Love/Hate

This post is strictly photographic blather, so, I apologize if you clicked for something else.
Before you leave, here are a few not-so-sharp renderings. (Early work) Early as in a month ago.


Recently, I picked up the effort for representational bird photography.
I’ve always made bird photographs, but typically within an impressionistic rendering in mind. Or, in other words I didn’t care much for detail.
This new pursuit has challenged my sensibilities in ways I could not have foreseen in the fledgling years of serious photo making. My subject has become the family of swallows that visit our little Lake Kumeyaay. They are fast, small, and rarely if ever, fly in a straight line for very long. Here is what I love and hate about the journey:
Love:
1. Getting out into the wild to make these photographs
2. The challenge of finding the fastest way to get focus with as many decent results as possible
3. The Sony 200-600mm. It just fits into my side-carry sling bag.
4. Benro A48FD monopod
5. When focus is hit and I see a series develop in the viewfinder as I shoot (10FPS).
When focus hits right, it feels great!
6. Reviewing (quickly) the results, especially the ones I knew were good.

Hate:
1. Shooting out of focus (10FPS)…the majority of the time.
This has become better as I progress.
2. Culling. I throw away images that are not worth my time.
This is good to do if you can’t fall asleep.
3. Editing. If images could just come SOOC, I would be a happy man.
If you’re like me, the experience of capturing the photo far outweighs computer time.
4. Using a lackluster camera.
For this endeavor, I decided to support my Sony (mirrorless) gear for focus speed.
For longer reach, I have been using the APSC sensor A6500.
Even with that, I end up cropping down and my files are at 2006 resolutions.
When pixel-peeping, the A6500 reveals terrible noise and little true detail.
It requires clean up and, you know, Editing. (see #3)

Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for the gear I have. At some point, I will use the A7iii to see if the quality improves. I just need to make sure I can get ’em when they’re in close! I am holding out hope that Nikon will up their game with auto focus response times. Their colors and detail rendering is simply superb! Come on Nikon!

What about you? Is there anything about photography you “hate?”

Thanks, and, happy shooting!


Bank Right

A swallow banks right in this photograph.
Mission Trails – San Diego

After many years of experimental photography impressions, I have decided to make bird photographs. Not that I never did before. I include birds in many of my works. Those however were only suggestions, much like a watercolor painting. “Bird Photography” in its strictest philosophical sense requires tack sharp details. Fairly easy to do with a static subject.

Moving birds are another matter. Moving birds are (in my mind) the pinnacle of bird photography. This type of work depicts the bird “body” as it maneuvers in flight. It is an unmatched beauty within the mammalian atmosphere in my opinion.

It also requires all the experience the photographer brings to the moment. One cannot simply point-and-shoot to capture a racing bird in flight. Knowing how to technically control the camera is a must. As usual, I shoot manually. In other words, we set all the controls. We might use auto focus, or we might use manual focus (more than likely). Everything is set to support a fast shutter.

With all that said, I do not consider myself to be a “bird photographer.” Today I may subject my work to the rigors of traditional bird photography. Tomorrow, who knows? It is for the challenge and the love of image making that we do this. If tomorrow’s sunset brings clouds and color, I might ignore the philosophy of “bird photography” and jump wholly into impression making. There are no chains in art, other than the ones we place on ourselves.

Just a head’s up. There will be more birds. Many more birds.

The Ever Rest Syndrome

We live at the bottom of the mountain
Demons in our living rooms
Dining with us
They push our carts at the grocery store

They enter the soul
And blindfold our eyes
So we may watch television
The ultimate brain wash
Cleaning out all those nasty thoughts
With the broom of dissatisfaction

Never enough, 
Of anything
Including self worth
A perverted truth be told
That bleeds
From seductive tongues

So we must prove ourselves
And look to the mountain
For worth and achievement
It mustn’t be the mountain in our village.
No
We must climb the highest peak
To be worthy

Embarking on our quest
We make the journey alone
Oxygen bottles and Sherpas
Lie frozen dead on the trail
And they build our camp
So we can sleep on the ground
And impress ourselves 
With our own bravery

Finally
We reach the pinnacle
After many days of hardship
Alone, we have mastered our own destiny
We view all we have conquered
And feel the rush
Of accomplishment

Surveying our world
The wind singing its notes of approval
We meet eyes with the Sherpas
Their ruddy skin eating the wind for breakfast
They smile and raise their hands in celebration
And fill us in this singular moment

With so much more speed
We find ourselves back home
At the bottom of the mountain
In our living rooms
Changed little
Save for the mountain top selfie
Hanging on the wall

Alone at the top.

Accomplishment is rarely achieved without a support system.
(2) multiple exposure photographs stitched for a wider view

Back to Work

A little photography stuff. No poetry in this entry….just a head’s up.

No, not back to work in my office. I do go to the office when efficiency is paramount. I’m talking about getting back to work creatively.
Covid has slapped us around for six months and put us in our own little jails for that time. My priorities changed drastically and the time typically spent creating was relegated to new responsibilities.
Initially, getting out to make (art) work became arduous. Now, after these six months, I’ve been able to streamline those new responsibilities and my focus is turning to those creative pangs that have been stifled.
I’ve made it out the last two days in spite of the near 100 degree heat (f). I made a decision to bring one camera and one lens…..that’s it, not even a camera bag.
For this trip I brought the Nikon 60mm 2.8D Micro. Here are some of the results and my impression of this lens:
The cover photo “Rock Fall” was made on the trail in a spot where the light falls wonderfully. It depicts the capability of this lens in its “normal” mode. The rest are close focus pieces.

Buds
Flower
Buckwheat

This legacy lens is fast and sharp. It works well on my D750. Unfortunately, auto focus does not work with the newer mirrorless Z bodies (FTZ adapter).
The lens overall is fun in that it allows a micro view if the photographer decides to grab a close view of something interesting.
One of the downsides includes an inner barrel focus. While focusing, the barrel extends out. I’m ok with it, but prefer not to have this type of function. The barrel becomes a point of concern with dust etc. Anything that falls on the barrel while extended may end up inside the lens or may gum up usability.
The other thing to consider for very close focus is that the stop will change from 2.8 to 3.5. This is typically not an issue since macro results fare better stopped down and with flash. With this exercise, I use available light, and I want 2.8. Not too big of a deal overall.

Restless

Closing my eyes
What do I see?

I see the wind,
And the sun chasing shadows

A day, once a resounding choir
Now, only whispers

One of my favorite photographic spots from 2012. It still is a favorite. I’m pretty sure it still is. It is now a forbidden zone. It’s a dystopian nightmare, when people with power, so utterly gripped by fear who lead through fear bear down on the masses with ridiculous decisions.
I miss this place terribly, there is a hole in my heart.

Three photographs stitched and heavily edited.