Saturday, May 23, 2015

a swan sighting

This spring we have had some new kids on the block--swans!  They have been spending some time on a marshy pond down the street.  Earlier, I saw them daily, and sometimes several at once.  Lately, they have been out of sight.  But yesterday, as I was leaving to go to lunch, this pair was back on the water.  And a little closer to the road, so I could get a halfway decent picture with just my phone camera.  I don't know if they have nested back on a secluded spot near this pond, or if they just dropped in for lunch.  Either way, they stop me in my tracks whenever I see them.  They seem very elusive and special.  I have never seen wild swans around here before now.  Near my mom's house in Iowa, there have been some swans in the lakes and ponds near there.  But I don't think they generally nest this far north.  But I'm no expert!  Just a fan!

This fine Memorial Day weekend I am working on lots of little projects at home.  I needed a new picture of my Scrap Hap quilt for the pattern cover.  An overcast day is supposed to be good for outdoor photos, so when I saw the clouds come over this morning, I figured I better get busy while there was little to no wind.  This is my studio----

I pruned off a bunch of dead grapevines from the top of the pergola and tacked the quilt up there after ironing out the fold marks.  That yellow step ladder is just what is needed for this, but I have a problem with it.  I have a real hard time folding it and unfolding it to carry.  It's really a stiff hinge mechanism, which is a good thing in a folding ladder.  But it was upstairs in our current DIY project, so I had to resort to carrying it down and then back up with the legs extended.  AWKWARD!  I bumped into a few things along the way, but no damage noted.

In order to get the best picture with my very basic set up, I have to use the 2 patio chairs and table to raise up the tripod high enough.  I have learned through trial and error and my son's tips that the camera lens has to be level with the center of the quilt both vertically and horizontally.  Otherwise the picture is distorted.  And a close up is of no advantage, in fact, it's better to move the camera back and then crop out the edges later.  This prevents another kind of distortion of the photo that makes the sides look bowed out.  Like this:

When I first started taking pictures of quilts for my patterns, I thought that I just needed to stand far enough away from the quilt to get all the edges in the frame.  Now I know better.  And even though my pictures are taken with a basic camera (used to be a Canon Elph and now my iPhone) I can still get pretty good results.  The photo editing program on my Mac is more than enough for my purposes, so I can brighten and crop and straighten and remove blemishes.  I went to a class about photographing quilts for publication, and really knew everything that the instructor talked about except for one thing:  a remote shutter release would be helpful.  Of course, an upgrade in a camera for a few hundred dollars would also be helpful, but not high on my list of priorities right now!


K Czuprynski said...

You can use your earbuds to snap a picture.

Pam said...

Wow, Kathy, you are a genius! Thank you!

K Czuprynski said...

Anything for the woman who designed the quilt that got me a First Place at our Quilt Show in 2014!

Daniel said...

I didn't even know that tip about the headphones. Good to know.

If you've updated to iOS 8 there is a timer button on the camera as well. It looks like a small clock on the top of the camera screen.