"For the artist communication with nature remains the most essential condition. The artist is human, himself nature, part of nature within natural space." Paul Klee

Saturday, May 31, 2014


I can see by the old clock on the wall...there's a dead fly. On my computer, the clock just turned to 12:00 midnight. May is gone. All in all, May was a pretty good month photography wise.
There's sixteen new folders of fotos on my hard drive. That means I spend more than half the month photographing. We'll have to see if that continues with the hotter months ahead.
A huge contribution were the heavy rains which brought lots of flowers. It seems I really got into flowers this month. That will continue as I find that photographing flowers a pure joy.
So I leave May with this poem.  
Today is a day like any other: twenty-four hours, a little sunshine, a little rain.
"Listen", says ambition, nervously shifting her weight from one boot to another,
"why don't you get along?"
For there I am, in the mossy shadows, under the trees.
And to tell the truth I don't want to let go of the wrists of idleness, I don't want to sell my life for money, I don't even want to come in out of the rain.
Poem by Mary Oliver
Image by Andy deBruyn
Time 12:12 June 1
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Friday, May 30, 2014


The water lilies are out in full bloom reaching out to the sun. Three images from this morning's visit to the pond o' lilies.

The camera was set to ISO 100, Vivid, on a tripod,  polarizer on the lens. Sometimes I was
standing ankle deep in mushy reeds to get the shot but...you do whatcha gotta do. For a couple shots I used minus exposure compensation to avoid frying the highlights on the petals.
The bottom image has some little flies that seem to be enjoying themselves. I thought about removing them but hey if it wasn't for them in the first place the lilies would miss the essential wonders of pollination.
When photographing flowers - check for those "blinkies" on your highlight readout. Each petal is turned ever so slightly a different way and some may get blown out.
Click images for bigger.
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Thursday, May 29, 2014


"The great lesson from the true mystics, from the zen monks, from the humanistic and transpersonal psychologists, is that the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one's daily life, in one's neighbors, friends, and family, in one's own back yard. This lesson can be easily lost. To be looking elsewhere for miracles is to me a sure sign of ignorance that everything is miraculous."
- Abraham Maslow
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Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Continuuing my images for The Rhythm of Moisture series. Here's four shots from this morning. Nice noisy watery runoffs at Brushy Creek Park.

All taken with camera locked on a tripod.

ISO 400 f22 and 1/15th of a second for all.

Used timer to trip the shutter. Sunlight balance even though it was very cloudy. Cloudy setting tends to add too much orange for my taste. These are pretty much straight from the camera..altho I added maybe 5% blue to each one. Just took a couple of seconds.
Click for bigger and parade.

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Monday, May 26, 2014


We have an old trunk, probably dates from around the 1900's. I've always wanted to try something around the idea of finding something in the trunk...like an old doll or a forgotten letter. I decided that today was a good day for it. It's Memorial Day, it's raining cats and dogs. My wife was home for the day and after I explained my idea to her and she agreed to be my actress when she wasn't making coffee cake.
I prepped this shoot with a couple of things in mind. I wanted it to look cinematic...like a still from a movie. And I wanted soft lighting. My inspiration for the lighting was Nestor Almendros.
Nestor was born in Barcelona and was a great cinematograper (Days of Heaven, Sophie's Choice) known for shooting scenes with a couple of small lights. Three lights was the exception.
He relied mostly on the natural bounce of light.  
The Letter                               ©2014 Andy deBruyn
This is what we can up with. It took about two and a half hours to light and about 15 minutes of shooting.  I think it looks pretty filmic. For authenticity's sake, the letter my wife is holding is an actual handwritten family letter dated Aug 16, 1951, Paris, France.

The only direct light is the candle. I used three tungsten lights, all bounced into boards of various sizes. Flags and cutters help control the direction.

More techie info:  Nikon D7000 with a 35mm Nikkor lens, filter removed. ISO 1000. f4.5, 1/50th of a second tripped with a cable release. Important - camera set to Neutral with contrast at -3. By setting the camera to neutral the shadows open up allowing me to control the shadows in post. If I had shot this in Standard mode the shadows would have closed up.  White balance set to tungsten.

Click images for bigger.
The set - A 300watt Arri on the left into a board sprayed with a little gold to add warmth plus the 300 is running thru a Variac at about half power reducing the color temperature even further to around 2100 Kelvin. Two Arri's on the right, one of which is fitted with a double scrim and half CTO. It's hard to see but there's a 24x36 solid flag and an 8x20 black cutter on the bottom. This controlled direction and spillage. Top of the frame shows the back of the silver Roscoflex 3803 which lit the left side of the subject's face. Tripod head in lower left.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014


                                                               ©2014 Andy deBruyn

I was photographing some flowers in my garden last night. The sun was about to set within minutes. The sunrays were spraying the flowers with a wonderful backlight. I made images from the front, sides, and back. The ones with the sunrays as backlight were my favorites.
In this particular image, I liked focusing on the flowers to be instead of the ones already in full bloom.

Techie stuff-
This is a good example of a very shallow depth of field. The flowers nearest the camera are out of focus as is the entire background. DOF was no more than an inch or two. f2 will do that.

 Taken with the 50mm lens at f2 with a shutter speed of 1/800, ISO 100 with -0.3 exposure compensation.  Handheld lying on my side to achieve all the right angles.  

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Monday, May 19, 2014


                                 Sculptor Clayburn Moore                       ©2011 Andy deBruyn

Gordon Willis, the master of the chiaroscuro, passed away yesterday. He was 82. One of my all time favorite cinematographers...of all times and all films!  A huge influence not only on little old me but
on the the way movies were shot. Gordon made all the other cinematographers think about pushing that dark envelope. His style has been copiously copied.

If you're not familiar with his name, I'm sure you've seen his work. He photographed Manhattan and Annie Hall plus 6 other Woody Allen pictures. He also photographed several pictures with the titles; Godfathers I, II, and III. 

Remember, that glorious black and white look he gave to New York in Manhattan.  Magical.  Whew!

He retired around 1998 saying, "I got tired of trying to get actors out of trailers and standing in the rain."

If you google Gordon Willis you can find all the great movies he photographed. Rewatch some of them. You will not be misplacing one moment of your time.

Update: Tuesday I switched out the images the one above was my first choice but didn't have time to downsize it for the web. To me, it links back to early man drawing on the cave wall.  This was my first shot of the day with Mr. Moore.

Later I started to work the room and the lights as shown below.

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Saturday, May 17, 2014


On this image I really worked the camera. This is from camera jpeg - only adjustment in post was  a slight pull down of saturation and a resize to fit this blog.
I had my D7000 set to medium size image which is 9mp. ISO 200. The lens is my favorite Nikkor 50mm f1.4. I don't know exactly how old it is but at least 30 if not 40 years old. I just love the way it paints the light.
The rose was on the counter while I was making my morning espresso - a rose that one of the boys gave to mom last week for mother's day. There is no additional lighting the natural light was just perfect.
Camera was set to VIVID with -1 saturation and +7 on sharpening. White balance was set to sun with an A2 adjustment (adding a tiny bit of warmth to the red channel)   The camera chose 1/320th for SS.
By setting everything in camera post production took less than a minute.

Focus point with lens to f1.4 - I wanted a heap of bokeh plus I knew my depth of field would be very shallow. I tried focusing on the center of the flower but ended up preferring this one where the focus in on the front petals.

As usual camera on a tripod with timer to trip the shutter.

If you know your camera and lens you can achieve very nice results with little effort.

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Friday, May 16, 2014


I find photographing small waterways to be challenging-by that I mean, it's easier to shoot the ocean. You catch a few waves, show some of the beach, maybe waves crashing on some rocks or a glorious sunset and you've got something.  Even a large pond can look great if you get enough heighth. But these rivulets, streams - it's not only the direction of lighting but camera position is also important.
This stream is usually only inches deep but with the recent rains, there's some direction to the flow. That ryhthm of moisture again. Here the water is actually flowing towards me altho' at first glance it looks the opposite. If I had taken the picture from the upper right corner looking back the sunlight on the surface would not have been as successful.    

Here the flow is hitting that back wall and then turning left. I was really trying to expose for the light on the rock wall without losing the rest of the details. If I had left the exposure meter in the camera alone it would have exposed for the brightest spot and the water would have gone very dark.
I had to play with the exposure comp button a bit - it seemed to work best at -0.7.

BTW - these were taken with the D7000 set to medium size - 9MP. I found sometimes if I spread the light over the sensor - basically sharing light with adjacent pixels - the image comes out a little less harsh.

To use a quote from the Mozart movie  "Amadeus",  the emperor, after complaining to Mozart that he uses too many notes says,  "Simply too many notes. Cut a few and it will be perfect!"

Setting your image size to your intended presentation method saves space on your memory card and downloads and post processing happens a lot quicker.

Click images for bigger.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014


I made these images an hour and half ago in my backyard. (roughly 7:30pm)  I went out there to check on something and there's a couple dozen of these flowers spaced all over the yard. This particular pair were under a tree so the light was diffused and gentle.
 I love the delicate look - and they seemed to be very fragile as several were already past their prime and slumped over. Since I didn't notice them yesterday I guess their blossom life is quick. I used the lens wide open to retain the soft look. Both were shot with the D80 and the 50mm with the uv filter removed. The focusing was done by actually moving the front element of the lens to the closest focusing distance which was about 10 inches.
Using aperture priority, the top image was f1.8 at 1/60th ss. The bottom image was f4 at 1/15ss and exposure comp at -0.5. ISO for both was 100. My usual use of tripod and timer to trip the shutter.

©2014 Andy deBruyn
Post production was also gentle, a slight pull down of blue, very slight sharpening mostly in the center of the flower. An ever so tiny bump in yellow and green and that was it.
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Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Last night we had quite a downpour. There's some low level flooding but nothing from keeping me from my daily walk.
The rhythm of moisture can be calm and reflective in secluded pockets away from
streams and rivulets...
...or it can gush down the sides of steep arroyos.

       Besides the rain, we had some pretty strong winds this week...sometimes as high as 75mph.

This tree lost a fairly good size branch exposing the rich inner
workings of tree architecture.
All images ©2014 Andy deBruyn
Click images for bigger.
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Monday, May 12, 2014


                             ©2014 Andy deBruyn
Ok how did this come about? Well...I was prepping the butternut squash for this evening's dinner, butternut squash and mushroom pasta, and thought - I'd like to take a portrait of this guy. After I scooped out the stringy stuff and seeds from the cavity it just came to me that an avocado would sit nicely inside. So there ya go. Butternut Squash Stuffed with Avocado. Looks Egyptian somehow, Sun Ra?
 (warning - not edible this way - please cook according to instructions and remove large pit.)
Here's how I lit this image.

Butternut squash sans avocado. It's hard lit with three ARRI fresnels. One 150w from the top for back/side light - with a single and double scrim added to drop the light a couple of stops. The 150w on the left is hitting the back ground - it's gelled with double CTB adding the contrasting blue. The main light just behind the tripod is a 300W fitted with a Slitted Rosco Diffusion. This kind of material makes the light hit the subject with up/down strokes.  The card directly in front of the squash is a 5" square of Rosco silver pebble.  Seen lying on the table is a small mirror lighting the base cup which I hand held for aiming.
 I juiced up the color because the natural colors didn't look "whimsical" enough.
Camera was the Nikon D80 with a 50mm lens. ISO 200, f3.3 at 1/45th SS, shutter tripped with 5 second timer. Camera set to white balance of tungsten per the ARRIs.
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Saturday, May 10, 2014


                                                               ©2014 Andy deBruyn
 I presume these flowers have seen better days. But then I could be wrong and am thinking of it from a human perspective. Perhaps from their point of view (which they probably don't have anyway) it doesn't matter. As all things should...or shouldn't.
I like the image. I've looked at it a lot. It grabbed my attention more than the others from the same shoot. (Georgetown Sunken Garden)
It's colorful, abstract, full of life, and makes me wonder.
Click image for bigger.
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Friday, May 9, 2014


I visited the Sunken Garden in Georgetown this morning. Nothing better than sitting quietly in a beautiful garden waiting for the sun to light it just right.

You'd think by these pictures there were mostly poppies but there are a couple dozen different species represented I just didn't see the light that I liked. I was there for a little over an hour and the sun at one point went behind a huge oak and the garden was mostly in shadows.

I do like the long grasses that are interspersed with the flowers - with a slight breeze the grasses were blowing and bending over giving a sense of motion to the scene.

 ©2012 All Images Andy deBruyn
In this last image I focused on the bending grass letting the flowers fall where they may.
All in all I had a good week. I went out and made images every day and posted every day except Monday.
BTW - The Georgetown Sunken Garden is right next to the Community Center and is open all the time to the public. There's a fountain and several benches - you can sit, relax, meditate, read a book, listen to the birds, the bees, and the water. I hope you get a chance to check it out.
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Thursday, May 8, 2014



                     Nothing satisfies some appetites                 but wild plants ease my hunger

                     Free of untoward desires                             all things bring me pleasure

                     Tattered robes warm frozen bones              I wander with deer for companions

                     I sing to myself like a crazy man                and children sing along.

                                                                  RYOKAN (1758-1831)

Images from this morning. In the woods in the rain. All taken within
a few feet of each other. 50mm Nikkor lens, on a tripod tripped with
shutter release cable. All images straight from camera - all processing done
in camera - just changed size to web worthy.
©2014 all images Andy deBruyn
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Wednesday, May 7, 2014


Also known as the Elephant Garlic plant. I found these growing wild in a field near my house. Posted a couple shots yesterday. This one really shows the explosion of little buds pushing aside the onion like skin.

Taken with a Nikkor 50mm lens on DX format. ISO 400, aperture priority at f8 with a ss of 1/125th. Hand held. Also - removed the protective filter from the lens to take one air to glass element away.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014


                                                                   ©2014 Andy deBruyn

A spider does Kandinsky.

Posting six images from today. The only thing to say is that it was very windy and I had to use pretty fast shutters speeds to keep everything as much in focus as possible. A higher ISO of 400 and the lens wide open. I usually try and use ISO 100 for flowers but today it wasn't going to work. Even with a tripod I was getting shake. Like I said, pretty darn windy. Other than that it was a gorgeous day. 
All images ©2014 Andy deBruyn

                              ©2014 Andy deBruyn
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Sunday, May 4, 2014


I made this image at 6:45am yesterday morning just as the sun was coming up on my way to a gig. Taken on a pond just off of Hiway 71 in BeeCaves.

What caught my attention was the kinetic energy of the lines, colors, movement, and tension without resolve. The image defied the stillness of the moment - a silent pond with no one around except for six grazing deer startled by my immediate presence galloping off toward the wood.

The assignment was fun but this was my image for the day.

"You look at the world and it may seem whole or it may seem broken but the world looks back and some sort of reciprocity that is not romantic and it is not of any school of poetry or any single denomination happens, and in our absolute attention we feel attended to."

                                                                                                                      Rainer Maria Rilke

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Thursday, May 1, 2014


                                                               ©2014 Andy deBruyn
In yesterday's post I said I was ready for the Mayflowers so this morning I took my first walk
(2 hours!) to check out the situation. Didn't take a lot of images but here are four that I like.

Of course, this morning was great...temps in the mid 70's...very nice for a walk. We'll have to see how that works out when early morning temps are higher.

This image is taken from the Cedar Park Round Rock pathway that winds thru Brushy Creek Park and by the Avery Ranch golf course. Looking westward, the image has the classic "S" curve from both left and right  
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                                                                                                 ©2014 Andy deBruyn