Sunday, June 30, 2013

Come the Winds

Magipie 175 Image by Musin Yohan

Came the Winds
And soon the dark
Too early
or was she just too late.

Gone the others
While she lay
in her row unfinished.

Come the rains
Before she would be home
too late
to tally her pickings.

Taken by the storm
With too far to go
Alone without shelter.

J. Binford-Bell

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Week 25 - 365 Day Challenge 2013

Day 169 - Door and Windows
The week began normal enough. I was still reviewing photographs taken in the previous couple of weeks. The trips to Trinidad, Colorado and Val Vidal, New Mexico had certainly provided a wealth of photographic ore to mine. The camera was going out with me every day but not being used that much or that productively. Nothing seemed quite as inspiring as the photos already taken.

Day 170 - Old postcard
But I was getting a bit bored as indicated by the Old Postcard above. But the post processing of this cliff face seemed to cry for a 1950's era postcard treatment. Nobody promised that every photo posted in the 365 day challenge would be a gem. But it did inspire me to more actively take photographs.

Day 171 - Old Barrow

The Old Barrow stands against my fence to the left of my gate. I debate back and forth what to do with the old wheel barrow abandoned by the contractor from hell. It needs a new tire but I have a much newer barrow that also needs a new tire. I think from time to time it would make a neat planter for something. The jury is still out but it did make for a neat picture.

Day 172 - Black Shells

And a friend is vacationing on Amelia Island off the upper coast of Florida. The black shells in this still life I had collected there decades ago not because they were spectacular sea shells but because they were black. I understand from my friend there are now no shells. So was this the result of whatever made my shells black? BTW there is a story behind my vacation on Amelia Island and I have promised my friend to pen it.

Day 173 - Corpse on the Hill

And then it occurred to me I was missing the color in my portfolio. Another friend had remarked my palette of late had changed. Artists can ignore such remarks even from other artists but when I was post processing the aspens on the hill, which have appeared before in glorious fall colors, it occurred to me he might just be right. So I abandoned my attempt to make them black and white.

Day 174- Proud Mary

Or Proud Mary black and white. Title? Yes, sort of strange. Where my mind had taken me. The inverted V was reminding me of a boat prow and the upward slant of pride. Which reminded me of the poem "When I am Old I will Wear Purple. I was back. With more pond scum. But the week ahead will be glorious.

Day 175

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Week 24 - 365 Day Challenge 2013

Day 162 - Reflections of Main

This last week was a lot about looking back. I was going through photo files on my computer for a couple prospective clients they wanted photos which fit within a certain criteria. And while at that it seemed a good time to single out some photos for upcoming submissions to exhibitions. I had also discovered some post processing sequences that worked better than what I had done before. And that was true of the photo above.

Day 163
 And when you go through files a second time you often notice photos you ignored when you first reviewed the file. If you up load 100 to 300 digital images you mind goes to the ones that really worked. That is usually just a handful. But the second time through you will notice others that had merit and got lost in the shuffle. The architectural detail above and the detail of wall below both fit in that category.

Day 164
So I was firmly on not taking photos mode. Life was really busy last week between finding and processing photos for clients, the needs of a good friend, and a new fire closer to home. The latter got me watching the skies more. Trying to pick out smoke columns from clouds. And I erred with the White Peak fire. But the clouds were wondrous.

Day 165
 No rain from this set of clouds which never seemed to cover the entire sky. It was black and heavy over my house but a blue sky to the southeast taunted me all day. But when these clouds finally cleared out new clouds moved in after dark and rained. Really rained.

Day 166
Mind on clouds I came across this unprocessed photo in one of my Trinidad folders and noticed the dark sky in it. I combined that with a few new dry darkroom techniques and got a new look at an old building.

Day 167

But the camera came back out with more clouds, and the detail below of an old cold cellar. The light that day was not conducive to a great photo so I have since grabbed the camera again and retaken the details of the door and hardware. And those images like the old days of film are still in the camera. Sometimes life just gets in the way of creative pursuits. 

Day 168

Monday, June 10, 2013

Week 23 - 365 Day Challenge 2013

Day 155 - Stairway to Heaven at 224?

On June 1st I took another photographer and friend back to Trinidad to explore what I missed. Photographers are always sure they have missed something. We are already planning another trip because in addition to thinking we have missed something we are also sure we can get a better picture if only the light were different or we had the bed of the pickup to stand in. Frankly I think this picture, which I missed the first time, is best from the lower angle. Maybe next time I will back up just a hair and kneel.

Day 156 - the Grand Opera House

Really disappointed that I missed this one my first visit. But Jessica and I walked a couple blocks further down West Main and discovered lots of things. But his edifice is just to wonderful. And on the next trip to Trinidad, Colorado I must explore more of the building.

Day 157 - Now there are two

Followers of my blogs and my photos will remember my picture of this alien sign from my previous trip across the border. My photography partner was trying to get a picture of the moon through the opening and I was bored and walked a few steps down to be out of her way and find out what business it advertised. It is oddly enough a photography gallery. And the windows provided me with this great reflection and duplication.

Day 158 - No Sales today

I confess I took this image on my first trip to Trinidad but I have been playing with a new processing trick I discovered in the dry darkroom of the second trip photos and revisited trip number one photos. I understand this building is haunted. It certainly has haunted me.

Day 159 - Devastation

Thursday I was lured away from my studio and computer to revisit the Val Vidal. This comes under the heading of familiarity would lead to better photos classification of photographer rationalizations. And to some degree they are right. It will. I would rather not say how many photos I have taken of this burn scar from a forest fire of several years ago. I was trying to capture the feel of it. On this trip the clouds cooperated and with a bit of post processing looked alarmingly like smoke.

Day 160 - Set in brick

Back to trip one to Trinidad. Another photo which benefited from learning at a later date. A good reason to not totally cull all the photos out of a file. 

Day 161 

I took this photo on trip two to Trinidad for a friend I thought would appreciate it. And she did. And so did I. I have six different post processing versions of this one. And for my photoshopping friends, I did not use layering. This is the photo as taken with no cropping and just a reduction of hue and saturation. All else is reflection off of glass and shiny floors of stain glass windows and light. Sometimes you just get lucky.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Mag 172 - Go or Stay

Charleston Farmhouse Door
Visual prompt provided by Tess Kincaid/May 172

Go or Stay
or not?

Gaily painted greeting
locked away
behind iron.

He raised his hand
to knock
shoved it in his pocket.

his fingers tight
so they would not miss touching her.

He turned
walked away.

J. Binford-Bell
June 2013

Do you do aspens?

Upper Meadow

A visitor to my studio asked if I did photos of aspens. Sure, doesn't everyone? But I didn't have one printed. And last fall was a banner aspen year and this year with the drought is likely to not be good unless we get our rain on soon.

The Fallen

But everyone and their brother with a camera or an iphone does aspens. Fall becomes a rather frustrating time because of aspens. They are fickle to begin with. Not all of them go to glory at the same time. In preparation for this blog I found I had photographic folders of aspens on my computer from September through October. I went to Chama to see them first. And then to Red River and finally in my own stomping grounds.

And the weather can be fickle in those months. A good rain can drain all the color or knock the leaves to the ground before their time. But weather can also make an aspen picture more interesting. To the photographer at least. We are all looking for the unique photo of a common subject.

Aspens in the mist

Mirror image
 Or a unique way to look at them like as a reflection in a clear blue pond. The temptation is to shoot an aspen vertically because they are tall.

Outstanding in Their Field

Just beginning to turn
 But the horizontal approach shows their impact more. But like I said they don't all do the same thing at the same time even in the same grove as the picture above shows a whole range of fall including aspens that have already lost their leaves.

Upside down
 I frankly love the reflections of aspens. It takes a clear body of water with aspens on its shore and a morning without a breath of wind. But it is worth it.

Then and Again
 But a small breeze can add dimension to the image. Aspens quake in the wind but that effect is very hard to capture. But ripples in the water show the simulation of a quaking aspen.

Shiver and Shake I

Shiver and Shake II

Ode to the Fallen

But so very soon the glory of an aspen fall begins to fade. But even in that process they are very beautiful. They limbs and trunks snow in contrast to their remaining golden crowns.

Fading Glory

This is only twelve of the pictures of aspens I took just this last year. So do I do photos of aspens? Yes.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Playing Around with the Landscape

Val Vidal Waiting for Rain by J. Binford-Bell

The first time you visit an area with a camera you pay it sort of straight especially in a landscape as spectacular as the Val Vidal and the Vermejo Park Ranch. The second or third or forth time you visit you are more familiar with the views and you find yourself setting up various pictures. Or standing in one place like the photo below and waiting till just the right moment to take the picture.

Light and Shadow by J. Binford-Bell

The clouds were adding extra dimensions to the view especially when they cast shadows over one ridge or bank of trees or another. Photographers already get to play with the framing of the photo with zoom lenses or switching to another lens. And their are filters. I broke my polarizing filter the second picture I took yesterday and so switched to a warm filter I had and love the results. Not that back in the dry darkroom of my computer I could not change anything I wanted. Like the picture below?

Fire by J. Binford-Bell
 I have been trying to take the definitive picture of a forest devastated by fire for some years now. Yesterday the thunderclouds jumped in with an assist. If you have lived in a forest for any length of time you will know there is always a doubt when the fire danger is high as to whether it is smoke or a cloud. This was a cloud but I was able to play with the colors and make it look like smoke especially as a back drop to the blackened spars of an old fire on the Val Vidal. So this may be the picture. Not that I will stop trying to top it.

Post Card from Not Kansas
Clouds change the atmosphere and ergo the photograph. As does the time of day and the shadows cast. And your mood when you post process also effects the results. Loved the post card look of the photo above and may do the same thing with the photo below.

Gully Waiting for Rain

I found myself depressed by the drought in an area which can be so beautiful in a wet year. I found myself opting for old fashioned treatments of the subjects as if I could push the drought into history and wake up tomorrow to rain and lush grass. I am sure the buffalo below wishes the same. No doubt the VPR feeds their charges. He looks motley only because it is shedding season and a bit disgruntled because we and he never found the females of the herd.

Buffalo looking for something to eat

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Week 22 - 365 Day Challenge 2013

Day 148 - Swallows over the Rio Grande
Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

The photographic week began slowly, and found me looking back at other May photo folders. Swallows Over the Rio Grande was taken on a day of spectacular photographs and so slipped to the back of my consciousness. Another pass through the 200 plus photos I took on that particular day recovered this gem. The swallows did not show up on the thumbnail. Pays to slideshow through your photos more than once.

Day 149 - Rain on the distant mountains

And another photo from that same day. Not overlooked but shuffled behind in posting. I post photos in so many ways other than just the 365 Day Challenge albums. The black and white treatment of clouds made a blog or two and here and there an album. But this one does deserve pride of place.

Day 150 - On the Road to Raton

Then it was off to Raton again with the camera in the passenger seat. And a chance to record more noisy clouds and finally a bit of green. Various framings of this scene made my cover photo on Facebook all too briefly, and a blog on reveal truth in Sidetracked Charley. The new green of the trees made this photo so black and white treatment obviously was not going to work.

Day 151 - The Under a Dark Cloud

Taken the same day as Day 150 above it. Same road within just a few miles. Just looking a different direction. In fact I was photographing some stock pens and took my advice of looking behind me. None of the stock pen photos made the cut this week. Obviously one of those subjects which needs another look.

Day 152 - Makeshift Memorial
Rio Grande Gorge

Not sure why this one popped into the middle of the week. It came from the folder of the first two photos in this week. And was one not posted in the previous week.  I end up with more pictures as possibles in each week and sometimes they do not get pride of place and sometimes they get shuffled to the next week. And it got posted the morning I was heading out to another photo trek. Once again to Raton.

Day 153 - How Much is that Doggy in the Window

This time I took my photography buddy, Jessica Duke. That is her reflection in the window. I was into reflections on main street Trinidad, Colorado. This one with my friend, the dog and the street behind  was an obvious winner. I am told the gallery dog's name is Loosa, short for Appaloosa. Jessica is chimping. That is where you review the photos you just took in the window on back of your camera. We do not know why chimping but it has become our new favorite photography term.

Day 154 - Ode to a Canary

I will end the week with the miner's canary. It is a huge sculpture in Trinidad of a canary in a cage. It stands by the Coal Miner's Memorial. I snapped off a couple quick "we-were-here" sort of reference pictures but could not resist a couple more artistic shots of the subjects. Maybe next week you will even get the Coal Miners.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Sing a Song

Walking, Walking, Singing in the Next Dimension by Morris Graves
Visual prompt by The Mag: Mag 171

Sing a song
of six pence
pockets of rocks
and rye.

Sing a song
of life
and living today
and tomorrow.

in rhyme
and paint
and digital images
and garden dirt.

Sing a song
of the days gone by
of those you dream
Sing of today.

For tomorrow
your song
rather sweet or sour
may be left to others
to sing.

J. Binford-Bell
June 3, 2013

Miner's Canary sculpture
Trinidad, Colorado