2024 PaintedSpur Photography: Blog https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog en-us (C) 2024 PaintedSpur Photography [email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:22:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:22:00 GMT https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/img/s/v-12/u425077459-o1036499317-50.jpg 2024 PaintedSpur Photography: Blog https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog 120 78 "Rejected" Exhibition at Minneapolis Photo Center https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2017/10/-rejected-exhibition-at-minneapolis-photo-center John and I have prints on exhibit at the Minneapolis Photo Center. Come see the photos from all over the state from photographers that were rejected by the Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts competition. They are on exhibit now through Oct. 28, 2017. 

O'Loughlin FarmO'Loughlin Farm "O'Loughlin Farm Sunset" by Gina Stocker

Hollow Rock WinterHollow Rock Winter "Hollow Rock Winter" by John Stocker


     ~ Happy Trails, Gina


[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2017/10/-rejected-exhibition-at-minneapolis-photo-center Mon, 09 Oct 2017 16:09:56 GMT
"Landscape Photography Magazine" POTM Finalist! https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2016/2/-landscape-photography-magazine-potm-finalist I am happy to announce that I received an e-mail from "Landscape Photography Magazine" that a photo that I submitted to January 2016 Photo of the Month contest was selected as a finalist. What an honor!

You can view it and the other finalist along with the winning shot at:


Happy Trails ~ Gina


[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) Gina Stocker Grand Portage Lake Landscape Photography Magazine Minnesota North Shore PaintedSpur Superior landscape photography shore shoreline waterscape https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2016/2/-landscape-photography-magazine-potm-finalist Tue, 02 Feb 2016 16:30:00 GMT
Photo of the Day on "Capture Minnesota" https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2016/1/photo-of-the-day-on-capture-minnesota I was pleasantly surprised to see my photo won POTD, on "Capture Minnesota" today! I am glad I was able to catch the frost still on the trees after I got off work at 9 a.m.. Hoarfrosts are few and far between so it is nice to be able to catch one for photos.

Happy Trails

~ Gina

[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2016/1/photo-of-the-day-on-capture-minnesota Tue, 19 Jan 2016 17:17:24 GMT
A Surprise Announcement From "Capture Dakota" https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2016/1/happy-to-announce I opened up my e-mail the other morning to an announcement that two of my photos will be published in the "Farm Forum 50" book. I had about 10 photos posted on the "Capture Dakota" site and they were chosen from those photos. I had forgotten I opted in a year ago and then completely forgotten about it. Reminds me that John and I are way over due for another adventure to the Badlands. Just love South Dakota!



[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2016/1/happy-to-announce Sat, 16 Jan 2016 15:12:59 GMT
Diffuse that Harsh Light! https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2015/4/diffuse-that-harsh-light Now that Spring is here I will be taking some more flower photos. Even though I always try to say "I'm not a flower photographer", I seem to take a fair number of flora photos, spend a good deal of time processing my shots, and actually enjoy doing so. I guess if I say "I'm a nature photographer", I can encompass flowers into that statement...and then I'm covered.

That being said, I have been asked by 100's of people (okay, maybe more like two people) about my flower shots. I happen to prefer maintaining a softness to my flowers, but like at least some detail to be prevalent. Most of the time I prefer to shoot flowers in open shade, however, that might not always be an option.

There will be times when you want to take some shots of a flower with bright sun blazing down. The sun won't even cooperate and at least hide behind some clouds for you; the sun can be stubborn that way. You are left with several options: come back when there are clouds, but by then the flower might be dead or past its prime; you could block out the sun and create a shade; or you could diffuse the sunlight.

Although blocking out the sun directly is nice, it does seem to blend all of the light level to a very similar unified level, which in turn loses some of the depth of the flower. It is subtly different than a large open shade area, it just is. I'm not going to try to get all scientific about why this happens, mostly because I can't...but it is also seems too boring for me to write and I imagine even more boring to read.

So my preferred option is to use a diffuser. I happen to have a Promaster 22" 5-in-1 reflectadisc that lives in my bag. It is nice and compact and you have five options of various uses.

Here are two shots of some yellow crocus taken seconds apart. One is without a diffuser, one is with the diffuser. Both processed exactly the same, and the only different setting was the shutter speed, which had to be different for hopefully obvious reasons.




Now I know I prefer the diffused photo. Some of you might prefer the harsh light, and that's fine. The softer look of the diffused light is my preference. Now this would not be my finished photo. I would continue to process the shot to make it something I can be proud of. This is posted merely for demonstration purposes.

So the next time you shoot some flowers, try a diffuser. It gives you an easier starting point with which to work.


Thanks for reading!




[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) MN PaintedSpur crocus diffuse diffuser flora flower harsh light photography shade shadow yellow https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2015/4/diffuse-that-harsh-light Thu, 16 Apr 2015 14:17:35 GMT
Minnesota Exposure Photography Contest https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2015/2/minnesota-exposure-photography-contest I was happy to receive 2nd in the Minnesota Exposure Northshore Photography contest! Lots of great photographs submitted!
 Congrats to all the winners!

Happy Trails ~ Gina


Minnesota Exposure Winners
Courtesy of: Minnesota Exposure

[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2015/2/minnesota-exposure-photography-contest Sat, 14 Feb 2015 16:25:34 GMT
Photography Contest ~ Minnesota Exposure https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2015/2/photography-contests I was happy to receive and Honorable Mention award in the National Camera Exchange open photography contest. Congrats to all the winners!

 Happy Trails ~ Gina

Minnesota Exposure Winners
Courtesy of: Minnesota Exposure

[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2015/2/photography-contests Sat, 14 Feb 2015 16:21:55 GMT
In Pursuit of the Light Photography Exhibit https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2014/8/in-pursuit-of-the-light-photography-exhibit We are pleased to announce we have some our work on display in our solo Exhibit, "In Pursuit of the Light", at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.

We would like to thank the great people at Central Lutheran Church for providing us this opportunity to showcase our work.

Dates are August 29th - October 14th, 2014.

Public hours viewing hours:
Sundays: 7:45am - 1:00pm
Mondays: 12:00pm - 4:30pm
Tuesdays - Fridays: 9:00am - 4:00pm
Saturdays: 4:30pm - 7:30pm

We would love it if you have the opportunity to stop by and check it out. Park in the lot on the south end of the Church. Enter at the south end. Walk straight ahead to the artwork. You can't miss it. The guard inside will validate your parking.

We also put together a Gallery on our website of the prints on display: http://www.paintedspurphotography.com/p803507160




[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) Central Church In Light Lutheran Minneapolis Minnesota PaintedSpur Pursuit art display exhibit of photography prints show the www.paintedspurphotography.com https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2014/8/in-pursuit-of-the-light-photography-exhibit Fri, 29 Aug 2014 21:55:53 GMT
State Fair Fine Arts Exhibit https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2014/7/state-fair-fine-arts-exhibit I received great news today! My "Rainy Day In Grand Marais" print has been accepted into the Minnesota State Fair's Fine Arts Exhibition!

Happy Trails ~ Gina


[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2014/7/state-fair-fine-arts-exhibit Wed, 30 Jul 2014 19:10:58 GMT
Hamel Rodeo & Bull Ridin' Bonanza https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2014/7/hamel-rodeo-bull-ridin-bonanza Had a great time last weekend at the Hamel Rodeo! It has been a while since I have been to a rodeo and had forgotten how much I like photographing them.

Please check out more in my "Events" Gallery!

Happy Trails ~ Gina

[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) Hamel Minnesota Rodeo arena bronc bull horse riding steer wrestling https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2014/7/hamel-rodeo-bull-ridin-bonanza Tue, 15 Jul 2014 23:48:56 GMT
Trip To Door County, WI https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2014/6/trip-to-door-county-wi John and I had a few days to take  short road trip so we decided on Door County, WI. I have never been there and John hasn't been there since he was a kid, so off we went. It was as advertised. :-) We had a nice time and I got a chance to use my new 10 stop ND filter. It really took some practice but once I got the hang of it, I was satisfied with some of the results. This shot was one of my favorites from the weekend. It was taken from the boat launch on Lily Bay. I just can't decide which one I like better so I posted both color and B&W version.

Passage of Time


Passage Of Time

Hope you had a great Tuesday!

~Happy Trails


[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2014/6/trip-to-door-county-wi Wed, 18 Jun 2014 00:48:07 GMT
NEW! 2014 PaintedSpur Photography Calendar! https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2013/12/new-2014-paintedspur-photography-calendar I finally got a calendar put together for all of those asking for one! Just click on the link below and it will take you to the site for ordering.


Happy Trails ~ Gina





[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2013/12/new-2014-paintedspur-photography-calendar Mon, 09 Dec 2013 00:07:52 GMT
Shooting Fireworks https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2013/7/shooting-fireworks This year for the 4th of July, Gina and I decided to actually go out and shoot some fireworks. This may not sound like a big deal to anyone, but it is quite the feat for the two of us. Most years we don't even bother to go see any fireworks and when we do we haven't felt the need to photograph them. I'm not sure why that is. Perhaps it is mostly due to the fact we tend to wake up super early in the morning and by 10:00pm we are usually sleeping. However, this year we planned on making the effort by making sure we took a nice long nap during the middle of the day. I'm glad we did since I was pretty satisfied with some of the results.



















Now there are plenty of articles out there talking about technical aspects of shooting fireworks, so I don't need to bore people by posting anything too specific. I used basically the same principles I would have if I was just taking night pictures of the city...except timing it specifically to the fireworks themselves.



Was there things I would do differently? Sure. Would I try a different spot next time? Possibly. One thing I did learn was to avoid having little children run into your tripod while you are shooting. Otherwise you might end up with a shot like this:


And I am certain that would have been the award-winning shot of the night!

Oh well.


Thanks for reading!




[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) 4th of July Independence Day fireworks holiday night photography https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2013/7/shooting-fireworks Tue, 09 Jul 2013 20:07:21 GMT
Different Look at a Barn https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2013/6/different-look-at-a-barn John here. I don't blog nearly as often as I should. Since I used to do a lot of writing, it would seem natural to dive into the world of blogging, but it has not been a natural progression. That being said, here is the latest.

It's no secret one of our favorite subjects to photograph is barns. We spend many a weekend driving around back roads we have never been on looking for some of these treasures. Of course, back roads aren't the only place to find them...sometimes they are right along the Interstate.


One thing I am discovering as I continue my growth as a photographer is my interest in the "sections", or "portions" of a barn (or any building for that matter). You can really capture the feeling of the building without necessarily showing the entire structure.


If you have the opportunity, check out the inside (with permission, of course).


There are a lot of interesting opportunities to photograph inside the barn, you just have to look for them.



Are the close-up portion shots photographs that everyone enjoys? Probably not. However, that is what makes photography such a fantastic art form...everyone has their own tastes.

I have seen a lot of beautiful photography of barns, some even shot by photographers I consider my friends. They inspire me to continue to improve my shots. In an effort to do so, I try to find shots that I have not seen before when photographing my own. I'm not sure what that does for my personal portfolio, but I enjoy it.


Thanks for reading!




[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) Minnesota barn barns close-up farm farming photography rural https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2013/6/different-look-at-a-barn Tue, 25 Jun 2013 12:52:00 GMT
Being Published in Capture Minnesota II https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2013/5/being-published-in-capture-minnesota-ii It's been almost a month since the Capture Minnesota II book release party where selected photographers found out which of their photos were selected for publication in the book. I meant to write something about it much sooner, since the entire experience has been both fun and challenging for Gina and I. We have met some incredible people through this project so far and look forward to making even more connections in the future. I really like the concept of the CM site as how it has become quite the community that a lot of people utilize to continue in their creative outlets. Hopefully the site will continue on to Capture Minnesota III. It was mentioned at the release party, but until I'll believe it when I see something concrete.

Of course, what's a blog entry on a photography site without a few photographs? Here are the photos that we had the honor of being presented in the Capture Minnesota II book.


Gina's photos:



Fairy Greeter

(page 48)























Window to the Soul

(page 72)
















Quiet Reflection

(page 119)

















And here are my photos:



Sugardale Sunrise

(page 115)












Choir Boys

(page 120)














With over 200,000 photo submissions and only enough space in the book for around 300 photos, surprised is not an adequate word to describe the feeling of both of us have with multiple images selected. There were SO MANY outstanding choices to sift through for the book, that I did not envy the people who ended up making the selections one bit. I'm sure they could have made multiple books with the submissions and each and every edition would have been a good collection.

Well, hopefully there will be a third book. If there is for sure, you can bet Gina and I will continue to participate in an ultimate effort to be selected again. With the outstanding photographers already on the site, and more joining every day, the "competition" gets even more challenging. That's quite alright. It makes us all push ourselves to capture higher and higher quality images.


That's all for now. Thanks for reading!





[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) Capture Minnesota TPT book photography published https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2013/5/being-published-in-capture-minnesota-ii Fri, 17 May 2013 16:41:08 GMT
John is shooting flowers?!? https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2013/2/john-is-shooting-flowers Yes, it is true. This winter has forced me to look for items I normally would not consider photographing. Now, I like walking out in nature when it isn't so frigid and finding things to photograph...and it might even be a flower or two. But I don't usually look at cut flowers in a vase and think "I'm going to photograph those!"

I found myself actually inspired when I noticed the mid-afternoon light shining in through the Dining Room window and bathing the bouquet in a nice golden glow. I dug out the camera and tripod and quickly went to work before I talked myself out of it. I mean, I can always consider it good practice.

Here was my first attempt:

Not too bad. I didn't need to use any lights, flash, reflectors, etc. I just positioned the vase to soak in the light where I wanted it. I also attached an extension tube to the 100mm macro lens to get in a little closer.



I played with the red flowers for a bit, then focused on one of the yellow flowers.

I ended up liking this one even more. For some reason I was getting nice texture in the yellow. Perhaps it was more noticeable without the red color competing for attention; I don't really know for sure. I thought about cleaning up the "mess" on the bottom petal, but decided to leave it.



Then I wanted to tackle one of the yellow roses. But I didn't want a typical shot from above into the center of the flower. I wanted to find something a little different. Here is my favorite from that flower.

I really like the light and shadows playing well together. I tried to keep the softness of the flower yet still have detail and sharpness where needed.


For those that have never tried close-up photography or even macro, I would recommend it. It really forces a person to look at the surroundings a little differently. I could go into a discussion about focusing with a macro lens, establishing good Depth of Field, etc, etc. But even my own eyes start to glass over at my own conversation. I'll save that for another time. If someone really wants go in-depth in a discussion, feel free to drop me a line. For now, I'm just going to enjoy my flowers.




[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) 100mm close-up flora flower flowers macro photography https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2013/2/john-is-shooting-flowers Fri, 22 Feb 2013 00:48:25 GMT
Shooting through the snow https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/12/shooting-through-the-snow Yesterday we planned on heading up to Monticello to photograph some swans. After we watched the weather forecast, we figured we would wake up early and check the weather once again. Well, this morning came and we had already had several inches of snow, it was still snowing, and the predictions called for more snow all day. Cancel swan road trip. We decided instead to stay close and check out a few of our local farms.

It wasn't snowing too hard when we began, and I thought we MIGHT be able get some decent shots. Here was my first attempt. I liked the amber colors contrasting with the snow.


Not too bad. The wind wasn't too bad yet and you could see the field without too many snow flakes in the way.

It starting snowing harder. My next attempt was of a swampy area with a small wooded area in the background. It was snowing harder and from the angle I was positioned the snow was coming at me.


I couldn't decide if I wanted to crop or not...or if I really even liked the final shot. There was enough snow blowing in my face ( and the camera) that the Auto-Focus was having difficulty locking on anything. Once I was able to lock on the foreground, I recomposed the shot and fired it off.

We then attempted to take a picture of a horse in a pasture. The snow wasn't in my face anymore, but it was coming down hard enough that my 100-400mm lens was not auto-focusing worth a darn. So I flipped to Manual Focus. Here was that attempt.


It might have been workable, but we just couldn't get a decent angle of the horse and we couldn't get the horse to stop grazing long enough to get a semi-interesting pose. Also, it was snowing hard enough I didn't feel like trudging into the ditch for a better opportunity. I mean, the truck was nice and warm.


By the time we continued down the road, the snow intensity increased and we couldn't see anything at all. So we returned home. Perhaps tomorrow will be better once the white stuff stops falling.


Thanks for reading!




[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) auto-focus field horse snow storm https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/12/shooting-through-the-snow Sun, 09 Dec 2012 22:09:19 GMT
PaintedSpur Photography on other social media sites https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/9/paintedspur-photography-on-other-social-media-sites If you are reading this post, we thank you for visiting our site! Usually people are drawn here by following a link from either our Facebook profile pages or Capture Minnesota profiles. We have recently "expanded" our social media outreach to include Twitter and Google+. Here are the links to the various locations you can find us so we can be "liked", "followed", or "circled"!









Hopefully we'll see some of you there!  Thanks again for your support!




[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/9/paintedspur-photography-on-other-social-media-sites Mon, 17 Sep 2012 13:01:20 GMT
Hummers https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/9/hummers John and I went out to the MN Landscape Arboretum Friday morning and shot off a few photos. I wasn't happy with the lighting as we got out there later in the morning so I nixed a lot of the flower shots. I did end up at the dahlia garden and instead of dahlia photos I was enjoying the sights and sounds of several busy little hummers. They would squabble with each other then flint around from flower to flower then go off and rest for a period of time. I sat there and watched for well over an hour and snapped off several dozen shots. I had 2 keepers. Such is the day in the life of a photographer. ;-)


I took advantage of this one while he rested and got a portrait of the cutie.


I discovered that after using my 5D lll and new 70-200mm lens exclusively for so long, when I switched to my 7D and 100-400mm lens, I found the combo bulky and slow in comparison. It took me a while to get the hang of it and I was disappointed at how hard it was to zero in and focus on the hummers as they flew from flower to flower. So, that means I imagine I'll be all for updating the 100-400mm lens when they come out with the new improved model.


Happy Trails ~ Gina


[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/9/hummers Sun, 02 Sep 2012 15:30:06 GMT
"Capture Dakota" https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/9/-capture-dakota Since John and I spend a lot of time in the Dakotas, I also joined the "Capture Dakota" site. I have uploaded a few photos there from our trips. One of them from our trip last summer won Photo of the Day today. What a nice surprise!

There are so many great photos and photographers at "Capture Minnesota" and "Capture Dakota" I encourage people to sign up and contribute! Such and inspiration!

[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/9/-capture-dakota Sat, 01 Sep 2012 16:38:21 GMT
South Dakota and Wyoming Trip https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/8/south-dakota-and-wyoming-trip John and I decided to make a trip out to South Dakota and Wyoming while he had some vacation. It was a quick run that didn't produce a lot of photographs, but we sure got to see some great new sites. We were blessed with a beautiful sunset behind Devil'sTower, Wyoming. We just sat along the quiet country road in a pasture driveway and shot away. The two shots of Devil'sTower below are HDR shots. They were both made with a combination of 5 photos exposed in 2/3 stop increments then combined in the NIK HDR software.

Devil's Tower, Wyoming


We enjoyed it so much that night we were out the next morning at the crack of dawn.


These two horses looked so beautiful out in their pasture there where we were shooting I couldn't help but indulge myself in some shots.


A couple of cutie young antelope from Custer State Park in South Dakota.This is one of our favorite places to visit and I highly recommend a tour if you ever get a chance. Lots of wildlife up close and personal for your viewing pleasure. :-)




We are planning another trip in October to visit the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. I'm looking forward to it!


Happy Trails ~ Gina

[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/8/south-dakota-and-wyoming-trip Wed, 29 Aug 2012 20:17:46 GMT
"Capture Minnesota" https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/8/-capture-minnesota John and I have been contributing photographs to the *Capture Minnesota* book project in hopes of getting a photograph published in the new edition *Capture Minnesota ll* that will be coming out in May 2013. Very neat participating in this project and very inspiring! Great photographers contribute to the project and it definitely makes you want to go out and take the best photos you can to contribute. I was honored to have received two Photo Of The Day awards!


On August 13th "After the Rain" was awarded Photo of the Day:



And on August 14th "Window to the Soul" was also awarded Photo of the Day:



I was very honored to have been chosen by the "Capture Minnesota" editors two days in a row.


Happy Trails ~ Gina

[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/8/-capture-minnesota Wed, 29 Aug 2012 19:52:13 GMT
Autumn Lillies https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/8/autumn-lillies  

  John and I finally got back out to the MN Landscape Arboretum to take flower/bug/bird shots. I was disappointed with my results. I usually photograph flowers with my 7D and 100-400mm Canon lens. I decided that I needed to try my new 5D lll and the new 70-200mm Canon lens. I found that the 70-200 lens in combination with the full frame camera lacked the reach I needed for flowers that were to the back of the beds. I had the macro lens with me also and tried that on a couple of flowers. I found the DOF is too shallow, for my taste, when I have to get in close to fill the frame. When I got home and downloaded about 150 photos; I managed to salvage one. It was painful going through those shots. I was so dissatisfied with them that many were just deleted.

 My dahlias weren't quite ready to bloom yet and the ones that had bloomed were in pretty sad shape. The combination of heat and drought have really taken its toll on many of the flowers out there. Still, many are thriving and vibrant, I just couldn't capture the beauty this time for some reason.

      I had pretty much given up when I spotted a patch of autumn lillies partially under a shade tree. I sat down on the bench beside them and started taking some shots.  They were looking pretty bad as the sun was high in the sky and I didn't have John to hold up the reflector/diffuser to shade them. I waited and eventually the sun went behind the clouds for a few seconds and I was able to get in a nice lit shot.


  I loved the color of these beauties and have to go back for more before they are gone. As I sat there waiting for John to show up, I remembered the multiple exposure mode on the 5D lll and gave it a try on the flowers the next time the clouds covered the sun. I need to remember this neat little mode as it could end up making some very nice abstract type shots when I take more time with it than I did yesterday with these.


I hate that summer is already half over, so I need to get out and get my fill of flower photography. I will just make sure I carry the right camera/lens combo and cross my fingers for better results.


Happy Trails ~ Gina

[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) Minnesota Landscape Arboretum autumn lillies lilly https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/8/autumn-lillies Mon, 06 Aug 2012 20:26:16 GMT
Sometimes Plan "B" Ends Up Being Better https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/8/sometimes-plan-b-ends-up-being-better Hi, John here again.

Well, once my cicada flew away, I was left with the plant I was trying to place the little bug upon. It is a red geranium. Maybe cicadas hate geraniums! That might explain why the bug kept rolling off the plant.

There I was, with my lights and reflector, camera and tripod. What to do, what to do. I don't take flower pictures often, but the geranium was waiting for some attention. The flowers are all currently past their prime. However, there were a few bulbs that looked pretty cool. What the heck.

Once I had the angle I wanted I didn't like the combination of garage door, ceiling, and wall as the background. Luckily, Gina made a great assistant and held up the black side of a reflector for me! Here is the final result:


Thanks for looking!


Until next time,



[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) bulb close-up geranium macro https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/8/sometimes-plan-b-ends-up-being-better Sun, 05 Aug 2012 00:10:53 GMT
Playing with a Cicada https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/8/playing-with-a-cicada Hello, it's John.

I found a cicada in my yard this morning. I thought, "I should try to get a decent photograph of this ugly bug!" It sounded simple enough. Of course, I couldn't be content with simply getting the camera and bringing my equipment out to the bug...no! I had to put him in a container, create some sort of controlled environment, and then place the bug into the environment. I imagine he would be perfectly content with this arrangement and cooperate fully. What could possibly go wrong?

So I set up a table, placed a potted plant on it, pulled out some lighting (and even a reflector). I positioned my camera with macro lens, dialed it in on a sections of leaves, and snapped a few test shots to get my settings close. I even adjusted my white balance! This was going to turn into a pretty sweet shoot! All I needed was my model.

I took the plastic container holding the cicada and gently removed the lid. He was actually clinging to the lid, so I attempted to "slide" him onto the leaves. He wasn't too happy with that, so he tried to fly...but fortunately flew back into the container. On the next attempt I tried to be gentler...and it worked, for about 2 seconds. He "rolled" off the leaves of the plant onto my makeshift plywood table, upside-down. I thought I probably killed him. I now pick him up, gently (of course). He starts buzzing away again! I didn't know cicadas played possum! I try yet again to get him on my plant...and he rolls off again. At least this time he is upright.

I didn't want to push my luck too far, so I decided to take a few photos of him as is, on the plywood. Here is the result:


Before I could do more than two positions with the camera he flew off. I did see where he landed, but I figured I'd let him go rather than torture him any longer.

Next time I think I'll bring my equipment to the bugs.


[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) cicada close-up insect macro wings https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/8/playing-with-a-cicada Sat, 04 Aug 2012 20:53:24 GMT
Flowers Flowers and More Flowers https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/8/flowers-flowers-and-more-flowers Next to horses, flowers are one of my favorite things to photograph. I'm looking forward to a trip out to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum this weekend. Oh they have so many beautiful flowers and my favorites are by far the dahlia garden. This is a favorite from last year. It was so perfect how could one walk by and not photograph it!

I don't remember the name of this particular dahlia and this year when I go out I will try and remember to photograph the little plate by the different flowers so I know their names. This one was so colorful but I wanted to try it in B&W and I think it worked well as the focus is now more on the perfection of the petals as opposed to the color.

Not all trips to the arboretum are successful, I've come home with many duds. So hopefully we have a good day tomorrow.


Happy Trails ~ Gina

[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/8/flowers-flowers-and-more-flowers Fri, 03 Aug 2012 14:56:56 GMT
Whoops! https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/8/whoops It even happens to Olympic photographers. :-)


[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/8/whoops Fri, 03 Aug 2012 10:51:45 GMT
Full Moon https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/8/full-moon I've never tried to capture the moon so I did it at 4a.m. this morning. I used the 100-400mm lens with the 2x converter. Not happy with the sharpness so I think tonight I may try the lens without that converter. I was being eaten by mesquitos pretty bad, so I made quick work and got back in the house.


Happy Trails ~ Gina

[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) full moon moon https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/8/full-moon Thu, 02 Aug 2012 10:22:44 GMT
Playing With Edits https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/7/playing-with-edits Once in a while I get bored and sit and play with edits in Photoshop and NIK. I did this one up this morning. The first shot is what came straight out of the camera, nothing done to it at all. I wanted the clutter gone and the purple and orange colors to pop and to soften it up to give a dreamy effect. Not sure how I feel about it other than I took enough time to edit it I figure I might as well post it.


Obviously it's a bit under exposed and lots of other flowers competing with the prize iris in the middle.



What I ended up with. I duplicated the original layer and turned it to a B&W and went to town erasing the iris back in. I also stamped out the other iris in the background.


Happy Trails ~ Gina

[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/7/playing-with-edits Tue, 31 Jul 2012 13:24:03 GMT
Playing With New 70-200mm Lens https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/7/playing-with-new-70-200mm-lens  

Finally was able to upgrade to the new Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS ll USM lens and took it out this morning for some action shots.

I had 3 wonderful subjects that would run all day for me, though before it was all said and done, they were pooped.

Magick is very camera shy and I really have no good photos of her as she usually slinks away when the camera comes out, but we got some great ones of her today! She is SO cute and I do wish she was better at being photographed.

Magick is a 9-yr-old Australian Shepherd that I adopted as a 5 week old puppy when I was a rep for ARPH (Aussie Rescue Placement & Helpline). She was from a puppy mill in Kansas that had to be shut down due to very bad living conditions for the animals. Very smart and sensitive Aussie and totally devoted to her people, especially John.


Spur is a 6 month old Welsh Pembroke Corgi and the light of our lives. It doesn't matter how bad your day is, when you come home to her antics and naughtiness, your day brightens up fast. Smart smart smart pup!


And then there is Romeo. No words can explain how dearly loved this old man is. Romeo is a 12 year old Australian Shepherd. He has gone deaf in his old age, but responds excellent to sign language. No keeping him down, he plays hard with the rest. I rescued him as a 6 month old puppy, when I was a rep for STAAR (Second Time Around Aussie Rescue), from a shelter in Salem, Oregon. They called me and asked me to come evalute him for the program as they were going to have to put him to sleep as he was shut down and wouldn't respond to people. I went and took one look and fell in love. I had to carry him out of the shelter to my truck as he wouldn't even get up and walk. Within a week he was playing and responding to us. Learned so fast! I had him a few months and then had to put him up for adoption due to life changes that wouldn't allow me to keep him. He went to a wonderful home for 5 years then I was contacted that he needed to come back into the program as the family was unable to keep him any longer. I wasted no time getting him on an airplane and back to my arms. Everyone who meets hm falls head over heels in love with him.



The new improved lens is well, just that, new and most definately improved! I LOVE it!!! :-D


Happy Trails ~ Gina

[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) Australian Shepherd Welsh Pembroke Corgi https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/7/playing-with-new-70-200mm-lens Sat, 28 Jul 2012 19:04:55 GMT
Parting Shot https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/7/parting-shot I almost forgot! The early morning drive paid off. I couldn't resist making John pull over so I could take in this peaceful morning shot south of Red Wing, MN.



Happy Trails ~ Gina



[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) Minnesota Red Wing barn reflection https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/7/parting-shot Mon, 16 Jul 2012 00:43:39 GMT
Cowgirl Tuff Futurity & Derby ~ Winona, MN https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/7/cowgirl-tuff-futurity-derby-photographing-indoor-arena-speed-events-no-flash      Well, we managed to get to the barrel racing event in Winona, MN on Saturday. It's a little over 2 hr drive for us, so we left about 5 am. Needless to say, by the time we got home at about 10 pm, we were exhausted. I will be needing to eat my Wheaties for days like Saturday. Holy cow, it was a long day and HOT!

     They ended up with the last event of the day having about 270 barrel racers. Wow! Loved seeing an old friend again, it really made my day to catch up with her after all these years.

     This time out I decided to shoot with the 70-200mm 2.8 Canon lens and NO flash. I certainly prefer it to the flash and 100-400mm lens I used last week! If you can stand the noise, it beats the heck out of dealing with a flash. The arena lighting was a little better here than the Cannon Falls arena so my ISO stayed in the 6000-8000 range, that kept the noise to a minimum. Of course the faster lens helped add some extra stops of light.

      I remembered to use the gray card! Woohoo!....then ended up adjustng the color anyway. *sigh* Let me go with it, I hate WB issues.  Gives me a headache. Anyway, I did set the WB to fluorescent and it looked better under these lights than last weekend. This needed no adjustment of color.

      I had the ISO set on auto and shot in shutter priority with speed set at 400. This way as the light changed from one end of the arena to the other, the ISO was compensating. I did add 2/3 stop to the exposure as this end of the arena had TONS of light being reflected in the barn doors from white trailers and campers from outside. I needed to make sure with all that back light I was getting plenty of exposure on my subjects.

      I did find my *sweet* spot for photographing the girls coming around the barrels. I like the last one as the horses turn it best since they know they are heading home. The only problem is when occasionally a rider will take the left barrel first. This then has them coming into that last barrel, going in the opposite direction. So, I just zoom in and shoot them coming off their second barrel. Not ideal, but it works in a pinch. :-)

     This event already had a photographer so I spent lots of time visiting and playing. :-) I decided to try that neat little menu item that is new on the 5D lll. Multiple exposer mode. I'm going to like this little gem! It is ridiculously easy to use!


          So then I wondered how bad my panning skills had gotten since I haven't used them in years. First attempt was a little challenged...so was the second, third, and fourth. :-) I finally managed this one.


       I couldn't help but snatch a shot of this little cowgirl on a mission. She definately had places to go and people to see. :-) I wish I would have taken more time for candids as I had planned, but I guess I got caught up with other ideas and it was so hot, moving around a lot wasn't my idea of a good time.


     Spur finally got her last booster shots and is all healed from her spay, so she went to her first horse show. She didn't know what to think with all the sights and sounds and...smells. She met lots of dogs and learned that we have yet to meet another corgi with ears as big as hers. Poor girl. I do tell her her extra big ears just make her extra special and extra huggable. :-) She was a hit with everyone especially all the little kids.


     Last but not least. I will be finding out who this lady and her horse are because it is my mission to to set up a photo shoot with this gorgeous palamino.


We didn't go to the Paint horse show today. When I got up and woke up my computer, we had issues and it took me 5 hours to fix the little crash I had going. We are back up and going fine, but it did take a big chunk out of the day. Oh well, it was even hotter today so it's just as well we stayed home in the cool house. :-)


Happy Trails ~ Gina



[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) Cowgirl Tuff Futurity & Derby Minnesota Pembroke Corgi Quarter Horse Winona arena barrel racing equine horse photography https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/7/cowgirl-tuff-futurity-derby-photographing-indoor-arena-speed-events-no-flash Mon, 16 Jul 2012 00:35:22 GMT
More Horse Shows This Weekend https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/7/more-horse-show-this-weekend We will be off to photograph horse shows again this weekend. Barrel racing tomorrow and Paint Horse show Saturday. I'll be focusing more on candids this weekend. I need some variety. :-)

[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/7/more-horse-show-this-weekend Thu, 12 Jul 2012 20:45:32 GMT
Trying to Find Interesting Items to Photograph Regardless of Situation https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/7/trying-to-find-interesting-items-to-photograph-regardless-of-situation I figured I might as well get around to adding some blog entries of my own. I thought I would discuss photographing subjects no matter the situation, or my mood, might dictate. One of our favorite places to visit is the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. I like going to enjoy the peaceful settings. It is also a great place for location shots for engagement sessions, senior portraits, etc. However, we usually go so we (mainly Gina) can photograph a wide variety of flowers. I often find myself less than inspired. It isn't a macho thing, I like flowers. I just don't feel inspired to photograph them. So as we go our separate ways through the gardens I look for interest within or around the flowers. After some time spent taking photos we head back home to load the photos into the computers.

The next step is even a bigger challenge for me than taking the photographs in the first place. And that step is finding one of the images I just loaded "worthy" of spending time processing into a final image. I don't think I am alone in the photographer "community" falling into the role of being my own harshest critic. I have tons of images in my hard drive that I have browsed through and rarely pick any to process. Then after some (okay, way TOO MUCH) time passes, some of the images still hold my attention long enough to finish. I'm still playing with images from our trip to the Black Hills...and that trip was last August.

So back to the Arboretum pictures. The last time we were there I took a few shots. Not many inspired me then and they still don't inspire me. However, I did get some shots of the giant bumblebees around a particular group of flowers. There was one bee that was a little larger than his friends. I found a shot of him where he was nice and clear and in focus.

The original image itself is nothing spectacular:


This is right from the camera (except for the watermark of course).


I thought I'd give it a shot to see what I could do. I did a severe crop and then basic processing. I cropped so much it would probably look not so good printed out at a decent size...but there's enough pixels to at least look good on a computer screen.


I ended up really enjoying my final result. It is currently my phone's wallpaper.


So I did manage to salvage something from a photo outing where I did not think I would keep anything. I have to keep this in mind any time I take out the camera. If I just put forth some effort, I will get results. Even if a person has no interest to stop and smell (or photograph) the roses, look around the roses for something else. It's there is you let yourself look.

- John

[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/7/trying-to-find-interesting-items-to-photograph-regardless-of-situation Thu, 12 Jul 2012 00:24:09 GMT
Improvements I Desire on the Arena Speed Events https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/7/improvements-i-desire-on-the-arena-speed-events Oh where oh where do I start on this one. Oye.

1. White balance! You know, I hate WB. It bores me to no end. I ended up using auto. Obviously I need to read up and practice this more so I can get it right right out of the camera. No matter what I set it on, it had color cast. It was better after I started using the flash, but that may not always be an option. I think I need to start remembering to take just a tiny moment to use a gray card. I have plenty but do I break them out to use them? No.

This is an example of shot, right out of camera, nothing done to it. This was auto WB, no flash. *cringe*


2. Timing. I was disappointed at my timing on the barrel turns. I need to try a different position so that I'm getting the shot right as they are coming into the barrel or have come off the barrel and not as they are turning the barrel. I will most likely see more consitancy in my shots that way.

Bad timing. This will never do. Though since this is Dan, maybe I could just blame this bad timing on the rider. :-)

3. My flash. I'm still learning that little contraption that I swore I wasn't going to use much. Again, it's all about having to learn without reading the owner's manual. My shots weren't blown out, as I know at least how to tone down the flash and turn it up, so I was able to manage that. I think my biggest obsticle is just learning it inside and out so that I can adjust the settings quickly as needed. Oh, rookie mistake I made! Left the flash on the camera....I know better than that! Now I've spent a lot of time cloning out bright white and/or red eye sockets. I had the bracket in my bag, right there at my finger tips...

Example of the dreaded white eye. This is not acceptable. Riley's eyes were saved from the blowout because he had them closed. Good thing his horse didn't! ;-)

Happy Trails ~ Gina

[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/7/improvements-i-desire-on-the-arena-speed-events Tue, 10 Jul 2012 15:07:48 GMT
4 Star Challenge Barrels ~ Cannon Falls, MN https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/7/4-star-challenge-barrels-cannon-falls-mn       It was sure great to see old friends and meet new ones in Cannon Falls, MN this past weekend. Since moving, from Iowa in 1999, I kind of left behind an old way of life. The weekends spent at horse shows with family and friends ended and I never picked it back up. I even put down the camera, for a few years, with the exception of photographs at family get togethers.

    You know, up until about 3-4 years ago I was still using a film SLR camera. I found that my desire for photography was coming back and I was starting to take more photographs again. However, I was not impressed with the quality of the developing as it was not up to par with what I had been used to especially for the cost of film and processing. So, I purchased a Canon Sure Shot and I was absolutely hooked to digital right out of the box. I'm one of those "instant gratification" types so I was an easy catch for Canon. :-) I used the little handy Sure Shot for a little over a year and the photo bug had fully reared it's head again so off to the camera store to buy my first DSLR. I wasted no time and went right for the Canon EOS 5D Mark ll. The new love of my life. A couple of months ago, I upgraded to the new 5D Mark lll....the current new love of my life. :-)

   Learning to use that new DSLR has been a challenge. It took some adjusting of my old ways of photographing. And trying to learn all those buttons and functions! I don't read owner's manuals, so you can imagine the time I was having learning how to use the new camera. But I was persistant and I'm so glad I was because I am back and ready to learn (ALWAYS learning), to shoot and to share my love for photography.

    My kids are grown and off to college and my hubby and I are ready for a new phase in our lives. Photography. I have come full circle with this passion and despite how much I love taking my flower close-ups, scenics etc, I come back to the horses...always the horses. There are just some things that are forever ingrained in our being and no matter how hard we try to change it up...we come back to what we truly love. 


  It was a spur of the moment thing that we ended up in Cannon Falls and I'm so glad we did! I needed a new challenge and decided I needed a horse show event. No better challenge than a speed event inside a dimly lit arena! So off we went. I spent a lot of time trying the shots with no flash and different lenses and settled on a flash and the 100-400mm lens. I think the 70-200 would work better but I let the hubby use that on his 5D ll so he could take advantage of the faster lens in the low light situation with no flash. Now that I've gotten through the photographs, I see where I need to imoprove and I'm ready for another chance to make some needed changes to see if I can get those improvements I desire. I strive to get the shots right in the camera so that my post processing is limited.

Happy Trails ~ Gina


[email protected] (2024 PaintedSpur Photography) 4 Star Challenge Barrels Cannon Falls arena barrel racing equine photography https://www.paintedspurphotography.com/blog/2012/7/4-star-challenge-barrels-cannon-falls-mn Tue, 10 Jul 2012 09:22:01 GMT