Photo 101: Mystery and lighting

It’s kind of hard to find mysterious light in the middle of the day in the outdoors unless you’re under a tornado warning, which I wasn’t today. The sun was splitting the sky with puffy clouds so I thought to myself what can I do to make the light mysterious. Well the answer was obvious to a Photoshop Jedi… so I played around with the white balance and did a bit of vignetting and hey presto, a mysterious light surrounding an old abandoned church!

old church
The Mystery of the Abandoned Church by Agatha Christie

There are so many photogenic old buildings and barns in the Mid West, which I’d love to go closer and take a peek through the windows (then the light would be mysterious) but each and every one of them have a big NO TRESPASSING sign posted on them. Now if this had been back in Scotland no problem, a sneaky peek through the windows no bother, but this is Illinois and when they say NO TRESPASSING they mean NO TRESPASSING coz they have guns here! So I behaved myself and stuck to the road and snapped away.


As a side note when I was driving along the back roads I came across a shark in a corn field. Yep, you read that right. A shark in a corn field. Now that’s a mystery!

Shark – cue Jaws theme tune!

ps. Shark in a cornfield would be a cool name for a band dontcha think?

Photo 101: Warmth and quality of light


This was a fun theme today – NOT!!! Well, it was fun to think about and to photograph, except to get the sun directly behind the glass and to get the clouds in the exact position I wanted them, I ended up lying on the ground with the suncatcher stuck on the end of a pole, so of course anytime I’m on the ground I’m fair game for the dog! You try taking a photograph with an 70lb dog jumping all over you – it ain’t easy! Mauled, bruised and licked to death all in the sake of photography….

Photo 101: Nature and leading lines

It’s a Shell – that’s as far as the identification goes I’m afraid!

Thought a lot about this one and how I could incorporate leading lines in a land that’s as flat as Illinois. I went and stared at some trees for a while (yep, I am that nutter) then looked around at the bare earth and uninspiring outdoors and was stumped. Eventually I had an idea and went round to mum’s house and stole a couple of her shells. She’s not in town at the moment so she won’t miss them…. unfortunately she’s not getting them back either as the dog thought they’d make a tasty snack and ran off with them!!! Bl**dy dog!

So this is my nature shot with leading lines. Take me to the beach now please….

Photo 101: Big

water tower

Today’s theme – Big and point of view…. well this is pretty big (so much so I couldn’t get it all in the frame when I was underneath it!) and my point of view is kinda squinty so I guess I’ve covered the bases. I would have liked to have been a bit more creative like I was last year, but because I’m doing all the themes daily as they come up I ran out of time (and ideas) today.

Anyway if you want to look at last years ‘Big’ take a look here

Thanks for visiting 🙂

Photo 101: Connect

1,467 connected carriages later!

I had the luck of the Irish today. OK, the luck of the Scottish then!

Driving back home from the next town over and I got stopped at the level crossing with one of the mega-trains that only happen in the US and I thought to myself – that would be IDEAL for the connect theme for today’s blog! So I quickly whipped out my compact camera (which lives in my bag at all times) and started snapping away, much to the amusement of the car behind me! Actually there was no need to be quick about it as by the time I’d waited 10 minutes on the train rolling past, it then started backing up and going the other way. I along with the car behind me was well past my endurance of waiting, plus I had snapped all the pics I wanted to snap, so we both did a (probably highly illegal) U-ey and turned back the way we’d came. The train is probably still trying to make up it’s mind which way to go….

My lucky capture today

Photo 101: Solitude

Gosh darn it (American version)…. talk about hectic days and running out of time!!! BUT I was determined not to use an old shot and take a new one every day so I apologise in advance for the iphone shot. If only work didn’t have to get in the way of pleasure. Oh and add in a piano tuner, a new fridge delivery, 2 kids home for Spring Break from college and you get the picture of how my day is going!

Glenn solitude2
Where did that squirrel go???

So solitude – here is my puppy playing all by himself out the back door (backyard for Americans). He feels the need to do a lap of his boundaries to check for invading squirrels and other varmits. Then will bark at every stray leaf blown onto the grass and of course Buster, the neighbours (neighbors) dog and him will have a barking competition.

Anway I know it’s a bit pathetic, but hey… at least I’ve thrown something up here 😉

Is it too early for wine?

ps. Luuuuuurrrrrve my new fridge 😀

Photo 101: Bliss

Ahhh, what sounds blissful right about now…. how about a hammock, a good book, a cool drink and a beach? Well much as I’d love to fly off to a beachey somewhere, all for the sake of keeping it authentic for Photo 101….. unfortunately it’s just not possible.

So next best thing, I pulled up a photograph of a beach on my PC, placed a chocolate Bounty bar in front of the monitor and started snapping….. didn’t really work out too well. You can’t tell it’s a beach, even when I adjusted the F-stop higher it still wasn’t working like I though it would. Oh well, at least I got to blissfully eat the Bounty….

Blissful Bounty Bar

Photo 101: Water and perspective

Lake landscape

Dull, grey, slightly rainy…. but I managed to get out there and get a new shot for the water theme! Yayy, give that woman a fudge doughnut!!!

I had actually spotted this log (alien?) at the weekend when I was walking the mutt at the lake so knew what I wanted to do for this theme. Maybe tomorrow I’ll do a bit of jiggerypokery on it (HDR for those in the know) and see what I come up with after playing.

This is the landscape version and below is the portrait one. I’m leaning towards portrait in this case. Whattdya all think?

Lake portrait

Photo 101: Street

As I said yesterday, I don’t live in the most photogenic place, and as an interloper I don’t have any particular fondness for the town I live in. Plus the main street is a feast of McDonalds, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Subways. Around the town square it’s a little bit more photogenic with second hand bookstores, pubs, lawyers offices with canopies, coffee shops and a big courthouse slap-bang in the middle of it all. But it still wasn’t very inspiring for photographs. So I took myself off to a nearby town that seems to be stuck in the past. As I was walking around snapping shots I could totally picture when the street used to be made of dirt instead of tar and they tied up their horses in front of the saloon instead of parking their ginormous trucks!


With that thought in mind I did a little Photoshopping to create the look I had in my head – I even removed the lampost…

Greenup street aged

Yeah, I don’t have enough real work to do today. Off to see if I can find any cowboys now!

Photo 101: Home – it smells like rain

rain leaves

Why does home smell like rain?

Well I’ve been living in the Mid-West USA for nearly 6 years now but home is Scotland (the country, not the small Mid-West town) and I am still in love with the weather here – real snow and hot summers and very little rain! Whenever it’s a dull grey day we always say to each other “Aye, it’s a guid Scottish day today!” and I can always smell whenever it’s going to rain. The rain is very rarely persistent all-day ‘dreich’ rain like we get back home in Scotland. It’s mostly the Monsoon-type where it pours down then just as suddenly stops. So to have a rainy day (like today – just when I wanted a nice day to start the Photo 101 course) is very unusual. That’s why home smells like rain.

As an aside, the Mid-West is not the most photogenic of places, but I’m going to try and take fresh photographs every day and not use any of my stock of old ones. Last year I was a newbie blogger and did the Photo 101 but sometimes reverted back to here’s one I did earlier – check out last year’s interpretation of ‘home’ here Scotland, one of the most beautiful countries in the world (although Wales comes in close, eh D?) 😉