Sunday, January 30, 2011


It has been slightly over a year since I developed an interest in taking pictures.  A favorite website of mine, The Pioneer Woman, has a photography page with simple explanations of strange and confusing terms such as aperture, focal length and shutter speed.  Along with input from my good friend Jon and my well-used copy of Nikon D90 for Dummies, I have made great headway in learning how my camera works and how to, most of the time, take a decent picture.

Every month or so, The Pioneer Woman hosts a photography contest.  Each contest has a specific subject matter.  She has done food, the color green (what a wonderful reason to have to buy peanut butter M & M's), water, and bugs, just to name a few.  My favorite is the 'bokeh' assignment that she has had the past two Christmas'.

Bokeh is the blur, or the 'aesthetic quality of the blur' in the picture, or the way the lens renders the out of focus area of the picture.  (That description obviously came straight from Wikipedia.)  Below is an example of a picture that I took and entered in her bokeh Christmas contest this year.  See how the lights from the Christmas tree are all blurry and round?  That y'all, is bokeh.

I absolutely love taking pictures with bokeh.  I have also found out recently that my macro lens doesn't have to be used just for taking close ups.

Anyway ~

The Pioneer Woman's contests are run through Flickr and last about four to five days.  Each day she will pick a group of finalists.  At the end of the contest, she will pick a winner from those finalists.  It is her contest, her rules and subject to her choices.  She has to look through hundreds of thousands of pictures and I believe that she chooses some very pretty pictures.  It is always a learning experience for me to look at the entries.  Most often after browsing through the entries, I head for my camera with ideas bouncing around in my head.

On Flickr, you can only add one picture to a group in a twenty-four hour period.  As neurotic as I am, I set my alarm to mark the twenty-four hour point when I can add another picture to her group.  When I am able to add a picture, I also look to see how many views the pictures in my photo stream have received.  I get very, very excited when someone takes the time to comment on a picture of mine.  So far, the very few comments that I have received have been positive.  But I am always open to constructive criticism - right Jon?

The theme for this week's contest was 'flowers'.  In my own opinion (the only one that counts), I had some pretty good submissions.  Sadly, out of more than 160,000  pictures, I was not chosen.

I am taking matters into my own hands.  I am holding my own contest, with entries accepted only from me.

And the winner is ...

Have the BEST day ever!
~ Dorothy

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