Archive for photographic composition

Black,White and Frosty

Posted in FLICKR, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2013 by cliffmichaels










Flickr Search: Penguin (214,300+)

…Is a Rose is a Rose is a Rose

Posted in art, FLICKR, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2013 by cliffmichaels


Truth be told, my photos on Flickr are at best only moderately popular. The higher hit photos tend to be of young woman – even a sexy head shot garners a significant number of hits. Oh, I’ve got images with tens of thousands of hits and pics with a hundred or more faves, but they are few and far between in my Flickr oeuvre.

A few days ago my secretary bought a dozen roses for me take home to my wife, I get no credit for the flowers with her; she knows its not me buying the roses. There is an upside for me, however, because I normally photograph the blooms. Here’s a collection of sets of rose photographs. Naturally I post what I deem my better efforts to Flickr, usually also creating a set of those images.

So earlier this week I repeated my standard operating procedure: photographed the roses, processed the images, posted to Flickr. I was moderately pleased with the shots. Nothing truly outstanding, I thought, but some nice ones.

Florals on Flickr are a dime a thousand. Search for flower and you get twenty one million plus photos to choose from (rose returns a mere five plus million). I would guess that virtually ever amateur photographer with any pretensions goes through a floral stage. Florals, even if in a pedestrian composition, are normally pretty and pleasing to the eye. With decent light, a steady hand and intact bloom you’ll take a photo your friends and family find pleasing.

If someone had asked me which of my rose images would prove the most popular I might have said this one. Or perhaps this one. Or maybe even  this one. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! The first managed twelve  hits and a solitary fave; the second an embarrassing four hits and no  faves. The third did manage 32  hits and three faves.

Submitting to photoshop madness, I took one medium close photo of an orangish rose, turned it blue and then blurred the outside portion of the bloom. It took me maybe all of fifteen minutes to complete my composition. I had done similar work in the past. Cheap and easy, really.

Lightning struck. Thunder rumbled. Within hours the blue rose had garnered hundreds of hits and scores of faves. As of today, less than four days since its posting date and time, its hit count is 2693 , and has been designated a favorite 134 times.  This, for me, is astonishing. The blue rose is now my second most faved photo (out of 15,512!) – here’s the leader. The blue rose is number  21 in hits. The leader – with over 38,000 – is unsurprisingly a photo of coeds in bikinis (number two is of young water polo guys in speedos).

So in a mere four days an image I thought pretty but nothing to write home about has vaulted into my photostream’s stratosphere. Much of the reason is its inclusion on March 25 in Flickr’s Explore. In my entire time of Flickr, coming up on eight years, however, I have had a mere sixty or seventy photos in Explore. Rose made it to #92.

Alright, I’ve kept you in suspense long enough. Feast your eyes on the incredible Blue Rose…



Roses Pink RosesMe, You and Roses – Only Roses

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Erin go Braugh

Posted in FLICKR, history, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 17, 2012 by cliffmichaels


Photo by Monosnaps, subject to this creative commons license

Ballinasloe Horse fair


IrelandIreland Country Wide Shots – Olde Shops of Ireland Sea Shores of IrelandLakes of Ireland – Waterways of Ireland – Ireland my Ireland – Ireland’s National MonumentsRuins of Ireland 


Photo by Dklimpke,  remixed by me, both images subject to this creative commons license

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Too Damn Good

Posted in FLICKR, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2012 by cliffmichaels


There are entirely too many really, really good photographers on Flickr. I try to avoid them. If I look at their work I get an urge to sell my cameras and take up wild fern collecting. It’s not fair. There should be a rule that no one better than me can post on Flickr – or maybe there should be a separate and restricted section for these killjoys so us pedestrian Flickr photographers can safely avoid them.

I mean, really, take Bogna Patrycja Altman for example. His keen sense of composition is depressing. Here’s a set of his, but I warn you it might make you throw up, the shots are that good.

Then there’s Vilhjálmur Ingi Vilhjálmsson. I’ve written Flickr demanding his photos be banned. Not only is his oeuvre impressive, but he’s in Iceland, possibly the most photogenic country in the world. Looking at this set put me back in therapy.

Don’t get me started about Philipp Klinger. I’ve been on Flickr six years, posted over 11,600 photos. Not one of those shots has been faved 500 times. No, the best I’ve got is a paltry one fifty something. But Klinger’s got sixty-three photographs with 500+ faves. Shoot the man…

When I’m stuck in a masochistic mood and just want to feel really, really bad  I sneak a peep at Michael Poliza’s photostream. He’s a nature and wildlife photographer. When I first saw the photos in this set my wife had to call me an ambulance…

Then there’s Patrick Smith. Don’t visit his site unless you have passed a rigorous physical and mental exam within the past thirty days. Viewing his best shots has killed more than a dozen mediocre Flickr photographers. He has to carry a million dollar liability insurance policy now. I’ve written about him elsewhere on this blog. My goal in life is to take just one photo as good as his worst shot. Vegas has me a 15,000 to one underdog…


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Like a Red, Red Rose

Posted in art, FLICKR, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY with tags , , , , , , on November 19, 2011 by cliffmichaels


Photos, top to bottom, by JTMimages, Ilkin, nebojsa mladjenovic, Amy Miller; all subject to this creative commons license

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee well, my only Luve
And fare thee well, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.

My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose

The Song


Red Roses  My Red Roses – Roses


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Leeson’s Green Trees

Posted in photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY with tags , , , , on November 6, 2011 by cliffmichaels


All photos by Evan Leeson, subject to this creative commons licens



Flickr Groups

Green Nature – Green Primeval Forests Tree Photos

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The Reluctant Bride, Groom & Photographer

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


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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