A moment ago…

Cats orbit one another. They never sit together. Rarely. Maybe when they were kittens… but never now.

Spice and Feather gathered upon my desk behind my computer and gazed at the street below. Grand! Camera! Get a shot! Any shot. Good?

I was editing. Really! Downloading. I download from three or four cameras at the same session. I switched on the flash because of the backlighting. You have to use flash or the cats will be severely under exposed. Got it? I checked the shots – “chimped.’ Ok?!

I continued downloading. Then I backtracked. I usually wait to the end of the day before downloading in order to keep track of what is ready to edit and not. I could not find these shots. I checked three memory cards. I had reviewed them a moment ago. Oh boy! Dementia! Bruce Willis was on my mind. Colleen reminded me of my concussion but a day ago. I wuz losin’ it! Oh boy! Damn and double damn?! So, where did these come from? Right straight from the memory card I shot a moment ago. Am I repeating myself?

Bottom line: found! You have to use flash. The backlighting was too much. Lucky for me the cats were patient and said go ahead, set up, and we will wait till you are ready…. I wish my memory were as good.


Voila! Hooked! Not in the fishing sense… ha ha. When I first dived, I about immediately fried a camera as water damaged a waterproof camera fatally. Yeah, neat trick. Diving in the Red Sea, first I had to learn the basics of scuba diving. After that I had a dinky waterproof housing for my Canon G12. I used the flash on the reef with a lion fish. Voila!!! Oh my! Color!! The richness of color of the fish and the coral was an instant narcotic. I was hooked! I got better and better. And then I left the Middle East and have not dived since. Oh well.

Flash! It is the key element to taking out the poor color underwater. Light drops off as you dive deeper. And red is gone very quickly. Flash. It is the only thing to save you. Batteries! You need a lot of power to sustain you. I shoot a lot. After all it is digital.


I need a shot to commemorate John’s birthday. Remembrance. A small token. He is not forgotten. I miss him. Time passes and the number of people who remember him diminishes. I will remember him always.

Christmas picture. 2003. Canon G3. The metadata is sure useful. A lot of time has passed. I wish it weren’t so.

It is easy to see that flash was used. Natural lighting would have had more yellow tint. Flash, you know it when you see it. Amateur. It’s a single flash built in on the point and shoot camera. But, it worked.


I must enjoy herding cats…. One of the treasured pictures that I see among Colleen’s and Jen’s family shots is the “group shot.” The “occasion shot” seems to occur whenever there is a family gathering. Actually, mostly not. No one really is paying attention and the photo is taken somehow. But in retrospect it is laden with fond memories documenting who was alive and well at the time. So, I do my best to record the groups as they gather for the annual family reunion at the beach. Different families drift in and out of the pictures. Folks are generally cheerful about it all.

The conundrum is to catch the group in one place and time for the moments it takes to record the photograph. It is usually a group too large to focus in the frame of the image. I chose a high point – the balcony above. That way tall or short the camera will see your face. Of course, you have to look at the camera. And then redundancy is a must. Someone always has their eyes closed. Ok, shoot redundantly or be prepared to Photoshop.

By now our guests are used to this preamble to dinner. They gather cheerfully. I shoot with a remote. We hope for the best. Ah! I do use flash for a number of reasons. Success! …umm Bruce? Bruce?!?! Where’s Bruce?


Little did I know in early 2003, that my conversion to digital commitment was about a year away. I used film and sprinkled in digital here and there. Generally, I used my film camera primarily punctuating my shots with a few digital images. Not bad though, the digital images were solid shots. It seems I was less hesitant to include the use of built-in flash in the Canon G3. Ok!

Lots of things were happening in our lives at the same time back then. Jules was headed to college. Dave was a high school senior. Life was about to change significantly for us all. Who could know the future (digital) was right around the corner?

I am not a fan of flash. It tends to be too contrasty. Too many shadows. Exposure is a challenge. Fill flash? not something I much cared for. I used bounce flash after taking lessons. But flash was not built in (for my film cameras) and built in flash on the G3 does not bounce. So…. I did find and was pleasantly surprised at the results of using built-in flash on my digital camera. I considered the flash to be “dinky” and yet it proved itself quite capable. Lesson learned.

One shot

Pick one. … to go with birthday wishes. Ummm, no card. Shhh… I forgot! Oh now! It will be a special day! We got all sorts of things planned. And to finish? Dinner in a favorite restaurant. I got it covered. A sentiment? Sure. I’m very lucky we met again. It was the third grade when we met. And then we parted for (decades) a very long time. Lucky. Sometimes life throws you rainbows. Happy birthday, my dearest.

Critique: Portrait. You want to try to be flattering. I used bounce flash. You get relative even lighting with less shadow. Composition: good. Smile: warm – like a hug. Background: it could be less cluttered. Focus: good. I could do better. This was a find after a quick perusal of the files in my catalog. Find one on the go!? Ha ha. It ain’t easy. Thankfully there were choices. Sorry, I didn’t get a card. I was remiss. We were never out where I was never alone to get one. But then a picture tells a thousand words. And there is little doubt I wish you the very best!

To Flash… or Not To Flash

IMG_8385 copy … that is the critical question. Fleeting moments, it’s an instant call. You get one try… pick. It doesn’t come very often you get to shoot one with and one without flash. It’s a choice. Here David sat long enough for me to get two shots. The Canon G11 white balances automatically. Great! But it’s still ambient light you deal with. So it’s not quite right. The natural lighting gives less detail in the eyes and no gleam or catch light for the eye. Flash is a little too bright and a bit too artificial for my taste. I would pick the natural light. I’m not a fan of obsessive manipulation in Photoshop, so this is what it is.IMG_8384 copy


Motion Freeze Hi Speed Sync

Technical: Canon EOS, 1/5000 sec, f2.8, focal length 60

I thought that David did a splendid job with the other bee (see August 22). I like this shot better. It it a harder shot to obtain because the focusing is critical. See the wings. The high shutter speed captures the wings in mid beat. Depth of field is narrow. Now for the hard part, get this shot head on with the compound eyes in focus. Hey, I’d be just tickled to have this shot or the other. Either way it was a great technical accomplishment. David got his desired effect in that he wanted the wings to be in focus and stopped by the flash.

Iphone Flash

Amy got a picture of Gus taking the clicker. What male, even a cat, doesn’t want control of the clicker? The iPhone flash twinkle can be seen in Gus’s eyes… not quit the same as love. I’m not a cat person, myself. The flash is not too strong to overwhelm the ambient incandescent lighting. It’s a pleasing color balance. And the cat … is Amy’s favorite (only). Keeping some ambient light makes things a bit more natural. There is a slight yellow cast but from the ambient light. Good… cat.

Flash Underexposure

Technical: Canon EOS 7D, 1/250 sec, f11, focal length 22

Cousin David experimented with another way to use flash. Let the background go dark. It neatly brings the foreground elements in as the main subject. One lesson to remember is that the angle of the camera in your hand tends to be where you shoot. That would be mostly from a standing position. Kneel down, stand higher, put the camera close to the ground. Try a different camera angle. Here, the bright sky is distracting. I would have liked it better if all the grass were in the deep dark background of the field. It would be no good to eliminate the sky entirely. That would just give you a black background with little texture. Close, oh so close. Think about the camera angle the next time.