Monday, August 26, 2013

Week 34 - 365 Day Photography Challenge

Day 236 - Big Blue

Going to break with my tradition here and open with my favorite photo from the week instead of posting them in order. I love old cars and trucks. And they have proven to be favorites of my frequent buyers too. This is a truck on the road to Raton I have always wanted to stop and photograph. And this last week on my way back from Trinidad, Colorado I finally did.

The trip to Trinidad was to visit with the acting director of TAAC, Trinidad Area Arts Council, about a one woman show of my paintings. But I will, however, include some of my photography. I want to focus the show around Colors as a possible theme so Big Blue would fit right in. A lot of my photos from this week would but I began the week with a black and white of the frequently photographed Sentinel Tree.

Day 232 - Ravens on Sentry Duty

Ravens and hawks are constant visitors to the Sentinel Tree on the hill across from my house and so have been photographed more than once. I was looking for a different treatment and this one had a nice stark feel. I even like the graininess as if an old photograph.

Day 233 - My favorite geranium

I had run through all my Jackalope photographs and had to revert to picking up my camera. The geraniums are right at the studio door so I did not have to go far. But Wednesday's scheduled meeting in Trinidad, Colorado provided me with some great opportunities to snap.

Day 234 - Patterns in Shadow

The above photo is based on the shadow cast by the sculpture at the end of this blog. The patterns laid in the brick and the spider like feel of the shadow could not be resisted.

Day 235

Trinidad Old Town area offers so many opportunities to be creative. In previous visits I was focused on reflections and architectural details but this trip abstract patterns held my interest. This railing and the textures of the old paint and the poured foundation really appealed to me. And the fire escape on the building below against the texture of the brick also merited a few clicks of the shutter and them time post processing.

Day 237

And last is the canary in a cage sculpture honoring miners who lost their lives in the industry which founded Trinidad. I have photographed it before. And it has been featured in my 365 day challenge blogs in the past. This is the fiesta version.

Day 238

There are more Trinidad photos in the coming week but I also promise to actively take the camera with me on little jaunts too. When life gets really busy with mundane chores it can get left behind.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

On the High Road

Passing Place by Steven Kelly
Visual prompt provided by The Mag 183

On the high road
with low weather
closing in

Traveling for miles
without a single car
to be seen or

You will pass here
it seems again and again
but in reality

J. Binford-Bell
Somewhere outside of Cimarron
August 2013

Long Road Home by J. Binford-Bell

Monday, August 19, 2013

Week 33 - 365 Day Photography Challenge

Day 225

This week is all Jackalope still lifes.  The week that Terry Atkin Rowe was here from Virginia yielded a plethora of photographs and as I would work through my folders I would dived them into folders for the 365 day challenge through this week. Next week's folder is empty which means I have to take the camera out and take pictures again. The good news is that there is a trip to Trinidad, Colorado scheduled on Wednesday.

And there are uploads of photographs I have not touched beyond reviewing briefly on the computer. So I should not panic. Yet.

Day 226
I liked this display of colorful Mexican dinner ware and skulls. These are the real colors, but I added an effect to bring out the gloss of the enamels. The good news with this photo was not very many price stickers to remove.

Day 227

Days 227 and 228 were my favorite for the week. No extraordinary post processing for the lintels above but I confess to moving the yellow metal sun flower into the frame by hand at Jackalope. The pottery below, however, did undergo the application of an artistic effect. But I did not move a single pot. I took the photo with the camera off angle to get some diagonal movement.

Day 228

I like old mining cars and old iron. I keep searching for the idea post processing combination for them. This treatment did accent the grains of the wood and the mottled surface of the iron. There was a price sticker that I cloned out so it is obviously for sale. I think I would hate seeing it as a planter.

Day 229

Day 230

Indonesia and Thailand and other Asian countries have mastered taking new wood and turning it into old wood and "creating" antique features to add to your mega expensive adobe home in Santa Fe. I would not live in an adobe building but it does not prevent me from photographing some of this made-with-slave-labor treasures.

Day 231

I have taken so many pictures of agave. I love them. Unfortunately I live to high up for them to be an outdoor plant for me. But I do have a baby agave as a house plant. I liked the pottery background for this one. It is a huge pot that has been halved and set on its top rim. Jackalope owners are masters of making use of what probably was a broken pot and turning it into an alcove for plants or for a votive area for a carved saint.

Next week no Jackalope. I promise.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Elena Kalis prompt provided by The Mag 182


Cast off from life
set adrift
toward the next.


Thrown overboard
to sink
down to the bottom.

The leavings

Of a life once vibrant
just waste
the soul set free. 


J. Binford-Bell
August 2013


Friday, August 16, 2013

Jackalope Still Life Photos

Water Jugs

Arranged with a friend to meet her in Santa Fe so we could do Bandelier National Monument the next day. It sounded like a wonderful opportunity. But what turned out to be the best photographic challenge was the Jackalope Pottery store right next to the hotel where we stayed. I have featured these in my 365 Day challenge. But their popularity on Binford-Bell Studio Fan Page has been unexpected.

As I said in my last 365 Day Challenge blog here I love textures and patterns. Jackalope Pottery offered plenty of both. And after my concentration on still life photography in my studio I saw the immediate opportunity around every corner at this retail store.

Skull and Pottery
 The arrangement of a still life was basically in the post processing with these photos. There were electrical cords and price stickers that had to be removed with editing software. In fact I did not even consider the above photo for a while because of two electric cords and two stickers on the fountains and a hanging tag on the skull. Just seemed a bit much. In t he end I decided if nothing else it was great practice.

Exotic Window Grilles

Pottery Patterns
 The above picture had the most price stickers to be cloned out. Almost every terracotta jug had a white sticker. And there were almost as many in the Cross and Grills photo below. So many in fact I actually missed two. They are still in the photo. Can you find them?

Cross and Grilles
More pots
 The photograph above and the one below I could not resist playing with after I removed the price stickers. It is one of my favorite post processing treatments in my photo editing program. Beyond removal of stickers and unwanted objects none of my other Jackalope Still Life studies was post processed. The artistic enamel effect, however, seemed to really punch these two up.

Terracotta planters
 But accents in Blue and White was almost perfect as taken. It needed only a slight crop and the removal of a couple price stickers. I really am getting very good at that by now. Lesson learned: Do not pass up a photo because of something small but annoying.

Accents in blue and white

Photographers do develop favorite haunts. Followers of my work will know I have a couple ponds I return to again and again for their reflections. And some favorite trees which because of their placement or individual artistry I capture in all their season. Then there are the green house windows dripping with moisture distorting the flowers inside. No doubt I will go back to Bandelier. But odds have it I will be back at Jackalope before that.

I know I have not mined all the possibilities. Nor are all the photos I took there represented in this blog.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Week 32 - 365 Day Challenge

Day 218

Every photographer develops their own special subjects. Mine were once landscapes and textures. Yes, odd combination. I did landscapes because they facilitated my sketches for my paintings, and textures because of a long ago assignment in Photography 101 at the University of New Mexico.

Day 218 has textures but I was also inspired to take it because of my self-assignment this winter of still lifes. This is just one big still life. Jackalope Pottery in Santa Fe, New Mexico is full of textures and still lifes. It has been a couple weeks since I was there with a photographer friend and I am still mining that folder of new treasures. This week there were three I pulled up and looked at again. I am going to take the liberty of posting them here together and out of order for the week.

Day 223

All of my 365 day challenge photos get posted first on my Binford-Bell Studio Fan Page on Facebook. The keep track of how many hits a posting gets and Day 223 got the most this week. Day 218, which I opened with, got the second most. So I am going to guess still life photography appeals to more than me.

Day 220

Day 220 was another Jackalope still life. It was not as popular with my fans as the other two but garnered some interesting conversations with photographers. I guess there are other creative photographers that are attracted to textures. The photograph below is another study of textures taken this time at the top of a hill where I walk my dogs.

Day 222

The area where I live was originally settled during the Hometead Act of 1862. I do not know if this old wooden fence post was placed quite that early but it held up barbed wire for a very long time. It only fell in the last year. All the old posts are being replaced with far less interesting green metal t-posts. I felt, over and above the rich texture study it presented, an obligation to record its passing. Given its location no doubt it will remain and get recorded again with snow on it.

Day 221

Clouds are not a still life especially during the Southwest Monsoon Season. Look it up. It exists. Hardly a day goes by I do not aim my lens at a cloud formation. Most people would put this into the landscape category but I really think it is texture. But then maybe every photo in this week can be called texture.

Day 219

The texture of the flags is smooth and almost liquid as the winds move them about. I was drawn first to the colors and movement. They are not a still life. The challenge was to capture that sense of movement. Yes, I have my favorite subjects, but spawned by that first university class in photography, I feel a need to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself.

Day 224

Back to those clouds and the question of are they landscape or a study in texture. Maybe light and shadow? Or like the flags a challenge to capture the essence of a moving object(s).

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Can You?

Beauty, Love and Soul by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Visual prompt by The Mag 181

Can you
Can Can?
Swirl your skirts
and kick your legs
dance with all your soul?

Are you
a whirling dervish 
capturing love
and abandoning decorum?

Can you
Can Can
the blues away?

J. Binford-Bell
August 2013

Friday, August 9, 2013

A few of my favorite photos from this week

Memorial and the storm by J. Binford-Bell

Yes, there is the 365 Day Photography Challenge post coming up for the week. But there were an abundance of photos that caught my eye this week. They were happenstance photos. I went out with my camera just in case and was rewarded.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial against an angry sky

The draw back of leaving in New Mexico, if there is one, is we often take for granted the beauty at our doorsteps. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a photographer's dream subject. I doubt there are any bad pictures of it. The clouds this Wednesday gave it that extra special touch.

Door to the Chapel

And the clouds brought much needed rain. And almost overnight the valley was green.  It made you realize just how long it has been since it was this green.

How green is the valley

Go away I am eating

It really did look like some place other than New Mexico. It reminded me of the Smokey Mountains or West Virginia. The humidity in the air, something we are not accustomed to, added with the light filtered through clouds an ethereal feel.

Old Barn by J. Binford-Bell

And the rain brings the flowers by J. Binford-Bell

I just could not shuffle these photos away for a daily post. They were taken on two different days but they record one event in the valley - when we got rain.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Week 31 - 365 Day Challenge 213

Day 211 - My Yellow Chevrolet
Been an interesting week. Entirely too busy to get out with the camera so I have revisited photographs I took in a past couple of weeks. Once the also rans in the post processing race they really shocked me. I am questioning some of my first decisions.

Day 212 - Moon Flower

I focused my attention on the full moon flowers and had taken this photo just because of the lines in the trumpet shape. I love its shy presentation.

Day 213
Nothing shy about this cliff face. But the natural tuff of its construction is rather dull. So I tried to spice it up with a sepia treatment. Subtle didn't work. Pushed the intensity of the sepia and came up with orange cliffs and sky.

Day 214
But on the more subtle side is this one of a dry creek bed. Lots of those around in this drought. There have been wetter times because the basalt rocks are worn smooth and some fairly large rocks got washed into the cracks with the sand which provides a foothold for tough native grasses.

Day 215

Another look at the girders on the old bridge across the Rio Grande. And another trip. Love the shapes it divides the sky and canyons into.

Day 216

Another look at the Bandeleir Canyon walls. The colors were a surprise when I pushed the saturation on this image.

Day 217
This is what the walls look like in shadow of the morning. But nature does its own painting with the lacquer running down with the rain from the mesa tops.