If I had to pick… just one

I ❤ (heart) summer

Who doesn’t love summer… right.  There’s nothing like a lazy summer afternoon, warm breeze blowing and a refreshing summer brew to help cool you off… perfect actually to sit and write a blog post 🙂 … if only it were always that easy ~ as that moment has passed and now two, now three days and what seems like a thousand (but only 11 last count) edits later 😉

That is probably because my thoughts for this post have been all over the place… hmm, maybe because so has my photography and all that goes with it.   On the plus side,  I’ve been taking a lot of photos, continuing to learn my camera, learning new techniques for both in camera and post processing ~ using new textures and filters, and experimenting…  So, finally picking at random, one topic out of that mish-mash of topics above to blog about, I thought I’d share how this DIY lightbox that diy-lightbox I found in my dad’s basement led me to a favorite new tool (for now) ~ an LED light pad.

A favorite technique/effect of mine has always been the result from back lighting flowers (or just about anything that is somewhat opaque)The-Little-Things and the lovely shapes, color and lighting that come with it.  Unfortunately, mother nature is not always very cooperative: too windy, too bright, too cloudy, too… well, you get the idea.  Trying different light sources (a flash or a window) in the “studio” has not been all that successful either… close, but just not quite.

So I dusted off the DIY light box.  Unfortunately, the bulb, which looks something like a doughnut, gave off only enough soft bright light in a very small portion of the frame.  But in this very small space, I saw the effect I wanted to achieve… getting closer. diy-lightbox-with-text

The next challenge, to get that light source to fill the entire frame.  Thinking I could just repurpose the box I had,  I asked Google, which turned up a couple DIY light boxes (too complicated/technical for me) and some manufactured ones (mainly used for viewing negatives and $$$) and a link to a photographer’s post (thank you Denise Ippolito) and how she used a light pad …and as it turns out, the key words in all of this were LED and pad.  There it was… an artist’s tool, something used mostly for tracing by tattoo and graphic artist.  This had so many pluses – adjustable brightness, super slim (i.e. super easy storage), maneuverable, and $ compared to $$$ – I chose the Litup (click on image for link) – and most important a continuous even bright white light that fills the frame.  I’ve only just started using it, but have so many ideas for this simple little device… and without all the too this or thats.

the-light-withinFlowers from my garden ~ the heart of flowers above and this trio are floating in water in a clear glass bowl on the light pad and processed with just a touch of Topaz glow.

Til next time,



At least once a year, I head with the family to a place in the middle of PA where you get no connection. . . no bars (the internet kind = no Facebook, no emails, no cellphone) which is quite surprising since we are only about 30 minutes away from one of the top ten colleges, Penn State.  However, there is one thing that always works on my device no matter where I am . . . the camera 🙂

IMG_20140704_144405 20140706_081512_1_resized

This year we headed to this sweet spot for fourth of July weekend. Even though we went to Penn State to see the fireworks and I confess, I used my device to get some tips on how to shoot fireworks and maybe see what the family was up to in other parts of the country, oops, and well okay post a pic to Instagram. . .  but that was it and soon we were on our way back to the land of disconnect.


It’s a really good feeling . . . even if just for a little while . . . to rely only on the conversation that’s going right where you are, and not to hear dings and rings and chimes and tones . . . a prelude to interruption.  As a photographer, an artist,  it really is a way to reconnect with your vision when you disconnect.

**Today’s post was inspired by a post I read, when I got home, by Photofocus and their Photographer of the Week, Nikki Harrison http://photofocus.com/2014/07/07/nikki-harrison-photographer-of-the-week/, and particularly #6 on her list.

Til next time,


In any direction

Happy summer all!

It’s here in full swing… and green.  When summer comes to my neighborhood, the world seems to get smaller.  Those big trees I showed you covered in ice from the winter are now a canopy of green surrounding the house in which I only get a glimpse of a sunrise or sunset. It can get a little claustrophobic… sounds a little weird right.

My dream home: A little Craftsman cottage with a big front porch (okay let’s put one on the back while we’re at it), with a view that goes on for miles…


Okay, so it’s not “little” and definitely not a “Craftsman” but that porch!  On a recent photo outing traipsing through the country side of Lancaster, PA,  I spotted this red something sitting on a hill in the distance and of course had to find it for a closer look, but then I lost sight of it as the road dipped and turned.  The road took us back to the land of traffic lights and shopping centers (which now a days are never out of sight for long), stopped at a light, having pretty much give up on it . . . and there it was!  Part of it was hiding behind a white pole barn and across the street from all things… a shopping center 😦

This is what I love about the photography I do.  I love recreating that very first feeling… what I first imagined this big red house must look like, must have looked like back in it’s prime.  … as if I am sitting on that front porch on a warm summer day.

Enjoy your summer adventures,

Til next time,



Campbells tower-lights Sunset-on-BFB

Has it really been a month.  Yikes!  Oh well, it is summer after all … time to slow down… maybe take in a ballgame.  This past Monday, I did just that… although you probably would never guess by looking at the photos here.   Campbell’s Field, home to the Camden Riversharks, offers some spectacular views of the Philadelphia skyline and Ben Franklin bridge, especially at sunset.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Riversharks won (or so I am told 😉 )

Til next time, Maria

The Best Strategy

Good Morning!  I’m thinking I should start calling this blog Saturday Mornings with Mer (the nickname my the in-law family bestowed upon me =)   Even then, maybe I should preference that to Monthly …  Flashback a few months: I had all these plans for growing this blog, well, at least I thought I did.  Present day:  I now know having no strategy, for me, is my best strategy! I can’t force more hours into a day to do all the things I want any more than I can force my creative process…

So here it is, Saturday morning, everyone still asleep, the sun just coming up (a lovely site after the week of rainy days we have had here), enjoying that first cup of coffee in my favorite mug (not the steel bubba I usually haul to work with me every day, although if you’re looking to keep your drink hot or cold for hours on end, it does the job…and then some!).  The best part, sitting here telling about it … sharing…for no real good reason other than I can.

Aren’t the colors of summer fantastic?!? Our garden is exploding with color … at least what the little bunnies haven’t eaten.  Welcome to my Garden!

This rose is the newest edition to our garden, a Grandiflora, Cherry Parfait.  Isn’t she a beaut!


Rain & Flowers = ♥♥♥

the-crossing Lily-Drops

The azaela blooms have come and gone, but always put on such an impressive show!


Those bad, bad little bunnies.  I’m glad I got the shot when I did… nothing left but stems 😦 now.


That’s it for today, folks, back out to the garden, like I said, It’s a B-E-A-utiful Morning! and the hydrangeas are feeling a little blue 😉 that I’ve been neglecting them.   Then I’m off to a local hosta and lily nursery.  Can’t wait to see what colors I can add to my garden.

Til Next Time,

Maria  MER 😉