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PIXelations 27

more abstracts

by fotofinish , 10-06-2009 at 07:35 PM (1098 Views)

I’m still experimenting with camera movements. In the pictures below, I did some stuff with a minimum of movements and at night.

Here’s one that turned out to be almost straight but with a movement component.

All of these were done in-camera and processed with Lightroom. You can see a few more examples of this group I call Night Moves here.

The next set below I shot over the weekend. Saturday was dreary, but I needed to practice my camera techniques. I need to refresh myself with my camera from time to time. I went to my usual favorite place, Session Woods, a small bird sanctuary near my house. And of course since I was not looking to come back with any keepers, the photo gods had other ideas. When I hiked to the ponds, a fog was clinging to the area. I took a variety of shots, still basically practicing technique, but the stuff below is what I came back with.

The two above I used vignetting in Lightroom to draw the eye into the picture. I even had a straight shot I was happy with.

You can see a few more examples of this grouphere.

One of the reasons I was practicing is because Jayne and I leave for Sedona, Arizona, this Saturday morning for a week’s stay. I hope to do some shooting at the Grand Canyon at sunset, perhaps a visit to Antelope Canyon and Horsehoe Bend. But we plan to hike a lot. Hopefully the camera gods will continue to smile upon me. We’ll see if this is true when I get back.

Sedona Yeah! Just don’t get carried away the abstracts out there. It is far to beautiful to have to change it. Love the red rocks and green trees against them. Have a great time. If you are lucky you’ll get snow or rainbows over the canyon.

This pic I like. tcc_20090906_5474.jpg it would make a great cover for a book about the journeys out of mental illness. Most of the rest I don’t really understand.

Interesting thought about mental illness, Skippy. I’ll have to recommend it when they take me away!

Anyway, we are looking forward to out trip. See ya when we get back!

sedona scenics

by fotofinish , 10-25-2009 at 05:29 PM (1184 Views)

Jayne and I vacationed in Sedona, Arizona a week ago. While there, we took a bus tour to the Grand Canyon at sunset. We never made it to Antelope Canyon or Horseshoe Bend. We did three hikes around Sedona: the Bell Mountain/Courthouse Butte Loop; Broken Arrow Trail to Chicken Point; and Long Canyon.

I had the bright idea that I would use my Singh Ray VariDensity filter as the primary filter for the trip. The reasoning was that I knew most of the pictures would be tourist shots under harsh lighting. This filter starts at 2 stops darker so I reasoned it would be good to use under these conditions. Well, this forced me to shoot at iso2000 in order to maintain a reasonable shutter speed for handholding using my 70-200mm.

I actually used every lens I owned: 16-35mm; 50mm; 70-200mm; and 100-400mm.

With iso2000, my pictures obviously were grainy, but I was able to compensate for that. I will have to get a different filter for the next trip. This may have been fine for my camera movement stuff, but it clearly didn’t work for everything else. Yes, I used a tripod in the earlier morning/late afternoon shots with mirror lockup, but since I knew that after that time the pictures would be little more than scenics so I switched to handhelds and needed a faster shutterspeed. Here’s a couple of typical shots.

Jayne and I had a great time and the weather was very warm. The Grand Canyon shots were just OK. I had hoped for a colorful sunset, but unfortunately it clouded over right at sunset. It was broken clouds for the hour and a half before it, though, which did allow me to get some OK shots. Of course, few shots of the canyon do the immensity any justice. What a feeling of insignificance…

You can see the rest of my scenics here.

I ended up taking about 13 gig of pictures which was just less than 1000 pictures. This exceeded my CF card capability so this was the first trip I was forced to rely on my Epson P3000 viewer as a backup device. This viewer is terrific. I off-loaded all pictures each night to the viewer. This allowed me to do a general preview of the day’s shoot to see if I accomplished the day’s objective.

I think I have 2 more blog articles about this trip: one on the abstracts I shot; and one on the interesting shoot I had at a ghost mine/junk yard…

Did you try it without a filter? 2000 iso for daylight seems awful high. The last time I was there, there was a good camera shop on Main St. In fact they had to drag me out of there to get back on the bus.

Some of your Grand Canyon shots are better than ok. IMO.

Glad you a good time. You have a lot of keepers in the gallery.

Thanks, Skippy. The haze was terrible and the canyon walls looked washed out. That’s the main reason I went with my filter. And since I was handholding, I wanted to keep the shutter speed reasonable. Can’t have everything, I guess…

My Influences

by fotofinish , 11-01-2009 at 07:41 PM (1254 Views)

Today, I wish to give credit and appreciation to the key influences on my long, artistic journey. These influences are all photographers, living and not.

Galen Rowell

Much of my start in serious photography can be attributed to Galen and his approach to photography. His articles were the first to teach me the true spirit and excitement in trying to capture images that speak to the soul as well as to the eye. In addition to being an accomplished climber and National Geographic photographer, he was also a long time runner for which I found to be in common with him. If you read through his articles, you can feel the joy he had in merging his love of running with his enthusiasm for expressing the emotion of whatever scene he was trying to capture. Unfortunately, he and his wife died in a plane crash in 2002. However, his spirit and ability to inspire has, I believe, earned him his immortality.

Alain Briot

In a similar vein, Alain’s image art and thoughts on art gave me much to think about as I began to search for my own voice. His essays made me see that there was more to photography than just the click of the shutter. I learned from him that there is more to art than the mere end product. His amazing articles gave me a detailed and methodical approach to art creation than I had ever imagined.

Michael Reichmann

Michael taught me the discipline of craftsmanship and technique. His tutorials schooled me in the proper ways to bring out the best of what an image can technically be. I had the privilege of spending an entire day with him alone on his Printing One on One workshop. I truly appreciated his candor. I purposely did not bring my best images in my portfolio, hoping he could help me improve. He did not let me down. His humor and directness helped me to learn ways to improve my images, and told me things I needed to hear, even if they weren’t what I wanted to hear. Without his guidance and the wonderful resources on his website, I would never have appreciated the scope and methodology of learning to be the best that you can be.

George Barr
I have read George’s blog since his first year of writing. His blog is a wealth of information that ranges from technical to inspirational. George’s style is very practical, non-flowery, often blunt. But that is his secret weapon. While reading his information, you feel as if you have known George for years. He speaks to you from his “blue collar” work ethic, combining a dry wit with sage, “hard-knocks” experience. It has been fun to watch him becoming a major influence in photography today. Although his work isn’t for everyone, reading his practical advice can often give you something tangible and immediate to use in your own work right now.

John Paul Caponigro

I attended John Paul’s Illuminating Creativity workshop this past June. I had no idea what to expect, in spite of having read the workshop description on his website. I must admit I was really intimidated about meeting him to the point where I almost cancelled my place in the workshop. He was so famous, and his dad was one of the icons of photography. But I went anyway. What I learned is that creativity can be a learned skill. I also learned that creativity can come in different forms, and that photography doesn’t have to be only representational; Ansel Adams’ vision doesn’t have to be the only interpretation. JP was the first person to truly inspire me, and for that I will always be eternally grateful.

Mallorie Ostrowitz

I saved the best for last. Mallorie is my teacher, my mentor, my friend. She alone opened my eyes to the worlds of possibilities that abstraction in photography can offer. Her patience and tolerance encouraged me to explore beyond what an image can merely represent. Because of her influence, I have begun to feel the power and the possibilities. Her generosity in allowing me and her other students to participate in one of her shows encouraged me to begin my new journey in expressive abstraction. Thank you, Mallorie…

Jerome Edit

by fotofinish , 11-07-2009 at 09:46 AM (875 Views)


While in Sedona recently, Jayne and I went to a small mining town from the late 1800’s called Jerome, AZ. Besides being a fabulous place to shop for truly different stuff (like $3000 kaleidoscopes!), it also has a ghost town/junk yard at the edge of town that is a photographer’s paradise. If you are into junks and textures, etc., then this is the place for you!

It has wonderful antique vehicles like these:

Thanks to Ben Willmore and the seminar I attended of his recently, I learned how to do the the b&w/color technique above to draw the viewer into the point of interest of the picture.

Basically, this technique involves…

* Open two copies of the same picture in Photoshop.

* With the second copy, add a b&w adjustment layer which converts this copy to b&w.

* With both copies showing in separate windows in Photoshop, use the move tool and drag the second copy (the b&w one) and drop it onto the first copy using command/shift. This keystroke combo while dropping automatically aligns the two versions.

* You can close the second copy because now we will work with only the first copy.

* Now that we have the b&w version as the new second layer, add a mask to this layer.

* Choose the brush tool and be sure that black is chosen so we can reveal the color in the original layer below this one.

* Now it is just a matter of painting over the area you want to reveal the colored areas you want. You will have to view larger than 100% to make some of the painting. This is the tedious part since you want to make the transitions look natural.

* Ben says to use the gaussian blur tool to slightly blur the non-color areas, and then sharpen only the color areas. This draws the viewer’s eye directly to the colored point of interest for this picture!

I couldn’t resist taking the shot below. This VW bus certainly has a history!

You can see the rest of my series here.

Sedona Abstracts

by fotofinish , 11-26-2009 at 10:12 AM (1308 Views)

The recent trip that Jayne and I made to Sedona, Arizona was one of the best for me photographically, producing some of my best work to date.

While there, I wanted to apply some of my camera movements to scenes where I thought could produce something interesting. My goal was to capture an abstract that best interpreted how I felt about that particular location rather than just representing it.

While at the Grand Canyon just before sunset, I took the image below:

I wanted to convey the feeling of expansiveness and tranquility. The side to side movement elongates the image helping to produce this expression.

This next image is from Montezuma Castle National Monument.

Here, I am trying to draw the viewer into the dark window of time going back 1000 years. I love the sense of “history with mystery” and is consistent with my mission statement on my website.

You can see the rest of my series here.

On a different note, I have an annoying health issue to deal with called
Morton’s Neuroma. This has really cramped my photographic style because I can’t put full weight on my left foot which really limits how far I can walk. I have a doctor trying to help me, but it will take time. Fortunately this has happened at a slow time of year, photographically, for me. However, Jayne and I have booked our next adventure for February so I hope my foot will be better by then. We are headed to Australia for two and a half weeks. More about this as time gets closer.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a peaceful holiday. Enjoy your family!

Have a great day. Sorry to hear about the foot problem. We never think of them much, until they start to hurt.

You have a great holiday, too, Skippy. And thanks for the visit!


by fotofinish , 11-27-2009 at 12:08 PM (1288 Views)

You have GOT to view this clip!
Sixth Sense.

The future of technology looks incredible. Enjoy!

I think it is. It look like we in some year reach to what showed in scientific movies.

Maybe we could use camera batteries for several years and would not worry about our cameras power. I hope I see that day in future.
Thanks for sharing


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