Bloomsations and More: Blog en-us (C) Bloomsations and More (Bloomsations and More) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:12:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:12:00 GMT Bloomsations and More: Blog 81 120 Winter Window Shopping My wife and I love to window shop and not because it's less costly than grabbing that shopping cart and pursuing goodies in the aisles.  It's just fun for us, but during the winter, it can be a little cold out on the street so I hope your time in today's post gives you some of that warmth we often need during this colder time of the year.


Here are the three images on display today and after you've snuggled up with one or more, you can read on to learn a little secret about each one.

Streams of ColorStreams of ColorImage Title: Streams of Color (All Star)

It's a lamp...really. At the
Capistrano SurfSide Inn in California, I saw a light fixture in the hallway on our floor. Getting up close I found I could isolate a number of different patterns within the whole making for some intriguing and beautiful images.

Voting Results: I had thoroughly enjoyed taking images of the hotel lamp but had little hope of this shot being well received in the Abstract Photography challenge. When it started getting lots of votes and enabled me to earn my first All Star ranking, it had a tremendous impact on my life as a photographer. Not only did it validate my ‘talent’ but it also awakened me to an area of photographic art that I now look for in many everyday things.

Abstract Photography: Vote Total - 61% / Challenge Results
Visit Photographer's Picks Facebook Album
Beauty by DesignBeauty by DesignTaken in the gardens near the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco, this image has been cropped significantly from the original. I wanted to focus on the people enjoying the floral gardens in different ways so I eliminated some of the foreground and a lot from the left side of the shot.

Voting Results: The Gardens Challenge is the second contest “Beauty by Design” has been entered in and voting has been strong in both. The image has been my top vote getter during the first few days of ‘Gardens’ and ended up tied for second among my eight entries in ‘Man and Nature.’ By the way, there was a different voting process during the Man and Nature challenge which is why the votes are so different in the two challenges.

Gardens: 119 Votes (through the first 3 days) / Man and Nature: 7

Challenge Results / Facebook Album
Man and Nature: Challenge Results / Facebook Album / Online Store
Lounge Chair for TwoLounge Chair for TwoThese two beauties were captured lounging in a butterfly exhibit at the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco.

Vote Total: The Perfect Duo - 31%









Streams of Color: This image, and three others, helped me reach 9th place in an Abstract Photography online photo challenge with over 1,600 competitors.  Many of these other photographers were serious amateurs or professionals and the voting was done only by the competitors, so this was not something where I got lots of friends to vote me into the top level.  But that's not the secret you didn't know.  When I heard about the challenge, I not only, didn't understand what an 'abstract' photograph looked like, but I KNEW there weren't any in my portfolio.  I can't remember exactly how it happened but I finally found four that I thought 'might' be appropriate and entered the contest.  The rest, as they say, is history.


Beauty by Design: This is a beautiful park close to where we lived for over 31 years.  What makes it unique to me, is the small amount of people we saw during the different times we visited.  This image was taken during the Summer of 2013 and we hardly saw more than a few people at a time, even though my research indicates over 13 million people visit each year.  Maybe they weren't attracted to this pretty location in...wait for the big reveal...San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.


Lounge Chair for Two: California has huge migrations of monarch butterflies but this image wasn't captured there.  Four states, according to a site I visited, have selected the monarch as their state insect.  And of the four, Alabama, Idaho, Illinois, and Texas, I've only been to two and didn't capture this shot in either location.  So now the secret will be revealed...the state that calls the 9-Spotted Lady Beetle their state insect and not the Monarch, was the place this image of two monarchs on a flower became mine...New York.

Thanks SO much for stopping by today...hope you enjoyed what you saw.

(Bloomsations and More) window shopping Wed, 14 Mar 2018 23:47:24 GMT
50 Feet of Pics What type of subject matter gets my camera shaking?  That's the topic of today's Apertures and you may be surprised by what you discover.  UntitledUntitledDirectly across the street from our home was a friends house with a small grove of trees planted just behind her back yard. I caught this picture as the sun was setting on an overcast day.

One day, I can't remember why, I began to wonder what would happen if I limited my search for photographic images to 50 feet from the front door of our home.  Suddenly, what some might consider a hair-brained idea, became a brand new project, which I'm calling 50 Feet of PicsI decided nothing inside our house could be photographed for this series and only items outside that we didn't place were in play.  The exterior of the home was fair game and so were items that came into the 50 foot space temporarily.


In preparation for this new venture, I measured the perimeter of our home and realized, in the process, that some shots I've taken in the past would fall within the 50 foot limit so that pumped me up to get started.  While measuring, I found some really exciting possibilities like man-hole covers, sewer drains, and portions of parking stalls.  Wow...I could hardly wait to get started.


In December 2016, I changed the project from 50 feet to 698 miles, with our move from Hercules, CA to Creston, WA.  Actually, I'm still shooting withing 50 feet of our home, it's just the home that's moved.  


So that gives you a little look into my photographic doesn't always identify subjects that others might choose.  In fact, I've started a series titled, "You Wouldn't Shoot This" and the first gallery is already online.  If you dare, check it out and, if you haven't already, sign up for email updates by contacting me, so you won't miss the next exciting gallery to show up.


(Bloomsations and More) apertures Fri, 28 Jul 2017 00:36:57 GMT
Photo Challenge All Stars Can you tell what makes a photo enjoyable to view?  It's not a precise science but I'm learning with the help of other photographers some of the key components.  In this edition of Window Shopping, I'll share some tips and let you learn some of the story behind three of my most recent All Stars.

Sniff SniffSniff SniffI snapped this and several other images of the doe mothering her fawn in the side yard of my cousin's lakeside home in Hayden, ID.

After earning All Star status in the Photo of the Month challenge in 2016, Sniff Sniff became a multiple winner after a great finish in the Family Moments challenge, which ended in January 2017.

Vote Total: Photo of the Month (July 2016) - 32%
Initially MineInitially MineWhile touring the garden at the Wild Flour Bread Bakery, located in Freestone, California near Sebastopol, I couldn't resist this depiction of the first letter of my wife's name, Ellen. Wedding WindowsWedding WindowsGood thing I'm not a wedding photographer because I'd have a hard time keeping my attention on the happy couple if there was to much beauty around me. In this shot, taken in a forgotten church in Berkeley, CA., I was taking photos, as a friend, at a wedding and couldn't resist getting some shots of the interior of the building.


Sniff Sniff: Subject Matters - You can snap images of cockroaches, sink drains or your computer keyboard but the result may not produce an image that many people will be find appealing.  Start with a potentially great subject, like this doe mothering her fawn, which I captured in the side yard of my cousin's lakeside home in Hayden, ID., and you may come up with a 'winner.'  Sniff Sniff was my best finisher in two online challenges, earning All Star status in the Photo of the Month challenge in 2016 and the Family Moments challenge, which ended in January 2017.


Initially Yours: Less Can Be More - The removal of elements, which would distract the viewer from the center of attention, can leave the subject of the photo standing on it's own merit. In August, 2010, while enjoying a 3 day, 2 night prize vacation, we came across Wild Flour Bread, a wood fired brick oven baked bread bakery and garden in Freestone, CA.  The bakery was yummy but it was the garden that drew my attention and I was fortunate to capture several floral images, including the one I call 'Initially Yours', my first place finisher in the "Minimalism" challenge.  You can see three other images from the garden in The Mighty Sunflower gallery on my site; Mrs. Yellowpetal, Sunflower Profile, and this one that's looking for a title.


Wedding Windows: Isolation is Healthy - In this shot, the patterns in the stained glass window are emphasized by focusing on a portion of the window and excluding all else.  Another tip I learned from this is it's a good thing I'm not a wedding photographer.  When I captured this image, I was taking photos, as a friend, at a wedding and couldn't resist getting some shots of the interior.  If the wedding was my subject, I would have had a hard time keeping my attention on the happy couple with so much architectural beauty around me.  The photo, by the way, was my top vote getter in the "Seeing Patterns" challenge, which recently concluded.

(Bloomsations and More) Window Shopping Thu, 27 Apr 2017 22:15:09 GMT
Yummy Yummy Carrot Tummy The dragonfly, featured in this inaugural edition of 'Bokeh', was taken at Cornerstone Sonoma in one of their many walk-through gardens showcasing innovative designs by various landscape architects but there's more to the story than that.  Carrot TummyCarrot TummyThis dragonfly was captured at Cornerstone Sonoma in one of their many gardens and got it's name from the vegetable like shape and color of it's abdomen.

I had heard that mornings were the best time to capture winged insects because the dew keeps them relatively immobile.  So when I see butterflys, bees or dragonflys during the afternoon, I rarely even try and get a shot of them.  However, as we were walking through a garden I spotted this insect in flight and for some reason pulled my camera into firing position.  Before I knew it, the dragonfly hovered and then lit on the plant and I took my first shot.  Expecting it to fly away any second, I kept shooting while moving around to get different views.  The little bug stayed in the same place for 5-10 seconds, which is an eternity for flying bugs.

Of course not every image is a keeper and what made my brief time with this particular insect so rewarding, was the quality shot I captured.  I've entered this photo in seven online challenges and it has always performed amazingly well.  In fact, other than two images entered in an Abstract Photography challenge, Carrot Tummy is my third highest vote getter in a single challenge to date, which totals over 80 challenges.



(Bloomsations and More) Bokeh Sat, 31 Dec 2016 01:11:48 GMT
That's So Nat Geo Photographs in National Geographic are fantastic!  Few would argue that statement and many years of history substantiate it.  Formed in 1888, the National Geographic Society has become synonymous with excellent photography and some even use an abbreviated version of their name when remarking about a great photo...'That's so Nat Geo'.  It is with that background that I introduce Nat Geo's 'Your Shot' in my first 'Impressive Images' post.


Members of their photographic community learn about photo assignments and are able to submit work for consideration.  One or more curators reviews the submissions, chooses a select few, and composes a story featuring the images.  I've submitted my work into five assignments and have thoroughly enjoyed the process.  One of my favorites was "Through the Eyes of a Child."


Out of over 10,000 submissions, Gabby Salazar, National Geographic Photographer and Nat Geo Young Explorer looked for images depicting how children might see nature, as that was a key component of the assignment and if you check out the impressive images she selected, I think you'll agree that she did a great job.


Hand's FreeHand's FreeMany an insect can get away being on a child's hand. My bug of choice were caterpillars and I held them, stuffed them in my shirt pocket and even took them to school. When my wife and I took our daughter and her husband to the butterfly exhibit at the Conservatory of Flowers in 2013, we were thrilled to be children once again, especially when our baby girl reached out and let a butterfly crawl onto her hand. A Beached WhaleA Beached WhaleKids often see shapes that adults miss. I consider myself fortunate because many times when I'm out and about, I'll see a shape in the scene that makes me think of something entirely different. The moment I saw this rocky point, I also saw a whale. Guess that's the kid in me. Hidey CatHidey Cat
Hand's Free Beached Whale Hidey Cat

These three images are what I submitted for this assignment and I'd love to also have you check out the rest of my Your Shot portfolio.  As part of the process of submitting images for consideration, I reviewed a number of photos for each assignment and have placed some of those in special galleries in my store.

(Bloomsations and More) Impressive Images Tue, 11 Oct 2016 22:31:18 GMT
Facebook Memory Earlier this year Facebook shared with me a memory from 2013 but it started me thinking about something they never expected.  The memory Facebook told me about included one of my favorite photos of our daughter and her husband. 


My wife and I were visiting them in Southern California and while we were there, we spent a couple of days at the Capistrano SurfSide Inn.  During our stay, I saw a light fixture in the hallway on our floor. Getting up close I isolated a number of different patterns within the whole making for some intriguing images.  It was my first experience with abstract photography and I didn't even realize it until later.


Abstract Photography ResultsAbstract Photography Results

GuruShots held an online challenge for Abstract Photography in July 2015.  I had already entered ten other challenges on their site and almost passed on the abstract one because I didn't think there were any photos in my portfolio that would meet the criteria.  Something prompted me to review the images from the 2013 vacation and that started an amazing chain reaction.


My entries, two selections of the wall sconce plus two other images I thought might be considered abstract, began getting votes...lots of votes.  These challenges were voted on by other photographers in the contest and there were over 1,660 of them.  At the end of the 20 day voting period, my collection was ranked 9th.  I was stunned.


Over time I reflected on the whole process from image capture to 9th place finish and I realized a very amazing thing.  The process of taking high quality abstract images came as naturally as breathing.  Since then, that's been a major focus of my photographic endeavors and I never get tired of looking for the abstract in everyday life.


Check out the Four All Stars

(Bloomsations and More) Memory Card Fri, 15 Jul 2016 16:42:51 GMT
Albert B&Wong Albert Wong is a dear personal friend of mine and we're about as different as night and day, especially when it comes to photography.  He is the black and white guy while I'm a more colorful shooter.  In fact, in my photographic life, I've only shot one roll of black and white film and haven't taken any B&Ws with a digital camera.  "Reaching Up", the image below, is from that lone roll.


I'm curious about trying my hand at the style he loves though, and just may seek him out for help.  As I'm also into abstract work, I wonder how the two would mesh.  He doesn't mention abstracts in his artist statement, which I found very interesting, but maybe that's a conversation we need to have.  And if everything works out, I just might have some content for another blog post.


Reaching UpReaching UpThere was something about the lone stem on the right that spoke to me of promise...a beauty to become fully realized at a later time.

(Bloomsations and More) FotoLand Friends Fri, 11 Mar 2016 20:44:43 GMT
Slanted View Ever wonder why you can't resist looking at a road that disappears into the distance?  It could be an Alluring Diagonal, which was the subject of a recent GuruShots online challenge I entered.  

In the art of photography, diagonal lines are often used to draw the viewer's eye through the photograph and create points of interest where the lines intersect with other lines within the image.  I tried my hand at it and finished 40th in the Elite level (a group of 1201 photographers) and in the top 20% of more than 3500 total entrants.

Carrot TummyCarrot TummyThis dragonfly was captured at Cornerstone Sonoma in one of their many gardens and got it's name from the vegetable like shape and color of it's abdomen.

Alluring DiagonalsFacebook Album / Online Store


(Bloomsations and More) Tips and Tricks Fri, 18 Dec 2015 20:09:33 GMT
Photographer's Picks I've created a gallery of my images liked best by other photographers and hope you like them too. By entering photo challenges on, I've had my photography judged by my peers and have had varied success with the images I've selected. Each of the shots in this collection have received 25% of the votes necessary to achieve the All Star level, the highest of five levels, in a particular challenge. 

Here's a sneak peak at one of the images in the gallery.  Do you think it's the top vote getter? Visit the gallery to find out then select your favorite by leaving a comment.

Rocked and LoadedRocked and Loaded

(Bloomsations and More) Blown Highlights Thu, 16 Jul 2015 19:51:20 GMT
What Picture Do People See? When our friends take a look at our lives, what do they see?  The home we live in certainly says something about us as do the shops we frequent for things we need.  And then there are our wants.  I'm sure some information could be ascertained by knowing the material things that matter to you and me.  There are clues about who we are in the lives we live.  And if that's true, the photos we take may also tell a part of our story.


I'm going to direct your attention to another online photographic art store (also mine) where some insights into the real me might come a little more clearly into focus.  CafePress was launched in 1999 and sometime after that I opened Bloomsations and More's first online store there.  One of the sections that hasn't been duplicated here (yet) is one of my favorites because it captures images of things that have meaning in my life.  I call it HeArtifacts; artifacts of my life that are dear to my heart...HeArtifacts.



(Bloomsations and More) Memory Card Wed, 06 May 2015 19:05:57 GMT
Why Not Shopping Carts? IMG_17577-edtd2IMG_17577-edtd2 There are billions of subjects that a camera can be focused on so why take even one picture of a shopping cart?  Maybe it's because I'm a little on the weird side or perhaps I see life differently than others; like I said, could be I'm a little weird.  Some workers at Costco certainly wondered why I was snapping images of their carts and came right up and asked me.  "I like them," I replied with an inflection which conveyed, 'I'm not really sure why but I like them, but I do, I think.'

One of the managers was gracious enough to allow me to continue my work for a few more minutes, but suddenly my time in shopping cartville was over.  Hope you'll browse through the gallery and let me know what you think, even if you just want to leave a comment and say, "that's weird."  By the way, I haven't come up with titles for many of the images so feel free to get all creative on me and suggest a couple.  Who knows, you may become as famous as me when it comes to shopping cart art.

(Bloomsations and More) Apertures Tue, 20 Jan 2015 20:53:46 GMT
What's Autumn Got to Do with It  

What does autumn have to do with my interest in photography?  Nothing really.  Oh I love images of the fall and the colors of autumn are some of my favorite but it wasn't this beautiful season that sparked my photographic pursuit.  It was my frustration at other artistic endeavors that made me see the light.


Underneath a Shade of YellowUnderneath a Shade of Yellow

For years, I had wanted to express my creativity through a hobby and failed at several attempts.  After striking out with my latest endeavor, I held off trying another until photography popped into my life.  It wasn’t long before I realized that my artistic skills resided primarily in my mind and not in my hands.


Candle making, wood working, painting, sculpting and many other endeavors require a high level of ability in the hands and fingers to carry out the commands of the artist’s mind.  With photography, I learned that the bulk of the creative spirit resided in my brain and only a minimal amount of skill was needed elsewhere.  So though I can’t make an autumn themed candle or painting, I can take an image of the beauty of the season.


(Bloomsations and More) Apertures Sun, 19 Oct 2014 00:28:43 GMT
I Need a Name I need a name...several actually. I would really love to have help naming the first 4 images in one of my Photo Bingo galleries. Here's a hint...I like creative titles. For instance, naming the image below, "The Window" wouldn't do it for me.

Name meName me

(Bloomsations and More) Window Shopping Fri, 15 Aug 2014 19:17:15 GMT
It Happened Again Saturday night something caused me to remember the sale of my first photo and the next morning, an email from informed me that another photographic product of mine sold.   Just like that, I found myself with a topic for a post.

I experience a weird feeling when one of my images sells, and I hope it's always that way.  It's like my entrepreneurial side is smugly saying to the tax preparer in me, "I told you so."  The first time it happened was after that initial sale. 

After finding a great source for photo insert greeting cards, part of me was convinced people would pay for my work.  The other half was equally sure that the first half was crazy.  Business Man won out and one of my friends at work looked at my images and said those words that still amaze me, "I'd like to buy some."  Amazing!


P.S.  I'm on Day 4 of my 30 Day Photo Project and you can see today's selection here.


(Bloomsations and More) Memory Card Tue, 05 Nov 2013 05:30:23 GMT
30 Days of Color Yesterday, on Bloomsations and More's Facebook page, I started a 30 day photo project on color.  Here, I'm going to be sharing more about the photographer taking the images rather than the picture itself...hope you'll come back often to see what develops.


(Bloomsations and More) Sat, 02 Nov 2013 15:51:14 GMT