The Daily Focal Point

January 13, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 12:59 am

Ahhhh… doesn’t this feel nice? Like slipping into a hot tub (I could use that right about now)
Getting back into the groove of things and starting back up these weekly challenges, there ain’t nothin’ better.

And before we began, let me tell you all how incredibly stoked I am. I just drove 14 hours straight from SLC to the San Francisco Bay with a dog and a 2 month old AND I’M STILL STOKED! (No dog puke this time)

ALRIGHT let’s get it on!

Our first photo this challenge comes from Rob at Dusty Lens at Dusty Lens – North Metro. Visit Rob’s site has some absolutley stunning photos. Check it out. (His recent photo titled “Crystal Ice” is wonderful)

Rob says, “My first favorite place is Pisa Italy. I shot this image from our room window at the Grand Duomo Hotel room 409. Quite a tiny room, we had to stack our suitcases on the desk in order to get around the room. There was a nice 3 foot wide balcony to step out onto and observe the city scene. I must add, the cafe next door served a fabulous tiramisu gelato. I do regret not having enough time to climb the tower or visit the cathedral.”
Uh Rob? I don’t know what you do for a day job but maybe you should quit and work for National Geographic. This is an absolutely stunning photo.

Rob says, “My second favorite place is along the Mississippi River downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota near the Stone Arch bridge. Here I crossed under the Stone Arch Bridge on the river’s edge to capture the classic downtown scene nearly every Minneapolis photographer has shot. Note the Heron standing in the river in the reflected red light. On one side of the Mississippi River is St. Anthony Main with it’s restaurants and shops. On the other side is downtown and the Guthrie Theater. There is so much to photograph in this area of the river.”
In further communication with Rob I expressed how amazing I thought this photo was. Later on he sent me this… which I don’t think he wanted me to post.
Too bad Rob. This photo is my favorite. Seriously dude, National Geographic.

Our next Photo comes from my good friend/mentor Sheila at Sheila has the ability to capture beautiful images that aren’t set up or fake. Her talent is capturing real life and she does it beautifully. Whether through her children, her surrounding in Guam, or just outside her window as she’s driving down the street. I owe her a lot.
Looky Here
Sheila says, “My favorite place is just sitting with the kids and playing. That I can take photos of them and catch a priceless moment is even better! This is my middle one showing me the close up of her eagle. :)”
Oh and I heard from someone (:)) that Sheila was nominated for the 2008 Weblog Awards for the Best Photo Blog. Go vote for her HERE!

Our next two photos come from Stacy. Stacy and I got together with our families over Christmas. We did everything with photography except to go and actually take some pictures (what the?!) Stacy is extremely talented and I’m loving her work.
Stacy says, “This is my favorite subject. I love my little nephew Stockton. He was really fun to shoot. I guess you could say that I like babies. ha ha ha. Anywho, here is my adorable nephew.”
These two photos are beautiful. Your nephew has the longest eyelashes that I have ever seen. I’m sure most girls would die for some those long! I absolutely love the first one in B&W. Sharp image too for an indoor shot!

Our next set of photos come from Nana. I couldn’t be more excited to see Nana participate with the DFP. Nana has a wonderful view and eye for photography. Everyone needs to hop on over to her blog and scroll down to see the photo labeled “Friday Photo: White” It’s a gorgeous photo.
Photo 1: collage france

Photo 2: collage provence

Photo 3: kleinzoon

These are so wonderful. I spent about 20 minutes looking at the 3 separate picture because of the amount of detail in each one. I love collage pictures as well! Thanks Nana!

This photo comes from Gail at From The Back Deck.
Garden in Snow
Gail says, “This is my favorite place. It’s the Garden of the Gods in Colorado. I lived about ten minutes from there and walked in that Garden every morning. I miss Colorado. If I could go back, I would, for many many reasons.
WOW. It looks so serene and quiet. In the words of Liz Lemon from 30 Rock, “I want to go to there” Seriously though, this is a great image. The structure of the the photograph is amazing. Wonderful submission as usual Gail!

Our next photos come from Kathleen. I might have mentioned this before but for those of you who don’t know Kathleen she is just the sweetest person. She has such a soft heart and always a positive thing to say. And she has some beautiful photographs as well! Check out her site. She has a major soft spot in her heart for animals and it’s a joy to read her posts.



Kathleen says, “Well, this is it. My son and his wife lived close to South Padre Island, Texas, I visited, and I fell in love. I believe it was the beauty of the area and its wild beaches, but also the local love for nature. There is a lady call the Turtle Lady who has helped preserve the turtles there. The birds are incredible. And the dolphins are so accustomed to the boats, etc., they come right up to visit. It is definitely a natural paradise. I would love to retire here someday.
Two of these pictures were taken from the boat I love to go out on when we are there. Sitting on this boat, enjoying the breeze blowing through my hair, and visiting with God’s creation and creatures gives me more pleasure than I could ever explain. South Padre Island and its wild beaches is just something very special to me.”

Great photos Kathleen! I grew up in San Antonio, TX and our family would travel to South Padre, it’s such a beautiful place and you captured it so well!

Our next shot of the challenge comes from Mary Elizabeth. Who I always love when she participates and I love looking at her photos. I tend to gain a new perspective because of the talented way that she shoots. It’s so different than my perspective and she is amazing at portraits. Check out her site!
Mary Elizabeth says, “Here is a photo I took back in the Spring of the Bountiful Utah Temple. I grew up in Bountiful, literally lived there my entire life until I was 18. I was able to go to the ground-breaking, open house, & dedication of this beautiful building. I also went through this temple when I recieved my endowments (you can leave that part out of my photo description!) so it is really very special to me. I was just in Bountiful one day, and the temple looked stunning, so I had to go up and photograph it. This is one of my very favorite pictures. It is so simple, but means so much to me and my faith. This is definitely one of my very favorite places.”
Mary Elizabeth and I grew up in the same hometown (Bountiful) just outside of Salt Lake City, UT. The Bountiful Temple is such a staple of the city that every time I see it or see a picture of it, I immediately think of home. I have a hundred or so photos of this building because it is so beautiful. It is a wonderful piece of architecture to look at but for me (as well as Mary Elizabeth) it goes much deeper than that; I am grateful for my faith. I have seen this building many times before but I have rarely seen it as beautiful as this picture.

Our next photo comes from Terry at Not Quite Country Girl (love that) This is Terry’s first time participating in the DFP’s Challenges and what a first photo.
Terry says, “My favorite vacation spot in all the world is the beach at Emerald Isle, North Carolina. I’ve been vacationing at this same beach for my whole life! My parents took me there as a child, my husband and I took our own 4 children there when they were growing up, and now that they’re grown and on their own our growing family still vacations there every summer! It’s a beautiful, restful place that I have grown to love. Even though I was born and raised and still live in Indiana, I think I’m truly a beach-girl inside, and I yearn for the waves and the smell of saltwater. Just seeing this photo again takes me back there…so much better than the swirling snow outside my Indiana window!”
Now this is composition. This gives your eyes something to follow with the lines in the handrails going forward then down to the sand and the waves. It’s a wonderful image and the bird flying by in the air is icing on the cake. My favorite part though is the few stalks of weeds on the sand. It breaks up the image and provides texture. Great photo Terry and I hope to see plenty more from where this came from. Also, great choice on the D80. That’s what I shoot with and I love it. I need to get with you and see what manual functions you’re shooting with etc. Thanks Terry!

Next is from Ginger who has been one of the first participants the the DFP challenges and who’s perspective in photography is very similar to my own. (Or I would like to think so at least!)
Ginger says, “So one of my favorite places…the beach! Ever since I was a landlocked kid in Texas, the beach has been one of those mystical magical places where I can recharge. What I like about this photo (besides the subject matter), is the color. I find it hard to capture sunset accurately, colorwise, so this shot (which hasn’t been photoshopped) is one I’m pretty
proud of.”

I was blown away by this photo when I first saw it. It’s such a soft light that is so different than normal sunset photos. It’s champagne color provides just the right tone and softness with the two gentle waves. This has to be one of the best sunset at the beach photos I’ve seen in a while. Great tones and great composition!

This photo comes to us by way of Jen at Jen’s 365 Project. Her most recent post on shooting in RAW is awesome.
I want to know what camera you use and what lens you have because this is an amazing shot. Just the softness and the lighting. along is amazing. The eyes are the main subject that just bounce.
365 day 4 020
Jen says, “Hi – I’m pretty new to Photography, but I’d love to start entering some of your photo challenges…
I have a favorite someone, not somewhere….. 😉
How can you want to be anywhere else when you have a little one? (ok, except for maybe at 3 am when they won’t sleep!)”
How true that is. Wait… it’s my wife that gets up for our little 2 month old boy… I sleep great!
Great photo Jen, I can’t wait to see more. Seriously, email me and let me know about what you use because this is beautiful! Oh and isn’t that 50mm 1.8 lens amazing!?

Our final photo comes from Audubon from Ducks Mahal who has become one of my favorite bloggers. Audubon is hilarious. Flat out one of the funniest and most talented writers I’ve read. I respect it so much because I just can’t do it! My favorite recent post is here.. Check it out.
I must apologize to Audubon as he submitted this photo to me almost a full month ago! As soon as he sent it over to me I took a hiatus on the Challenges for Holiday break. I loved this photo from the minute I opened it up last month. It’s a great example of layers. It’s hard to do layers in photography as one subject usually comes in super sharp and everything else is way blurred. This is a powerful shot with the secondary statue in front of the St Louis Cathedral. Great shot man! I’m sorry it took so long. 🙂

Well, what does everyone think? The purpose of these challenges (and the DFP) is to learn and to improve your photography. The biggest way I can improve is by viewing others work and perspective. Photography is not about perfect composition or subject matter, it’s all about perspective.

So, which ones do you like?

Great shots this week! Again, very talented group and I couldn’t be more pleased with the participation I’m getting from everyone, it’s just awesome.



  1. Wow, that’s why I got up early. I get to be the first to comment. These photos are wonderful. What a collection of individual perspectives! Ok, I’m going to vote. I have to vote for my neice’s (Dr. Cason) picture of her daughter with the tiny toy. Beyond being her aunt (where I think that everything she does is quite remarkable) I just think this shot is exceptionally remarkable because of the perspective and the emotion it portrays. If I get a second vote, and I had to think about this for a long time because there are so, so many really good photos here, I absolutely love Ducks Mahal photo. I think the perspective again is absolutely shocking and wonderful. It’s a powerful shot.

    Comment by Gail — January 13, 2009 @ 6:42 am

  2. Oh my gosh Cabe, just when you think they cannot get any bettter they do. What wonderful photographs. It is so hard to pick.

    I do love that heron shot of Rob’s though – of course, there is an animal in it! I also love the beach shot from Terry. This reminds me of my vacations to those beaches with my grandparents. I could almost see the three of us descending those steps. And isn’t the water there the most beautiful shades of green and blue?

    Comment by Kathleen — January 13, 2009 @ 8:31 am

  3. Hey Cabe, great site! Just one question, may I participate or is it too late?

    Best of luck.


    Comment by Carlos Bohorquez Nassar — January 13, 2009 @ 12:06 pm

  4. Oops! I forgot to send a photo this time. Oh well, what a marvelous collection here! And I’m excited to be introduced to some new photographers/bloggers. Can’t resist the beautiful baby photos, the Minneapolis photo is awesome. Love Gail’s Garden of the Gods shot…no way to choose a favorite. Nice job, everyone!

    Comment by 12littlefeet — January 13, 2009 @ 12:44 pm

  5. Thanks 12littlefeet for liking my photo. I just thought I’d let you know that that shot of the Garden of the Gods has not been touched by photoshoppe. It came right out of the camera just like that. (Not by my design. All I did was point and shoot). Can you believe how blue that sky is naturally. I was blown away by the colors. That’s because of the wonderful light at way above 6,000 feet.

    Comment by Gail — January 13, 2009 @ 1:42 pm

  6. Hey Cabe. Love your work too. I get my Bay Area fix when I visit your site. This photo stuff is a wonderful exercise. You and dr. Cason got me and my little woman back in the saddle with this. Come visit and see her (the little woman) melange of pics and vids with our dog Zelda at Xmas.

    Thanks Dude.

    Comment by Audubon Ron — January 13, 2009 @ 3:22 pm

  7. No way to pick a favorite, but man, do I want a vacation now!!

    Comment by Ginger — January 13, 2009 @ 4:25 pm

  8. Wow- really impressed. Esp like Kathleen and Audubons! and Of course my auntie’s I can’t believe it came out of the camera that way!

    Comment by — January 13, 2009 @ 5:35 pm

  9. Kathleen- I know! I’m just lucky people still like to participate. I love your last photo of the sunset and the ocean. I used to live in San Antonio and my family would go down to Padre island all the time!

    It might be too late for this entry but I host these once a week! I would love to see some of your photos on here. Your website is beautiful!

    KJ- I was going to email you with a guilt trip but decided to hold off

    Audubon- That’s my goal with this site to get people to take more pics!

    Ginger- NO JOKE! I’ve been drooling over these pictures

    Yeah Gail that is impressive. The sky has a deep blue look to it. Just beautiful!

    Comment by cabenelson — January 13, 2009 @ 5:50 pm

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