Friday, January 4, 2019

Clouds of 2018

Clouds in Shades of Grey
If the monsoon clouds are not colorful then they look best in black and white. It always rather amazes the number of shades of grey in the clouds.

Black Lake Dawn
I bought my house because of the dawns. My windows don't face the setting sun but the east. Dawns do some marvelous things.

Storm Building over Ute Valley
It was a spring with fires all around us. Not always easy to tell which clouds were effected by a fire on the other side of the mountain and which weren't. The Ute Valley clouds above were just clouds I think. But the pink clouds below were at least colored by the Ute Park Fire.

Angel's Fire
And a fire to the west of my house seemed to give the clouds silver linings.

Partly Cloudy
But the last photo is at the least clouds generation by the Ute Park Fire and color intensified by the setting sun.

Clouds and Smoke and Sunset

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Trees I Have Known in 2018

Lone tree
This is one of my favorite trees featured in 2018. And as I selected my best trees for the year I noted it is the only single tree all alone in its landscape. And it is the only tree in this blog which is included in its entirety withing the frame.

Some years back before I began focusing on trees as something other than an element of a landscape I read a photography blog about how it was not necessary to include the top and bottom of a tree in a picture. Which then brings up the question of where to cut off the tree. Are tops or bottoms most important.

Skeletons of Trees from Ute Park Fire
This is a photo of just the tops of denuded pine trees in the Ute Park Burn Scar.

Trees in the Snow
And this is a photograph of just the bottom of fir trees after a snow. And, you could argue, a photograph of the light which fills the forest in which the trees stand. I really like this particular photograph of trees because of the light. Which brings us to shadows the trees cast.

Shadows in the snow
 Aspens are a wonderful subject for shadows and especially aspens in the winter with snow at their feet. Even the shadows do not reveal the tops of the trunks.

Trees on the Shore
The shadows of these trees on the edge of a frozen lake is all about the tops of the trees. And like the trees in the snow photograph it is also abut the light in the forest.

Snowy Trees
This photograph also appears in a recap of landscapes for 2018 which raises the question of when is it a landscape and when is it all about the trees in the landscape. That question comes up with photograph number one in this blog. You could argue it is a landscape with a tree.

And you may have noticed that except for the first photograph they are all in black and white. Trees are great without color. It was only after realizing you did not have to have the whole tree in a photograph that I came to the conclusion that trees are not in need to green to be a tree. The first tree will now, in the depths of winter be without leaves. I want to go back and photograph it stark and bare against its landscape. It has nice bones.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Still Life Photographs of 2018

Silk flower in an alley in Trinidad

One of my "tasks" of each year is to review the photographs and pick what I believe are the best in various categories. My father told me my first year of college when he handed me yet another of his old cameras for my Photography 101 class that college was not so much about learning the class content as it was about  learning how to teach yourself for the rest of your life.

As a photographer that is about judging myself and tracking my progress. I give myself homework and tasks and subjects to work on to hone my skills. I confess they are seldom about f-stops. I love best photographing landscapes but I also set myself the task of seeking out still life compositions where I find them. The photograph above also included textures which was another task.

Lake shore in Spring

The still life of the rocks along the shore was definitely about texture. I confess to loving texture in photography. And this was not exactly a "still" life as the lake was moving beneath the slowly melting ice. You could hear it groan and complain. And rocks which had been tossed upon the lake by I assume bored teens were beginning to melt through the ice and now and again one fell through and left a hole.

Crystal Reflections

The still life Crystal Reflections, a crystal bowl on polished granite, essentially has no texture. Just light refractions and reflections.

String of Garlic

The string of garlic hanging on a stucco wall was of course about texture. I could have satisfied my assignment with just one photo but I photographed it for several days in a row at different times of the day because it was also about light and shadow. I printed this one 18 x 24 on canvas. It hangs at Enchanted Circle Brewery with other photographs of mine. 

Tin Heart

Some still life photos are a basis to play with photo editing programs. The tin heart above I used for note cards. I played around not just with the texture but the crop on Crystal Buddha. I wanted to reduce the original photograph to its essence if you will. To me this defines our delicate world in the hands of mighty forces.

Crystal Buddha 

And like the crystal bowl some still life photos are an attempt to capture the light which plays on them. Photography is all about light.

Holders of Light

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Birds and Beast of 2018

My number one

I enjoy photographic contests if only with me. What if someone asked you of all the photos you took this year which are your favorite? Or to narrow it down what are your favorite bird photos. Those questions to myself were one of my favorite aspects of the 365 day challenges.

 And I doubt I will abandon that if for no other reason than I belong to the a garden club affiliated with a state and national organization of garden clubs which holds a yearly photography contest. So recently I had to cull through my photographs looking for the best bird photo. And best wildlife. The turkey above could be both or either. But I entered a turkey last year as a bird. And I had a wildlife entry I was more fond of.

Elk at Eagle Nest Lake
And why did I like this one? Because of the landscape. It was only a portion of a huge herd of cow elk. One photo of almost 50 I took. Such a dilemma - wide angle to get most of the herd or telephoto to get a closeup of even less of the herd. Without a super wide angle lens I have no way of getting the whole herd in the frame. There must have been almost 200 elk. I settled for this representative sample in their environment. Like the turkey which could be bird or beast, this photo could be landscape or wildlife. But I had a more loved landscape photo. Well about six best landscapes.

Burn scar of the 1996 Hondo Fire
This landscape of the mountain outside Questa, where I once lived, made a statement I wanted to make. It has been 22 years since that fire which dominated 22 days of my life and became the deciding reason for my divorce, and move to the wet side of the mountain range. Forest fires have consequences. And they don't heal themselves over night.

But back to birds and beasts.

Eye to eye with a Rufus

I had two humming bird photographs, but doesn't everyone. And a goose coming in for a landing on a mirror surfaced pond.

Every spring for several years I have watched the debate over ownership of this particular bit of water. I know these geese well. And better yet they know me and allow me to point cameras at them. But goose pictures are a dime a dozen. And it isn't everyday you can get a photo of a cold junco in a snow storm. They are very nervous birds. Who knew the snow sticks to their beaks.

Junco at the suet feeder

I took this photo and the one I eventually entered for the bird category from inside my studio and ergo through the window with my telephoto lens. I didn't want to get too close to the glass and scare them. It was an experiment the results of which surprised me.

Shelter from the storm
I finally opted for this one because of the sunflower husk. It is after all for the garden club. And this was the remains of a wonderful year of growing sunflowers. I used it as a fall decoration in my house while it dried and when the snow storm came I put it outside on the bird feeder where it was enjoyed for its seeds and for its ability to block the wind.

For me a good photograph is not just about the clarity and focus and composition and what F stop I used. If a photograph is worth a 1000 words there needs to be a story it tells. When I sit down to select my best for the year it has to be first a good photograph and it has to have a good story. The photograph below is a very personal story.

Mare and foal in the wild flowers
I watched that foal from within 10 minutes of her birth as she grew under the watchful eye of her mother. The owners moved them to a field closer to their house but until then they were mine and I came to believe mother was posing for me. But they are neither bird no beast if beast is wildlife. So just one of my all time favorite photographs.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

To Post a Daily Photo or Not?

I have done the daily photo challenge since 2012. I got if off the internet as a way other photographers were encouraging themselves to take pictures. I have proven to myself I don't need to do that. I take pictures. I take my camera to lots of places. I make up excuses to take my camera places.

I take pictures of flowers and reflections in ponds and pictures I am painting and my pets and how deep the snow was. And dead Raven Wings with rain drops.

I don't need a challenge to take photographs. But doing the challenge for seven years has resulted in a nice sorting of my photos and been an assistance to finding photos to print, enlarge, enter in contests, or use for banners and on blogs. And it forced me to post frequently on my various pages and also blog routinely.

But having blown it a few times this year on numbering the photos, and a dwindling readership on this blog I find myself bristling at beginning another year of the challenge. And a couple photographer friends who took part of this journey with me have moved to another way of expressing themselves.

I am giving myself permission to change - and change my mind. I am going to focus on more free form in blogs and maybe even in photography. It is no long about capturing the perfect landscape in my travels or the perfect dawn outside my studio. Binford-Bell Studio page will still do that. And Binford's Back Country Photos  I promise won't be as abandoned as it has been this last couple of years.

And I promise to update the other pages on this blog with more current inventory. And as I move through the coming year of creative shift I will blog more about the journey I am on and the creative process.

Happy travels to us all. Hope you come along for the ride.

Note: All photos on this page are from my blog archives. No numbers and no years but they span a few.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

I Will Always Paint - A creative Process Blog

Painting is for me a journey which began in my preschool days with watercolors on Mother's Italian Linen table cloth. She was not always that thrilled with my early artistic expressions but did contribute to an endless supply of coloring books, paper, and crayons. It kept me away from the walls and the tablecloths.

I will always paint and draw and fill sketch books and canvas.

I did not begin photography until seven when my father gave me his old Kodak Brownie camera and slipped me extra in my allowance to develop the pictures I took. When, because of living conditions I could not paint, I took pictures. And when I had studio space and could paint I took pictures as a basis for paintings.

Currently my photography seems to be in ascendancy. That could be due to the economy. Or that I showcase it better on this blog and my Facebook studio page. Obviously it easier to come up with a post per day in photography than a post per week even in paintings. And I view my photography as just another artistic medium like watercolor or oil sticks or Mother's table cloth. Photography is just a digital painting with light and pixels. When printed on canvas people even think they are paintings.

Sold another digital painting last week. And was also offered the opportunity to hang my photographs in another venue in a town with no art galleries.  The economy has not been kind to art galleries. And I have not done a weekly review of my photographs on this venue for a month though I continue to post a daily photograph on my studio page.

I am going through a reassessment of art and my life as 2018 winds down.

I will always paint. I will always have to get my hands (and clothes) covered with paint. But photography currently pays for my painting supplies when once my paintings used to pay for my photography equipment.

I will continue to blog on this platform but I am giving myself more freedom on the subject and the timing. Sidetracked Charley, my more freestyle blog, has a greater readership than this one. But this one still functions as my web page for paintings and photography.Hopefully you have looked at the other pages behind this blog.

I will continue to blog. Just giving myself freedom to blog about what is moving me at this moment in my artistic journey.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Week 46 - Winter Wonderland

Day 316

Last year I did a series The Memory of Trees for a photographic exhibition. I love trees. And I love fairy tale snow. Our first serious snow of the winter season was magical. But it was so heavy it brought down the power lines and I feared it would break limbs.

With nothing to do at home with no electricity I took the camera and the 4 x 4 pickup out to record the snow, and the trees.

Day 317

Day 318

Day 319

Day 320

The photograph above is one of my favorites from this day in the snow. As is Day 322. They are just trees in the snow. No unfrozen pond or country lane. Okay, Day 322 has a picnic table.

Which is your favorite?

Day 321

Day 322