High on Photography…

5280 Lens Mafia

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Ground Zero

Ground Zero Reflecting Pool

I felt the solemnity of the location, the near-sacred aura of Ground Zero, coupled with the somewhat lacy reflections of nearby buildings juxtaposed with the strong lines of the memorial structure was poorly served by a riot of tourist color. The gathered crowds retreat into the background when rendered in black and white, while the names stand starkly front and center.

I’m glad to have shot this after Moab. I feel I did it much more justice than I might have otherwise.


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Palouse Fields from Steptoe Butte

Palouse Fields from Steptoe Butte, Black & White

One of the classic shots in the Palouse (eastern Washington’s grain region) is color and shadow from the top of Steptoe Butte. Rather than explore the shades of green and/or brown, I chose to explore the textural contrasts and patterns in this scene.


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Faux Falls Cascade

Faux Falls Cascade, Moab, UT

Faux Falls is just outside Moab, UT. It’s “Faux” because the water is pumped from an adjacent canyon through a ridge to move the water closer to town, cascading down into a lake.

During the Moab Photography Symposium I shot Faux Falls on two separate occasions, once coming down on the falls from above, once from below. Acutely aware of some errors (er, suboptimal decisions) in the first session, I set out to create a better image during the second. Part of that was seeing in black & white, part framing, part clearing excess material from the image field itself. I’m happy with the result, at least for now.

I should point out that during this second shooting session, I lost a lens step-up ring into the stream and was soaked to halfway between my ankles and knees. At least I didn’t hurt myself. That was a different shoot :-).


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Entering My Monochrome Period: Bodie Machinery

I had a wonderful experience during a weeklong workshop and symposium (the Moab Photography Symposium) in early May. Among the realizations was remembering how much I loved working in Black & White as a kid (much easier to process and print in black & white when you are using film). In conjunction with starting to print my own work, I am re-exploring monochromicity. The next few days will bring samples.

Abandoned Machine, Bodie, CA

Bodie is a California State Historic Park in the Eastern Sierra, south of Bridgeport and north of Lee Vining. The ghost town has been a state park since 1962 and a national historic landmark since 1961.

A short stop in Bodie in 2014 began my adult, digital, photography as art period. I had about 45 minutes in the middle of the day and shot deliberately for black and white, using the harsh light in an attempt to evoke stark emptiness. Out of less than 50 exposures (most of them bracketed sets of three to capture the total dynamic range available), I got three or four of my better images. It’s taken nearly three years since then to solidify my sense of my photography as art, but the Terrific Trio workshop before the Moab Photography Symposium (plus one other presenter during the Symposium itself) have managed to do that.


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China: Opera

Chinese Opera performer.


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China: Sampan

Sampan in watertown near Shanghai


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China: Bonsai

Decorative tree in Yu Garden, Shanghai


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China: Panda

Panda, eating bamboo (but I repeat myself)


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China: Red Panda

Red Panda at Chongqing Zoo


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China: Breathe that?

First view outside of Beijing Airport.

This image requires some explanation. The grid at the base is the top of a building outside the Arrivals zone at Beijing Airport. The grey above it is the air outside. Image taken on 26 April 2014.

Still think we don’t need an EPA?


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Hibiscus

Yellow Hibiscus against black


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Jungle Stream

Jungle Stream near Akaka Falls, North of Hilo, HI


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Harris Hawk in Flight

Harris Hawk in Flight with cocked head

I love the little cock of his head, as though he’s checking out what I’m doing down here.


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Sunset, Deception Pass

Sunset, Deception Pass, Washington


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Barn Owl

Barn Owl coming to trainer, Arizona Sonora Desert Museum


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Winter Slopes

Winter Slopes off US95


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Ocotillo, Saguaro National Park

Ocotillo, Prickly Pear at Javalina Rocks, Saguaro National Park


Harris Hawk Dominance

Harris Hawks competing for a perch as dominance contest

Harris Hawks hunt in family groups. Generally the lead female is the alpha, but the new lead male is trying to establish his place, and is pushing her off the top perch on a Saguaro cactus. Shot at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum’s twice-daily Raptor Free Flight.


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Riley’s Farm Colonial Faire – The American Lads Pt 1

I’ve been posting a few pictures from Riley’s Farm Colonial Faire.  They were reenacting the times just prior to and including the Boston Tea Party.  I did the Lasses and the Brits already.  Now we have the Americans.  Again, the lighting was terrible, yadda yadda yadda.  And I wish I had a better telephoto so these would be a bit sharper.  But I think these turned out OK despite all the problems.  All with my Nikon D7200.  Mostly with my 55.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-5.6 lens.

This first guy spent all of his time with the candle girl I posted a while back.  And most of THAT time was spent trying to twist apples in half with his bare hands.  Riley’s Farm IS an apple orchard, after all, so I guess that’s the thing to do.  I’m not sure if the candle girl was impressed or not.  I have no idea what his actual job was supposed to be.

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Riley’s Farm Colonial Fair – The Brit Lads

As promised, here are are the lads from the Colonial Faire at Riley’s Farm in Oak Glen from a few weeks ago.  I’m not thrilled about the sharpness in some of these, but short of walking into the middle of the demonstrations, it’s the best I could do.  Now I understand why people have such huge lenses when they do this sort of thing outside of a studio.  But I’m still learning.  As I mentioned when I posted the pictures of the Lasses, the lighting was terrible.  Basically, mid-day.  So I had to do quite a bit of photoshop fuckery to get the pictures even remotely viewable.  You’ll see what I mean.  Shadows are terrible in places and over saturation is rampant.  Doesn’t help that I edited these on my laptop…which seems to show pictures a bit brighter than my desktop, so a few of these are a little dark..  But I tried.

I decided to break them up into Brits and Colonials.  First, the Brits.  They started off the day with an inspection of course.
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Meetup Experiment #1: Mermaid Theme

I recently joined a photography Meetup group .  It is basically set up so models, makeup artists and photographers can get together to build their portfolios and exchange information.  Since I don’t have a lot of experience in these things, I figured it was an easy way to at least start networking.  I went to my first meeting last weekend.  It was a Mermaid theme.  I think there were 8 or 9 different models, but I only got to work with about 5 of them.  They were all good sports about the whole thing, getting into the swampy water and climbing all over the rocks for us.

Originally, we were supposed to shoot at the beach but there was a problem with getting the proper permits.  So, we ended up at a small landscaped stream in front of a water treatment facility in Chino instead.  We spent about four hours shooting.  Unfortunately, it was at the absolute worst time of day in terms of the lighting, 10am-2pm, so I had to do a lot of Photoshop fuckery to get the shots to look even remotely decent.  Even then, a lot of it is bleached out.  Since I’ll post the pictures as I edited them, you’ll see that there was a learning curve in just how to deal with the bad lighting.

All of this was shot with my Nikon D7200, and mostly with my 55-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 lens.  Occasionally, I switched to my 18.0-140.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, usually because there wasn’t a lot of space to work with and some of the models wanted full body shots.  I started off with ISO 200 but had to move to 400 for the shots that were in the shade since I wasn’t using a tripod.

First, we will start with the only pirate that showed up.
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