Nov 042013

Unlovely ©2013 April Siegfried

Referring to her nineteen month old toddler, Alexandra Horowitz writes: “He was blessed with the ability to admire the unlovely. Or, I should say, he was blessed with the inability to feel that there is a difference between lovely and un-.”—On Looking, Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes

Nikon D300; 1/45 sec @ f11, ISO 2500 (handheld);
18-200 mm f/3.5–5.6 @ 75mm (112mm EFL)

Oct 252013

Paint №3{click image to view large}

While our cat Sassafras was at her “spa” for grooming, I went out walking with my camera in the Andersonville area of Chicago. It’s a colorful Swedish neighborhood, with unusual shops and restaurants, outdoor seating and huge urns filled with flowers in bloom. Surely I could find something to photograph.

For some reason, though, I felt overwhelmed and couldn’t “see” anything. So, I decided to travel the alleys where it might be quieter with less distraction.

About a half-hour into that exploration, I (finally!) came across a garage door of peeling paint, each rectangular panel filled with fascinating patterns in green and orange. This image is one of my favorites.

Nikon D300; 1/250 sec @ f11, ISO 200 (handheld);
18-200 mm f/3.5–5.6 @ 70mm (105mm EFL); focus distance 1.0m

Jun 282013

686.. ©2013 by April Siegfried

This image was photographed recently while attending the Miksang Level 1 workshop in Boulder, Colorado. It was discovered in a back alley during the “texture” assignment.

I first took Level 1 three years ago, and have since completed Levels 2-4. It was interesting to notice that I felt more free in tackling the assignments this time around—less confined by trying to figure out the “rules”.  There’s really only one criteria in this practice: Was it a fresh perception, and did you express it clearly? Ok, that’s two. 🙂

Nikon D300; 1/250 sec @ f11, ISO 200 (handheld);
18-200 mm f/3.5–5.6 @ 44mm (66mm EFL); focus distance .5m

Jun 142013

Nikon D300; 1/45 sec @ f8, ISO 200 (handheld);
18-200 mm f/3.5–5.6 @ 56mm (84mm EFL); focus distance .71m


Nikon D300; 1/90 sec @ f8, ISO 200 (handheld);
18-200 mm f/3.5–5.6 @ 60mm (90mm EFL); focus distance .79m

Found in the alleyways of my neighborhood. I’m struck by the contrasts of formal labeling and uncontrolled energy.

Mar 172013

Winding Road ©2013 by April Siegfried

Running errands is always more entertaining when I bring my camera! This was photographed in the parking lot of a grocery store.

Nikon D300; 1/45 sec @ f11, ISO 640 (handheld);
18-200 mm f/3.5–5.6 @ 200mm (300mm EFL); focus distance 2.66m

Jan 192013

First spotted from across the street in my dentist’s chair… I was in a hurry to get out of there before the sun moved too far!

Panasonic DMC-FZ40; 1/125 sec @ f5.6, ISO 80 (handheld); Focal length: 10.2mm (62mm EFL)

Nov 122012

{click image to view larger}

The past few days, feeling a lack of focus, I decided to revisit exercises in the basic elements of form: color, texture, pattern, light.  This was discovered in an alley on a “texture day”.

The acid test is whether you, the viewer, can actually “feel” the texture through your eyes? Or does the image instead reference an idea of what the subject is supposed to feel like? (It might be easier to evaluate at the largest size.) I’d be curious to hear, either way.

Nikon D300; 1/90 sec @ f11, ISO 1600 (handheld);
70-300 mm f/4.5–5.6 @ 70mm (1050mm EFL); focus distance 1.88m

Oct 192012

{click image to view large}

Admiring late summer dahlias at our local farmer’s market, I was suddenly struck by the eye looking back at me.

The image reminds me of an exercise we were given during the Miksang Institute Summer Program, titled “paste-ups”. It’s fun to look for such scenes; no digital compositing required!

Nikon D300; 1/125 sec @ f8, ISO 200 (handheld);
18-200 mm f/3.5–5.6 @ 55mm (82mm EFL); focus distance .89m