Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Photographer Contemplates...

This fellow photographer ended up in a bunch of my compositions one particular evening.. he seemed so enthralled with the beautiful sunset sky that he wasn't too busy shooting. Don't know if he was thinking about his foreground setup at all either, being out there on the edge, but to each his own:)... and very nice of him to stand so still for the 8 seconds duration of this exposure.  It didn't bother me much, because I knew I could easily remove him from the scene later if necessary and I just went on undisturbed.  If there's a whole bunch of gawkers standing in the scene, that CAN get to be a problem.  I left him in here this time because I think the figure adds a bit of story to the shot. You might question my choice to render such a colorful scene in monochrome, but I have so many color versions of this already and I like it this way.. your mind's eye fills in the colors and the textures of the rocks, sea and cloud are so awesome all by themselves.  
My posts (and comments, sorry) will probably continue to be irregular for the near future.. the practicalities of life sometimes intrude on creative endeavors and that is my story for now.  In short, we are preparing to leave the city life and move full time to our house in a small village high in the southern California mountains, so life is going to change drastically, but first there is a lot to deal with here as you can imagine. More info on this as it occurs, I suppose.  In the meantime I don't have much opportunity to travel or work on new stuff, but it should all be better in the end.
You can view more beautiful skies from all over the world each week here at the SkyWatch home page.  

Thursday, March 11, 2010

California Sky Watchin' - Rocky Shore and Pastel Clouds

I rarely come away empty handed when I head over to this spot late in the day.. almost every evening it's somewhere between simply beautiful and mind-blowing, especially in winter, so I try to take advantage at this time of year.
If I painted this sky, I'd probably want to start over because it almost doesn't look real, but here you go. No HDR or exposure combination necessary here, either.  This is a straightforward shot except for some very basic adjustments. (I do love the graduated filter process that was added to Camera RAW in CS4.. what a great tool and no more messing around with grad filters in the field for me.)
It was still spitting rain after a storm this day, so the rocks were even more slippery than normal.. those dark and mossy areas that you can see are like walking on pure grease or wet ice.. especially dangerous as it gets dark and if your concentration is not on your feet.  But, so far, so good for me.. only a few near-disaster pratfalls that I managed to recover from.  My wife wasn't so lucky a few months ago.. one afternoon we were just walking here enjoying the day and the waves, when she slipped and split her forearm open; we then spent the next half day at the emergency room waiting for her to get seven stitches.. luckily it wasn't bleeding at all while we were waiting. It turned out to be a very expensive afternoon stroll, however. 
Check out more great skies from all around the world each week at the SkyWatch home page.

Monday, March 8, 2010


I'm currently involved in an ongoing studio project for a client that requires a lot of shooting and processing, so it's tapping my photographic time and energy a bit... resulting in a slowdown of posts here on the blog. Not complaining though, because at least it pays well:)
In the meantime, here is a "rainy-day" project from the past weekend.. reprocessing a view of the Kolob Canyons area of Zion N.P. in Utah, that I shot several years ago.  A bit hard to tell since this is in monochrome, but that is snow on the lower slopes, as this was shot on a bitter cold New Year's Eve morning.  A lot of people totally bypass this area in favor of the park's main canyon an hour to the south... although it is literally right on the major I-15 freeway, midway between St. George and Cedar City. The freeway exit goes directly into the park and it is only a couple of miles up a smooth road to this spot.  You can just stop anywhere at the many turnouts for views like this (It was so deserted on the day I was here, that I was able to set up my tripod right in the middle of the road), or there are several easy hiking trails that wind up into the backcountry.  A truly majestic scene if you are ever in the area.
Leaving aside the mysteries and the inequities of human talent, brains, taste, and reputations, the matter of art in photography may come down to this: it is the capture and projection of the delights of seeing;
it is the defining of observation full and felt.
- Walker Evans