I Would Like Your Advice

Yep, that’s right. I need advice from each and every one of you, especially anyone involved in DSLR photography!  I debated about posting this but here’s the thing.  I got a brand new Nikon D3200 camera and two lenses for Christmas.  Just like the one pictured.

Source: Google

Source: Google

Definitely exciting (for me)!  But I am so overwhelmed and intimidated by all of the bells and whistles on this thing compared to my iPhone 5.  I don’t know what ISO is or f-stop, etc.  I’ve been taking some pictures on the Nikon’s auto setting and trying to compare them with my iPhone pictures.  At this point, the photos are running neck and neck for viewing.  I like some of the camera ones better and vice versa.  I don’t really get it since it’s 8 megapixels on the iPhone 5 vs. 24.2 on the Nikon D3200.  I have about 90 days to decide if I’m going to keep it.  For me to justify keeping it and spending that amount of money, I’ve got to make some progress on learning how to use the different settings.  Especially since I’ve been fairly content with my camera phone.

Now that you have so graciously taken my little poll, can you tell me why your choice is what it is?  Those of you who use or are familiar with SLR cameras, are you self-taught?  Did you take classes?  What software programs do you use that are somewhat equivalent to Photoshop (which I can’t afford)?  What would be your ideas or suggestions on learning how to use the camera?

I’d appreciate any and all of your comments and/or suggestions.  You all are the best!!


Come join Ese’s Weekly Shoot & Quote where this week’s challenge is HAPPINESS!

Time always seems long to the child who is waiting – for Christmas, for next summer, for becoming a grownup:
long also when he surrenders his whole soul to each moment of a happy day.

Dag Hammarskjold

Following are some photos of Christmas in downtown Winter Garden!



Nikon tree

Nikon ornament 2

Night time in downtown Winter Garden at Christmas time!



“Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values. It is peace because we have found peace in the Savior’s teachings. It is the time we realize most deeply that the more love is expended, the more there is of it for others.” 

Thomas S. Monson

As this year draws to a close, I wish to take this opportunity to express my gratitude and appreciation for all who have visited and/or commented on my entries. This was a new venture for me this year and I have enjoyed it immensely. I have “met” so many wonderful people all over this beautiful world by visiting your blogs and you visiting mine and I hope you don’t mind that I count you as friends! I’m wishing a very Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate this glorious season and sending blessings and best wishes to everyone everywhere. I look forward to the coming year and spending more time with my friends! May God bless each and every one of you.

Phoneography Challenge: Architecture

This Monday is Challenger’s Choice on Lens and Pens by Sally.  I chose some architecture pictures I’ve taken.  This is our “new” City Hall in Winter Garden.  It was built in 2008.  I love that it has an art deco style to it.  I don’t know much about architecture but I know what I like!  I didn’t have time to do anything to these but auto correct and upload! Pictures were taken in October and again over the last few days.

City Hall

City Hall5

City Hall4

City Hall8

City Hall9

City Hall6

Ocala Painted Horses

On our recent trip to Silver Springs, we were right there at Ocala. I talked everyone into stopping in Ocala so I could try to find some of the painted horses that are on display around town.  It was getting late and the sun would be going down soon so I didn’t have a whole lot of time.  I headed to City Square since there would be several horses there that I could photograph.  There are apparently dozens of these horses around town but I wasn’t able to take the time to track them all down.  I will say that if you ever get to Ocala, FL it’s worth checking out!  I’ll get back up that way again one of these days and will locate more horses then.

Having grown up in Lexington, KY, I was curious how a town in Florida could be compared to my Bluegrass State.  I’m guessing that the primary reason these two places are linked are the horse farms and the famous thorobred race horses that have been bred in both places.

Can you imagine how frustrating it is for a kid growing up in Lexington, surrounded by famous horse farms, to not be allowed to ride horses or take riding lessons?  I have always harbored an innate love for horses.  I see them as one of the most majestic creatures God placed here.  But, alas, for some reason (never revealed to me) my mother was afraid of horses.  She kept saying that she was afraid to let me ride because she just “knew” I’d get bucked off and kicked in the head and die.  Pleasant, right?  I never learned what she experienced that made her so afraid but I never lost my love for horses.  Unbeknownst to her, there were numerous times I would sneak off and ride at any and every opportunity that presented itself!  Granted, there weren’t many times but I took what I could get!  But I digress!!

Ocala created The Horse Fever public art project in 2001.  My understanding is that various local artists are selected to demonstrate their talent with fantastic concepts realized through a variety of media on life-sized fiberglass forms, including acrylic paint, vinyl, and embellishment.  Horses were then auctioned off for charity and they are displayed in convenient permanent locations to accommodate walking tours, groups, and motorists. (www.MCAOcala.com)

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Jay Rosen

Artist’s Statement (Iris)

According to Greek mythology, Iris was the soul of the rainbow, traveling with the speed of the wind.When painting Iris, my goal was to depict a lively racehorse with a strong sense fiery rhythm, inspired by the charged potential energy surging throughout the horse. The vibrant colors echo the fierce tempo of its fluctuating existence, as a racehorse, constantly in action. About 70 layers of individual colors were used to paint the horse, simulating Neo-Impressionistic techniques. With no definitive form to the abstract patterns, the observer optically mixes the colors within their mind, constructing newer colors and paths for the eye to travel.

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Artist Carlynne Hershberger

Plaque (Aggie)

This horse is definitely a “piece of the rock” — the Florida state stone, that is.  “Aggie” is named for the agatized coral dug from the Florida bedrock that he is painted to represent.  Notice the cutaway sections revealing minerals and crystals like a geode found in nature.  Acrylic paint with protective clear coat on fiberglass frame.

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Artist Yani Mikedis

Plaque (Travels)

Taking a surreal journey — this is how artist Yani Mikedis describes the creation of Travels.  3-D masked images within shapes and space in colors of greens, yellows and reds on a blue sky that take the imagination through an unforgettable voyage.  Acrylic paint with clear protective clear coat on fiberglass frame.

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Sharon Crute


Sharon Crute

Artist’s Statement (World Champ)

After discussing the design with my sponsor, the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association, we decided together to illustrate the importance of the thoroughbred industry here in Florida. One side depicts the breeding aspect represented by the beautiful farms throughout Marion County. The other represents the amazing accomplishments of last year’s three Eclipse Award winners: Awesome Feather, Big Drama and Dubai Majesty – all bred in Florida. The flags represent racing in the U.S., Florida and our two sister cities located in Ireland and Italy. The South Korean flag represents the important business relationship involving sales of Florida-breeds to the S. Korean racing program.

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Linda Ballantine Brown

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Linda Ballantine Brown

Plaque (Sky Dancing)

A race horse dreams of winning in this equine skyscape.  Over 100 horse heads can be seen racing in the clouds all around the horse.  One side features a single horse in a red hood, the other side shows two horses neck and neck as they race together in the clouds.  Acrylic with protective clear coat on fiberglass form.

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Chris Cruz

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Chris Cruz

Plaque (Scenic Wonder)

Manatees play on one side. A Florida panther rests quietly on a log among palmettos on the other. Using natural colors found in local sunsets, rivers and forests, the artist paints incredible detail into this scene of north central Florida, where land and water combine to form a unique habitat for wildlife, including ducks, great blue heron, the balkd eagle and alligators. Airbrush with protective clear coat on fiberglass form.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand

From The Daily Post:  Grand. We’ve hosted a “Big” photo challenge in the past, but for this week’s challenge, we want you to consider not just the size of something, but also that special element: the “wow factor” of a scene or subject that makes a picture so stunning. That magical quality you’re always out looking for and so excited to capture with your camera.  We want to see your interpretation of grand, from festive holiday city scenes to the Christmas tree in your living room to other shots that will make our jaws drop. We look forward to seeing your images!

I consider myself a patriotic American and I love the American flag.  Not far from my home and on a road well traveled is the biggest flag I have yet to see.  I wouldn’t doubt that it extends out 30-40 feet in length.  It is so majestic.  I finally stopped to try and capture some photos. I must say that this time my iPhone 5 does not do it justice. I present America’s WOW factor anyway for your viewing pleasure!

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Now, on a more personal GRAND scale, the following has it’s own WoW factor for me.  I present the GRAND kids!!!

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For more GRAND entries, click here

Phoneography Challenge: Nature (in crisis)

It’s Phoneography Challenge Monday for Nature (in crisis)!  I’ve chosen one of the photos I took on our recent visit to Silver Springs State Park near Ocala, FL.

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Even after death, trees abound with other forms of life.  Bacteria are decomposing the plant tissues.  Termites, woodboring beetles and carpenter ants are feeding within.  These are eaten by woodpeckers, lizards, toads and shrews.

The web of life will, in time, reduce this tree to a rich brown area of humus on the forest floor – waiting to be used by other living things.

To participate and see more Nature entries, visit Lens and Pens by Sally.