Friday, October 25, 2013

New Mexico, Land of Enchantment. Oh,Yeah!


My wife and I recently spent 7 day in Northern New Mexico with plans for a lot of shooting and scouting locations for future trips. I have to say it was a wonderful trip and I can't wait to get back. Our home base for this trip was a house about 4.5 miles out from Red River, New Mexico. We shared the house with other family members who had been to this location several times over the last several years, and basically had an itinerary for each day.

With 6-7 people heading out together each day, the trip turned in to more of a scouting trip than shooting trip, but I did get several shots I wanted.

My first discovery was on the first night after sundown. I walked out on the deck and saw a sky like I have seen only a few times in the last 25 years. At that high elevation and clear air the stars were as brilliant as can be seen. The Milky Way was as distinct and defined as it could possibly be. It was absolutely awe inspiring. Looking to the south you could follow it all the way across the sky to the north. I immediately grabbed the camera, tripod and remote trigger and set up for many shots. This was to be repeated on more than one night.

 One day was spent in Taos where I think I could spend a couple more days scouting and shooting. I shot the church, San Francisco de Asis. I had wanted to go into the Taos Pueblo, but found it closed for a week as they were preparing for some event there. I returned to Taos on my last full day and spent the morning shooting adobe houses and back for some more of the same church I had previously shot. While in Taos we went to the Rio Grande River Gorge bridge. which was alright, but seemed like more of a tourist trap than anything else. It was also mid day and the light was very harsh. I did shoot some Desert Bighorn Sheep there, but didn't get much in the way of keepers.

Another day was spent traveling to Sante Fe. We stopped at a La Chiripada Winery in Dixon for a few bottles of one of my favorite wines -Vino Sonrojo, nothing snooty here, just a really tasty table wine. The trip to Sante Fe was really nice as the road follows the Rio Grande River for a long way.  We went to the Plaza and basically did the tourist deal, which included some really fine Mexican food at Maria's. As we were leaving Sante Fe, the sun was setting in the west and the light was just incredible. Looking east from the highway, adobe houses were bathed in that light with the hills in the backdrop. Needless to say, I will be heading back there just for that light.

One day was spent hiking 2 miles up to Middlefork Lake. I was a little apprehensive about this hike, as it is a pretty steep incline, but I managed it ok, but would not have wanted to go any further. The sites along this trail were well worth it.

Another day was spent driving through Valle Vidal and one of Ted Turner's ranches. This drive is basically an all day affair, mostly gravel road, but wow, what sights! We saw so much wildlife and just incredible country! Toward the end of this drive, we came across a black bear about 30 yards off the road, in a creek bottom eating grass. We stopped, got out of the vehicles and spent probably 15 minutes, watching and shooting this incredible animal. Fortunately for us, the bear was not concerned about our presence and continued his activity. One other thing of note on this day; we did not see any elk on this trip. As we were headed back to home base, driving through Cimarron Canyon after dark, we rounded a switchback, and there in the middle of the road was standing a huge Bull Elk. We came to a complete stop as we and the elk looked at each other for a few seconds, and the elk took off and was gone. It was a great sight to finish a long day.

All in all, it was a fantastic trip, and I will definitely be headed back. New Mexico is definitely enchanting!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Summer's Long Goodbye

August has been a very busy month for me, with photography not being high on the priorities list. I've been busy moving both my kids in different directions; son to college at Texas A&M and daughter to her new digs in Lewisville, Texas where she begins her new teaching job.
August has also been oppressively hot and dry and forever long. Here in Texas it seems like summer never wants to end. Today is the opening day of Dove season which I'm skipping due to a 103 degree forecast, but the sound of shotgun blasts this morning reminds me cooler temps will come, and hopefully plentiful rains.
After not shooting much for a while, I start getting the urge to get out and find something of interest. Around here this time of year it's usually sunrise or sunset. Friday night I decided to skip the HS football game and head out to the lake for a sunset shoot. This is my favorite out of 2 or 3 I really liked. (and yes there is some digital manipulation here)


I just had to post a couple of shots from a recent shoot. This is one "Can Do" lady right here. She has made some great achievements in the last year and I was honored to shoot some portraits for her. She has received her Masters in Business Administration all while working a full time job. Her other great achievement is her own personal story which I will leave for her to share. All I know is her success is and should be an inspiration to many! Congratulations my friend!

Monday, August 26, 2013

What's old is new again (to me anyway)

I have inherited some old film cameras from my Grandfather in the last few years and have bought some film cameras to add to my collection. I have had intentions to use these film cameras and hopefully get into black and white developing. Sending film off for developing can be somewhat cost prohibitive if a person wants to do a lot of film work. A couple of years ago I bought a couple of rolls of Kodak 35mm 400TX and loaded my Canon AE1 and have shot both rolls up in that time frame. After holding on to the film for quite a while, I was about to send it off to be developed when a friend who probably knows as much about developing as anyone around offered to show me the ropes on developing. Here are some of the results. These negatives have all been scanned and edited in Lightroom and Nik Silver Effects Pro.

Although several of the shots were not what I had hoped for, some were pretty good. Next comes 120 format with a Mamiya RB67, and then 4x5 with a Graflex Crown Graphic. I almost have all my supplies to do my own developing, and I really look forward to it. I won't be leaving digital behind, but there's a quality to film that sets it apart if it's really done well. That's my goal. I have a ways to go, but at least I've made the first steps in that direction.

Friday, August 16, 2013


I am fascinated by "texturized" photos. For me it adds depth to an image that may be interesting, but just lacks that appeal that draws you in. The process can be long and tedious or quite simple using various software programs. I use Photoshop for layering and blending layers and also have several other types of software that produce quicker results. Both these photos were processed on my iphone (or Ipad) using the "Distressed FX" App. It is very simple and provides about 40 effects. Today there are countless options from buying "packaged" textures and Photoshop Actions to many software products that seem to grow by the day. I guess we are all looking to find that which separate us from other photographer styles. I would say that I try to produce images that appeal to me and hope others feel the same way about my work, though I know beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.

Sunday, June 23, 2013