Another Flower for You

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The obligatory bluebonnets. Light was too harsh, really. I tried to rescue somehow with bokeh. (Why doesn’t any computer like the word bokeh? Here, bokeh, bokeh, bokeh! Take that!)

The camera was a Hassleblad (no misspelling, believe me, error messages galore!) The lens was the highly ventilated 120 f4 macro.

Do you know the legend of the bluebonnet?

Take care…a flower for you.

The Tree in the Wind

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I’ve watched this mesquite for years as I’ve passed by but have never had a camera and light together at the same time. Today I was shooting elsewhere and was on the way home when I noticed the light and the bright, green, new spring foliage. It was windy and that probably helped arrest it in some nice configurations in some of the shots.

Aubrey, Texas

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My wife and I recently took a short Sunday afternoon excursion looking at the countryside and small towns just north of the DFW Metroplex. I think I’m trying to find the unspoiled village where chain restaurants and retailers have yet to bury their roots to leech out more wealth from the locals.

In Aubrey there was, of course, Main St. which had Mom’s Restaurant and other quaint establishments. The folks there did seem friendly enough and I kept hearing the theme song to Andy Griffith running through my head.

However, Main St. wasn’t that interesting to me. It was too dressed up for the tourists, too clean. We did notice not too far from this center of commerce some interesting, genuine, old, perishing parts of the town that appealed to us photographically.

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Truck is from 1953 and is in better shape than I am.

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This wasn’t too far from the truck.

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The grain elevators gave some nice shadows.

Altogether, a nice visit. We hope to see more of them!

Oh, PS

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Blooms of White

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This was with H5D and 120 macro shot two stops down from wide open at 200 ISO. There was a pestilent wind keeping things shook up, and as I was, in the late evening light, at 1/60 or slower, I had to watch the stamens carefully to see when a pause was in order to fire.

Winter’s Death Rattle

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Yesterday I went out to shoot some blossoms with macro lens on H5D just to see if I could successfully find fractions of a second of breaks in Texas’s incessant wind. I got a few shots, but as I was leaving I noticed the sunset only two days from spring. With the fisherperson on the shore, the strolling people on the path, the bare tree silhouetted by the setting sun, I was compelled to stop and grab a quick hand held shot with the 120 macro lens I had been using.

What I suppose mainly supports the title here are two aspects of the subject:

  1. The still leafless tree.
  2. The green grass.

Infrared in Big Bend

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Stack at Mariscal

This is a stack at the old Mariscal Mine in Big Bend National Park, Texas. You access the mine, which closed in the ’40’s, by taking about a 25 mile drive down a dirt road. The camera I used was a Hasselblad SWC of around the 1980’s. It only has a permanently attached 38mm Carl Zeiss Biogon lens, around 25mm in the terms we’re mostly used to with smaller formats. I used Rollei Infrared film and this shot was rated at an effective 3 ISO. The exposure was based on the measurement of an earlier subject’s shadow areas using a Pentax 1 degree analog spot meter. The light hadn’t changed, so I used the same exposure. With this camera you do not have a ground glass on which to focus, so you pretty much use the lens’s distance scale. In this case, at f22, infinity was fine. It was shot through a really dark red filter to get only the IR radiation to the film. The filter is so dark you can glance at the sun through it briefly. I used f22 and 2 seconds. Notice the darkened sky and somewhat lightened foliage, what there is of it, anyway. This is a scan of a resin-coated print with absolutely no digital enhancements apart from whatever the scanning process may perform. I’ll make a better print of it on fiber-based paper soon for sale at the art fairs we attend. It will look much better than the resin-coated version.

 

We Stopped

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One of the hardest things to do when traveling is to stop and take a picture, especially if it involves any trouble, like setting up a tripod. We had noticed this subject a few days earlier between Tyler and Dallas, closer to Tyler. As we knew we would return very soon, we made a note to stop next time! The shoulder of the toll road wasn’t very wide, so we decided to make the necessary extra trip to get to the farm to market road running next to the tree. I used a Hasselblad H3D-39 hand held with the HD 35 mm lens on it.

 

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Whom to Please?

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Ralph Steiner lived from 1899 – 1986. Reference information about him here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Steiner. One of his films can be seen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zO_Aw02Fkj8. It’s quite beautiful, twelve minutes, and worth a look.

My main concern with Ralph Steiner today is a quote by him:  “Eventually I discovered for myself the utterly simple prescription for creativity; be intensely yourself. Don’t try to be outstanding; don’t try to be a success; don’t try to do pictures for others to look at-just please yourself.” (Italics mine)

Before the advent of the Internet (yes, you two-thumbing generation, there WAS a time when we couldn’t stay connected) the two main ways of getting mass attention for your photography was firstly to have a book published. Secondly, you might get into a gallery. Most likely if you did the one the other would follow. Of course, few people made it to this level, even people who did wonderful work and produced beautiful and intriguing images. It helped to be born with the wealth of your parents backing you with its influence to get you connected to those in positions to place your work in those venues of admiration. Fortune’s favorites.

But then along came the ability to post images on the WWW. Popular social sites came into being for posting your visual gems for the world to see and for many people this has become the raison d’ etre of all their photographic endeavors:  To garner as many “likes” or “faves” as possible and that ultimate of all honorifics, to have one’s lens-child baptized in that River. (Let the reader understand. I once had a picture there, a fly-like insect feeding atop a gaillardia flower in New Mexico. I thought it was fairly nondescript, but it got over 20,000 views.)

A Spanish author whose name is buried in the forgetfulness of over 40 years since I read him in college once wrote an essay about how worthless the opinion of the masses really is. You who post to whatever place and agonize over how popular it is or over how many comments you get; you who grow green with envy when you look at those pictures of other more popular, apparently, contributors whose work is nowhere near as good as yours; those who research the best time of day on which day of the week to post to get attention; to you, I say, I’ve been there. I’ve also left those places having realized the utterly sick obsession involved. I have my website where people can go a view my work for free, and here. My only other social site involvement is where I play chess online.

So in keeping with the idea of the basic ignorance of the masses, don’t let the lack of praise bother you. Look at Ralph Steiner’s words again up above, “…just please yourself.” Back in the day we took pictures of events and places we visited on trips, people we loved. We kept the photos in albums and enjoyed pulling those repositories out from storage on occasions and enjoyed our pictures. We didn’t worry about or value what anybody else thought. I’ve found myself doing these things to enjoy what I create:  1. I frame and hang on the walls. 2. I put actual prints I make in albums or acid free storage boxes or in large books of blank drawing paper in between the pages and kept under the bed for whenever. 3. I make slide shows in Lightroom to look at with musical accompaniment. 4. I post to my website where they get viewed, and even purchased one time by a guy down in Georgetown, Texas. I watch slide shows of them there also, which I hope my visitors also do. 5. Maybe most importantly to me, in today’s world of easy self-publishing, I make books of my pictures with words I write accompanying. I do this on Blurb out of Lightroom and of course nothing sells; the second book I didn’t even list for sale to the public. I just get a copy to have around for me to enjoy looking through and also will give copies as gifts. 6. Lastly, I’ve gone to three art shows recently, two nearby and one way out in Alpine, Texas, the famous Alpine Artwalk. This way I get personal interaction with people who actually do buy my work. In Alpine a fellow walked into my booth area, went and looked at a framed photo of three crosses in the old Terlingua cemetery, came over to where I was sitting and asked, “Did you take all of these photographs?” I answered in the affirmative and gave him my card with link to my website on it. He got out his phone and I guess entered the link to verify these we my pictures(?) I was beginning to wonder if I had photographed the grave of a long lost ancestor and he was cooking up a way to get a lawsuit. He returned to me and said, “I WANT that picture.” I agreed to cater to his wish with the proper exchange of media with presidents pictures on them for the photo. Another buyer of a framed photograph of bare trees in fog just below Mount Emory down in Big Bend National Park (100 mile to the south) was a young woman who had on several occasions served my my meals in the lodge restaurant there. I was quite flattered she wanted to hang the picture on her wall in the park.

I know my last point involves pleasing others, and I’ll openly admit to my hypocrisy in light of the thesis of this post. However, to excuse myself, at least I was in the physical presence of the people whom I was seeking to impress. There seems to me to be a difference between that with real people and physical objects instead of faceless strangers and assorted arrangements of data into ethereal illusions of photographs.

Do find ways to make your own self happy with your photographs. You took them because you responded emotionally to something. Relive those emotions yourself through them.