Elsie and Me

Reverse engineering photography, random thoughts and other stuff

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Selfie and Me

I have this issue with selfies. Actually, several.

Point One: I’m of an age (58) for whom selfies are not A Thing. I grew up at a time when snapping portraits of oneself with a camera was simply not feasible. You wanted a picture of yourself at X Location or Y Event, you had to hand your camera to someone and ask them to do the honors. There were these things called camera timers where you could set up to snap, then rush into place for the photo, but those were not part of my experience.

Since acquiring a computer with a camera, and shortly afterward, a smartphone, in the past couple of years, I now have the ability to take selfies. Which brings me to Point Two.

I look hideous in selfies. I have yet to take one in which I didn’t look like either (a) the Bride of Jabba the Hutt or (b) my mother. My mom is not an unattractive woman, but she is 96, and I’m … not.

I’m told that a selfie stick might improve things. But it seems a tad narcissistic to invest in a device for the sole purpose of making myself look better in photos, when the alternative is to simply ask a third party to do the honors.

Like this. 10571925_10203785816222256_3823020261738988703_o

Humankind survived for decades after photography was invented without “selfie” technology.  I am comfortable asking for Joe Random Fellow Tourist/Bystander to do the deed. What about you?


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Hoping for the Luck of the Chuck

So, inspired by my fellow blogger and shutterbug Chuck Miller, I am trying my hand at entering my photography in competitions.

This past weekend I submitted my work to the Schuylerville Garden Club Flower Show’s photography competition, and the Saratoga County Fair. Continue reading

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Zooming in on blooms

One of my favorite things to photograph is close-ups of nature, especially flowers. Yes, I know it’s cliche, but things become cliches for a reason. In the case of flower close-ups, the reason is they’re beautiful.

If you like shooting flowers as much as I do, consider joining me in entering the photo contest being organized by the Schuylerville Garden Club in connection with its flower show in July. It’s free to enter, and prizes are awarded by a people’s choice vote. There are three categories: skyscapes, garden fauna and yes, close-ups of flowers. Click here to download the rules and entry form.

This is one of my possible entries. Elsie and I took it at the riverfront in Waterford a few weeks ago while Pokingbrook Morris was dancing there. She chose a shutter speed of 1/60 and f5.5. Of course, even a Little Canon That Could can’t capture the lovely fragrance of lilacs.

What do you think? Competition worthy?


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Nature’s tree lighting ceremony


I love these early evenings when the sun is low in the sky and illuminates the foliage just so. I drove past at least half a dozen photo ops on the way home tonight before capturing this one from my deck. Did I mention I love having the Hudson in my backyard?

Elsie chose a shutter speed of 1/100 and f5.5 for this. That was in Auto. I shot the same scene a few minutes later using her Landscape mode, and while she chose the exact same settings, this was the result.treelights2

It wasn’t that much later, but this one doesn’t pop like the first one. What do you think?

On a related note, lately Elsie seems to be going through batteries like Sherman through Georgia. I’m going to start taking them out between uses and see if that helps. I know it does with some devices that use conventional batteries. Otherwise I’ll wind up putting myself in the poorhouse and the Energizer Bunny’s kids through college.

Happy spring! Warm weather is returning soon.

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Here’s to the morris


Morris dancing — or as my significant other likes to refer to it in the presence of non-morris folk, “that weird dance thing we do” — is one of my favorite subjects to photograph. It’s colorful, and sometimes I can catch the dancers in midair (like this), or capture a perfect facial expression, like in the shot above.

Elsie and I shot this on May Day in Washington Park, Albany, N.Y. The two gentlemen are Doug and Don from the Pokingbrook Morris Dancers, Albany’s local morris team.

I used Elsie’s sports setting (very handy for shooting morris) and continuous drive mode. She chose a shutter speed of 1/400 and f2.6.

If weather permits (and that’s a big if), we will be back in Washington Park on Saturday, May 13, to dance at the Tulip Festival, with a dance stand earlier in the day at the Apple Blossom Festival at Riverview Orchards in Clifton Park.

On another note, I want to thank Chuck Miller, formerly a Times Union community blogger who now blogs here, for the shout-out and link. Chuck is an award-winning photographer who does some amazing work. He’s a master of thinking outside boxes and pushing envelopes to create one-of-a-kind images.

You can see some of his best work now through June 30 in the gallery at St. Agnes Cemetery in Menands. (What? Of course a cemetery has an art gallery. Don’t they all?) His “Vivaldi’s Pond” absolutely must be seen in person — it’s both breathtaking and mind-blowing.

Chuck is also a talented writer. His Collarworld stories are pure brilliance — he has created an afterlife for animals that is moving without being maudlin.

Oh, and he’s also a total sweetheart. I met him at the reception for his gallery show, and he couldn’t have been more welcoming and supportive.

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Dear Elsie … I’m so sorry

I have been neglecting you, my dear little 4-megapixel, bought-for-$20-at-a-garage-sale Canon Powershot. Please allow me to explain.

Two years ago, I took the plunge and acquired an iPhone. What does it got that you ain’t got, you ask? Only two things — the ability to shoot videos longer than three minutes, and (this is the big one) to post my photos/videos instantly to Facebook — no need to plug into a computer, download and upload.

I’m afraid I got addicted to those two functions and left you behind.

There’s still so much that you can do that the iPhone can’t. You can shoot in continuous drive mode — very handy for photographing morris dancers. You have a macro setting, portrait mode and assorted manual and semi-manual options.

If I get a great shot with the iPhone, it’s purely by accident. This one, for example. Ma Nature was kind enough, last fall, to stage this incredible photo op for me.


Gorgeous, isn’t it? But that’s my one gorgeous iPhone shot. All the other great shots I’ve taken have been with you.

I brought you out for May Day and captured some marvelous images of the morris dancers, which I will share in a later post. Thank you for continuing to function despite the two years of neglect.

Also, I hope you don’t feel bad if I add some non-photography posts to this blog. I have been thinking about expanding the content to other areas, such as politics, philosophy and dance (I took up ballet since we were together last).

But your name is on it, and photography will continue to be a key component.

I may still do the live posting thing with the phone from time to time, but when it comes to photography, you are still my first love.

Sincerely, me

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Because the Internet can’t have too many cat pictures


Meet Toshi. She is the newest addition to my household, and as anyone with a new family member does, I’m taking lots of pictures of her. This is my favorite so far.

Elsie has a nifty setting that I haven’t seen on newer Canon point-and-shoots: “Kids and Pets.” It’s designed to capture subjects that move unpredictably. Although she appears statue-still here, I wouldn’t have caught this pose without that setting and Elsie’s continuous shooting mode.

Shutter speed: 1/50. Aperture: f5.5. Cute factor: cranked up to 11.