Wednesday Wonderment – pt 8

Lowly beauty with benefits

With Spring fast approaching, I have been in a somewhat more floral mood, which leads me to this little flower that soon every gardener will be trying to remove from their lawns: the dandelion.

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Spherical Beauty

The humble dandelion is a simple yet beautiful flower that is maligned only for its propensity to spread very quickly, as its seed head has the ability to start many other plants. In many parts of the world, this plant is cultivated.  The name dandelion comes from the French dent de lion, which translates to lion’s tooth; the dandelion leaf has a resemblance to lion’s teeth.

Historically, dandelion was prized for a variety of medicinal properties, and it contains a number of pharmacologically active compounds. Dandelion is used as a herbal remedy in Europe, North America, and China. It has been used in herbal medicine to treat infections, bile and liver problems, and as a diuretic.

The flower petals, along with other ingredients, usually including citrus, are used to make dandelion wine. The ground, roasted roots can be used as a caffeine-free dandelion coffee. Dandelion was also traditionally used to make the traditional British soft drink dandelion and burdock, and is one of the ingredients of root beer. Also, dandelions were once delicacies eaten by the Victorian gentry, mostly in salads and sandwiches.

Dandelion leaves contain abundant vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins A, C, and K, and are good sources of calcium, potassium, iron, and manganese.

Overall, the lowly dandelion is a good little plant, except when it disturbs the green of your lovely lawn!

Technical Details

This image was captured with a Canon EOS 5D Mk II and an EF 100mm f/2.8L macro lens .  Exposure settings were  f/7.1 at 1/125 second with ISO 400.

Monday Afternoon Tree

Lifting night’s veil

It’s a rather somber weather day in New England, as rain has settled in for a couple of days, so something to cheer us up!

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Spring’s arrival?

The Yoga Tree stands resolutely, as we catch the first glimpse of the Sun’s efforts to lift night’s veil of darkness from the horizon.  Strong, yet flexible, enduring through the seasons, she inspires all of us.

Monday’s Food Moment – Pomegranate

Another red superfood!

The Punica Granatum produces a  a fruit that has become extremely popular during recent years, as it’s one of those superfoods that you just shouldn’t do without!

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Pomegranate Seeds

The pomegranate is native from Iran to the Himalayas in northern India and was cultivated and naturalized over the whole Mediterranean region since ancient times. It is widely cultivated throughout India and the drier parts of southeast Asia, Malaya, the East Indies and tropical Africa. The tree was introduced into California by Spanish settlers in 1769. In the United States it is grown for its fruits mainly in the drier parts of California and Arizona.

Loaded with anti-oxidants and also having anti-inflammatory properties, the pomegranate deserves the designation of superfood!  The only drawback it has, is that it can be a little tricky to extricate its delicious seeds without making a mess.  Two great techniques are shown in this BBC video on removing pomegranate seeds.

Hope you enjoy the photo and remember to get some pomegranates, when they are in season!

Technical Details

This shot was set up in my studio using a product table, on which I put just a smidgen of glitter to add some interest.  The pomegranate seeds were arranged with great care to ensure they looked their best.  Using two studio lights with softboxes, I dialed them in for just a bit of shadow and f/6.3 at 100 ISO and 1/100 second exposure.

Camera used was a Canon EOS 5D Mk II with an EF 70-200mm f/2.8 USM lens.

WPC – One Love (reprise)

The Kiss

There was another image that came to mind immediately, when I saw the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge theme of One Love, so I wanted to make sure that I shared it with you.

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One Love!

 

This is one of the images from a wedding I shot for my friends, Matt and Traci.  Wedding photography presents some interesting challenges, in that you have to be 100% in the moment at all times, so that you catch those special little moments that permeate the occasion.

Such was the case in this (unposed) shot, as I had a sense of what was about to happen and caught the moment.  I’m fairly confident that this is still Matt and Traci’s favorite image from their wedding, as it sums it all up: One Love!

Technical Details

I shot this with my Canon EOS 5D Mk II using a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L USM lens.  Additional light was provided using a Canon 580EX Speedlite with settings of f/5 at 1/100 second and 640 ISO.

In response to Weekly Photo Challenge – One Love

The Marked Woman

Bette Davis Eyes

I’m sure you’re aware at this point that we have Cardigan Welsh Corgis ruling our house.  In age order, they are Darwin (14.5 y/o), Ransom (13 y/o), Bette (11 y/o) and Dora (2.5 y/o); each have their own personality…

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Intense Bette

Bette, aka The Marked Woman, is affectionally known by my wife and me, as ‘The Bitch’.  If she were to be cast in Monty Python’s Holy Grail, she would be in the role of the harmless little bunny.  Yes, Bette, although she has mellowed quite a bit at this age, is rather intense, which came across in this quick shot that I took of her during a walk.

She has plenty of good characteristics, but a pleasant disposition is not one of them; if she is acting really nice, we usually end up taking her to the veterinarian, as she is sick.  We love her just as much as the other three.

Bette used to be an excellent agility dog, but has been retired from agility for a couple of years to eliminate the wear and tear on her body.  She is deathly afraid of sheep, so herding was not her thing, but she has found a new passion: barn hunt.  In barn hunt, one or more rats (in protective tubes) are hidden among hay or straw bales, which can be stacked; the dog’s job is to find the rats and indicate where they are within a set time limit.  Bette gets excited when she finds a rat, so she is enjoying this game.

Technical Data

This portrait was shot with my Canon EOS 5D Mk III using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens.  Shutter speed was at 1/100 second with f/6.3 at 400 ISO.

Ugly Unicorn!

Ugly is the new cute

It must be something entirely human to collect things; just because we like something and because we can.  One thing that always grabs my eye is creativity, which certainly describes my collection of custom art toys.

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Kentucky Fried Hard Core UU

Meet the Ugly Unicorn!  This unique creation by Jon Malmstedt caught my eye a number of years back, as its whimsical nature is coupled with an imaginative design.  Jon’s design has proven to be a great platform, as he has created many interesting variants with different base colors and amazing paint jobs, which make Jon’s work true pieces of art.

Jon has also done a significant number of collaborations with other artists, particularly in the Japanese art toy scene, as Jon has been living in Tokyo for quite a while.  Jon has also created a number of other unique toys, including a new generation of the Ugly Unicorn, which I will feature at a later time.

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Halloween UU Glows!

As I mentioned, the base vinyl and paint jobs can be very interesting, such as the glow in the dark version that Jon created for one of his Halloween releases.

My collection is approaching 100 Ugly Unicorns, which include a significant number of very limited releases and several one of a kinds.

And I shouldn’t forget to mention that Jon is a great guy, as I have had the pleasure to meet him several times and go for a hike and a drink with him!  Go check out his on-line store, as well, where he releases most of his work: Rampage Toys and Art, and tell him I sent you!

Technical Data

Both images were captured with a Canon EOS 5D Mk II and EF 24-105 f/4L IS USM lens.  The top image was lit with studio lights, dialed in for 1/100 second, f6.3 and 100 ISO.  The glow in the dark image was done with an 8 second, f/5.6 at 400 ISO exposure.

Winter’s Beauty – pt 5

Snow in Spring

Just when you thought that I might not mention Winter again, I ran across this image from last year that wasn’t actually from Winter…

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Spring is coming!

Last year, I captured this image on March 29th, so it really was Spring!  The Winter of 2015 was by far the snowiest in my memory of New England.  This little vista appeared before me when I went for a short walk, while my wife was getting a herding lesson with on of our dogs.

Hope you enjoy the Spring that is coming (and Autumn for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere).

Technical Details

This was shot with an iPhone 5S using the standard camera app.