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My 10 Favorite Photos of 2015

Garden Peonies, Sarah Bernhardt

“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” – Karl Lagerfeld

At the end of a year, I have a tradition of going back through my favorite photographs I’ve taken in that year. On this blog, I have several years on record. In 2009 through 2013, my photographs were mostly of travels throughout Europe as my family and I lived in Prague those four years. Since ’13, my travels have been more limited to where I live with my family now, in Midwestern U.S.A.

Living in a mostly flat area brings its challenges. There are not many architectural wonders, awe-inspiring mountains, or vast bodies of water outside my back door, though Lake Erie and the Roebling Bridge really are spectacular. The challenge as a citizen of the world is to see the joy and beauty as it occurs — even in Ohio, there is beauty all around. What is important is to be able to see it as something to capture, to find the extraordinary inside the ordinary days.

Of course, flowers always will be one of my favorite photography subjects, especially ones from my backyard garden. In 2015, I also enjoyed capturing different landscapes — the ultra-blue waters of the South Florida Gulf and a foggy sunrise in Tennessee.

My 10 Favorite Photographs of 2015

Garden Peonies, Sarah Bernhardt
Garden Peonies
Sunrise Along the Tennessee River
Fisherman and Sunrise in the Smoky Mountains, Tennessee River

 

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” – Ansel Adams

 

Skimmers at Little Gasparilla Island, Florida
Skimmers at Little Gasparilla Island, Florida

 

Daffodils, Hyacinths, and Tulips
Daffodils, Hyacinths, and Tulips

 

FloridaGasparilla_040615__0383

One of my favorite quotes on photography:

“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” – Ansel Adams

 

Iris at Sunrise
Iris at Sunrise

 

The Goldfinch
The Goldfinch

 

Little Gasparilla Island, Florida: paradise
Little Gasparilla Island, Florida: paradise

 

Skimmers at Little Gasparilla Island, Florida
Skimmers at Little Gasparilla Island, Florida

 

Peonies from the Garden
Peonies from the Garden

Photography Portfolio and White House Custom Color

One of my end-of-2015 goals has been to upgrade my photography printing service, and I’m pleased to report that it is live through SmugMug with printing through one of the industry’s finest photo printing houses, White House Custom Color. I have ordered several different prints and can honestly say that the quality is exceptional and their work is guaranteed.

Jennifer Lyn King Fine Art Photography
Jennifer Lyn King Fine Art Photography

Click here to reach the site, or get to it through my photography page

Wishing you and yours the most delightful and joy-filled Christmas season. Warmly, Jennifer

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Some News I’m Pretty Proud Of…

Prague's Charles Bridge

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” ― Ansel Adams

 

Writing has always been my first creative love, but photography comes in a very close second. Often, here at my blog and site, I write about photography (link to a list of photography posts). And now, I’m delighted to announce:

Some News I’m Pretty Proud Of…

Photography

Recently, I’ve had many inquiries into my photography, and I’m so happy to announce my work will be and currently is on display in many public and private venues.

  • A publisher bought pieces as part of an educational series (non-disclosed).
  • A museum in Milwaukee, a wall mural for an upcoming collection
  • As a cover of a book on Prague, title forthcoming, by esteemed publisher, Dreyers-Forlag in Norway
  • Several private collectors
Prague's Charles Bridge
Prague’s Charles Bridge in fog

In case you’re interested in Buying My Photography in Prints, Cards, Canvases, etc.

Here is a link to RedBubble and my photography there, available in many formats like photo canvases, framed prints, greeting cards, and more. The quality is excellent, and the images turn out beautifully. They also guarantee you’ll be 100% happy with the product.

If you like an image that you don’t see listed at RedBubble.com, send me a note and I’ll add it there for you.

 

Jennifer Lyn King Red Bubble Portfolio

 

Writing

My first creative love is for writing fiction. I attended the excellent Muse & the Marketplace writers conference in Boston in May. The classes I took and agents and writers I met there inspired me, and from feedback on my novel as a result, I’ve worked hard every morning this summer on revising my novel. I still have a ways to go until I’m ready for it to go out on submission to literary agents and then publishers, but I am so happy with the way it is becoming.

I’ve also realized: all of my very favorite books have taken many years to be written. Excellent writing takes time. That is what I am shooting for.

I’ve been working on developing the writing and characters, and I’ve changed the title to reflect the honing: Light from Distant Shores. For all of my dear friends and family, thank you for all of your support. It is a long journey. Your belief means the world to me.

Cinque Terre, Italy

Reading

Most of you know how much I love to read, and I’ve kept up the reading throughout the summer. And since GREAT books are hard to find, my friends and I write weekly book recommendations each Wednesday at GreatNewBooks.org. Our team is made up of reading / writing friends and we’ve recently grown to be a team of 9.

GreatNewBooks.org
GreatNewBooks.org

We’re going on 2 years of recommending books we authentically love, and we host giveaways of new books out on shelves, at least once each quarter. So if you’re looking for a good book, visit our site and sign up for the 1x weekly email recommendations. We love to share great new books.

 

Thank you!

Thank you for staying in touch and for your support and kindness. I count myself blessed for all of you.

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On Seeing Beauty: A Daily Challenge

peony

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God’s handwriting – a wayside sacrament.  Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

For the past three months, I’ve been working on an experiment. It’s been a simple experiment, involving only my iPhone and an app called Instagram. The challenge has been to see if I can find one beautiful thing about each day and take a photograph of it. The result? An improved daily perspective.

My Instagram roll
My Instagram roll

This summer, I’ve seen beauty in unexpected places: a shell tree on the beach, a tangerine sunset, a fleeting rainbow, a used palette, a skyline, and a family game night Monopoly board. And now, once I’ve started looking for something beautiful in each day, I find I notice it more and more … a child’s smile, a held hand, a delicate flower.

On Seeing Beauty
Let there be many windows to your soul, that all the glory of the world may beautify it. -Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Continue reading On Seeing Beauty: A Daily Challenge

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Prague’s Spires and Magical Golden Lane: A Photojournal

Prague

“Known as the “golden city of 100 spires” and a “symphony in stone”, Prague boasts architectural styles ranging from the Renaissance and Baroque right up to the art nouveau and cubist styles of the 20th Century.” -Prague Guidebook

To walk around Prague for a day is to walk through time. From the cobblestone streets to the hundreds of spires stretching skyward, Prague is an enchantress.

Even after living in Prague for almost 3 years, I can’t seem to get enough of Prague and her beauty. I savor time out on the Charles Bridge, where tourists pass under the Saints guarding over the Vltava River. I love exploring the nooks carved into the centuries of buildings here, and discovering the artistic palette of a city that does play a symphony with her stones.

Recently, I took my camera along for a day out in Prague. So, following, join me in a photojournal of Prague’s famed artist’s lane, Golden Lane, built inside the Prague Castle wall, and of the spires along the way. I hope you enjoy them, this glimpse of Prague in March at the brink of Spring!

Prague Castle Entrance, Changing of the Guards
Prague Castle Entrance, Changing of the Guards
Entrance to Prague Castle, facing out
Entrance to Prague Castle, facing out
Prague
Prague
Prague
Prague
Prague
Prague
Prague
Prague

Continue reading Prague’s Spires and Magical Golden Lane: A Photojournal

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The Magic of Low Light: Photography

Sunrise at Monterosso al Mare, the Cinque Terre, Italy

Photography is the art of writing with light. -Gerardo Suter

I love visiting the ocean, and having time on the beach. To me, there is something about the rhythmic crashing of waves, the wide feeling of timelessness, and the gentle scrubbing of the saltwater and sugary sand to wipe away all of the world’s cares. I love being at the beach.

Gulf of Mexico Sunset
Gulf of Mexico Sunset

When I brought my first camera to the beach, I made the classic mistake time and time again. And I was always disappointed with my photographs. The colors always appeared washed out, my subjects were always squinting, and the objects I was trying to capture for remembrance always turned out pale. One morning, when I was up with the sun, I watched the woman staying next door to us, out with her impressive camera. After she was done taking photographs, she chatted with me for a moment, and made a comment I’ll never forget. “At the beach, don’t even bother to take photos when the sun is high. Only shoot at sunrise or sunset.”

Sunrise at Monterosso al Mare, the Cinque Terre, Italy
Sunrise at Monterosso al Mare, the Cinque Terre, Italy

Since then, I have found her words to be true, for more than just taking photos at the beach. Because when the lighting is low, the colors are rich, and the photographs become magical.

First Light, the Mediterranean Sea, Italy
First Light, the Mediterranean Sea, Italy

When I had a backyard garden in the United States with many roses, my favorite time to be in the garden was at dawn, with my camera in hand, as the light turned the dew into diamonds, and the roses and other flowers sparkled like gemstones in the low sunlight.

Kennedy Rose at sunrise
Kennedy Rose at sunrise

Continue reading The Magic of Low Light: Photography

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Capturing the Beauty in Life: Photography, and Venice

Gondola Parking in Venice

Photography is the beauty of life, captured. – Tara Chisholm

Venice
Venice

In 2003, I received my first SLR camera from my husband as a birthday gift. It was not one of the more prestigious brands, and the zoom lens was off-brand, as well. But, the combination of the two– a Target-special camera combined with a basic 30 – 300 mm lens did one major thing in my life: hooked me on photography.

It wasn’t long after we purchased the camera, and we took a trip to the coast of Maine from the flatlands of our home in the Midwest. The time was precious because the skies were vivid blue, the ocean was alluring, the lighthouses shimmered, and the fog was thick at times. But also, our boys were then ages two, three, and five. It was tough, with boys running everywhere and into literally everything. But, as I now look back on the photographs I took during that time, I realize that it was the time of our lives.

Now, many years later, the time still is the time of our lives.

Somehow, through the lens of the camera, time can stand still, and a MOMENT is captured, forever.

Venice, Servizio Gondole
Venice, Servizio Gondole

I have photographs from that Maine trip of majestic lighthouses surrounded by waves crashing like thunder along the craggy shore. And the next frames had photographs of little hands and legs scrambling to climb the dry rocks beside me. These memories will last. They are a treasure.

The very definition of Prague: two Czech men at 11:00 am with their beers, in Obecni Dum

Of course, now living in Europe, I tote my camera everywhere. Because everything is beautiful, and our boys are at a great age. My photo batches now have ones like the two above, of the Prague spires poking through the shroud of fog and two men chatting over beer in the Prague Municipal House, followed by a dozen shots of our boys playing futbol with their school tournament, followed by a thousand photos from our roadtrip to Venice. All moments frozen in time, to share with our loved ones far away, and to cherish for years to come.

Carnival Masks on San Marco Square
Carnival Masks on San Marco Square, Venice

It doesn’t matter what our cameras are like — whether they are digital SLR cameras with multiple lenses or the always-handy cell phone cameras. To be able to separate ourselves from everyday busyness and to SEE the preciousness of a snatch in time — this is a gift. To be present. To really see, and mindfully capture the whirl of life around us. Continue reading Capturing the Beauty in Life: Photography, and Venice

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How to Watermark Your Photos for the Web

A February dash of color, tulips

There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.  ~Ansel Adams

 

A February dash of color, tulips
A February dash of color, tulips

A couple of weeks ago, a friend wrote to me asking how I watermark my photographs for the web. Since I hadn’t blogged about photography in over a year, I decided to dedicate my posts in February to the subject.

In case you missed the last two posts, click here for The Joy of Photography: How to Find Your Inner Lens and 5 Quick Steps to Managing Your Digital Photos.

Why watermark your photographs for the web? To claim your work as your own.

Some photographers like to have their text in a prominent position, with bold text. Others want to be more discreet with their watermark. But the principle stays the same: the purpose of a watermark is to claim the photograph you have taken and stamp it with your signature. That way, when others like your photo and want to link to it, or, as often happens, want to use it as their own, your watermark already links your work back to you.

Another important factor to consider as you watermark a photo is what size do you want your photograph to be? A smaller photo (in KB or MB) by compression helps your website to upload more quickly, while large photographs (more than 1.0 MB) bog down your website or page. The smaller the image file, the blurrier the image when it is enlarged. But usually, an image can be quite small on a web page and still retain its original look.

There are many resources online that show how to automatically watermark photos for the web, for instance here. But, my technique varies a bit from the standard method of watermarking photographs. I place my watermarks by hand, so that they blend into the image.

Following, in three steps, how I watermark photos for use on the web: Continue reading How to Watermark Your Photos for the Web

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The Joy of Photography: How to Find Your Inner Lens

  • Originally posted on February 1, 2012

“Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.”  -Ansel Adams

 

In the comments on last week’s post, I was asked how I managed to place my website name on each of my photographs. I hadn’t thought about it much, and haven’t blogged about photography itself here for quite a while. So, inspired by Hallie’s question, I’m planning to write about photography each Wednesday in the month of February, including how I file and sort, edit and mark my digital image files. But first for today, the reason to become hooked on photography: On the Joy of Photography, and finding your inner lens.

Years ago, my love for photography came on strong—it traipsed into my life like a memorable song, sashaying in, swinging her coattails, and purring a delectable melody.

 

Dewy daisy at first light, in my former backyard, one of my favorite early shots
Dewy daisy at first light, in my former backyard, one of my favorite early shots

Continue reading The Joy of Photography: How to Find Your Inner Lens

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5 Quick Steps to Managing Your Digital Photos

“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.” – Aaron Siskind

 

A Great Tit bird in winter, Prague
A Great Tit bird in winter, Prague

Today, I had the immense privilege of venturing into Prague with a dear photo-loving friend, despite the bitter cold temps, to take photographs of gorgeous Prague under a dusting of snow. In the matter of a few hours, I took a couple hundred photographs. :o)

One of the hardest things about digital photography is the ability to take thousands of photographs.

Yes, the ability to take thousands of photographs is a wonderful thing, especially considering the time and effort and money involved in the old-style method of developing film. But there is one drawback to digital and the thousands of photographs: how do you organize and find the photographs once you’ve taken them? Continue reading 5 Quick Steps to Managing Your Digital Photos

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A Prague Photo Journal

the Prague Castle
Words cannot begin to describe the beauty we’ve discovered in the Czech Republic thus far, so I am dedicating this week’s blog to a true view through my lens– a photo journal of our time living in Europe thus far. The images can speak for themselves … Enjoy! 

Prague, Czech Republic: the Prague Castle

the Prague Castle
the Prague Castle

The infamous Astronomical Clock, and other sites around the Old Town Square


Crossing the Vltava River on the Charles Bridge:



Not too far from Prague, the Krivoklat Castle:



 

Berlin, Germany: the Brandenberg Gate, the Berlin Wall, and the Holocaust Memorial

 

History has countless stories to tell … More photos to come. Enjoy the waning days of summer! -JK