Monday, September 28, 2009

What Is Microstock Photography?

For the last six months, I have been obsessed with learning the technical aspects of digital photography and getting a better handle on post processing software. It's been a very time consuming venture to say the least. Today I'm posting a before and after shot of my blacksmith. You can see from comparing the final with the first shot how I took things out, added and enhanced some details and softened some harsh shadows. Hopefully in the future, I'll get better at my photography and lighting skills so I need to do a lot less in my post processing. How many things can you find that I have changed or adjusted in this photo? Here's a definition of microstock from Wikipedia: "Microstock photography, also known as micropayment photography, is an offshoot of traditional stock photography. What defines a company as a microstock photography company is that they (1) source their images almost exclusively via the Internet, (2) do so from a wider range of photographers than the traditional stock agencies (including a willingness to accept images from "amateurs" and hobbyists), and (3) sell their images at a very low rate (anywhere from $.20 - $10) for a royalty-free image."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Visit To Haines and Haines Cranberry Farm

Holly Haines and her brother, William S. Haines, Jr., are 4th generation growers who own and operate the largest cranberry farm in the state. With over 1,300 cranberry bogs in production, there's lots of work to do year round. The farms' 11,000 acres includes bogs, reservoirs and woodland. You need approximately 10 acres of upland (woodland, etc.) for every acre of bog to act as a buffer and to protect your water sources.The farm has evolved from a one-man operation started in 1890 by Martin L. Haines, to one of the largest privately owned facilities in the world. Over 35 full-time employees, many whose families have also been involved in the business for generations and 50 peak-season workers keep the Pine Island Cranberry business flourishing and expanding. Holly's love of her career, lifestyle and the farm is evident in her knowledge of all aspects of the business. Her enthusiasm for the new technologies of the future and her many intriguing stories of the past make her a fascinating and unique expert in her field. An informative guide and charming hostess, Holly has granted us permission to come back again any time during the harvest to take more photos. How very generous she is and how lucky we are! Here's a few of my photos taken at the bogs.

A an early fall bumper crop of lustrous cranberries are gathered in a flooded brown cedar water bog. This mixed color harvest floats on the surface of dark water after being thrashed up from the vines.

Swirling variegated cranberries make beautiful designs in the water as they are harvested.

After freeing the berries from their vines with walk-behind thrashers, seen here in the background, workers corral the fruit which will be transported via conveyor to waiting trucks.

Once the cranberries are in the corral , they are moved up a conveyor belt to a waiting truck which will be transport them to a packing house, where they will be cleaned. Then tractor trailer trucks will take them to the local processing plant.

Here workers break for lunch as one worker offers a hand to the last man out of the bog.

A walk-behind cranberry thrasher sits abandoned in a flooded bog while workers break for lunch. Big puffy clouds and a beautiful blue sky are mirrored in the water's reflection.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rudy Is Doing Much Better

Just a short update on my guy, Rudy. He's eating well and looks great. Everything indicates that he feels good too. I've been lunging him about twenty minutes each day and he really seems to enjoy it. Yesterday when I asked him to walk after trotting for a couple of minutes, he just kept going at a relaxed rhythmic jog. I said, "OK, then Rudy, trot on". He then picked up his pace in a very accommodating manner, eager to show me his sound flowing gait. My vet called when they got his blood work results back and said for a 29 year old horse with Cushings Disease, everything looks amazingly good. I know he's not going to be around forever, but I strongly feel we've got a few good years together ahead. Thanks to everyone for your concern. It is really appreciated.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Close Call With A Dear Friend

I grew up with my horse, Rembrandt, aka: Rudy and have owned him since he was a yearling. Yesterday he had colic. Colic is probably the number one killer of horses. I have never had the vet out for colic before. For a 29 year old horse, Rudy is amazingly healthy and quite nicely well preserved. I spent over five hours yesterday and last night lunging and walking him. I pleaded with him not to leave me now. "We still have lots of good years ahead", I told him. At midnight I called my vet because Rembrandt seemed in pretty bad pain. There wasn't much more they could do for him except surgery, Dan Keenan said. "Just keep walking him and hopefully he'll pull through." I walked him until his pain seemed lessened. At 2:00 am I went inside, mentally and physically exhausted. I dozed for an hour. I went out and checked on him three times during the early morning hours. He was down more than he was up, but he seemed to be resting quietly. By 6:30, he had regained his interest in food when he quickly went to check out his feed bucket when I fed Rita. "Sorry, no food until later, vet's orders", I said. By 8:00 am he seemed more like his old self and has been eating small quantities of timothy hay that I soaked in water and drained before feeding. Knock on wood, so far so good. We have to be very careful with his diet over the next couple of weeks so he can have a full recovery from the ordeal. Here is a photo I took of him tonight. Sometimes we don't realize how much somebody means to us until they might be lost.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's September First and Fall Is In The Air!

We are experiencing beautiful autumn like weather here today. It has been a perfect day to get me in the mood to work on paintings of the Jersey Devil. Here are two small watercolors I finished up today. You can see the preliminary drawings of these from last week and more about the Jersey Devil and The White Horse Inn on my summer sketching blog here. These originals are both already spoken for. Looks like I may be doing more than the usual series of three this year. Which version do you like better? Which color scheme, and why? Tomorrow I start on the bigger painting.