From a distance it looked like a chicken…

As we walked up to the building I noticed this boarded up door and commented “Why is there a chicken on the door there?”  Well as I got closer I came to realize that it wasn’t a chicken but something else that was once on the door that had frayed and fallen into this shape.  So, are we supposed to stay back from the door, the building, or the “chicken” thing? ;)


Chicken door9057

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Aperture, Depth of Field, and F stops

Aperture and depth of field were the first things I learned when I took my camera off automatic.  In a nutshell, aperture is the opening in the lens which allows light into the camera.  It’s analogous to your eye; your pupil expands and contracts to let certain amounts of light in for your vision.  Aperture is expressed by f-stops which are  those numbers you see on your camera, your lens, or when reading the settings of how a photographer captured an image.

The numbers can range from around F 1.4 to F 22 (more or less) depending on the lens and the manufacturer.  This is where I had my first difficulties with f- stops, those numbers.  Numbers like 1.4 or 2.8 are considered  large f-stops meaning the lens is open wide while numbers like 8 and 16 are considered small f-stops meaning the opening is smaller.  My brain was bent on thinking the exact opposite way.  How could the number 16 be smaller than the number 4 I thought.  In photography it does and after practicing thinking photographically and not mathematically  I got the hang of it.

Aperture also directly impacts your depth of field.  Depth of Field (also known as DOF) is the front-to-back zone of a photograph in which the image is sharp.  With a large f-stop – for example F 1.8 – you will have a shallow depth of field which means only a small amount of your image will be well in focus.  Depending on what you want your image to look like this can result in that wonderful background blur known also as bokeh or it can result in having only the tip of the nose of your portrait subject in focus.  There is wiggle room in this because how close or far away you are from your subject also effects your depth of field.  You can download DOF cheat sheets for your computer or your phone to assist you in calculating what your DOF will be based upon the model of your camera, how far away you are, length of lens, and f-stop here.

So what does this look like in action?  Here are three shots that I took changing only the f-stop on my camera.  Using my Canon 5D Mark III and Sigma 50mm art lens, my focal point was the knob of the pipe and other than a bit of wiggling from shooting hand held, I tried to keep the composition of the shots the same.  Looking at each image, as I stopped down my f-stop (as my aperture changed) my depth of field changed; more of the knob, pipe, and background came into focus.   I only used three stops here but I think you can see the concept.  Depending on what type of lens you have you may not be able to have as large an aperture as I used here or you might have a lens with a fixed f-stop range such as a f/3.5 – 5.6 but whatever you have you can get out there and experiment and create wonderful images.

Here are a few links about aperture, DOF, and f-stops:

Understanding Aperture – A beginner’s guide

Depth of Field and F Stops

Using Depth of Field Creatively





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Wordless Wednesday – Urban Decay Art

F7.1 – 1/50 – ISO100 – 50mm Sigma A – Canon 5D Mark III

Big Head 9060



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Some things when they break can shatter into a million there isn’t enough glue in the world to put this back together pieces or into a few repairable big pieces.  Other times the shatter leaves the object standing but with holes or other damage like this close up shot of one of the windowpanes featured in this prior post.  Life is like that sometimes – life can and does have its shattering moments and we all are impacted differently because even if the event may be the same, we in how we process things are all different.

There are events in life which make us feel as if we are broken into so many pieces that we will never be the same again and in truth, we never are the same again because of those events.  Some broken hearts do mend but even mended hearts can carry tiny little scars.  The loss of a loved one or a major illness most definitely leave marks on all of us.  Some of us, changed though we may be, forge on while others sadly don’t quite make it.  We wear the marks of our shatterings inwardly and outwardly.   Some once outgoing people might withdraw slowly from the world while others, with that now crack in their veneer that once held them in, let their once confined spirits soar.  Others hide or try to comfort their physical and psychological scars with makeup, medication, clothing, or drugs and alcohol.

But then some of us wear our scars proudly to proclaim that we went through something and we are still here kicking ass and taking names!  Amputees take up skiing or dancing.  Those who have lost loved ones start foundations in their names to raise awareness about what ultimately claimed them.  I knew someone who after a heart attack took exercising to heart (pun not intended) so much that he burned out the motor of two treadmills walking daily on them.  And then there are those who just go about their day to day living trying to make the most of each new day they are given while wearing their scars with nary a thought.

I have physical scars that I now can look at and comment “Oh that was a fun but dumb move!” but some of the mental ones I try to keep in their little box where occasionally I visit them or is it occasionally they sneak out and try to encroach upon my present.  There have been some events in my life that shattered me but like this windowpane I’m still standing and I’m determined to keep on standing because while the shatterings have left their dents and dings, they do not control me.  They might bring me down sometimes but I’m the one in charge here and I say onward and upward!

What’s that saying? What doesn’t kill you makes your stronger (sometimes I really question that saying) or at least makes for some interesting stories to tell over a cup of coffee ;)  Stay strong everyone.



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Rust and Shatter

Like me, do you ever look at old abandoned places and wonder what they were once like when they were in their prime?  I’ve often wished I had a time machine where I could go back in time to just view what they once were or in lieu of that (and much safer if you’ve ever watched any science fiction movies you know something always goes awry with time travel; those darn butterflies) look up the building online to find out its once upon a time.  It amazes me how well built some buildings are that they are still standing in spite of wind, rain, time, vandals, and wild and crazy artists.

I think from now on when I explore an abandoned place I will try and get an address or at least the names of the surrounding streets so that I can discover the story of what it once was.


Rusty Windows 9138

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Monochrome Monday – The Spiderweb in the Glass

I don’t know when it grabbed me but I am so addicted to urban decay photography.  I can spend hours wandering around abandoned places and finding the amazing in them.  In this case I revisited an old warehouse that I had photographed just one side of a couple of years ago.  Happily it was still there and hadn’t been re-purposed into anything else unlike it’s neighbor across the street which was now a new hipster restaurant.  This time I walked completely around the building and discovered many of it’s wonders which I will be sharing with you.

This was one of the windows on a lower level which had been shattered into a spiderweb like pattern…ideal for the upcoming Halloween.

Spider Window 9151


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Over the creek and through the woods…


“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love – that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”

[Letter to Miss Eliot, Oct. 1, 1841]”
George Eliot

Autumn bridge 9018

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