Always be a Beginner…

From January to the end of June, I was in Wyoming with my Dad as he transitioned to life without my Mom. I had a birthday while I was there, and my lovely bride sent me a book titled zen camera creative awakening with a daily practice in photography by David Ulrich. The book has been an enjoyable read, providing insight into the creative process instead of technical information. In the last couple days, I read a section titled ‘Beginner’s Mind.’ Two paragraphs in, the author says, “Always be a beginner.” The discussion then focuses on past experiences coloring what one does and thinks, and transitions into a discussion of why photography can change the pattern.

“Photography is an ideal entry to the beginner’s mind. It invites fresh seeing. It enlivens the commonplace, and can radically open your mind to what is. Since the world is always new – no moment ever repeats itself – you must flexibly adapt behind a camera.” (emphasis added)

The format of the book is discussion followed by practical exercises, identified by the title ‘TRY:’ In the ‘TRY: Cultivate Beginner’s Mind’ section, Ulrich writes, “Artists and photographers often engage the unending search for what is new and fresh. They shake things up from time to time, trying to break free of well-worn grooves of thought and expression. They resolve not to solely rely on past accomplishments. Innovation looks toward the future. However, newness for its own sake is a double edged sword. It can lead to gimmicks or forced behavior just to be different. I prefer the word freshness, like ripe fruit before it stales.”

As I read the book, I reflected on my photographic journey – the excitement of learning a new technique, trying new camera settings, seeing a different perspective of a longer lens or shorter lens. I appreciated the information provided by the author as much of my passion for photography and excitement to continue comes from the freshness of these new or different concepts. For some time, I realized that my view of the world has changed. I look at the light and the contrast the light creates. I evaluate all that I see with an eye to composing an image and then consider how I would record it. In some ways,

In some ways, I have gotten complacent. I know what I like (and don’t like) in an image of a raptor. I have my workflow for shooting a landscape and processing the image on the computer. I’ll heed Ulrich’s advice, however, and try to look at the world anew, with a fresh eye.

Recall that during last year’s fall colors, I was on the road working for FEMA and missed it. I’ve made up for it a little this year, catching color in Colorado and Nevada.

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

The Colorado Rocky Mountains south of Avon CO.

This was mid-September. They had color much earlier than we did in the Sierras.

But the Colorado Rockies are a little bit higher.

A view along US Highway 24.

Echo Lake, on the way to Mt. Evans.

Along US 24, just downhill from Camp Hale.

I took a drive up CA Highway 4 to Ebbetts Pass.

The colors did not disappoint.

And the skies cooperated as well.

A wonderful shooting day.

I put on my hiking boots and headed up the Pacific Crest Trail from Carson Pass on CA Highway 88. Not much color up there, but some beautiful photo opportunities nonetheless.

Downhill from Carson Pass is Red Lake. I found this scene on a back road nearby.

Advertisements

How I Spent My Summer Vacation – Volume 5

While preparing my post this morning, I realized that I didn’t finish my ‘summer vacation’ series last year. This volume will showcase images from our trip to Yosemite National Park in August 2017. I was taking a night photography workshop and we decided to spend a few extra days enjoying the Park.

I rented a Canon 6D camera body for this trip to enjoy the ‘full frame sensor’ experience. I liked it and subsequently purchased a Canon 6D Mark II body.

There were fires around Yosemite last year which impacted our time there. They were not as bad as this year, however. Without further ado, here’s my stuff.

We entered Yosemite through the Tioga Pass entrance, uphill from Lee Vining CA. We took our time crossing the Tuolumne Meadows to avoid the daytime traffic in the Yosemite Valley. One of my images of Tenaya Creek…

…and another image from Tioga Road…

…and more Tenaya Creek.

One of the iconic sunset views in Yosemite (El Capitan on the right) obscured by the smoke.

I got to looking around while making the previous image, and found that I liked this view of the Merced River at my feet much better.

One of the images from the famous Swinging Bridge during the night portion of the workshop. The glow on the rocks in the lower right of the image is Yosemite Village.

And the Milky Way did not disappoint. The photographer could have done a better job, however.

Tunnel View.

We were in Yosemite during the solar eclipse and had just arrived at Glacier Point as the eclipse was in progress. My lovely bride made friends with a family looking at the eclipse (they shared their solar glasses with her) while I made this image.

Everyone who goes to Yosemite should ride the Green Dragon. If you don’t know what it is, then you need to go find out. One of our stops was on the Merced River. I used a log as a tripod and made multiple exposures for this HDR image.

Yosemite Falls didn’t disappoint. I got up early one morning and took a walk with the camera and tripod. With few people around at that time of day, I had my pick of vantage points.

We had a wonderful time in Yosemite. We celebrated our wedding anniversary with a dinner in the big dining room at the Majestic Hotel. Go to Yosemite when you get the chance!

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

 

Wyoming landscapes!

While I was in Wyoming this spring, my Dad and I took many drives to places that neither of us had ever been or hadn’t been in a very long time. The landscape around Cheyenne is high plains, as opposed to the high desert and mountains around my home in Nevada. The mountains rise up as you travel west to Laramie. On most days, the skies did not disappoint. Montana advertises itself as ‘Big Sky Country,’ but we had them in our travels in Wyoming.

Traveling on Round Top Road west of Cheyenne, we came across this scene – one of the historic ranches.

Closer to Laramie than Cheyenne, this is one of the smaller rock formations in the Vedawoo recreation area. This image was taken from the shoulder of Happy Jack Road (Wyoming Highway 210).

Traveling on one of the dirt roads off Happy Jack Road, we drove past Crystal Reservoir on the way to Buford, and passed this little scene.

If you’ve ever been to or viewed images of the Palouse Region in southeast Washington state, you know what a photographic place it is. Dad and I took a drive around eastern Laramie County one day and found landscapes that, in many ways, rival the Palouse for its beauty. Here’s one…

…and here’s another. This barn is actually in the Burns township and an old friend if mine chastised me for not calling while I was ‘in town.’ He later admitted that he wasn’t home that day so I was forgiven.

I shot this from US 85 approaching the town of Hawk Springs.

This is also on US 85. I stopped here a couple times. This is the second shot where I got out the neutral density filters to smooth out the water on the spillway.

This image was made along Wyoming Highway 313, east of Chugwater.

This is the Snowy Range west of Laramie. I’m standing near the middle of Wyoming Highway 130. Snowy Range Pass (the road) tops out at 10,850 feet elevation and the views there are stunning!

Well, this is just a little peek into the beautiful scenery that can be found in my former stomping ground. I hope you can see why I refer to the area as God’s Country.

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

Bonus Day!

Bonus Day is one of my favorite expressions. These two little words, when used in the proper context, can be very powerful. On this day, these two words are appropriate to describe the great shooting day I had.

The weather was gorgeous – 60+ degrees and no wind (a wonderful change from the past couple weeks!). Dad and I loaded up and drove south. We found a few head of Pronghorn and the Bison weren’t too far off the road. We stopped at the Terry Bison Ranch and had a wonderful lunch of Bison burger and sweet potato fries, then proceeded south on the Frontage Road to see if more Bison were close to the road. They weren’t, but we found a Meadowlark and a Finch.

When I first saw this Meadowlark, he was on a fence wire. While I was getting the camera ready, he jumped down on the ground. I pulled forward slowly, and captured him sitting in the grass.

Just a little bit down the road, here was this Finch also sitting on the fence.

And then the real fun began! I’ve posted pictures of Pronghorn recently, but we came on this Buck near the road. I approached cautiously and hadn’t spooked him, but two cars passed us and they scared him off. I had already made this image.

One of my favorite Pronghorn images! How close was he? Well, I didn’t have to crop the image.

We got back on the pavement and turned east towards Carr CO. The road was nice and the country beautiful. We saw lots of Pronghorn, which was not surprising. What was surprising was finding Pronghorn in beautiful settings, and they cooperated…mostly!

This Buck was by himself in front of this beautiful rock formation, and didn’t run as I made my images.

When we stopped here, there were 4 Pronghorn in front of this windmill. This one was alone on the right. The 4 ran (of course) when I got out of the car. This one followed, but I had time to get this shot. I like it, but wish I had caught the 4.

Getting one Wildlife Panorama with Pronghorn would be great, but making two Pronghorn Wildlife Panos in one day is just, well, Bonus Day!

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce 2018 Calendar

I am very excited to have four of my pictures featured in the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce 2018 Calendar. This is the fourth year the Chamber has featured my images in their calendar.

Contact the Chamber at http://www.carsonvalleynv.org/ or by calling 775-782-9490 if you want to purchase a copy.

I submitted 12 images this year.

This view of Jobs Peak was taken just south of Mottsville Lane.

I was out one snowy morning and made this image of the historic buildings in Genoa. This image is featured on our Christmas cards this year.

These horses on Waterloo Lane have become a favorite subject. When I arrived the day I made the image, the horses were scattered about their pasture, but these two walked up to each other as if to say, ‘Do you think he has something for us to eat?’

Spring was still young when I made this image along the Carson River Trail.

The main building in Mormon Station State Park on a snowy day.

I shot from a low angle for this view of Jake’s Wetlands in Minden.

A storm was approaching over the Sierra Nevada Mountains in this image made from Foothill Road.

Jobs Peak as seen from the Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park on a summer day.

And the winners are:

JUNE: The Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park at the end of the rainbow. I checked – no gold!

JULY: the Waterloo Lane horses on a nicer day.

AUGUST: The Carson River as seen from the Carson River Trail.

DECEMBER: I found these four deer along Foothill Road near Jacks Valley and made this wildlife panorama.

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

It’s been too long…

…since my last post. I’m very aware of it. In my defense, I took a job supporting FEMA’s hurricane recovery operations and I’ve been away from home for a while. While on the road, I limited myself to my Canon PowerShot point and shoot camera. I challenged myself to push its limitations and make good images.

On October 1, I boarded a plane and headed to the National Emergency Training Center in Emmittsburg MD. The NETC is home to the Emergency Management Institute and the National Fire Academy. The campus was a girl’s school before it assumed its present duties. Many of the buildings are historical and they are all beautiful. The campus is also home to the National Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial.

This is one of my interpretations of the Firefighter’s Memorial. The view is from the right side and includes one of the stunning sunrises we experienced during the 2 weeks there.

I made this image of the Memorial with my mobile phone the first evening I was there. I had to check in and get my credentials late in the evening and was crossing campus when I saw this. I loved the light on the Memorial.

This is one of the administration buildings, typical of the architectural style on campus. I posted pictures of other buildings on campus in my ‘view from the office’ series on Facebook.

Some of my friends and I took a drive to Hershey PA and the Gettysburg National Battlefield on our one free weekend. Hershey was busy with the Antique Auto Club of America show, but we were able to tour the chocolate factory and take a bus tour around the town. I visited Gettysburg in 1982 when my father was on a tour of duty at the Pentagon. This visit was more rewarding after reading several books on the Civil War in recent years.

If you haven’t been to Gettysburg, you really should go. The locals started preserving the battlefield immediately after the battle, so unit locations and gun emplacements are accurately documented.

The Robert E. Lee Memorial. I pray that all these beautiful memorials and the history they represent are preserved forever.

This is my only fall color picture for this year. The trees in MD and PA had just started turning, but this scene, near the Wheat Field, gave me a little color for the year.

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

How I Spent My Summer Vacation – Volume 4…

Olympic National Park – holy cow! What a fun and beautiful place. My lovely bride and I visited two of the three ecosystems: the Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.

We arrived at the road to Hurricane Ridge in the late afternoon, and the skies were less than cooperative. The scenery going up to the Ridge, however, was spectacular.

We hit the roadside flowers seemingly at their peak. This is one of my favorite images.

We saw several Black Tail Deer. This buck was on the hillside above the road. One has to wonder what happened to his antlers.

Our obligatory self portrait at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor’s Center. More wild flowers in the meadow behind us!

And my feeble attempt at a panorama. Despite my poor attempt to capture it, the view was gorgeous!

We tried to visit the Hoh Rain Forest, but construction caused us to save it for another trip. We drove down the Pacific Coast instead.

This is the view from the Kalaloch Lodge dining patio. Great lunch there and the cabins looked interesting. During our trip planning, we tried to get a room there but they were full. Oh well…

This is a view from US 101.

We stopped at Beach 1 and walked down to the shore. We saw a pod of whales apparently feeding off shore – lots of fins, backs, and blows. Here’s our selfie watching whales.

The view up the shore line. It goes on for a long time…

There you have it – fun at Olympic National Park. The whale pictures weren’t very exciting, so I hope you like the scenery shots.

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR