweak the exposure—all before each race started at a nice predictable time. Although I will admit that a part of me would like to add a little “spit and polish” to them, but I also like the reportage style of these images. All images taken with the Nikon 70-300mm.



Hydrangea, inspired

I promised a post this week. I didn’t really like my lavender shots. Oh, maybe I just need to review them again.
But I just bought some new textures from French Kiss Textures, the Tableaux Collection. I had won a gift certificate from her, so they were free! So, of course I had to play with them. (And by the way, she still has her sale price on the collection as of this writing, so hurry if you want them!)

I have two versions of the hydrangea image. And if I’m feeling like it, perhaps I will get a different one out in the next week or so. (Sometimes I write these posts in advance. But not this one.)

If you like them, I’ll add one or both to my website. But you gotta let me know! (Not yelling, just adding a little emphasis. :) ) I threw in the original photo, too. I like that one, but I was in the mood to play.

Click on the photo, you’ll get a nice-sized slideshow in your browser. But not from within your email. Bummer. Gotta actually go to my blog  for that.

So what should I blog about next? Reader’s choice.



the making of an image...

black & white image of trees in the fog
I thought I’d shed a little light on how this image of trees in the fog was made. Part of the process of creating an image can be as simple as recognizing when to take the picture. It was foggy and quite overcast the day I took this. I came home from running errands and quick grabbed my camera. Fog is one of those things that can disappear rather quickly. (Or it can sock you in for days—one never knows!)

This tree happens to border a farm. The fog and how I processed this image disguises that. The fog did the heavy lifting here. It’s wonderful for simplifying what would normally be a busy background. Fog helps the photographer capture dreamy landscapes, or contemplative portraits.

Kaikoura, New Zealand foggy beach

man and dog sitting on a dock looking across a foggy lake

Back to the original image of this post. Because there was already so little color in the landscape, I chose to do a monochrome image. (Again, either shooting in or converting to black and white can be another way to simplify an image. Note that I said “can”, which doesn’t mean “always”.

Now let the fun begin with this image. There are several layers to this image. One is the original, that is clear and in focus. That same image was duplicated and blurred a bit in Photoshop Elements. Those images were combined. Then I added a texture layer as well. Of course “texture” isn’t in the physical sense, but visually. Texture layers are typically no more than another image (or two or three) that looks like it is has texture.  The easiest way to show you is to have you take a peek at Leslie’s French Kiss Textures. I have purchased many of her textures that she creates. You can even get some freebies to whet your creative appetite. The tree image used the texture image called Dirt. I tried to find the texture on her website for you, but she might have discontinued it, as I couldn’t find it.

To be able to create layered images, I believe Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements are the only two programs that can do that. Perfect Layers 2 by OnOne is a stand alone software that can give you the ability to create layered images, but I don’t believe it has all the image editing capabilities of the Adobe products, Lightroom, or Aperture. (Of course there are many more image editors out there.) I have never used it; I only know it exists. It would be worth looking into if you don’t own either of the Photoshop programs.

For a future post, I’ll take some screen shots as I’m editing a photo. That will really give you a behind the scenes peek into what I create.



foggy and frosty...

...say that a few times and you get froggy and frosty! (ha ha) This has been a very uninspiring winter for photography for me. No snow. Which you would think was a good thing, because the weather has been very mild. As you know, mild weather makes it far more enjoyable to operate a camera when your hands aren’t freezing into numb, useless appendages. But it just looks blah outside. Like plain oatmeal.

Well finally today there was some lovely frozen fog on the trees and grasses—nature’s bling. I wish I had more time outside, but hopefully these images capture the bling of the moment.

And, as you, my loyal readers know, I’ve been working on the Sweet Clover Pet Photography website. I had imposed an arbitrary deadline of January 31st, 11:59 pm. I think it was around 11:45 pm that I finished it! And while it still needs some tweaking, I think you will enjoy taking a peek at my new business! I encourage you to sign up for the Sweet Clover blog posts, even if you aren’t in central Minnesota. You never know who knows who and where they might live! And you might get a chuckle out of reading the About Mulder page. And he’s even had a paw in writing his own blog post! He will be a frequent “guest” blogger.

I’ll be getting my feet wet in one, and possibly two, marketing events this month. Although the one is more networking. Although marketing for me IS networking. Believe it or not, I’m not one to put myself in someone’s face and tell them how great I am. But I can’t let them smell fear! I saw a phrase recently, fake it until you make it. 

So here’s to faking it!!



Lady Macbeth...

...screw your courage to the sticking place and we’ll not fail.
All was not so dire as Shakespeare’s play—Macbeth—in reality, but when you meet a gal named Lady Macbeth, a quote that represented the moment just had to be used. However, quite a different context.

Friday my husband and I visited a friend at a nearby dog show. She was finishing off one of her dogs (please don’t ask me to explain that). Lady Macbeth did VERY well, and did not fail. I wish I could remember the exact results, but I’ll sum it up by saying she won! Lady M is just over a year old, but pretty much full-grown. My first comment when I saw her was “she’s so short!” Very funny coming from another corgi owner, but this gal was shorter than our dog—not only shorter legs, but a shorter body. Lady Macbeth is quite the lovable and sweet little gal. (No worries, we only want one dog—our own.)

I brought my camera and one lens, a nice light 35mm prime. I was not wanting to carry a heavy camera/lens in my purse, and it was not my intention to have this be a “photo session”. The location was a large, open, cement-floored convention room. LOTS of dogs around, and people, too…can you say distractions? Lighting…lighting was awful, of course. The reason I mention all this is to give you background on this learning experience of mine.

Once again I learned that when I rush, I take icky photos (improperly placed focus points, poor composition, not looking at the background, just to name a few shortcomings). Also, the environment was sooooo distracting. I was beside the show ring, and there were many people and dogs around—excitement and nervous energy from dogs and humans alike. To attract a dog’s attention I think I would have needed to be made of raw meat. :) I just realized I am (ha ha), but perhaps a fried bacon jacket would have held Lady Macbeth’s attention a bit better.

So why am I sharing what I consider to be sub-par photos of mine? Because I know I learn more from my mistakes in photography than the successes. And I know I learn from other photographers’ mistakes, so I guess I’m just trying to share the learning experience with others. :) (But the really good ones feel a lot more exciting!) But I’m not going to go so far as to tell you what I don’t like about each photo. (Click a photo to enter a slideshow mode—and the photos are a bit larger, too.)

ps-I kinda miss my 365 Project!



romping through the field...

I know I say this about every dog or cat I photograph, but after you spend a couple hours photographing them, petting them, chatting with them and their owner, well you can’t help but fall in love!
That happened again today with my neighbor’s labs, Macy and Winnie. Look how they coordinated with the landscape! And another bonus—a dusting of snow! A rare commodity so far this winter.

There will be a longer post with more photos of Macy and Winnie in January. Look for a brief post here directing you over to my new venture…I’ll be announcing Sweet Clover Pet Photography! (No worries, I plan on maintaining both blogs. My plan right now is to keep A Flick of Light the blog that has the more varied content. Sweet Clover Pet will be the business and blog site for my pet photography business, so it will focus more on, you guessed it, pets!)


my favorite photography subjects...

A blogger friend of mine just created a blog post on one of her favorite subjects, and at the end of the post she wanted to know what other photography bloggers’ frequent subject matter was. (I don’t remember for sure where our virtual paths crossed—I think it was on Flickr.) Her name is Barbara and she creates the blog The Aspiring Photographer. On her blog she narrates and demonstrates her trials and tribulations in this wonderful world of photography, including some great “how to” posts. I encourage you to subscribe to her blog, as it is always worth the time to read.

Can my readers guess what my favorite subjects are? There is always the same couple of subjects that keep popping up—my dog Mulder and flowers (usually “weeds”). My dog is such a great subject to point my camera at, whether it’s capturing details like the spots on his ears, the unique “fingerprint” of his nose (I guess that would make it his noseprint), or sleeping on his back with his feet up in the air.

Flowers also have wonderful details about them. The soft wrinkles in their petals. The graceful curve of a leaf. And when the light illuminates them just right…it can be like magic! And within the category of flowers, daisies are quite common in my portfolio. Who can’t smile at a nice, clean, pretty, white daisy?

Those are my favorites. As they say, shoot what you love and it will come through.

ps — Thanks Barbara for the blog post idea!



a photo before the snow...

...tomorrow is our first snowfall. Or so they say. But it’s looking pretty certain to get a little something. So today I went looking outside near my house and found this. I don’t know what it is, or rather was. I also decided to use my Lensbaby lens today with one of the creative discs (I think it’s the “diamond” one for those interested) and +4 macro . It was this creative disc that gave a wonderful texture to the now-tan-and-dead weeds in the background of the image.
Why so many versions of the same photograph? The original—because I think most of us, whether a photographer or not, are curious to see what the artist started with. The others—just different interpretations. I think the monochrome image is my favorite. But the other two I like as well. Since it’s supposed to snow tomorrow, my plan is to take another image of the same subject with the same lens, etc. So the next post will be “a photo after the snow”. You saw that coming, didn’t you?

When you click on one of the images below, you’ll get a nice full size slideshow. :) If you’re an iPad user, let me know if the slideshow doesn’t work. That will be good to know.)



Christmas is coming... just dawned on me the other day that Christmas is right around the corner. (I can hear some of you—“What? do you live under a rock?” Ha ha, no I don’t. :) ) I was at the mall to return something, and on the way through the store I saw something that I thought my husband would like. In my head I was thinking “well he can just return it if he doesn’t like it”, all the while thinking I would just give it to him when I got home. It took several minutes of pondering over the different choices in front of me before it even occurred to me to use this as a Christmas gift instead! (As an aside, my husband and I are very difficult to buy for, and that includes buying for each other, too.) And with no kids, the Christmas season isn’t as gift centered as with many of my friends. (And I’ve somehow managed to block out the store holiday decorations and television advertising for Black Friday from the forefront of my consciousness.)

And then today I was going over my website, and I had another light bulb moment—I’d better remind folks that I have some wonderful images for sale! (A born salesperson I’m not!) On the barbkelloggPHOTOGRAPHY website are a variety of nature images, from quiet and peaceful to colorful and energetic. I’ve recently created a gallery on my site to hold the hodge-podge of images that can’t really be classified as nature—it’s called Variance... .

You can buy prints, of course. I’ve eliminated framing from my site because you can get these framed far cheaper elsewhere, with more variety to boot. But do you want to know the super easy way of getting one of my images on the wall? (Actually, I have two easy ways.) No messing around with the time and hassle to frame and mat. Just pound that nail into the wall and hang. (Ok, if it’s a gift, you may want to wrap it first. But you’re on your own with that. :) )

Gallery wraps are a fantastic, classy way to display photography! What are they? The image is printed on a canvas (similar to those canvases that painters use), and wrapped around a wooden frame. Ok, a picture or two is worth a thousand words.


I love these things! No glass to worry about. They are super light-weight. And just take a Swiffer dry cloth to them to get the dust off. Easy peasy.

Another super easy way to display (with no framing required), is buying a Standout—a Standout is a print mounted to 1.5” thick, lightweight Gatorfoam with a lightly textured black or smooth white trim around the edges. And I even have a photo example for you! :) These have a contemporary look about them, which I think lends to the image standing front and center.

And some of you may not have seen my Stearns County Cemetery Project images. I keep them in the Personal Projects gallery. I took a risk this summer and framed a few images for my gallery display at St. Cloud Hospital. To my surprise, they sold right away. Who knew? So they are available for purchase, too.

So have I hawked my wares well enough? ;) If you love my imagery, please share this blog post with your friends. I do appreciate it!



fresh flickr friday...

...Ok, these images aren’t so “fresh”. :) But it’s been awhile since I’ve had a Friday post. I just submitted these three images to a juried art show in Aurora, MN! You know you’re getting older when part of the school building you went to in high school is now called “historic”. I mean seriously, I’m not THAT old! But at least they didn’t demolish the building, and having an art gallery inside is a really great way to keep the building as an active part of the community.

I chose these photographs instead of my typical nature photography simply because they are more unique. (I can’t imagine more than one person would submit photographs of cemeteries!) The purpose of this show is to “exhibit diversity of artwork that demonstrates mastery of technique, creativity, and presentation of subject matter.” These photographs are part of an ongoing personal project to creatively photograph some of the older cemeteries in Stearns County, Minnesota. You can view more of them on my website.

I will know by the end of May if one or more photographs were accepted. The actual exhibition runs from June 27 to July 30. Aurora also has a cool music event called the Northern Lights Music Festival happening during that time frame. So these two events work well together.

I’ll keep you posted if I’ll be a part of the exhibit.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Fresh Flickr Friday…

August in Minnesota

Originally uploaded by Barb Kellogg

…the goal is to have this be a weekly entry. Might be a photo I really like, or one I don’t—and I’ll explain why. You can choose to agree or disagree! :) Obviously the photographs I don’t like will NOT end up on my Zenfolio photo site, and of the ones I do like I’ll let you know if they will be available for purchase over at

This photo I happen to like! I was shooting photos of the area where I live for a Flickr group I belong to, and this is one of the ones I’ll be using (there are 5 total that will be posted by Sunday over on Flickr…just click on this photo and it will take you there).

There are several things I like about this shot: a) nailed the exposure in-camera (yay!), b) the composition focuses mainly on the flowers that are now dead, yet there is obviously much life left in this planting of flowers – very much an example of where nature is at in August in central Minnesota, and c) I just thought the colors were lovely. Only post processing were the use of two filters: contrast and glamor glow.

And yes this WILL BE available for purchase at!