Archive for nikon

Photos to Die For…

Posted in art, FLICKR, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY, religion, tennessee with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2012 by cliffmichaels

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Back in the day (whatever that means) I was a relatively industrious photographer. I’d climb out of bed on Saturday or Sunday mornings – sometimes on both – before the sun rode over the Smokies and set out to some picturesque destination or other to click madly away with my trusty and beloved Nikon D50. From January of 2007 through the end of 2008 there were twelve months in each of which I posted more than 200 photos.  The high water mark was June of 2007 when I posted 386 shots on Flickr (an average of 12.87 a day).

Now I’m a slacker. Since January 1, 2009, there have been only seven months I’ve surpassed 200 posts and only one with three hundred plus (April of 2011). There have been 21 months since the start of 2009 when my posts have numbered less than a hundred; the low point was December of ’09 when I uploaded a grand total of three photographs (and average of .097 per day).

To make up for my lack of vigor, I cheat by posting old photos, many from the set of my most popular images on Flickr. Isn’t recycling a good thing? Sometimes I just re-edit an old shot from months or years ago. I’ve got well north of 12,000 shots on Flickr. Who’s gonna notice a photo I post today was originally posted back in ’06? I tell myself if I re-process an old image – do a tighter crop, convert it to black and white, or use use photoshop to recompose it – it counts as a brand new shot, one I didn’t have to rise at dawn or leave the house to capture!

When I do shoot new stuff it’s often been on Friday afternoons after I escape  my office. I rationalize shooting in the harsh afternoon sun by telling myself I’ll only shoot in shade or post process the harshness away. Yeah, whatever… These Friday forays usually only last a couple of hours. In the past I’d often be out hunting for that one great capture for five or six hours.

Here’s a set of photos I  took yesterday afternoon. For reasons I’d rather not explore, I enjoy photographing in cemeteries. Sadly, I enjoy shooting there more than people enjoy looking at my photos. I don’t care. Yesterday I had fun driving slowly around a large Maryville cemetery shooting fake gravestone flowers, well manicured lawns, religious, guano stained statuary and old, majestic trees.

FLICKR GROUPS

Cemeteries of the United StatesCemeteries and SensualityCemeteries and Girls Cemetery Animals

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Love’s Illusions

Posted in art, erotic, fashion, fetish, FLICKR, lingerie, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY, sexual, Sexy, women with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2012 by cliffmichaels

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I’ve looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know love at all…

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Her name is Liz and, as you can see, she’s beautiful, classically beautiful, a bit like movie stars Ingrid Bergman or Grace Kelly. When I met her I thought she was quite pretty. Then my camera loved her: her skin, her large, intelligent brown eyes, her long sweep of raven black hair, her sweetly full lips, her delicate, tanned shoulders, and her lean and lovely legs. When I first saw the virgin images on the monitor after our shoot I was overwhelmed. The pretty teenaged girl I had photographed had become a classic beauty on my computer screen.

As you can tell from the set, I spent a lot of  time lovingly processing the images. As is my wont, I used photoshop quite a bit. She didn’t like her freckles so in most of the shots I removed them, smoothed her skin, slightly enlarged her eyes  (in a few images), gave her eyeliner in a few shots. In the above photo I made her dress blue, gave her blue lipstick and made her brown eyes blue.

Working with her photographs, enlarging her face to fill the screen, zooming into those eyes, those elegant shoulders (and, um, her nicely tanned legs), I fell just a little bit in love with her, smitten with her enthralling beauty, particularly as I enhanced and modified it. Dazzled by the combination of her natural loveliness and my artful augmentation of it, Liz became an object of my desire.

They say beauty is merely skin deep. I suppose so; but most of us don’t have the ability to find someone’s spleen or large intestines alluring. “Hey, guys, catch the bodacious rack of kidneys in that babe!” 

Of course, the shallow and mindless view of beauty, and of sexiness, is most pronounced in the male of our species. I am no exception. When I first spy a startlingly attractive woman I react instantly with a mindless jolt of visceral desire.  For the brief time I am in her presence I’m entranced by her physical beauty, her sexiness, or both. Once she’s out of my sight she’s quickly forgotten. I suffer from no prolonged unrequited longing. (but see this post)

But when I spend hour upon hour upon hour gazing intently at a digital representation of my model’s face and body, and after more hours spent playing photoshop Higgins to my finely pixelated Eliza, her shimmering surface beauty seeps deep beneath my skin and I soon find myself embarrassed by a surging adolescent crush on my fair lady.

My first model, and still my favorite, was the Fabulous Redheaded Angela. Even before pointing my Nikon D50 at her I thought she was sexy. Once I spent hours and hours playing with her photos I found myself wanting her. A lot. Like a seething herd of poisonous snakes, dangerous fantasies slithered through my Hypothalamus. My saving antivenom was derived from chaste passage of time and my growing recognition of  her devotion to her too many children and her religious faith, her frantic frustrations with the family’s chronic lack of money and her often precarious health. The more human she became, the more I understood her messy, ordinary life, the less I lusted for her. Her digital avatar was enough.

When now my crush on the current feminine apple of my camera’s unblinking eye reaches an uncomfortably warm level – when I’m tempted to do more than look – I force myself to get a hold of myself, sober up, get real,  and remember my delightful images display nothing real. Alluring they may be, yes, beautiful, too, perhaps. But Real? No way! Emphatically not! I firmly tell myself once again the women charming me in my photoshopped images are no more real than a blessing of unicorns. Given the deliberate photoshopping I do to enhance my models’ beauty or sexiness, I must confess my images are not only unreal but they are often outright visual lies. White lies, perhaps; but I must not trust these depictions of flawless seductresses. They’re just pretty pictures and nothing more: light and shadows signifying nothing. I get downright stern with myself – “no more of this silly nonsense!” Sometimes I even stomp my foot.

But these strident lectures I deliver to myself in my best stentorian mental voice are frequently less convincing than I would like. It’s so very hard to disbelieve your eyes and so easy not to. I know The first photo of Liz above is false, a sweet flimflam; but in it she looks so beautiful to me, so innocent, so classy, so aristocratic, so sweetly serene. When I look at the image I forget what I know and I just want to drown myself in her big, blue lagoon eyes or softly embrace her delicate, tanned  shoulders. I yearn to hold her. I can almost smell her perfume, see her eyes looking into mine, almost feel the cool softness of her black tresses against my cheek. I can nearly hear her soft, girlish whispers, imagine the softness of  her caress, the passion in her kiss, the yearning of her flesh. My dream of having her, possessing this gloriously beautiful woman in my picture on my computer screen, grows alarmingly vivid.

But of course she isn’t real; the girl in my photos is merely a product of artfully placed light and shadow, proper angles and poses, and my photoshop skills. Those blissfully big, blue eyes? They aren’t real. I enlarged them. They were actually dark brown and were half surrounded by an unattractive swarm of yellowish red freckles smeared high across her left cheek and the left side of her otherwise patrician noise; the photoshop healing brush quickly wiped it away. Her eyebrows were jarringly thick and dark, almost mannish; I lightened and thinned them. I brightened shadows on her face and dimmed harsh light across her forehead. I warmed the color of her skin. I abolished a few zits and embryonic wrinkles. On the other hand, her shoulders are as lovely as they appear. In motion Liz seemed stick thin and more than a little coltish. Caught in the right pose and frozen in time and good light by my camera, however, she became both graceful and pleasingly ample.

Of course I know she isn’t just beautiful skin and elegant bones. She has major, and frightening,  health problems. She’s grappling with serious issues in her young life. Of course I know that. She probably has lots of worries – lots of things she needs or urgently wants to do. She’s only eighteen, after all. Life can be so threatening at that age. I remember how awful I felt so much of the time at that age. I bet she still gets acne. Of course I know it isn’t her shimmering surface, however beguiling I find  it – or make it – that matters to her; for her it’s the crazy whirlwind of what lies beneath.

 And of course I know she doesn’t dream of me, an old man who took some pretty pictures of her one Wednesday afternoon in July. Of course I know that. Whatever her unimaginable dreams may be, they have nothing to do with me. I am barely a bit player in her life. After all, she has no falsely alluring photographs of me. 

I know you cannot have a meaningful relationship with a digital photograph. I know you cannot have sex with photoshopped image. Of course I know that. Of course, too, I know the other side, the real side, of these women I photograph. Of course I know the truth: they are all, in fact, complicated, three dimensional, real people with complicated, three dimensional real and jumbled lives. I also know the women of my dreams rarely if ever inhabit the same wobbly world I call home. I am an adult and I know the score. It’s the lyrics I can’t abide.

But sometimes it isn’t easy to remember what I know (as I grow older it gets harder and harder to remember even those things I desire to recall). An unpalatable truth is easy to forget.  Some of the time – maybe even most of the time – I forget some really important stuff.

When I do forget the peril of believing in photographic fantasy, when I am worn out by all that complicated truth, then once again all my unblemished beauties, who exist in my artful photographic fables and nowhere else, become simply all too lovable and alive.

FLICKR GROUPS

Portrait  Beauty Women of Natural BeautyAestheteBeautiful WomenGlamour MagazineGreat Modeling PosesErotic Photo Manipulations Fantasy Females

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The Reluctant Bride, Groom & Photographer

Posted in FLICKR, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2011 by cliffmichaels

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Back in June of 2008 I shot the wedding of a long time client. He and his bride were both in their eighties. It was a lot of hard work. Between the shoot itself, the post processing and putting together a wedding album,  I spent over twenty-five hours on the project.

While I enjoyed much of the experience, I vowed to never do another wedding. The requirement of shooting on a fixed schedule (which I could not control), and the necessity of taking the typical classic photos which held little artistic potential (cake cutting, groups shots, etc.) left me feeling the reward was not worth the effort. So, never again…

Last weekend we travelled to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to attend my nephew David’s wedding. Well, it wasn’t really a wedding. He and his bride Mary had eloped several months ago. When the bride’s family found out they went ballistic and insisted David and Mary have a properl wedding ceremony. For the sake of family tranquility, the couple reluctantly agreed (the groom’s mother, while less insistent than the bride’s, welcomed the chance to arrange the wedding).

“David and Mary would really like you to be their wedding photographer,” my brother Pat told me a couple of weeks ago. “they really can’t afford to pay anyone.” I knew that was true; the bridal couple had little money to spare. “They saw the book you did for me of photos of David playing water polo and thought it was really great.” Several years ago David’s Michigan State club team had come to Knoxville for a meet and I’d used it as an opportunity to play with my new 300mm lens. As a gift for Pat I’d created a Blurb book of the best photos.

What could I say?  While doubting his sincerity, I was swayed by my brother’s flattery and I agreed. I arrived in Michigan with two camera bags crammed with stuff, including my Nikon d50 and the newer d5000, but with only the vaguest plan of what I was going to do.

The d50 was in my bag because my only fast lens, the f/1.8 50mm, has no focus motor and on the d5000 it must be manually focused since the camera has no focus motor either. The d50 does. The same was true for my cheap 300mm (although I doubted there’d be much call for that long a lens).

The wedding was held in a lakeside park about twenty-five or so miles outside Grand Rapids. We got horribly lost. Both our Garmin GPS and Map Quest directions turned out to be wrong and took us to the wrong side of the lake (what does it say about us that we believed the computer rather than my brother who has lived in Michigan for thirty years?) We didn’t arrive till ten fifteen; the wedding was scheduled for eleven. Everyone of consequence was already present and the bride and groom were too involved in preparation and there was no chance to shoot any candid shots.

Of course the building was dimly lit inside, with dark, wood paneled walls and glaring large window. This left me with the choice of using flash during the ceremony or using the 50mm on the d50. My attempts to use the relatively slow kit 18-55mm lens on the d5000 with a tripod proved comically inept when my flimsy and cheap Walmart tripod suddenly collapsed without warning a few minutes into the proceedings. I shot everything after that with the d50.

After the ceremony I had planned to switch back to the D5000. I didn’t. The 50mm lens is so incredibly sharp I stuck with it – and the six megapixel d50 – for all of the family and group shots. I did switch back to the d5000, with a Nikon slow 55-200mm zoom for the relatively handful of candids I shot outdoors of the bride and groom (in hideous high noon sun).

In any event, I guess I can now claim to be an experienced wedding photographer with two weddings to my credit. You can be the judge of my most recent efforts.

The most delightful part of the experience was shooting the bride. As you can tell from the set, I was more than captivated by her athletic beauty. Here’s my (so far) favorite photo of her…

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May!!

Posted in fashion, FLICKR, PHOTOGRAPHY, pinup, Sexy, Uncategorized, women with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2011 by cliffmichaels

I’m normally a very frugal – and very lazy – photographer. I confess most of the shots of mine on Flickr were taken out the window from the relative comfort of my Honda Civic. Most of those photos were taken within twenty or so miles of my modest Blount county abode. For some time I’ve thought about listing in notes of each Flickr set I publish the cost and distance travelled to collect the photos. I’m too lazy to actually do the math, but it would probably average about ten bucks and thirty or so miles.

Not last weekend. Good Friday we drove down to Atlanta. The excuse to flee home was  an expedition to photograph inside the George Aquarium. The cost? Pushing five hundred dollars. Distance travelled? Four hundred plus miles. Now imagine me struggling against huge crowds to fight my way into decent shooting position with two cameras dangling from my fat, sweaty neck and a camera case slung over my aching shoulder.  After two and a half plus hours I staggered out of the aquarium on rubbery legs with hundreds of photos safely stashed on an eight gig SD card in my d5000 and a two gig card in my venerable d50. My plan to use the d50 with its focusing motor with my 50mm 1.8 lens didn’t work as well as I had hoped. With a wide open aperture focusing in the dim, bluish light proved very much a hit or miss affair. I should have shot at 2.8…

Here’s the set 

Reluctantly doing the math…. Hmm. It seems I spent about seven bucks per photo (assuming the set tops out at seventy images). Of course, I don’t guess it was absolutely necessary to the expedition to drop over a hundred dollars in the French American Brasserie Friday night.. On the other hand I don’t think I could have survived Saturday without those marvelous mussels

No News on the Pilgrim Front

I ran a google search on Janet Pilgrim (born Charlaine Edith Karalus in 1934) this morning. As with every search since my original post, there remains nothing about her dated  after 1979. I admit this is becoming a bit of a mild obsession.  I picked one of Pilgrim’s contemporary Playmates at random, Delores Del Monte (March 1954), and ran a search and immediately found her web site with information on her as recent as January of this year. On the other hand, Neva Gilbert’s (July 1954)  last mention on the ‘Net appears to date  from 1979. Both Del Monte and Gilbert were not photographed by Playboy; their images were purchased from third party photographers.

Here’s a “royalty free” photo of Pilgrim… 


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Been There Done That

Posted in FLICKR, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY, tennessee with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2011 by cliffmichaels

Thursday, Saint Patrick’s Day, I went out into the green. After spending an hour or so in the Sevier county Jail I headed south along the Dolly Parton Highway out of Sevierville, camera in hand, looking for photogenic countryside.  The weather was glorious, temperatures in the low seventies and a royal blue sky. Every tree, bush and shrub was busily spitting out glistening green leaves; everywhere  early Spring flowers were popping up, searching for early season bees. The gently rolling fields wore fresh coats of bright green. Given east Tennessee’s fickle weather, all this  precocious botanical business may well be stilled by our inevitable late March freeze.

I hadn’t travelled the highway in five or so years and the first half dozen miles were now infected by ugly suburban sprawl: McDonald’s cheek by jowl with mini-marts, tattoo parlors and strip malls. It wasn’t until I was almost twenty minutes down the two lane road that the first simple, white country churches and weathered, rusty red roofed barns began to sprout along both sides of  the highway.

Finally free of the tentacles of Sevierville, I stumbled upon a scene I had last photographed “back in the day”. In late March of of 2006 I took this photo with my Panasonic DMC FZ5:

I thought I’d taken more photos of the scene, but apparently not; only two appear in my photostream. This trip, however,  I was much more impressed with the locale. Here’s a shot I took with my relatively new Nikon D5000:

After so many years of driving through east Tennessee with a camera, one of the joys for me is re-discovering a forgotten location. The little bit of faintly familiar Sevier county depicted above gave me about an hour of bliss as I slowly snapped my way along a narrow, curling country road stretching from the highway east to the base of the mountain visible in the above photo. Here’s the set of all the photos I posted from my St. Paddy’s day jaunt.

Driving Like Lazy

Posted in FLICKR, PHOTOGRAPHY, tennessee with tags , , , , on February 26, 2011 by cliffmichaels

As a photographer I am amazingly lazy. Not for me the ten mile trek up a mountain to catch the mid Winter sun rising over a spectacular snow capped mountain. To br honest, I rarely get out of my car. Most days I just drive aimlessly through the county and snap anything that looks vaguely interesting. I know, pretty awful. At least I have the decency to feel guilty about it…

But driving here and there does, sometimes, have its reward. Take the photo below of an incredible mailbox. How many people can boast they receive their mail in the maw of a great white shark?

A nasty storm roared through the county early Friday morning. The sky was still full of ragged clouds when I escaped the courthouse abput 9:30 AM. Deciding the pile of work on my desk could wait for an hour or so, I stopped at home, grabbed my camera and hit the road. I never got more than ten or so miles from the house. I snapped away like crazy (all from the car, of course). Here’s one of the better photos.

Finally, just to prove my camera can take color photographs, I humbly post for your viewing pleasure this photo of a tranquil rural landscape beneath a dark and brooding sky. I Took this photo  from the middle of an often busy road after jamming on my brakes and coming to a complete stop. Fortunately no one plowed in the back of my car.

D5000 Erotica

Posted in fetish, FLICKR, Sexy, women with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2011 by cliffmichaels

I remain smitten with my Nikon D5000. I take it to bed with me every night. I make it breakfast every morning. I even, from time to time, use it to take photos…

When I’m not eating and sleeping with my Nikon, or photographing with it, I spend time perusing Flickr to view photos by my fellow owners of Nikon’s little baby. Being me, of course, I have gone out of my way to find erotic D5000 photos. Here are links to a few of the better ones:

Claudia Pure Nude Body Paint Stripteasers –  Tree SpiritNeon 4GirouetteTranny Concubines Spread eagleAnita Virag

On a tamer note, here are links to a few Flickr D5000 groups:

D5000 BrasilNikon d5000 DSLRNikon D5000 Indian UsersD5000 NikonNikon D5000

This colorful girl, taken with one of my other cameras – the Nikon D40 – is the kind of gal I could see eye to eye with!

Original by Zawezome, modified by me, subject to creative commons license