Tag Archives: nature

June 2013 Desktop Background

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  • All these backgrounds are free because I’m a nice guy. Not only are they copyrighted, but I’m friends with Chuck Norris so please do the math and don’t do bad things with them.

I guess it’s better late than never to get out the desktop background for this month. It’s funny how you can add an item to your daily or weekly “to do” list, and the next thing you know, that item has moved to the bottom of the list and keeps getting pushed back to the next day or the next week until you feel like you are the cat chasing a laser pointer – every time you reach out with your motivated, productive paw, something moves that little dot just out of your reach. Such is the way with the ebb and flow of blogging.

With that in mind, I’m re-dedicating myself to getting out at least one blog post per week again so bear with me and we’ll get that damn laser pointer caught, even if I have to chop off my tail to do it.

So without further adieu, here is the featured desktop background for you to download and enjoy on your computer, tablet, or smartphone.

About the Image

Water Lily Bloom in Water Garden (June 2013 Desktop Background)

June 2013 Desktop Background

What would a monthly desktop background be without an amazing story to go with it? One that includes an unsung hero, a beautiful woman with a small pistol strapped to her leg, and how they come together to not only save the world, but the fate of fine art photography itself?

You’ll have to go somewhere else for a story like that. The story behind this image probably won’t keep you on the edge of any seat you are on, but you’d be amazed to find that the greatest images in the world weren’t always taken with amazing stories behind them; great images are made by those with the vision and passion to pursue that elusive “perfect shot” that is always just out of reach.

On my way along the path to find the “perfect” photograph, I stumbled upon this shot. I was at a local water garden actually with the Peoria Flickr group for one of our monthly photowalks. My good friend, Lily, who is doing some amazing work with lighting and compositing, invited us out to a rural water garden just down the road from her house.

As most of you know, I’m not much for capturing nature, but it’s important for every artist to push their boundaries and spend some time in those areas they don’t necessarily find inspiration from and look for ways to “draw out” that inspiration in any way they can; it makes for a better, well-rounded photographer with a stronger vision. So, that’s what I did. And this photograph was one of the first ones I captured. I think it speaks for itself.

Desktop Background – April 2013

Low (2012) - a row of lillies outside the Smithsonian Castle in Washington, DC

Low (2012)

Well, it’s that time of year again. The pranksters will be all over the Internet and in the offices of America, pulling off hijinks on their fellow man. Unfortunately for me, I’ve given up that lifestyle for the most part so I have nothing planned this year, not even for you fine people. The truth is, and this really is the truth, it crept up on me and I was not ready so I’m just going with the “I’m too grown up for this” mindset, even though we both know I’m not.

With that said, I’m going to do the opposite of an April Fool’s joke… I’m going to do something nice with absolutely no strings attached. Can you believe it? Right now, some of you are thinking that this has to be a joke. That’s the crappy part of April Fool’s Day – no matter what you do or how nice you are, everyone thinks it’s just fake and the bomb will drop any minute.

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  • All these backgrounds are free because I’m a nice guy. Not only are they copyrighted, but I’m friends with Chuck Norris so please do the math and don’t do bad things with them.

Well, dear folks, I promise you that you will wake up tomorrow and see there is no hole in the ground from where that bomb fell because there isn’t one this time. Simply put, not only did I forgot April Fool’s this year, but I forgot about March completely. Not the month, but the free downloadable background. I had one made up and just never got around to doing the blog post. So… for April, you get not just one, but two free backgrounds to add to your collection and use this month.

The first one is a shot you may have seen before if you have browsed through my portfolios. I took this shot during last year’s trip to Washington, DC. I already did a blog post about these lilies so we will just skip over the story (there really isn’t much to it… I laid on the ground to get the angle and people thought I was acting funny) and move to the more exciting tale of the second shot.

Promises in the Dark

Pat Benatar, singing, with husband Neil Girardo playing piano

Pat Benatar (2012)

As anyone who knows me personally can tell you, not only am I a professional photographer, but I’m also a professional musician. I’m also a total music nut. You know the guy who can tell you which guest players were on which tracks on a particular album? Yeah… that’s me.

Growing up, I was raised on a whole range of music. My dad introduced me to southern rock, Johnny Cash, the Highwaymen, Kenny G, Garth Brooks, The Judds and more while mom covered Motown, 80’s pop, classical jazz, classic rock like Simon & Garfunkel and the Beatles, and more. One of mom’s favorite singers was Pat Benatar; she was especially envious of Pat’s long black sailor coats that she wore onstage.

When I started diving headfirst into my own musical exploration in high school, and then, college, I quickly fell in love with Pat’s sound as well. When she announced a tour date in Bloomington, Illinois when I was in college, I bought tickets immediately. Unfortunately, the place was pretty bare and the turnout was horrible for such a rock legend. But, even with that going on, Pat, and her band, including her amazing guitarist husband, Neil Girardo, came out and rocked the hell out of the place.

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  • All these backgrounds are free because I’m a nice guy. Not only are they copyrighted, but I’m friends with Chuck Norris so please do the math and don’t do bad things with them.

When I left that night, I thought I’d never see Pat perform again. She had admitted to being tired of being on the road at times and I felt that this last round of touring would make her want to stay home and call it a day for good. Imagine my surprise when I found out she was hitting the road again last year, only three years after I saw her the last time, and this time around, she was coming to the Peoria Civic Center.

The first time I saw Pat, I wasn’t really into photography, and regretted not having a camera worth shooting with then, but this time around, you better believe I grabbed my trusty 70-300mm lens and hit the show. As you can see, I ended up with some amazing material and I’m so very glad I got to see her once again.

No matter what anyone might say, she is simply one of the greatest female voices of this generation and can still rock her ass off to this day.

Tuesday Viewsday: Washington, DC Lilies

It’s been a while since my last Tuesday Viewsday post and I thought I’d dive back in with an image from this year’s trip to Washington, DC. I know I’ve bored all of you with my play-by-play of the trip so let’s take a closer look at one of the images that was captured during those few days in the nation’s capital.

Low

Low

Let me start off by saying that I have realized over the years that I am not a nature or wildlife photographer. Yes, it’s true that I have a few images in my collection from those genres, but those are mostly from times and places where I was in the right place at the right time.

I was never passionate about capturing the natural world; don’t get me wrong, I love experiencing the outdoors, but actively seeking out plants and animals to capture with my camera isn’t where my heart lies.

So, when I’m presented with the opportunity of capturing a subject that I’m not used to, I challenge myself to use my knowledge and vision to create an image that I am passionate about. When it comes to flowers, I feel an extra set of challenges.

With this shot, aptly titled “Low,” I was inspired by a workshop I took with the great Ben Willmore a few weeks earlier back home in Peoria. As a photographer who is also not particularly excited about capturing nature, one of his suggestions for spicing up an image is to explore every angle or, as he put it, “shoot like an ant, shoot like a giraffe.”

This is great advice for photographers of all skill levels and genres. No matter what you are capturing, try to shoot from the left, right, top, bottom… get up on a ladder or lay down on the ground… stop shooting the images that everyone else is. For me, I challenge myself even further when I’m in heavily photographed places like Washington, DC, to capture images that represent that place, but most people haven’t yet seen “on a postcard,” if you will.

One little sidenote about this image… I love the use of leading lines in here as well. What does that mean? Well, take a look at the curved “line” that the row of flowers make as they move through the frame.

Do you see how your eye seems to follow from the larger, closer flowers in the foreground all the way back into the background as they recede away from the camera? That’s a leading line… it is “leading” your eye through the image. This is a wonderful composition element to use when capturing buildings and architecture as well so make sure to give it a try.

Now, granted, I did get some very funny looks when capturing these beautiful lilies, but laying down on the ground in the middle of a path in the nation’s capital will have people staring no matter what. I’d also like to think that they might be thinking to themselves, “well that guy is trying something no one else hasn’t… he might be nuts or he might just be on to something.” Remember, the line between insanity and genius is thinner than anything I know.

So, go out and try it yourself… shoot like an ant from down low or like a giraffe from up high. Let me know how it goes!

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