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Month: April 2013 (page 2 of 2)

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

This is Marie writing…

I heard that Grandma wanted to hear about the art award I won.

My art teacher emailed me a short list of art contests around the beginning of the school year. I think I was too late to start the other contests she suggested, so the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards ( http://www.artandwriting.org/ ) was the only contest that was actually available. I was busy with other things during school and had no clue what to enter in the contest, so I didn’t dwell on it until my winter break. Even then, I only worked on my entry for about 3 days before it was due. I was still undecided as to what I would submit as my entry, so part of that time was just playing around with ideas.

Finally, I decide to sift through my old artwork and see if there was anything I could redo (my older work, as it was, was not an accurate representation of my ability and certainly not contest-worthy). I found this:

This drawing (September 2010) was drawn on lined paper, then edited on GIMP. It is of a still from a video trailer for the video game Halo: Reach, “Deliver Hope”. I really liked that video and the whole story surrounding the game, although the video only makes sense if you know the story. Concerning my picture, the significant part of the video was when a soldier is injured by a grenade explosion. The soldier falls to the ground, and the camera shows her eyes mirrored in her cracked visor. ( http://thegamingliberty.com/wp-content/uploads/haloreach_trailer.jpg )

This drawing, I decided, had potential in the contest if I did an adequate job updating it. I started from scratch and redrew the basic picture before I began adding color. I was frantic to meet the deadline, so I worked after breakfast into the night on the day before it was due. The day it was due I finished it up. This was the first Friday of 2013.

I finished submitting and uploading my entry on the contest website. All that was left was the release form. I signed it, and my mother and teacher’s signature were needed on it.  This form had to be mailed to them in a few hours, and getting my teacher to sign this was out of the question. I assumed that my submission was invalid, because the release form was a necessary step in entering the contest.

I forgot about the contest after a while, but in late February I received an email notification that I won an award for the contest. I was confused and busy, so I ignored this. Then, my mother got an email, too. I was still a little confused, because that release form should’ve prevented me from getting in.

Winners of the contest are required to send in a photo, and a separate audio and video greeting. I recently uploaded those. An awards ceremony is being held at the end of May in Carnegie Hall. I’ve decided against going, but I’ll watch the webcast.

Deep Red Unknown Blossom

I took this photo yesterday while we were taking photos and making a video of Marie for her art award.

Our neighbor has some kind of vine or bush growing in his backyard.  It has managed to climb all the way up his large palo verde tree, making it look as though the palo verde has large deep red blossoms.  Marilyn says she has to cut it back from time to time so that it does not insinuate itself in our orange tree.



Hedgehog Blossom

I used a 10mm Kenko Extension Tube with the 50mm E-mount lens yesterday to get this photo of a hedgehog cactus blossom in my backyard yesterday.  The extension tubes decrease the minimum focus distance – i.e. they allow you to move the camera closer to the subject than would normally be allowable by the lens.  The downside is that they also make it difficult or impossible to focus on things that are far away – or even not so far away.

I took a number of exposures using different aperture sizes.  I liked the depth of field at f/18, but the background was busy and distracting, so I blended an f/18 exposure with one at f/2.2.  I used the f/2.2 exposure for the blurred background and the f/18 exposure for the blossom.  The interior of the blossom is not as sharp as I would like.  I can’t decide if this was due to movement of the subject or if I should have focused on the interior of the flower instead of on the petals.

Background: f/2.2, 1/800 sec, ISO 100
Blossom: f/18, 1/13 sec, ISO 100

Friday Fitness Hike

Today’s hike started at the Trailhead Staging Area.  Fifteen of us, counting Bob’s dog, Sarge, hiked the Scenic Trail.  When we got back, Bob, Sarge, Linda, Janet, and I continued our hike out in the direction of the old ranch homestead.

A view from the Scenic Trail – we saw a lot of brittlebush flowers while hiking the Scenic Trail today.

Robin hikes ahead of me up the short hill to the top of the ridge.  (It’s only about 200 feet of elevation gain.)

Continuing on up the hill…

Looking to the northeast as we ascend the hill:

Looking back down the hill after I reached the “top”.  (It’s not really the top, but it feels like it.)

Group photo by the bench:

This is my favorite photo of the bunch.  We were midway along the ridgeline when I took this photo.

Descending one of the hills on the Scenic Trail:

Hedgehog blossoms:

A small hill capped with a layer of rock near the Pemberton Ranch homestead:

Brittlebush flowers:

Desert Chicory:

Desert Marigold:

New growth on a buckhorn cholla; the bluish purple flowers are lupines:


f/2.8, 1/25th sec, ISO 1600, 24mm Zeiss lens on a Sony NEX-7.

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