Monday, March 4, 2013

Week Nine - 365 Day Challenge

Day 57

It is all about color

The weather took a turn toward spring in the final days of February. Blue skies and no wind are hard for photographers to resist so my friend, and fellow photographer, Jessica Duke and I grabbed cameras and set of on an all day exhibition around the Enchanted Circle with a deviation down the Rio Grande to Embudo Crossing in the hopes of capturing some pictures of Bald Eagles.

I came back with wonderful pictures of the rivers we visited, the birds, the ice in process of melting, and even big horn sheep, more elk, and memories of seeing bald Eagles flying over my head. But the photographic height of the trip for me was just being out of the studio and focusing on things bigger than a creamer. And being able to play in a riot of color.

Day 58

So, you might ask, isn't the back tail gate of an aging truck a still life? But not of my design. Just of my focus as it were. And I image when this truck is rolling (that is a current license plate) nothing in this picture is still. I personally can hear the rattle and clank of gate and chain.

Note to self: Do not get so engrossed with one photo opportunity that you do not turn around and see what else is the neighborhood.

Day 59 - To be a girl

One of the digital photography books I have on my Tablet to read in those moments waiting for the sun to come up or the eagles to appear makes the suggestion to always turn around and look behind you. The photo above was literally right behind me as I was photographing the tail gate of the old truck. And even with the colorful display I almost didn't click the shutter. I spent too many years in film photography and sometimes I worry about the cost of taking bad shots. Why I did not want to waste flash card space was because of the signs. I could not cut down my area of focus with my wide angle or get far enough away with my long lens. I ended up taking multiple pictures because I remembered I could always crop or clone out what I didn't want. In the final analysis on the computer, however, it turned out the signs were a plus.

Note to self: Do not prejudge the photo opportunity.

Day 60

On the day in question I took over 600 pictures. Unless I am desperate for flash card space I do not delete from with the evidence in that tiny screen on the back of my Nikon D90. Here again my years of film experience. I always printed at least a contact sheet and studied the pictures with a magnifying scope before deciding on what to print. Now I get home and upload to my computer and review each photo before post processing begins. There is obvious trash in every batch. And the more photos you take the more trash. You get very ruthless with 600 plus pictures before you. And I confess this one almost got deleted. Spring isn't here yet, the only color is plastic or cloth flowers, the cross is made of rebar, the foreground is messy. I could go on. But in the end I sort of liked what all those things said about the culture that these cruxes exist in. So I decided to make it look like Easter.

Note to Self: Do not always go with your first reaction on your first review.

Day 61

This is that same truck. In the sequence of the photos as they were taken it was after the dress shop and the church that ends this blog (It is the cross that was posted out of sequence from the flash card. I post as I process). I had thought I had digitally recorded everything of worth and turned to walk back to find my photographer friend and saw the part of the truck I had ignored.

Note to self: Completely circle your subject if possible. Be aware this works with trucks but not buffalo.

Day 62

As I previously mentioned I post for the 365 day challenge as I process a photo. This was one of those photos that was rather begrudgingly not deleted. I was playing with focal depth and am ashamed of how many pictures of this one seed pod I took. I deleted all but three on the first pass while I debated that time in memorial argument of all photographers: How much of the photo has to be in focus.

Note to self: Not very much.

Day 63 - The church at Arroyo Seco

Before I began actually printing my photos professionally and entering them in photographic competitions I took a huge amount of pictures of old adobe churches and missions in my area of New Mexico. They were generally toss away shots which I put in a folder on my computer called Art Inspiration because I painted them. I was a painter. Not a photographer. I am still a painter but I do not paint as many churches any more. I photographed this one out of habit mainly and only took a couple shots. I walked forward enough to get the power lines out of way but didn't think it worth walking across the muddy road and through the snow to explore my subject further. I painted it in post processing. I love the shadow of the cross on the roof. A detail I did not notice at the time I took the picture.

Note to self: Go back to Arroyo Seco in the Spring with the sun just a bit lower in the horizon.

I will end this blog with something I am beginning to find quite valuable in my camera bag - my Galaxy Tablet. I started taking it with me because I have two books loaded on it I often want to access - Field Guide to the Nikon D90, and the first of a series of books on digital photography.

I have, however, just begun using it to record important data about a photographic trip. Things like when the sun finally hits the Rio Grande, where we found the Big Horn Sheep, places I want to return to, what time was the cross shadow thrown across the roof, when were the elk in the faraway meadow, what besides Bald Eagles can be found in Embudo Canyon . . . the list is quite long. And unlike my notes taken on paper which get lost in my camera bag these are dated and titled and with me for the next trip.

Happy snaps.

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