Red Rocks – Green Desert: Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

Last week I posted some shots from a hike, my son-in-law and I did a few weekends back. We went to Camelback Mountain here in the Phoenix area for a hike. It was a beautiful Saturday morning with perfect weather. Camelback is well known for the steepness of the trail. You ascend 1200 feet in just over a mile. It’s very popular this time of year with the weather here just in the 80’s and not yet the heat of the summer. The area is beautiful and is known for the red rock outcroppings rising from the desert floor. Never one to be without my camera, I had a great time as we ascended the trail. What I wanted to share today is the contrast between the red rock of the area and the green desert around it. This is the only time of year the contrast is so vibrant. The desert plant life does maintain some green during the heat of the summer, but not as vivid as spring. With all of that said, I love the contrast between the two rich colors and wanted to share some of my shots.

Camelback Red Rock 1

Camelback Red Rock 1

This first shot shows part of the ridge-line that makes up Camelback Mountain. We took a side trail that leads into a small valley away from the main trail. Notice the green land rising up to the ridge forming a point. That portion of the mountain is softer rock and has eroded more readily over the millennium. It comes down into this little valley and you see it littered with large and small boulders.

 

Camelback Red Rock 2

Camelback Red Rock 2

This next shot is in the same area as the first photograph. Again, the contrast of the green plant life against the red rocks and blue sky creates a beautiful scene.

Camelback Red Rock 3

Camelback Red Rock 3

Camelback Red Rock 4

Camelback Red Rock 4

Camelback Red Rock 5

Camelback Red Rock 5

Photographs 3, 4 and 5 are the boulders that have fallen over the years and sit on the desert floor creating that spectacular color contrast.

 

Camelback Red Rock 6

Camelback Red Rock 6

This last photograph is away from the area of the valley and is along the main trail as it begins the ascent up to the summit.

Thoughts?

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Sun in the Forest – Featured Art Print

This week I’m featuring a print from a series in my Landscape Oil Gallery. The art print is titled: Sun in the Forest. The setting is a forest in the Cascade Mountain Range where the tree canopy creates a natural barrier to direct sunshine. Then suddenly you see it, a shaft of bright sun piercing the canopy and illuminating the undergrowth of the forest floor. The suggestion of birch trees frames the scene and adds depth to the setting. To recreate this scene, I used a gothic oil technique that I like as it uses warm earth tones and bold brush strokes creating an old world look to the art print.

Thoughts?

I invite you to visit my Landscape Oil Gallery to enjoy this print and many more.

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Camelback Mountain Hike – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

This week’s photo shoot comes from a hike my son-in-law and I did two weekends ago. We went to Camelback Mountain here in the Phoenix area for a hike. It was a beautiful Saturday morning with perfect weather. Camelback is well known for the steepness of the trail. You ascend 1200 feet in just over a mile. It’s very popular this time of year with the weather here in the 80’s and not yet the heat of the summer. The area is beautiful with red rock outcroppings rising from the desert floor. Never one to be without my camera, I had a great time as we ascended the trail. What I wanted to share today is a scene I caught with my camera and frankly couldn’t believe what I was seeing. So let me set the stage. We are about halfway up and I wanted to take a series of shots, so we stopped and stepped back into the mountain for me to take what I am about to share.

Camelback Mountain 1

Camelback Mountain 1

This first shot gives you an idea of what the trail looks like and the elevation gain above the desert floor. It is straight down beyond the fence and the climb we had just done reminded me of hiking up the pyramid in Chichen Itza (years ago you could walk up the steep stairs…that’s no longer possible due to safety reason which I can attest to having done it). So from this perspective, I move my viewing over to the right across a ravine where the trail will be taking us.

Camelback Mountain 2

Camelback Mountain 2

I took this shot for obvious reasons…it’s beautiful with the red rock and the green desert plants. So here’s what I want you to take a look at…towards the center of the frame, do you see the “white shirt” of someone on the face of the rock? Off to his right, you can see where the trail goes through the rocks…note the people. I got so entranced by this guy, that I just stopped shooting. Originally I thought he was rock climbing, but no, he was jogging…not walking, but jogging.

Camelback Mountain 3

Camelback Mountain 3

This shot (#3) is the same photograph, but cropped in on him.

Camelback Mountain 4

Camelback Mountain 4

This shot (#4) is similar, but you can tell he has moved up the rock. In this picture, please note the white shirts in the upper left of the frame at the top of the rock outcropping.

Camelback Mountain 5

Camelback Mountain 5

Number 5 is a cropped version of the prior showing him and the trail with people.

Camelback Mountain 6

Camelback Mountain 6

And number 6 is a cropped version of # 4  showing the two white shirts at the top left of the rock face. If you look real close, you can see a path worn in the rock….this is where the person jogging up the rock ended up.

Camelback Mountain 7

Camelback Mountain 7

This is just another shot showing his progress…

Camelback Mountain 8

Camelback Mountain 8

…and the zoomed in version.

Thoughts?

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Garden Lamp – Featured Art Prints

This week I’m featuring a series of three art prints. All three are of the same subject, but each having a slightly different perspective. The subject matter is a simple yard lamp, yard light or garden lamp, whatever terminology you choose to use. In creating these three prints I was looking for a somewhat abstract style to create prints that were simplistic in nature while capturing the look and feel of the setting.

The setting itself is surprising in that this lamp is attached to a wall in a garden inside the Alamo complex in San Antonio, Texas. My wife and I were visiting the River Walk and the Alamo a couple of years ago, when I spotted this simple yard lamp. What appealed to my eye was the manner in which the vine was growing around the light. There was instinctively a composition here, but I wasn’t sure what type of presentation I wanted to do for it. After experimenting with a number of concepts, I decided to move forward with this type of look. As I mentioned earlier, I wanted a simple, clean look for this composition and I think this style created just that.

Thoughts?

I invite you to visit my Gardens Gallery to enjoy these prints and many more.

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Airplane Curves – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

This week’s photo shoot is from the air show I referenced in last week’s photo shoot on the classic cars. The air show was the main attraction, but they also had a classic car competition, thus the shots last week. I’m kind of following the same venue with another classic era shoot in that I love the lines and sculpted curves on airplanes. I especially appreciate the look on the older models and always seek that “artistic” way of capturing shots.

From that perspective, I am focusing on one plane in particular from that show as it represents all of the classic elements I seek in photographing airplanes. As I did last week, I am attaching each shot in color and then again in black and white. The black and white really pulls out a vintage aspect in each of the photographs. (If anyone recognizes what model this particular classic is, let me know. I was thinking it was a DC-3, which was one of the initial work horses in passenger aviation, but those had single tails and this has a twin tail.)

Airplanes Curves 1

Airplanes Curves 1

This first shot is on the tarmac and the pilot is going through his pre-flight routine before firing up the engines.

Airplane Curves 2

Airplane Curves 2

Same shot in black and white. Creates a vintage look, but also focuses the eye on the lines and curves of the nose and engines.

Airplanes Curves 3

Airplanes Curves 3

This next shot is the plane taxing out to the runway.

Airplane Curves 4

Airplane Curves 4

Again, the black and white makes it look like a picture right out of aviation history. You can almost imagine the passengers waiving good-bye through the windows (love the curtains!).

Airplane Curves 5

Airplane Curves 5

The last shot is the plane doing a low-level flyover before heading out to the other end of the Phoenix metro area to an airport over there that houses a number the old classic airplanes.

Airplane Curves 6

Airplane Curves 6

The black and white photograph looks like a postcard from an airline in that era… Thoughts?

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Abandoned Shack in Field – Featured Art Print

“Abandoned Shack in Field” is an art print I am featuring from my Architecture Gallery. The print was created using a gothic technique that creates an old world look using earth tones and bold brush strokes. Using this style with the subject matter seems a perfect fit.

The setting looks like the shack has been abandoned for all time in a remote rural area. That’s the beauty with art prints; you can create whatever look you want from a simple inspiration. The reality of this inspiration is that this shack sits smack dab in the middle of a thriving community. Not long lost at all, but has owner who is waiting for development. The location is Issaquah, Washington (Issaquah is an eastern suburb of Seattle, nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range) right off the freeway. It is deep in a field, but totally surrounded by a major freeway, roads, office buildings, homes and apartment buildings. Growth has marched around it. I kept spotting it from the freeway when driving and it stuck in my head. One day, I drove over to some office buildings nearby, parked my car and hiked into the field. The end result is this art print.

Inspiration often comes from simple scenes we see on a daily basis, but when used in a creative way, they can become something quite different. Thoughts?

I invite you to visit my Architecture Gallery to enjoy this print and many more.

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Car Curves – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

This week’s photo shoot comes from an air show I attended last weekend. As part of the activities there was also a classic car competition. I love restored classic cars from an aesthetic viewpoint. It seems that “back in the day” automakers almost sculpted the lines and curves on cars. Fenders weren’t just part of the side, they were a statement to themselves. Let’s not forget the front grille, they weren’t just a ventilation system for the engine; they were a calling card about what the car stood for. Was it a muscle car exuding power or a luxury car selling that sleek curvy look?

From my perspective, the lines and curves of those great classic cars are an artistic opportunity. I try and shoot elements of the car to tell a story. With that being said, I have attached three separate shots in color and black and white. They both bring different elements to a photograph and tell different stories. The last two shots are not as dramatic between the two as both of those cars were black to begin with.

Car Curves 1

Car Curves 1

This first shot is a beauty. Look at the color and the pristine condition. I love the curve of the fender up against the curve of the hood. The shine is so clear; you can see the photographer in a reflection on the hood taking the shot.

Car Curves 2

Car Curves 2

Same shot in black and white. Since there isn’t any color to pull the eye, the lines stand out more. The grille is sleek conforming to the curves of the fender and hood.

Car Curves 3

Car Curves 3

This shot is a classic for me; I so remember this grille as a kid. It has a strong, sinister look that I know the automaker looked at as a statement of a powerful engine, but to a kid it looked like something coming down the road that could swallow you whole.

Car Curves 5

Car Curves 5

Same shot in black and white. There isn’t much difference, since the car is black and I’m not pleased with my composition. I know I was trying to cut out a person that was in the frame on the right side of the car, but the end result still needed to be symmetrical from this perspective. Not one I will use, but wanted to at least show the massive death grinning grille.

Car Curves 5

Car Curves 5

The last shot is a focus on the headlight and bumper. The bumper looks like it’s packing a torpedo; can anyone say “James Bond”?

Car Curves 6

Car Curves 6

Again the black and white isn’t much different since the car was black to begin with, but it pulls the eye to the curves and contrast between the chrome and black.

Thoughts?

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