Observations, Learning, and Activities for the New "Over 21s"

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Photo 101: Last Posts for the Class

Age can have an effect on what we remember (or can) bring with us when we go out the door.  When you add “not yet a habit” to the mix, a lot of opportunities are lost.  But today we live in an age of technology that gives us possibilities even if we have forgotten to take the “just a camera” device with us.  I’ve been taking a free WordPress course called Photo 101, and I haven’t finished all the assignments.  The photos below are of the “make-up homework” variety.  Lack of time prevents me from figuring out the exact assignment title, but I thought I’d post these just the same.

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to take some photos with my iPad for some of those missed assignments–one on glass, another on lines, a third on architectural effects. Here they are!


The only glasswork currently in the Elephant Box gallery and workshop...

The only glasswork currently in the Elephant Box gallery and workshop…


Telephone and Power Lines in Grand-Case, St. Martin

Telephone and Power Lines in Grand-Case, St. Martin

Architectural effects:

Through the portal of The Elephant Box gallery in Grand-Case, St. Martin.

Through the portal of The Elephant Box gallery in Grand-Case, St. Martin.

This is the final assignment I will be posting for this class, since it ended two days ago.  Yesterday, I had the opportunity to take what I consider some interesting shots, even though they are pretty ordinary.  As too often the case, I didn’t have my “good camera” with me, but I did have my iPad, which really does take better photos than my Samsung phone, even though the phone works pretty well under certain conditions.

In truth, I didn’t have the time or opportunities to do justice to the assignments for this class.  The next time it is offered, I hope to take it again and organize my time a bit better to do the assignments on time and with more artistry.  I had intended this class to help me learn to take photos with my “good camera,” but never had the camera with me when an opportunity presented itself.  You have no idea how many photo opportunities I’ve missed while driving because I couldn’t get to my phone camera fast enough–cows crossing an island road or lying down by the roadside, goats walking on the verge of the main road on their way to important meetings, horses meandering across the island-encircling main road just because, huge iguanas or other lizards that couldn’t decide which side of the road they wanted to be on.  Either the camera would cause an accident because I would have stopped traffic, or forgetting about the camera option on the phone until after the creature moved and traffic started up again, or I simply didn’t have any device with a camera on it with me… Well, it’s hard to become a photographer at 65 after spending most of my life without one handy…


Photo 101, Day 16: Treasure + Close-up

There are times when what we want is not what we are able to achieve.  Take the photos on this post, for instance.  The assignment: find the treasure(s) in a close-up.  There was not a whole lot of coices for me today to photograph.  It was one of my stay-at-home days because of migraine-induced visual perception problems.  The pets would not cooperate for a close-up, and so I attached the macro lens and went out to see what I could find among my sun-burned and heat-stoked plants on the back porch.  Somehow, the caladiums managed to continue growing into this heat wave–well, not exactly a heat wave as such; it’s always horribly hot in the summer in the Caribbean.  If you can’t be nearer to the beach, you simply roast.  There are no two ways about that.  Even the cats decided to stick around in the air conditioning, which they generally hate.  But allowing me to take a photo of them?  Well, that was a different story.

That the caladiums are still setting out leaves on days like this, therefore, is even more amazing, as they are not heat lovers, and prefer the milder winters we have here.  By now, I should have had–at the most–sprouts letting me know where next year’s plants would spring up. Usually, by February and March, I have pots of gorgeous colorful heart-shaped leaves.  But this winter was a bit warmer than most, and it was a bad winter for the family all around, especially for me…and somehow the plants were neglected for long enough that the usual late-winter to early-spring color blasts were more like scraggly spindles with oddly-shaped leaves.

Part of the heat was not the weather itself, though.  I hope to get a chance to show you the wonderful view we have in this condo of the ancient back of the casino next door to the gated community some day.  But not today.

When we moved here, there were plenty of trees and  tropical plants hiding the less glitzy side of casinos–not just on the island, but everywhere casinos spring up.  There are the tourist scenes, and then there are the back streets and alleys behind the buildings with the beautiful facades.  For us, we hadn’t realized what our view actually was until all the trees between us and the casino behind us came down.  The worst part is that the casino air conditioner exhaust is even with our sliding glass door.  When they cut down the curtain of trees and wild plants at the request of our community power base, it left our home exposed to tremendous heat from the climbing morning sun and the exhaust from the casino A/C.  I like to have fresh breezes coming into the house, but with the trees gone, the doors were shut tight, and the plants were forgotten too often.  I was lucky to get any color at all from my caladiums.

Color in the Caladium

Color in the Caladium

So when a poor little neglected plant set out beautiful huge green marbled new leaves during the past week or two, I was delighted.  That the colored plants also set out some leaves was a gift.  And I decided to get  up close and personal with them with the help of my macro lens.  Because there was a bit of a breeze today while I took the photos, you an make out the mysterious objects in the background that look suspiciously like fingers trying to shelter the leaves from a breeze that followed a mid-day sprinkle.  But the color is sensational, and the variation caught by the lens was, to me, something glorious.  Not the best shot in the world, but a delight to me.

Then I zoomed in on the green and white plant next to it that gave me the illusion of stained glass windows in a cathedral, even though they are only green and white.  The interesting patterns that fade so quickly from the point of focus when using a macro lens intrigued me nonetheless.

Stained Glass Window?   I love the patterns formed by the leaves, and although this is far from the best shot i could have taken, the rain began to fall again, blowing onto the camera, and generally making me fearful of the circuits shorting if too much water decided to be carried in by the wind.  At some later point, I’ll take more and better shots, maybe using the regular lens and a zoom rather than the macro lense.  But I’ve always found treasures in the simplest things, and the patterns on the leaves of these glorious plants is one of my simple pleasures.