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Practice, practice, practice

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I’ll be in Boyds Mills, Pennsylvania, this week at Writing From Nature, a workshop presented by the Highlights Foundation. I will be presenting a session titled “Photographs + Stories = Winning Nonfiction.” Two years ago, when I was in the throes of writing and photographing Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator, I attended the workshop and found it invaluable. When I am not presenting, I’ll be writing, journaling, taking photographs, and learning from other faculty and participants. I’m confident that if I keep on showing up with a curious mind and eye, I’ll find another book in our beautiful, natural world.

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I’ll be taking the Nikon D200, which is the camera Richard typically uses. We got the Nikon D70 first and I had become accustomed to it by the time we got the D200. I haven’t really wanted to muddy the waters by trying to learn a new set of controls. However, I’m grabbing this opportunity to get to know the D200 better. It is the only camera I’ll be bringing along. I re-read (re-skimmed) the manual this afternoon and then took it out for a spin in the yard. I wanted to get a feel for the controls. So far, so good. As you can see, I decided to take some pictures of our nascent garden. You can see the progress of the cabbage. Here’s how it started. We got the cabbage in the ground late so I’m not sure it will form a head — though the curvature of this leaf suggests it might.
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Our first edible harvest was green onions. We grew these from onion sets; we needed to thin the original planting so we ate them as green onions. Yum!

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Just in case we needed evidence of the persistence of grass, here it is. We placed weed blocking fabric under the soil in our raised beds, but the grass is still poking through — especially on the edges. We’ll have to weed.sarah-d200-9479
This is our double-deep bed; it has onions, beets, and carrots in the first three rows. The final row has a tomato and a melon, which we hope will grow up the trellis. With the cage on top, this reminds me of a coffin.
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I set the camera on the rail to take this shot. I like the lines.

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I was experimenting, again, with this shot. I used the bracketing feature on the D200 to take 7 frames with 7 different exposures. Richard used photomatix software to create one image from the 7. Images like this are called high dynamic range images or HDR. It has a kind of other worldly affect.

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