Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Week 21 - 2014 in Images

Day 141

The late spring snow put me in the need for flowers. Thankfully green houses and studios were able to provide them for me. Inside flowers are a great subject. No went to ruffle their petals and close to the tripod if you wish to set one up. You can also alter lighting or move the subject to a different background.

I confess to not using a tripod as much as the authorities would recommend. Having done outside landscape photography from a 4 x 4 jeep for years I have gotten to be an accomplished master on finding objects to brace myself and my camera on or against. First photo was the butt/feet, knees/elbows tripod. Being able to get in and out of that position quickly is my physical fitness program.

Day 142

Painfully sharp focus was really not a necessity for the photo above. I used the straddle the chair and balance on the elbows on back of chair tripod pose for this one. Then I played with it in post processing to get the riot of color feeling.

Day 143

The first orchid was photographed in place but I moved the second orchid for a better background. In post processing I blurred the edges to get the attention to the star of the photo.

Day 144

I said there would be more snow pictures. When you get an event such as the May 13th snow storm you take a lot of pictures. And frankly I find it difficult to blow a snow photo. I confess there will even be a couple in next week's review.

Day 145

I initially took the mud picture to emphasis what us locals call the mud and flood season the rest of the nation calls spring. But when I got it home and uploaded to the computer I was entranced with all the tracks in the mud and remnants of snow. My studded snow tires, the two sizes of tires on the front end loader, and the driver's truck to get to work.

Day 146

This one was a study in patterns and best in black and white. The sculpted snow atop the metal roof and the electrical wires make for an interesting abstract.

Day 147

My little country road. I obviously was not the first up and out that day, and the car that was had some difficulty with negotiation of the mud and very wet snow.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Week 20 - 2014 One Image a Day

Day 134 - Red Pickup
On May 13th it snowed eight inches to a foot around the valley. It was that wet, wet spring snow which fell in huge flakes and stuck to everything. The day before was grey and heavy. The clouds seemed to portend a change in the weather. I took the picture above on the day of the snow. And while it is first in today's review of the week it was the last of this set of seven I took. Actually there are more snow pictures sitting in the folder for Week 21. This week photographically ends with the red truck in the snow.

Day 135

The breezes of coming change were ruffling the reflections on one of my favorite ponds. Frequent followers will know there are two ponds which get included frequently in my weekly photography review. The photograph below is of the other pond and it was taken the same day as the Red Pickup.

Day 139 - Winter Wonderland

But back to the day before it snowed. When I first began water coloring in college I was overly fond of Payne's Grey and Prussian Blue. And the approaching storm created a Payne's Grey sort of day. I would love to paint the Cloud Horse below but I no longer have Payne's Grey in my palette. All the teachers that urged me to use more color would be thrilled.

Day 136 - Cloud Horse

Day 137 - Horse of Earth and Sky

Day 140 - Storm Horse

I want to take the three horse pictures above print them out, and mat and frame as a triptych. Photographers do not have to print their compositions until purchase or a competition. But that does not mean we do not consider it.

Day 138 

While I was focusing on the horses in the field behind me the sun was peeking through the clouds and lighting up the shore of Eagle Nest Lake and the top of Gold Knob. Always look behind you.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Neutral Ground - Magpie Tales 220

New York Restaurant by Edward Hopper 1922
Visual Prompt by Mag: 220

She picked the place
knew they would be 
so often there
just once more.

She scheduled the time
knew it would be packed
among the others
who dined there often.

She wrote the script
what needed to be said
and he could not
raise a fuss.

She had the cab
waiting just outside
to new beginnings
the end of an old affair.

J. Binford-Bell
May 2014

Sunday, May 18, 2014

When the Rains Came - The Creative Process

When the Rains Came
3' x 2' Watercolor on artists canvas
My painting of Canyon de Chelly is in a time of more water. And if the Anasazi abandoned the pueblos and cliff dwellings in Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona because of drought then once there was more water. Geological evidence says that the Colorado Plateau was far more wet. Water ran through the slot canyons and down the cliff faces leaving behind evidence of its passage. Even now a torrential rain storm miles away on the mesa tops can fill the gorges and slots and canyons with water.

I was thumbing through some old books of sepia paintings of the American West and say one of White House Ruins with two men sitting on a promontory cut off from the ruin by a vast river of water. My paintings of my beloved Colorado Plateau have always included water even when it was not there. It is a wish it will return. So the photograph was a perfect jumping off point for me and this painting. And I returned with this painting to watercolor. Okay, there is a few pens used but so did the Chinese with their watercolors.

Main color blocks poured in
This is a large canvas to do solely with watercolor. But I did not want to use oil sticks as I have been doing lately primarily because of the detail of the two women and they sheep, and the pueblo in the cliff.

Color blocks defined
And rather than just a wide river (there is the remains of a big river still) I wanted to show water on the cliffs. Surely the peoples who inhabited these grand dwellings did not haul it all up from the canyon floor via foot holds cut in the rock face? The cliffs must seep when there are heavy rains. I know it runs off the slick rock of the canyon walls. No doubt these were taken advantage of with pottery to catch the water.

Color layers and a small cascade of water from the top left

I do begin a painting with a source of inspiration (that sepia photograph) and a sketch to define my direction. I have only rarely used a color sketch and then when I sketched on site with watercolor pencils and pens.  I find with a especially a large and complex painting it takes over control at a certain point. The progress photo above was that point. And so more water running down the cliff face had to be added.

Getting close

And if somewhere up top it is raining there must be clouds. And vegetation had to be added to the hill where the women herd their sheep. It needed to be darker so it did not distract from the clouds or the sheep or the ruins. Finding that balance took some time. Lately I have been filling in the foregrounds with oil stick bushes. I returned to my use of salt and granulation medium.

If sand paintings done by the native peoples in the southwest can be prayers for heeling. Can a painting with water be a prayer for its return to our parched land?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Week 19 of 2014 One Photo A Day

Day 127

No, it is not spring here yet. This geranium was in a green house right after watering. I like flowers with drops of water on them.

Day 128
Somewhere west and south of Raton, New Mexico

There is something about the eastern plans of New Mexico which makes me want to do photos I take there in black and white or sepia. Maybe it is the drought which seems to have robbed the area of color the last few years. Or maybe it is the call of history. This group of trees is not far from the ruts of the Santa Fe Trail. Or maybe in spite of the color of the first photo I was sort of in a monochromatic mood.

Day 129
 The aspens in this photo will be green soon but for the moment they are leafless. The structure of the branches can be seen clearly. And the reflection highlights the trunks.

Day 130
The glass door was mono was of all clear glass with textures. But the textures picked up the colors beyond the door and turned it into "stained glass."

Day 131
Early Morning Light

The world gets color from bands of light and what is reflected and what is absorbed. In the early mountain dawn it seems to be almost glowing. The spiderweb of electrical lines through the frosty forest was too spectacular to pass up.

Day 132

The same enchantment with muted, almost monochromatic tones, attracted me to this little pot on a marble counter with the morning light coming in window.

But I had to end the week the way I began it with vivid color. This time of an orchid.

Day 133

Today it snowed and I had a wonderful time with my dogs and camera. No doubt some of those photos will be in the next weeks photos. BTW snow pictures are also monochromatic.

Sneak Peek of Photos to Come

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mag 219 - Suspended

Magpie 219

Head not in the clouds
but feet not on the ground.

Like a fall leaf blown off a tree
or swept off the ground.

Neither here nor there 
but hanging in a never never land
defying gravity.

Reality as she knew it.

J. Binford-Bell

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Week 18 - 2014 in Review

Day 120
This was the week my desktop was still plagued by an apphang issue which did not allow my Corel Paintshop Pro photo editing software to open. I was uploading my photos from my camera to my aged laptop which had Adobe 5 on it. For those not in the know on photo editing software Adobe 5 heralds from 2006. Suffice it to say that Adobe and software photo editing programs in general have advanced a lot. I did, however, find several of my old favorite options I got to re-explore.

Because I had absolutely no idea when the desktop would be totally functional again I uploaded my photos from the laptop to a draft of this blog. I have seldom taken full advantage of the draft option on Blogspot. May use it more extensively in the future.

Day 121 - Happy May Day in New Mexico
With the desktop incapacitated and my right eye on the mend I was looking at the world rather differently. And besides it was spring. Elk are playing in the meadows and geese mating in the ponds and snow gracing the high mountain peaks (and occasionally low).  I was enthralled I could see 20/20 in my right eye and aware the left eye would soon need the same surgery.

Day 122
The elk and the geese in the same photo was a gift. No, this one was not photoshopped. And both allowed me to roll down the window (elk and geese hate that sound) and snap the photo below with my new 55-300 mm lens. As I drive this way daily the animals are very used to my car.

Day 123
And more geese. Well, actually the same geese but edited with my Corel program. I just wanted to see what the difference would be. And not that much really. Yes, the computer got fixed. Turned out it was an Internet Explorer issue. No, I do not use Internet Explorer and for this very reason. But it seems a lot of my software uses parts of it as a step up. Only with the flaw in IE software the step was gone. I had a total of five programs that were effected including the Windows Fix program I got for this very issue. Good news, is they fixed it.

Day 124

My sister is the master of macro photos but now and again I must try my hand or camera at one. This one was taken with my 55-300 mm lens. I had discovered in my film days that a long zoom lens often takes very good macro photos if you can get far enough away from your subject. My old long lens was 70-300 which often required a real long way off. Did not have to sit in the potted plants behind me to get this one with the new lens.

Day 125

This was one of the photos I redid the editing of. I never save over the original for a multitude of reasons. Taking a second pass on the editing is just one of those reasons. I knew when I edited it on Adobe 5 I could do it better on Corel 5x. The photo below is of a distant volcanic peak on the eastern plains of New Mexico near Raton

Day 126

New camera, new lens, new eye and back to my favorite programs on the cleaned up desktop. If you want to see the day by day postings of my photos check out Binford-Bell Studio on Facebook.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Ah, Salvador, how you Dali

Chair with the Wings of a Raven by Salvador Dali

Ode to Salvador
How you Dali with
and beliefs
of the faithful

Your chair of wooden spoons
Dishes up such a fright
with raven wings
it were to take flight.

J. Binford-Bell
May 2004

Visual prompt provided by Tess Kincaid