This month I had a return visit from Michelle’s family, and was introduced to their youngest son, Carson. I first photographed Michelle for her senior portrait, and then I used her as a model for my Pirating Under a Full Moon photo.
The last time I took their family portrait we used our backyard as a plan B because the beach was too foggy. This time, using our backyard was plan A, and it worked just as well.
Lori and I have been enjoying our fire pit area as it allows us to sit outside on Ferndale’s typical chilly evenings. The fact that we often make S’mores just adds to the relief the area has given us from the boredom of sheltering in place during the Covid-19 emergency.
So I thought it would be a fun thing to photograph Michelle’s family enjoying S’mores. We moved the fire pit back to our park area by the creek, and I photographed them without posing while they made their snacks. Initially, Carson was a bit shy, but when he got his first taste of a S’more, he instantly became very photogenic.
After being shut in due to the Covid-19 emergency for several months, I found my need to get outside and be creative was pretty strong. I’ve done a few Covid safe shoots, and this shoot with Cassandra had better images, but I though this one was such a strong sign of the times, that I thought it should be the POTM.
My wife Lori has been busy for several months sewing masks and she thought she’d make some patriotic ones, because wearing a mask is one of the most patriotic things you can do right now, despite what our idiot leader thinks. Our lives and our economy won’t get back to normal until we beat this disease, and we won’t beat it spreading it due to mistaken ideas of what freedom is.
Since I had the stars and stripes bikini from a previous shoot, I though it would be fun to combine it with Lori’s mask.
Hope you’re all staying say, doing proper social distancing, and wearing a mask when out in public.
Tired of being stuck inside, I thought a shoot at the beach could be managed under social distancing rules. Brandy met me at the South Spit, and I used my telephoto lens for the entire shoot so we could stay some distance from each other.
There were two problems with the shoot however. First and foremost, we have the most unpredictable weather around here and even though it was sunny all day, right when we left Arcata the fog started rolling in. Not the weather I wanted for the shoot at all, as the goal was to have the sun streaming through the sheer petticoat.
The other problem was that due to shooting from a fair distance, I didn’t notice wardrobe malfunctions like twisted straps and underwear being worn backwards until I was editing the photos. So we definitely plan to try this shoot again on a better weather day.
While driving the Humboldt County backroads taking pictures of remote houses for insurance companies, I thoroughly enjoyed the numerous native wildflowers in bloom everywhere. One house I stopped at had a whole hillside covered in Blue-Eyed Grass, which is good to know if I ever need more for my garden.
Poppies were everywhere too, and as they’re one of my favorite flowers, I was happy to repeatedly pull over and photograph them when I saw particularly good displays. This old oak tree surrounded by poppies growing in between the boulders was my favorite.
I met Brandy while I was working my other job as a Fire Inspector for Arcata Fire District. I was doing an inspection of the apartment complex she lives in, and helped her install a new smoke detector.
Noticing how petite she was I mentioned Lori’s vintage clothing collection and that we were always looking for models to photograph her collection.
I was working on updating the web site for the vintage clothes and I wanted to update some of the photos. This particular bodice is one we bought in England back in 1995. It was the first piece I photographed for the collection, back in our 1914 bungalow in San Jose.
Since the garment fits the period of our house, I wanted to use it for photos in our recently completed parlor. Brandy ended up being a fun model to work with and I’m looking forward to more shoots with her.
If you’re a fan of Monty Python, then you know who Dennis Moore is. In case you’re not familiar with the skit, Dennis would ride around the English countryside and steal lupines from the rich and give them to a poor family. One of my favorite Monty Python skits, and maybe one reason I love growing lupines.
I started a bunch of lupines in our new greenhouse to eventually fill out the new planter in the back yard. While I was watering them, Lori notice that this one had a nice diamond right in the middle of it. Now that would be a lupine worth stealing!
While working on my greenhouse, I came across this caterpillar, and having never seen this type before, I was determined to identify it. I started with searching images on Duck, Duck, Go for “green caterpillar with yellow head” and didn’t find anything similar.
I tried a few other searches and finally found one image of something similar, only technically, it’s not a caterpillar. Caterpillars are the larvae of moths or butterflies, and this guy is the larva for a sawfly. I had never heard of sawflies before.
This photo got me off on a project that has proven to be very addictive, identifying the natural flora and fauna of my garden. I have been having fun using my macro lens to explore the creatures that fly, run, hop, crawl, and even swim in my yard.
While I was documenting the animals, my wife suggested I should also document the plants. I have a Filemaker database for keeping track of what I plant, but I decided to go ahead and start documenting what mother nature plants too. You can find my ongoing lists of flora and fauna on my personal web site.
One resource I found that has been super useful in identifying what I photograph is the Seek app. I have found the best way to use it for fauna is to take a photo using my macro lens and DSLR, and then display the image on my monitor and do a Seek scan of that image.
Well it’s been a very long time since I’ve posted my Picture of the Month feature. I’ve been busy working on my house and garden, and unfortunately not taking much time to relax and go take pictures. I’m going to restart the POTM and hopefully keep something interesting appearing here on a regular basis.
Memorial Day Weekend in Humboldt County starts off with the start of the Kinetic Sculpture Race in Arcata. This year there were lots of entries, probably due to the fact this was the 50th anniversary of the event. It was hard to pick a favorite entry this year, but the Cheshire Cat was not only cute, (if something that big can be cute) it was also a great piece of engineering, as it employed 4 wheel steering.
I have two Nikon SB-900 flash units that were both purchased in 2009. For years they both performed reliably, but about a year ago one of them started experiencing a power problem where the flash would turn on if the battery door was held just a bit ajar, but it wouldn’t turn on if it was fully closed. As I haven’t been doing as much photography as I used to, and I could always rely on a bunch of other Nikon flashes I own, or my Photogenic lights, it wasn’t a problem I spent a lot of time trying to fix. I did an initial search on the internet to see if it was a common problem, but came up empty.
Then last week while on location for a job, the second one started acting up in exactly the same way. So today I had some time to take a look at both of them again.
Doing an internet search this time I did come up with some hits that described the exact same problem. Only they didn’t have any solutions. But there were other people that had reported their SB-900s stopped working after batteries corroded the leads.
I checked the leads on both units and they appeared clean, and I had never experienced leaking batteries for these units, as I use rechargeable batteries (Duracell) in them and the batteries are usually taken out when I’m not using the flashes.
I decided to try cleaning the leads with a pencil eraser, and that’s all it took to get both units working again. Even though both units had bright shiny leads, there must have been just enough oxidation to prevent a good contact.
So if your SB-900s experience this problem, try a simple and quick cleaning with a pencil eraser before sending them back to Nikon for an expensive repair.
This was the 15th year I’ve photographed the Ferndale Dance Academy spring production. Laura East and her company of young dancers put on another fine show. Photographing the dress rehearsal I watch the show through the lens of my camera, and it’s always nice to return later to watch the show from the audience.