Category Archives: Photography

Photographic prints in color, black and white and sepia

Winter Wonderland – Excerpts From a Photo Shoot

I was blessed with a great photo opportunity during the holidays. We were in Seattle for Christmas weekend and on Christmas Eve it started to snow. What makes it even more spectacular than just the beauty of a white Christmas is that Seattle may get a snow or two during the winter months, but typically it is just cold rain. So, we were able to enjoy one of their infrequent snows and it started on Christmas Eve and lasted into Christmas morning. Yes, it was one of those peaceful snows with big fluffy flakes….really stunning. I haven’t personally experienced that at Christmas since our days in Denver almost 30 years ago.

We spent Christmas day with our son-in-laws family. They live on the outskirts of Seattle with lots of forest land around their neighborhood. Always traveling with my camera, my son-in-law and I went for a hike where I took the attached shots.

This first shot is the trail we hiked.

Couldn’t resist this capture with the snow covered branches arching over the trail.

We entered a clearing where I captured this lone tree all covered in snow.

Just loved the look of the trees….

Stunning was all I could think of……truly a winter wonderland!!

As we came back into the neighborhood we saw families and their children taking advantage of this opportunity….notice the wise mom positioned in front of the pond to prevent anyone from getting to close and personal with the water. Love it!!

Believe it or not, all of this was gone within two days…by the time we flew out it had all melted. The day after we left another storm moved in with lots of rain (the typical). Timing is everything!!  Thoughts?

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The Duck At Papago Park

My wife and I have not been home for a weekend since before Thanksgiving until this weekend. I am not complaining as we have had short weekend get aways to celebrate a first birthday for our granddaughter in Los Angeles, a wedding in San Jose and then our nieces graduation in San Diego for her Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy (two of her internships over the last year and a half were here in the Phoenix area where we were thrilled to house her both times) and next weekend finds us in Seattle for Christmas with the following one in Los Angeles for New Years. I share all of this (yes I am headed somewhere…) as to why it was that we found ourselves in the ever popular shopping malls and stores this past weekend doing our last minute Christmas shopping. This is not to say that Amazon has not received it’s fair share of our purchases, but there are those items you need to actually pick up or find. Having survived the masses, my mind went to a peaceful quiet place as we wound down Sunday night. The result is the attached photos.

Papago Park in Phoenix is nestled between the Desert Botanical Garden and The Phoenix Zoo. It has ponds and hiking trails and is very “quiet and peaceful”. Key point!! I was looking for a beautiful peaceful snow scene, but since I couldn’t find one (yes I have been living in warm climates for many years now), so I settled on this to represent a reprieve from the last minute hustle and bustle of the season. So back to the ponds. The ponds are home to many birds, but as the fall and winter migration occurs, it has a resident that calls the ponds home year ’round, the Mallard Duck. Both shots are the same duck, who appears not to have a concern in the world. So I give you my visual of a little peace and quiet during this busy season!!

Thoughts?

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Climbing The Pyramid When You Could – El Castillo in Chichen Itza

Sepia Mayan Pyramid – El Castillo as it looks without people climbing it

Chichen Itza came up in a discussion recently about how you use to be able to climb the great stairs of the pyramid all the way to the top. I was fortunate enough to have done that very thing when you still could. I’m not sure of the specific year when I did the climb, but it was somewhere in the very early 2000’s. My wife and I were down there with a group of people from work (annual reward trip). We were staying in Cancun and took a chartered tour bus to Chichen Itza. I love history, architecture and ancient ruins, so I was in my element. Of course I was not without my camera and took a ton of shots of the different ruins, El Castillo being foremost in my shoot. I was fascinated from a photography aspect of pictures with people walking up the steps of this famous pyramid.

Fast forward to 2007 and we were back down there with some close friends and our respective families. My girls had heard about climbing this pyramid and couldn’t believe their father who has a fear of heights actually did it. Imagine their disappointment when we found out you could no longer climb the pyramid. Due to an unfortunate death to a falling tourist in late 2005 and to the damage being done by the sheer load of people trudging up and down those steps along with the graffiti left behind by those same people, it was no longer permitted.

“Chichen Itza” El Castillo the day I climbed to the top

Those pictures suddenly started taking on a new element for me as something that will not be seen again. As I worked with them for my gallery I kept getting this circa 1930’s vibe and Indian Jones feel from them. Sepia popped into my head and after converting them decided to add another element of that old vibe with some texture. What came from that process is these three captures converted to what I think looks like an old Indian Jones element from that era (of course I realize he wouldn’t be discovering anything new in a place that had tourist climbing pyramid steps, but my vision of this look didn’t care about such details).

“Walking Up The Pyramid”   you can see people coming down using my technique and people walking down like it wasn’t an issue….but you get the visual impact of how steep those stairs actually are.

Now you can’t leave without me telling you about the wonders of that climb. I have a fear of heights such as the edge of the Grand Canyon (edge only), glass elevators that take you up more than 10 stories….I have some tolerance….ledges on mountains to name a few. I knew climbing the stairs wouldn’t be an issue as you are looking at the structure. I didn’t have any issues climbing to the top and was a little cautious about walking around by the edge at the top….ok…I stayed pretty close to the walls of the structure you see up there. The view is incredible and I was fascinated by the placement of the different windows in the top structure. Truly forgetting about how far up I was, it was time to come back down. You have no idea just how really steep and narrow each of those steps are until you go back down. For me it was literally too much to try and walk back down those steps…one trip or miss-step and you will literally fall all the way down (which is unfortunately what happened to the tourist I mentioned above). The best way is to sit down and slide your backside down each step.

I have toured the site multiple times and have learned new things each time. For more information about Chichen Itza – Wikipedia Here.   Chichen Itza is located in the middle of the northern tier of the Yucatan Peninsula between Merida towards the Gulf of Mexico and Cancun on the Caribbean side. Thoughts?

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Pacific Ocean Summer Sunsets – Featured Art Prints

Pacific Sunset

Coastal Sunset

The featured pictures are of a summer sunset over the Pacific Ocean in San Diego County. They are scenes that were captured just minutes apart as the coloring of the clouds changed moment to moment. In these captures, I came back and digitally soften them up just slightly with a very subtle watercolor technique. They still retain the detail of a photograph, but with a barely perceptible softening.

The setting is Northern San Diego County on a hill about three miles from the coast. This was the view from our house and on this particular evening the color of the sky was so vivid and bright, I immediately grabbed my camera. On the second picture you see a dark spot in the sky that looks like it shouldn’t be there. I have the ability to clear that out, but I was curious as to what it was. I magnified that portion of the print and discovered it was a commercial airliner flying the coastal flight pattern between San Diego proper (to the south) and Los Angeles (to the north) or points further north. Because of this I decided to leave the “spot” in.  Thoughts?

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Black and White Photography – Mood and Depth

I have shared on a number of my posts, my love of black and white photography. I have always been drawn to it for a variety of reasons, two of which I wanted to talk about today; mood and depth.

Eliminating color from a picture can create an entirely new more interesting image. Key word there is “can”. It doesn’t compliment or help create a visual story on every image, but on certain images it tells a better story to the viewer than leaving it color. Two of the elements that are impacted by using monochrome coloring are mood and depth.

Eliminating the visual busyness of color helps create a mood to a capture. Yes, it is typically more of a somber mood, but this can add flavor to the overall look the photographer is going for.

Black and white can also enhance contrast between visual elements highlighting depth to a particular capture.

I have attached three black and white photographs from my gallery that highlight both of these elements.

In this example, the subject matter presented in black and white helps create a somber rather subdued tone to this capture. The photograph was taken an a cold, cloudy winter day. The barren tree branches reinforce this element of season, but also due to the stark contrast from the background help build depth to the visual experience. It recreates what I felt on the day I took the shot…it was a rather gloomy day and I loved the element of this carriage house being tucked back from the main property.

In this capture the light centered on the walkway creates a brighter and more upbeat mood. That aspect is reinforced as there isn’t any competition with color which allows the shaft of light to take center stage. The element of depth is supported in a more subtle way with this shot. Your eye is pulled to the center of the frame due to the shaft of light, but then meanders around the curve of the walkway back into the picture realizing there is more going on further into the picture under those hanging tree branches. The various shapes and contrasting darkness over lighter backgrounds create this depth.

The black and white aspect to this last capture creates a very neutral mood in that this could have been taken on a bright sunny day or a cloudy day. The biggest impact for this is depth. The dark tree branches frame an ocean coastline and reinforce the point of view as being high above the pounding surf. The foreground of craggy tree branches as the darkest element create the starting point to depth. Your eye is then pulled into the frame across the surf to the bluff across the way…distance and depth.  Thoughts?

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Sharlot Hall Museum – Excerpts From a Photo Shoot

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I did a weekend getaway to one of our favorite Arizona towns, Prescott. We like Prescott as a getaway due to the fact that it is over 5000 feet in elevation and the temperature is a welcome break from the heat of Phoenix. One of the things my wife had researched and wanted to checkout was the Sharlot Hall Museum. On the grounds of the museum were the original structures of the first Governors Mansion for what had just become the realigned territory of Arizona. The other structures on the property also included original log buildings from the mid 1800’s, Victorian homes from a later error and a core museum structure with exhibits. In this blog I wanted to share a few of the shots I took of the log buildings (I keep wanting to say log cabins as most were of that size, but they were referred to as log buildings…whatever…).

The grounds were beautiful and you could wander around at your leisure. Most of the buildings had a docent to answer any questions and all of the different structures were furnished with original period pieces (another blog coming for some of those items).

We finished the tour at the Territorial Rose Garden next to the Governors Mansion. The roses were in full bloom and were beautiful (another blog with some of those shots).


This first shot is the original Governors Mansion built for the newly appointed capital of the realigned Arizona Territory by President Lincoln. I love the architectural details (no big surprise for those of you that follow my work).

Governors Mansion Arizona

Governors Mansion Arizona


 

The second capture is The Ranch House, which was built for the museum in the 1930’s to represent typical ranch houses from the 1800’s.

The Ranch House

The Ranch House


The third photograph is of Fort Misery (note the side of The Ranch House in the background). Fort Misery is the oldest log building associated with the territory of Arizona. Originally built in 1863-1864 along the banks of Granite Creek (two blocks south of the museum). It was disassembled and reassembled on the museum grounds in 1934. A trader from Santa Fe built it as a home and store.

Fort Misery

Fort Misery


The fourth and last shot is the Territorial Rose Garden on the side of the Governor’s Mansion. The territorial rose garden was created and planted in 1948. It was moved to its current location on the north side of the Governors Mansion in 1974. The move was so that the rose garden would be visible from the street aligning the museum grounds.

Territorial Rose Garden

Territorial Rose Garden

Thoughts?


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Forest Sunlight on Moss Covered Boulders – Excerpts From a Photo Shoot

The attached photographs are from a hiking trail near North Bend, Washington. The trail is called Lil Si and is just 4.1 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 1300 ft. It’s a beautiful trail through some very dense forest vegetation. When I came across these moss-covered boulders with the sunlight coming through the canopy, the term “photo shoot” sang out to me.


The first shot is the trail itself. Notice the sun shining on the boulder at the top portion of the frame….this was the first indication of what I was about to see up ahead.


For this next shot, I zoomed in on the moss-covered rock from the first picture.


The rest of the moss-covered rock captures were all taken within feet of each other. It was truly a stunning scene.

Thoughts?


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