"For the artist communication with nature remains the most essential condition. The artist is human, himself nature, part of nature within natural space." Paul Klee

Friday, August 31, 2012

Film Sublime

I have kept thousands of film negatives both black and white and color in neutral sleeves and binders some going back more than 30 years. I haven't given much thought to the amount of scanning I would need to do in order to digitize everything and store them. The thought is overwhelming.

That said, here is just one that I happened upon this morning. It's a shot of my friend Kathleen with her horse, Tex. We did this at sunset - shot in the hills above Fremont, California with the setting sun skimming across the San Francisco bay. I remember that there was this beautiful light and thought, let's just try a scan.

The camera was the fully manual Olympus OM-1 with a 50mm f1.4 Zuiko lens. Man, those were nice lenses. Actually I still have both altho' the OM is a little worse for wear. When I find some extra disposable cash around I'll have it cleaned and maintenanced.

The film was Fuji Reala ISO 100 with normal lab development. Not bad for a picture shot 20 years ago!! November 1992 to be exact.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

To Mark an Event

Yesterday was Stefan's first day of 7th grade. And like a lot of parents I had to mark the day with the obligatory photo for the family album. Stefan's a good sport and knows when dad has the camera out it's time to pose.
Here I'm using the SB600 flash mounted on the camera. A great setting for daytime outdoor shots with a fill flash is f5.6 and 1/125th...works like a charm. Because I was about 6 feet away I manually took a little off the flash power and backed the flash down -07. Other than that...get a great smile and viola!

I hope you're marking the special days in your life and thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday's Pics

Here's two photos from today. The top one is a pic of the University of Texas tower as seen from my son's dorm room. On the fourteenth floor no less. We helped him move into today and get situated for his second year at UT. His first year he commuted now he just walks across the street. The tower was taken with my Canon point and shoot...just placing the camera against the window (so it's actually shooting thru two panes of glass) and using the manual mode I used 1/800th of a second to avoid shake since the window was probably vibrating that high up...the camera chose f4.
On the way home I noticed some heavy cloud coverage over to the west and decided to go and check it out after dinner. I used my D80 set to vivid on a monopod for some support, aperture priority f11 with 1/10th of a second...just slow enough to get a bit of movement in the clouds and water.

Nice way to end the weekend. Thanks for stopping by...


Friday, August 24, 2012

The Light is the Subject

Taking a good landscape picture is all about the light. The light is really the subject and the landscape is just what and where the light happens to wrap itself around. The best shots for me are always around sunrise or sunset when the sunlight rakes across the earth. This shot was taken around 8 in the evening with the setting sun to the left. I waited until the sun hit the tops of the dried grasses to give it shape and texture and let the trees grab both the side and top light.
The camera settings were: ISO 400 and VIVID. The exposure was 1/160th at f.6.3.
Click image for bigger.
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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Drama in the Clouds

I've been hitting the art studies lately and brushing up on some basic concepts that I try and use in my photography. This week, particularly landscapes. There are many different elements that make up a good landscape. One of those is clouds. And I mean "there's drama in dem clouds!".  Over the next couple of weeks I will be paying close attention to the skies as we head toward the cooler seasons and the appearance of more atmospheric drama.

Studying the paintings of masters like Corot and Constable, one is amazed at their visual insight into nature and just the sure draftsmanship to render clouds so dramatically The great landscape painters used clouds and trees as actors in their performances giving each one a character and purpose. Of course, since painters are creating everything on the canvas, they can play with an endless variety of approaches..placing shapes, volume, density, color, and vaporous trails where ever they please and in the end using all these elements to grand effect.

We photographers just don't have that leeway. I could cut and paste in Photoshop or some other software and build a scene that way but then I'd be a Photoshop artist?/mechanic. I always try and capture as much as I can in camera and use Photoshop as little as possible. It's all in the time of day, where you stand, and deliberate and careful framing.

This was shot about this time last year and I've been watching the skies and the weather channel because this kind of drama is about to come back.

Shot with the Nikon D70 (6MP) at ISO 200, 1/50th of a second at f5.6 using an 18-135mm lens set at 20mm (30mm DX).

Thanks for stopping by and reading da blog!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

On The San Gabriel

Another image from last November. There was a lovely light around 9 that morning...a light
I call "cloudy crisp". I walked up the river bed a couple of miles and back. I plan to return
this November...it's never the same but looking forward to trek nonetheless.
Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Waiting for November

With temperatures hovering around 95 and that wrap around mugginess, I can't wait for November temps not too mention the colors and pictoral opportunities. Not only do we get those fall colors but there's also a certain color that hangs in the air that I always attempt to capture.

So these are just today's day dreaming shots. Hope you're doing the same.

Click pix for bigger, use arrows to advance.
Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Lily Pond Take 2

This is the same lily pond from the July 13th posting. That shot was taken roughly a year ago. This one, taken from the opposite side, is from this morning around 10am. I can walk around this pond and easily snap 50 pics but today the light wasn't quite right so I ended up taken about 8 shots. This is shot 5. I think you can detect just a slight bit of haze.
Taken with the D80 on a tripod using the timer to trip the shutter, ISO 100, manual mode, f9.5 at 1/15th of a second, tweaked with a Hoya Polarizer. A little selected hue adjustment in P/S and there you have it. Just working with what you're given at the moment. Monet would have be pleased to sit at this spot, relax, paint and wile away the morning. Me thinks.

Double click image for bigger.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Couple of Outdoor Portraits

Here's a couple of outdoor portraits from a few weeks ago. The event was a shish kebob BBQ at one of my boy's backyards. The two shots here are of Derek and Stefan...yes, the same ones from two posts ago. It's purely coincidental because there were other people at the event. It's just that I found the lighting in both shots to my liking.
The top one of Stefan with the setting sun hitting the back wall and light bouncing off the deck look just about the right ratio. Derek was in the middle of a conversation with someone and occasionally held his head just right for the sun to pop a little light in his glasses. Most of the time you try to avoid that. But I was looking at the scene with the reflection both on and off and preferred the hit of light, it brings your eye immediately into the picture.

Both pictures were taken with the camera I took to the BBQ, an old (ancient by digital standards) point and shoot Canon. I bought this in 2007 so it's several generations back in the digital hierarchy and a little worse for wear as you can see the Canon name is starting to rub off. But as they say...the best camera you have is the one you have with you.

I take this little guy with me to a lot of family outings...it still works great and does a fine job.

Tech specs: a Canon Powershot SX100 8MP set to Program mode, ISO 400 as the light was fading in the backyard. If there's a moral it is: you don't need to sell your old gear and/or upgrade to the latest and greatest (read: spend more money...more expensive stuff, etc.)...learn to use what you have...a pixel by any other name is still a pixel.

Obviously, if you are a professional photographer and shooting the Olympics...well a 15,000 dollar body and lens rig is probably what you need and when you're getting paid several grand a day (plus per diem) to shoot for a sports magazine...hey, you'll pay for that rig in no time.
...and speaking of the Olympics...congrats to the Fab Five!!!

Thanks for stopping by.