Monthly-ish Miscellanea

Miscellanea Header

Anyone want to pay me to travel and take photos with your stuffed animal? I promise good pictures!

Speaking of photos…One of mine was featured by Lensbaby this month!

The comedy wildlife photography competition always makes me laugh!

And I always love seeing the amazing work in the National Geographic contest, too.

I have a hard time imagining this will ever be a practical method for making furniture, but I am fascinated by this chair farmer.

Crystal Ball Photography tips and tricks

My October creativity project was crystal ball photography, and it was an interesting experiment into what works and what did not. Most of my shots were with the 24-70, as it has the versatility of some close shots and some wide shots. Some things I learned:

Compositionally, you can shoot tightly around the ball, or more wide:

Crystal Ball composition-1 Crystal Ball composition-2

Sometimes it is nice to line up horizon lines:

Crystal Ball View-1

And sometimes you can completely ignore them:

Autumn on the Alpine Loop-1

I personally think either a match or complete mismatch looks better than an almost-but-not-quite match:

Tibble Fork-2

The aperture you choose will make for very different images! You can go for a more abstract background shooting wide open:

Fall Crystal Ball-2

Or a more defined background with a smaller aperture:

Autumn on the Alpine Loop-5

Either way, I find it looks better if the edges of the ball are in focus, and that often takes an aperture of at least f/4 with my camera/lens combo. Here’s one where I didn’t get that and I think it doesn’t look as good:

Crystal Ball Missed edges-1
Focus on the refraction in the ball rather than the background. Here’s one where I tried it the other way around, and I consider it a flop.

Crystal Ball focus flop-1

Sometimes it looks better to flip the image vertically so the glass ball is at the top. I did it with this image, because the background looked more abstract and the refraction makes more sense right side up:

Crystal Ball Vertical flip-1

But this one I chose not to, because there is enough of the background in focus that it made sense to leave it, and I felt my hand looked weird upside down.


Sometimes it makes sense to flip it horizontally, too. In these images, you can see that flipping horizontally makes the words more readable:

City Library-2
City Library-1

Sometimes holding the ball is the only way to get the composition and refraction you want. But I have found I much prefer images without my hand in them. I haven’t tried using someone else’s hand, but I know I don’t like MY hand in the images as much! I just know that I played with a bunch of different ways of holding my hand and I am not really loving any of them!


The thing about spheres is that they like to roll. Often they’ll roll away from you. It helps to find a small crack, divot or corner to put it in:

Mountain Stream-2


Or you can create your own on smooth surfaces. I’ve brought clear washers, buttons, a key ring, and sometimes just put some dirt or sand underneath it to prop it in place.

Crystal Ball crack-1 Crystal Ball sand-1 Crystal Ball keyring-1


Make sure you polish the ball and don’t leave fingerprints! Sadly, I didn’t notice this one until I got home.

oops Fingerprint-1

And last but certainly not least: The ball can make nice starbursts and flares, but it can also set fire to things! Right after I took this shot, I smelled smoke and realized the wooden handrail was burning! It you look closely there are a few wisps of smoke! Thankfully moving the ball made it stop and I dumped some water on it just in case, no real harm done.


Have fun shooting with your crystal ball and don’t set fire to anything!




Monthly-ish Miscellanea

Miscellanea Header

A whole beach disappears after a storm. And decades later, a single storm brings it back!

Another beachy story: This man draws labyrinths on the Oregon shore. This video was shot at a beach where I took some photos that now hang in my living room!

Who knew? The very first picture ever sent by phone was birth photography!

I’m no chemist (that’s for sure!) but I truly can appreciate the beauty in these videos of chemical reactions.

I love this sweet story about the town of Providence, RI and the daily ritual they have going with the local children’s hospital.


Monthly Project: More Lensbaby Fisheye!

I tried to move on to a new monthly project for August and September, I really did. But I was loving the fisheye so much I kept shooting with it!

As promised, more from my trip to California:

And on a trip to Utah State University, where I had time to wander around campus while my daughter interviewed for jobs. (She got one!)

But never fear, I promise I won’t be shooting fisheye forever. I spent the whole day yesterday starting my next creativity project, and it’s not fisheye!

Lensbaby Circular Fisheye

It’s an unconventional lens for sure (all the Lensbabies are!) but I really enjoy my Lensbaby Circular Fisheye. In my efforts to get out and shoot more, I have decided to choose a lens and focus on that lens for a month. In July, I have been taking my CFE out at least twice a week and have learned a lot about shooting with it!
Here are some recent favorites with this lens:

I took it downtown:

And to the aquarium:

And even on a short trip to California!

I haven’t finished editing the pictures from the California trip, so I may add another post with more of those at some point.

I have learned a lot this month! Would anyone like any tips for shooting with the Lensbaby Circular Fisheye?

And finally, one of my older fisheye images made it into the Lensbaby University video on that lens!



Monthly-ish Miscellanea

Miscellanea Header

The logistics of planning a wedding like this would totally overwhelm me, but the photos are really amazing!

It doesn’t take much to bring people together, and good things can happen.

An interesting look behind the scenes at Saturday night Live – who knew that costuming was so much work?

Why it matters that we not pass along those “human traffickers followed me around the store” stories. How false narratives hurt real trafficking victims

I’ve seen for myself the damage done by this kind of destructive behavior. It’s sad.

Monthly-ish Miscellanea

Miscellanea Header

Science is cool. Science is fascinating. And Science is Beautiful, too!

I love the ocean. I love photography. And so it’s only natural that I loved seeing these Underwater Images of the Year

I love Google Maps, and this is a really cool use of it. Definitely one I don’t have the patience and time to do myself.

A sample of things from the National Parks and Monuments in my state. I enjoy exploring, and have been to nearly all of these sites!

When our kiddoes were small, we used to camp and play in the mud flats at the south end of this lake (right side of the photo)