Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Landing a Cover with Harper-Collins

I can finally share some exciting news! I landed the cover of a novel with Harper-Collins! I had to wait until the book went through the approval process before I could share the news but it's all officially a go and I'll be receiving my galleys (and check!) in the mail shortly! The book is called "Kind of Kin" and it's the latest novel by Rilla Askew, scheduled for release in January 2013. Working with a big publishing company was great. They pay you for not only the hardcover run but also the paperback run and every country it's released in also has to license the image and pay me as well. It's a lot better financially than working with a self-publisher which is how my first book cover was done! And, you get a photo credit in the book too! Here is an image of Rilla's new book "Kind of Kin" featuring my image "Red  Road to Nowhwere":

You can pre-order your copy on Amazon here: Kind of Kin by Rilla Askew

Now, a little bit of info about my image they chose to use on the cover:

Red Road to Nowhere

This image was taken alongside my favorite stretch of highway in the Midwest...Hwy 283. From Dodge City to Oklahoma City, this two-lane highway is through the countryside, small abandoned towns, fields of sunflowers and farms featuring not only cattle but buffalo. Red Road to Nowhere was taken while on a day trip along this highway with my friend and fellow artist Missy Trent. We were hunting Bigfoot who has been spotted in Oklahoma around the Ada and Turner Falls area. We made funny videos about the search which you can see on this old blog post as well as the original, unprocessed image. The above image is a process called HDR, where you take three exposures: one underexposed, one overexposed and one with a perfect exposure. Then, using a photo-editing program you merge all those shots together. The result is a very detailed image that is sharp across the tonal range. I don't do those kinds of shots very often, but when I do I usually love the result. So, there you have it! A little history on the image. Now, go buy the book! :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Morning at Loxahatchee

I had a few hours in the morning this week to get out and photograph some wildlife. I met my friend Andrew at Loxahatchee Wildlife Reserve. His goal was to see a Pileated Woodpecker. Mine was to just see something new that I could tick off my Life List, which after today's visit stands at 55 species. I'm sure I've seen more in my lifetime but I just started this Life List and I only added those birds I knew I had images of and knew where and when I took the picture. So, it's like starting over. But, Florida is a great place to begin and during the visit yesterday to Loxahatchee I saw 12 species of birds and added two new ones to my life list! Plus I took pics of butterflies and grasshoppers...can't forget about the insects (although I would dearly love to forget about the Deer Flies and Mosquitoes that were biting the heck out of me!). I don't really have a proper lens for shooting birds at a distance so some of the quality of the pics I'm sharing today aren't up to par with my usual shooting but I wanted to share the experience with you all anyways. And, I wish I had packed my macro as there were so many wild butterflies. Next time! So, sit back and enjoy some images from Loxahatchee Wildlife Reserve:

 Female Pileated Woodpecker. We actually saw two on one tree which is rare indeed!

 Limpkin, looking for snails

 Loxahatchee Wildflowers

 Lovin' Lubbers

Blade Runner

Green Heron on Alert

Peacock on Pickerel Weed

 Pearl Crescent

 Red Admiral

 Sharing Space

Snail Kite

Sunning Dragon

Sweet Tricolor

Isn't nature just grand? Hot, humid and bug filled summers still can't stop me from enjoying the beauty of mother nature!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Visit from a Knight

I've lived in this same house now for 13 years and I am always amazed how I can still find new things in my garden. The best thing about where I live is it backs up to the Everglades so everyday I get to see an abundance of wildlife and nature. Sometimes, I even spot something amazing and new to the garden. Yesterday I saw a long green vine that seemed to be moving. Turned out to be the tail of a Cuban Knight Anole! First time I had seen one in my garden. I snapped off a few shots through the window and then decided to see if I could actually get out there and take a picture of him. He didn't scamper off but was rather curious.
So without further ado, the Cuban Knight Anole of Casa George:

I've decided to name him Diego. Isn't he a handsome fellow? And big too! Compared to a regular Green Anole which is the size of a regular lizard, only much prettier in his lime green dress:

Both have the pink throat patches and both can change colors to match their environments.

Here is another shot I took in the past of the green anole. They wear eye shadow. :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Getaway to Vero Beach

This week I had a little getaway to Vero Beach to meet up with my friends Loran, Misty and Denise. Misty, Loran and I have traveled to London together before. Misty, Denise, and I spent time shooting together in Savannah with our other friend and fellow photographer, Phoebe. It's been way to long since I had seen them. Especially since Loran and I only live three hours from each other! Misty is on her second round of battling breast cancer but despite that, she always manages to keep everyone laughing and smiling and it was so wonderful to spend some quality time with her as well as Loran and Denise. I even got to meet another friend of theirs, a little cutie patootie photographer named George as well as Denise's son, nephew, mom and sisters. It was only for two days and one night but we made the most of it with food, drinks, conversation, a bit of shopping and for Misty and I, we even got up to shoot the sunrise together (We only got up because our room was on the beach,lol). Here are a few pics from the getaway, some taken with the iPhone 4s and others with my Nikon:

Today is Denise's Birthday! Happy Birthday Denise!
Taken while having Dinner at Mulligans on July 5th, 2012

The Four of us at the Ocean Grill. They have yummy mojitos and delicious desserts!
They also serve up one of Loran's favorite drinks: The Painkiller:

Cool cup too!

Blue Chairs at Mulligans

Before Misty joined me to shoot the sun rising, I had the whole beach, ocean and sky to myself:

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Vero Beach Sunrise
 July 6th, 2012

Pool Deck Chairs
The Surf Hotel, Vero Beach

The Blue Umbrella

I discovered a time lapse app on my phone. I must have downloaded it a long time ago. We had fun with it, although we couldn't figure out how to make it go slower or how to get sound. Did figure out the speed situation after I got home and could see the teeny, tiny controls with my readers on. Sound, well, still working on that!

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Damn Misty! You are fast! :)

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Fast Beach Walkers! If you blink you'll miss the bird flying by!

Loran relaxing on the porch of a cute store we stumbled upon.

Misty surrounded by the bokeh lights and emitting her own beautiful light through those pretty eyes.

It was such a short trip but totally worth every second. It made me miss them all that much more. Hopefully, it won't be that long before we are all able to share some time together again. And dear readers, whatever your beliefs, please send prayers, healing lights of white and warming thoughts of love to Misty as she fights her fight against breast cancer. And I hope you all get to have a wonderful weekend with those you love. xo

Monday, July 2, 2012

In Search of Color

At a recent outing Lita and I had both purchased a book by Nichole Robertson of Little Brown Pen called Paris in Color. Inspired by the book and Nichole's photography, we decided to start a color project of our own. We chose the Riverfront in Fort Lauderdale as our first location and set off yesterday with much enthusiasm. We discussed how this project was not going to be about composition, sharpness or subject but just about color.  We found trying NOT to compose a photograph to perfection was a daunting thing as we have trained our eyes and brain over the last few years to put composition first. Nichole focuses on one color at a time because, as she states in her book, focusing on just one color will allow the "details to reveal themselves". Lita and I were just snapping away at any color we found but for future outings I am going to just focus on one color like Nichole suggests. When we stopped to have lunch at Bubba Gump Shimp Company, we scrolled through our pictures and were both horrified and disappointed with how awful they looked. Yet, it was making us laugh that we couldn't see past the lack  of composition to what gems we really had in regards to color. It was only after we agreed to each process at least one photo that night did we finally realize that this project was one we were going to embrace and continue! Here are just a few of my images from the outing that will be part of my "Color Theory" collection:

 Black 

 Pink

 Teal

White

Both Nichole's book and also Vivian Swifts "Le Road Trip" have inspired me to be a flâneur during my upcoming trip to Paris in the fall. Strolling around leisurely searching for color in between sipping café au laits while sketching in a watercolor journal sounds just divine.