Desert Sunrise – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

Last week early one morning and I mean early one morning, I walked out onto our patio, coffee mug in hand. I was ready to sit down and enjoy my coffee as the sun was just starting to lighten up the sky. Our patio faces the eastern sky, so I was looking up expecting clear skies (it is the desert), but instead saw a lot of high-level clouds. (I’m sure you’re thinking “thanks for the weather report Kirt, but really…) The clouds caught my attention because I know that these types of clouds can make a spectacular sunrise or sunset depending on which is happening. Our area is straight west of a mountain range, so our sunrises are more impressive coming over the mountains. I knew I didn’t have much time; so coffee cup gets sat down, I go screaming into the house to grab my camera and dart out to hike up a hill nearby for some cool shots. I didn’t have time to grab my tripod because at this point the sky was changing already into an incredible display of color. The change to the coloring is ongoing and fast as I get up the hill and get my camera ready for some spectacular shots. I position myself and start taking shots…nothing happens…huh? Thought I had turned it on…check again (which means reading glasses back out), yes it’s turned on, but display is blank…..dead battery. I forgot I had been downloading pictures from my camera into my computer a few days back and obviously left the camera on. Knowing that I didn’t have time to get back to the house for the other set (I always have a backup charged and ready), I reverted to my iPhone. The iPhone takes decent enough shots, but not as clear as I would have gotten with my camera. That said, I still wanted to share some of those shots from the sunrise. What I love about a sunrise or sunset is the coloring changes as you watch. I’ve attached a couple of them from that morning so you could see some of the subtle changes.

Desert Sunrise 1

Desert Sunrise 1

The first shot is soon after I realized my camera batteries were dead. I started with a wider angle to get an overall look of the desert and the mountains in the east.

Desert Sunrise 2

Desert Sunrise 2

The second shot is zoomed in a little tighter. Notice the slight color change…just a little brighter orange as the sun has moved further up behind the mountain.

Desert Sunrise 3

Desert Sunrise 3

The third shot shows the sky just before the sun has peaked over the top of the mountains. The color is becoming brighter and the hues have changed slightly. As I waited a minute for the next shot, I looked to my right and noticed the color explosion on the next shot….

Desert Sunrise 4

Desert Sunrise 4

With the fourth shot, the sun is just about up and the light is reflecting off of some high level rain that is dropping from some clouds south of me.

Desert Sunrise 5

Desert Sunrise 5

The last shot is that same view and the sun has broken the horizon. Notice the change from orange to yellow.

All of these shots were taken within 4-5 minutes all total, that’s how quickly the colors change. Once the sun came up, the dance of color in the clouds quickly disappeared. Thoughts?

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Tree Lights in the Clearing – Featured Art Print

Just so everyone is clear, I hesitate to bring up Christmas at this point in time, but we are headed into November and the holidays will be here before we know it. So, in a continuation with the line of Christmas Cards I added to my Note Card Gallery, I wanted to feature another art print that I used for one of the cards. This art print is titled: “Tree Lights in the Clearing”.

 

This particular print is not in any of my galleries as it is brand new. I had just created it for my Landscape Oil Gallery and something about it spoke to me for a possible art print on one of my cards. I liked the clearing of barren trees in the middle of a thick pine forest. In creating the print, I highlighted the barren trees and made them the focal point. I used a look of brighter light on those trees, making it appear that the trees were lit up…almost magically in the forest. For the card, I then took it one step further and created white lights on the trees creating a festive winter scene.

 

My goal in the line of cards was to create winter scenes of nature that had a slightly nostalgic look and feel to them. Natural winter scenes depicting a simpler slower paced life. During the Holiday Season, we frantically prepare for it, but when Christmas and New Years arrive, we try to slow down to enjoy family and friends. It’s a time of love and community, a time of year to stop and reflect on where we are and what we want for the coming year. Thoughts?

 

 

I invite you to come into the gallery to view the addition of Christmas Cards to the collection in the Note Card Gallery.

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Christmas Tree in the Forest – Featured Art Print

I just added a line of Christmas Cards to my Note Card Gallery and wanted to feature one of the prints from those cards. My feature today is titled: “Christmas Tree in the Forest”.

I started by taking the art print from my Landscape Oil Gallery titled: “Snow Covered Pine” as my basis for this creation. From the original print, I popped the color up just a little and then individually added each light, the star and then the glow around the star. Sounds easy enough, but it was a little more time consuming than I had estimated. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I re-drew the star until I had it the way I wanted. I really like the final results and feel like the effort was worth it.

Some background on the scene: It was the first part of December 2013 and my wife and I were living in Seattle for the latter half of last year while our house was being built here in the Phoenix area (two of our three were in Seattle at that point and we had sold our home in San Diego). Our apt had just flooded (another story for another day) and we had to vacate it for the duration of our stay. We ended up in a hotel for the holidays waiting for our final move to Arizona. It was a bit crowded with two cats, lots of my equipment, suitcases, etc in a one-bedroom hotel suite. We took the entire event in stride, but were feeling a little down because at least in the apt we had a small tree and it was decorated, etc. We were use to hosting Christmas at our house even after our kids moved out and this year we knew would be different, but not like this.

We woke up one morning to a beautiful snowfall. It doesn’t snow very much in Seattle and we had not lived anywhere that got snow since our days in Denver many…many years ago. It was magical to us…that first snow where the flakes are huge and fall quietly adding that touch of white to everything. I knew I needed to get out in it and start taking pictures. Our hotel was near a small forest, so I packed up and took off. I loved it! I was able to get a number of great shots that day and have started creating final art prints from those photographs. In thinking about what art prints to offer on some Christmas Cards, this one came to mind, but I wanted to decorate the pine tree with lights. Growing up, we always had a fir tree full of Christmas lights outside and when the snow blanketed it…magical. My goal was to recreate what I had seen so many times in my youth via this art print. Thoughts?

I invite you to come into the gallery to view the addition of Christmas Cards to the collection in the Note Card Gallery

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The Mining Cart – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

Using one of my recent photo shoots (Jerome, Arizona to be exact), I wanted to walk through a process to turn some of your photos into “old” prints. Lately, I have seen a lot of interior designs that use this type of look for their art prints. It may not be everyone’s taste, but there is a place for it and I thought I would show a couple of quick easy tips.

To start with, the most important thing to take a look at is the subject matter itself. Does it say old or rustic? For this example, I am attaching a shot I took in Jerome, Arizona a little while ago (If you follow this blog you will remember two earlier posts around a classic car and an abandoned building). The first attachment is the original shot of an old mining cart from the mine, which Jerome was built around. Of course I had to try for an artistic shot of this relic, so it meant all but laying down on the track. I was pleasantly surprised to see a couple of tourist do the same thing after watching me. :)

Original Mining Cart Shot

Original Mining Cart Shot

So the subject matter qualifies as old and rustic, we can all agree on that.

Mining Cart - Black and White

Mining Cart – Black and White

The first process I took a look at was black and white. Black and white photography doesn’t by itself create an old look since it is used today to create some very modern contemporary art prints. That said, with the right subject matter a simple change to this monochrome look can create the “old” photo appearance you might be looking for.

Mining Cart Sepia Tone

Mining Cart Sepia Tone

The next approach is the sepia tone photography. This alone creates an instant old look as we associate the sepia tone with pictures from the 1800’s in photography’s infancy. It works well with this subject looking like it could have been one of the original shots when the mine was up and running for business.

Mining Cart Sepia Tone with Texture

Mining Cart Sepia Tone with Texture

This last attachment is the same shot with some texture (compliments of Photoshop) added to create a look of a photo on old paper (the texture is very subtle and difficult to see on this size). The point of all of this is to show you how easy with some simple steps, you can turn one of your photos into an art print for your wall assuming this a look you are after. Not to confuse the issue, but one last comment. An original old shot from the era my subject matter comes from, would have slightly different lighting with the center being brighter than the edges. That look can also be incorporated, but I didn’t want to make this a process that got cumbersome and the final result (which I also played with) was very subtle in the changes it made. Thoughts?

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Railroad Tracks and The House – Featured Art Print

As promised last week, here is the sister print to “Picnic Table by the Tracks”. This art print is titled: “ Railroad Tracks and The House” and both are from my Landscape Oil Gallery.

This print is also done using an impasto oil technique. As with last weeks, this style uses large brush strokes and bright, bold colors. Both elements seem appropriate for this print to make the setting really pop with color and texture. The setting is the same row of trees as in last weeks picture, but the angle has changed and so has the subject matter of the print. The color of the turning leaves grabs your eye with the vibrant oranges and yellows. The railroad tracks are still a central theme, but in this view, we see them run parallel to the row of trees very close to a house. In this perspective you see the tracks go way off into the distance creating that depth I like. I love fall colors and I love a picture that pulls me in. The questions arise from looking at this scene. Where does the track go? Why is it so close to a house? Who would live in a house with a railroad track that close?

Some answers to the questions these prints bring up:

  1. The tracks are abandoned and lead to historic downtown Issaquah and what is now a Train Depot Museum, but what was once a passenger and freight depot serving this area. This was one of many stops between downtown Seattle and the mountain towns in the Cascade Range just to the east of Issaquah. The train service and tracks date back to 1889 and were used up until the 1940’s. Today the depot is listed in the National Register of historic places.
  2. The house doesn’t look like it dates back that far, maybe the 40’s or 50’s and may have been built after the tracks were abandoned; I’m really not sure. The house is currently used as the home of the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce and the picnic table from last weeks art print is in the back yard of the Chamber of Commerce. I would assume employees use it during nice weather.

So, the mystery of the tracks themselves is solved. The house and closeness to the tracks still remains a mystery to me, but the tracks as you can tell follow a straight line and parallel an existing road. I felt very lucky the day I did the original photo-shoot that started this process, to not only get the fall leaves near their peak, but to capture some interesting elements into a couple of art prints. Thoughts?

I invite you to come into the gallery to view the collection in Landscape Oil

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Picnic Table by the Tracks – Featured Art Print

I wanted to finish the week by embracing and celebrating fall. Fall is my favorite season for a variety of reason. The weather change is an obvious, but more importantly the explosion of color as the leaves turn colors. In honor of that I am featuring the attached art print “Picnic Table by the Tracks” from my Landscape Oil Gallery.

The print is done using an impasto oil technique. This style uses large brush strokes and bright, bold colors. Both elements seem appropriate for this print to make the setting really pop with color and texture. What I like about this particular scene is the picnic table nestled in the background on the other side of the railroad tracks. The most dominating feature in this print is the row of brightly colored trees. The one in the front is just turning, but the rest in the row behind it are at their peak of bright yellow and have been losing leaves that are now covering the ground. The mix of the colors in the leaves creates depth to the fall foliage. The other prominent feature in the setting is the set of railroad tracks running parallel with the trees. It’s then, that you see the lonely picnic table sitting under a tree by the tracks. You have to ask yourself what is that all about?

If an art print can make you pause and look deeper into it, whether it is the colors, texture or subject matter, then the artist has succeeded. I know the story behind this setting, yet I still find myself drawn into the picture. I have another print with these infamous tracks that I will share next week and the puzzle about the tracks gets even more interesting with that one. Thoughts?

I invite you to come into the gallery to view the collection in Landscape Oil.

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Red Rocks in Abundance – Excerpts From a Photo Shoot

If you have been following my blog, you have seen two excerpts from a photo shoot I did in Jerome, Arizona (Classic Car & Vacant Building). On that same day, we continued our journey over to Sedona, Arizona. Sedona is famous for many things, (arts, energy vortexes and nature’s beauty). I love the area for all of the natural red rock outcroppings. They truly are a photographers opportunity for some incredible photographs. Today, I have attached 5 shots from that outing.

Red Rock 1

Red Rock 1

What I liked about this shot was the three distinct depths to the capture. The foreground and the background do a great job framing the focal point of the towers of rock outcropping. I love the lighting with the shadows accenting the shapes of the rock structures. The amount of detail in each of the depths pulls your eye into the frame to study it more closely.

Red Rock 2

Red Rock 2

This is a more difficult shot as the bulk of the rock face is in the shadows. If my goal was to get the best shot possible of this particular rock formation, I would want to wait until the sunlight hit it differently. Since that wasn’t my goal and I only had a limited time in the area, I still think this came out as an interesting shot.

Red Rock 3

Red Rock 3

I love the color and detail of this one. You can see the different shades of white and red in the many layers of strata and the sunlight was perfect to highlight the marks of erosion on this rock face.

Red Rock 4

Red Rock 4

The beauty of the area is incredible as this shot attests to. The lighting for this was perfect as the shadows highlight the variation in structure and shape of the rock formations.

Red Rock 5

Red Rock 5

This final shot reminds me of a dome shaped building. I love the detail of the features against that deep blue sky.

So that’s an excerpt from that particular photo shoot in the Sedona area. Thoughts?

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