My Kodak Moments ( Casper, WY, 3/24/2012)

A Kodak Moment: a sentimental moment worth preserving with a photograph.

When I was a child, Kodak had an advertising campaign wrapped around the words, “A Kodak Moment.” On television Kodak ran commercials that featured pics of family events, or cute babies that ended with the phrase, “A Kodak moment.” Watching one of those commercials made me feel good about life. The advertising campaign was highly successful. In fact, it was such a successful campaign that whenever one would view or take a picture of friends or family members someone would say, “That is a Kodak moment.”

While most people think of a Kodak moment as a sentimental photo of a person or people over the course of time I use the term for my photography differently. I think to myself, it is a Kodak moment when viewing one of my photos that I know is not that good, but I still can’t delete it. Something inside me has an emotional attachment to the photo. It is weird, it doesn’t have to be a good photo, or even a photo of a special event or special person. It can be a photo of a thistle, or piano keys, or a run down building but it elicits emotions in me. I just don’t want to loose that emotional attachment I have to the photo.

I have now decided, from time to time, to share some of these weird Kodak moments with the world. Maybe in doing so, it will get some of you to think about some of your weird Kodak moments that you have not viewed for sometime.

In March of 2012, April and I still had a house in Casper, Wyoming. According to my journal April had started to show an interest in my photography. So, I got the brilliant idea, with camera in hand to take April downtown so she could take photos while I explained the basics of photography. I knew April would be self-conscious of taking photos with strangers passing her and maybe watching her. With that in mind, I decided we would walk the alleys and in so doing we would have privacy while she learned how to compose and the benefits of using various apertures.

I will never forget her concentration while looking through the viewfinder, or her smile while picture peeking. She was enjoying taking photographs. It was fun experiencing her reactions.

While April was photographing and I was lecturing about the joys of photography it dawned on me how taking photos of the town from the alley gave a total different perspective of the town. You saw a glimpse of the town history, graffiti, garbage, makeshift repairs and so on. In the alley there were no facades to hide the worts or age of the buildings. It was kind of fascinating. Doors and steps that once were used now were abandon. Walking those alleys you witnessed the underbelly of the buildings and town.

Once we got back to the house I post processed the photos and April for the most part loved the photos that she captured.

Today, looking back at those photos I laugh at my post processing. In the year 2012 HDR photography was becoming the new fad. While these photos are not truly HDR photos I post processed them to create the HDR look. I would say I kind of went overboard in doing so. Hey, remember, it was another time and another place. Fads come and go.

For those of you who are wondering the camera was a Nikon D7000 and the lens was a Nikkor 17 to 55mm f2.8 lens

There are about fifteen photos I kept from this photo outing. I randomly selected the photos posted here.

I hope you enjoyed this little Kodak Moment. Memories don’t have to be special to be precious. CLG

A Photographer’s Rabbit Hole

When I first started writing, this blog post was going to be about new beginnings. I was going to explain how, over these last few years, I like so many people, had accepted complacency in my life. I stopped writing my blog, my photo business was in semi-retirement, I rarely saw friends, and after moving because of supply chain issues it was difficult to improve our new dwelling. Trying to purchase simple items such as a refrigerator and stove took months. Boy, trying to get the proper materials for needed home repairs was at time impossible.

I realized finally those days are behind us now. April’s and my life have now finally turned a new page. We got a new website, we actually have subjects to blog about that just might be interesting to others. We have traveled again, meeting up with old friends, and those house projects are actually getting completed. It is wonderful to feel alive.

On the day I wrote this, I was walking around in our yard and noticed that the tulips and daffodils we planted last fall were emerging from the ground. When I walked back into the house, I noticed the African violet that was placed in front of a window in our living room had bloomed.

Wow, pictures of the African violet blooming and flowers popping up in our front yard would be the perfect photo analogy to my post about new beginnings. And that is when I started going down the photographer’s rabbit hole of making something much more complicated than it need be.

All I really need to do was take a couple of pics of the African Violet and flowers coming out of the ground and it would have been perfect for the post. But of course, being a photographer, that would not happen.

First, I took the photos with my Nikon Z6 camera instead of a quick snapshots with my phone. Then viewing the African violet through the viewfinder, I knew it should be a close-up macro shot. So I changed out the lens for the Nikkor Z 105 macro lens. Okay, now I have to use a tripod. Well, that is nice, but the photo could be better. Change the depth of field to f11. That is looking good, but it still could be better.

So hey Craig, focus stacking would be perfect. So I did the focus stacking in camera. Went to my office and once seventy raw files were downloaded into Lightroom, I realized I had not gotten the whole flowers in focus. Delete all those photos and do photo stacking again. This time from two different angles. Back to the office. Upload files to Lightroom. Yeah, everything is in focus and I only need forty-eight photos.

Then a couple of quick edits. Again success. Once merged in Photoshop, I thought this will look like a nice snapshot.

Finally, I uploaded the files from Lightroom to Photoshop and waited and waited and waited. Finally, I can align all the photos. Again, wait and wait and wait. Will those little processing dots ever end? Photos are all aligned. Now I had to merge them. More processing dots. Ten minutes later, the photo is complete and yes, it looks like a nice snapshot. Merge all the files and finally my little photo is completed. Actually, there were two photos I created this way.

And here they are:African Violet, Focus Shifting, Photographer: C. L. GetchiusAfrican Violet, focus stacking, Craig Getchius

So, it took me over two hours to create two photos that two snapshots from my phone would have sufficed.

I am not complaining about all this wasted time. Doing this proves it is a new beginning. Tomorrow, April and I are venturing into the woods hoping to photograph an eagle or two. CLG

P.S. Our new website now has some galleries. The link is at the top of page.

Photographing An Elk And More

Hmmm, about twelve years ago when we moved from Illinois to the west I was excited to be so close to some of the greatest national parks in the world. I figured all I had to do is show up early in the morning in Yellowstone, Grand Teton or Rocky Mountain National Park and I would experience a smorgasbord of animals doing all sorts of wonderful things. Heck, there would be bison running, herds of bison forging rivers. Bears would snarl, wolves would howl and run. Moose would be drinking from a river, and elk prancing about. Eagles would be soaring high and of course antelope would roam. I could not wait to witness animals chasing each other. So on and so on.

Well, on very rare occasions I did experience some fantastic action scenes. But mostly, no matter what time of the day it was, I watched elk slumber or eat grass. Most of the time when watching a herd of elk they seemed to want to show their butts to me. Or they just laid down and did nothing. When it came to bears on occasion I got some pretty good closeups which were nice photographs but, to be completely honest, nothing that one would say “hey that is an outstanding nature photo.”

Probably my best bear action photo was a brown bear sitting on a huckleberry shrub eating the fruit. How that bear maintained its balance on those flimsy branches is beyond me.

Over the course of time I have gotten some nice pics of antelope roaming or running. Note to readers: If your thing is to take photos of pronghorns (antelope) Wyoming is the place you want to be. In Wyoming the antelope are everywhere.

When it comes to elk photos one of my favorites is this photo of a herd of elk crossing the road.

I kind of consider the “elk crossing the road” photo to be a documentary photo of life near a national park in the west.

Of course I have a lot of photos of elk standing and posing for me.

At this time I think you should understand that when I moved west I wanted to dedicate myself to being one of the best wildlife photographers in the west. Then reality set in. To accomplish that goal I would have to spend days at a time away from home and family. I would have to go into the back country maybe for weeks at a time. I would have to return over and over to the same location realizing it might take months, if not years, to get those special photographs that would awe the photographic world.

To become a successful wildlife photographer I would have to shirk my family responsibilities. I neither had the desire or lack of conscience to do that. So my photography slowly started to evolve into landscape photography.

Still, I never lost my desire to be a wildlife photographer. I understood that it would take tremendous luck to get those wonderful capture that we all visualize when we think of wildlife photography. I could not rely on luck. Instead, I had to figure out how do I take an ordinary wildlife scene and make it different? Yep, make the ordinary in nature seem interesting.

To accomplish this I started using what I had learned from other photographic disciplines and applying them to wildlife photography.

In street photography and portrait photography shooting your subject in black and white brings out its emotion.

Again street photography: Look for a normal scene in an odd situation.

Another rule of street photography: Hey stupid it does not matter what the camera is, be ready to be a photographer at all times.

The previous two photos were taken from my car parked on the side of the road with a small old Nikon V1. If I had to get out my bigger camera and lens most likely I would have missed the shot.

In portrait photography start close and work outward. Well, this is a crop of the other photo. With thirty-six megapixels you can do that.

These next two photos I ignored the standard elk photo and concentrated on the face. While taking closeups of the elks face I moved around so I would get different perspectives of the elk.

Portrait and street photography: It is the expression in the face that makes the image.

Sports photography: Remember the horse bet. When photography was in its infancy two men made a bet on when a horse ran if all four legs left the ground at the same time.

Streetscapes and landscape photography: Lines.

Ok, I am never going to be a famous wildlife photographer. Nevertheless, I am still learning and most important of all I am enjoying what is around me and not fretting over what I wish I could photograph.

Hope you enjoyed my little growths in photographing the normal wildlife in our national parks. It is a work in progress. All photos, with the exception of the antelope photo, were captured in either Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park or Rocky Mountain National Park.

The antelope photo was taken about twenty miles southeast of Yellowstone National Park. Like I said, antelope are everywhere in Wyoming. – CLG

Stuck At Home, Keeping Your Photography Skills Sharp

On Instagram the photographer Joe McNally, posted a wonderful idea of how to keep your photographic skills sharp while waiting out the Corona Virus. Here is the the link: Joe McNally is famous for his flash photography. If you want to check out his images go here:

I have a pretty good collection of tabletop photo books. On this Easter Sunday I am enjoying and studying the book “Bill Brandt Shadow & Light.” As I turn the pages and admire Brandt’s wonderful black and white images I am getting the overwhelming urge to get out and capture the world through my viewfinder. Also, photo project ideas are starting to race around in my head. In my To Do app I have started a brainstorm category and am listing all my photo project ideas and types of creative photography and videos I would like to do. I can’t wait to start getting back out into this wonderful world of ours. I bet that will happen sooner than I imagine.

One of my brainstorms was trying to do a little ink and water videos. It was fun yet very amateurish. Here is a link to the result: Now I figure if I am going to showcase something that I still need more practice I might as well go all the way. If you turn the volume up really loud you can here me trying to pound out the song “Bottle of Wine” written by Tom Paxton. Hey, A few months ago, because of my neurological problems I couldn’t even finger a cord. Everything is getting so much better. Camera used for this project was the Nikon D850 and a 60mm Macro Lens. Peace, Love and Victory.

Oops, it doesn’t seem the sound for the video uploaded. That is probably a good thing. Nevertheless,I will see if I can fix that.

Happy Easter. CLG