It has been a month since a last blogged. Here is a little photo shot with the Nikon D800 and a prime 50mm lens. I am starting to get into this street photography stuff. CLG
It has been a month since a last blogged. Here is a little photo shot with the Nikon D800 and a prime 50mm lens. I am starting to get into this street photography stuff. CLG
It’s been awhile since I last blogged. I wish I could say that this lack of blogging was because of my photography but that was not the case.
First there was the drive to Houston Texas for Christmas. Because of the the weather the wife and I found ourselves stuck in Kansas for an extra day. Finally, even with a foot of snow on the highway we were able to continue to our destination. It was well worth the drive to spend quality time with the family. Driving home was uneventful. Once we arrived back in Fort Collins I came down with a sinus infection from hell that was followed up by an abscessed tooth. Life can be better.
What was frustrating about all this is that I had really hit my stride when it came to photography. I had gotten out the old photobooks of some of the masters and that inspired me. Looking at the photos of Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and Bill Brandt rekindled in me my love for the actual process of photography. I realized so often I would use photoshop to make an average snapshot into something more. Photoshop is great but sometimes we (I) abuse it. More about that another time.
Note: Viewing photos on the internet is find and dandy but to really appreciate these photographers you need to see there work as they originally intend to be seen. One of my favorite books is “Edward Weston 125 Photographs”. Beside showcasing the photography of Weston the book is also full of many of his quotes about the photo session and/or subject matter. Personally I think it is a must for those serious about photography.
Anyway, just before Christmas with the inspiration of the masters inside of me I found myself once again in the early morning, with camera and tripod at Rocky Mountain National Park. The light was perfect, the clouds were fair, the wind was blowing, the temperatures well below freezing. I was shooting everything in sight. Using every angle possible. I had an excitement and anticipation running throughout my body that only photographers would understand.
Because of the holidays and sickness I have yet to complete all my post processing but here are a few photos from that day. Note: all the photos were shot with the Nikon D800. I love that camera for landscapes.- CLG
So far this is one of my favorites from that morning. – CLG
This is kind of an ordinary photo but is perfect for a project that I am working on. – CLG
When I took this photo tourist were beginning to enter the park. People would stop and look at me crawling around on the ground with my camera trying to find the perfect angle. I don’t know if i will keep this photo or not but it has sentimental value for me. You see every time I look at the image I reflect on the faces of the tourist as they watched me. I could tell they thought I was a little insane. Hey, I’m trying to be a photographer so maybe they are correct with their evaluation of me. – CLG
A road in Rocky Mountain National Park. Thanks for visiting and for reading. – CLG
It was early morning December fourth. The night before a small snowstorm had attacked Fort Collins. The temperatures were dropping. An arctic cold front was coming in that would last for six days.
I arrived downtown a little after five in the morning. The snow was still falling and when I got out of the car within minutes my feet were frozen. At first the only human life one could see in this area of Fort Collins were the guys driving the snowplows. I could see them look out at me from the warmth within their cabs. I was walking around with the Nikon D800, a couple of lens and flash in my bag and my forty year old tripod slung over my shoulder. When the plow drivers looked at me I could tell by their expressions that they thought I was crazy to be up and and out in such a storm. They were probably correct.
The logic part of my brain said “Craig get back in that car, warm up and go home”. The photographer in me said “gut it out and keep shooting”. I kept shooting.
A little after six A.M. people started parking their cars and while bundled up warmly with shoulder bags over their shoulders they would would race to the coffee houses. This photo of course is Starbucks. If you saw the photo big you would see people drinking coffee and staring at their MacBooks. I have processed the photo four different ways and have yet to decide which I like best.
Note: today, December tenth the arctic blast has finally moved on. That is a good thing. – CLG
The photograph was captured September 18th 2013 in the parking lot of the Children’s Museum in Fort Collins, Colorado. I took it while I was taking a little photo-walk with Nikon’s 1 V1 camera. It is just a snapshot but I love the picture. I love the lines of the objects and the photo is asking me a question: Is this future reality, or just a fantasy by some that will never come to be? Only time will tell.
Hope you like the photo. – CLG
Darn, between photo assignment, reorganizing my workflows and home repairs I haven’t had much time to blog or catch up on all the other bloggers out there. I promise to do some catching up and do some serious reading over the weekend.
There is good news in my part of the world. The road damage caused by the flooding is being repaired and now it only takes me a little over an hour to get to Estes Park. I met a woman who lives in Big Thompson Canyon and she is able to get in and out at certain times of the day. But the canyon is not open to the public. That just might happen sometime in December. Keep your fingers cross.
I also have been doing some Photoshop experimenting. The two photos below are a result of my experimentation. Yep, for you Photoshop gurus I used layers, masks and for one a blur effect. I not sure if I like the photos because of the a process I created or because I feel they are interesting. It usually takes me a week or so to decide if a photo is a keeper or not.
Fort Collins, Colorado Area
Same photo as previous without crop and blur effect.
Thanks for stopping by. – CLG
PS I have edited this post three times now. I give up. So pardon my grammatical errors. It is just one of those days.
Well, with all the flood damage that has occurred to our roads and communities in Colorado I have been staying pretty close to home in Fort Collins. What is so great about Larimer County and the Fort Collins area is all the open spaces. Yep, there are plenty of places to get away from people and just walk. In doing so I have returned to a project I have been working on for sometime. The project ‘s names is “Nature’s Abstracts and Reflections”.
It is my hope that in about a year to actually have an exhibit of photos from my collection of “Nature’s Abstracts and Reflections” In doing such a project you end up experimenting a lot. Photographically and in post processioning I end up going in all sorts of different directions. Which means over the years I have created a lot of ugly captures and way to many “so so” photographs. Yep there is a lot of deleting when I attempt to create such photos. There is also a lot of photographs that I have created that I end up scratching my head and wondering is this art or is it garbage.
Below is an example of what happens when I spend an hour shooting abstracts and reflections and using a little creative post processing. To be honest I don’t know if in the end if I will keep any of these photos. What I have discovered when doing this type of photography what looks cool to the eye right away ends up looking nondescript or blasé over a period of time. Also, I have discovered that photos that at first that just seem weird or amateurish over a period of time have an artistic growth that has me keep retuning to and enjoying.
I don’t know if any of the above really makes sense to anyone but me. But hey, at least I’m trying to explain what is going on in my photographic section of my brain. All these photos with the exception of one was taken within an hours times at Fossil Creek Reservoir, located in Fort Collins, Colorado. As of this time I have no idea if I will keep any of them. I hope you find this interesting. – CLG
Algae in water. - CLG
Floating stones and tree Reflection – CLG
Typical morning light and sky reflection on water. – CLG
Algae in and on water. – CLG
Plants and algae. Yes that is my reflection. - CLG
Before all the rain and flooding came to Colorado I had started working on one area of photography that I am very weak at. That is night photography or photographing the night sky. So a couple of times during September, at two o-clock in the morning, I dragged myself out of bed, grabbed my gear, started up the car and headed out in a direction that I felt would have the least amount of light pollution.
Which meant I headed west. Driving through Big Thompson Canyon at two o-clock in the morning was an adventure in itself. There are sections of that canyon at that time of night that are so dark that you have no sense of what is around you. In those sections it is pitch black all around you. The darkness seems to envelop you and you can experience a feelings of being claustrophobic. But if you pull over and get out of your car and look straight up you will see the night sky just above the canyon walls. In studying the sky you will see both the light pollution of the I25 corridor to the east of you and to the west light pollution from Estes Park.
When it comes to light pollution it seems it is everywhere in Northeastern Colorado. Even after I entered Rocky Mountain National Park light pollution surrounded the park.
Photographing the night sky is really pretty simple. Your camera setting are all set manually. Your camera sits on a tripod. You use a cable release and start shooting. My settings varied. A good starting point is ISO 2400, shutter speed 15 seconds. Aperture 2.8. Then I bracketed the ISO a stop up and down. My big mistake was focusing. I set the focusing ring to infinite and should have used hyper focus. That is why some of my images of the landscape are rather soft. I used a small flashlight to paint with light. Also if you are going to try this to capture the wonderment of the night sky it would be best to use the widest angle lens that you own. That is basically it.
I was also able to do a little night photography in Wyoming. Wyoming has much less light pollution in comparison to Northern Colorado. But as you will see in the image below, the area of Wyoming I was in still had signs of light pollution.
Finally I would like to say being by oneself in the middle of nowhere at night is both a humbling and awesome experience. Yes, looking up at the night sky you do get the sense of just how small our planet is in comparison to the universe. Climbing around on rocks in the dark makes you understand how unequipped us humans are to such undertaking. Being in pitch blackness and hearing an owl hooting is actually an exhilarating experience. Hearing coyotes howl makes you say out loud to nobody there, “Wow, this really is the West”.
Next week I will be spending a time back in Wyoming. I can’t wait to get up by Yellowstone and do this night photography thing the right way.
Hope you enjoy the photos. – CLG
Rocky Mountain National Park at night 1
Rocky Mountain National Park at night 2
Rocky Mountain National Park at night 3
Devil’s Tower, Wyoming
One of the pluses about living in the Fort Collins area is the number of photo galleries that are within driving distances. As I have visited these galleries I have noticed more and more photos being shown taken with the camera built inside a iPhone. Nope these images are not huge twenty-four by thirty or bigger images but the photos are remarkably interesting. A couple of curators have informed me that these iPhone images are selling. Yep, even in the digital world, the old adage “It is not the camera that makes a good image it is the photographer” is still true.
2. Hey whatever happened to straight photography.
In my days of shooting film, post processing was all about cropping, burning and dodging, underexposing, and overexposing the print. Today, especially when it comes to nature and wildlife photography post processing seems to be about, up the saturation, intensify the colors, removing stuff, cloning stuff, blur this, sharpen that, creating textures and so on and so on. Photos today look more like paintings or watercolors than actual photographs. Will we ever return to the image looking like a photograph? When we look at a photograph in a gallery today or even in a magazine or newspaper we are not sure if the photo is of reality or a creation that only existed in the photographers brain.
3. Hey Craig, occasionally look to the East.
To the west of Fort Collins is the Rocky Mountains, fantastic canyons, beautiful cascades and waterfalls. Also the wildlife from bears to elk are plentiful. Yep, in a way it is paradise. But when you drive east of Fort Collins the land turns flat. You discover cornfields and bean fields. Sunrise on certain days are majestic. To the East are small towns striving to stay alive. East of Fort Collins is like Central Illinois only without the rich black soil. There is a heck of a lot to photograph in that area.
Looking to the east of Fort Collins. This photograph could have easily been created from film in a darkroom with stop baths and fixers. Camera: Nikon D300
This photo was taken near Big Thompson Canyon. It was digitally altered. Camera: Nikon D800
A sunflower photo. Just for fun. Camera: Nikon D800 – CLG
When you visit Rocky Mountain National Park don’t just drive around in your car. Get out and take a little hike. If you take a little two mile hike chances are you are going to come across something truly spectacular. If you get up early in the morning and start your hike, lets say before 7:00 AM, the chances are good it will just be you and mother nature. My friends, if you do such a hike you will experience a happiness and tranquility that will continue to be part of you for many days afterwards.
Yes, it is that easy to find fulfillment. I know it sounds corny but it is true. – CLG
A few years back when I decided to concentrate my photography on landscapes, nature and wildlife I figured it wouldn’t take long for me to become an overnight success. I envisioned a life of visiting exotic locations, creating photographs that Ansel Adams would be proud of. I saw myself camping out under the stars and eating in small diners where the cliental and staff would be enamored with my photography and my philosophy of life. I would meet attractive middle age woman who because of my profession and success would have teenage-like crushes over me. In the evening I would frequent bars across the country and have wonderful conversations about photography and about the location I was visiting. I would give lectures on my photography. Tell stories of tracking bears and how to photograph mountain lions safely. Galleries and art museums would plead with me to have the opportunity to showcase my work. Yep, back then I had an active imagination. I must admit that even today I do too much daydreaming.
Daydreams are rarely based on reality. I learned quickly that photographing landscapes, nature and wildlife is neither glamorous or easy. Photographing landscapes and nature is about “chasing the light and waiting.”
Which means when you are on location you get up before dawn. Yep, sometimes the best light is just before the sun peaks above the horizon or just after it sets in the evening. You race to your location only to sit and wait for the light to be just right. You shoot your subject wide then zoom in. Just when the light is perfect the sun peaks out from a cloud or goes behind a cloud. You are a paparazzi photographer of nature and there are many times God and mother nature do not want to cooperate.
When on location your day will start out with having a breakfast bar or doughnut or if you are really lucky an Egg McMuffin for breakfast. You drink coffee, which I have never acquired a taste for, or down a cola, which I love but my stomach hates. You do this for the caffeine, just to get the blurriness out of your eyes and to erase the cobwebs from your brain. While drinking such beverages you are racing down a dusty country road in the dark trying to get to your destination before the light. Then you arrive and you wait. While you wait you look up, you look down, you look behind you because there is just something that might happen that needs to be captured. Then the moment comes to take the photograph and stuff happens and all your planning goes out the door. You are shooting by instinct. Afterwards you either get in the car and drive or set out on a hike searching for that perfect undiscovered location.
Then you’re tired. If you are lucky you are not sleeping in the car or at a campsite. You go to your motel for four or five hours of sleep. You pull the curtains to block the sunlight. You lay in bed trying to rest as tourist walk the hallways, babies cry, teenagers laugh, couples fight and worse of all the motel maids ignore the “do not disturb” sign hanging on your door. Then a few hours before sunset you are back on location. Finally around ten you try to find a place to eat. If you are luck you end up at a bar and have a beer, hamburger and chips. You see people in friendly conversation but you are just too exhausted to engage. Finally back to the motel. You download the images onto your laptop. You delete a few images, set the alarm for four in the morning and go to bed.
That is typical of my life on location as a nature, landscape and wildlife photographer. It sounds rather mundane. In actuality it is a blast. For you see when you chase the light and then actually capture the light as a photographer you experience a sense of euphoria. When you get back to your digital darkroom and you process the print and you mat and frame the print the feeling of satisfaction is overwhelming. When the public states their approval of your image and your work starts showing up on people’s living room walls you have a great feeling of pride. Yep that is what it is all about.
Chasing the light and waiting is a wonderful way to enjoy one’s own life. – CLG