Picking a Christmas tree by John Cecilian

I went to a tree farm this weekend to be with my son and his family to pick out a Christmas tree. Lots of choices, and a beautiful day for finding a tree. I don't cut the tree, just take the photos. 

through the woods.jpg

through the woods

Thanksgiving Weekend by John Cecilian

It is hard not to overeat when there is so much food to choose from. What was of particular success was the pie making and the pecan pie got the best reviews. We made six pies, two pumpkin, two apple and two pecan. Everyone loved the pecan. 

 Pecan Pie on Thanksgiving 

Pecan Pie on Thanksgiving 

When is it sharp enough by John Cecilian

I read a lot about lenses on photography sites, and typically the writers mention when you use a portrait lens...typically between 85mm and 135mm that it is not good for the lens to be "too sharp" because then the model or subject of the photograph will worry about someone seeing every blemish or imperfection.  

But, I don't feel that should be a problem for animals and of course dogs, which I take a lot of photographs of. So using the Zeiss Loxia 85mm 2.4 lens is just fine even though I have to admit that it is crazy sharp. Kind of fun to take a photo and wonder if it is sharp and then look at it and say "holy cow"  Well that is the Loxia. It is expensive but if you rent it instead of buying it, a much better deal. 

 

 Reflections in a brown eye

Reflections in a brown eye

Back to posting stuff by John Cecilian

Its time to start blogging again, seemed to be away from it for awhile, maybe too busy but I need to write things every day. 

Blogging takes a commitment and it is a good way to maintain a certain amount of discipline in daily life knowing that an entry is important. 

So I will start this new round of blogging, noting that my labrador Jack passed away this past week. He was suffering from diabetes, blindness and just couldn't get around anymore and had lost his appetite. It was time, he was almost 12 years old, a sweetheart dog. 

cuddling a pillow.jpg

Its Car Show Time by John Cecilian

This is the time of year when car shows start to show up in the various towns around New Jersey on the weekends. With the nicer weather, it is fun to spend time outside walking around and looking at old cars, classic cars, and unique cars. As far as photography is concerned, it is harder to find different and special car photos, they can tend to be repetitive after awhile so it is a challenge to find the right angle or different car perspective to make a photo stand out and be more interesting than the normal straight up car photo. 

I think it is a good to take a smaller part of the body and accentuate it, make it stand out. Here is an example below: 

 

 Dice Dice Baby

Dice Dice Baby

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same by John Cecilian

As a father of two sons, most of my life, as they were growing up, was spent going to football games, baseball games, BMX riding, musicals and plays, everything to do with what their activities were as kids. Free time was never really "free" but supporting and attending all of their events which I loved to do. 

Now, they are 34 and 30 years of age, so perhaps those days are long gone??? No way. This past weekend on most of Saturday, I spent the time with Patrick watching him go-karting with his friends. On early Sunday morning, I rooted John on in a triathlon race. It is great to still have the chance to see them participate in stuff and be part of it. 

As I say in the title, things aren't changing that much at all, which in this case is a good thing. 

 

 Ready for the start of the swim leg

Ready for the start of the swim leg

 Ready to go

Ready to go

Flower Photos by John Cecilian

I took several flower photos that I particularly liked yesterday, and I kept some parameters in my mind when I did so. I recently went to the Philly Flower Show and it was an extravaganza for flowers. What disappointed me however, was my photo taking at the show. For the photographers out there, it seems that if you don't keep in mind that you are inside, want the whole flower in focus and don't want to crank up the ISO, can't have a tripod to carry around, it becomes more difficult to take a really good close up of a flower. This is especially true when the camera and lens you use do not have image stabilization. To explain this for non photographers, you need a small aperture to have a large depth of field, so maybe F8 or F11. You want a faster shutter speed so there will be no camera shake to impact the sharpness, and the third point of the exposure triangle is ISO and the first two parameters mean that ISO goes into territory that might create too much noise (ISO 3200 or 6400) It becomes more challenging and technique needs to be spot on which I wasn't that great at doing for some reason. 

Anyway, my flower shots yesterday were all outside, so much better scenario since more light means more options for the exposure triangle. Here is one:

Dog Days Already? by John Cecilian

Its going to be in the 90's for the second day in a row here in New Jersey and it is only mid May. Seems like summer has already come. Perhaps the days will cool off soon and we can get back to normal weather for the middle of spring, but maybe not. The dogs in our life are even more lazy then they usually are. Just hanging around the house.