Thanksgiving Cactus Photos

February 24th, 2010 by Matt

Thanksgiving Cactus Photo

Thanksgiving Cactus

I took this series on the beautiful Thanksgiving Cactus back in 2005. What a magical little plant!

Ah, nature. Photographers are forever travelling to remote regions to capture exotic, beautiful images…think National Geographic photos from Africa or Asia…or exotic travelogue photos from some South Pacific island paradise… But how often do we ignore the beauty that is right on our doorstep, in our backyards, or even, gasp…in our house! This magical little cactus, our houseplant(!), called, wonderfully, the “Thanksgiving Cactus,” just started blooming, and what a reminder that nature and her beauty are everywhere! And true to nature, this little plant is blooming on her time, in January!

I had to see if I could capture the grace, color, and beauty that our little friend radiated. I spent a couple of hours yesterday coming up with these images. These are the images that I’ve chosen for “the finals,” from which I’ll choose three to four, max.

In a recent post, I mentioned the new 12.8 megapixel Canon EOS 5D. Well, I bought one last month or so, and have been gradually learning the camera’s features and developing new techniques to get the best photos out of the camera. I am thrilled with this camera’s performance! The ability to see my results as I shoot has really expanded my creativity in unexpected ways. I no longer have to guess about exposure. I try it and adjust on the fly! I no longer have to balance film and developing costs with trying many different composition/exposure combinations. Shooting now is virtually free! I can shoot until the memory cards are filled, download them to the computer, and edit to my heart’s content. What an amazing improvement in productivity, speed, and cost! And the sharpness, clarity, and color of the photos are amazing!

I waited a long time to get into digital, mainly due to wanting to be able to enlarge photos up to 24 x 36 inches, and not wanting to lose the “wide angleness” of my wide angle lenses. (This Canon has a full–size sensor, so there is no “multiplier” effect on lenses. In most other digital SLRs, a 17–35mm lens, for example, ends up being a pedestrian 28–55mm lens. That is not what I want, since I do much of my shooting with wide angle lenses!) And with 12.8 megapixels, huge enlargements are possible. It is absolutely a win–win situation!

Anyway, take a look at this little natural wonder. What composition do you think is best?

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Mikey and Char-Char In Stroller

February 15th, 2010 by Matt
Mikey and Charlotte in Stroller

Toothy Grin

Mikey and Charlotte in Stroller

Sweet Faces!

Mikey and Charlotte in Stroller

Serene and Satisfied

I love this set of photos! Mikey (my son) and Char–Char (my niece) decided to sit in a stroller together. Mikey has different smiles in each photo, while Char–Char is serene and seems at peace with the world. Never mind they just finished chasing each other around Grandpa’s back yard! At the time of this photo, Mikey is 3 years, 7 months old, Char–Char is 1 year 6 months.

This photo was taken with my trusty Canon EOS 5D at 1/125 sec, F4, ISO 200, with my old Canon 28–105mm lens at 53mm. (Isn’t EXIF info great? I would never write this stuff down!) I also used fill flash using, in my opinion, the best flash attachment you can buy, the Lightsphere II – Clear, by Gary Fong. This clear bounce attachment takes all the worry and fuss away from lighting your subject and produces fantastic, flattering, well–lit people photos. Try one, you won’t use anything else!

The Lightsphere can be used for many other types of photography, too. Take a look at this series on the Thanksgiving Cactus using it.

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View from Cerro Alto

February 4th, 2010 by Matt

Late Afternoon Morros Photo

Late Afternoon Morros

Here’s a nice shot I took in April of 2005 on a hike up to the top of Cerro Alto, off of highway 41 near Morro Bay, CA. This is the highest peak, at 2624 feet, in the area. Beautiful!

Posted in Fun Stuff, Hiking, Photography | No Comments »

Photographic Proof of Global Warming

February 1st, 2010 by Matt

In 2006, I read a disturbing article in the January/February issue of Sierra magazine entitled “Climate Chaos Has Arrived,” by Bill McKibben. In it, the author reports on various examples showing that global warming is indeed a fact: a scientific revelation in September 2006 that reported satellite images showing that the polar icecap is now 20% thinner than historical averages, the increasing frequency and severity of weather–based disasters, and most convincing, historical before and after photographic evidence of the melting of our largest glaciers. Take a look at these photos and say they aren’t a little scary, I dare you!

Grinell Glacier, Glacier National Park, 1911

Grinell Glacier, Glacier National Park, 1911

Grinell Glacier, Glacier National Park, 2000

Grinell Glacier, Glacier N. P., 2000

Pasterze Glacier, Austria, 1875

Pasterze Glacier, Austria, 1875

Pasterze Glacier, Austria, 2004

Pasterze Glacier, Austria, 2004

Rhone Glacier, Switzerland, 1859

Rhone Glacier, Switzerland, 1859

Rhone Glacier, Switzerland, 2001

Rhone Glacier, Switzerland, 2001

Portage Glacier, Alaska, 1950

Portage Glacier, Alaska, 1950

Portage Glacier, Alaska, 2001

Portage Glacier, Alaska, 2001

Showing these “before” and “after” photos side by side really drives the point home! This is scary stuff! Environmental photographer Gary Braasch has made a career of photographing many of the world’s ecosystems, especially in the areas of climatic change and biodiversity. Thanks to people like him, the truth is becoming clearer and clearer. Dramatic photos such as these shots of the melting glaciers provide all the proof I need that the climate is indeed getting warmer! For more on this topic, please take a look at worldviewofglobalwarming.org.

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More Valencia Peak Photos

January 19th, 2010 by Matt

Valencia Peak Photo

Meadow Full of Clouds

Here are a few more photos of Valencia Peak and the surrounding Montana de Oro State Park. Actually, all of these photos were taken on a couple of days during June and July of 2005. This is a truly special place!

See all of the Valencia Peak series on one page here.

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Photo Series–Valencia Peak, Montana de Oro State Park, CA

January 15th, 2010 by Matt

Valencia Peak Photo

Blue and Gold Spectacle

Back in 2005, I was living in the San Luis Obispo area and took this photo series. San Luis Obispo is a beautiful area, and if you’ve never been, then go!

The links will take you to my previous mattrussellgraphics.com design until I update this website to awesome newness. Enjoy!

Well, I’ve finally finished my template scheme for my photography, and I’m really happy with them. I’ve even rigged up a slick little way of alternating between a standard “thumbnail” display and a “light table” display of thumbnail images, based on some great Eric Meyer techniques. Check it out!

For my first set of photos, I’ve picked out a series I took in July, 2005 on a hike in Montana de Oro State Park near San Luis Obispo, CA. Valencia Peak, at 1347 feet, is the highest point in Montana de Oro park, so naturally, that’s the hike I am drawn to! It is truly a beautiful hike, situated next to the Pacific Ocean, where the fog continuously rolls in and out causing the light to continuously change. From a photographer’s viewpoint, the conditions couldn’t be better!

I hope you enjoy the photos!

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Welcome!

December 21st, 2009 by Matt

Welcome to my new website! It’s primary focus will be on landscape and nature photography and will feature my portfolio of images. I also want to discuss current topics in the photographic world, both digital and film–based, as well as graphic design, the web, cars and racing, comics, any other thing that comes into my mind or interests me! In that spirit, I am also, little–by–little, re–posting some of my posts from my now–retired mattrussellgraphics.com website. I hope you enjoy the old, as well as the new!

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