Oscar Dean Photography: Blog https://oscardean.com/blog en-us (C) Oscar Dean Photography [email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Wed, 02 Aug 2023 14:38:00 GMT Wed, 02 Aug 2023 14:38:00 GMT https://oscardean.com/img/s/v-12/u647488663-o606693715-50.jpg Oscar Dean Photography: Blog https://oscardean.com/blog 120 120 Deja at the Beach! https://oscardean.com/blog/2023/8/deja-at-the-beach Fun at the Beach!Fun at the Beach!Vertical shot of an out of focus beach background with the horizon in the middle.

Deja experiences the beach for the first time!


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) ball beach blue brown cute Deja dog horizon ocean portrait sand seaside sky soccer https://oscardean.com/blog/2023/8/deja-at-the-beach Wed, 02 Aug 2023 14:38:08 GMT
After the Rain https://oscardean.com/blog/2023/4/after-the-rain New England just endured a full day of torrential rain.  The weather was miserable and it rained so hard that there was no chance at all to go out to do any photography.  So I stayed inside taking care of various tasks and other odd jobs that I kept previously avoiding all in the hopes of killing time until the rain would finally stop.  After many hours of waiting, the drenching rains came to an end in the early evening.  I stepped out onto my porch and the first thing I noticed was how QUIET it was!  I enjoyed the silence and contemplated if I could somehow capture an image from right here where I stood on my porch.  As I looked around for a while, nothing really stood out to me until I moved my attention to the ground at the base of the porch.  There was a plant that was covered with water drops from the day's earlier downpour.  The lighting at this time was soft and diffused so there were no harsh shadows being cast on the rich green stems.  I grabbed my camera and took a couple of shots.  Today was another example where you can always capture a new image even when the conditions don't appear to be conducive for great photography.  Patience and determination is key.








[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) closeup drops flora grass green macro macrophotography plant plants rain water drops https://oscardean.com/blog/2023/4/after-the-rain Wed, 26 Apr 2023 13:23:15 GMT
Wake up call! https://oscardean.com/blog/2023/3/wake-up-call First, just let me say that I really am a "morning person."  I wake up very early even on days when I am totally free and have no commitments.  How early is early you say?  Well, it is not uncommon for me to get up at 5am even without an alarm clock!  As shocking as that sounds you will be even more surprised (or perplexed) to know that I don't like coffee and I don't need any type of caffeine stimulant to get me going or keep my energy levels up!  I simply like the early morning time of day.  The quiet stillness, the slow and gradual shift as the darkness turns to light, enjoying a dramatic sunrise, the delicate chirping of the birds....Wait, WHAT???

Birds chirping?  This morning was different!  While I was still sleeping, I was awakened by a persistent "coooing" sound.  The sounds were becoming very annoying if I'm being honest!  After leaving the comfort of dreams and becoming fully awake, I knew that the insistent bird calls were being made by a Mourning Dove.  Sure enough, as I peeked through a crack in the window blinds, I could see him on a tree branch not too far from my bedroom window.  From this vantage point I had a great view of him as there were no branches or other obstructions blocking my line of sight.  I quickly grabbed my camera hoping that he would still be there when I returned and lucky for me, he was!  After I took a photo, he turned his head towards me, blinked his eyes, ruffled his feathers and then took off with the sound of his slapping wings.  How great it was to start the day off and get a great capture right off the bat!  You never know what turn of events will take place that will put you in front of your next photo.  Here is Mr. Mourning Dove below.




[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) animal bird feathers mourning dove nature tree winter https://oscardean.com/blog/2023/3/wake-up-call Sun, 19 Mar 2023 10:30:00 GMT
Deja's Valentine's Day portrait https://oscardean.com/blog/2023/2/dejas-valentine-s-day-portrait Valentine's Day 2023Valentine's Day 2023
Deja's portrait for Valentine's Day 2023


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) 2023 bandana black checkerboard cute dog February holiday pet portrait red Valentine's Day white https://oscardean.com/blog/2023/2/dejas-valentine-s-day-portrait Mon, 20 Feb 2023 00:40:21 GMT
Deja emBARKs on a sightseeing journey https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/8/deja-embarks-on-a-sightseeing-journey Sightseeing JourneySightseeing Journey

It's been a long hot summer and Deja is getting restless.  She's tired of walking the same path every day, visiting the same park or staring out of the window at home.  Deja wants to see more of the world!  This revelation became a reality when I found a note from Deja that read:  "Hi Daddy, I've gone out to do a bit of exploring.  Will be back soon.  And could you please have my favorite food ready at dinner time?  Love Deja."

Of course I was very concerned after reading this, I don't want any harm to come to my precious pooch!  Fortunately I have a GPS tracking device on Deja's collar and I went out to search for her.  I drove my car and it wasn't long before I picked up her signal!  Deja was on the move but moving very slowly.  I finally reached her exact location and was totally unprepared for what happened next.  I heard a bark from up above and I looked up and there was Deja, safe and sound, effortlessly floating over a vast cornfield.

I held up a treat and yelled, "Come down Deja, it's time for dinner!"  With a sharp bark, she slowly descended and when she touched the ground, she ran to me faster than I had ever seen her run!  We hopped in the car and Deja licked my face and said, "Daddy, I didn't really enjoy myself without you, can we go home so we can look out of my favorite window?"  And I said, "Of course we can, let's go!"


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) balloon balloons clouds corn cornfield Deja dog explore exploring sightseeing sky https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/8/deja-embarks-on-a-sightseeing-journey Thu, 11 Aug 2022 16:30:43 GMT
More flowers from Elizabeth Park https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/6/more-flowers-from-elizabeth-park Several weeks ago, I posted an entry to this Blog showing the flower photos I took during my visit to the Rose Garden at Elizabeth Park.  On that visit, the roses had not even bloomed yet so I made the best of it by getting some fantastic shots of the wide variety of tulips that were gloriously showing off their vibrant colors.  (See them HERE).  I have since gone back to the park after making sure that the roses were indeed in bloom.  If you are a fan of roses, scroll down to see some of the beautiful rose flowers that were on display.


























































































[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) bokeh Elizabeth Elizabeth Park flower flowers garden green landscape orange park petals pink red rose roses soft focus stems trees white yellow https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/6/more-flowers-from-elizabeth-park Wed, 22 Jun 2022 22:17:03 GMT
Bumblebee Dreams https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/6/bumblebee-dreams "It was the bumblebee and the butterfly who survived, not the dinosaur."
-Meridel Le Sueur-


Elizabeth ParkElizabeth Park


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) bee bumblebee Connecticut CT Elizabeth Park flower green Hartford insect nature park white yellow https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/6/bumblebee-dreams Mon, 06 Jun 2022 23:00:46 GMT
Memorial Day 2022 https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/5/memorial-day-2022 Remember and honor those that sacrificed for our freedom.



































[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) cemetery flag holiday honor May Memorial Day patriotic remember sacrifice veteran war https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/5/memorial-day-2022 Mon, 30 May 2022 10:15:04 GMT
Enders State Park waterfalls https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/5/enders-state-park-waterfalls Located in the quiet suburban town of Granby CT, Enders State Park is a nice place to visit for those who love outdoor activities.  You can go hiking, birdwatching, hunting and picnicking but the park is famously known for the multiple scenic waterfalls that cascade through the forest.   There are a total of five waterfalls but it must be noted that the footing around them is dangerous and there have been a number of people injured as they have attempted to view them.  As much as I encourage anyone to see these beautiful creations of nature, please be very careful and heed the warnings that are posted on the signs throughout the park!  I went to the park with the intention of photographing all of the waterfalls but a section of the trail was roped off so a couple of them were not accessible.  Below are a few photos that I took while I was there.














[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) CT Enders forest Granby hiking state park trails trees waterfall https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/5/enders-state-park-waterfalls Wed, 25 May 2022 23:18:14 GMT
Osprey - My First Encounter https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/5/osprey---my-first-encounter I really enjoy bird photography because of the challenges that come with it.  Most birds are very alert and skittish of humans so they will fly away quickly before you are able to focus let alone take a picture!  Trying to get a good photo of a bird that is obscured by lots of branches in a tree or one that won't remain still for more than a second is surely a lesson in frustration.  I have photographed most of the common backyard birds in my area for many years and I am happy with those images but one species of bird has eluded me for a very long time.  The bird in question is the osprey and I know that if I was going to have any semblance of a chance to photograph one, I would have to go to it rather than hope one will come to me.  Osprey hunt for fish so they prefer to live in areas near rivers, swamps, marshes and even the ocean.  Recently, I was in Madison CT and decided to pay a quick visit to Hammonasset Beach State Park because it has marshes and of course, the beach!  Even as I parked my car I could see some osprey soaring in the sky and even one sitting on the man-made nesting platform way off in the distance in the marsh.  I walked onto the almost deserted beach and spotted one approaching me high in the air.



My first shot ever of an osprey!  Its wingspan was incredible to see!




This one grabbed a fish from the water.




Gliding with a fish clutched in its talons.




Heading back to its nest with a nice meal.




You  can see the very sharp hooked bill, ideal for tearing fish apart!




Keen eyesight enables the osprey to see fish in the water from high up in the air.





Four ducks playing follow the leader.




A seagull on the ocean water.




  Kids exploring on the jetty.



So this visit to Hammonasset Beach was totally unplanned and I was really pressed for time so I didn't take a lot of photos.  The great thing is that I saw lots of osprey and I hope to return with all of my photo gear and snap more pics of this majestic bird.  For now, I can check the osprey off of my bucket list.



[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) beach bird blue CT duck Hammonasset jetty kids Madison ocean osprey seagull sky water https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/5/osprey---my-first-encounter Thu, 19 May 2022 02:23:03 GMT
11 Seconds of Stillness https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/5/11-seconds-of-stillness 11 seconds.  It doesn't seem like that is a very long stretch of time at all.  I mean, what could you possibly accomplish in 11 measly seconds?  Your first instinct will probably be, "Not much."  I was in complete agreement with that idea until I did some internet research to find out what can happen in 11 seconds and my findings were so amazing it made my head spin!  Here are a few examples...


Every 11 seconds


47 babies are born

825 McDonald's burgers are eaten

114,950 Coca-Cola's are consumed

Bill Gates earns $2,750.00

484 Lightning strikes hit the Earth

A bee flaps its wings 2,970 times

37,303,241 e-mails are sent

33,000,000 Google searches are summoned

and...it took me 11 seconds to take the photo below!



This boat dock is located in Essex, CT and I've wanted to photograph it for a long time.  Many photographers, and myself included, will pre-plan their shoots by selecting subjects or locations and also having a good idea of how the final photo(s) will look like.  I knew how I wanted this photo to look before I even stepped on the platform and took the picture.  In order to achieve this dreamy and moody look requires the photographer to utilize a technique called "long exposure photography."  A normal photo takes a fraction of a second and will freeze the subject, long exposure photography however takes the photo over several seconds or minutes resulting in a photo that is surreal and can twist reality.

Let's use my photo above as an example.  A normal photo taken of this scene would freeze the motion of the water and the clouds.  The irregular shapes of the waves in the water and the details of the clouds would be clearly visible.  This result is what most people see because it is the type of photo that most people take.  In my image above, notice how the water is silky smooth and there is movement of the clouds in the sky.  That is because the camera's shutter was opened for an extended period of time to capture the scene and the constant movement of the water and sky denies the camera the ability to generate a frozen image of them.  And how long do you think it took me to take this photo?  You guessed it...11 seconds!  What can you do in 11 seconds?



[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) b&w black and white boat clouds CT dock Essex long exposure moody perspective pier pylon seascape surreal vanishing point https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/5/11-seconds-of-stillness Thu, 12 May 2022 23:00:43 GMT
The Flowers of Elizabeth Park https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/5/the-flowers-of-elizabeth-park Elizabeth Park is a city park located in Hartford and West Hartford CT.  It covers 102 acres and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Opened in 1897, it contains the oldest municipal rose garden in the United States consisting of 15,000 bushes of 800 rose varieties.  The park also contains additional gardens with a diverse assortment of flowers, greenhouses, bowling greens, tennis courts, softball field, picnic grove and a scenic pond.  Anyone that loves the outdoors or enjoys nature will truly find this park a sight to behold!  For me being a photographer, I find Elizabeth Park to be a "photographic goldmine!"  There is so much beauty all around that I come away with loads of great photos no matter how often I visit the park.  I stopped by there today and the roses are not in bloom yet (still too early) so I went to a different garden area where the flowers were in full bloom.  The conditions were perfect because I arrived very early to avoid the crowds and the weather forecast called for comfortable temperatures with clear skies and no rain.  I took full advantage and captured some great photos of the colorful flowers in the well manicured garden.  If you have never taken a trip to Elizabeth Park, you owe it to yourself to see this historic park in person and enjoy all that it has to offer.  Below are some photos that I took while I was there.
























































[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) bokeh Elizabeth Elizabeth Park flower flowers garden green landscape orange park petals pink purple red soft focus stems trees tulip tulips white yellow https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/5/the-flowers-of-elizabeth-park Fri, 06 May 2022 00:41:37 GMT
Hubbard Park - Meriden, CT. https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/5/hubbard-park---meriden-ct Hubbard Park in Meriden Connecticut is a great place to visit since there is plenty to see and do.  There is a large pond where you can go fishing or watch the many species of birds and waterfowl as they go about their daily hunting and feeding activities.  You can enjoy a music concert at the park's bandshell or experience the excitement of the thrilling rides when the carnival makes its appearance.  You can ride your bike along the paved paths or go hiking through the trails and visit the famous Castle Craig, a stone castle that is 1,000 ft up on the side of a mountain!  The visual aesthetic of the park is so beautiful and many engaged couples or newlyweds have their photos taken there in and around the gazebo or the meticulously maintained waterfalls.  The park is very well known for its Spring Daffodil Festival where thousands of daffodils are blooming everywhere throughout the park.  It is really quite impressive!  Hubbard Park is a great place to bring the entire family or go by yourself if you'd rather quietly enjoy the park at your own pace.  I paid the park a visit a couple of weeks ago and here are a few photos from that day.



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[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) bench blue sky bridge Connecticut CT daffodil daffodils flower flowers Hubbard Park Meriden park pond sky stone wall waterfall yellow https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/5/hubbard-park---meriden-ct Wed, 04 May 2022 02:28:51 GMT
A Self-imposed Photo Challenge https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/5/photo-challenge Photography can be many things to different people.  For some it may be a creative outlet or a serious hobby, while for others it may be their professional career where they make their living.  Wherever you fall with regards to why you may do photography, I think most people want their images to be accepted, praised, liked, maybe even thought provoking or even controversial.  I do find that it can be difficult at times to continually produce a continuous stream of top notch super high quality photos.  Occasionally, boredom or a lack of inspiration will suck the life out of our creativity causing the quality and/or quantity of one's photographic output to suffer.  When this happens to me, I feel the need to throw a challenge at myself to help stoke the fires of my creative juices.  I found myself in just such a rut recently so I dared myself to photograph a boring everyday object and capture it in a new and dynamic way that would bring it to life.  My self-imposed photo challenge proved to be difficult at first but it wasn't long before I came up with some really cool shots!  Scroll down to see images from my "boring everyday item" photo shoot.




























[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) appliance cheese grater creative gadget kitchen macro macro photography photo challenge https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/5/photo-challenge Sun, 01 May 2022 22:54:41 GMT
First Lutheran Church - New Britain, CT. https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/4/first-lutheran-church---new-britain-ct It is hard to believe that I photographed the exterior of this beautiful church back in 2013.  It seems like yesterday.  Back then I started a project where my goal was to photograph the exterior of one church in every city/town in Connecticut.  The First Lutheran Church was the church I selected for the town of New Britain.  Why do I bring this up 9 years later in April of 2020?  Well, a couple of months ago, I paid the church a visit with a special surprise and met Nancy the office manager.  My appearance to the church was unannounced and Nancy was super friendly but I could tell that she was curious as to the reason for me being there and even more so, what I was carrying in my arms!  I brought with me a large framed picture of the front exterior of the church that I had taken all those years ago.  The photo is one of my favorite church photos and I wanted to give one to the church as a kind  gesture with no expectation of anything in return.  Nancy was thrilled with the photo and assured me she would consult with the pastor to decide the perfect place to display the photo in the church.  You can see the photo below.




I am fascinated by the beauty of this church!  The symmetry, the gothic era architecture, the gray stonework, the contrasting colors of the red doors and blue windows.  For nine years I have always wondered what the inside of the church was like.  I was very excited when Nancy asked me if I'd like to take a quick tour of the interior!  Within moments I found myself inside the sacred walls of the sanctuary with its glorious stained glass windows, intricate wall art, ornate sculptures and of course a majestic pipe organ.  After nine years of mystery, the beauty of the church's interior did not disappoint!  Nancy mentioned that she is in the process of updating the church's website so I suggested that some fresh new photos of the church would help to reinvigorate it and possibly help to bring in new members.  So after about a month, I returned to the church to take some interior photos.  Scroll down to see a few of them.






























[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) architecture bible church cross CT First Lutheran gothic Lutheran music musical notes New Britain pews pipe organ religious score stained glass window stone window https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/4/first-lutheran-church---new-britain-ct Wed, 27 Apr 2022 23:41:01 GMT
Castle Craig at night! https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/4/castle-craig-at-night Castle Craig is an observation tower located in Meriden, CT that was given to the town by world traveler Walter Hubbard in 1900.  The tower is 32ft high and is 1,002 ft from ground level and overlooks the 1,800 acre Hubbard Park and scenic views of both CT and MA.  I have been to the top of the tower and can confirm that the views are spectacular!


Searching the internet for photos of Castle Craig showed many photos that were very similar but I was looking for something that was different from all the rest.  Why not go for a night shot?  For many years I’ve wanted to capture a night time photo of the tower but getting weather, clouds, stars and temperatures to align is easier said than done!  Finally, after checking various weather forecasts and astronomy apps, it seemed that a clear starry night was due to appear in my area.  These shots were taken around 3am and it was really cold but considering my resulting photos, I think it was worth grinning and bearing those uncomfortable temperatures.  Upon returning to my car, I rewarded myself with a cup of Hot Chocolate.  Below are my photos from that night.







[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) architecture astrophotography castle Castle Craig CT heavenly landscape long exposure Meriden milky way night photography stars stone stone building structure tower https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/4/castle-craig-at-night Sat, 23 Apr 2022 22:26:00 GMT
Farmington Canal Heritage Trail https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/4/farmington-canal-heritage-trail I love walking or riding my bicycle through the many trails that spread all over the state of Connecticut.  There is so much to do and see that anyone will find it enjoyable.  These trails are a photographer's dream because there is just so much beauty to behold and you challenge yourself to capture and share what you have seen and hope others will be enlivened by your efforts.  I had often heard how beautiful the 48 mile long Farmington Canal Heritage Trail was so of course I had to see it for myself!  Let me tell you, it did not disappoint!  I was there at the end of October and the fall foliage was still very vibrant and the temperatures were quite chilly.  I covered about 6-7 miles of the trail which took me through the rural towns of Granby and Suffield.  My eyes worked overtime as they took in the woodlands, open fields with horses, farmhouses, plant life, birds, flowers and there were very nice people walking the trail to boot!  My apologies that it is currently Spring and I am posting photos from the Fall of last year but I am in the process of catching up.  I have only experienced about 12% of this trail and what I have seen so far is absolutely stunning!  I can only hope that I can carve out some time to visit this trail again in the future.  Check out my photos below to see the breathtaking views!































I hoped you enjoyed this small glimpse of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail and that my photos will inspire you to visit as well.


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) bicycle bike CT Farmington Canal Heritage Trail fern hiking nature path plants trails trees woodland https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/4/farmington-canal-heritage-trail Wed, 20 Apr 2022 03:28:54 GMT
Spring weeding project https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/4/spring-weeding-project Living in Connecticut, I am very used to the changing of the seasons that take place here.  It looks like Old Man Winter has finally released his grip on our state and the signs that Spring has arrived is evident everywhere.  Leaves are beginning to appear on bare trees, flowers are popping up through the soil, migratory birds are returning and temperatures are rising!  While all of these things are very positive, there is a negative aspect on the flip side.  The winter months are very hard on your yard so Spring is also the time to break out your shovels and rakes and get your yard back into shape.  As I assessed what I needed to do, I saw a lot of weeds that were growing under the deck and I planned to pull them up as my first Spring cleanup project.  See the short (and funny) video below of me tackling those gosh darn weeds!  I know there is lots more work ahead for me and the day may come where I will wish for Winter's return...



[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) deck gardening seasons spring weather weeding weeds winter https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/4/spring-weeding-project Thu, 14 Apr 2022 14:20:50 GMT
Early Morning Visitor https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/4/early-morning-visitor Photo opportunities can appear at the most unlikely times.  This morning was a good example of exactly that!  I woke up very early and as I looked out of the window, I saw that our bird feeders were almost empty of seeds and suet.  So I grabbed my bird food stash and groggily went outside to fill the feeders.  Once outside, I immediately began to hear the loud and incessant chirping of a bird.  I focused intently on the direction of the sound until finally I located the source of the commotion high up at the very top of a spruce tree.  It was a male cardinal, presumably very agitated that the seed feeders were empty so he decided to angrily yell at me.

Sorry Mr. Cardinal, you are going to have to wait a few more minutes before you can eat because as I gazed on the scene before me, I realized I just had to capture the moment in a photo.  You see, this vibrant red bird was perched on the treetop against a rich blue sky and I knew that he would not be there much longer.  I quickly went inside and grabbed my camera and remarkably, he was in the same place when I returned!  I couldn't believe it!  I fired off a few shots and felt relieved that I managed to snap some good ones worth keeping.  Now I felt it was my duty to reward this patient little fellow with a reward so I hastily filled all of the feeders and went back inside.  I watched him from inside of the house as he slowly made his way closer to the feeders.  I snapped a couple more photos as well just for good measure.  Below are the photos I took of this charismatic cardinal on this magical morning.





















[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) bird black blue cardinal green red sky tree https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/4/early-morning-visitor Mon, 11 Apr 2022 11:30:00 GMT
Winter Birds https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/4/winter-birds We are a few days into April but Old Man Winter has been reluctant to retreat and let Spring take over.  There are a few signs that will tell you that Spring is just around the corner.  Sure, you can place your trust on whether the ground hog sees his shadow or not (and be mostly disappointed) or you can throw all caution to the wind and pay attention to the birds.  A sure sign that Spring is near is what birds you see as well as the ones you no longer see.

Birds that are very active in the winter include Black-capped chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Dark eyed Juncos, Downy woodpeckers, Nuthatches and Cardinals to name a few.  These are hardy birds that have adapted to the harsh conditions of winter.  If you enjoy birdwatching, you can easily attract these birds to your home by setting out bird feeders filled with seed, peanuts or suet around your house.  This added food source will help to provide extra protein for them for those cold winter nights.

As warmer weather approaches, Dark-eyed Juncos begin to move northward, preferring to stay in the colder climates.  Newer species of birds begin to appear that are surely tell-tale signs of Spring.  Be on the lookout for Red-wing Blackbirds, Grackles, Mockingbirds, Phoebes, Hummingbirds and Warblers.  Below are some photos of birds that are very common during the winter season.



Dark-eyed Junco



Black-capped Chickadee



Male Cardinal



Tufted Titmouse



Female Cardinal



White-throated Sparrow



White-breasted Nuthatch



[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) bird birds birdwatching cardinal chickadee nature nuthatch season sparrow spring titmouse weather winter https://oscardean.com/blog/2022/4/winter-birds Sun, 03 Apr 2022 12:37:54 GMT
Hymn for a New World https://oscardean.com/blog/2020/8/hymn-for-a-new-world And now for something a little different...

This website and blog's primary purpose is an outlet to share my photography, and for years I have pretty much stayed true to that goal.  Today's post is very unusual because I would like to share another passion of mine which is music.  My tastes in music are extremely diverse, I have a 5,000+ CD collection, I also compose my own music and play many different instruments.  Photography and music are two things I love to do so much and I feel so good inside when I am doing them....which leads me to the reason for this posting.


I have composed a new instrumental song and it has just been released as a single worldwide!  The song is called "Hymn for a New World" and its inspiration is quite powerful.  I wrote it as a song of hope for our broken planet to spread positive vibes of peace, joy and love and help us to heal from the anger, violence, bitterness and racism that is so prevalent in these times.  My feelings and emotions of how I felt (and feel) about our world shaped the resulting music and it flowed from me quickly and naturally.  I recorded and played all of the instruments in my studio and it was truly a labor of love.  The music starts simply with classically inspired solo piano, then blossoms with a dizzying array of unique instruments that join in one after the other and energetically closes with a triumphant and uplifting climax.

Click the link below to be taken to my page where you can purchase "Hymn for a New World."  Please share this post and my music with friends, family and followers.


I have released an official video for "Hymn for a New World."  The first half of the video features stunning visuals that has shaped our world both past and present.  In the second half, darkness becomes light as we are shown a world that is filled with harmony, kindness, diversity and love.  You can view the video below.


You can also watch my video on YouTube by clicking HERE


More music composed and performed by me is listed below!

To hear "Cloudwatching" click HERE.

To hear "Sarah's Eyes" click HERE.


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) children civil rights couples covid-19 culture diversity earth family fear fun happy harmony homeless homelessness hope Hymn for a New World inclusion instrumental kids love music pain pandemic pets playing poverty prayer protest racial tension racism religion song violence war https://oscardean.com/blog/2020/8/hymn-for-a-new-world Mon, 24 Aug 2020 13:10:01 GMT
Dramatic Sunrise https://oscardean.com/blog/2020/7/dramatic-sunrise I woke up VERY early this morning....5:15am.  As I began to roll over to get a few more minutes of sleep, I caught a quick glimpse of the amazing colors outside of the bedroom window.  My "photographer instinct" kicked in and I leaped out of the bed like it was on fire and I made a beeline to my camera.  The beautiful colors of sunrises and sunsets don't last long and those gorgeous colors will fade away very quickly if you take too long to capture the moment.  Fully aware of the time constraint I was under, I grabbed my camera and to my dismay I saw that the 70-200mm lens was attached to it and is the wrong lens to take this photo.  So now I'm rummaging around in my camera bag looking for a different lens and I select the 17-55mm and make another quick glance out the window and see that the sky colors are still incredible, even better than a few minutes ago!  My hands are literally shaking as I awkwardly attempt to secure the new lens to the camera.  I made a mad dash down the stairs and onto the front porch where I was a witness to the stunning colors that lit up the morning sky and clouds.  With so much ugliness and hate happening in the world today, it was so therapeutic to behold such a beautiful and profound sight.  This sunrise is at the very least, a symbol of hope that the human race can once again coexist and live in harmony, just like the colors of the sunrise.


Early sunrise over my house


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) blue clouds colors landscape orange pink purple sky sunrise trees https://oscardean.com/blog/2020/7/dramatic-sunrise Sat, 01 Aug 2020 02:09:51 GMT
Watch Dog https://oscardean.com/blog/2020/6/watch-dog Deja is now 7 months old and her spunky personality has made her time here so fun and exciting!  As a 2 month old pup, she was very timid and shy but now that version of her old self is gone and has been replaced with a curious, high energy dog that loves to play and investigate everything!  She loves her toys, she loves to go for walks or run at the park and she is doing well with some basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, come, down and wait.  Getting belly rubs is in my opinion the thing that Deja loves the most in this world but coming in at a close second would be being a "watchdog."  That's right, Deja absolutely LOVES to see what is going on in the neighborhood by looking out various windows and doors throughout the house.  There are many "regulars" who come by everyday such as joggers, dog walkers and cyclists that Deja feels she has to observe.  One of her favorite lookout points is a double window in the front bedroom.  She will stand up straight and tall on her hind legs and place her front legs on the window ledge and peer out the window looking for anyone or any thing that may be getting too close to her property.  I just have to laugh when she does this, it is so cute!


Watch DogWatch Dog

Watch Dog




Pensive MoodPensive Mood Deja in a rare "quiet and pensive" mood!


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) bedroom black deja dog puppy watchdog white window https://oscardean.com/blog/2020/6/watch-dog Wed, 17 Jun 2020 01:42:18 GMT
Visit from a Baby Bird https://oscardean.com/blog/2020/5/visit-from-a-baby-bird It is mid-May but the arrival of Spring has not been swift.  Here in New England, temperatures have been mostly below normal and there was even a day where we had a brief snow flurry!  But things they are a changin'.  Leaves are growing on bare trees, colorful flowers are appearing in gardens in suburban neighborhoods and our trusty weatherman is predicting temps in the low 70's today!  Another sure sign of Spring is the return of migratory birds that left the frigid cold of New England for the milder temperatures of the south but have now returned here to find a mate, build a nest and produce another generation to continue Mother Nature's cycle.


As the day's golden light began to fade into evening, I found myself at the kitchen sink washing the dinner dishes while looking out the window when I thought I spotted a movement that was so minute that I figured I must have imagined it.  I continued my gaze in earnest and was so surprised to see a baby sparrow in the grass in my yard!  Several thoughts immediately surged into my head.  1. I hope it's not injured.  2. Will it be found by a natural predator?  3. Oscar, go get your camera pronto!!!  Getting a photo would be impractical since the little guy was mostly obscured by the blades of grass and my hands were wet from doing the dishes.  Suddenly, the baby bird upped the ante and made the situation better by flying into the air and landing on the railing of the deck.  Although not ideal, he was in a much better location for a photograph than where had been previously.  But the question remained:  How long would he stay there?


Hockey great Wayne Gretzy once said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."  With that great motivational message in mind I quickly dried my hands and ran through the house to get my camera hoping that the bird would still be there upon my return....and it was!  With camera in hand I had an unobstructed view of the bird however there was still a slight problem.  I would have to photograph it through a glass window which is never ideal plus it also has a screen that will further degrade the image.  Regardless, I was all in and I was determined to capture a photo of this cute little bugger.  Cute?  Well, as can be seen in the photos below, the baby bird looks a bit rough around the edges with the crazy feathers growing out of his head!  This was a fun experience but it all came to an end when the bird flew up into a tree and was safely concealed by the leaves.  I hope that he will be one of the lucky ones that will make it to adulthood.









[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) 2020 baby bird chick deck May sparrow Spring https://oscardean.com/blog/2020/5/visit-from-a-baby-bird Thu, 14 May 2020 12:03:37 GMT
Photos born out of COVID-19 https://oscardean.com/blog/2020/5/photos-born-out-of-covid-19 The current COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all aspects of our world on a global scale.  The economy, employment, agriculture, education, healthcare, the environment and especially our families friends and co-workers have been ravaged by the virus.  The new "social distancing" lifestyle which seems to be a sensible and prudent method to help mitigate the virus certainly puts heavy constraints on how we go about our day to day lives.  When you are stuck inside due to placing yourself under self quarantine, boredom can set in over time and it can be quite the challenge to find ways to entertain oneself and not go stir crazy within the confines of home.


 A great way to beat the "Corona Blues" is to engage yourself in things that you really enjoy immensely and can be done from home.  While you are stuck at home, you now have plenty of time to visit some of your passions that you may have neglected because you were to busy with the hustle & bustle of life before the virus hit.  There are so many things that people are good at such as crafting, cooking, knitting, drawing, painting and far too many other things to mention in this post.  For me, one of my passions is photography so I have been channeling my energy to try to create some new photos from home while under quarantine.  Below are a few photos that I have made.  Would I have created them had there not been a pandemic?  Probably not!



Chicken Dinner




Party Time



Creative Vision



The Three Fates



Vortex of Infinity



You've Got Mail!



Beacon of Hope



Restless Dream



No Turning Back



Three's A Crowd!Three's A Crowd!

Three's a Crowd


What are you doing to combat boredom while you practice social distancing?

Please add your comment


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) balance ball blue bokeh bored boredom building clouds cup dice eggs falling fork glass lantern lens letters lights mail mailbox peeking plate portrait quarantine self portrait sky skyscraper spoon tea text virus white https://oscardean.com/blog/2020/5/photos-born-out-of-covid-19 Sun, 10 May 2020 17:29:54 GMT
Meet Deja! https://oscardean.com/blog/2019/12/meet-deja The Christmas holiday season is meant to be a very special time of the year.  Although it can be busy and hectic, this is when families and friends get together to reconnect and exchange gifts, enjoy home cooked meals, watch kids open presents under the Christmas tree and also to spread kindness and good cheer to people outside of our close knit circle.  Sadly there are those who do not find this time of year particularly joyful for many different reasons.  Since I was a little kid I have always loved Christmas time but last year was not the same, there was a palpable feeling of loss and emptiness.  Many of my clients and followers of this Blog are aware of the devastating loss of Lizzie in April of 2018, our cocker spaniel that succumbed to cancer.  Lizzie's presence is sorely missed and even with the passage of over a year I still feel the pain of her absence.  But life moves on...


In October 2019 I began to think about what I would be doing for the upcoming Christmas holidays.  I knew what I didn't want.  I didn't want it to be sad like the year before and thus began the initial thoughts of perhaps bringing another dog into the household.  Not as a replacement for Lizzie but as a new, energetic life force that would light a spark and reignite the joy and happiness that should be experienced at Christmas time.  On December 22nd, I welcomed an 8-week old Miniature Schnauzer puppy at home and she is such a blessing!  She is cute as a button, funny and sweet but because she is a puppy, she is also quite challenging!  I am excited to say that Christmas was so wonderful this year and most of the credit goes to that 3.6 pound bundle of fur.  So without further adieu, I'd like to introduce you to Deja!


Deja proudly poses for her official 2019 Christmas portrait photo





Deja is friendly and loves to cuddle!




Puppies can't help it but they sure do sleep a lot!




Deja cops an attitude during her potty training session.




An "outtake" from the Christmas portrait photo session.


To see additional photos of Deja, visit her photo gallery HERE.


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) 2019 black Christmas coal cute December Deja dog fur holiday miniature portrait puppy Schnauzer snow winter wooden box https://oscardean.com/blog/2019/12/meet-deja Fri, 27 Dec 2019 02:38:23 GMT
Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail https://oscardean.com/blog/2019/9/windsor-locks-canal-state-park-trail The Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail is a 5.4 mile walking & biking trail that runs from Suffield to Windsor Locks, CT.  The paved trail most notably runs alongside the Connecticut river providing stunning views of the water and providing welcome relief from the frantic pace of everyday life.  If you are an avid birdwatcher, be prepared to see several species flitting about in the trees and bushes while many water birds such as ducks, mergansers and great blue herons can be seen from many locations along the trail.  


A view of the trail looking South



At the northern part of the trail is the route 190 bridge that crosses over the Connecticut river.  Route 190 is a major through way in this area enabling travelers to reach destinations on either side of the river.  If you are rather adventurous, you can catch a pretty cool underside view of the bridge but you'll have to carefully navigate your way down a rather perilous decline of large boulders and slippery rocks.  Be very careful!  I don't recommend that everyone attempt it, only those who are confident in their physical ability and possess a really good sense of balance.



View from beneath the route 190 bridge




There is lots of wildlife along the trail, some very obvious while others, not so much.  You will likely see flocks of water birds as they congregate on some protruding rocks far out in the middle of the river.  Very common birds such as robins, blue jays and sparrows that you are used to seeing make their homes in and around the trail area.  I was lucky enough to spot a mourning dove that perched on a wooden railing about 30 feet away from me.  As I took its picture, I moved suuuper slooow so that I would not scare it away!




Mourning DoveMourning Dove Mourning Dove perched on a wooden railing



Depending on who you are, insects can be an attraction or a distraction on the trail.  For me personally, I do like to look out for insects such as butterflies, dragonflies and others because they are so fascinating and interesting.  But on the other hand, there are plenty of "distraction" insects such as mosquitoes, gnats and bees that will quickly become a nuisance even for the most patient, insect loving person.  I certainly got my fill of both kinds of creatures during my time visiting the trail.  While under the bridge, a butterfly desperately clung to the cement wall of the bridge in an effort not to be carried off in the violent winds.  Meanwhile, I could see a dragonfly quickly darting just above the water's surface happily scooping up those pesky nuisance insects we hate so much...thank you!




10-spotted skimmer10-spotted skimmer A dragonfly at the Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail




A Red-Spotted Purple butterfly at the Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail




If you are looking for a quiet diversion, consider paying a visit to this trail.  Activities can include walking, biking, fishing, cross-country skiing in the winter and the trail is wheelchair accessible.  New England is known for the beauty of its Fall colors.  The autumn season is just around the corner and the trail is waiting to show you all that it has to offer.


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) attraction bicycling bird bird watching bridge butterfly Connecticut Connecticut River CT dragonfly fishing hiking insect leaves path river trail trees walking Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail https://oscardean.com/blog/2019/9/windsor-locks-canal-state-park-trail Fri, 13 Sep 2019 16:20:27 GMT
Macro Photography around the House https://oscardean.com/blog/2019/8/macro-photography-around-the-house Photography doesn't always have to be an "over the top" event such as a wedding, concert or a corporate awards ceremony.  Sometimes obstacles get in the way when you really want to take photographs and you are left wondering "what should I do now?"  As the country has been stuck in a record breaking heatwave for the last couple of months, I found myself in the same photographic predicament.  With temperatures in the upper 90's everyday, I didn't feel like lugging all of my equipment outside and dealing with the sun, heat and humidity.  I decided to make the best of the situation and create some photos inside of the house where it is cool.


In a situation like this, macro photography can be a lifesaver!  Macro photography is a fancy name for close up photography and once you give it a try, it can be a lot of fun.  This type of photography can be challenging as well because it forces you to be very creative in finding interesting subjects to capture that viewers will find captivating.  So with my camera at the ready, I began my exploratory trek around the house looking for something that would grab my attention.  The sky is the limit because almost anything can look really cool or freaky when viewed at a very close distance.  Some common subjects are flowers, insects, leaves, fabrics, food, water drops and textures such as clothing, wood, rust and stone walls.  As you will soon see, I was able to come up with some macro shots without barely breaking a sweat!  (Sorry, couldn't resist!).


Scroll down to see them...




Patterns and textures usually work well in close up photography.
I used a spray bottle to create additional interest by adding water drops to this leaf.





I broke one of my rules with this photo by going outside.  I looked out the window and saw this grasshopper and made a mad dash to try to capture this handsome fellow.  He saw my camera, turned and said, "Be sure to capture my GOOD side!"





This is where things take a bit of a weird turn.  I looked in the kitchen cupboard and saw a jar of rice and wondered if I could do anything interesting with it.  Amazingly the photo was taken with the camera looking through the plastic jar, I never took the rice out of the jar.





As I stated earlier, patterns and textures are often good subjects in macro photography and this photo gets a bonus because it contains both.  The item in question is a multi-purpose mat that is used in the kitchen.





While we are in the kitchen, let's see what we have in the fridge.  No, this is not the surface of some far off alien planet.  It's a big head of broccoli.  Yum!





Heading into a different part of the house, I continued to search for more interesting subjects.  As I entered my music room, I spotted my acoustic guitar and thought that it would make a tough challenge.  I focused on the white fret marker and adjusted the camera setting so that the strings would gradually go out of focus.





These designs are actually etchings in the windows of the front door of my house.  The windows are clear and transparent, the colors you see are the colors of objects outside.





This photo took a bit of work to set up.  I suspended the key in the air with a piece of string and I turned on some tiny lights in the background.  By adjusting settings in the camera, I was able to make the lights appear out of focus and create a dreamy, otherworldly background.


If you have any questions or comments about any of these macro photos, please ask by adding a comment below.  Have you given macro photography a try?  If so, that's great!  Share your photos by including a link so others can see your work.


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) bokeh broccoli closeup colors drops etching food glass grasshopper green guitar hexagon insect key leaf lights macro mat photography rice rubber shape shapes vegetable veins water white https://oscardean.com/blog/2019/8/macro-photography-around-the-house Tue, 06 Aug 2019 02:05:18 GMT
Crystal Ball photography https://oscardean.com/blog/2019/5/fun-with-crystal-balls Photography is such a creative art form that in my opinion has no limits.  Well, perhaps to the degree that one chooses to limit one's own imagination.  Your photographic inspirations can come from many different ways: beautiful land or seascapes, nature and wildlife, portraits and weddings, architecture, the night sky and so much more.  And with the myriad of cameras, accessories and sophisticated software available, you can create stunning images that you'd be proud to frame and hang on the wall.  But what do you do when you hit a dry spell and all of the aforementioned stuff is still not enough to get your creative juices flowing?  Just do what I did.  Buy a new, uh...er...toy!  See below.


I purchased a crystal ball yesterday with the hopes that it would be the catalyst to enable me to produce some fresh new photos.  Lens balls, as they are sometimes called, are not new to the photography world.  Just search on Google and you will find tons and tons of articles, tutorials and photos of people using these balls in their photography.  This is the first one I have ever owned and the first time using one to make photographs.  Let me tell you.....they are a LOT of FUN!  I decided to take photos in a completely darkened room with an LED light and create unique patterns and reflections.  The results were mind blowing!  I could not have been more satisfied with the results.  The images had a futuristic "sci-fi" feel to them and the really cool thing is that no two photos will ever be alike no matter how hard you try.  There are so many more creative things that can be done with a lens ball and I look forward to creating more compelling and imaginative images with it.  Scroll down to see the photos I took.











All the World's a StageAll the World's a Stage All the World's a Stage





Blue MoodBlue Mood Blue Mood





Cause and EffectCause and Effect

Cause and Effect





Edge of Infinity

Edge of Infinity





Fork in the RoadFork in the Road Fork in the Road





Network TrafficNetwork Traffic Network Traffic





Luminous FibersLuminous Fibers Luminous Fibers





Orb WeaverOrb Weaver Orb Weaver





Suspended in TimeSuspended in Time Suspended in Time





SemiconductorSemiconductor Semiconductor





Pathways to RealityPathways to Reality Pathways to Reality





Spheres of InfluenceSpheres of Influence Spheres of Influence





Stream of ConsciousnessStream of Consciousness Stream of Consciousness





Symphony of LightSymphony of Light Symphony of Light


Buy high quality prints of these images - click HERE




[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) abstract colors crystal ball curves lens ball light painting lines modern orb pattern photography reflection https://oscardean.com/blog/2019/5/fun-with-crystal-balls Mon, 20 May 2019 14:08:41 GMT
Lizzie (R.I.P.) 3/18/08 - 4/4/18 https://oscardean.com/blog/2018/4/lizzie_in_memorium

3/18/08 - 4/4/18

Lizzie amongst the tulipsLizzie amongst the tulips

Lizzie Dean sadly passed away without pain surrounded by her devoted parents and doctor.  Lizzie possessed a tender sweet spirit and she touched the lives of many people she met personally or who viewed her stately and often humorous photos online.  In her ten years, Lizzie gave us fun, laughter and most of all her love, and our lives are blessed because she was an integral part of our world.  As we take comfort in knowing that Lizzie is amongst angels, her presence will forever be felt in the memories that we all have of her.  God Bless you Lizzie.  We love you with all of our heart!



Oscar and Heidi Dean

Thank you to Dr. Lynn Fortin for 10 years of
caring for Lizzie and being there for us!


Yes, it is true and it is with great sadness that I confirm that our beloved cocker spaniel has passed away.  My wife and I noticed lately that Lizzie seemed to continually tilt her head and she was very unbalanced when she walked.  It was confirmed by the vet that she had vestibular disease.  There is fluid deep within the ears that sloshes around when you move and the brain uses this to keep you balanced during any sort of activity.  When there is a disruption between this fluid and the brain, a dog may experience a sea-sickness type feeling, have difficulty going up or down stairs and in severe cases there may be extreme vomiting.  Lizzie had none of the vomiting but we always carried her up and down the stairs to prevent her from getting injured from a fall.  If she would get wet after being in the rain and she shook her body to dry off, she would fall over on her side because she was so dizzy from the shaking.  Vestibular disease has no cure and it is possible that it can disappear after a couple of weeks but it can also return as well.

Our vet had more to tell us.  While most dogs can live a moderately normal life with vestibular disease, she told us that there was cancer in Lizzie's brain.  She assured us that she was not in pain right now but that the cancer would continue to develop and become more aggressive over time.  All sorts of complications could arise such as dementia, blindness, excruciating pain and more.  My wife and I had a tough choice to make and it all revolved around logic and emotion.  The "logic" side says that putting her to sleep peacefully given the circumstances is the best and most humane thing to do.  The "emotion" side doesn't ever want Lizzie to leave our side and for her to continue to be our baby forever.  But alas we knew that "logic" had to win out in this case so Lizzie's final vet appointment was set for 2:00pm on 4/4/18.  My wife and I were with Lizzie during her last moments as she slowly drifted to sleep.  She knew we were there and we took comfort as we watched her acknowledge our voices softly calling her name and giving her kisses.  A few moments later, Lizzie was free....and at peace.

Lizzie was well known locally and globally.  Many of her photos are displayed at her vet's office, her groomer and also local TV stations. My blog post "Tips for Better Pet Photos" features images of Lizzie and has been viewed over 10,000 times!  Thousands of visitors from all over the world have viewed Lizzie's photo gallery and have left some very nice comments over the years and I appreciate them very much.  It warms my heart to know that she touched so many people from all over with her gentle spirit.  As we take time to let Lizzie's passing truly sink in, I'd like to pull back the curtain a bit and share with you some photos of her, most of which have never been posted online or seen by anyone.  These photos are not the glammed-up picture perfect portraits that are displayed in Lizzie's gallery.  Instead, the photos below are everyday casual photos...Lizzie being Lizzie around the house, in the yard or at the park.  She made my job of photographing her very easy because it was difficult to take a bad photo of her.  Thank you all for the kind words of support and following along Lizzie's journey through her photos for the 10 years she was with us.  Sincerely, Oscar Dean

Scroll Down to See the Photos!


"I'm your new puppy!"

My wife and I adopted Lizzie from a breeder in Pennsylvania.  It was a 6 hour drive one way but needless to say it was totally worth it!  Lizzie's long ride home proved to be a blessing because she became so accustomed to riding in a car that she loved to go for car rides and she never got sick!  The above photo was taken at a rest area in New York State on the way home from picking her up at the breeder.



"Oscar...proud papa!"

Another photo from the rest area in New York.  That's me proudly holding my new furry bundle of joy!



"First moments in her new home"

Introducing Lizzie to her new home brought feelings of anticipation, nervousness and happiness.  We weren't sure how she would react but in the end it turned out to be a funny experience that had us laughing as she proceeded to explore the house.  Lizzie was a bit unsteady on the hardwood floor and she got very excited when she saw another cocker spaniel in the mirror because she thought maybe it was one of her siblings.  After a few paw punches to the mirror, it didn't take her long to realize that those reflected objects are not part of the real world.  Here Lizzie takes a break after her very long and busy day.



"Pooped Puppy!"

Lizzie was exhausted and her rest time turned into deep sleep time.



"Hey, what's for dinner?"

The picture above is one of my earliest "conceptual" photos of Lizzie.  I thought it would be funny to have her doing something that is typically a "human only" task so I attempted the crazy idea of having Lizzie peering into the refrigerator looking for food.  My camera was literally inside of the fridge facing out while I tried to get Lizzie to look in at the camera...this was the challenging part since I couldn't be behind the camera to direct her.  Persistence paid off and I was able to capture the pose that I wanted.



"First day at the park"

There is a park located a short walk from where we lived at the time this photo was taken.  My wife and I took Lizzie there and let her experience all there was to see, sniff and hear.  There was a children's playscape with a Jungle Jim, swings, sea-saw and other stuff so we "very carefully" posed Lizzie on some of them.  The above photo shows Lizzie at the top of a slide.



"Watching from the Sidelines"

Lizzie sits in the grass watching kids playing at the park



"I am still your precious little girl, right Daddy?"

We left Lizzie unattended for a little while and this is the sight that we came back to!  I wasn't mad, in fact, I thought it was hysterically funny especially to see the embarrassed look on her face!  Let me make something very clear.  This incident was the ONLY time she ever did anything destructive....well, except for the "fruit cup" episode!  As the years went by, Lizzie never ever chewed on the furniture, shredded clothing or dug holes in the ground.  The only thing she would ever do is nibble on her stuffed toys or play with her fetch ball but nothing like THIS ever happened again.



"Queen of the Hill!"

At the park, Lizzie has fun posing on top of the cannon monument



"Eagerly awaiting her next adventure!"

The above photo was taken at Walnut Hill Park and Lizzie is perched atop a very large and very tall rock.  Lizzie was fearless and was always willing to participate in whatever creative photo idea I dreamed up.  I picked her up and put her in position and reassured her by talking softly to her so she would feel safe.  Almost immediately she was totally comfortable and she began doing one of the things she does best....hamming it up for the camera!  I just love her playful and inquisitive expression in this photo.



"Are we there yet?"

A short trip or a long one, Lizzie loved to ride in the car!



"Hey, where ARE we?"

Lizzie always had to know what was going on.



"Vicious watch dog?....Yeah right!"

Lizzie liked to sit on the front porch to see what was happening in the neighborhood too!



"No one will EVER know!"

Sneaky Lizzie thinks she can steal some food without us knowing.  Little did she know that this was all a set up that I made with the hope of getting a funny photo.  After putting out the crate of dog food, I set up my camera in the room and then I left and hid where she wouldn't see me.  When she entered and climbed over the crate wall to eat, I used a wireless remote shutter release to take the picture.



"Lonely Lizzie"

Lizzie watches me from inside our house as I walk to my car.  She looks very sad and lonely.  I was not leaving her, I was actually getting something I had left in the car and after retrieving it, I went back inside of the house.  I entered this photo into an online contest where the theme was "Lonely" and Lizzie's photo won!



"The cat did it!"

I completely staged this photo, Lizzie never went near the laundry!
But her facial expression and the look in her eyes makes me wonder...



"Sweet Dreams"

On a hot summer day, Lizzie lays on our cool leather couch and falls asleep.



"Fruit Cup"

One day I was working at the desk in our home office and I heard this strange crunching sound.  I had no idea what it was or what was making that sound.  I called Lizzie's name and the sound stopped.  I called her again more sternly and when she came around the corner, this is what I saw!  Looks like she forgot to leave the "incriminating evidence" back in the other room!



"Best Friends Forever"

Lizzie hanging out with one of her best friends: "Lillian the Leopard."



"Sunning by the Fireplace"

Lizzie catches some rays on a winter's morning



"Lizzie in South Carolina 1 of 3"

My parents retired and moved down to South Carolina to live.  My wife, Lizzie and I visited them for the Christmas holidays.  They had seen photos of Lizzie but they had never seen her in person until this visit in 2008.  Here she is checking out the area from the front porch.



"Lizzie in South Carolina 2 of 3"

Lizzie looks on while our extended family was eating Christmas dinner.



"Lizzie in South Carolina 3 of 3"

Lizzie and I pose in front of the Christmas tree.



"Happy 1st Birthday!"

Yeah, I know.  I admit it.  I've been known to "spoil" Lizzie!



"Playful Pooch #1"

I submitted a photo of Lizzie into a contest and won this toy.
The toy makes a "Mooo" sound whenever she bites down on it.



"Playful Pooch #2"



"White Out!"

This photo was taken a few years ago after a really bad snowstorm had passed through.  Lizzie is always eager to go outside for a walk and this day was no exception.  It was very windy but we had lots of fun nonetheless.  I like this photo for a number of reasons.  It is very minimalistic, meaning that the picture is not cluttered with lots of subjects.  There is only one subject...Lizzie against a clean backdrop of snow.  I also love the contrast of the pure white snow and the color of her fur.  And lastly the vibrant red collar adds a nice pop of color to the image.



"Waiting to play fetch"

One of Lizzie's most treasured toys was this orange ball.



"Laser Focused!"

Photo taken moments before she jumped and caught her orange ball in mid air.




"Garden Headshot"

As Lizzie watched my wife work in the flower garden, I captured her in this introspective pose.



"Ready for Action!"

And not surprisingly, she is keeping close guard of her orange ball!



"High Five!"
While sitting out on the deck one hot summer afternoon, I captured this shot of Lizzie's paw.



"Not a Happy Camper!"

Lizzie has been dressed up in many different outfits and costumes over the years.  With that being said, I never wanted her to wear anything that would look silly or embarrassing.  For some reason (that I can't remember), we took Lizzie to be groomed to a new place that we had never tried before.  When we picked her up, we were very unhappy with her cut and they put these awful feathers in her ears!  I was embarrassed for her and from the look of Lizzie's expression, she didn't like them either!!!  We never returned to that groomer ever again!



"Not Impressed!"

I posed Lizzie together with her new toy but she never liked it and never played with it.  Very strange!



"Life is Good!"

Happy and content to be playing fetch in the yard with her orange ball!



"This is A-Maze-ing!"

After a blizzard I dug out a walkway from our house.  Lizzie came outside to see if I did a good job or not.
It was funny because you could not see her since the snow was 3ft high!



"Lizzie roasting by an open fire"

A peaceful Christmas at home warming herself by the fireplace.



"Waiting for the REAL Santa Claus!"

Lizzie planned to stay up late on Christmas Eve to get gifts from Santa Claus.



"Lizzie with Ally the Alligator"

This is the last toy we ever bought for Lizzie.



"The End!"
Sitting out on the deck, Lizzie faced away from me and I photographed her "rear end."




[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) cocker spaniel death dog lizzie memorium tribute https://oscardean.com/blog/2018/4/lizzie_in_memorium Fri, 06 Apr 2018 03:54:12 GMT
Happy Valentine's Day 2018 https://oscardean.com/blog/2018/2/happy-valentines-day-2018  

Valentine's Day 2018Valentine's Day 2018


Once again my dog Lizzie returns to wish everyone well on another holiday.  The funny thing about this photo is the story behind it.  As is the usual case, I had all elements of this photo shoot planned from the props, to Lizzie's pose and her clothing.  What I didn't plan for was that on this occaision, Lizzie was very unlike herself and wouldn't hold the pose I put her in.  She was very fidgety and finally she just shifted her entire body and plopped down by her own accord and ended up posing just as you see her in the photo.  At first I was a little frustrated that she wouldn't remain where I placed her but then I looked at how she placed herself and I realized she posed herself way better than I did!!!  I calmly told Lizzie to "stay" and she remained motionless until I got the shot.  Hmmm, I'm not sure who is in charge of our photo shoots anymore...

Happy Valentine's Day from Lizzie and Oscar Dean Photography!

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) 2018 balloon candy cocker spaniel cute dog february flower hat heart holiday love mug pink portrait red valentine woof https://oscardean.com/blog/2018/2/happy-valentines-day-2018 Mon, 12 Feb 2018 03:03:41 GMT
Happy New Year 2018! https://oscardean.com/blog/2018/1/happy-new-year-2018  

My wife and I and our cocker spaniel Lizzie wish you a Happy New Year 2018!

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) 2018 animal confetti cute dog festive happy new year hat holiday lizzie portrait https://oscardean.com/blog/2018/1/happy-new-year-2018 Mon, 01 Jan 2018 13:09:42 GMT
Christmas Ice https://oscardean.com/blog/2017/12/christmas-ice It's Christmas Day and New England was rewarded with a blanket of snow which fell overnight.  It has been quite a few years since we have had snow on December 25th so this was a welcome surprise.  Of course you must take the good with the bad and even though the pure white virgin snow looked postcard perfect, I had to get out there and shovel the snow to clear the driveway and the walkway leading to the porch.  Other than the shoveling, it was an enjoyable and relaxing day.

As if the morning snow wasn't enough, at night I was presented with another "gift" in the form of ice that had collected on some trees behind my house.  Some nearby street lights lit up the ice from behind the trees and created such a dramatic effect that I had to take a photo of it.  The scene was actually VERY dark so it required me to use my tripod and an exposure time of 1 minute and 10 seconds!  The long exposure caused the stars in the sky to appear as little streaks in the night sky.

Happy Holidays to all!


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) https://oscardean.com/blog/2017/12/christmas-ice Tue, 26 Dec 2017 01:52:01 GMT
Saville Dam - Barkhamsted, CT. https://oscardean.com/blog/2017/7/saville-dam---barkhamsted-ct


The photo above was taken at the Saville Dam which contains the water that makes up the Barkhamsted Reservoir.  I've driven by this stone structure a few times and wanted to photograph it but it never worked out for various reasons:  the lighting was bad, it was raining or snowing or I didn't have my camera with me at the time.  I made a few attempts at sunrise and sunset but the skies were always bland and unspectacular...but I never gave up! 


One late afternoon, the weatherman reported that several clusters of unsettled weather from different directions were expected to converge and I figured this might be the perfect time to revisit the dam again.  As I set up my camera equipment, the wind picked up and all sorts of clouds formed in the sky creating a turbulent and surreal backdrop that kept changing by the minute.  I began to hear rumbles of thunder in the distance so that was my cue to get the shot and get out of there...pronto!


I knew literally nothing about the dam or reservoir but after some quick research here are a few fun and interesting facts.  Named after its chief engineer Caleb Mills Saville, construction of the dam began in 1936 and was completed in 1940 at a total cost of $10M.  It wasn't until 1948 that the reservoir was filled to capacity, a whopping 36.8 billion gallons of water!  The dam has a total height of 135ft a length of 1950ft and is the primary water source for Hartford, Connecticut.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

To buy photo, click HERE




[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) architecture barkhamsted clouds ct. dam reservoir saville sky stone https://oscardean.com/blog/2017/7/saville-dam---barkhamsted-ct Sun, 30 Jul 2017 17:10:59 GMT
Psychedelic Moon https://oscardean.com/blog/2017/5/psychedelic-moon While sitting on the deck behind my house deciding whether to weed the flower garden or just take it easy, I chose to continue to kick back and relax.  I'm glad I did because when I sat back in my chair and looked up, there was the moon peeking through a space in the leaves and branches of the trees.  The sky was a beautiful blue and provided a nice contrast to the moon.  While taking the photo, I purposely put the foliage severely out of focus so that it would draw the viewer's eye to the moon which is the main subject.  So what happened with the flower garden?  Well, I did eventually work in the garden after about 30 minutes of chill time.


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) blue bokeh branches green leaves moon sky tree white https://oscardean.com/blog/2017/5/psychedelic-moon Fri, 19 May 2017 12:51:41 GMT
Happy Easter 2017 https://oscardean.com/blog/2017/4/happy-easter-2017 Spring has finally arrived and with it comes blooming flowers, green grass, leaves budding on trees and of course....Easter!  And so, as is customary here at Oscar Dean Photography, I have to get my dog Lizzie involved in celebrating the holiday by taking a formal portrait of her!  She's used to it of course and poses for me like a pro.  I think some day soon Lizzie will a hire a manager, a booking agent and a publicist, but for now she is content with being "paid" with dog treats.  She hasn't turned into a diva yet but I must confess that she is spoiled beyond measure.


Happy Easter from Lizzie!


There are a number of different components that go into a photo shoot like this.  I have to pick out a costume, decide on props to include in the photo, choose a background etc while my wife helps to direct Lizzie's attention during the actual shoot.  But there is another part of the preparation that is extremely important which many people may not think about.  Grooming the subject!  Preparing Lizzie's luxurious coat for her photo sessions is well beyond my skill set so I leave that to the capable hands of Kelly at Petsmart.


Lizzie with her stylist Kelly



Kelly does a great job grooming Lizzie and this of course plays a major part in the final look of the images that I take.  Kelly and Lizzie have truly bonded over time and this is very evident as you can see from these pictures.  So a big "Thank You" to Kelly  for being so good to Lizzie and treating her as if she were her own, and also for making her look so "chic."  Lizzie's fur grows fast so we will see you again soon...



"Grooming is done, how do I look?"




Two divas in the making...




Kelly (stylist) and Lizzie (dog) cuddle together after the grooming session




Lizzie waits with Kelly to be picked up by Mommy and Daddy



[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) 2017 Cocker Spaniel Easter Kelly Lizzie Petsmart dog ears egg groomer holiday rabbit https://oscardean.com/blog/2017/4/happy-easter-2017 Sat, 15 Apr 2017 00:21:16 GMT
After the Rain... https://oscardean.com/blog/2017/3/after-the-rain Dreary.  Gloomy.  Grey.  Wet!  These words perfectly describe the kind of weather we've had here in New England over the past couple of days.  Lots of overcast skies, cold temperatures and heavy downpours of rain.  Conditions like that are certainly challenging from a photographic perspective unless you have a waterproof camera...which I don't have unfortunately!  The rain finally stopped and I noticed the trees in my backyard while looking out of my kitchen window.  It was quite a sight to see the drops of water that were clinging to the branches and leaves.  I took advantage of this break in the weather and ran outside to capture a few shots.  Here are a few of them.







It seems like it has been a long winter here in New England since we've endured multiple snow storms including a blizzard that delivered 2 feet of snow!  These photos give me hope that the warmth and colors of Spring is not too far off in the future.

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Spruce branches drops macro tree water drops https://oscardean.com/blog/2017/3/after-the-rain Mon, 27 Mar 2017 22:11:27 GMT
The Wrath of Sandy https://oscardean.com/blog/2017/2/the-wrath-of-sandy On a drive along the southern coast in Connecticut, I stumbled upon Fort Nathan Hale Park, a place that I had never visited before.  It is a 20-acre historical park located on the east shore of New Haven Harbor in the city of New Haven.  The park was built in honor of Nathan Hale (June 6, 1755 – September 22, 1776), an American soldier and spy for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He volunteered for an intelligence-gathering mission in New York City but was captured by the British and executed. His last words before being hanged were reported to be, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Hale has long been considered an American hero and, in 1985, he was officially designated the state hero of Connecticut.


The waterfront park offers a harbor setting, a sandy beach, hiking trails, fishing and birdwatching, a pavillion and a statue of Nathan Hale depicting him moments before he was executed.  Another impressive sight at the park is the long wooden pier that stretches out into New Haven Harbor....impressive that is until the pier met its match a few years ago.


The rickety remains of Fort Hale Pier after being battered by Superstorm Sandy


The Fort Hale Pier was severely damaged during Superstorm Sandy when it hit the Northeast in October 2012.  The massive storm surge from Sandy claimed more than 186 lives and caused $65 billion in damage along the East Coast from Maine to North Carolina.  The good news is that the Connecticut State Bonding Commission has approved $1.8 million to repair the pier.  I don't know when the restoration is scheduled to begin but it will be great to see it resurrected to its former glory.

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) CT Nathan Hale New Haven State Park Superstorm Sandy beach harbor hurricaine park pier rocks seascape seaweed water wood https://oscardean.com/blog/2017/2/the-wrath-of-sandy Fri, 03 Feb 2017 18:30:00 GMT
A near miss! https://oscardean.com/blog/2017/1/a-near-miss No matter where you are or what time of day or night, you may be presented with all sorts of photo opportunities. Recently I was in the area of our local airport taking care of some errands when it appeared to me that something was about to happen.  A Delta jet airliner was making its approach to the runway and all seemed normal until I noticed another element in this unfolding story.



Just ahead of the plane I saw a flock of black crows flying directly in the jet's path!  This was no joke!  I was literally expecting to see these birds get sucked into the engines and feathers being blasted out of the exhaust.  Faster than you can say "crow soup" I grabbed my camera and made a feeble attempt to capture what was about to happen.  The birds and the plane looked like they were playing a game of chicken, each holding their position and waiting for the other challenger to fold and turn away.  And then with extreme control and precision, the birds quickly sprayed out in different directions as the Delta jet roared through the sky into the path of where the birds had been just seconds before.  It was a very close call but not one bird was harmed during this crazy ordeal and the plane landed safely with the passengers that were most likely unaware of the drama that took place outside their windows.


After this was over I took a few moments to collect my thoughts and process what I had just witnessed.  It was kinda scary to even consider the tragedy that could have taken place had those birds caused an engine failure.  Here's hoping that the next spontaneous event that I photograph will be less intense than this one...


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) CT Delta airplane airport birds blue crows flock jet plane sky https://oscardean.com/blog/2017/1/a-near-miss Sun, 29 Jan 2017 13:43:12 GMT
Happy Holidays 2016 https://oscardean.com/blog/2016/12/happy-holidays-2016

The December holiday season is here again and along with the usual festivities the time has come for me to take my dog's annual Christmas photo.  Trust me, Lizzie is a seasoned pro when it comes to dog portraiture, after all, I've been photographing her since she was 3 months old and she's 8 years old now.  This year I went with a "reindeer" theme and dressed her up with antlers, Christmas socks and a "slightly" gaudy reindeer sweater.  OK, ok, it's a very gaudy sweater but I don't think she minded wearing it too much.  Lizzie seemed more interested in the contents of those wrapped gifts than what she looked like during the photo shoot.  On behalf of Oscar Dean Photography and of course "Lizzie," we wish you and your family a happy and safe holiday season!

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Christmas Lizzie antlers dog gift happy holiday portrait reindeer socks sweater https://oscardean.com/blog/2016/12/happy-holidays-2016 Mon, 12 Dec 2016 00:27:06 GMT
Happy Thanksgiving 2016! https://oscardean.com/blog/2016/11/happy-thanksgiving-2016


Thanksgiving is a holiday that is loved by many, well.....maybe not by THIS guy!  Just the mention of the word and he will run for the hills.  I guess I can't blame him.  I photographed Mr. Turkey here when he and a flock of about 6 or 7 of his friends wandered around the houses in my neighborhood.  Pretty daring I would say given the season that we're in!  After I captured a nice profile picture of this handsome fella, he and his buddies disappeared into the nearby woods never to be seen again.


Do you have special plans for Thanksgiving?  Perhaps you are traveling to visit family or they are coming to see you at your house.  Some of you have jobs where you will be working and of course there are those who for various reasons may be in a less fortunate situation.  Whatever plans you have, be safe as you go about your travels and offer a kind holiday wish to strangers you encounter along the way.  And as you gaze into the sad dark eyes of Mr. Turkey pictured above, try not to feel TOO guilty as you sit down to the Thanksgiving dinner with the turkey as the main course.  Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family from Oscar Dean Photography!


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) 2016 November Thanksgiving bird holiday turkey https://oscardean.com/blog/2016/11/happy-thanksgiving-2016 Thu, 24 Nov 2016 01:38:08 GMT
Super Moon - Nov. 13, 2016 https://oscardean.com/blog/2016/11/super-moon---nov-13-2016


The news is abuzz with lots of talk about the "super moon" which can be viewed on the evening of 11/13/16.  We've all seen the moon many times before but what's so special about it this time?  Well, two things actually make this something you won't want to miss.  First, the moon will be closest to the earth in its orbit since 1948.  Second, the moon's phase just happens to be a full moon and according to scientists will appear 14% larger and 30% brighter than a normal full moon.  In this photo, I captured the super moon as it rose above the trees in this residential neighborhood.  If you missed tonight's super moon, no worries, if you've got a lot of patience you can catch the next one in 18 years on November 25, 2034.

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) astronomy dark full house light moon night sky star street super moon https://oscardean.com/blog/2016/11/super-moon---nov-13-2016 Mon, 14 Nov 2016 01:41:27 GMT
Church of the Assumption - Ansonia, CT. https://oscardean.com/blog/2016/10/church-of-the-assumption---ansonia-ct Church of the Assumption - Ansonia, CTChurch of the Assumption - Ansonia, CT

This beautiful stone church is located in the town of Ansonia, CT.  The church is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year and they contacted me because they need photos to be used in Newsletters, brochures and online to help spread the news about this special occasion.  I love church architecture, especially the traditional gothic cathedral churches that were built centuries ago.  I had previously seen this church from the outside but never inside so I was very excited to see what I would find on the other side of those vivid blue doors...





A banner in front of the church announcing its 125th anniversary



Upon entering, you are treated to an amazing view of the church's majestic sanctuary.
An artist can be seen on the left painting "The Stations of the Cross."


This view looks towards the entrance doors with the golden organ pipes above them.


A statue of Mary at the front of the church


No church is complete without stained glass windows!


Such beautiful and rich colors in this detail photo of the church's stained glass windows


A side view of the altar with a sign announcing the church's 125th anniversary


Looking down at the altar from a higher vantage point




More examples of the phenomenal artwork in the stained glass windows.


Looking down at the pews on the right side of the church from the upper level


A statue of Jesus in the back corner of the church


You will appreciate the painter's talent when you realize that this entire statue was completely white before he started!!!


I am 6'3" but I felt dwarfed by the gigantic pipes of the organ!


Even this unused upper level hallway looks great with its ornate architectural style


This huge church was so quiet while I was there, it was just me and the painter and he left shortly after I arrived so I was truly able to take in the ambiance of this place of worship with no one else around.  This church was a challenge in the sense that it is so big and there are so many beautiful things everywhere you look that I could have spent a couple of days here before I'd feel satisfied that I captured all that I wanted.  So there you have it, a mini tour of this quaint "little" church in Ansonia, CT.  Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the photos.  Is there a church in CT that you know of that is stunningly beautiful?  Share its name and location in the comments, I would love to pay it a visit!  Thanks.


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) altar anniversary Ansonia architecture blue cathedral celebrate celebration church Church of the Assumption CT door gothic Jesus Mary organ pipe organ religious stained glass window statue stone https://oscardean.com/blog/2016/10/church-of-the-assumption---ansonia-ct Thu, 20 Oct 2016 04:35:20 GMT
Roadside vegetable stand https://oscardean.com/blog/2016/10/roadside-vegetable-stand

Whether I am driving on country back roads or modern highways, I always have my photographic eye on the lookout for interesting photo opportunities.  I am usually prepared by having my camera ready to go on the passenger seat next to me in case I do see something that catches my fancy.  For quite a few years I have driven by this small barn-like structure whose doors will open for several months of the year and the owners will sell fresh fruits and vegetables from this location.  They were not open for business on this particular drive-by but for some reason I was drawn to the scene and pulled over to explore some possibilities to take a nice photograph.


Although it was late in the afternoon but too early for the proper sunset, there was a pleasing sky and the rich greens of the grass and trees were a nice complement to the blue sky.  The red and white barn added another pop of color while the two boulders served as anchor points and additional items of interest.  Normally this place is bustling with people but without them in the photo I feel the image has an almost pastoral dreamlike quality.  Perhaps one day I will drive by this place again and they will be open and serving their customers and I will stop and capture another photo.....but this time with a completely different mood.


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Fruit barn blue grass gravel green market red rocks sky trees vegetable white https://oscardean.com/blog/2016/10/roadside-vegetable-stand Sun, 09 Oct 2016 11:00:00 GMT
Ring-necked Pheasant https://oscardean.com/blog/2016/10/ring-necked-pheasant  

Over the years I have seen and captured photographs of many "backyard birds" but today was a little unusual.  Instead of the typical robins, blue jays and sparrows, there was a Ring-necked Pheasant right on my front lawn.  This species generally lives in wooded areas where it can use the many trees as places to hide from predators so it was quite a surprise to see one in the open in a suburban neighborhood.

A particularly shy bird, the pheasant is easily spooked so I had to be extra quiet and careful in order to grab a photo without scaring him off.  Fortunately I was using my 70-200mm zoom lens at the long end which enabled me to get in for a tighter shot but not taking any chances, he flew away the moment he heard the click of my camera.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/125 sec at f4.0, ISO 400
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 200mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Ring-Necked Pheasant animal beak bird eyes feathers grass green lawn red tail white https://oscardean.com/blog/2016/10/ring-necked-pheasant Sat, 08 Oct 2016 22:58:51 GMT
A Very Dry Summer https://oscardean.com/blog/2016/8/a-very-dry-summer


"Summertime, and the livin' is easy..."    Many of you may recognize this as the opening line to the classic song "Summertime" by Ella Fitzgerald.  The song's slow and languid tempo perfectly depicts the mood of those hot lazy days of summer but living isn't always easy.  Here in Connecticut we've experienced a brutal heatwave that has made living anything BUT easy!  The local new stations are reporting that although it is not mandatory, we should conserve our water usage due to the lack of rain and dry conditions.

So as I keep cool by staying indoors, I have to be extra creative to come up with some new photos.  I decided to dabble with the theme of the heat, water conservation and keeping cool during this heatwave.  After looking around the house for some ideas and coming up empty, I suddenly thought of using a water faucet and a drop of water.  Photographers and other creative artists will often have a fully realized vision in their mind as to what they want their finished project to look like and this was no different.  Once you have your final vision in your mind, the hard part is over, now all you have to do is take the necessary steps to make that vision a reality.

The faucet you see here is in the kitchen and for the blue background  I used a hard plastic lid that fits on top of a storage box.  The cool blue color is a stark contrast to the warm weather we are experiencing but it also makes the stainless steel and the water drop stand out in the photo.  To capture the water drop, I turned on the faucet slightly and had to be perfectly timed to capture the drop at the right moment.  An off-camera flash created a beautiful star highlight on the water drop that helps to add some visual interest.  Water is essential to us, we need it for our survival.  As we are in the midst of conserving our water resources, I hope that this single water drop will remind us of the delicate balance we have with nature and how we must preserve water now and for future generations.

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) blue curve drop faucet kitchen silver smooth stainless steel water https://oscardean.com/blog/2016/8/a-very-dry-summer Fri, 05 Aug 2016 15:23:13 GMT
The Sparrows of Spring https://oscardean.com/blog/2016/5/the-sparrows-of-spring Warm temperatures, green grass, colorful flowers and leaves covering bare trees.  Yes, Spring has finally arrived in all of its glory.  For many of us, it may also mean cleaning up the yard from the ravages of the rough winter that much of our country endured.  As busy as we think we are, mankind is no match for Mother Nature's animals.  I have been lucky enough to witness several species of birds building nests, incubating their eggs, feeding their young and raising them until their juveniles were able to go out on their own.  To be able to see this process unfold before you is very fascinating and I did my best to document some of it for you in the photos that follow.  Enjoy, Oscar.



Male House Sparrow


I love nature and I try to do my part to preserve and protect it in any way I can.  To help give the birds a "leg up" In late March, I affixed a wooden birdhouse about 30ft high in a pine tree in my yard.  After a couple of weeks, I saw a male and female House Sparrow inspecting the birdhouse and soon after they were bringing grass, straw, cotton and other materials into the birdhouse in order to build their nest.  They packed the birdhouse so full of stuff that it began to protrude through some small seams under the roof!



Female House Sparrow returning to her birdhouse




Female House Sparrow peeping outside



Female House Sparrow with hungry baby!


The fun really begins after the eggs have hatched.  The new baby birds chirped so loudly that their cries could be heard from inside of my own house!  Both parents tirelessly took an active part in bringing back food to their hungry chicks.  "How many baby chicks are in the birdhouse?" was my burning question but with the house hanging 30ft in the air, there was no way to tell.  As the babies grew in size, they now began to appear in the doorway, mouths wide open whenever mom or dad returned with food.  At first one chick was visible, then two and then......four!  To help facilitate the feeding process, Mother Nature painted the baby's mouths bright red and yellow to create a perfect visual target for the parents.


Female House Sparrow feeding young



Female House Sparrow with two of her young chicks



Four hungry House Sparrow chicks cry out to their father



A chick nearly old enough to leave the nest


Everything I could have hoped for with regards to this sparrow family seemed to be going according to plan.  They have a safe dwelling to protect them from predators and the weather.  There was an adequate food supply due to the bird feeders, bird bath and bread that I made available to them.  Despite all of these advantages stacked in the bird's favor, nature's game of "Survival of the Fittest" may have other ideas.  One day, as I went outside to see what was happening at the birdhouse, I noticed some sort of object on the ground near the base of the pine tree.  I walked closer to it and saw that it was one of the baby sparrows...and it was dead.  Whether it tried to fly and failed or it accidentally fell out of the birdhouse I'll never know for sure but the sight of this little guy was truly saddening.


A baby House Sparrow, deceased after a fatal fall from the birdhouse


Rather than dwelling on this tragedy, I remind myself that this type of thing happens in nature all the time whether there is human intervention or not.  Birds fall out of nests, snakes and other predators invade nests to eat eggs or young birds and a myriad of other natural events occur that can take the lives of many young animals.  On a happier note, the remaining sparrow babies have grown up and left the nest and will hopefully continue the cycle of life for their species, perhaps in the house that they were raised or in the nearby woods.  Below is a photo of mom feeding on of the juvenile sparrows.  Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this journey as much as I did.


Adult female House Sparrow feeding juvenile


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) bird birdhouse chick house sparrow, nature sparrow young https://oscardean.com/blog/2016/5/the-sparrows-of-spring Sat, 28 May 2016 21:13:01 GMT
A sign of Spring https://oscardean.com/blog/2016/4/a-sign-of-spring Is it safe to say that the Spring weather is finally here to stay?  I don't want to jinx it because it wasn't that long ago that the Northeastern United States had cold temperatures and snow blanketing the ground.  At first the leaves began to bud on the trees but were halted by the snowstorm  Now the leaves and flowers are sprouting again but at a much slower and tentative pace as if fearful of another blast of winter cold.  A sure sign that Spring is here to stay is the return of the grackle.  These medium sized iridescent black birds migrate south to warmer temperatures in late Fall and returns to New England in early Spring.  The insects of course are starting to appear in droves as well.  It won't be long until we will be bothered by pesky flies, wasps and mosquitoes but also we can enjoy the beautiful colors of the butterflies as they do their part to maintain the flowers in our gardens.  You must take the good with the bad as they say!



This morning as I opened the front door to go outside, a dark object suddenly flew right past my face!  I wasn't expecting it and it really startled me to be quite honest.  As I looked around I spotted the mysterious culprit and saw that it was a moth just as he landed on the floorboards of the front porch.  The moth was very small and would have gone unnoticed had I not seen it land where it did with my own two eyes.  How fortunate was I that I had my camera and macro lens with me!  After grabbing this photo, I "shooed" the moth away for fear that he'd get stepped on or worse.....a sloppy wet tongue licking from my dog!  Here's hoping that there will be lots more colorful "creepy crawlies" that will await me for the upcoming warm weather season.

Click HERE to buy this image

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) 2016 April CT animal black brown bug eyes insect moth nail porch scales silver texture winds wood https://oscardean.com/blog/2016/4/a-sign-of-spring Mon, 25 Apr 2016 21:37:26 GMT
Happy Valentine's Day! https://oscardean.com/blog/2016/2/happy-valentines-day Yes that's right, it's another holiday and you know what THAT means don't you?  Time to grab Lizzie my cocker spaniel and appropriately dress her up for this month's theme.  Now if you follow my blog or website, you already know that Lizzie is a veteran when it comes to dressing up and posing during my photo sessions.  She has been doing this for nearly 8 years and is always up for my latest and craziest costume ideas....well, at least that is what I tell myself!

Lizzie was very laid back and cooperative today which made the photo shoot go without a hitch except for keeping the rose in place in her mouth.  That took a few tries for her to get used to it.  Don't fret, I did remove the thorns before putting the rose in Lizzie's mouth!  Now that the Valentine photo session is over, I can begin my plans for the next holiday photo shoot with Lizzie!  Lizzie?  Lizzie?  Hey, where did she go?????


Happy Valentine's Day from Lizzie!

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) 2016 Februrary Lizzie Valentine's Day bow dog flower green hearts holiday leaves necklace petals pink red rose https://oscardean.com/blog/2016/2/happy-valentines-day Sun, 14 Feb 2016 21:27:46 GMT
Fiery Sunrise, Bangor Maine https://oscardean.com/blog/2016/2/fiery-sunrise-bangor-maine On a multi-day assignment in the state of Maine, I stayed overnight at a hotel in the city of Bangor.  The view from my room looked out to a sprawling snow covered forest.  Upon waking up early in the morning and opening the curtains, I was greeted with this amazing sunrise.    Upon first glance it appeared as if the forest was on fire but to my relief that was not the case.  In between the spaces in the clouds the blue sky displayed its subtle colors.  This was a very quiet but awesome event that I hope was seen and experienced by more people than just me.


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Bangor ME Maine black blue clouds dawn landscape morning orange silhouette sky smoke sun sunrise trees https://oscardean.com/blog/2016/2/fiery-sunrise-bangor-maine Thu, 11 Feb 2016 17:16:33 GMT
2015 Photo Recap https://oscardean.com/blog/2016/1/2015-photo-recap Happy New Year and welcome to 2016!  Of course this is the time of year when most people want to look ahead to the possibilities that the new year will bring, but in this blog post I'll take one last look back at the images I took in 2015.  Below is a video recapping some of my favorite pics from last year.



2015 Photo Recap

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) 2015 Oscar Dean favorites images photos recap slideshow video https://oscardean.com/blog/2016/1/2015-photo-recap Fri, 01 Jan 2016 09:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #52 - White-throated Sparrow https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/12/white-throated-sparrow The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



As 2015 comes to an end, so does the "Photo of the Week" series as this photo is #52.  Reviewing all of the previous weekly photos is very revealing because I found it to be sort of a visual diary of my experiences during the past year.  A weekly photo project takes a lot of discipline but it's also fun because even I don't know what the next photo will be!  Photo opportunities can present themselves at any time, even in the most unlikely places.


My little friend the White-throated sparrow paid a visit on my front porch early in the morning.  He was busy searching for food that was possibly hidden beneath a light dusting of freshly fallen snow.  Fortunately for him (and all of his beaked buddies), food is readily available at the bird feeders that I tirelessly try to keep filled.  If you like to feed birds as I do, I am sure you already know how quickly they can deplete a feeder full of seeds!


I shot the photo of this sparrow through the glass of my front door.  He sat there for awhile and didn't fly away.  The perfect moment came when he noticed me and turned his head back and that locked gaze was what I tried to capture.  A few seconds later, he flew off, leaving two tiny footprints in the snow.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/80 sec at f2.8, ISO 640
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 200mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) animal beak bird brown eyes feathers gaze porch snow steps tail white White-throated sparrow winter wood yellow https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/12/white-throated-sparrow Mon, 28 Dec 2015 09:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #51 - Happy Holidays 2015 https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/12/photo-of-the-week-51---happy-holidays-2015 The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



My Cocker Spaniel named Lizzie is in the holiday spirit as you can see from the photo above.  I created this image and used it as the Christmas card my wife and I sent to family and friends.  With the holiday season upon us, it's time to be with family, reflect on the year that has passed but also to look forward to the year ahead.  We can only hope that 2016 will be filled with peace and harmony throughout the world and less of the tragic incidents that dominated the news over the last 12 months.  My wish is that you will have a joyful celebration of this holiday season with your family and loved ones; and that the coming year brings you health and prosperity.  Happy Holidays from Oscar Dean Photography!


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/60 sec at f5.0, ISO 800
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 55mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Happy Holidays Lizzie Merry Christmas Santa berries dog gold green hat holiday ornament red snowflake sweater white https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/12/photo-of-the-week-51---happy-holidays-2015 Mon, 21 Dec 2015 09:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #50 - Wooden Legs https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/12/photo-of-the-week-50---wooden-legs The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



Back a few months ago in September, I did a "photo hike" through Bigelow Hollow State Park in Union, CT.  Some photographs from that day are posted on my website but not this one.  Why am I posting it now?  Well, I was searching through my images looking for something specific for another project when I came across this one.  It is far from being the type of image I was looking for however, seeing it again took me back to the time when I was capturing this image.  As I was walking along the edge of the pond, this fallen tree looked like two long legs outstretched into the water...to me at least!  I guess it's like looking at the clouds, everyone may see something different.  The shapes and colors here were enough to draw me in to take this photo.


I set my tripod up on rather precarious uneven ground and used an 11 second shutter speed to smooth out the water which had lots of ripples due to the blowing wind.  I chose my wide angle lens because I was very close to the subject and this lens would give me more flexibility in framing up my composition.  To avoid any camera shake, I used a remote shutter release that allowed me to take the picture without touching the camera and creating blur in the resulting photo.  The wonders of Nature are all around us and if we allow ourselves to become more observant, you will be rewarded with an unlimited view of unique and/or unusual things to enjoy or photograph.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
11 sec at f14, ISO 100
Canon EF-S 10-22mm f3.5-4.5 USM lens set at 22mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Bigelow Hollow State Park CT abstract blue brown legs pond stilts texture tree water wood https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/12/photo-of-the-week-50---wooden-legs Mon, 14 Dec 2015 09:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #49 - Perched Herring Gull https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/12/photo-of-the-week-49---perched-herring-gull The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



This photo of a herring gull perched on the pilings of a dock was taken while I was on a nice morning walk on Cuttyhunk Island.  Adult herring gulls are grey, black and white so I immediately knew that this particular bird was a juvenile based on his color.  Perhaps he thought I was going to put out some food or something because he was watching me very closely as I paused to reach for my camera.  I took advantage of the opportunity and captured this photo as he stood there in profile.  As I walked away he squawked loudly as if to say, "Gee, thanks for nothing!"  I resumed my walk and then turned around and my new little friend had vanished.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/1600 sec at f7.1, ISO 400
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 185mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Cuttyhunk Island Herring Gull beak bird black blue bokeh brown feathers green https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/12/photo-of-the-week-49---perched-herring-gull Mon, 07 Dec 2015 09:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #48 - Pier in Stonington, Maine https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/11/pier-in-stonington-maine The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



As I travel through the New England states, I almost always have my trusty camera with me because you never know what potential images lie ahead.  Such was the case on a destination trip to Stonington, Maine.  After driving over the Deer Isle Bridge which crosses over Eggemoggin Reach, the pier was on the right side.  The morning light of the rising sun was magical so I pulled over on the side of the road to snap this image.  It is unfortunate that no one will ever be able to photograph or visit this pier ever again since it has been torn down and removed. 


Sometimes as a photographer, you can forget just how important our role is in creating visual records of the many things that exist in our world or when something will cease to exist.  Although it may not come close to the real thing, photographs allow anyone to visually experience the wonders of Earth that can not be experienced in the physical sense.  Photographers are the record keepers who are out there every day documenting ordinary things that one day may become an important part of history for future generations.  This is one aspect of photography that I find to be very rewarding and it is one of a myriad of reasons why I enjoy this craft.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/320 sec at f10, ISO 100
Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 35mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Maine Stonington pier silhouette sky sunrise water https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/11/pier-in-stonington-maine Mon, 30 Nov 2015 09:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #47 - Autumn's last flower https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/11/autumns-last-flower The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



The 2015 Fall Foliage season in New England was absolutely stunning!  The beautiful red, orange and yellow leaves transformed everyday scenery into wondrous and magical landscapes that this part of the country is known for.  The peak colors lasted a couple of weeks but Mother Nature's dramatic painting fell prey to storms which brought wind and rain that stripped the leaves from the trees.  In just a few days time, sunny blue skies gave way to bare naked trees surrounded by a dreary backdrop of gray overcast clouds.  Temperatures have dropped and things are just looking downright bleak!


While walking my dog Lizzie on a cool afternoon, I was very surprised to see a pop of color further ahead near the sidewalk.  It turned out to be a small patch of flowers that were still in bloom!  The flower's bright pink and yellow colors radiated like a glimmer of hope, as if naively thinking it could hold back the oncoming winter season by continually showing off its exuberant petals.  I'm no expert in naming flowers but I think they are Chrysanthemums?  Leave a comment below if you know for sure what they are.  Fortunately I had my camera with me and was able to get this shot.  I adjusted my camera settings to focus on the flower and blur out the background elements by choosing a wide aperture of 2.8.  I don't know how much longer this flower can hang on but with the weather in New England being notoriously changeable, we could end up with 3 feet of snow tomorrow...


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/160 sec at f2.8, ISO 400
Canon 100mm f2.8 USM macro lens

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) CT Chrysanthemum New England autumn fall flower green petals pink plant yellow https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/11/autumns-last-flower Mon, 23 Nov 2015 09:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #46 - Propeller Head https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/11/propeller-head The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



This photo was taken at Balboa Park in San Diego, CA.  It is a perfect example where chance and luck had everything to do with the final outcome.  The result that you see here was not anything that I had planned or even tried to create.  While taking a photo of this little friendly mutt, the dog suddenly shook himself vigorously like dogs do when they come in from being in the rain.  My press of the camera's shutter button coincided with the dog's movements and made his head blur like a spinning top!  I had no idea what I had captured until I returned home to CT.  Although it is not the best artistic image in the world, it is a curiosity.  It is a photo that makes the viewer pause an extra second or two to really take a closer look at what is happening in the picture.  I am sure that my chances of purposely recreating this in the future would be slim to none.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/60 sec at f8.0, ISO 100
Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 55mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Balboa Park CA California San Diego blur chance dog face fur grass green grey luck mutt park shake shaking tail https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/11/propeller-head Mon, 16 Nov 2015 09:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #45 - Frisbee Competition https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/11/frisbee-competition The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



I was thrilled to be able to photograph a Dog Frisbee Competition at Wickham Park in Manchester, CT.  From the tiniest of terriers to the grandest of German Shepherds, these canine creatures all had one thing in common: talent!  It was very evident how much time the owners spent training their dogs for they amazed the spectators with nimble agility and gravity defying leaps.  Some of the dogs seemed to sense that it was "showtime" and proceeded to throw their performance into high gear and entertain the adults and children alike.


There were several different competitions where some involved both dog and owner interacting together but the main event was the long frisbee toss.  The owner would throw a frisbee a long distance and their dog would give chase and try to catch it in its mouth.  In the photo above, this dog goes airborne in his quest to snag the flying disc.  And now the million dollar question:  Did the dog make the catch?  YES!  The dog caught the frisbee in mid air and came down in a perfect landing without dropping it.  A panel of judges observed each dog's performance and rated them.  In the end, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners were given ribbons and prizes.  All of the dogs did so well that to me, they are all winners in my book.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/1000 sec at f5.0, ISO 400
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 120mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) CT Connecticut Manchester Wickham Park animal canine competition dog flag frisbee grass jump leap park https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/11/frisbee-competition Mon, 09 Nov 2015 09:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #44 - Cemetery Statue https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/11/cemetery-statue The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.


This week's photo continues the Halloween theme to some degree since it was taken in a cemetery.  It is not super scary or creepy since it was not taken in the dark at night...cemeteries are not my favorite place to be after the sun goes down!  I captured this image at the Cedar Hill cemetery in Hartford, CT.  Upon entering, visitors are treated to a scenic pond, sprawling meadows and landscaped woodlands.  Every inch of the property is very well maintained.  The 270 acre cemetery was established in 1867 and many notable public and historic people have been laid to rest here of which two examples are prominent businessman J. P. Morgan and famed actress Katharine Hepburn.


I have always been drawn to statues and I was really thrown for a loop when I saw this one.  It must have been about 25 feet high and it stood so solemn against the blue sky and green pine trees as if looking after all who rest here and silently reciting a mournful prayer.  This statue seemed to radiate a powerful aura of comfort and I doubt I will come across another in this cemetery that will top this one.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/125 sec at f6.7, ISO 100
Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 55mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) CT Cedar Hill cemetery Hartford blue cemetery cross gray green pine tree religious sky statue stone tombstone https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/11/cemetery-statue Mon, 02 Nov 2015 09:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #43 - Happy Halloween 2015 https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/10/halloween-2015 The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



Halloween is almost here and you know what that means......it's time to dress up Lizzie, my favorite photographic subject!  When it comes to posing, she is a trained professional, after all, she's 7 years old and has been doing this since the age of 3 months.  You may be asking how does Lizzie feel about this?  Well, she loves it....I think.  Really, she doesn't mind.  I'm not kidding when I say that she willingly pushes her head into her costume without any coaxing from me!  Lizzie is great at holding her poses but like any dog, she will eventually reach her limit and begin to lose interest.  Offering her a yummy treat will usually get me an extra 5 minutes of her being attentive and cooperative.


These "dress up" sessions with Lizzie are not easy and I am always trying to challenge myself to do something different.  I do my best not to make her wear anything that is gaudy or embarrassing....except that one time I dressed her as a bumble bee.  (I'm sorry Lizzie).  Rest assured that I will never make her wear the dreaded "Hot Dog" Halloween costume!  Last year Lizzie was a Lion, most likely the least scary and friendliest lion that ever lived.  I had no idea how I would dress her this year and after visiting 4 different stores looking for costumes, I finally settled on "Bat Dog."  Using the photo above, I created a bunch of 5x7 folded holiday cards and mailed them out to friends and family.  The cards were a big hit!  On behalf of Lizzie and Oscar Dean Photography, we wish you a Happy Halloween!


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/200 sec at f6.3, ISO 100
Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 40mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) 2015 Halloween Lizzie bat black costume cute dog ears fence fur haunted house jack-o-lantern orange pumpkin wings yellow https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/10/halloween-2015 Mon, 26 Oct 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #42 - Grey Fox Squirrel https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/10/grey-fox-squirrel The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



I had the opportunity to photograph a corporate convention in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  During one part of the event, everyone participated in a half day of golf and I was there to capture all of the fun.  As I went about documenting the day's activities, I was also looking out for additional photos of interest to help give a broader sense of what happened on the golf course that day.  My wish came true at one point when I was standing near a wooded area next to one of the fairways.  I had just barely caught some movement beneath the trees but when I turned to look, I didn't see anything.  Suddenly, the culprit emerged from behind a tree and let out a sound that I can't even begin to describe.  It was a Grey Fox Squirrel.


I am from Connecticut and we don't have this particular species up north!  As I watched him stealing up acorns and pine cones I thought how fitting it is that he is adorned with a black mask like a burglar!  I was able to get this shot as he sat still for a moment while he munched on his prize.  This little guy was quite a distance from me so I had to use the full capability of my zoom lens to get in close.  I showed the photos of the convention to the participants and everyone laughed when the squirrel came up on the screen.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/160 sec at f6.3, ISO 100
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 200mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Myrtle Beach SC South Carolina Squirrel acorn animal black fluffy fox fur golf grey mask pine cone white https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/10/grey-fox-squirrel Mon, 19 Oct 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Rocky Neck State Park & Beach https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/10/rocky-neck-state-park-beach Rocky Neck State Park is located in Niantic, Connecticut on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean.  The beach is aptly named since you will find plenty of stones, rocks and boulders that while impressive, can be dangerous for those who are not careful while walking over them.  Some of the rocks are covered with slick slippery moss that can make things very treacherous.  There are walking trails, picnic areas and marshlands where many species of water birds can be seen nesting, feeding and flying about.  For the birdwatchers out there, bring binoculars or a camera, you will not be disappointed!  With the shorter days and cooler temperatures brought on by the Fall season, the crowds of people and the scorching hot temperatures have abated.  What better time to visit the beach to take some pictures!  Below are a few from my short walk on the beach.


Moss covered rocks on the shores of Rocky Neck Beach



A sea gull enjoying the waters of Rocky Neck Beach



Lifeguard stations removed from the beach for the "off season."



Rocky Neck Beach Boardwalk



Great Egret soaring across a brilliant blue sky



Stone ArchStone Arch Rocky Neck Beach as seen through the Pavilion Arch


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) CT Connecticut Rocky Neck State Park arch beach bench birds blue boardwalk chair egret jetty lifeguard moss rock sand sea gull shore sky stone water wood https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/10/rocky-neck-state-park-beach Thu, 15 Oct 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #41 - Clock Tower, Downtown Hartford, CT. https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/10/clock-tower-downtown-hartford-ct The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



This clock tower is located in the business district of downtown Hartford Connecticut.  To be  honest, I really don't know any facts or history about the structure but thought I'd capture a photo of it while I was in the area.  The tower features a numberless clock that is prominently displayed on all 4 sides and benches are at the base for people to sit end enjoy the weather on nice days.  The clock tower has unusual detailing and is heavily textured.  I took the photo below to highlight the detail along the side of the tower.




Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/320 sec at f9.0, ISO 200
Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 17mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Connecticut Hartford bench building city clock face numbers sky stone structure texture tower https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/10/clock-tower-downtown-hartford-ct Mon, 12 Oct 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #40 - Walking Bridge https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/10/walking-bridge The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



The photo above was taken at Gay City State Park in Hebron, CT.  I've never been to this park before so I really didn't know if I would find anything worthwhile to photograph.  To add to the challenge, the weather on that day was dreary gray overcast skies and CT. had not had any rain for over two weeks!  The lakes at this park were stagnant and accompanied by a green color and the stream had nearly dried up!  I am sure this place is beautiful during more bountiful times but with all of this stacked against me, I was determined to capture at least one good image before I left.


After walking past a wooded picnic area which overlooked the lake, I spotted a narrow wooden bridge allowing visitors to the park to walk over the waterfall.  A photo of the bridge with the water flowing beneath it would have made a wonderful picture but there was absolutely no water at all due to the long absence of rain.  It was completely bone dry where the waterfall should have been, making this area completely unappealing for a nice photo.  Although I was a little disappointed in this current state of affairs, I continued on my quest to craft a "keeper" photo.


My thought process was to minimize or eliminate any bad elements such as the overcast skies and the dried up waterfall as I set out to compose a photo.  After pondering the situation for a little while, I decided to make the bridge be the focal point of the image rather than capture the entire scene with the bridge and its surroundings.  Composing the photo as you see above kept the missing waterfall out of view and the low vantage point minimized the emphasis on the bleak and dreary sky.  The prominent lines from the bridge's railings lead the viewer's eye deep into the distance on the other side of the bridge.  In the end, I am happy with this photo and I look forward to coming back to this location during better conditions with the intention of getting some amazing photos.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/100 sec at f11, ISO 250
Canon 10-20mm f3.5 - f4.5 USM lens set at 10mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) CT Connecticut Gay City State Park Hebron bridge brown green sky trees vanishing point wood wooden https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/10/walking-bridge Mon, 05 Oct 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #39 - Eviction Notice https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/9/eviction-notice The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



During my many long drives on the highway, I very often come across some strange, funny and amusing things.  One day it could be a clever vanity license plate or a witty bumper sticker or maybe some inappropriate words written in the dirty grime on the back doors of an 18-wheel semi-trailer.  My day seemed fairly ordinary the day this V.W. Golf appeared before me chugging along at a snail's pace, barely able to transport its load up moderate hills.  What was its destination?  Is someone moving or has someone been kicked out and evicted from their home?  These were some of the questions that I pondered as I peered into the car's glass free rear window.


I did not have my DSLR camera with me on this occasion but instead I had my Canon Powershot A620 point and shoot camera.  It is so much smaller and compact than my 40D but it did a great job in capturing the car while I was driving.  They say duct tape has thousands of uses and can secure most anything, let's hope that the tape was able to secure the owner's belongings during this precarious (and hilarious) trip to who knows where...


Equipment and Settings

Canon Powershot A620
1/400 sec at f4.1, ISO 50
Lens set at 29.2mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Volkswagen car chair duct tape highway junk road rug https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/9/eviction-notice Mon, 28 Sep 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #38 - Bigelow Pond Waterlily https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/9/bigelow-pond-waterlily The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



Although I am a lifelong resident of the state of Connecticut, I have not visited every state park that is contained within its borders.  As of late, I have been attempting to rectify that by going out to see the various parks and forests with the aim of experiencing the sights and sounds that each park has to offer.  The few that I have been to so far are diverse in their own way yet they are all rich in their beautiful charm and quiet tranquility.  Connecticut's state parks are for everyone to enjoy but for sure they are a photographer's dream.


The photo above was taken at Bigelow Hollow State Park in Union, CT.  It is known for its hiking trails through the forest, lakes for fishing and plenty of picnic areas to eat outside in the splendor of nature.  During this visit to the park, I took a variety of photos including the wide angle "let's take in the whole scene" pictures.  Sure, wide angle shots are great but that's what everyone takes so I spent some time looking for details.  Capturing photos of the park from many different perspectives such as wide angle, zoomed in, vertical or from a higher position in a tree, will allow you to tell your viewers a compelling story about this place.


Looking around as I approached the large pond, I was actually disappointed by what I saw, not necessarily because of the pond itself but rather the quality of light that was harshly washing all over the scene.  The warm golden light of sunrise or sunset would have been ideal but I was there at mid-day, which is usually the worst time to take outdoor photos.  Since I take full responsibility for being here at the wrong time, I was forced to work harder to create an impactful image. 


I decided to turn my attention to the lesser seen details in and around the pond and it was then that I saw the waterlily gently floating amongst some lilypads on a secluded area of the water.  I changed my lens to the 70-200mm and zoomed in to get the flower closer in the frame.  The thick canopy of trees came to my rescue by blocking the sun's harsh light and created an environment more suitable for capturing my subject.  Blue and green are complimentary colors and they go together well in the photo and the white flower's bright contrast makes it pop out to the viewer.  As still as frozen glass, there was not a ripple in sight to detract from the meditative aura of the picture.



Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/100 sec at f8, ISO 640
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 200mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Bigelow Hollow State Park CT Union blue flower green leaves petals pond water waterlily white https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/9/bigelow-pond-waterlily Mon, 21 Sep 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #37 - Farmington River Railroad Bridge https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/9/farmington-river-railroad-bridge The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



The weather was beautiful on Labor Day so I went for a drive with no particular destination.  I decided to re-visit Windsor, CT, the town where I grew up and I still have fond memories of those carefree times.  After cruising around a bit, I remembered the old train bridge that stretched across the Farmington River.  Even after all of these years, I know the town like the back of my hand so finding the bridge was no problem at all.  The stone structure looked just like I remembered it and for a few moments I cast my mind back to when my friends and I would go exploring all around this area.


Suddenly, my peaceful reverie was abruptly interrupted by the sound of a horn blasting in the distance.  A train, a train!  How lucky was I to be here at the bridge with my camera when an impending train will be crossing the bridge?  I had already taken one photo of just the bridge but capturing a train would help to add another interesting element to the picture.  The blaring horn became louder and I knew the decisive moment was drawing near so I positioned myself, set the composition and pressed the shutter when the train nearly filled the visible part of the bridge.  The river below enhanced the photo by creating a rippled reflection of the scene above the water.


The bridge was built in 1867 by the Hartford & New Haven Railroad and still looks the same today as it did back then.  Back in those early days, trains exported red sandstone bricks which Connecticut is famous for.  The bridge was entered into the National Register of Historic Places on 8/25/72.



Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/250 sec at f6.3, ISO 100
Canon EF-S 10-22mm f3.5 - 4.5 USM lens set at 22mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Amtrak CT Connecticut Farmington River Railroad Bridge Windsor arch blue brick bridge brown gree railroad reflection river sky stone train trees water https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/9/farmington-river-railroad-bridge Mon, 14 Sep 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #36 - Cuttyhunk Island Church https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/9/cuttyhunk-island-church The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.


Cuttyhunk Union Methodist Church was founded in 1881. It opened with a dedication and dinner served under a tent in July of that year. Rev. John S. Bell, a Methodist, was the first minister of the church. His salary was $3.00 per service plus board. The church has been in continuous service since that time. The bass weather vane was created by islander, Steve Baldwin, in 1971. Land was given and the parsonage was built by Millard and Olga Ashley in 1957. It is used by the Cuttyhunk school teacher during the winter months.
In the 1960s, in addition to the Sunday evening worship service, an Episcopal service was started. Beginning in 1967 a Catholic priest flew in regularly by sea plane and conducted a Mass in the church, assisted by the United Methodist clergy.

The church is open on a seasonal basis during July and August. It is truly interfaith, with an Episcopal Eucharist at 8 a.m., a Roman Catholic service at 9 a.m., and Sunday School at 10 a.m. A popular hymn sing begins the Sunday evening vespers at 7:45. The pressed tin walls and ceiling add a dimension to the voices of people who love to sing, providing uplifting and inspiring memories. The church bell calls people to gather fifteen minutes before each service and can be heard all over the island.

The church building is used by a variety of religious and community groups for weddings, baptisms, memorial services, AA and Al-Anon, Cuttyhunk Historical Society events, the Cruisers Community Chorus and other island events.

The magnificent quahog mosaics in the front of the sanctuary are by island artist, Manuel Sarmento (1906-1986). They depict the Madonna and St. Francis of Assisi. The brass and driftwood cross on the altar was built by Wally Ketchum.

(Courtesy of http://www.cuttyhunkchurch.org/history.html)


Located not too far from Martha's Vineyard, Cuttyhunk Island has a lot of New England charm even though it is just shy of one square mile in size (0.91 sq. miles to be exact!).  Activity surges during the summer months as tourists flock to the island to enjoy the beaches, fishing, boating or just plain relaxing.  I've been to the island a handful of times and on this particular visit, I walked around and came upon the church.  The simple black and white colors of the church  was framed nicely by the blue sky above and the green grass below.  I admit to being a little addicted to photographing churches.  From the most ornate stone cathedrals to a simple wooden one room church, if the design "speaks to me," then I must photograph it!


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/3200 sec at f4, ISO 400
Canon EF-S 10-22mm f3.5 - 4.5 IS USM lens set at 10mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Cuttyhunk Island, MA Massachusetts architecture blue building church grass green religious sky steeple https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/9/cuttyhunk-island-church Mon, 07 Sep 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #35 - Comstock Covered Bridge https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/8/comstock-covered-bridge The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.


Comstock Covered Bridge, East Hampton, CT.


The New England region of the United States is known for its picturesque farms, quaint coastal villages, stately white churches and rustic covered bridges.  Connecticut has seven of these bridges by my last count.  Each of them exudes its own unique character and you should make it a point to visit them on a solitary walk or with some family or friends.


Measuring 80ft long and 12ft wide, the Comstock Covered Bridge spans the Salmon River.  The bridge is not open to traffic, it's fate sealed when in the 1930's a truck crashed through the floor requiring a major restoration to the structure.  Visitors to the bridge have easy access by a nearby parking lot and there are good views of the river from the windows located on both sides of the bridge.


This photo was taken late in the afternoon and according to the weatherman, rain was predicted in the next hour or so.  Under the bridge there were two young boys doing their best to try to catch fish but not appearing to have any luck.  I spent about 15 minutes assessing the area trying to scope out locations to give me a good photographic composition and finally arrived at the one you see above.  I chose a low vantage point with the rocks and plants in the foreground which leads your eye to the bridge and ending with the clouds in the background.  A few minutes later, the two boys gave up and left the area and I was free to take my photo.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
12 sec at f11, ISO 100
Canon EF-S 10-22mm f3.5 - 4.5  USM lens set at 16mm


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) CT Comstock Covered Bridge East Hampton blue bridge brown clouds flowers green landscape plants river rocks sky trees water window wood https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/8/comstock-covered-bridge Mon, 31 Aug 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #34 - Hilton Hotel, Myrtle Beach, SC. https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/8/hilton-hotel-myrtle-beach-sc The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.


On a visit to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, I stayed at the Hilton Hotel located literally "a stone's throw" from the beach.  After checking in at the front desk and heading to my room, I was greeted by this really cool architectural view once I stepped out of the elevator.  It was a completely open space where you could walk an infinite loop while taking in dramatic views of the floors above and below.  As I took in all of the repeating lines and patterns, I couldn't help but feel that I had been transported into an M.C. Escher drawing!  (See below).  There was no way I was going to leave this hotel without capturing a photo of the interior of this modern structure.


During the day, each floor of the hotel was buzzing with activity whether it was from tourists, business people, cleaning crews etc., so trying to take a nice clean photo proved to be a challenge.  My solution to get this shot was to wait until late at night, 11:00pm to be honest!  No one was around to bother me or cause any distractions so the conditions were perfect.  Although I am happy with the result, hindsight is 20-20 as they say.  I do regret not taking a few photos with some people walking by on some of the other floors, this would have helped to add a bit of human interest to the photo.  Lesson learned!  Take multiple versions of your subject and then you will have several different variations to choose from.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1 sec at f4, ISO 100
Canon EF-S 10-20mm f3.5 - 4.5 USM lens set at 11mm


Maurits Cornelis Escher (M.C. Escher as he is commonly referred) was a Dutch born graphic artist famously known for his often mathematically inspired drawings, woodcuts and lithographs.  His works would feature impossible constructions, explorations of infinity, architecture and tessellations.  Mathematicians and Scientists were particularly fond of the works of Escher.  During his lifetime, he made 448 lithographs, woodcuts and wood engravings and over 2000 drawings and sketches.  He lived from 1898 - 1972.


Waterfall - 1961 Lithograph

One of his famous drawings called "Waterfall," is mind boggling when you pay close attention to the flow of the water.
It looks so natural at first until you realize that it is impossible for water to flow this way.




Relativity - 1953 Lithograph

"Relativity" shown above is an example of Escher's "Impossible Constructions" style.
This drawing takes all logic and reasoning and throws it out the window!


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Escher Hilton Hotel M.C. Escher Myrtle Beach SC South Carolina architecture artist beach hotel interior relativity travel waterfall https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/8/hilton-hotel-myrtle-beach-sc Mon, 24 Aug 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #33 - Abe meets Harriet https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/8/abe-meets-harriet The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



After many years, the revitalization project of Downtown Hartford, CT is complete.  The goal was to beautify the city by making it a destination for everyone from walkers and joggers, to bicyclists and tourists.  There is a Riverwalk where you can get great views of both sides of the Connecticut River or watch as the barges launch fireworks into the night sky during the annual festival for Independence Day.  The walking paths meander through the urban landscape and cross the Connecticut River and the path continues into the city of East Hartford.  Rich artwork, majestic statues and a modern band shell where great music is performed will appeal to the culturally inclined for sure. 


And so it was on this walk that I came "face to face" (bad joke, I know) with this statue.  It is Abraham Lincoln meeting Harriet Beecher Stowe.  She was born in Litchfield, CT in 1811 and was a famous author and abolitionist.  Her book "Uncle Tom's Cabin" depicted the life of slaves in the South and caused quite a stir.  It is certainly well-known that Abraham Lincoln fought to gain equality for slaves and in 1862 had the chance to meet Mrs. Stowe.  Her son said that during the meeting, the President said to his mother, "so you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war."


Photographing this statue while trying to avoid distracting background elements was a bit of a challenge.  There are trees and buildings behind the statue and I wanted to be sure to exclude as much of that clutter as possible so as not to ruin the image.  After walking around the ebony figures countless times, I finally found a vantage point that worked!  I knelt down low so that the two famous icons had the sky as their background, giving me the clean unobtrusive look I was aiming for.  My finishing touch was a tasteful conversion to "black & white" and viola!



Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/200sec at f6.3, ISO 125
Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 43mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Abraham Lincoln CT Harriet Beecher-Stowe Hartford President Riverwalk author black & white city downtown figures grayscale monochrome statue https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/8/abe-meets-harriet Mon, 17 Aug 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #32 - Pine Grove Schoolhouse https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/8/photo-of-the-week-32---pine-grove-schoolhouse The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



Built in 1865, this one-room schoolhouse is located in Avon, Connecticut.  Originally for students in grades 1 - 8, the school was eventually reduced to grades 1 - 6 and in 1949 closed its doors when it was the last one room school house in town. Lit by kerosene lamps and heated by a wood stove, older children were responsible for gathering wood and coal to heat the school.  An outside pump and an outhouse were used since there was no plumbing at the school.  After closing its doors in 1949, the building was used as a library, nursery school and home for the boy scouts.  The building was restored by the Avon Historical Society and opened to the public in 1976.  It is currently open to visitors on Sundays from 2:00pm - 4:00pm, June through September or by appointment with the Avon Historical Society.


While out on a leisurely Sunday drive, I happened to spot this little white wooden structure tucked back from the road.  I was curious about what this building could be so I found a place to turn around and headed back to get a closer look.  Upon reading the sign in the driveway, I realized that this was an historic one room school house.  It is moments like these that I'm glad I have my camera handy.  The school was closed at the time I took this photo but I hope to return when it reopens to have a look at the inside.


My intent for the composition of this photograph was to create a picture with a lot of depth.  The placement of the sign in sharp focus in the foreground adds visual interest but also leads the viewer's eye to the school in the background which is also in focus.  To achieve sharpness from front to back requires that you set your camera's aperture to a higher value such as 16, 18 or 22.  In this case it was 18.  Had I used a very low number such as 2.8, the sign would have been sharp and the school would have rendered blurry or vice-versa depending on where I placed my focus point.  In addition, I took the photo from a lower position by kneeling down.  Most photos are taken standing up so I shot lower to try to avoid that all too common predictable view.  This lower perspective helps to draw the viewer in more and almost make them feel as if they were at the location.



Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/200sec at f18, ISO 320
Canon 10-22mm f3.5 - 4.5 USM lens set at 13mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Avon CT Pine Grove blue building grass green historic school school house sign sky structure trees wood https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/8/photo-of-the-week-32---pine-grove-schoolhouse Mon, 10 Aug 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #31 - Casual Sax https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/8/casual-sax The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



This photo was taken in Balboa Park in San Diego, California.  The beautiful park is popular to tourists and has gardens, walking paths, museums, theaters and the world famous San Diego Zoo.  There is no shortage of people milling about so it is a great place to try your hand at "Street Photography."  This is where you capture candid images of people just being themselves instead of posing for you.  Candid photos truly show the essence of a person and how they are interacting in their present environment.  Street photography requires that you become very observant of the people around you and how they interact with their surroundings.  You can choose to sit or stand in one place and watch as people come and go or you can continuously walk around and seek out opportunities.  Either method can be successful but in the end it comes down to which one you feel most comfortable doing.


In the photo above, I was walking through a courtyard and I heard a saxophone in the distance.  I made my way toward the sound and spotted an elder jazz man seductively playing a variation on "When the Saints Go Marching In," much to the delight of a small audience.  The street musician was the epitome of "cool" in his suit, fedora and dark sunglasses.  He finished the song and a few people dropped some spare change into his saxophone case sitting on the ground beside him.  Some of the onlookers threw out a request and he happily obliged.


I thought long and hard about how to compose a photo that would document this experience in a way that I would be proud of.  I felt that shooting it straight on would be the type of picture most anyone would take so I wanted to avoid that.  While checking out the ornate cement railing that he was sitting on, I decided to make that an integral part of the photo to add some depth and interest.  I placed myself diagonally from Mr. Sax Man and positioned the railing so that it would enter the photo from the lower right and lead the viewer's eye into the distance.  The play between light and shadow as well as texture and mood are enhanced by the black & white version as opposed to the color rendition.  I wonder what the Sax Man would think of this photo...



Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/80 sec at f8.0, ISO 200
Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 55mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Balboa Park, CA California San Diego, busker candid cool elderly fedora hat jazz man music old portrait saxophone street suit sunglasses https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/8/casual-sax Mon, 03 Aug 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #30 - Which Way is Up? https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/7/which-way-is-up The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



A day at the beach should be fun and relaxing, right?  On this particular day, EVERYONE at the beach was having a great time except for this grandmother.  I saw her with her two grandchildren who looked to be in their very early 20's.  The three of them were walking around and taking in the sights while the young man snapped a few photos of themselves and their surroundings.  It wasn't long before the time came when grandma was asked to take a photo of the other two.  Her grandson handed her his Nikon DSLR camera and grandma looked at it like it was a Rubik's cube!  The perplexed look on her face was priceless!  She held the camera up and spun it this way and that, trying to make sense of all of the buttons and dials which to her may as well have been an airplane cockpit.


After awhile, the grandson went over to give her the quick "How to take a photo 101" training session.  Grandma's subjects posed in their positions and she held the camera to her eye and clicked the shutter.  Everyone gathered around to see what kind of result she had achieved.  By the looks of their happy smiles, they seemed very pleased with what grandma had produced.  And with that, they continued their beach adventure by heading to the water's edge and making footprints in the sand.  Now that grandma has mastered a modern camera, I wonder if she is ready to tackle Facebook?  All kidding aside, I think that it was wonderful that they spent the day together and took photos which they will one day treasure as keepsakes.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/800 sec at f7.1, ISO 100
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 125mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Maine Pemaquid beach camera confused funny grandma grandmother humor lighthouse perplexed portrait puzzled rocks shore shorts summer visor https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/7/which-way-is-up Mon, 27 Jul 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #29 - Great Blue Heron https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/7/great-blue-heron The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.




The Great Blue Heron seen above is not your typical backyard bird.  Their habitat is in and around lakes and ponds, often hiding amongst the tall grasses and reeds.  Its long and thin stilt like legs are the perfect waders for standing in the water catching small fish, frogs and small aquatic insects.  Imagine my surprise when a Great Blue Heron landed on the same platform that I was standing on next to the pond at the park!  I stayed very still at first but since I had my camera with me, I wanted to take its photo in the worst way.  He appeared to be more concerned about something in the water than with me so V-E-R-Y slowly I began to move my camera up to my face to prepare to grab a shot.


The bird looked at me and stared me down for a few seconds and I held my breath and waited.  Again his attention was called back to the depths of the pond providing me with the opportunity to finally get the camera up to my eye so I could frame the shot.  The decisive moment came when he looked off into the distance allowing me to capture a nice photo of him in profile.  After the click of the camera's shutter, he abruptly flew to the other side of the pond and hid high up in some densely packed trees.


This situation happened so unexpectedly that I really had no chance to adjust the camera settings to more optimal parameters.  If I could have hypothetically changed my settings without scaring the bird away, I'd probably drop my ISO to 100 since it was a bright sunny day and I'd lower the shutter speed to 1/400 sec.  Doing this would have reduced the noise in the image while still allowing a shutter speed that is fast enough to produce a sharp photo.  All in all, it worked out in the end.  This spontaneous moment yielded a photo of a bird that I would have never imagined I'd see this close other than in a zoo.



Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/1600 sec at f4, ISO 400
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 200mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Great Blue Heron Mill Pond Park beak bird feathers grey pond https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/7/great-blue-heron Mon, 20 Jul 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #28 - Montfort Point Marines ceremony https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/7/montfort-point-marines-ceremony The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



In the photo above, Speaker of the House John Boehner speaks to an assemblage of Montfort Point Marines in Washington DC who were being honored for their service for the years 1942 - 1949.  In addition to being addressed by senators and other political leaders, the marines were given a grand military parade and a gold medal.  War is brutal enough as it is but this large troop of African-American marines had to deal with racial segregation under the authority of the military system, unselfishly fighting for a country for which they had few rights or freedoms of their own.  The segregation carried over to the living quarters at Camp Lejeune where the black marines endured living conditions that were deplorable and not comparable to their white counterparts.


Given the fact that security for this event was a high priority, I was a little concerned about my large backpack full of camera gear.  I had all of my lenses with me because I wanted to be ready for any situation that I would face.  In the end, I was never approached the entire time by any member of security possibly because I looked like I belonged with the "press."  I noticed a bunch of press photographers who were taking turns snapping pictures from a raised platform that gave them a better view of the proceedings.  I can't believe I did this but I actually made my way to the platform and took some shots from it!


Although each political speaker delivered a different speech during the ceremony, one theme rang true:  This recognition was long overdue!  Sadly, many of those who fought were killed in battle or had passed away years later so they were honored posthumously.  I attended this ceremony with my sister because our father was one of these marines being honored that day and words can't describe how proud we are of him.  Semper Fidelis!


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/400 sec at f2.8, ISO 1250
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 100mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) ceremony flag John Boehner marines medal of honor Montfort Point Marines parade patriotic racism segregation soldier Speaker of the House war https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/7/montfort-point-marines-ceremony Mon, 13 Jul 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #27 - July 4th Fireworks https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/7/july-4th-fireworks The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.


Independence Day celebrations are in full swing all across the country with dazzling fireworks displays that light up the sky.  To find an event near you, check your local newspaper, TV news station or a local tourism website that covers your area.  This photo was taken at "The Great American Boom" celebration at Stanley Quarter Park in New Britain, CT.  This particular show takes place every year at this location and it draws very large crowds to the park.


If you plan to photograph fireworks, be sure to arrive very early so you'll have a better chance to pick your viewpoint and so you can avoid having people or obstacles in your way.  I always try to get as many good shots as early in the show as possible because more and more smoke begins to fill the sky as the show goes on and the smoke will create a hazy effect over the fireworks.  Trust me, the smoke will definitely degrade the quality of your images.  Photos of fireworks look best when the sky is dark and free from smoke.  Also, when taking photos in dimly lit or dark situations, having your camera on a tripod will eliminate blurry images (unless you are not properly focused) due to camera shake.  I used a tripod for this photo along with a wireless shutter release so I would not have to touch the camera to take each photo.


Remember to be safe if you plan to photograph a fireworks show.  Obey all boundaries and do not go to areas that have been roped off for everyone's safety.  Be alert to your surroundings and make note of any security booths in the event there is an emergency.  Keep your camera equipment and other belonging close to you at all times.  Don't get so caught up in the photo taking process that you become the victim of theft when it could have been easily prevented.  Following these safety tips will allow you to enjoy the show and come home with some fireworks photos you will be proud of!


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
5 sec at f11, ISO 160
Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 33mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) CT Connecticut Independence Day", streaks, lights, bright New Britain Stanley Quarter Park celebration display event fireworks night sky https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/7/july-4th-fireworks Mon, 06 Jul 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #26 - Aroostook State Park https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/6/aroostook-state-park The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.


When we think of mountains in the United States, the famous Rocky Mountains of Colorado or the Blue Ridge Mountains may be the first ones to come to mind but the state of Maine has an impressive display of mountains too.  Located just off of Route 1 in Presque Isle, Maine is Aroostook State Park.  The park's scenic beauty offers a lake, hiking trails, camping and the impressive Quaggy Jo Mountain, making this place a must see tourist attraction.  For an "out of stater" like me, the nominal $3.00 all day admission was quite the bargain.  I was now very excited to see what experiences lay before me.


I grabbed my camera gear, headed toward the trail entrance and was greeted by a sign directing me to either the North Peak trail or the South Peak trail.  With absolutely zero knowledge about this park and making my decision based on a whim, I chose the North Peak trail.  It didn't take very long before the trail became VERY steep....precariously steep!  Besides the uneven path, you must also contend with rocks, tree roots, slippery moss, wet leaves and of course pesky insects such as flies, mosquitoes and bees.  This trail is not for the faint of heart but you are certainly rewarded with stunning views when you have finally reached the top of the 1100ft mountain.


The photo shown above was one that I took while at the top and it was the layout of the trees standing at attention against the blue sky background that caught my eye.  I was on slanted ground so I had to use extra care in setting up my tripod and then making sure the camera was level.  After a few more minutes of taking in the sweeping views, I headed down on the South Peak trail until I eventually reached the parking lot.  I had a great time and perhaps I can re-visit Aroostook State Park later in the year during the fall foliage season.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/250 sec at f13, ISO 100
Canon 10-22mm f3.5 - 4.5 USM lens set at 10mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Aroostook State Park, Maine Presque Isle, Quaggy Jo Mountain, blue clouds forest mountain sky trail trees https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/6/aroostook-state-park Mon, 29 Jun 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #25 - Only the Nose Knows https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/6/only-the-nose-knows The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



As I headed outside to refill the bird feeder in the yard, I told my dog Lizzie to "stay" on the porch.  After a couple of minutes I looked back and saw that she had her nose poking through the wooden lattice work furiously sniffing the air.  I found it very cute but very comical as well and of course I had to get a picture of this but my camera was in the house.  After taking care of my "avian" friends, I went back inside and when I returned to the porch, Lizzie was now in the SIT position looking up at me with her tongue hanging out probably hoping for a game of fetch.  Now my challenge was to get her to repeat her sniffing action from before and it may not be very easy to replicate.

I decided to try to lure her with a dog treat.  With Lizzie still on the porch, I went to the other side and held a treat a short distance from one of the holes just out of her reach and called her to get her attention.  She poked her nose through and began vigorously sniffing the delicious aroma of the treat.  I told her to "STAY" and after a few seconds, I praised her and gave her the treat to eat.  I tried it again and after telling her to "STAY," I quickly captured this photo.  Hooray, success!  And as an extra reward, I called her down into the yard and we enjoyed a nice game of fetch!



Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/1250 sec at f2.8, ISO 400
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 200mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Lizzie cocker spaniel, dog lattice muzzle nose pattern porch smell sniff treat wood https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/6/only-the-nose-knows Mon, 22 Jun 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #24 - Bancroft Tower https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/6/bancroft-tower The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.




In the midst of doing some research online about New England landmarks, I happened upon a small thumbnail image of a stone structure that looked pretty fascinating.  I clicked on it and learned that it was called Bancroft Tower located in Salisbury Park in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Seeing as though the city of Worcester is about 80 miles from where I live, I thought I'd take a nice Sunday drive to see this tower in person and hopefully come back with a nice image or two.  The weather was perfect with blue skies and wispy white clouds and barely a breeze.  Even better was the fact that no one was there at the park except for me.  I had it all to myself!


Here are a few facts that I learned about the tower thanks to Wikipedia:  "Bancroft Tower is a 56-foot-high (17 m) natural stone and granite tower, which looks like a miniature feudal castle. It is located in Salisbury Park, in the city of Worcester, Massachusetts.  It was erected in 1900, in memory of George Bancroft. The tower was designed by Earle and Fisher.[2] The cost of construction was roughly $15,000.[3] Bancroft Tower is listed on the National Register of Historic Places."


The mighty stone monument looks impressive from a straight on front view but it isn't long before you realize that it is all just a facade.  The depth of the structure only goes back about 15ft and the doors that take you inside to the upper level are locked.  I found this place to be really sweet from a photographer's point of view since the subject is relatively free of obstructions except for a row of poles set in place to prevent an out of control car from plowing into the tower.  You hear stories like this in the news when a person hits the gas instead of the brake and crashes into a shop window causing all kinds of damage.  It would be a shame for something like that to happen to Bancroft Tower.


I wanted to travel light so I only brought with me what I felt would be essential to get the types of shots I planned to capture.  Two lenses went into my camera bag:  my 10-22mm wide angle and my 17-55mm moderate zoom lens.  To aid me in the composing of various shots, I used my Manfrotto tripod.  Adding the tripod to the mix gives me a lot more versatility.  It allows me to use aperture and shutter speed settings on the camera that would not be possible while hand holding the camera.


Normally my "Photo of the Week" blog posts only contain one photo but I think that today I will make an exception.  Scroll down a bit and you can see a few more images that I've included from this visit to Bancroft Tower.  I encourage you to check it out with your friends or family if you are ever in the Worcester area.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/160sec at f11, ISO 100
Canon 10-22mm f3.5 - 4.5 USM lens set at 10mm











[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Bancroft Tower, Worcester, Massachusetts, castle, tower, stone, sky, clouds, arch, window, pole, trees https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/6/bancroft-tower Mon, 15 Jun 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #23 - Breakfast in Red https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/6/breakfast-in-red The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



I am an early riser and wake up at 5:00am whether I have work to do or it's the weekend.   The quiet early morning is my favorite time of the day.  Some of the things I like to do while my neighbors are still sleeping are walking my dog Lizzie, having a leisurely breakfast and perhaps capture a photograph of a dramatic sunrise.  With trees, bushes and an expanse of tall reeds around my house, many species of birds are also awake and their noisy chatter ensures that you won't forget that they are the true masters of the early risers!


While sitting at the table eating breakfast, I heard a particularly loud and impatient bird call and it seemed like it was coming from just outside the window.  After a few more squabbles, my curiosity got the best of me and went to the window and looking back at me from a pine tree branch was a brilliantly colored male cardinal.  The fact that it did not fly away when I appeared in the window really surprised me.  I went to get my camera and with him in the same spot where I had left  him, I managed to capture this image.


The cardinal bobbed his head and chirped again leaving me to wonder what's got his feather's all in a huff.  And then, in the same tree just a few feet away, I saw that the bird feeder that I religiously keep filled was.....EMPTY!  Was Mr. Cardinal trying to tell me something?  I put on some shoes and went outside to fill the feeder, scaring off the cardinal in the process.  Upon returning inside the house and looking out the window, about 5 minutes went by when the cardinal appeared cautiously hopping from branch to branch and after seeing the full bird feeder, chirped loudly and took his place and began feeding.


This photo was taken through the kitchen window, something I would prefer not to do since any additional glass can degrade the quality of your image.  To get closer to the cardinal I used my zoom lens maxed out to 200mm and the ISO setting was raised to 800 because it was actually not very bright outside and this higher value will capture more light in the scene.  Thank you Mr. Cardinal for being so patient and for being so kind as to give me such a great pose!


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/200sec at f8, ISO 800
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 200mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) bird black cardinal green pine tree red https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/6/breakfast-in-red Mon, 08 Jun 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #22 - Sticky Situation https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/6/sticky-situation The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



As the warm weather of Spring and Summer takes hold, many tell-tale signs of the season begin to emerge:  Birds, flowers, insects and of course kids!  The above photo was taken at a Grand Opening store event at a shopping plaza in New York State. I've known the store owner for many years and she asked if I could take photos at her Grand Opening event to be used for her Blog and a newsletter.  The event was a great success with hundreds of people coming out to have fun and support her business.  The special sale prices and money saving bargains attracted shoppers while the carnival rides, music and edible goodies lured in children of all ages.


This young girl seems to have had no problem finding the cotton candy booth!  She was actually surrounded by a bunch of other cotton candy wielding friends enjoying their sugary treats but I preferred this expressive solo photo over the group shot.  I spoke with the girl's mother and she loved the photo.  She gave me her e-mail address and I sent the pic to her, much to her daughter's delight.  Let's hope the girl gets a chance to wash her sticky fingers before she gets back in the car with her family!


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/500 sec at f7.1, ISO 250
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 200mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) New York candy carnival cotton candy eat eating girl grand opening pink sticky store https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/6/sticky-situation Mon, 01 Jun 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #21 - Close Play https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/5/close-play The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.


This photo was taken at a minor league baseball game between the New Britain Rockcats and the Binghamton Mets.  The Rockcats are the "home team" dressed in red and the game took place in their stadium in New Britain, Connecticut.  My seat was on the first base side about 10 rows back so I had a pretty decent vantage point for most of the action.  To cover all the bases, (ooh, bad joke!), I brought 3 lenses with me to enable me to cover different fields of view.  I had my wide angle 10-22mm, my 17-55mm and my workhorse, the 70-200mm.


Sports photography is all about anticipation.  Having a decent knowledge of how the game is played will help you be better prepared to have your lens pointed in the right place a moment or two before the crucial "money shot" takes place.  In the photo above, there was a man on 1st base so I wagered a hunch that a good play might unfold at 2nd base.  Sometimes my guess is right, sometimes it is wrong....this time I was RIGHT!  The batter hit the ball to the 3rd baseman and he in turn threw the ball to 2nd base in hopes of getting the runner "out."  It really was a close play!  The runner just beat the throw so he was "safe" but the New Britain Rockcats managed to win the game.


Since 2nd base was kind of far away, I used my 70-200mm for this shot.  My goal was to zoom in close enough to see the action but I felt that the umpire was a necessary element in the photo so I did not want to leave him out.  The fast shutter of 1/2000 of a second allowed me to freeze the ball in mid air causing viewers to wonder the outcome of this close play.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/2000 sec at f3.2, ISO 200
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 150mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Binghamton Mets CT New Britain New Britain Rockcats baseball catch field game grass green player slide turf umpire uniform https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/5/close-play Mon, 25 May 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo Tip - "Using Reflections in your Photos" https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/5/reflections In this edition of "Photo Tips," we'll talk about utilizing a compositional element that can help to add visual interest to your photos.  Let's take a look at what "reflections" are and what they can bring to an image.  A mirror is probably the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of a reflection but there are other objects that can create reflections as well.  Glass, window panes, silverware, bodies of water such as ponds, lakes or even puddles.  How about the lenses of your sunglasses?  OK, this all seems so obvious that you may be saying to yourself, "big deal."


The big deal is that when it comes to composing a photograph, reflections seem to take a back seat.  Very few people consciously make it a point to include a reflection as they are taking a picture and if they do include one, it is usually by accident.  Reflections are everywhere, if you take the time to look for them.  Given the fact that so few photos contain reflections, make it your mission to have one appear in the next few photos you take.  Have fun with it and take a walk through your nearest city, you'll be amazed at the reflections that can be seen from the buildings and shop windows.  Then you need to ask yourself this one question:  "Have I ever noticed these reflections before?"  Below are a few examples of some reflection photos I did from a city walk in Hartford, CT this past weekend.



The face of this building provides a perfect reflective canvas for the reflections of the buildings that are behind me in the background.  The arresting vertical and horizontal lines create added visual interest.  This image creates an illusion that I am photographing these buildings through a steel gate but in reality you are looking at highly reflective windows.



Most major cities are known for a particular landmark or two and Hartford, CT is no exception.  Right in the heart of downtown is the aqua-green Phoenix insurance building which is affectionately called the "Boat Building."  This impressive architectural marvel celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013.  The building's unusual shape combined with the impressive reflections of other tall structures creates a stunning visual of this city.



I chose a different approach in this photo by zooming in tighter on this building rather than trying to capture it in its entirety.  There's a lot going on in this image.  In addition to the reflections, there is a sense of order that is created by the rhythm of the repeating symmetrical window panes.  Some may view this photo and think it is very busy while others may feel it has an almost abstract quality.  Regardless, when you do come across a "reflection" subject (or any subject for that matter), never forget that you have an almost unlimited range of choices in which to capture it such as changing your viewpoint, zooming in or out, adjusting camera settings, time of day or night and more.  Take a few extra minutes to look for unusual and creative ways to make your final image different than the norm.



Here we have downtown Hartford, CT at dusk viewed from across the Connecticut River and the reflections of course are the buildings and lights in the water.  In the spirit of trying to inject some variety in today's city photo walk, I decided to go for a wide evening shot since all of the others were in the middle of the day.  You may have heard the expression, "An artist suffers for their work."  The suffering I endured in getting this photo was the endless attack of mosquitoes that ate me alive as the sun set beyond the sprawling skyline.  As soon as I got my shot, I was outta there ASAP!



This whimsical photo was taken at a craft fair that my church had put together.  I had my camera with me just so that I could record some casual memories of this event for the church's website.  At one point, Cathy, a good friend of mine was in a conversation with someone and I happened to notice her reflection in a small mirror sitting on a table.  With moments to spare, I was able to capture her face in the mirror as she carried on with her dialogue.  Mirrors are the most common reflective objects that we think of so when using one in a photo, you should try to incorporate it in a unique and creative way.  This was totally unplanned but I am glad that I was lucky enough to spot this scene before it dissolved.  And yes, Cathy has seen this photo and she thought it was very clever!


I hope that this post has given you some new ideas and inspiration to go out and take photos that incorporate reflections in the frame.  Reflections are everywhere if you make time to look for them.  If you have taken some photos with reflections and you'd like to share them with other readers, please submit a link to your photo(s) in the comments section below.  Thanks, Oscar

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) CT Cathy Hartford Phoenix building dusk face glass horizon lines mirror pane pattern reflections river sky skyline sunset water window https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/5/reflections Tue, 19 May 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #20 - Moo Poo https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/5/moo-poo The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



On an extremely long drive through a rural part of the state of Maine, I was practically driving in "autopilot" mode when by chance I happened to see this dump truck just off the side of the road.  You might think that it was the truck's bright orange color that caught my attention but rather it was the sign that I quickly whizzed by that made me do a U-turn and go back to take this picture.  The sign is not only humorous, it is a genius of marketing!  Drivers on this road are routinely doing in excess of 60mph so this sign must get its message across in a matter of seconds!  Two simple words quickly and clearly let passersby know exactly what is for sale...in no uncertain terms.


Humor in a photograph can make it appealing or interesting to the viewer and seeing this sign made me chuckle.  I knew if I continued to drive on without taking a picture of this I would regret it so that's when I turned around and made my way back and parked across the street.  I chose my 70 - 200mm zoom lens since I was quite a distance away from the dump truck and it gave me the luxury of not having to cross the busy road.  Every genre of art is subjective, and that includes photography.  All forms of art speak to different people in completely different ways.  If someone proclaims to be the "end all be all" judge of all things art, then they are truly not worth their weight in cow chips.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/250 sec at f6.3, ISO 100
Canon 70 - 200mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 95mm


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) cow dump truck grass green moo orange poo sign https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/5/moo-poo Mon, 18 May 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #19 - A Dilemma Set in Stone https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/5/photo-of-the-week-19 The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



This photo was taken while walking around the streets of San Diego, California.  It was my first time in this city so I guess you could say I was a "tourist" on that particular visit.  When taking photographs, there are several key attributes you should look for to help you produce a photo that will be appealing and interesting to viewers.  A few of these are: color, shape, lines, texture, pattern and motion.  This list is not meant to be all-inclusive because there are many other elements to look for when composing your photos.  It is important to slow down when taking a photo and really think about the scene before you.  All too often, one sees something they like and quickly snap a picture never taking the time to consider what drew them to the subject or investing some effort to elevate their photo to become more than a simple snapshot.


In the above photo, I was first drawn to the subject because of its texture and then by the humor in the sculpture itself.  What you see in this picture is actually a very small part of a much larger piece of sculpted art.  I made the decision to closely focus in on just an isolated area of the statue rather than try to show off the entire work.  This was my personal choice and in no way does that mean that my way is the best or only way.  That is the beauty of photography.  You can choose how you want to present a subject or a scene to others.  This is what we call your "vision."  As you continue to work on and improve your artistic vision, you will begin to see a photographic style begin to emerge in your body of work.  And if you remain true to your vision, your photographic style will be unique and one that you can call your own.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/500 sec at f5.6, ISO 100
Canon 17- 55mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 55mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) addition arithmetic dilemma gnome humor math problem puzzled sculpture statue stone texture https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/5/photo-of-the-week-19 Mon, 11 May 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #18 - A Splash of Strawberry https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/5/a-splash-of-strawberry The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



Most of the images in my "Photo of the Week" series are unplanned or impromptu photos where I happen to stumble upon an interesting subject, place or event.  These types of pictures can be great because you may possibly capture a once in a lifetime moment simply because you were in the right place at the right time....with a camera of course!  For this week's photo I decided to change things up a bit and take a photo where I could take total control of all of the elements.  Why did I decide to do this you ask?


Well, my wife loves strawberries so I picked up a bunch at the grocery store as a nice surprise for her.  She's very lucky that I don't really like strawberries so she gets to eat all of them without having to worry about me.  The idea of this "Strawberry Splash" photo came to me when I saw a wine glass in our kitchen cupboard.  These types of photos have been done a million times using all kinds of props but I had never tried it before so I thought I'd give it a go.


You don't need professional equipment or a studio to make a photo like this, but it does require some knowledge of achieving good exposures, off camera flash photography and a little luck when it comes to capturing the decisive moment.  The wine glass is sitting on a tempered glass table protector which in turn is resting on top of a wooden stool.  Behind the glass is a large white cloth background which has been illuminated by an off camera flash.  The wine glass is filled with water but the ice cubes are not as they seem.  They are fake!  These are made of glass and can often be purchased at craft stores.  My camera was set up on a tripod on manual focus and I used a wireless shutter release to press the shutter button.


Next comes the fun or frustrating part depending on your viewpoint!  Dropping the strawberry into the glass and tripping the camera's shutter at the precise moment a dramatic splash is sent flying into the air.  Sounds easy right?  Trust me, it's not!  I admit that I did get lucky because the photo above was actually my third attempt but I persisted another 15 times trying to outdo this one but I never did.  Not only was this an exercise in patience, it really wasn't fun cleaning up the watery mess!


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/200 sec at f5.6, ISO 320
Canon 17- 55mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 38mm

Flash fired

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) ice ice cubes, splash strawberry water wine glass, https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/5/a-splash-of-strawberry Mon, 04 May 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #17 - Engaging Conversation https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/4/engaging-conversation The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



This photo was taken while stopped at a traffic light in downtown Hartford, CT.  The man was sitting on the steps of a church and talking to.....uh......no one that I could see.  Other than him, the steps were empty!  In any case, whoever or whatever he was seeing or hearing, he was in the middle of an engaging conversation.     He was quite animated with hand gestures and facial expressions which I assume was to get his point across to his chat friend who must have been intently hanging on his every word.


Since I simply grabbed my camera from the seat in order to quickly capture this shot, I had no time to adjust the settings but fortunately I am satisfied with where they were set.  The man was across the street at quite a distance so the 200mm focal length helped to bring him closer in the frame.  The fast shutter speed helped to prevent motion blur and camera shake and the aperture setting of 6.3 created enough depth of field to keep the subject in focus.  Noise in the image was kept at a bare minimum with the ISO set at 200.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/1,000 sec at f6.3, ISO 200
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 200mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) church expression homeless man steps talking https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/4/engaging-conversation Mon, 27 Apr 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #16 - Dueling Paddles https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/4/dueling-paddles The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



While driving past Mansfield Hollow State Park in CT, I saw plenty of people enjoying the wonderful Spring weather so I decided to see if I could catch some good photographs.  I saw this husband and wife "team" heading out into the water and I liked the rich colors that were in the scene.  The next thing I noticed was they were in pretty good sync with their paddles, raising the left side at the same time and then alternating to the right side with the same precision.  Maybe it was the unconscious result of the two of them living together for so long?  Who knows but my hope was to try to capture the symmetry and create two diagonal lines of their paddles.  These diagonal lines help to break up the horizontal line of the horizon in the distance.


It was bright and sunny and the subjects were not moving fast so using a low ISO of 100 was an easy choice so as to get the best image quality.  Choosing an aperture of f9 ensured the couple was in focus and the 1/200 sec shutter speed was enough to prevent motion blur.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/200 sec at f9, ISO 100
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 70mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) CT Mansfield Hollow State Park blue canoe green lake man oar paddle red sky trees water woman yellow https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/4/dueling-paddles Mon, 20 Apr 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #15 - Morning Moonrise https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/4/morning-moonrise The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.




This photo was taken early on a crisp, cool morning while walking my dog.  The sun had not risen yet but as you can see, it lit the moon and turned the sky into pastel hues of pink and blue.  You have no time to waste during sunrise or sunsets because the colors in the sky are constantly changing.  From the time you run in the house to grab your camera to when you return outside, the stunning colors you saw previously may have changed to a scene where the colors are now dreary and washed out.


Through my viewfinder I could see that the light was dim so I raised the ISO to a value of 800.  This may seem high but it was necessary in order to enable me to get a shutter speed fast enough to prevent camera shake which would result in a blurry image.  The photo has two distinct subjects:  the moon and the trees.  This photo also makes use of a compositional technique called "negative space."  This is where a large portion of an image may appear empty of featureless.  Negative space can place a stronger emphasis on your subject by providing a clean and uncluttered look to the photo.  The image has more clarity and advertisers like these types of images because they can easily add text for marketing campaigns and such.  Because I exposed for the sky, the trees were transformed into a silhouette.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/160 sec at f4.5, ISO 800
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 70mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) bare bird branches colors crescent moon pastel pink purple silhouette sky trees https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/4/morning-moonrise Mon, 13 Apr 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #14 - Warming Dove https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/4/warming-dove The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



It appears that here in New England, Winter is beginning to loosen its grip and finally allowing hints of warmer Spring temperatures.  On Easter Sunday, I happened to spot a Mourning Dove sunning itself on the railing of my back deck.  I found it coincidental yet fitting that this bird who plays a role in the first book of The Bible would appear like this on such a religious holiday.  Capturing a photo of this dove would be tricky since I would be shooting through glass and his view of me would be as good as my view of him.  There was nowhere to hide!  I moved VERY slowly to get my camera and VERY slowly made my return all the while hoping that he would still be there...and he was!


All of my actions had to be carried out in super slow motion so as not to scare him away.  Getting into position and adjusting various camera setting seemed to take forever and I had the feeling that I only had mere seconds left to spare.  With the camera finally in place at my eye, the alert bird cocked his head my way, blinked and then flew off moments after I managed to get off a few shots.  When photographing animals, one of your main goals should be to get their eyes "tack sharp" and I was very pleased that I did manage to do that in this photo despite the fact that shooting through glass can throw off your camera's focusing ability.  To bring more attention to the bird, I intentionally selected a wide aperture to blur the background and used a low ISO setting to reduce noise in the photo.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/250 sec at f5.6, ISO 200
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 200mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) CT beak bird deck dove eye feathers mourning railing wings https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/4/warming-dove Mon, 06 Apr 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #13 - Silence in the Forest https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/3/silence-in-the-forest The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.


Silence in the Forest


This photo was taken in a forest in central Connecticut during what I hope is the end of the constant snowstorms that have bombarded this state.  I was totally enjoying the quiet stillness and solitude when I walked up on this scene.  Seeing all of these trees standing at attention really caught my eye.  Just beyond the trees is a lake but of course it is iced over and covered with snow.  Once in a while, I feel that an image is better conveyed in "Black & White" instead of color and that's how I felt about this particular photo.  It is a matter of taste and whichever version one prefers doesn't make them right or wrong.  Art is after all...subjective.  For me, the image's mood and feeling of isolation was represented best in "Black & White" than color.


In hindsight, I wish I had taken this photo with my ultra wide angle lens in order to capture more of the scene than the 17mm focal length shows here.  I did have that lens in my camera bag but I just didn't take it out at that moment.  Let that be a lesson.  Take many shots from different angles using different lenses because you will come back with some photos with varying perspectives and one or more of them may just blow you away!


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/80 sec at f8, ISO 100
Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 17mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) b&w black and white branches forest lake leaves shadows snow trees https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/3/silence-in-the-forest Mon, 30 Mar 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Dervish in Concert 3-21-15 https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/3/dervish-in-concert-3-21-15 As much of the United States (especially the Northeast) was buried in many feet of snow and frigid temperatures for practically all of the winter season, any sign of Spring would be welcomed with open arms.  Surely with the arrival of St. Patrick's Day and the parade that marched through Hartford, CT., Spring should be right around the corner....right?  Well, to help add some more cheer to the Irish festivities and lure sunlight deprived people from their homes was Dervish, one of the most well-known traditional Irish music bands came to perform a concert inside the Lincoln Theater at the University of Hartford.


The "Celtic Music Concert Series" brings in a wealth of Irish music artists and groups and Dervish is by far the most anticipated and popular with the fans time and time again.  The band's musicianship, energy and stage presence will keep you thoroughly entertained for the duration of the show.  I've been photographing this concert series for 5 years now and have captured photos of Dervish three times in that period and they never cease to amaze me.  Each band member is a master of their instrument and yet they are so humble and approachable and love to talk to their fans during intermission and after the show.  Below are a few photos from the concert which was the last stop of their US tour before flying back to Ireland.  I hope that Dervish will return to play at this venue again next year.  One thing's for sure, the fans in this area will be eagerly waiting!



Dervish in concert 3/21/15



Tom Morrow - Fiddle



Shane Mitchell - Accordion



Michael Holmes - Bouzuki


Cathy Jordan - Bohdran, percussion



Liam Kelly - Flute, Pennywhistle



Brian McDonagh - Mandola






See more of my photos from this concert HEREVisit the official Dervish website:  http://www.dervish.ie/


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) CT Celtic Dervish Irish University of Hartford accordion artist band bodhran bouzuki fiddle flute mandola music pennywhistle stage https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/3/dervish-in-concert-3-21-15 Wed, 25 Mar 2015 03:11:22 GMT
Photo of the Week #12 - Snow Covered Stream https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/3/snow-covered-stream The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



As a life-long resident of Connecticut, I still encounter places throughout the state that I have never seen or visited:  Chatfield Hollow State Park is one of those places.  After many weeks of dealing with one of the toughest winter seasons that I can remember, I managed to break free and get outdoors to take pictures on a rare "semi-warm" day in March.  There was still LOTS of snow everywhere but my goal was to find a location that was picturesque and I randomly chose this State Park.  It was everything I could have asked for.


It was my very first time visiting this park and many other people had the same idea.  Walking through the trails, I eventually came upon this beautiful little stream.  In my attempt to find the perfect sweet spot vantage point, I stepped into snow that was over 3ft deep!  Fortunately for me, I am 6'3" but my height could not help the fact that cold snow had found its way into my boots!  Brrrrr!   I quickly took a photo and made a hasty retreat!  It was such a peaceful day and I think the photo captures that mood.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/250 sec at f6.3, ISO 200
Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 17mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) CT Chatfield Hollow State Park Killingworth brook forest snow stream trees water white https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/3/snow-covered-stream Mon, 23 Mar 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #11 - Wondrous Winter Waterfall https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/3/wondrous-winter-waterfall The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



This mesmerizing photo was taken at Chatfield Hollow State Park in Killingworth, CT on a cold March afternoon.  There is so much snow here that it actually was a hindrance because it is so deep it prevents you from gaining access to different vantage points when taking photos.  After spotting this waterfall, I was lucky enough to be able to move to a place where I had a relatively unobstructed view.  My thought process for this image was to slow the shutter speed down a bit to blur the flowing water to create this nice effect.  The water violently flows downward over the rocks as if tumbling down a set of steps.  Fate was also on my side because the waterfall was lit by beautifully diffused soft light.  Shortly after capturing this image the sun came out and the lighting became very contrasty and harsh.  Attempting to photograph the waterfall in that direct sunlight would have resulted in a completely different photo than what I created here.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/5 sec at f22, ISO 100
Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 200mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) CT Chatfield Hollow State Park Killingworth ice snow water waterfall https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/3/wondrous-winter-waterfall Mon, 16 Mar 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #10 - Man's Best Friend https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/3/mans-best-friend The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



This winter has been brutal with extreme "below zero" temperatures and snow storms that never seem to quit!  Here in Connecticut, we have received over 60 inches of snow during this winter season.  Shoveling, traffic jams, leaky roofs and cabin fever is testing the patience of everyone in New England.  I heard on the news yesterday that we have more snow than Alaska!  That to me is just mind blowing!  I don't want to jump the gun but it appears that we may be getting a reprieve from the cold weather according to weathermen who are saying we will hit the mid 40's for the next 3 days.  When the mercury hits the 40's it will seem downright tropical around here!


Honestly it has been so bitterly cold outside that I haven't gone outside to do much photography.  Today was a rather mild day so I took advantage of it and went out to see if any photo opportunities would present themselves.  Walking through a park I spotted a man with his dog trudging along a snow path.  I was immediately struck by the bold colors before me:  the bright white snow, the green trees and the man's bold red jacket.  All in all it is a simple composition with the path helping to lead the viewer's eye to the main subject.  The rows of trees help to add some visual interest as well.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/800 sec at f3.2, ISO 400
Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 55mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) coat dog forest friend man park path red snow trees walk winter https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/3/mans-best-friend Mon, 09 Mar 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #9 - Bass Harbor Lighthouse https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/3/bass-harbor-lighthouse The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



The Bass Harbor Lighthouse is located in Acadia National Park in Tremont, Maine.  Built in 1858, it is certainly one of the  attractions for the many tourists that visit this scenic area.  I was on an assignment in Southwest Harbor, Maine which is just a few miles away so I decided not to let this opportunity slip away to see this lighthouse in person.  This photo was taken around 9:00am and the sky was and incredibly rich blue color with just a few wispy clouds scattered here and there.  The black, white and green colors of the foreground subject contrasted very nicely with the sky.


From the lower vantage point where I took this photo are lots of boulders (see picture below).  Extreme care must be taken when climbing over these large rocks as you could possible drop and severely damage your camera equipment or worse, injure yourself.  In capturing this photo of the lighthouse, I moved around on the rocks until I was able to frame the building with the trees on either side.  I felt that this was a pleasing composition.  I didn't have my tripod but the scene was so bright I was able to use a low ISO together with a fast shutter speed and an aperture that provided good depth of field.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/1,600 sec at f7.1, ISO 100
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 95mm


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Acadia National Park Bass Harbor Lighthouse Maine Tremont blue lighthouse sky tree https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/3/bass-harbor-lighthouse Mon, 02 Mar 2015 09:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #8 - Soaring Kildeer https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/2/photo-of-the-week-8 The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.


This photo was taken on the sandy shore of Cuttyhunk Island.  I was taking pictures of the usual things like the waves, trees and creepy crawly things in the sand and suddenly there was a commotion.  Flying about and also running along the sand I saw quite a few brown birds squawking and making quite a racket.  I instantly recognized them as Killdeer.  It is possible that I may have been too close to one of their nests which they make on the ground.  They are very skittish and do not let humans get too close to them.  Killdeer are famous for outsmarting predators that go after their young chicks in the nest.  The adult bird will fake a broken wing and draw the predator away from the nest.  Once the threatening animal has been drawn away from the young birds the adult quickly takes to the air leaving the predator to wonder how he fell for this ingenious trick!  The predator bows its head in shame and walks home with tail between its legs.


The Killdeer's color helps them to blend into their surroundings so well that they will see you before you see them.  Trying to photograph them in flight is an exercise in futility.  They are extremely fast and change directions so quickly you may be tempted to just give up trying...I know I almost did!  I was fortunate to capture this one bird that was moving left to right and I followed him with my camera hoping and praying the entire time.  I used a very fast shutter speed of 1/2000 of a second to freeze the subject and an aperture of f6.3 to give me enough depth of field to have the bird in focus.  Once in a while it's nice to challenge yourself with photography, and for me, these birds delivered that for sure!



Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/2,000 sec at f6.3, ISO 200
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 200mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Cuttyhunk Island beach bird brown flying horizon killdeer ocean sky water wings https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/2/photo-of-the-week-8 Mon, 23 Feb 2015 09:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #7 - Urban Decay https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/2/urban-decay The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.


Urban Decay


If you feel that you're suffering from a lack of creativity or inspiration, head for the city.  In most cities there is lots to do and see and it is this very combination that can make for some interesting photos.  First there is the obvious touristy things like famous buildings, bridges, statues or attractions such as sports stadiums or amusement parks.  All of these are great subjects but you can be sure that they have all been photographed a million times.  Why not dig a little deeper and seek out some less often shot areas of the city.


On this particular day, I found myself in the city of New Britain, CT.  It is nicknamed the "Hardware City" because of its history as a manufacturing center and as the headquarters for Stanley Black & Decker, a company widely known for producing high quality power tools.  Immediately adjacent to the spacious Walnut Hill Park is the Museum of Modern Art, but even the most beautiful cities have their dark alley ways and areas that are less visually appealing.  But how can one appreciate beauty if one does not become intimate with things that are less so?


 I came upon a cluster of very old brick factory buildings that must have been out of operation for decades.  There was graffiti, broken windows, trash laying around and "No Trespassing" signs warning people with cameras like me to keep their distance.  I had to do the best I could since getting photos due to the locked security fences supposedly there to thwart off any more vandalism.  I was very intrigued by what I saw in the photo above.  Each of the numerous panes of glass reflected the light differently so many took on various shades of color, and when looked at as a whole, gave the impression of a kind of weird modern mosaic art.  Looks like kids had lots of fun throwing rocks and smashing the small square panes of glass.


So in this instance, I could have played it "safe" and took pretty pictures at the park or the Town Green or challenge myself to seek out lesser known hidden gems.  Either option is valid and one is no better than the other as both will dare you to put your creativity to the test.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/320 sec at f5.6, ISO 200
Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 55mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) CT New Britain, brick broken building decay factory glass graffiti urban https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/2/urban-decay Mon, 16 Feb 2015 09:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #6 - Red-Tailed Hawk https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/2/red-tailed-hawk The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.


Red-tailed Hawk


Many years ago, the population of the Red-tailed Hawk was dangerously low but now, due to it being a protected species their numbers have grown substantially.  Travel along I-91 or I-84 and you are almost guaranteed to spot some perched atop the light poles or standing in the grassy median.  These birds are extremely beneficial to the environment by helping to keep the pesky rodent population in check.  Gracefully soaring high in the sky or dive bombing their prey at impressive speed, the Red-tailed Hawk's agility in the air is a treasure to behold.


This photo was taken on a cold January morning while walking through the woods.  This dead tree appeared at the edge of a clearing and the hawk sat there motionless as if it thought he wouldn't be noticed as long as it kept still.  I wanted to take a picture quickly but I had to move very slowly so as not to scare him away.  Trying to remain quiet was another challenge due to the crunching icy snow beneath my shoes!  I set my 70-200mm lens to its maximum focal length, ISO set to 100 for the cleanest image quality, aperture set at 5.6 for a modest depth of field and a shutter speed of  1/400 of a second to help overcome any camera shake (or my shivering!).


The hawk had a great view from his high vantage point but also a clear path in almost every direction if it decided to swoop down after his next meal.  Then something cool happened.  After I snapped a photo, the hawk looked at me and winked one eye.  I looked at the photo on my camera's viewfinder and returned to gaze up at the hawk and he had vanished!  I had looked away for only a second or two but it was enough time for him to disappear without a trace, leaving me with this photo as the only evidence of our encounter.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/400sec at f5.6, ISO 100

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Red-tailed Hawk, bird blue branch hawk sky tree https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/2/red-tailed-hawk Mon, 09 Feb 2015 09:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #5 - Giant Wooden Spools https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/2/photo-of-the-week---giant-wooden-spools The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



I spotted these giant wooden spools on the property of some industrial company.  These are often used by cable or phone companies to wrap or unwrap long lengths of wire out in the field.  Driving by and seeing these spools stacked up like they were, I immediately saw an image that I had to capture.  I was a little hesitant at first because I didn't want to venture onto their property and have someone come out and tell me I was trespassing.  After taking about 3 seconds to consider my options (take a photo or leave), I threw caution to the wind and walked over to the large stacks of spools with my camera at the ready!


Several elements drew me to this scene.  First, the shapes.  Unless you work in this industry, these spools are not something you see everyday, especially the way they are piled on top of each other.  Second, the textures.  Looking at the photo, you can see the textures in the wood and also on the cement and you can envision how that would feel by the touch of your hand.  Lastly, the colors.  The spools have a tan "earthy" color that I think is rather pleasing.


In composing the photo, I chose a low vantage point to help emphasize both the size of the spools and the height of the stacks and to take in a wider view I used my wide angle lens set at 10mm.  The close up stack on the right helps to add depth to the scene and a sense of scale.  OK, once I had my photo in the bag, I hightailed it out of the lot without incident!  Hopefully there were no security cameras monitoring the area...


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/60 sec at f8.0, ISO 200
Canon 10-22mm f3.5 - 5.6 USM lens set at 10mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) big giant industrial large piles spools stacks wooden https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/2/photo-of-the-week---giant-wooden-spools Mon, 02 Feb 2015 09:00:00 GMT
10,000 visitors! https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/1/10-000-visitors The Oscar Dean photography website has officially reached 10,000 unique visitors!  It is such a thrill to have reached this milestone and I appreciate every single person that helped to attain that number.  Over the course of my website's existence, I've had the pleasure of meeting or interacting online with many people who share a love for photography and it has been very rewarding to me.  I treasure all of the comments left in the Guestbook and the personal messages that I have received.  As a thanks to you and in celebration of this 10,000 visitor achievement, all orders placed for prints and other photo products on this website will receive 10% off when you use the coupon code:  hooray10K  during checkout.  Offer valid until February 28, 2015.


Kind regards,

Oscar Dean

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) 10000 milestone visitors https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/1/10-000-visitors Fri, 30 Jan 2015 10:07:11 GMT
Photo of the Week #4 - A Burst of Red https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/1/a-burst-of-red The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



New England was hit with a snowstorm a few days ago leaving everything coated in white.  The pristine virgin snow collected on the bare branches of trees transforming them into graceful towering statues.  And to add to this mystical event was the complete absence of any sound.  It was so quiet thanks to most people deciding to stay inside and hibernate rather than going to work.  Every now and then the silence was broken by a snow plow cleaning the streets.


I am always on the lookout for birds and it seemed that even they were playing it safe by remaining in their nests.  Normally I can count on them to visit my bird feeders each morning like clockwork but there were none in sight, only the telltale footprints of a squirrel foraging for food.  Suddenly a brilliant flash of red caught my attention to my right.  It was a male cardinal.  He was at quite a fair distance but sure enough he was coming closer.  Although the cardinal was not as close as I would have liked, he sensed my presence and I feared that he would fly away.  My prediction was right and I managed to capture this image just before he took off.


When I first spotted this cardinal on that snowy morning, I immediately knew that there were two things that I wanted to create in the photo.  Contrast and a burst of color.  The scene is predominately white so the bird's majestic red feathers provides that dramatic pop of color and contrasts with the snow.  The plumage of female cardinals are much duller than the male so luck was certainly on my side.  My 70-200mm lens was racked out to its maximum focal length and it still could not get me as close to the bird as I would have liked.  Another snowstorm is predicted for tomorrow so who knows what opportunity that will bring.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/400sec at f5.6, ISO 400
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 200mm

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Cardinal bird branch male red snow tree white https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/1/a-burst-of-red Mon, 26 Jan 2015 09:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #3: Obvious Opinion of Obama https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/1/obvious-opinion-of-obama The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.


Obvious Opinion of Obama - Stamford, CT.


City streets are known for being gold mines of opportunity for photographers.  With hundreds or sometimes thousands of people coming and going, you and your camera are presented with an unlimited number of photo possibilities!  It takes all kinds of people to make this world go around and busy cities have no shortage of diversity when it comes to the people that can be seen going about their daily routines.


While driving in my car through the city of Stamford, CT., I spotted a guy on the sidewalk exercising his right to free speech.  He obviously had an opinion of President Obama and he wanted to make it known to anyone walking or driving past him.  I have no doubt that the man on the corner was passionate about his message but I immediately saw a humorous photo opportunity.


I was lucky to have my camera with me on the passenger seat next to me and was able to get this photo while driving my car.  In this situation, the subject of the image is far more important than the composition or the slight haze from my dirty windshield!  My camera had the very heavy 70-200mm lens attached and the photo was taken using only one hand without looking through the viewfinder!  Sometimes you have to "make do" in the heat of the moment.  I don't know how successful he was at changing people's opinions of Obama that day but I didn't see anyone talking with him during the few short moments that he was in my line of sight.  Democracy in America at work and the world continues to go around...


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/750 sec at f6.7, ISO 400
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM lens at 200mm


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) CT Obama Stamford city dope fields flag impeach man opium petition president sidewalk sign https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/1/obvious-opinion-of-obama Mon, 19 Jan 2015 09:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #2: Hot Air Balloons https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/1/hot-air-balloons The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.


Hot Air balloons over Southington, CT.


Hot air ballooning is not the first activity that comes to mind when it's a balmy 10 degrees above zero in January.  These cold temperatures are laughed at by the dedicated (and slightly crazy?) organizers of the annual "Frozen Buns Flyout" balloon launch that takes place in January every year.  If you plan to come watch the balloons, be sure to bundle up good and perhaps watch from the warmth and comfort of your vehicle.


Besides dressing appropriately, you should prepare your camera equipment before venturing out into the cold to take pictures.  Make sure you have fully charged batteries in your camera and that you have a spare as well; the cold will drain battery power much faster than usual.  Keep your spare battery in a pocket close to your body so it will stay warm.  Keep a lens cleaning kit handy in case your lens fogs up.


There was practically no wind blowing and the sky was cloudless on this particular morning and that played a part in the very cold temperatures.  The richly colored balloons contrasted wonderfully against the beautiful blue sky.  I saw these two balloons drifting by like two planets orbiting the sun.  They were both far apart at first but the rear balloon began to catch up to the closer one and I chose to capture a moment when one balloon passed behind the other.  The photo was taken with a 70-200mm zoom lens.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/1000 sec at f4.5, ISO 640


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) CT Frozen Buns Flyout Southington air balloon basket blue hot sky https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/1/hot-air-balloons Mon, 12 Jan 2015 09:00:00 GMT
Smoke Photography https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/1/smoke-photography In the spirit of the "New Year," I thought I'd post some photos of a "new" subject that has never graced the pages of my Blog before.  Smoke!  Capturing these continuously morphing shapes can be a challenge but it is fun too.  Since the delicate wisps of smoke are constantly changing form, the photographer is presented with a never ending array of dramatic possibilities.  Like clouds, you can look closely to see if there is a recognizable object within the eerie smoke patterns.  I know it sounds crazy but to me, the 2nd to last photo looks like a hot red pepper, what do you think?






















Prints of these images can be purchased securely by clicking HERE.

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) blue colors green orange pink purple red smoke studio turquoise yellow https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/1/smoke-photography Thu, 08 Jan 2015 09:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #1: Blue Mood https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/1/blue-mood The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.


Cuttyhunk Island, MA

Cuttyhunk Island is the outermost of the Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts.  It is very small, measuring just shy of 1 square mile.  After spending a considerable amount of time out and about capturing images around the island, I found myself down by the boats at the docks.  The sea gulls were very active, flying to and fro so I decided to try to catch one cruising in mid air.


I stood on the pier and attempted to photograph the birds as they swooped and careened effortlessly by me.  The photo above came about by chance.  The sea gull has been caught in flight but it was an added bonus when I saw the rich blue abstract background behind the bird.  The distorted reflections in the rippling water is a cool effect that was created naturally, not by Photoshop or some other software.


If your goal is to accurately catch a moving subject and get it in focus, you will want to use a fast shutter speed.  The sea gull was gliding very slowly at this moment so 1/640 sec did the trick.  I chose an aperture value of f9.0 because I wanted to obtain a larger depth of field to also help with getting the subject in focus.  Depth of Field is the area that is in focus in a photo and this "in focus" area can be increased or reduced by changing the aperture value on the camera.  Although I was using my 70 - 200mm zoom lens, the bird was close enough that I did not need to extend the lens to the 200mm range.


Equipment and Settings
Canon 40D
1/640 sec at f9.0,  ISO 640


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Cuttyhunk Island bird blue dock flying ripple sea gull water waves https://oscardean.com/blog/2015/1/blue-mood Mon, 05 Jan 2015 09:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #52 - Have Faith https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/12/have-faith The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.


Mug with "light bubbles"


In order to achieve this photo, I had to do some pre-planning and gather some props.  I placed a nice knitted tablecloth on top of a box and then the mug on top of them.  The red background was created by a bedsheet that I hung in the distance.  You can use most anything for your background such as a wall or poster board depending on the look you want to achieve.  The multi-colored "bubbles" are Christmas lights that are hanging and resting against the bedsheet.  (Note: these lights stay cool and do not get hot so there was no risk of fire.  Remember, safety first!).  Another item that I used and was essential for getting this shot was a tripod.  So let's talk about how I made this shot happen.

Suspend the bedsheet by using a background stand or pinning it to a wall.  Suspend the Christmas lights so that they hang in a narrow vertical line up against the bedsheet.  You want the hanging lights to be narrow and not spread out wide because you want them to have the effect of rising out of the mug in the final photo.  Set up the box, tablecloth and mug about 10 - 15 feet away from the background of lights you created.  Align the mug so that the string of lights appears to be coming up and out of the mug.  Once you are satisfied, let's set up the camera.

With the camera on a tripod, adjust its position so that you can see the mug with the vertical string of lights lined up with the mug.  The mug should be about 3 to 4 feet away from your camera.  My photo was taken in very dim lighting, not pitch dark, but very dim.  Switch your camera lens to manual focus and turn the focusing ring until the mug is perfectly sharp.  Now, the secret to creating the circles of light is to set your camera's aperture to the lowest or next lowest number possible.  This value will vary from lens to lens but common settings might be 1.8, 2.0, 2.8, 3.5, 4 or 5.6.  Put your camera in full manual mode and dial in a low aperture value.  A lens focal length in the 70 - 100mm range will do a great job at blurring those Christmas lights.  Larger focal lengths will require you to back further away from the mug.

Set your camera's ISO to the lowest number as well.  Lower values will produce images that are cleaner and with less digital noise.  A typical ISO setting would be 100 or 200.
  The last setting we need to make is the shutter speed.  The shutter speed that will be right for your situation will depend on the amount of light in the room, the aperture and ISO settings.  Adjust your shutter speed to a setting of 1 second.  If the resulting image is too dark, you will need to change the setting to higher number (slower speed) like 2 or 4 seconds until the photo looks right.  Conversely, if the image is too bright, change the shutter speed to a lower value (faster speed) such as 1/30th or 1/60th of a second.  Continue making adjustments to your shutter speed until the resulting image looks good on your LCD screen.

Once you have the correct exposure, you will want to make sure the photo comes out as sharp as possible.  The tripod will help with this but it is only half of the equation.  Use a cable release or the camera's built in self-timer to take the picture instead of you pressing the shutter button.  When your finger presses the button on your camera, it will introduce vibrations that will cause your photos to be blurry, and this effect is further amplified with slow shutter speeds in dim lighting conditions.  Notice that in my photo above, the text on the mug is very sharp and readable even though a 1 second shutter speed was used.  Instead of me physically pressing the camera's shutter button, I used a wireless shutter release with the camera on a tripod to eliminate any vibrations during the exposure.

Photos like this are fun to do and you can get really creative and try out all sorts of variations with colors or different props.  You can look at many examples by searching the internet for "bokeh," "specular highlights," or "background blur."

See some other creative photos of Christmas lights I did by clicking HERE.

Equipment and Settings
Canon 40D
1 sec at f3.2,  ISO 100

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) background blur bokeh circles faith light mug https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/12/have-faith Mon, 29 Dec 2014 09:00:00 GMT
2014 - A Year in Pictures https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/12/photo-recap-2014 2014 is coming to an end.  I hope the past year has been good to you.  As I usually do at this time of year, I browsed through the photos I took over the last 12 months and attempted to single out some of the standout pictures and events that took place.  Capturing the excitement and energy of the city of Las Vegas at night was something I had wanted to do for a long time and that became a reality in 2014.  Although I'm not a huge fan, I photographed The Goo Goo Dolls in concert and came away with some cool shots.

Shifting 180 degrees to something completely different, my patience was severely tested as I tried to snag photos of dragonflies on a hot summer day.  Those little buggers are so difficult to photograph since they rarely let you get too close to them but persistence paid off in the end.  And to cap off a great year, I managed to photograph a famous celebrity chef/TV personality.  You'll have to watch the video to see who it is...

These are just a few of the subjects and events that I chose from 2014 and more can be seen in the video below.  Click the video thumbnail to see other pictures that I selected as part of my 2014 recap.  Who knows what 2015 will bring but hopefully it will be lots of inspirational photo opportunities.  Here's wishing you a Happy New Year!


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) 2014 photos recap video https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/12/photo-recap-2014 Thu, 25 Dec 2014 02:34:12 GMT
Photo of the Week #51 - Tranquil Harbor https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/12/Rockport-harbor The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.


Tranquil Harbor - Rockport, MA.


Nestled in Essex county Massachusetts, Rockport is located at the tip of the Cape Ann peninsula and is the quintessential "New England" town.  Everything you'd expect to encounter is here:  quaint homes, boats, sea gulls, lobsters and heavy Boston accents!  I've never had the opportunity to experience Rockport before but I must say that on this first visit, the scenery did not disappoint!

This photo was taken early in the morning.  As I walked along the dock, I was drawn to the myriad of colors from all of the boats.  The fact that there are no people throughout the picture further enhances the "tranquil" mood of the photo.  The row of houses in the background serves to bring some added interest to the image as well.


Equipment and Settings
Canon 40D
1/250 sec at f5.6,  ISO 200

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) MA Rockport boat dock harbor house water https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/12/Rockport-harbor Mon, 22 Dec 2014 09:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #50: Happy Holidays 2014 https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/12/happy-holidays-2014 The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.


"Lizzie" - Christmas 2014


It's that time of year again.  Crowded malls, holiday traffic jams and blizzards..."Ho, ho, ho!"  In addition to shopping and wrapping gifts, don't forget the Christmas cards.  Luckily for my wife and I, we can always use Lizzie (our Cocker Spaniel) as the centerpiece for our cards and she enjoys it....I think?  Well in all actuality, she puts up with the photo session but insists on being compensated with plenty of treats and belly rubs.  We are happy to oblige!

For Lizzie's 2014 Christmas photo, I had a clear vision of having her sitting in a holiday themed wicker basket and wearing some festive accessories but finding a basket for her proved to be more difficult than I anticipated.  The wicker baskets looked so good in the retail stores but every one of them turned out to be so small that Lizzie would never fit inside of them.  Not to be deterred, with a little more persistence I found a solution.

I looked around the store and found a pretty robust selection of plain "year round" wicker baskets and I chose one that was large and roomy enough for Lizzie and sought out some ornaments to dress it up for the holiday.  Now I am not the "craftiest" person out there but I am happy with how I jazzed up the wicker basket with the decorations I picked out.  Next step:  getting Lizzie to sit calmly in the basket for her photo shoot!

It turned out to be a piece of cake!  I picked her up and gently lowered her into the basket and she sat there, making no effort to try to jump out.  This is not surprising since I have been photographing her since she was 6 months old and she is now 6 years old.  She is used to being in front of the camera.  It is worth noting that Lizzie really is sitting in the wicker basket and not digitally super-imposed.  Normally I will use a holiday themed cloth background but in this case, I saved some money and instead replaced the cloth background with a high resolution image of the holly plants.

This image was turned into a Christmas card and was sent to family and friends.  I hope they get a kick out of the photo.  I wish you and your family a happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year!


Equipment and Settings
Canon 40D
1/125 sec at f5.6, ISO 400

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Christmas Lizzie Santa basket bone dog hat holiday ivy naughty nice snowflake spoiled wicker https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/12/happy-holidays-2014 Mon, 15 Dec 2014 09:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #49: Pastel Sunrise https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/12/pastel-sunrise The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.


Pastel Sunrise


Sometimes you have to put in a lot of hard work and effort for a photo and sometimes one will fall right in your lap when you least expect it.  Most sunrise/sunset photos are taken at destination locations such as beaches, mountain ranges, forests, tourist attractions, etc.  This particular image was taken literally from a window of my house!  That's right.  I woke up early one morning to let Lizzie the Cocker Spaniel out to "take care of business" and saw from the living room window the sky with clouds lit up in the pastel light of the sun.


The beautiful light during sunrise and sunset changes by the minute and knowing that these colors before me would not last long, I made a mad dash to grab my camera before the dramatic light faded away.  After returning to the scene with my camera, I realized the 70 - 200mm lens that was attached was probably not the best lens choice for this particular situation but I could not waste any more time.  I decided  to make due with what I had at that moment and give it a go.


As I began to compose the scene, I determined rather quickly that this lens would actually work well instead of a wide angle lens.  If I used the wide angle lens and its extreme field of view, the photo would have contained some buildings and telephone poles which I did not want to be seen in this image.  The tighter crop of my zoom lens allowed me to get in closer and eliminate those unwanted elements.  I pressed the shutter and then I felt a tapping on my leg.  I looked down and it was Lizzie reminding me that she needed to go out and that if it wasn't for her waking me up, I wouldn't have captured this photo.


Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/500 sec at f2.8, ISO 400


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) clouds colors landscape morning pastel pink purple silhouette sky sunrise trees https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/12/pastel-sunrise Mon, 08 Dec 2014 11:00:00 GMT
Water Drops on a Rainy Day https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/12/water-drops-on-a-rainy-day On those occasions when inclement weather keeps you inside, sometimes you have to get creative when it comes to photography.  I did not venture out today since it was raining and also quite cold.  After considering several photographic options, I decided to stick closely to the rainy weather theme and capture drops falling into water.  No, I'm not stepping foot outside to do this, I will stay indoors where it is dry and create them myself.  Here are the results...















If you liked these pics, check out the "Beads of Water" photo gallery.

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) abstract blue colors drops pink shapes splash water yellow https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/12/water-drops-on-a-rainy-day Wed, 03 Dec 2014 16:00:00 GMT
Photo of the Week #48: Park Bench https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/12/photo-of-the-week-park-bench The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.


Benches at Bushnell Park


Bushnell Park is a major attraction in downtown Hartford, CT.  There is always a stream of people walking, jogging or feeding ducks by the pond.  There is actually an old fashioned carousel ride that is a big hit with the kids....and "adult" kids too!  During the winter you can enjoy ice skating at the rink all while taking in the views of the tall buildings in the city.  The majestic Hartford Capital building which is across the street can be seen from the park.


What caught my eye in this scene was the repeating pattern that was created by the curved arm rests and legs of the row of benches.  My goal was to make the benches the focal point of the image and since there were so many people walking around, I waited patiently for that brief moment when no one was in the frame.  The conditions that day were dreary so I decided to desaturate the colors so as to better depict the mood of the park as I felt it.  This photo has proven to be very popular and has been purchased many times for residential and commercial purposes.


Equipment and Settings
Camera:  Canon 40D
1/30 sec at f8

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Bushnell Park, CT Hartford bench benches black and white, lamp park sepia sidewalk https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/12/photo-of-the-week-park-bench Mon, 01 Dec 2014 11:00:00 GMT
The Amazing Black-capped Chickadee https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/11/the-amazing-black-capped-chickadee Winter weather here in New England promises to bring lots of snow and cold temperatures.  While many bird species call it a day and migrate to warmer climates, the cute little Black-Capped Chickadee stays put and has the amazing ability to thrive during the challenging winter months.  First, they spend the day fattening up on seeds and insects, often adding an extra 20% in body weight but it is at night when the real magic happens.


The chickadee has the ability to go into a state of regulated hypothermia that enables it to lower its body temperature in a controlled manner 15 degrees below its normal daytime temperature of 108 degrees F.  Their metabolism is lowered and the extra stored body fat enables the chickadee to shiver all night to keep warm.  Although these birds can certainly survive without any intervention from me, I love that they visit my bird feeders during the cold weather because they are so much fun to watch.


Black-Capped Chickadee with a seed from my feeder


Chickadees are very beneficial to the environment and to humans because they eat many insect pests but they are hoarders too!  These birds are known to store their bounties in more than one location for safe keeping and they never lose track of their hiding places.  The "somewhat" tame Chickadee is a curious bird.  As I refill the seed in the bird feeder, they have at times landed on the feeder while I am still holding it.  When they are at this close proximity, you have a brief moment to marvel at one of nature's most amazing little creatures.


Black-Capped Chickadee waiting for his turn at the bird feeder.



"Wow, look what I found!"

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Black-Capped chickadee, bird seed tree https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/11/the-amazing-black-capped-chickadee Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:52:42 GMT
Devil's Hopyard State Park https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/10/devils-hopyard-state-park Located in Middlesex County in the town of East Haddam, CT, Devil's Hopyard State Park is a major nature attraction especially during the very scenic autumn foliage season.  Visitors to the 1,000 acre park can enjoy many activities such as hiking, fishing, bird watching, bicycling, picnicking, and camping.  The park's crown jewel and most famous attraction is Chapman falls, a stunning waterfall that plunges over 60ft, tumbling over a series of "step like" rock formations.

As we approach the tail end of the peak Fall foliage season, I paid a visit to the park to take in all of the glorious beauty that was around every corner.  If you have never had the opportunity to experience this wonderful place, do make an effort to stop by if you are ever in the area.  You will surely have a great time.  Let's have a look at some of the things that you will see...


A covered bridge leading to hiking trails on the other side of the stream.



Fall colors reflected in the mirror-like surface of the water.



A rich carpet of leaves covers this path through the park.



A young woman checks her cell phone in the colorful beauty of Devil's Hopyard State Park.



The stone arch bridge surrounded by the colors of Autumn.



A look at the stream before the "Big Drop."




The first "Big Drop" of Chapman's waterfall.



Mother Nature in all of her colorful glory.




Chapman Falls viewed from below.


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Autumn CT Devil's Hopyard Fall arch bridge covered bridge foliage leaves nature park stone stream waterfall https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/10/devils-hopyard-state-park Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:00:59 GMT
Scenes from the Berlin Fair 2014 https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/10/scenes-from-the-berlin-fair-2014 Autumn in Connecticut is a sure sign that you will see beautiful Fall foliage, apple orchards ripe for the picking and last but not least, thousands of people flocking to attend the Berlin Fair.  There is much to do at the Fair from amusement rides to games, concerts and animal displays and numerous booths offering crafts, goods and services and food.


Each year, my church's booth provides food and beverages for the many people attending the Fair.  Our volunteers help with preparing and cooking food, taking orders and general clean-up.  I helped at the booth for two days and we were so busy cranking out food like there was no tomorrow!  Below are some images from this year's Berlin Fair.


Hungry Fair-goers waiting to get food at the Sacred Heart Church food booth



Our grill and cooks worked overtime to keep up with the orders



Volunteers pose during a rare lull in the action



They are probably not happy that hamburgers are sold at the Fair



The "Ox Pull" event drew many spectators


There is so much going on at the Fair that there is no shortage of subjects to photograph.  What I enjoy the most is the fun and delight of children having fun on the various amusement rides.  Sometimes they are having a blast while other times they can be pretty scared!  Here are some kids whose facial expressions are priceless...


A moment caught at the absolute peak of "fun!"



"Look Ma, no hands!"



Not everyone is having fun...



Mom and son zoom down the "Big Slide"



"Dad, you never told me driving a car was THIS much fun!"



Plotting his next move....



Daddy's Little Girl



Hairdressers nightmare!



"Happy" swinger



"Screaming" swinger



"Diva" swinger



Halloween is right around the corner...




[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) 2014 Berlin CT Sacred Heart Church amusement animals booth cook cooking cow fair food fun grill grilling hamburger kids ox park rides https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/10/scenes-from-the-berlin-fair-2014 Wed, 08 Oct 2014 22:20:45 GMT
Guilty as charged! https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/9/guilty-as-charged Dogs are certainly man's best friend.  You can always count on them to brighten your day in so many ways.  On this leisurely Labor Day holiday, my wife and I took it easy and had fun with our Cocker Spaniel named Lizzie.  If you are a regular reader of my Blog you already know about Lizzie!  She is my favorite photographic subject.  So, for being such a well behaved pooch today (which she is everyday), I took a special portrait of her to add to her photo album.  I know I'm biased but it fits her to a tee!


Guilty as charged!Guilty as charged!

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Cocker Spaniel Lizzie dog guilty mug shot portrait sweet dog https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/9/guilty-as-charged Tue, 02 Sep 2014 01:05:53 GMT
"Full Set" live in concert https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/8/-full-set-live-in-concert For three years I've been the concert photographer for the Celtic Concert Series at the University of Hartford, CT.  In addition to enjoying the picture taking side of things, I love being exposed to the many talented bands and artists that have graced the stage during that time.  Last night's performance was by the 6 member group "Full Set" and they gave the near capacity crowd a rousing and energetic show that never let up.  There were moments when I was so dazzled by their excitement I almost forgot to take pictures....almost!  Below are a few photos from the concert, the entire gallery can be seen HERE.












[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) CT Celtic Irish University of Hartford West Hartford Wilde Auditorium concert music https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/8/-full-set-live-in-concert Sun, 17 Aug 2014 10:14:36 GMT
Las Vegas at Night https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/8/las-vegas-at-night I've just returned home from a week long business trip in Las Vegas.  I was excited to go there because I have never attempted to capture this famous (or infamous?) city in all of its nighttime glory.  Normally, my Manfrotto tripod is my "go to" tool for doing night photography but it is very heavy and its length, even when folded down, will not fit in my suitcase.  This makes it unsuitable to take on trips so after much research, I picked up a new tripod made by Benro that will fit my needs perfectly.  It is made of carbon fiber so it is much lighter and it folds down small enough to fit in my suitcase.  While in Las Vegas, I really put my new tripod to work and I must say, it was a pleasure to use and I was very happy with the resulting photos that I was able to achieve.

For those that crave the technical aspects of how these photos came to be, this is the equipment that was used.

Camera:  Canon 40D

Lens:       Canon 10-22mm f3.5-5.6 USM lens

Tripod:     Benro C2580F carbon fiber tripod

Head:      Reged B-Series RNB-2 Professional Ball Head with Quick Release


As dusk fell on the city, I saw the golden glow of the lights against the background of the rich blue sky.



I was staying at the MGM Grand Hotel and this was the view from my window.
(Exception:  This photo was taken using my Canon 70-200mm f2.8L IS USM lens).



Las Vegas' replica of New York City



Here is one of a few shots of the MGM Grand Hotel where I stayed.



With the temperature close to 100 degrees, I found these "Christmas-y" lights to be quite surreal and out of place.



The city never sleeps.  Cars whiz down the street even late at night.



The Tropicana Hotel was right across the street from where I was staying.



I did not want to leave without photographing The Bellagio and fortunately I was able to make that happen.



Here is a tighter shot zoomed in a bit closer.



The hotel's water fountain is accompanied by music and is a big attraction to all of the tourists.



Various statues around Caesar's Palace



This is my favorite shot of the night



A busy intersection near the Eiffel Tower of the Paris Hotel



Lots of activity on the Las Vegas strip



After this shot, I headed down the escalator and began my long walk back to my hotel.



Returning back to my hotel room, I took one last look out of my window before getting some much needed sleep.

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Aria Bally's, Paris, Las Vegas, MGM Grand," hotel, Tropicana, Bellagio, fountain, "Caesar Monte Carlo, New York, New York, Palace night photography s https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/8/las-vegas-at-night Wed, 06 Aug 2014 11:27:39 GMT
Dragonflies at the park https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/7/dragonflies-at-the-park Walking my dog Lizzie in the park has often resulted in photo opportunities for me on many occasions.  Today was no exception.  During our walk, Lizzie began to pull me toward the pond as she was drawn to the croaking sounds of a frog. As we stood there by the edge of the water, the frog quickly submerged and hid from Lizzie but fortunately for me I spotted several species of dragonflies darting about.  I certainly hadn't planned on photographing dragonflies today but here they were so I figured, "Why not?"  Here are a few of them that I managed to capture.


Widow Skimmer (Libellula Luctuosa)



Flame Skimmer (Libellula Saturata)



Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis Simplicicollis)



12 Spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella)



Widow Skimmer (Libellula Luctuosa)



12 Spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella)



Male Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia)



12 Spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella)



Widow Skimmer (Libellula Luctuosa)



12 Spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella)



Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans)



Widow Skimmer (Libellula Luctuosa)




Widow Skimmer (Libellula Luctuosa)



Male Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia)



12 Spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella)



Widow Skimmer (Libellula Luctuosa)



Widow Skimmer (Libellula Luctuosa)



Widow Skimmer (Libellula Luctuosa)




Widow Skimmer (Libellula Luctuosa)



Lizzie patiently waited while I took pictures.  "Can we go home now?"


To purchase prints or other photo products from these images, click HERE.

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) CT Mill Pond Park Newington bug dragonflies dragonfly flying insect park pond wings https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/7/dragonflies-at-the-park Sun, 06 Jul 2014 18:04:30 GMT
Aquamarine Dreams https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/6/aquamarine-dream Pretty flowers at Mill Pond Park in Newington, CT.


Fine Art prints of this photo can be purchased HERE.

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) CT Flowers Mill Pond Park Newington blue dreamy petals https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/6/aquamarine-dream Fri, 27 Jun 2014 22:12:14 GMT
Mill Pond Falls, Newington, CT. https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/6/mill-pond-falls-newington-ct Since the weather was so nice today, I took a stroll through Mill Pond Park in Newington, CT .  Below is a photo of the waterfall.

Mill Pond Falls, Newington, CT.Mill Pond Falls, Newington, CT.

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) CT Mill Pond Park Newington park rocks water waterfall https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/6/mill-pond-falls-newington-ct Wed, 25 Jun 2014 23:05:19 GMT
Memorial Day visitor https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/5/memorial-day-visitor On Memorial Day I had an unusual visitor stop by my house.  No, it wasn't the usual family or friends stopping by for a holiday cookout.  It was much stranger than that.  By chance I happened to look out the window into the yard and there was a large turtle slowly trudging across the lawn!  This one was truly substantial in size, certainly not something you see everday.  So I quickly grabbed my camera and snapped a few shots of him.






A face only a mother could love!


He stayed still and "posed" while I took pictures of him. After his impromptu photo session, Mr. Turtle v-e-r-y  s-l-o-w-l-y disappeared into the cover of a dense marsh not too far away.

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Day Memorial animal reptile shell turtle https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/5/memorial-day-visitor Tue, 27 May 2014 00:20:45 GMT
The Teetotalers in Concert https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/4/the-teetotalers-in-concert As the official photographer for the Celtic Airs concert series at the University of Hartford CT, I get to indulge in two of my most favorite passions:  music and photography.  I've just finished preparing the photos from the latest concert by the Irish trio called The Teetotalers.  The band made their first appearance at this venue back in June of 2012 to a sold out crowd and fans witnessed another great night of entertainment with all seats filled to capacity again.

The three members of the band are well-known in their own right but came together to form this musical collective as an alternative musical output.  Each musician has an incredible command of their respective instruments luring audiences in with intricate melodies, dazzling dexterity and emotional ballads.  Some photos from the concert can be seen below.


The Teetotalers - Live in Concert



Martin Hayes - Fiddle



John Doyle - Guitar



Kevin Crawford - Flute



The Teetotalers











You can see the full gallery of photos HERE.

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Doyle" John Kevin Crawford Martin Hayes Teetotalers Teetotallers Universiy of Hartford WWUH Wilde Auditorium celtic concert music https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/4/the-teetotalers-in-concert Mon, 14 Apr 2014 00:41:38 GMT
The Land of White https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/2/the-land-of-white

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) blue landscape mountain sky snow trees white winter https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/2/the-land-of-white Tue, 18 Feb 2014 23:43:31 GMT
Barn in Winter https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/2/barn-in-winter While on assignment in Van Buren, Maine, I came across this lonely barn which stood like a monolith in the wide open snow covered landscape.  How could I drive by without capturing this image?


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Buren Maine Van barn clouds cold landscape sky snow winter https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/2/barn-in-winter Thu, 13 Feb 2014 11:28:48 GMT
6 Photography Bad Habits https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/1/photography-bad-habits As we enter a New Year with good intentions to keep resolutions and break bad habits, why not apply those same principles to photography.  Even in this medium, good sound practices and techniques are abandoned for time saving shortcuts.  But will you really come out ahead and end up with great photos by cutting corners?  Photography is an art form that is full of compromises.  If you take from here, you will have to give elsewhere, there's no getting around it.  Bad habits in photography can come from lack of knowledge, training or even laziness.  Let's take a look at 6 bad habits that once corrected, can put you on the road to becoming more productive and also raise the level of your photography.


1. Forgetting to check your gear

One of the worst feelings a photographer can have is arriving at your shooting destination and suddenly realizing that you do not have one or more key pieces of equipment.  For a novice, it is a severe inconvenience but for a pro photographer, it can damage their reputation.  A great tip is to create a list of items to bring based on the type of shoot you are planning to do.  The lenses you choose for example will vary if you shoot landscapes or portraits, macro or sports.  Accessories such as memory cards, batteries, cleaning supplies, chargers and portable storage can cause your day of shooting to grind to a halt if you forget them at home.  Make lists of what you need and be sure to review the list twice before heading out the door.




2. Not checking camera settings before a shoot

In the heat of the moment as a photo op presents itself, you grab your camera and take a shot only to reel back in horror as the image on the LCD screen looks neon green.  How on earth did that happen?  If the last time you used your camera was in the bright fluorescent lights of a corporate office and now you are at the park on a sunny day, you're gonna run into some problems.  A camera's settings for the conditions of one scene may not be the right settings for a completely different scene.  Before you begin shooting, evaluate the current location and make the necessary adjustments in your camera to compensate for the conditions.  Your shot could be ruined if the 10-sec self timer is on when you really needed to get the shot instantly or your sunny picnic photos are blown out because the ISO was inadvertently set to 3200.  If you leave your camera set to "Automatic" all the time this really doesn't affect you but if you don't, make sure that you check the following when you grab your camera:  ISO, shooting mode, white balance, flash setting, drive mode, AF mode and metering pattern.  Being mindful of this will ensure that you are prepared for your upcoming shots.




3. Relying on the LCD monitor

When film cameras reigned supreme before the digital age, you could not see how your photo looked until you had the film developed.  Today's cameras with their LCD screens allow you to review what you have just taken on the spot.  There are pros and cons to having this ability.  First, the good.  Reviewing images on the screen gives you a very basic idea about your photo's composition or exposure.  You might look at an image and be able to see that you've cut off Aunt Edna's head or that the bright window in the background is completely blown out.  On the other side of the coin, the LCD screen is not large enough or sharp enough for you to delete images because they "look" fuzzy and out of focus.  Your computer monitor at home or the office is the best place to decide if a photo is a keeper or not because your monitor is larger and sharper.  Memory cards have come down in price dramatically so change out to another card to keep shooting and save the deleting process until you get home.


4. Spray and Pray

Put your camera in "high frames per second" mode, aim at your subject and hold the shutter button down while the camera quickly rattles off photos like a machine gun.  That in the nutshell is "Spray and Pray."  The photographer (or should we say, shooter?) hopes to nab that special once in a lifetime photo with one of those 20 rapid fire shots.  This is problematic for a number of reasons.  First of all, this entire method is based on luck.  Is it possible to get an amazing shot this way?  Sure, it can happen, but because it happened by luck, the influence of the photographer has been stripped away.  Photography is an art where in order to improve you need to hone your skills.  Although you may get a great shot using this technique, will you be able to readily duplicate that shot?  Fast moving sports is a prime example where machine gun style shooting is popular with photographers.  A good photographer learns all they can about their subject.  In the world of sports, this concept holds true but an investment in time and practice will help you the most.  Get to know the sport you are photographing, watch where the players move and learn to anticipate where the action will take place next.  Over time and with practice, you will be able to capture that magic moment with one shot as opposed to spraying, praying and hoping for the best.


Baseball caught in mid air, taken as a single shot, not in "Spray and Pray" mode



5. Failing to use a tripod when needed

A great photo has a number of elements that all come together to elicit an emotional response in the viewer.  Composition, lighting, timing, color, mood, etc.  Another element that may not immediately come to mind is sharpness.  If an image has all of these components but is out of focus, so much detail will be lost that it may not be worth keeping.  You may try to rely on the stabilization features offered by cameras and lenses but there are limits to their effectiveness.  Adding a tripod to your photographic toolkit is a surefire way to get tack sharp photos.  I can hear the collective groan just with the  mentioning of the word "tripod."  Yes they are inconvenient, yes they take up space but yes they make your images sharper!  What separates many professional photographers from amateurs is that the pros are willing to do things that amateurs will not...using a tripod being a common one.  What's important to remember is that you don't need a tripod for every single shot you take, you just need to know when to use one.  You need to use a tripod when your shutter speed is so low that hand holding the camera will cause a blurry photo.  Some examples are fireworks, star trails, dimly lit places like museums, churches auditoriums etc.  Using a tripod forces you to work a bit slower so you can take more time in setting up your composition and adjusting camera setting to get the optimal exposure.


The benefits of a tripod can be seen in the photo above right.



6. Not getting it right "in camera."

There are a wealth of image editing software programs out there and most of them can do amazing things with your photos.  It would be a mistake to believe that these programs are capable of salvaging every sub par image you throw at them.  Making adjustments, especially extreme adjustments during the editing process can introduce negative artifacts to your photos such as noise and halos to name a few.  The best course of action is to evaluate the scene you are photographing and adjust your camera's settings to capture the best exposure, sharpness and color as possible.  If necessary, review your camera's manual or read pertinent books on the subject of achieving proper photographic exposures.  Your image editing program will be able to work wonders on a photo that is at least somewhere in the ballpark.


Are you guilty of any of the bad habits above?  Do you resolve to break them?  What other bad habits related to photography can you think of?  Please share your comments about this topic with other readers below.

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) New Year bad habits photography resolution https://oscardean.com/blog/2014/1/photography-bad-habits Sun, 12 Jan 2014 20:32:59 GMT
2013 - A Year in Pictures https://oscardean.com/blog/2013/12/2013---a-year-in-pictures
As the end of 2013 draws to a close, for many it is a time to reflect on the past year.  I too did the same, by revisiting tons of photos that I took over the last 12 months.  Looking at the images instantly brought me back to the moment I captured them and all of the initial feelings I had came rushing back.  In the spirit of this trip down memory lane, I put together a video featuring many photos from throughout 2013.  The subject matter is quite varied and I couldn't help but realize how busy I must have been while taking all of these photos and how quickly the year flew by!  Thanks to everyone who connected with me through this blog by sharing your thoughts and comments.  Best wishes to you and your family for a Happy and Healthy New Year!
View "Fullscreen" by clicking the last icon on the bottom right of the video screen


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) 2013 A Year in Pictures recap video https://oscardean.com/blog/2013/12/2013---a-year-in-pictures Mon, 23 Dec 2013 14:46:15 GMT
Late Autumn Drive https://oscardean.com/blog/2013/11/late-autumn-drive Winter is quickly approaching and as the temperature continues to plummet and the leaf colors fade, I took a drive around my state of Connecticut to see what photo opportunities awaited.  In situations like this, I will pack the following lenses so I will be prepared for practically any situation that I would face.

Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM lens:  Great for zooming in on far away subjects and creating a shallow depth of field.

Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM lens:    A very sharp general purpose lens with wide angle capability and a moderate zoom.

Canon 10-22mm f3.5-5.6 USM lens:  A super wide angle lens that will be perfect for sprawling landscapes

Canon 100mm f2.8 USM macro lens:  Wicked sharp lens for extreme close-ups.


With these lenses coupled with my trusty Canon 40D camera, I was now ready to hit the road and capture some late Autumn images of CT.  Below is a very early morning shot of a goose on the misty waters of Lake Terramuggus in the town of Marlborough.  Usually these Canada geese are seen in large numbers but this one was all alone on that quiet morning.

Shot at 1/800sec, 200mm, F4.0, ISO 250




The two photos that follow were taken at Hurd State Park in East Hampton, CT.  It was still very early in the morning, quite cold I might add and as you can see, the morning mist can be seen in the sunlight.

Shot at 1/80sec, 10mm, F5.6, ISO 200





Shot at 1/80sec, 21mm, F4.5, ISO 200



The next three photos were taken at Valley Falls Park in Vernon, CT.  The pond was full of leaves that had fallen from the trees and the sky and clouds were reflected in the water.

Shot at 1/80sec, 10mm, F9.0, ISO 100



While it is nice to capture wide open landscapes, don't forget the details.  If you take the time to look around, you will find that there are many interesting things that you can photograph at close range.  Keep your eyes open for brilliant color, textures, patterns or shapes as your starting point.  The orange color of this lone leaf at the base of a tree is what caught my attention in the photo below.

Shot at 1/125sec, 100mm, F3.2, ISO 100



The two leaves below seemed to be mirroring each other like siblings as they hung from the branch at the same angle.  While composing this shot, I positioned myself so that the leaves would not be marred by a cluttered background.  The smooth yet richly colored background does not fight for attention over the leaves.

Shot at 1/200sec, 100mm, F2.8, ISO 100



On the western side of the state bordering New York is the beautiful town of Kent.  Although I have driven through this town, I have never gone to the Macedonia Brook State Park which is located there.  This place was a hiker's dream with lots of hiking trails and streams.  I'll have to come back here prepared to spend a large chunk of the day here to take pictures.  The place covers a lot of area and I didn't see it all...it was VERY cold that day!  Below is a photo of a wooden bridge that stretched over a small stream.

Shot at 1/320sec, 17mm, F6.3, ISO 100




I can't exactly say where I was for the photo below but it was not far from the town of Kent.  Spotting this small structure with its backdrop of a mountain of multi-colored trees, I just had to pull over and capture this scene.  I would soon find out that stopping here would provide me with another bonus photo opportunity!  To the left of the building (not seen in this photo) was an enclosed field that contained some bulls and cows.

Shot at 1/400sec, 18mm, F6.3, ISO 100




Shot at 1/640sec, 200mm, F5.0, ISO 100




By this time it is later in the afternoon, and the misty morning had given way to blue skies and light wispy clouds.  In the town of Haddam Neck, CT, I found myself on a very curvy and hilly (is that a word) road that was not looking to promising.  But just as my frustration was nearing its peak, I came upon a red and white barn on the side of the road.  This shot made the roller coaster ride worth it!

Shot at 1/1250sec, 22mm, F7.1 ISO 640


All in all it was a fun day and I'm satisfied with the images I came back with from this late Autumn drive through the state of CT.  A drive or a walk through an unfamiliar city or town is a great way to learn more about your area and hone your photographic craft.  I encourage you to gather up your gear and do the same thing soon.

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Autumn Fall barn bridge cow fence field fog foliage forest goose house lake leaves mist mountain state park, stream sunbeams trees woods https://oscardean.com/blog/2013/11/late-autumn-drive Mon, 25 Nov 2013 11:00:00 GMT
Lens Hoods: Do you REALLY need to use them? https://oscardean.com/blog/2013/11/lens-hoods-why-bother Ah, the humble lens hood.  This non-threatening but rather bulky item may seem kind of primitive but it can do wonders to help improve the quality of your images.  If you own a camera with interchangeable lenses, you've probably come across a lens hood or two.  You may love them, hate them or you are not quite sure what they are used for.  Let's take a few moments to take a closer look at lens hoods and their role in photography so you can decide if you'll want to add them to your photographic toolkit.

An assortment of lens hoods showcasing different designs


Lens hoods come in many sizes and shapes and this is because they are designed for specific lenses.  Most are made of plastic, some of metal while others are made of rubber so they can be scrunched up and stored in a small space in your camera bag for example.  Admittedly, lens hoods are cumbersome and this is probably the number one reason many people do not use them.  Since a variety of lenses will have a different field of view, you should use the lens hood that is made for that particular lens.  A mismatched lens hood could partially block some of the scene in your photo or do nothing to enhance your photos.  Below are some of the ways that lens hoods can be of benefit to you:

1.  Block the Light
As you are looking into your viewfinder and composing your shot, you may see stray light enter the scene from one of the edges of your field of view.  When this happens, you may see bright circular shapes or long bright streaks intruding in your image.  These circular shapes and light streaks are called lens flare.  When light hits the front lens element from the side, it refracts and bounces around inside the lens and causes these artifacts.  The proper lens hood and careful composing can greatly diminish this effect.

Lens hoods are black and this is because this color absorbs light rather than reflecting it as a lighter color would.  Also, many hoods will have felt or a matte finish around the inner ring to further prevent the scattering of unwanted light.

It must be stated that lens flare is often introduced intentionally by photographers for artistic effect.  To include lens flare or not in your photos is up to you and whether or not you feel that its inclusion fits the original vision of your final image.

Circles of lens flare due to side light entering the camera lens



2.  Color & Contrast
Stray light entering your lens is detrimental in other ways.  The reflected light causes your images to suffer from reduced color saturation and a loss of contrast.  Tell tale signs of this are images where colors appear "washed out" or muted.  Attaching a lens hood will help to boost colors and add punchier contrast making your photos appear more vibrant.

Left photo (without lens hood).  Notice light flair over front window.
Right photo (with lens hood).  Lens flare eliminated and richer colors.


3.  Protect that Glass!
You've probably broken the piggy bank to buy that expensive lens hoping it will enable you to capture high quality images, why not protect your investment?  In comparison to many lenses that are priced several thousand dollars or more, a lens hood is a modest yet effective way to protect your precious glass.  The front element of your lens must be protected from a myriad of dangers that are lurking about from kids with sticky fingers, people bumping into you in crowded places, sharp object and even bad weather such as rain and snow.  (Use caution during inclement weather if you are not using a weather sealed camera).  A lens hood that takes the brunt of a sharp blow to the lens could possibly save you the costly expense of repairing or replacing the lens.

An alternate (or even additional) method to protect your front element is to use a UV filter.  This specially made round piece of glass screws on to the threads of your lens and provides an extra clear barrier of protection.  If the filter becomes smudged, it can be easily cleaned and if it becomes scratched, replacing it is much cheaper than buying a new lens!  To confuse matters more regarding UV filters, many photographers argue that these filters degrade image quality while others think otherwise.  Perhaps I will weigh in on this issue in a future blog post.

Camera with lens hood attached


So to summarize, lens hoods are beneficial in helping you to achieve photos with more contrast, richer colors and little to no lens flare.  There is also the added benefit of protecting the delicate front glass element on your lens.  The cost of a lens hood vs. replacing an expensive lens will definitely set your wallet at ease.  The downside is that they can be rather bulky and will take a little extra time to attach, leaving you open to the possibility of missing an action shot or a once in a lifetime moment.  Also, when working in close quarters doing macro photography, lens hoods can get in the way in those cases when you need to get your lens extremely close to your subject.

In my early days of photography, I didn't like using lens hoods but as the years went on, I started using them more and more.  Now I can't imagine NOT having them on my lenses since the hoods have now become an integral part of my photographic process for achieving the best quality images possible.  Get in the habit of using lens hoods, the pros far outweigh the cons.  If you would like to share your experiences with lens hoods or why you do or do not use them, please enter a comment below.

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) camera color contrast flare lens lens hood saturation https://oscardean.com/blog/2013/11/lens-hoods-why-bother Sun, 24 Nov 2013 02:09:57 GMT
10 Camera Bag Essentials https://oscardean.com/blog/2013/11/15-camera-bag-essentials So you've caught the photography bug and you just can't wait to go on a nature or city walk and put your shiny new camera to work.  Not so fast!  Before you head out, you may want to add some photo related accessories to your camera bag that will help make things easier and assist you in capturing clearer sharper images.

Below are 10 items that every camera buff should keep with them in their camera bag.  This list is not meant to be all inclusive nor will every photographer feel the need for each and every item listed.  The style and subject matter of your photography may just be casual snapshots of your friends and you may not have the need for a tripod.  A person that is heavily into photographing landscapes on the other hand relies on the tripod's ability to help achieve critically sharp images.

Some of the items below I would consider essential for all photographers such as a spare memory card and batteries.  In the end, it is up to you to determine how useful each item will be in helping you achieve that winning shot.  And of course the size of your camera bag and how much weight you are willing to carry comes into play as well.  It is my hope that this list will be beneficial to you while you are out taking pictures.  Let's dive into the camera bag and see what we find...


1.  Spare Memory Card(s)
Imagine going on a photo walk with a film camera and only having a 12-exposure roll of film.  It won't be long before the very next "walk" you take will be straight to the nearest store to purchase more film.  With the decline in cost of memory cards, it is silly to be without backup memory cards.  They aren't going to add any noticeable weight and most camera bags have dedicated pockets or pouches specifically designed for extra memory cards.  Don't get caught with your....er, pants down in front of a famous landmark that you'll never visit again in your life with a full memory card and not a spare in sight!



2.  Extra camera battery
Just as you would gas up your car before a long trip, you'll need to ensure that the battery (or batteries) you load into your camera are brand new or fully charged and that you have at least one spare if needed for later.  Many people don't realize that batteries will lose their charge much faster when exposed to colder temperatures.  Experienced photographers will store their spare batteries deep inside of their winter coats so that their body heat will prevent a rapid loss of the battery's charge.  If your battery dies and you don't have a spare, you are out of business.


 3.  Giottos Rocket Air Blower
Clean lenses are critical for capturing photos that will be free from stray hairs, smudges or spots.  It is imperative to use the Rocket Air Blower before actually cleaning your lenses.  Being careful not to touch the red nozzle to the tip of the lens, squeeze the rubber bellows and a strong concentrated burst of air will be forced onto the lens.  This will help to dislodge and remove any loose sand and grit that may be adhering to the glass surface which would scratch the lens when cleaned with a lens cloth.




4.  Lens cleaning Kit
As stated above, it can't be emphasized enough the importance of keeping your lenses clean.  There are many lens cleaning kits on the market today and all of them for the most part will get the job done.  My personal favorite lens wipes are the "Pec Pads" made by Photographic Solutions.  Coupled with their Eclipse liquid, you are now ready to view wide open landscapes with sparkly clean lenses.  A reminder and word of caution:  Make sure to use a good air blower first (as mentioned in item #3) before using lens cleaning cloths.


Your camera's image sensor also attracts foreign particles and when dirty, will cause small circles called "dust spots" to appear scattered about your photos.  Although your sensor should be cleaned periodically, it is recommended that this process be done inside, away from the dusty and windy outdoor environment.  Caution is advised when cleaning the sensor since this is a delicate part of the camera.  Most camera shops will clean it for you if you are not comfortable doing so.  Sensor cleaning kits are available for purchase but you must buy one that is designed for the exact size of the sensor in your particular camera.


5.  Gorillapod
Your goal is to come back home after a photo excursion with images that are sharp and in focus.  This can be a challenge in dimly lit scenes or during night photography.  A tripod is a "must have" in these situations but most people leave them at home or they don't even own one yet.  There are lightweight travel tripods that are available or you can give the strange looking Joby Gorillapod a try.  Despite the fact that it looks like it came from another planet, they can prove to be very versatile.  Its flexible legs can be wrapped around many objects such as tree branches or a fence post, allowing you to take self portraits or sharp nighttime cityscapes.


6.  Remote Shutter Release
Kudos to you if you brought along a tripod but you might as well leave it at home if you don't have a remote shutter release.  The tripod will keep the camera still but pressing the shutter button with your finger will introduce  camera shake resulting in blurry images.  Basically there are two varieties of remote shutter releases:  wired and wireless.  Wired models plug directly into your camera and you are holding the shutter button on the other end of the cord.  On the wireless versions, a receiver plugs into the camera while a transmitter in your hand sends a signal to the receiver to activate the camera's shutter.  If you want really sharp images, use a tripod in concert with a remote shutter release.  A useful workaround until you buy a shutter release is to put your camera's built-in timer to work.  Set it for a 2 or 10 second delay and the photo will be taken after the camera shake has subsided.


 7.  Camera Manual
Admit it.  Have you ever bought some new gadget and just barely glanced at a few pages of the owner's manual and then filed it away?  If you are out and about with your camera and you encounter a new or challenging photo situation, the stiff and barely creased pages of your owner's manual could help you overcome a difficult exposure situation for example.  It can help you take better control of your flash, depth of field or exposure compensation whereby allowing you to "get the shot" instead of hoping for the best.  Your camera may have some really cool features that you may not even be aware of which could open up a whole new world of experimentation and discovery for you.  Never leave home without it.


8.  Penlight flashlight
Although not for everyone, if you are shooting at night or in the dark in a studio situation, a penlight flashlight is indispensible for reading the dials on your camera under those conditions.  Fireworks anyone?



9.  Polarizing Filter/Step-up Ring
A polarizing filter is a round piece of glass that screws on to the end of your lens.  Turning the outer ring element while looking through the viewfinder will enable you to view how your scene changes on the spot, in real time.  Skies become bluer, contrast between the sky and clouds becomes more prominent, glare and reflections on windows, water and foliage is greatly reduced which helps to reveal richer colors in nature photos.


Polarizing filters can be rather expensive, especially for those made of high quality optics so it is recommended to buy one to fit the largest size diameter of your lenses and then buy step-down rings so that the filter will work with lenses with a smaller diameter.  B+W and Hoya are two manufacturers of filters that I would recommend.


10. Hoodman Loupe
If you are out with the intention of taking serious photos where focus, sharpness, exposure and composition are very important, then a Loupe may be for you.  A loupe fits over your camera's LCD screen and allows you to view your images very clearly because it blocks out the glare and brightness from the sun.  Let the loupe show you that your photos are up to your standards before you move to another location to shoot.





The following items while not necessarily related to improving photography deserve consideration for inclusion in your camera bag.  You will have better concentration and take better photos if you are comfortable and not feeling distracted.  These items focus more on YOU and making sure that you are feeling your best while out on location.




11. First Aid Items
If you are hiking through forests or mountains looking for that sprawling vista, take some precautionary measures against pain, itch and discomfort by bringing along a few first aid items.  The pain from lugging around all of these camera accessories can be alleviated by some aspirin or ibuprofen.  A few band aids and antibacterial wipes may come in handy for cuts and scrapes, bug bites or poison ivy.


12. Small Snacks
That rumble in your stomach is reminding you to put down the camera and satisfy one our basic needs.  Pack some granola or protein bars, or various nuts to calm the savage beast.

13. Water
Bring along some water, even a seemingly innocent photo walk can leave you dehydrated if you're not careful.  And don't forget, you need water even during cold winter months.  Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.



14. Cell Phone
There's probably no need to mention bringing a cell phone so why bother since nearly everyone has one?  Just as a reminder that heaven forbid you get lost somewhere, you will have the ability to reach out and get help.  If you drive to a State Park or remote area, don't leave it in your car.  Your safety and that of others with you is a prime concern.



15. Note Pad & Pen
From time to time, you may find yourself in a situation where you wish you had some paper and something to write with.  A note pad and pen will come in handy for jotting down details of a location you are shooting, a person's name or some other facts about the area.  This can prove to be very helpful when sightseeing while on vacation.

If this sounds like a lot of stuff to you, well you know what, it is!  Just remember, some items do not weigh very much and are quite small, some items are absolutely essential while others are nice to have provided you've got room for them in your bag.  To save space and alleviate some of the weight, you could leave some items behind in your car if it will be nearby.  In the end, you hope to bring back memorable and worthwhile images from your photo excursions and these accessories can help you do just that.  Feel free to share items you carry in your camera bag in the comments below.

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) batteries blower cable release camera bag card essential accessories filter lens cleaning kit loupe memory polarizing rocket tripod https://oscardean.com/blog/2013/11/15-camera-bag-essentials Sun, 10 Nov 2013 13:25:31 GMT
Berlin Fair 2013 https://oscardean.com/blog/2013/10/berlin-fair-2013 The Berlin Connecticut Fair is a much anticipated event that takes place the first weekend of the first Sunday in October.  The Fair began in 1882 as a Harvest Festival and after all these years, it draws many people from all over the state.  Numerous organizations throughout the local community participate in the fair each year for the purpose of fundraising by providing food, crafts, goods and services from inside their booths.  I am the photographer for my church so my task was to capture our volunteers working in the booth as well as the many sights and happenings taking place all over the fairgrounds.


Below is the food booth for our church.




Our church volunteers take a quick break during a rare lull in the action.




An overall view of the Fairgrounds.




A Fair is not complete without rides for the kids!








There were plenty of animals to see...
















As well as some interesting people...




Many interesting live demonstrations took place throughout each day of the Fair.




"Step right up and win a prize.  Everyone's a winner!"




The racing cars were a popular event.




Some of the drivers were very young kids but they drove REALLY fast!








Fans enjoying the race cars.




#20 leaving everyone else in the dust.




The happy innocence of children was in abundance at the Fair.  Just look at these faces...


















Taking Grandpa out for a drive...





Bad hair day!




Some kids had some scary moments...














Cooling off on a hot day.


This year's fair was a lot of fun.  It was sunny and warm on Friday and Saturday while on the other hand it rained off and on for most of Sunday.  If you were at the Fair, feel free to share your experience by leaving a comment.  If you've never attended the Berlin Fair, do try to make it next year as there is so much here to see and do.



[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Berlin Berlin Fair CT October amusement animals autumn children fair fun kids rides https://oscardean.com/blog/2013/10/berlin-fair-2013 Sun, 06 Oct 2013 20:11:32 GMT
My photo used by Harrier Software https://oscardean.com/blog/2013/9/my-photo-used-by-harrier-software The architecture of churches is something that has always fascinated me.  Over the past few months, I've begun a project to capture one exterior photo of a church located in every city or town in Connecticut.  The denomination of the church is not relevant.  All that matters is that the church's appearance "speaks" to me in some way.  The project has been a lot of fun since it has allowed me to see parts of the state that I had not visited for any great length of time.  The sheer diversity of how all of these churches were built is really amazing to behold.  My photo gallery of CT. churches can be found HERE.


Nestled in the beautiful town of Guilford, CT. is St. John's Episcopal Church.  The white church with black shutters and red door is located on a quiet street and is surrounded by trees.  The building struck me as a typical New England church and after photographing it, I checked off the town of Guilford as complete.


The organist of St. John's church also works for Harrier Software.  They are in the process of developing a computer program to be used by the Organist, Choir Director, Rector and person in charge of the church bulletins.  When the program is launched, there will be a short slideshow of various images of the church that will cycle through and then the program is ready to use.  After seeing my image of St. John's church on my website, Harrier Software contacted me about using it in their computer program.  Being that I am very active and involved in my own church, I was more than happy to help.  See the photo that was used below.


St. John's Episcopal church, Guilford, CT.St. John's Episcopal church, Guilford, CT.

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) CT Guilford St. John's church, church https://oscardean.com/blog/2013/9/my-photo-used-by-harrier-software Wed, 25 Sep 2013 00:23:46 GMT
Day Trip to Block Island https://oscardean.com/blog/2013/9/day-trip-to-block-island On the last Sunday in August, my church went on a day trip to Block Island.  Before I share with you the details of the trip, let me just state a few very basic facts about the island and then some photos from the day will follow.  The island is part of the State of Rhode Island and is located 13 miles south of that state and is 14 miles east of Montauk Point on Long Island, NY.  A population of around 1,100 live on a land area which is 9.734 square miles.  Block Island is extremely popular as a summer tourist destination and some of its visitors have included Bill Clinton, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh.  In addition to the scenic beaches, majestic lighthouses and downtown eateries & shopping, there are plenty of activities such as biking, hiking, sailing, fishing and more.

After our group arrived on the island, we were taken on a brief bus tour of the island.  Let me add that this was no luxury bus, it was a school bus pulling double duty as a tour bus as well!  Our first stop took us to the former Block Island Weather Station.  The station began operations in 1880 but has been officially closed since 1953.  For the safety of the children that ride the bus, the windows in the bus would only open a few inches so I did my best to capture the Weather Station through the small crack in the window.  The Weather Station is shown below.


U.S Weather Bureau

Block Island Weather Station (1880 - 1953)



Another attraction on the island is the Southeast Lighthouse.  It was constructed in 1875 out of granite, concrete and brick.  The Octagonal pyramidal tower is attached to the dwelling which contains a museum and gift shop.  Tours of the lighthouse are given in the summer months.  Our tour guide told us an incredible story about the lighthouse.  He said that due to land erosion that was slowly making its way toward the structure, it was moved back 300 feet further inland to prevent it from falling into the water.  He said that the lighthouse was moved one inch and hour and the entire project cost 2 million dollars!


Southeast Lighthouse

Block Island Southeast Lighthouse




As our group walked in and around the lighthouse to stretch our legs from the cramped school bus, I spotted an elderly man sitting on an engraved stone bench.  The mood was such a pensive and contemplative moment that I had to capture it.  It turns out he was taking a break, waiting for his wife to return from sightseeing.


In Honor of Catherine

Elderly Man on Bench




Time was ticking away and it was approaching lunch time....we were all very hungry!  Fortunately lunch was next on the agenda.  The bumpy-riding school bus took us to the National Hotel which is on the main street of the downtown district and faces the beach.  Our group had reservations to sit on the open front porch with the ocean front view while we had our lunch.  The weather that day was great!  Sunny blue skies, light winds and moderate humidity.  We all wished we could do this every day...


We ate lunch on the open porch facing the beach

National Hotel, Block Island



After lunch wrapped up, we were given two hours of "free time" to do whatever we wanted.  For some, that meant shopping.  Me, I went "walkabout" to see what images I could capture.  Being on foot meant that I really wouldn't be able to venture too far away so I'd have to make the best of what was in the vicinity.  I found an interesting plaque in a sitting area that overlooked the ferry boats.


Sensible advice on a hot day




The Harborside Inn is another very popular place to stay if you are planning a getaway to Block Island.  This Inn is actually just a few buildings away from the National Hotel on the same downtown street.


The Harborside Inn

The Harborside Inn, Block Island



I continued walking down the main street (officially named Water Street) keeping my eyes open for more photo ops when I spotted one that I would have missed if I had blinked.  Set way back from the street was an ice cream shop that had tables and chairs set outside with a nice ocean view.  Upon walking by, it was the white frame that grabbed my attention so I used it to create some foreground interest while capturing the patrons enjoying their ice cream.  As good as the ice cream looked, I kept my willpower in check and forged on....


Who doesn't love it?

Enjoying an Ice Cream treat on Block Island



I decided to venture onto one of the side streets leading away from the water to see what I would find.  It wasn't long until I came across St. Andrews Catholic Church.  I spent a few moments walking around trying to find the best place to take a photo when I realized that a real challenge was present at the very spot where I wanted to shoot!  On the left side near the street was a rock retaining wall that had the church's name engraved, I spotted a massively active wasp nest!  Huge wasps were flying in and out of the holes between the rocks like O'Hare airport!  My dream photo with the retaining wall in the foreground and the church in the background had to be nixed, for my own safety.  I opted with my 2nd (and safer) choice of taking the photo from the right side and used the sign showing the Mass schedule as foreground interest.  Photo done, I walked away unscathed.


St. Andrews Catholic Church

St. Andrews Catholic Church, Block Island





Sorry, I don't smoke

Statue at Entrance to a Cigar Shop....Arrrgh!



After a while, I found myself getting farther and farther away from the main downtown area and entering a more residential section.  The sidewalk was still fairly busy with people walking by every which way.  Then I noticed a small bright burst of color low to the ground next to the sidewalk.  It was an orange flower.  It wasn't in a pot or part of any flower arrangement, in fact, it was the only one there!  I don't know if someone dropped a stray seed at this spot and the flower took root or what but I immediately knew I had a spectacular photo just begging to be made.

With a clear vision for the final result of my photo, I set about adjusting the settings of my camera and getting myself into the right position to achieve the best composition.  There was quite a bit of visual "clutter" behind the flower so I heavily blurred the background thanks to my trusty 70-200mm 2.8 lens.  This is my favorite photo of the entire trip.  A very special feeling came over me after I took it, like I had just been told a secret that no one else on the island knew about.  It was this flower.  Hundreds of people with cameras passed this very spot and were so busy with their hustle bustle, they didn't take the time to stop and "see" the flower.


Burst of Color

Lone Flower on Block Island



Water Street, the main thruway for the downtown shopping area was buzzing with activity.  People were everywhere and the vehicle traffic was busy as well!  Cars were cruising by as the occupants were heading off to the next hot spot.  One lucky dog was being chauffeured around the beach with the top down.  I'm not sure who the "master" was in that car.


That's one COOL dog

"That's One Cool Dog"





Flags unfurled

Flags along Water Street, Block Island





Sail? boat

"No Sail" Sailboat, Block Island





Block Island boats

Boats inside the Jetty, Block Island





A walk on the jetty

A Walk along the Jetty, Block Island



Our free time has nearly run out and it's time for me to head to the ferry before it leaves without me.  This was my first time on the island and I had an enjoyable time.  I know that there is so much more to see and our brief day trip only gave us a small taste of the island.  If I do make plans to come back, I will definitely arrange to stay for a few days.  Walking for two hours in the heat made me thirsty and tired...well, not as tired as this guy!


Pit Stop

"Sweet Dreams" on Block Island



Thanks for taking the time to follow my adventures on this short day trip to Block Island.  If you've never been here before, hopefully the photos gave you some insight as to what the island is like.  As I sat on the "traditional" ferry boat that would take my group and I back to the mainland, I looked out of my window and marveled at the sight of the "High Speed" ferry parked next to us.  Our ferry left before the High Speed one and during the trip home, I watched as the faster ferry easily overtook our boat and quickly shrank in size over the horizon.  I sat back, relaxed, and closed my eyes for the remainder of the ride home.  Oscar


High Speed ferry


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Block Island boat church ferry flower hotel lighthouse tourist trip https://oscardean.com/blog/2013/9/day-trip-to-block-island Mon, 02 Sep 2013 19:07:12 GMT
Camera Tossing https://oscardean.com/blog/2013/7/camera-tossing Grab your motion sickness tablets before reading this post!

In response to today's beautiful summer weather, Lizzie, my Cocker Spaniel grabbed her bright orange ball and let me know that she wanted to play fetch.  So I quickly scooped up a camera and went out into the yard to have fun with her.  After a while, Lizzie took a break and there I was, camera in hand, looking around for a photo subject.  On a whim I decided to take some wacky self portraits of Lizzie and myself.  I did what any sane and budget conscious photographer would do....I tossed my camera high up in the air!



Yes, that's right.  I threw caution into the wind (as well as my camera) to see what I would get.  Setting the camera's timer to a 2 second delay, I pressed the shutter, tossed the camera into the air and thought, "My God, what have I done!"  Well, let me ease your mind, just a little.  The photos were not taken with my pro level DSLR but instead with my Canon A620 point and shoot camera.  I've played centerfield in baseball and softball for 30 years so I am pretty confident in my catching ability.




One exciting thing about doing this is the fact that each photo will be different since you never know where the moving camera will be facing when the shutter clicks.  One thing that can be done and is predictable is to adjust the camera's shutter speed.  In the shot above I slowed down the shutter to make the blurring of the photo more pronounced.




In the photo above, you can see that Lizzie and I are blurred by the circular spinning motion but the center point of the rotation can clearly be seen in the lower right corner of the picture.




I slowed the shutter speed of the camera even more and Lizzie, myself and her bright orange ball have been rendered as unrecognizable streaks of color.  I'm beginning to get a little dizzy...







In this final photo, a very slow shutter speed and spinning the camera as I tossed it created this colorful, abstract picture.  I never would have imagined that taking Lizzie out for a game of fetch would have resulted in these wild and crazy images.  Photos derived from camera tossing can be very fascinating.  You can find tons of examples by searching the internet.  And by the way, my camera is totally OK, it works fine and I never dropped it.

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) abstract camera tossing photo experiment https://oscardean.com/blog/2013/7/camera-tossing Wed, 31 Jul 2013 23:12:53 GMT
My photo used by Rolled Alloys https://oscardean.com/blog/2013/6/my-photo-used-by-rolled-alloys  

Windsor, CT. location


Rolled Alloys is a major supplier of high quality steel alloys to the aerospace, oil, gas, chemical processing, medical and other industries.  At the time of this writing their locations include 8 in the United States, 3 in Canada, 6 in Europe and 2 in Asia.  Their location in Windsor, CT. was decorating the offices and corridors and wanted to do something special in their conference room.  They wanted to adorn the wall with a skyline photo of the nearest major city to their site's location.  Immediately south of Windsor is Hartford, CT. the state's capital and Rolled Alloys began an exhaustive search for a dramatic photo that would serve as a focal point in their conference room.  And then, they found it...



My "Hartford Skyline" photo in the conference room of Rolled Alloys


Rolled Alloys contacted me after seeing my photo of the Hartford city skyline that I had taken on a very cold winter evening.  Their plan was to split the photo into three 24" x 36" canvas prints and then hang it in their conference room.  After all of the particulars were worked out, I asked if I could stop by to see the prints and they were more than happy to oblige!


Upon my arrival at Rolled Alloys, I was warmly greeted by the employees and even given a quick tour of the facilities.  Of course the room I wanted to see the most was the very LAST room that I was led to!  It was quite a rush to see my photo hanging there and realize that it will be viewed many times by many people in future meetings and orientations.  (Especially those who are losing attention and daydreaming!).



That's me, standing next to my photo.


I'd like to thank everyone at Rolled Alloys for their hospitality and allowing me to visit their facility.  I'm glad that I was able to provide an image that they were happy with and met their needs.


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) Alloys CT Hartford Rolled Skyline Windsor canvas print https://oscardean.com/blog/2013/6/my-photo-used-by-rolled-alloys Wed, 26 Jun 2013 23:04:27 GMT
Tips for Better Pet Photos https://oscardean.com/blog/2013/5/tips-for-better-pet-photos Are you feeling a little underwhelmed as you look at your photos of Fido and Tabby?  Do your pet photos lack flair and fail to grab the attention of the viewer?  Perhaps you don't even have (shudder) ANY photos of your pet(s)!  Taking better photos of your pet can be done with some thoughtful planning and by using some of the helpful tips below.  In most cases it won't matter if you have a "point & shoot" camera or a high end DSLR, applying some sound compositional techniques can improve your photos dramatically.  Why do I say "In most cases...?"  One example is that a DSLR is generally better at handling low light situations but don't let that throw you if you don't own one.


To help illustrate the photography tips below I have included some photos of my favorite photo subject: my 5 year old Cocker Spaniel named Lizzie.  My wife and I have had Lizzie since she was 3 months old and she loves to pose.  And no worries, Lizzie signed a model release to let me use her images for this article! 


OK, so let's talk about some things you can do to improve your pet photography.


1.  Get down to their level
The angle at which you take your photos plays an important role in whether your final image becomes the typical awkward snapshot or a stunning portrait.  Just look at any pet photo contest and you will see tons of photos of pets where the owner has taken the picture while standing over their pet.  While there may be a few exceptions, photos taken in this way generally do not flatter the poor animal.  Photos taken from a lower vantage point will go far in making your pet look more natural.  Below is a photo of Lizzie in the yard on a nice warm summer afternoon.  I laid down in the grass on my stomach and called her name, and when she turned to look at me, I captured the shot.


On the lawn - 4th of July

Lizzie in the yard on the 4th of July



2.  Capture their Character
Just like us humans, pets come in all shapes, sizes and personalities.  If you see a pet photo that makes you smile, laugh or say, "Awww," then chances are the photographer captured the true personality of their subject.  Think about your pet and the kind of personality it has.  Is he/she outgoing and energetic or shy and reserved?  Does your pet have any special quirks or habits that you find to be funny or endearing?  The first hurdle to overcome is to have your camera with you when these moments occur.  It can be a pain or inconvenience to keep a camera with you all the time but the reward of capturing a phenomenal picture of your pet's character will be well worth the trouble.

A few ideas:  While watching TV with your dog, snap a pic of the pet while he rests his head on another family member's lap.  Capture your cat while he looks out the window at the birds on the feeder.  Get a photo of your pet playing with a toy.  Below is a photo when Lizzie was a puppy and she was on the porch of our house.  At this point in her life she was too small to go down the steps so she just remained on the top floor and looked down from above.  To me this photo captures the innocent curiosity that small puppies have.


Looking down from the porch



3.  Focus on the Eyes
This tip is well known and followed religiously by wildlife photographers.  The aperture setting on your camera will determine how much of your photo will be in focus.  The lower settings such as 1.4, 2.8, 3.5 will blur the background while higher numbers such as 8, 11,16 will help make more of your image sharp.  Regardless of the aperture used, the important thing to do is to make sure your camera's focus point(s) are trained on one of your pet's eyes.  You will see the focus points illuminate in your viewfinder, just make sure that one of the eyes is being used to determine where the camera should focus.

Below is a photo I took of Lizzie at Christmas time a couple of years ago.  Since I've been photographing her since she was 3 months old, Lizzie is well behaved when it comes to posing.  For this shot, my camera was on a tripod and triggered by a wireless shutter release.  I ensured that the focus points in the viewfinder focused on her eyes.


Christmas 2011



4.  Avoid Flash - Use Natural Light
When utilized properly, flash can be used with great results, but it will require some extra effort.  You want to stay away from using the bare built-in flash on your camera because it can introduce a host of negative effects including red eye, harsh shadows and lower contrast.  (Red eye occurs with humans while for animals the effect is usually green or yellowish). This is because the light is very strong and coming from one direction.  Also keep in mind that some animals can be frightened by the startling light of a flash.  In order to get pleasing results, your pet needs to be lit with diffused light.

You can pay for diffused light by buying softboxes, umbrellas, flash diffusers or other gadgets but what if you aren't in the position to obtain these things?  Cloudy overcast days are your best friend when you want diffused light.  The clouds will act as a veil over the sunlight and shadows will appear much softer.  You best bet indoors is to situate your pet next to the diffused light coming in through a window.

Below is a photo of Lizzie outside in front of our house.  Because it was a cloudy overcast day, you can see that there are no shadows at all in the photo.  In capturing this image, I did not use a flash at all, just the diffused light that was available at the time.


Lizzie amongst the tulips



5.  Props/Costumes
You can fuel your creativity by using props or costumes while photographing your pet.  Retail pet stores are loaded with costumes for pets during holiday periods and toys are never in short supply.  With a little thought and patience, the props can help you achieve that "Awww" factor that you may be seeking in your photos.  Props and costumes alone though aren't the magic bullet that will guarantee a great photo.  You must make sure the photo is properly exposed, nicely composed and in focus.


Below are a few shots of Lizzie with various props and costumes.


Listening to Daddy's iPod

Lizzie chilln' on the deck




Christmas 2012Christmas 2012Christmas 2012 Lizzie - Christmas 2012




Lizzie cruising around town!

Lizzie - Cruising around town




Lizzie - "Helping?" with the Laundry



6.  Capture the Action
If you have a pet that is very active, a photo of them running, jumping or playing fetch will really show off their character!  Two or more pets playing together can open up even more photo opportunities.  To capture exciting action shots, you'll need fast shutter speeds in a well lit area to freeze your pet's movement.  Aim for shutter speeds of 1/500 of a sec at the minimum.  If the light is fading due to the sun setting, raise your camera's ISO setting to a higher number in order to increase the light sensitivity of your camera.

Another helpful tip is to set your camera to burst mode so you will be able to take many photos quickly while your finger holds down the shutter button.  Not all cameras have this feature while some expensive models can shoot as many as 14 frames a second.  While reviewing a series of photos taken in burst mode, you may find that one gem of a photo that captured your pet at that perfect moment.

Below are a couple of shots of Lizzie running through the yard.


"Hurray, Daddy's home!"

"Hooray, Daddy's home!"




"Dinner time!"

"Did I hear the dinner bell?"


7.  Think outside the box
Set some goals to create some images that are unique, different and not your typical snapshot.  Really let your creative juices flow and try some crazy ideas.  You are free to experiment as much as you'd like because in this digital age, you won't have to worry about the cost of normal photographic film.  Take as many shots as you want!  With the help of various image editing software programs, you can bring your wildest ideas to life.

Below is a photo of Lizzie....and Lizzie.....and Lizzie on our back deck.  The idea for this photo came to me in a flash.  While I was sitting on the deck, Lizzie came out and sat down in front of the flowers.  I thought it would be cool if "two more Lizzies" were added on the chairs next to her.


Lizzie "and friends"

"Say Hello to my Little Friends!"



8.  Include people in the photo
An image of a pet with their owner will show the love and strong bond that exists between the two of them.  The pet will generally be more relaxed during this time as well and these photos will of course be cherished for many years to come.  Pay attention to the many ways your pet interacts with members of your family or strangers and have your camera ready.  Below is a photo of myself with Lizzie on the very day my wife and I brought her home at 3 months old.  Yup, Lizzie has looked down the barrel of my camera lens since day one!



9.  Read your camera manual
Yeah I know, I'm stating the obvious but you'd be surprised at how many people just grab their new camera out of the box and immediately go out and start taking pictures.  Then after looking at the results they wonder why the photos are dark or bright, not focused, blurry or some other hideous effect.  You don't need to know every minute feature and function that your camera offers to take good pictures but you should know the basic settings that will affect proper exposure and focusing.  At minimum, you should become comfortable with the following settings of your camera and how each will impact your final image:


  • Shutter Speed - Determines how fast the curtain inside the camera will open and close.  Fast shutter speeds can freeze fast moving objects while slow shutter speeds can create motion blur.
  • ISO - Back in the days before digital cameras, we used film that had light sensitivity ratings usually from 25 - 3200.  Adjusting your camera's ISO to a higher number makes your camera's sensor more sensitive to light which will be helpful while photographing in low light situations.  The drawback is that the higher the ISO setting, the more noisier (grainier) the photos will be.
  • Aperture - These settings will change the opening of your camera's lens from large to small thus allowing more or less light into the camera.  Small aperture settings let in the most light and less light is let in as the numbers are set higher.
  • Exposure Compensation - Today's cameras are very sophisticated and do a pretty good job at obtaining good exposures but they can be fooled in certain situations causing you to wonder why the photo you just took is overly bright or overly dark.  This feature allows you to manually adjust the exposure up or down incrementally enabling you to take control of the exposure.
  • Metering Mode - The light meter inside your camera measures the amount of light in the scene that you are planning to photograph.  You can adjust the metering mode to tell the light meter to measure the entire frame or less and less of the scene in your viewfinder.
  • Focus Modes - Cameras generally have manual focus where you must physically rotate the lens to make the subject appear in focus or automatic focus where the camera does this for you.  DSLR's will often have several automatic focus modes so it is a good idea to become familiar with them.
  • Autofocus Point Indicators - Look through your viewfinder and "half-press" your shutter button and you may see one or more small indicators light up on the screen.  These points are used to focus on objects in your scene.  Be sure one of these indicators is on your subject as the camera begins the focusing process.


I hope after reading that you haven't run for the hills but instead decided that you will look for your dusty camera manual and get more familiar with your camera.  There are also tons of photography books that can teach the basic principles of photography regardless of camera brand, make or model.  Your local library is a great resource if you'd rather not purchase a book.


Final Thoughts
Pet photography can be challenging and difficult but it can also be fun as well.  It goes without saying that pets are truly members of the family.  The joy we receive from our pets and what it means to us can not be underestimated.  Armed with the photo tips outlined above, I hope you will take the time to snap some great photos of your special furry friend.  If this article helped you to take better photos of your pet, feel free to enter a comment or share a link to some of your pictures.  I would love to see them as I'm sure readers of this article would as well.  I wish you much success! 

When you do finally capture that prized photo, just remember that you are the photographer and your pet is the model so therefore you each did half of the work.  Reward your pet with a treat...


More photos of Lizzie can be seen in her photo gallery HERE.

[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) cat dog instruction lizzie pet photography tips https://oscardean.com/blog/2013/5/tips-for-better-pet-photos Sun, 26 May 2013 22:17:28 GMT
You don't see this everyday... https://oscardean.com/blog/2013/5/you-dont-see-this-everyday Shops, restaurants, merchandise and people.  These are the typical things you would expect to see during a walk through a city shopping center.  That would not be the case this time.  A very atypical scene presented itself as I looked ahead and saw a bunch of people gathering around a man and girls shrieking in horror.  As I got closer and the throng of people cleared away, I was finally able to see the source of the commotion.  The man at the center of all the attention was carrying a huge snake over his shoulders!




Here he is proudly showing off his unusual pet.  I asked him how long he's owned it and he said 13 years.  There were some brave children that tentatively stepped forward to touch and pet the snake while many adults "came, saw and turned the other direction."  I'm sure it will be quite some time before another shopping center stroll will top this one.


May 5


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) snake https://oscardean.com/blog/2013/5/you-dont-see-this-everyday Sat, 18 May 2013 19:47:19 GMT
Dervish in concert https://oscardean.com/blog/2013/4/dervish-in-concert I recently photographed the band Dervish in concert at the Lincoln Theater at the University of Hartford.  In Irish music circles, Dervish is extremely popular and tours the world over.  This venue is particularly special for the band since it was here that they made their U.S. concert debut back in the late 1990's.  This concert marks the group's 3rd appearance here and the large capacity auditorium was Sold Out!  Below are some photos from the show.


Dervish performing at the Lincoln Theater at the University of Hartford in West Hartford, CT.



Cathy Jordan - Lead Vocals, Bohdran, 12-string guitar



Tom Morrow - Fiddle



Shane Mitchell - Accordion



Brian McDonagh - Mandola, Mandolin



The band "Dervish" in concert at the Lincoln Theater at the University of Hartford, CT.



Liam Kelly - Flute



Michael Holmes - Bouzouki


More photos from this concert can be seen in my gallery HERE.


[email protected] (Oscar Dean Photography) CT Connecticut Dervish Hartford Irish University celtic concert music of https://oscardean.com/blog/2013/4/dervish-in-concert Sun, 28 Apr 2013 23:25:24 GMT