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Happy Halloween

It’s that time of year again, when on October 31st some people in the United States celebrate a silly holiday known as Halloween.

Well, that’s not entirely true. It seems what they are really celebrating is trick-or-treating.

At any rate, Barb and I don’t do anything to celebrate this holiday, except to be home from about 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM and hand out to the neighborhood kids that ring our doorbell. We don’t get a lot of trick-or-treaters; some years it can be as high as 120, but lately it’s been dwindling down to between 50 and 70 kids.

The photo above was taken on October 20th, an overcast Saturday morning here in Austin. I was out on my normal Saturday morning walk, and had my Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera with me. I was curious as to what types of flowers were still out after mid-October, and that’s why I had my camera. It turns out that there a surprising number of different plants that are still producing flowers at that time of year here. I’ll probably show many of them in a post next weekend. I’m getting sort of tired of photographing flowers right now (but I’ll never tired of their beauty). I think it may be about time to head back downtown Austin for another of my solo photowalks.

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Temporarily Off The Air

I have been too busy lately to spend any leisure time on the internet or read anyone else’s blog. Right now I am too busy to put together a new blog post of my own.  Well, OK I did find the time to create this little post. :-)

I did go out on my Saturday morning walk, and took my camera with me, but I haven’t had the time to do anything more than just get the photos onto my computer and back them up. Things should slow down to something more “normal” by this next weekend.

If you remember the Indian Head TV test pattern shown above, then you realize that this station is only temporarily off the air. Thanks for stopping by!

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A Book of Flowers

For the last four weeks, I have been attending one of the Informal Classes at the University of Texas in the evenings. The course is titled “Publishing Your Photography”, and the instructor is Brian Loflin. Brian is also the president of the Austin Shutterbug Club that I have been a member of for over 5 years now. Brian has been a great teaching influence on me, as I have taken at least 5 or 6 of his classes over the years. Here is a link to Brian’s blog.

This Wednesday evening is our last class of this course. Our exercise for this last class is to create a book of our images, using the free BookSmart software that we downloaded from Blurb.com.

Reminder: You can always view any photo at a larger size by just clicking on it. You will then need to use your browser’s “Back Button” to return to my story.

For last week’s assignment to the class, we had to write a proposal for our book. Here’s what I submitted:

Proposal for a Blurb Photo Book, by Gregg Mack.

October 8, 2012

For our assignment for the class “Publishing Your Photography”, I propose to put together and publish a small coffee table style of photo book. This book would contain 20 photo of close-up photos of plants and flowers that I encountered during my frequent walks around my neighborhood, during the summer of 2012.

My intent would be to have approximately 35 to 40 of the books printed, where my wife and I would hand them out as Christmas presents to our family and close friends. I may even use a few of them as promotional material for my future photography business.

The book would be mostly photos, with minimal captions. This is not a scientific study of plants, and so the captions will be more of what thoughts I may have been thinking, or what photographic technique that I was attempting to use, when I took the photo. No attempt will be made to accurately identify the plant or flower.

Now to be honest, I am not certain that I will follow-through with what I stated as my intent in the 2nd paragraph. I usually produce a calendar that contains images with an Austin theme. But I had to come up with something for my class assignment. :-)

All of the photos contained in this blog post have been shown in some of my previous blog posts. I am including them again here, simply because they are the photos that I have selected to put into my Blurb book.

All of the photos in this blog post were taken by me, with my Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera. All of these photos were taken as I walked around my neighborhood, and I did not bring a tripod with me on these walks. For the photos above, I used the 45mm f/1.8 lens, and I tried to keep the aperture open to create a shallow depth of field. The smallest aperture that I used in the above photos was the one with the two cacti in it; and the aperture was f/3.2. All of the other 6 photos used f/1.8 to f/2.8, and yes that does blur the objects in the background quite nicely.

All of the remaining photos were taken while using the 12-50mm f/3.5 – 6.3 lens. The aperture on that lens is capable of opening up to f/3.5, but the widest aperture that I used on all of these next photos was f/6.0; and that is what I used for these very next two photos.

As you can see, even a lens aperture of f/6.0 can result in a very shallow depth of field, when the object is fairly close to the lens.

I do not know what the plant above is named, so I just refer to them as Dr. Seuss Plants.

This next plant is called the Pride of Barbados, and they seem to grow exceptionally well here in the central Texas climate.

Now I am not a botanist, or even all that interested in studying plants. As I result, I really do not know what variety of plants that are shown in the majority of these photos.

I do know that the following yellow flower is from a Prickly Pear Cactus that was just blooming here in mid-August.

I think this next cactus is a Barrel Cactus, but I should probably ask my instructor, Brian Loflin, as he and his wife Shirley have published a book on Texas Cacti.

For this next little purple flower, I changed my position so that the white limestone landscaping brick was in the background.

Here’s a nice red one, with a few strands of a spider web attached to it.

I don’t know what these massive yellow flowering bushes are, but they are still in full bloom 2 months later in mid-October.

The blue color in the background of this next photo is a neighbor’s swimming pool. Our neighborhood is rather hilly, so I was able to see over their 7 foot high fence, while I was standing on the sidewalk! (There is only a 4 or 5 foot area where that is possible.)

These next little white flowers were hard to capture, as they were swaying freely in the gentle breeze. Even my shutter speed of 1/320 of a second didn’t quite eliminate all of the motion blur.

I’m pretty sure that these next red flowers are from an Oleander bush. They are popular landscaping plants here, as the deer will not eat them.

And finally back to the Dr. Seuss plants right outside of our front door.

I’ve got all of these photos gathered up and put into a folder on the desktop of my laptop, and ready to take to my class this Wednesday evening. If the book turns out nice, I may actually order a  few.

If you have actually read all the way down to here, then I simply want to thank you for stopping by and looking at my photos!