Moab – back at home

I’m home. We walked through Fiery Furnace yesterday morning. The nice thing was we didn’t have to get up so early – we did a normal 7:30 departure (actually 7:40 since I held everyone up checking out). The not so nice thing was it was friggin cold. A storm came in the night before and the sky was a lead grey when we went through Park Avenue. I got one really nice shot from there. Haven’t gone through the rest yet. Anyway, it rained over night – just a bit – and cleared the sky very nicely. But it left a bitter cold wind behind. So we bundled and wandered. I’ve downloaded those shots but haven’t looked through them yet.

We did our final review, which like all of them was great. Then goodbyes and head for home. The drive was uneventful and I got home, got back in the car to drive Rachel somewhere and mowed the lawn. So much for my artistic aura.

Here’s my last group of pictures that we reviewed yesterday. I’ll go through the last couple of batches and post any that look decent in the next couple of days.

(click an image to see it full size)

This was on the first day, on the back side of the Windows as the sun was coming up.

This is Pine Tree Arch in Devils Garden. It was the first one on the hike. Hit it just at sunrise.

This is a pano I did of Delicate Arch. It was an amazing arch – way bigger than I thought it was (huge captures the thought better) but it’s hard to do anything new with it. I like the pano, but the overall image needs some work.

This is on the walk back down from Delicate Arch.

This is Pine Tree Arch in Devils Garden.

This is another view of Double Arch, looking up.

I took these two on the way up to Double O Arch in Devils Garden. I was getting tired of arches and started fixating on texture details. I like them both but the second one needs some work.

This is the one shot I’ve pulled out of our walk through Park Avenue. The light was seriously strange that night due to the storm coming in. This one was a great texture shot.

And this was an accident that worked. I think I was clearing a bracket. That would be a shadow of my skinny leg. At least it spares you the glowing white nature of the subject leg.

As I mentioned before I’ll through my last couple of batches and see if there is anything worth sharing.

Also, some time this next week I’m going to port this over to my hosted server and redirect the traffic from here to there. If you come by while that is happening you might get a link to the new site. When that is done I’ll be able to do much more interesting stuff and do it with a great deal less effort.

Sometime after that, and probably overlapping a bit, I’ll go through the entire shoot, pick out the better images, many of which you’ve seen here, work them better and put together a more polished presentation of the entire experience.

I’m also going to put together a produce/publish scheduled that will (I hope) push me into keeping the muse alive and going. This weekend was great and I’d like to keep the momentum going, despite being home with all of the challenges that provides.

Hope you enjoy these.

Moab – Day 3 (I missed a day)

This will be short – but I’ll post some pictures. Got in last night at 10:30 – up at 4:00. Now it is 11:30 and I have to be up at 4:30. I haven’t had much time to post. It’s been fun, but a lot of work. Have some decent pictures to show for it.

Here you go:

These are from Goblin Valley Last night:

This is in Canyon Lands this morning:

This is from Window Arch in Arches:

This is a view of Double Arch in Arches:

Night

Moab – Day One

I survived the trip. I had one exciting moment when I semi blew a tire just as he was going by me. Thought someone had shot something.

The car ran great – my biggest challenge was staying reasonably close to the speed limit. It handles VERY nice. Really like this machine. Here’s a shot of it just outside of Moab.

Mom told me that I should check out Dead Horse Point. She said it was really impressive. So, after I got settled and wandered around town I jumped back into the car and headed up. Got there about 6:30. Wandered around a little then made my way over to the west side, set up and watched the sun go down, taking a few pictures every few minutes so it looked like I had a purpose in being there. I did – but I most enjoyed the just sitting there listening to the wind and the birds and watching the shadows grow, define then disappear.

Here’s my view point while I was sitting and watching.

This is a shot I took when I first arrived, looking east off of Dead Horse Point. This little spire caught my fancy.

More to come.

Now I need to get to bed. I have to be ready to go at 5:00 am. ugh.

The adventure begins tonight

As immediatly after work as possible I’m throwing the camera bag and some worn out clothes into my trunk and heading south to Moab/Arches and what ever else is down there. I’m going to wander around in the desert with a famous photograpic artist and take pictures of rocks. And I’m going to have fun, **mn it.

I’ll try to post at least once a day with some images. So stay tuned, maybe it will be worth it.

CS5 HDR – My first shot

I’ve been a bit absent – sorry about that.

I decided I needed to have more flexibility than I could get from wordpress.com. So I upgraded my current hosting plan, setup a couple of WordPress blogs there, one a replica of this site and played. I bought a WordPress book, found a bunch of custom templates to work with and discovered Windows Live Writer. I set up another blog from scratch on the new host server and have been spending most of my blog time there.  Now I need to move this one over.

I’ve also been messing around with CS5. I’ve been watching Kelby training vids and just messing with it – finding things and pushing buttons. I played around with the Content Aware fill and the Puppet Wrap – the cool new sexy things that at some point I may find a use for. I think the Content Aware fill will be nice, I just need to find where it works.  I need to play with Puppet Wrap more.

So far I’m liking the CS5 HDR. I’m a little irritated that I bought Photomatrix and haven’t hardly used it since – now I have this. Oh well – it’s just money, right?

I’ve only run a couple of things through and haven’t done anything hard yet, but I like it.

Here are the originals. 3 shots at .7 stop increments (not on purpose – I was going for full stop increments but I’m an idiot and I didn’t check it). All pictures were shot hand held so they needed to  be aligned (click to enlarge):

Here’s the original base exposure shot – standard Lightroom adjustments to Exposure and Blacks:

This is the base HDR image before any PS adjustments. All adjustments were made in the HDR panel:

The shadows opened up very nicely.  Detail depth is much better.

And this is the final, adjusted HDR:

I like the result. It aligned nicely, which was a problem I had with Photomatrix – not a big problem, but enough that I noticed it. The panel is simpler than Photomatrix which for the moment is nice, but usually that indicates less possibilities. Need to dig deeper to flush that out.

More to come on CS5 HDR.

One more thing to add – I need to move this to the new site. Editing this in the base maint tool basically stinks. Windows Live Writer is a joy compared to this. I’m motivated now.

The innocent love of creating

I’ve been struggling since I decided to re-start my visual exploration. It is the same struggle I felt when I started in college, the same one that made me quit 15 years ago. I come from a working class family. We work for a living. Everything has a purpose and that purpose is focused on making a living. It’s a cycle that I can’t seem to break free of.

I fell in love with photography as a Boy Scout working on my Photography merit badge. I still remember standing in that darkroom and watching an image appear on the blank sheet of paper. It was magic – a magic that I could do. And that sense of wonder never went away. I lived for the moment when I put the exposed paper into the developer and watched an image appear. Every one of the thousands of times I did that I loved it. I miss that moment now, but there are other moments that the digital world provides that are almost as powerful.

I love exploring and finding that hidden image. Just walking around, camera in hand, looking, seeking and eventually finding. Or that image that I grabbed as I was walking by. I wasn’t really looking, but I had a camera in my hand I saw something significant, I grabbed it and moved on. Seldom do I realized at that moment that what I caught was great, but later, when I’m going through my shots and I see it – wow, I love that moment.

I love the moment of my life that I can capture and hang on a wall. Not just the picture – but the memory of that moment. It is there forever. The smells, the sounds, my feelings. I remember that moment more clearly than any other moment in my life.

And I hope my work has some of the same impact on others. I can’t speak for them, but I hope it does. I’ve won a few awards and enough comments that I believe it does.

But I keep getting caught up in the why. The how will I make a living at this. I need to pay for it – I need it to have a purpose that relates to the material needs of  life. Yeah, I read the quotes of how art lifts and inspires. How it is what pulls us up out of our earth-bound realm and allows us to see greater possibilities. And I believe them. But I have a hard time maintaining that for the long term.

It’s like when I’m involved in something spiritual, when my mind and heart are touched by that greater realm and I’m filled with that peace and joy and hope. Then I walk into my door, eager to share it. Then reality smacks me in the face. My kids are yelling, the dog is barking, I fall over something left on the floor and it’s gone. And there’s just a big hole where a moment before there was an all encompassing light and I feel worse for the loss.

I keep losing the true why to the noise of the earthly material why. At heart I’m overtly practical and art isn’t practical. It rises above practical and I find myself trying to make it practical. And every time I fall into that pit I don’t like it anymore.

Here are a couple of quotes from photographer Paul Caponigro, son of John Paul Caponigro. I’ve been spending a lot of time on John Paul Caponigro’s site because I’m impressed by his grasp of art, his approach to it, his peace with it. Something I seek but am having a hard time finding. These quotes talk about maintaining that innocence, about ‘Not Doing’ so you can step away from the process and be free to create. It really hit home with what I’ve been struggling with.

The full conversation was first published in the May/June, 1995 issue of View Camera magazine: www.viewcamera.com

Castaneda and Don Juan have a perfectly wonderful dialog together on the business of ‘not doing’ as opposed to ‘doing.’ Don Juan tells Castaneda that he must learn to ‘not do.’ Castaneda says, how do I not do? Life is doing. Yes, that’s precisely the problem. Everything that you do is based on something you already know. It has already been handed to you. Everybody is doing according to a formula and that’s what keeps it all in place. This is all too obvious. Not doing means that you’re aware that that process exists and you step away from it in order to see clearly. The ability to be free, from that process, even though you are a part of it, enables you to ‘see.’ Then it’s not difficult at all. Then the essence becomes available.

Photography attracted me before I ever knew that it was a part of a structured world. I saw a camera which my grandmother wielded. I thought it was fascinating. I didn’t know about famous artists and museums and magazines. I innocently met that process. And I excitedly engaged it to the best of my ability. Later, because my excitement was so strong, I realized that this could be a medium through which I could work. Then I had to meet the whole world of photography; manufacturers, materials, hype, galleries, dealers, critics, etc. Somehow I did not lose sight of that initial innocence. I realized that unless I could stay free, unidentified, unless I could keep my personality from going crazy with the adulation or the lack of it I was not going to maintain that innocence. I realized that the innocence was the important state that called forth the inspiration into the process.

Huntington Witherill – I loved this

John Paul Caponigro posted these videos on his site. I watched them and loved them. Beautiful work and inspiring words.

Here’s some key quotes I pulled as I watched them:

Photographs are ‘stylized interpretations of reality’. Every photograph ‘is a lie’.

He is ‘constantly looking and very occasionally actually seeing’.

Weston called that ‘The Flame of Recognition.’

Part 1:

Part 2:

Check out Huntington Witherill’s web site for more great stuff.

Boise Skyline Pano from Camel Back

Boise Skyline from Saddleback - Pano

My first kind of successful pano. This is a blend of 3 images shot of downtown Boise.
  
– Threw away the first one and tried again. This turned out a bit better. I cleaned up the blend, reblended the sky with the city line and removed the link from Flickr and loaded it directly into the blog so it would show the full size image when you enlarge it. Better. Still some room to improve.