Monday, September 28, 2009

Exhibit No 2

The exciting news is that I have my 2nd exhibit in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the Ministry Center of my church.

All spring and summer, I have been continuing my education in printing my own photos, matting and framing them. I needed to develop standards in size and matte style, especially because buying in bulk is the only cost effective way. I experimented with all sizes and several styles with the great help of a friend (former photographer and framer).

I have over 2,400 photos on the web and it was hard to know where to start. I guess I really started with the bird species at the beginning of Sibley's Guide to Birds. I reviewed my loons first, then my grebes, then my herons and egrets, etc. If an image caught my eye, I would try to make a 4x6 print which fits in an 8x10 matte. Next, I made a print for a 11x14 matte. If I had enough pixels (I crop the original image), I would try a print for a 16x20 or 18x24 matte. Since I started taking pictures in 1999 on film, and have moved through 3 digital camera bodies, I often don't have enough pixels in the early images for the larger mattes.

After developing about 100 prints, I had to stop. I had too much stuff! Not all of the prints were good enough for an exhibit. Again, with my friend, I developed a way to evaluate a picture by giving each print a score of 1-3 for each element of color, setting, action and bird portrait. Using this method, we selected 45 frames with pictures of birds and bird eggs. Funny, all prints selected had a score of 10-12. (And now, I will waste less paper and ink and $.)

Some of my favorites are in 16x20 or 18x24 frames (scores of 12, too).

Photo taken at Port Aransas Wetland Park, TX on 4/12/2008Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
My favorite because it has humor.

Photo taken at Murray Lake, MI on 9/20/2003Mute Swan
My best photo and luckiest.

Photo taken at Lower Rio Grande Valley NWR - Boca Chica Tract, TX on 1/09/2004Forster's Tern
My most artsy photo.

Photo taken at Murray Lake, MI on 10/5/03Mute Swan
My favorite pose and on the back of my business card.

Photo taken at Bay City State Recreation Area Tobico Marsh, MI on 10/11/2003Wood Duck
My favorite bird!

The exhibit has been on display since the middle of September and will hang until early November. If you would like more information, please send me an email.

The references and gear I used for this blog are:
Camera: Canon EOS 40D
Lens: Canon EF100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS USM
Camera: Canon EOS 10D
Lens: Canon EF28-105mm F/3.5-4.5 II USM
Steiner 10x42 Predator Binoculars
The SIBLEY Guide to Birds

All images © MSCI

Exhibit at Big Bend NP

Wow, it has been a long time since I published a story. I know there are lots of excuses that you do not want to know but two of the excuses are related to photography.

First, since last fall, all the pictures, that I was taking with my big lens, were somewhat fuzzy (as if I was shaking badly). So, I did not have any pictures about which to write. It wasn't until May that they, my husband and a friend, did some tests on my camera and on my lens. They determined that the lens was no longer taking pictures with a sharp focus. I had had this lens since 1999 and it has been carried many, many miles and it needed re-alignment. I sent the lens to a Canon repair center. It is back and I am taking wonderful pictures again.

Second, I was busy learning how to develop and print my photos.

My husband and I spent 11 days in Big Bend NP in the spring of 2008. We met Dr Rob Dean, a ranger at Big Bend NP, at Post Park in Marathon where we all were birding. In the days following, we met Dr Dean several times at his work in the park. As a result, he viewed my website and subsequently, asked me for permission to use some of my photos in some posters for the Rio Grande Valley Visitor Center.

This was quite a learning experience because it is one thing to take photos with your digital camera, it is quite another to develop your own pictures as a print. With Photoshop CS3 and 7.0, I managed to print some very nice pictures, 43 in all. These became the basis for 3 posters of Doves, Red Birds and Black Birds in the visitor center. The entire project took 5 months and was finished in December.

Below is a picture of the 3 posters.

Photo taken at Big Bend NP, TX in 2008
The Rio Grande Valley Visitor Center was opened in November and at the close of the season in May, Dr Dean wrote:
...we exceeded 13,000 visitors this year. We feel that the success of this season is due to two things - our theme being birds and your images being the dominate draw. The posters highlighting black birds and doves were the dominant features over our bird book display. Adjacent to that was our digital image picture frame which rotated through your images identifying each bird by name. In the viewing room, we hung 18 of your images in black picture frames with the picture of you and your gear and a key identifying those images. These will remain as a permanent fixture in the viewing room and we have others that we will hang to augment those already on the wall.
Some of the photos on permanent display:

Photo taken at Big Bend NP, TX on 3/24/2008Inca Dove

Photo taken at Big Bend NP, TX on 3/18/2008Ash-throated Flycatcher

Photo taken at Big Bend NP, TX on 3/24/2008Common Raven

Photo taken at Big Bend NP, TX on 3/21/2008Cooper's Hawk

Photo taken at Big Bend NP, TX on 3/24/2008Blue-throated Hummingbird

Photo taken at Big Bend NP, TX on 3/21/2008Greater Roadrunner

All images © MSCI