Category Archives: Personal

Sketches for a Project

Here are three recent frames that are trying to convince me to do a series about solitude. Last year I came to hate my Photo-A-Day project, but I have to admit it forced me to produce.  Thinking it through.

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Filed under Motivation, Personal

“I will never photograph my father again.”

My father and my son, twenty-five years ago.

My father and my son, twenty-five years ago.

My father died on January 26. He had been on hospice care for almost two years, so as my wife put it, “It wasn’t a surprise, but still managed to be a shock.”

89 and looking like a movie star

89 and looking like a movie star

Everyone grieves differently, and to most, I do not appear to grieve at all. My knee-jerk response to most forms of stress is to get busy. Contact the authorities; review the paperwork; take care of business. Sorrow has to sneak up and jump me unaware. As it happens, sorrow is quite the ninja warrior. I was collecting photographs for the slideshow embedded below, and the thought hit me: I will never photograph my father again. That did it. A good long cry. And the pleasant realization that in most photos of my father, he is laughing.

Dad died a month shy of his 90th birthday, but he could still rock an Eisenhower jacket like no one I know.

Dad died a month shy of his 90th birthday, but he could still rock an Eisenhower jacket like no one I know.

A special thanks to friend Myrna Cambianica, who encouraged me to keep shooting, through thick and thin. Thanks to these photos, I can grieve with a smile on my face. http://youtu.be/9z–2Bo511E

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Filed under Personal

The Song My Photos Were Waiting For

On my 56th birthday last April, I went to see Aimee Mann perform with poet Billy Collins. On that same day, I received her new album with Ted Leo, performing as The Both. It included the song, “Hummingbird.” Like Nessun Dorma, this is a song that just gets me, so I decided to use some of my wildlife photos to make a slideshow with the song.

And this is where being a lazy, disorganized, impatient photographer kinda bites me in the butt, because I couldn’t find a lot of my best wildlife pictures, distributed as they are among several computers, many hard drives, and many, many, optical discs. Oh well, the song is beautiful and some of these images are pretty good too.

Works for me. I would say that “One of these days I need to get organized,” but it’s not going to happen. So it goes.

Oh, and I don’t really have the right to use the song, but maybe if you buy The Both, and everything else Aimee Mann and Ted Leo have created, they’ll give me a pass. Thanks.

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Filed under Nature Photography, Personal

My Element

DSC_0780 (1)Sir Ken Robinson says your element is that space where your passion and your competency intersect. Sam Phillips says, “It is good to love what you love so much that you forget to be afraid of not knowing what you are doing or if you are any good at doing it.” I say that when I am photographing birds I have no idea that time is passing.

 

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Filed under Motivation, Nature Photography, Personal

What is Photography To Me?

A very pedestrian bored-at-dinner shot turned into something a little more compelling by clicking a few buttons and moving some sliders. There's nothing inherently wrong with this, if you like the end result.

A very pedestrian bored-at-dinner shot turned into something a little more compelling by clicking a few buttons and moving some sliders. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, if you like the end result.

A friend in the Photo Club recently asked that we disqualify one of his images from our Annual Awards because he did a lot of post-processing and it is his personal belief that a photograph must come straight from the camera. That doesn’t explain why he submitted the image in the first place, but personally, I tend to tune out any discussion of “what photography is,” because I’m still trying to understand what photography is to me. And that changes sometimes.

Earlier this week, in a fit of insomnia, I opened a long-ago downloaded but never used iPhone app called Snapseed.  I modified some old images from my phone’s  library. I never thought I’d enjoy playing with all the heavy-handed photo filters I see on Instagram and Facebook, but I do. I like being able to turn weak or outright failed photos into something odd, and with more potential impact. And it lets me playfully experiment with composition and color and lighting even when I just have a few spare minutes to noodle on my phone. Here are some examples:

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This tree clings to the edge of Bryce Canyon. The original photo was interesting, but his adds a nice surrealism.

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This was a boring, pointless shot of tomatoes. I don’t even know why it was on my phone. Now I like the painterly feel of it.

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This one also springs from an okay original, but in my opinion the effects here add all sorts of mystery to an otherwise very straightforward shadow.

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Not my favorite model, but the most available. And I can get him to do almost anything.

This morning, I wandered outside with what I might consider the opposite of my phone: Nikon D7000, 70-200 f/2.8, TC17IIe teleconverter. I spent some time with my favorite subject: Backyard birds. I shoot in RAW, and the objective of my post-processing in Aperture is to recreate what I saw with my own eyes. It’s quite different from what I’ve been doing in Snapseed, and I cannot imagine myself layering a “grunge” filter onto one of my nature shots, although I might just to see what happens. It’s all photography to me. And a pure joy, too.

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Filed under Camera Gear, Composition, Just for FUN, Motivation, Nature Photography, Personal, Post Processing