Saturday, May 31, 2008

Foggy Vision

I was born and raised here in Colorado, choosing to be in the Rocky Mountains or in Denver. Until recently, I never spent much time in the eastern plains and farmland. Once again, my camera and my curiosity got the best of me when I followed some thunderstorms out in that direction one evening in 2006. Since that time, it has become one of my favorite shooting locations. With sparse, open landscapes, farm relics, old trees, turbulent weather patterns, and abundance of wildlife, it now excites me to drive out on these dirt roads. After just a handful of songs from the stereo of my truck, I am out in the wide open spaces, away from the congestion of the city. Reminding myself how fast it is to get out of the metropolis provides me comfort. I suppose I might move to a less-populated area, but for the sake of my businesses, Denver is a good place to be, for a while anyway.

Earlier this week I took the drive out to eastern Colorado at dawn, on a wonderfully foggy Stephen King-esque (books, not movies) morning, with fog so thick that it seemed to be as tangible as the fields of earth it covered.

Driving was a very near-sighted journey, but I was really enjoying the eeriness of it all.

Every once in a while an object off the side of the road would break up the endless grey that blanketed my view. This old windmill caught my attention.

Gradually the fog lifted enough to actually see something, as the sun rose over the horizon. The trees, as usual, are my favorite shots from the morning.

These train photos will become part of a series I've been working on over the past two years. The body of work will be posted on my site sometime in the next few months.

All of this excitement, and I was back home by 8:30 in time to start my work day.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The New Generation of Photography Sites

Lately I have noticed a few photography sites that have some very creative photography. The two most notable are JPG Magazine and File Magazine. These sites are definitely edgier than what you might find on the mainstream photography sites such as BetterPhoto, although not quite as edgy (and tattooed) as DeviantArt.

JPG and File have very different models and genres, so I should not inadvertantly group them into any category other than that of "photography sites that make me happy". Both of them have a good mix of street photography, nature, studio, and abstract/experimental photography.

File Magazine allows photographer submissions, and selects the photos they want to publish and include in their collections and projects. No user comments, voting, rating, or any of that other community-oriented stuff. Just a website chock full of "unexpected photography". I encourage you to spend some time there, as there is some really fantastic and unique work.

JPG Magazine has grown tremendously popular since it's inception just a couple years ago, and follows more of a photography community model, with comments, friends, and votes to help persuade the editors in which photos to publish. A beautifully printed magazine is published bi-monthly with the selected photos and stories for the previously posted theme.

Without any sense of self-shame in cramming this one image down your blogosphere, I have submitted the photo below in the theme, "Favorite Hangouts". There's six days of voting left, so if you are already a website member of JPG magazine, and like the photo, please give me a vote! If you are not yet a member, it's a very non-committal type sign-up process with no small print, so if you are so compelled and actually sign up and vote for my photo, I will grant you three wishes. And, yes, one of them can be that I start posting different photos on my separate posts and site.

Right now my photo has 23 votes, and is listed as "HOT" so you never know, it may be selected, with your help. Thanks for putting up with my shameless self-promotion. We will return to our regularly scheduled shenanigans soon.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Difference between Night and Day

Over the last couple years,
I have occasionally been asked why I don't shoot more colorful subjects, like wildflowers, green meadows, and colorful mountain scenes. I've never really known what to say, as, truth be told, I just never
felt I was that good at it.

When I really became fixated with photography, my first instinct was to take pictures of the moon, the stars, the twilight glow; the Mysterious and the Fantastic. Night and low-light photography naturally became my muse. To me, night photography is the equivalent of a painter starting out with a blank canvas, and slowly applying layers upon layers of color with his/her brush. Similarly with night photography, you start with a pitch black frame, and slowly allow light in the camera over long periods, or force light in by painting objects with a spotlight. It seems much more controlled by virtue than shooting in daylight hours and being at the mercy of current sunlight and atmospheric conditions. Night photography does come with it's own set of unique challenges though, including camera noise, difficulty in getting the lens focused on my subject in the dark, and uneven light painting. Other external challenges with night photography include encounters with wildlife, encounters with (not-so) domestic farm dogs, wind, and a myriad of other predicaments that you might imagine wandering around in the wilderness at night may present.

During my photography journeys, I find myself sleeping for four hours around mid-night, waking up and shooting pre-sunrise and sunrise, and then sleeping another four hours at mid-day, to go out and shoot again at sunset and after the fall of night. More than once I've absent-mindedly greeted people with "Good Morning!" at 6:00 in the evening.

The photo of the old tree above, "Protection", is a 30-second exposure taken at about 4:00 am in the Utah desert a couple weeks ago, before the first glow of sunrise.

On to more important topics…

Today is Mother's Day
We owe a debt of gratitude to our Mothers for bringing us into the world, nurturing us, teaching us, consoling us, healing us, and loving us. I recently read on a blog a statement that rings so true:

"God could not be everywhere, and
therefore he made mothers."

In honor of Mother's Day, (and also in response to those who wondered if I'm truly nocturnal and envision me frantically clamoring through shadows to return to my coffin at the first hint of dawn), I give you this gallery:

"Unique Flora"
; in celebration of the vibrant color and
the miracle of life that Mother Nature provides.

Enjoy, and to all the Mothers of the world,
wishing you a most heartfelt

Happy Mother's Day!