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Not Doing Nothing

Not Doing Nothing

I must admit for awhile this pandemic kind of got me down. Sitting around the house all day and not getting out and about is not my idea of a good time. When my wife and I first started self isolation I let boredom control my life. That is easy to do. If you have nothing you have to do it is difficult to self-motivate.

My wife is kind of a “lets get this done now” sort of person. She was finding all sorts of things to do. Sewing, reading, exercising and cooking were just a few of her projects. I, on the other hand, just kind of daydreamed the day away while sitting on the couch.

After days of living like this and getting fatter as my wife cooked away a lightbulb went off in my head, enough is enough.  I started making daily ToDo list in the TicTic app and as I completed a ToDo and checked it off my list my brain started to reawaken. I started being happy again. Best of all I felt there was purpose to my life. Below is a typical daily list

  • Exercise
  • Take a walk
  • Email Sarah
  • Delete a hundred in Lightroom
  • Do a time-lapse of a flower
  • Write in my journal
  • Do something creative
  • Relearn iA writer and use it to blog

Just before the pandemic, eagles were spotted at a lake near home. So, when no one is around, I drive to the lake with my Nikon D500. Every time I do this I am determined to capture the best eagle photo I have ever taken. Of course the wildlife photographer’s curse of traveling to a location and your subject is not there has been the norm. Hey, I got a picture of a couple of birds. It is a start.

I also have been reviewing old slides and negatives from the time I first started photographing. Using the Nikon D850, a Nikkor 60mm macro lens and the Nikon ES-2 Film Digitizer Adapter I’m able to post process those old negative and slides into pretty good digital photos. Wow, the memories really do come flooding back. Here is an example of street photography from way too many years ago:

Finally, I have practiced some one light still life. To view an awesome still life photo of a pepper check out Edward Weston’s “Pepper No. 30, 1930.”  Here are a couple of mine:


Yes, I can do better. Nevertheless, I am now excited about life. It works for me. CLG

Random Thoughts

I have taken a lot of landscape and nature photos and sold a few of those as prints. Nevertheless my stock collection of birds is really weak when it comes to eagles. So I have written down on my computer notes and in my notebook the following “MORE EAGLE PHOTOS”.

A few weeks back, driving in the car I saw on the side of the road an eagle sitting on top of a rather tall tree. I started to drive on when I remembered my note “MORE EAGLE PHOTOS.” So I turned the car around, parked it, and tried to get a good photo with the Nikon D500 and Nikon’s Nikkor 200 to 500 lens. Considering my physical health. I did fair. While for now it is a keeper hopefully soon I will have a lot better photos of the Bald Headed Eagle and this one will only be seen in my accomplishments notebook.

Note to myself: this proves you should always have a camera within arms reach. Also proves that because you can’t always carry around all your photo equipment probably the shot you take you will wish for a different lens or camera. You have to make do with what is available. Finally, keep taking notes and review them every day. Yep the old Boy Scout saying is still true: “Be Prepared.”

Okay about my health

A few post back I mentioned that I was going to use this blog to inform people about my battle with my neurological problems. People told me it would be therapeutic and I thought it would be neat if my words would help others who are experiencing similar problems. Well that is not going to happen. I’m just too uncomfortable writing about myself. Probably my friends advice would be a good idea for others, It is just not my cup of tea. I will mention from time to time how my illness is affecting my photography but that is about it. This blog is about my love of photography and hopefully some of my posts will show that and be helpful to others in that regard. That is all for now. Thank You, Craig Getchius

Another Photograph From Rocky Mountain National Park, From the Past

Here is a photo from Rocky Mountain National Park that I have never been able to figure out what to do with.  The greens in the photo is kind of unusual for the park. I think the light is kind of interesting And I like the clouds.  The photo breaks the photographic rule of thirds.  But I like it.  I still think this could be a special photo if I figure out the proper way to print it and tweak the post processing. It does look a lot better when you see it big such as ten and a half by sixteen.  I hope you like it. – CG


Rocky Mountain National Park late afternoon.

Been playing around with Nikon’s new Z 6

I have to admit that so far I kind of like it. With my current neurological problems this camera size and light in weight sure helps me capture images more easy  than any camera I have used before.  That includes Fuji’s. On the camera I have the new Z 24 to 70 mm lens. Some of my photos have been rather soft but that could just be user error. I’m slowly learning the ins and outs of this camera. I know it is going to take time. I’ll let you know more about this camera and if it’s a good fit for me after I have used it for awhile.

Below is a photo from this new camera that of course has been reduced in size and quality for the internet. After that a time lapse from the Z 6. I have to say time lapse is one area that the Z 6 really shines. Again the video has been reduced for uploading to this blog. More as I learn and become more comfortable with the camera.

Thanks for dropping by. C. L. Getchius

Sickness, Photography and Starting Over

I would like to say that around four months ago, before I got sick, that I was a great person and fantastic photographer. That would not be true. I was just getting by day by day. I would put off till tomorrow things that I could of gone out right then and accomplished. In my case too often tomorrow never came. I was a sixty-six year old man with a brain of a thirty year old. I thought I could accomplish about anything, all I had to do was put my mind to it and it would make it happen. But in reality I was loosing the will to do that. I also was a jerk, egotistical and I could go on and on cutting myself down but you get the general idea.

The funny thing is most people didn’t see these negative attributes in me. But I was just getting by. With my photography I would make a dollar here and there. Just enough so I could call myself a professional. I had great ideas and would start to implement them only to grow bored and not complete them. Perfect example was not keeping this website up to date. That actually bothered me. I was too talented and too good of a person to be like that. Still I put off what I could do and for the most part lived off my wife’s success. Oddly enough she continued to believe in me. What she and others didn’t know is I had subconsciously given up on myself.

Then I got sick. First it was the just the flu. Then confusion. I would stand in the kitchen, turning in circles wondering why I was there. Then I couldn’t type. I couldn’t write my name. I couldn’t remember how to use a camera, how to play the guitar. When I tried to walk I would only take a couple of steps without falling or at least balance myself up against a wall or whatever. When I would just stand my legs would tremble and my arms and hands would shake. I started saying things wrong and forgetting simple words. Geez, I didn’t like that. Yet, I figured with having allergies I probably had a massive inner ear infection and all would be fine. I was wrong.

That was over three months. Since then I have seen numerous doctors, had many MRI’s that showed nothing. Finally a couple of doctors said Parkinson’s and mild stroke. I guess sometimes when it comes to stuff like this the only way the medical profession can diffinitively make a diagnosis for Parkinson’s is to do a autopsy. Well, hopefully that doesn’t happen soon.

I live in Fort Collins and this area of the country has been experiencing a population boom. So much that our medical profession has not been able to keep up. They have been rather overwhelmed. My appointments for medical test were stretched out into months. So I did what anyone from my generation would do, I studied the internet. I did not like what I was reading but one thing that seems with my symptoms that I read over and over again to help was exercise.

So while I was being passed around from doctor to doctor with no end in sight I started exercising. Well, at first I started moving my body. Soon when no one was around I crawled, figuring it would start to rebuild all my leg muscles. I insisted on no help while I walked. I did stretches on the physical side and on the mental side I did stuff like dot to dot books and coloring books. At first I could not draw a straight line or when coloring my hand would go everywhere except where I thought I was putting it. I then started walking. I couldn’t drive so walking or relying on others was the only way I could get out.

You know what? I started to improve. Today, while it is difficult, I can walk over five miles a day. I have all sorts of stuff I am trying to conquer but it’s a start. I won’t lie to you, there were times and days that I felt like giving up. I would have big time mood swings that worried the hell out of my dear wife. Yet, for most of the time I stuck with it and it has paid dividends.

Now I am trying to relearn photography and that is what this blog is about. I am going to document my progress at relearning photography. I am basically starting from scratch. I am doing this documenting as an encouragement to myself to keep pushing myself. Also I hope if ever someone who is ill comes across this, my words and actions will help them.

A few weeks ago I started again the art of photography. I want to come back. I would look at the cameras and I was confused. I couldn’t remember how to take a good picture. But I studied the manuals and watched over and over examples of photography on the internet. Then one day I went into the backyard with a Fujifilm X-T1 camera and tried to shoot snapshots of flowers. New information seem to come in my head. I was beginning to remember the very beginning of photography. Here are a few pics.

Because of my legs shaking and hands shaking about one out of every ten where sharp. Hey it is a start. Occasionally one of the blurry pics were interesting. See Below:

Hey, I am again understanding the effects of light on photography. Two steps forward, one step back. Thank you, Craig L. Getchius

PS. I am doing this blog on my own and still relearning so I imagine there will be mistakes that I can’t see that I write. Sorry about that it will get better.

Photo From A Moving Car (Photo 1)

Well, have you ever been a passenger in a car and while riding along you felt total boredom. Yep, recently that happened to me. So I grabbed my Nikon D500, rolled down the window and started shooting at various shutter speeds. The slower the shutter speed the more sense of movement is shown in the photo. Yet when the shadow of your car is captured in the photo it is relatively sharp in comparison to the rest of the photo. This is panning in reverse instead of moving the camera, your camera is still yet moving at the same speed as the car. You can create a lot of cool effects doing this.

Both the photo above and below where taken from a moving car with the camera’s shutter speed at 1/8 of a second. The car was moving much faster in the black and white photo in comparison to the color photo. Give it a try sometime, it is fun.

A Quick Pullover

I learned my photography with the help of Kodak Film. Black and white photos came to life in my basement using Kodak chemicals. When shooting color I would use Kodachrome 25 or 64. I have fond memories of those days. I was discovering and  learning. And darn it taking a pic with film, developing the film, then creating a contact strip and finally an enlargement, fills one with great satisfaction and accomplishment. Doing that work is tedious, yet awarding.

In the days of film there was no instant gratification and boy, you really had to know the craft of photography. Mistakes were permanent and rarely did you have the opportunity to go back and retake the moment. I had to nail the photo and when it was all finished and I had created what what I had visualized the print to be, I would experience a creative high that would last for days. Today in the digital world I don’t experience that euphoria. It is all instant gratification and the feeling of happiness of nailing the photo is short lived.

Yesterday, I was thinking about all that while driving out of Rocky Mountain National Park. Photographically the day had been a waste. I had taken about a hundred pics that I knew were totally worthless.

I had already download the pics on my iPad and one after the other ended with delete. There was a few I kept hoping that with a second look I would discover something worthwhile in them that I had previously overlooked. Basically I just didn’t want to admit that on this day I had failed as a photographer.

As I got closer to the exit of the park I noticed in the distant four wild turkeys. What the heck, I pulled the car off the side of the road, grabbed my Nikon D500 which had attached to it a Nikkor 200 to 500mm zoom lens.

I jumped out of the car and looked for a clear view of the turkeys. They were about thirty yards away. There was no time to set up a tripod. I would have to steady the heavy lens and camera all on my own. Vibration Reduction was on. I quickly changed the focusing to 3D put the camera up to my eye and started shooting. I took about fifteen close up photos of the turkeys before they were out of view. About forty percent of the photos were okay sharp and about sixty percent of the photos were razor sharp. Amazing, I could never have accomplished this during my film days. Camera would have had to been on a tripod. I would have been more selective with the shutter release because each snap cost money. Plus the turkeys were moving quickly and sporadically so it is doubtfull that my manual focus would have kept up with them. I would of had maybe one or two photos in focus.

Note: the close up  of the Turkey’s profile is what I consider barely sharp.

Then I noticed some wildflowers to the left of where the turkeys had previous been. So for the fun of it I took a couple of snapshots of them. A couple of snaps ended up being about fifteen pics. Again even with a gentle wind swaying the flowers most of my pics were sharp. If I had been shooting film it is doubtful that I would have taken more than one photo of the flowers. As it ends up the flower photos were my favorite photos of the day and I consider them keepers.

Yep, once I got back to the car I quickly download the captures onto my iPad. I edited one flower pic and uploaded it to Instagram. On the iPad the pics I figure were good I copied into Lightroom. When I got home those same pictures were already downloaded into Lightroom on my computer. Now I can study them even more and possibly create something special.

Yes, instant gratification can be rewarding.

Fireworks And Being Creative

Talk about bad timing, I am about to write how to spice up your fireworks photography and it is about two weeks after the Fourth of July. Oh well, I am not in the practice of photographing fireworks so I didn’t have the photos to complement this article. This 4th of July a did a little photography during the fireworks show at Timnath, Colorado.  Now I have photos to share. So lets see if I can give you some ideas for next years fireworks photos.

If you have been serious about photography for more than a month most likely you know the tried and true method to get pics like this one:

It is a pretty and standard fireworks photo. Here are the specs: ISO 100, F-Stop 9.0, Exposure 6.2 seconds, lens a 16 to 80mm at 22mm. Camera on a sturdy tripod with a cable release. Of course all these setting were set in manual mode and the focus was also set manually to infinity.

Nice pretty picture. Throw a bunch of them in Photoshop and you end up with a fantastic photo that you can make a poster of a fun remembrance. Like this:

That is all find and dandy. In fact such fireworks photos make fantastic images and prints. Still at the time of the shooting there is more that you can do that can create some visually stunning and different images; Like this one:

Or this one:

To get these effects I zoom the lens in on the first one and out on the second one. Also on the second one I continued the exposure after the zoom.

You can also wiggle the lens for an interesting effect or wiggle and zoom. Here are a few more examples of the zoom effect:

I think now you get the idea just how easy it is to be creative with your camera when photographing fireworks. Back in the day of film we would do this sort of things and then have to wait a few days for the film to be processed to see if we were successful. Sometimes we were really disappointed. With digital cameras you have instant review so you know right away if what you are doing is successful or not. So next time when at a fireworks show be creative with a couple of shutter releases. It could be very rewarding.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Photographer: C. L. Getchius For more info on camera setting click here.

Going to a Wedding

Last week I was with family fooling around at Garden of the Gods when I came across this scene. The bride and bridesmaid were hurrying to arrive on time for the wedding. It seems they got a little lost. Also the bridesmaid was doing everything possible to keep the white wedding dress from getting dirty because of the red dirt. But in the end all turned out well. Coming across scenes like this is just another reason to have a camera on you at all times. – Craig Getchius