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.

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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

PS Challenge – September 24, 2017

Today’s PS Challenge image comes from Sonora Pass, a little over 9,000 feet elevation. My friend, Larry Burton, and I drove CA 108 to check on the fall colors the day before the snow flew and closed the road. We were amazed by the number of waterfalls still flowing and how green the vegetation still was. We also found flowers a little higher in elevation!

I like this color version of the image…

…but I was feeling my inner Ansel Adams as I was editing…

This Stemless Goldenweed is under several feet of snow now. I’m glad we got there when we did!

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

PS Challenge – September 7, 2017

Round Top, above Winnemmucca Lake as seen from near Frog Lake, on the trail from Carson Pass.

I shot this image using bracketed exposure, merged in Adobe Camera Raw, processed further in PhotoShop with a filter from On1 Photo RAW.

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

PS Challenge – August 27, 2017

I’m slowly working my way through my images from Yosemite National Park. I tackled some of the images from our trip on the Tioga Pass Road, crossing the Tuolumne Meadows, last Saturday. There weren’t as many people in that part of the Park compared to the Yosemite Valley, but the road had plenty of traffic and parking was a bit of a challenge. The smoke was much less, too.

This image is Lembert Dome, and I made the image looking northeast in the early afternoon. I blended the zero exposure and underexposed RAW format images in Adobe Camera Raw to bring out the sky, and applied a filter in Nik ColorEfex.

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

PS Challenge – August 26, 2017

It’s been too long since I posted, but I have an excuse. My lovely bride and I recently celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary and we took a trip to Yosemite National Park to celebrate. We timed the trip around a Night Photography Workshop I was taking. I hadn’t been to Yosemite since I was 2 years old, so that trip didn’t really count for me.

We had a wonderful trip and, except for the smoke from a fire at the south end of the Park, enjoyed the grandeur and beauty. Picture taking was a challenge, but I think I got some good stuff – I’m just beginning to process the images.

Today’s PS Challenge image comes from the Merced River and was taken at dawn, the last shooting of the workshop. The smoke gave the sky an orange cast, and I loved how it colored the water of the river.

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

PS Challenge – August 7, 2017

Today’s PS Challenge image comes from the Kinney Reservoir, taken a couple weeks ago on my adventure up CA 4 to Ebbett’s Pass.

As usual, I bracketed exposures, merged and toned in Adobe Camera Raw, then edited in PhotoShop with a Nik Color Efex filter. The image was made mid-day, just after lunch.

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR