One of the first things I started taking photos of with my first iPhone was clouds. Everyone sees them, most take note when the sky gets particularly impressive. Some run for cover when the sky starts to darken and drop. I look for a nice place to get a decent foreground and shoot away. Clouds have been a part of photography in many different ways since it began. Here are a few more.
I have had a pretty good track record of getting in a show or two a year over the last few years. This year started out slow but I have struck gold finally again. I’ll be getting prints ready for two shows later in the summer. The first is the Knoxville Photo National Juried Exhibition. It is an annual show at the The Emporium Arts Center. I’ve been in a few shows there and always enjoy going back. I have been trying to stretch past bugs and landscapes and one of my street photography images was selected in the Human Experience category.
I’m also keeping up my streak of inclusion in the Huntsville Photographic Society’s annual exhibition in the Huntsville Museum of Art. This show opens on August 25th. The museum continued with picking a theme for the exhibition and this year it is chiaroscuro. I did my best to select a wide range of shots to fit the topic and one of my odder macro subjects was selected.
I really enjoyed my first trip to New York, I was a little overwhelmed with just how much there is to do. How do you decide what you want to see and where you want to eat. Then you get the suggestions from everyone that adds more options.
I had a couple of things I really wanted to see. The Guggenheim had part one of a Mapplethorpe exhibit. I really wanted to see prints live since that process was so much of his art. They did not disappoint. It was also an experience to watch others interact with his work.
People watching was of course exactly what you’d expect in a huge city like New York. I really don’t feel comfortable yet taking candid shots of people on the street. Not up close anyway. Here are a few of the better shots below. Can’t wait to go back.
I have been lusting after a new camera for a couple of months. I wanted go full frame and mirrorless. Pretty much the only name in that game right now is Sony. They have a tasty piece of gear in the A7 R III which I’ve not heard bad things about from really anyone. The only beef people seem to have with it is battery life. It has a tn of great features and is reviewed and talked about all over so I won’t go on about it and I’ve not given up on the upgrade. Just waiting on a better time to do it. My Canon 70D is holding me up just fine right now.
What I have found is that I feel very uncomfortable walking around the city, any city, with a big DSLR hanging off my neck. People look at you, people shy away if you want to grab a street shot, and less annoying but distracting, people gravitate toward someone with a DSLR to hand you their camera to take their picture. I really don’t mind that last one, but it does sometimes break my concentration a bit. So I started poking around at “point and shoot” cameras and quickly found the high praise for the Ricoh GR II to be pretty universal. I’ll link a couple of videos below. The price was right, around $500 and the size was killer. It is smaller than my iPhone 7 plus and is easy to use one handed with a little proper setup. I pulled the trigger, even knowing that a new version was due soon.
It arrived Friday and I’ve had a bit of a chance to shoot with it. Nothing spectacular, but I’m really happy with the quick snaps. I can’t wait to get to a big city and really test it out. One thing I always do with new gear is grab some shots of my pack.
And a couple of tests including a double exposure. The double exposure got me thinking about a possible “project” and I am going to see where that leads too.
The following videos are from a couple of YouTube channels I follow.
If you know me or have paid attention to previous posts, I have a girlfriend who owns a restaurant in Sewanee Tenessee. Sewanne is also home to The University of the South which has an amazing campus. Keri has encouraged me to go shoot there several times. I was holding out for conditions that triggered me to feel creative and I was not disappointed Sunday. Sewanee is up in the Cumberland Plateau and this time of year can see some pretty foggy conditions. This was one of those days.
Keri and I found a window when we could both get away and we decided to hit Las Vegas. We’ve both been and it had been a long time since either of us had gone. We like food and she REALLY likes to try new things (I do too, but it is really her passion). Vegas seemed like this place to go.
I pretty much packed my full photography kit and ended up only getting it out once. Our room was not conducive to shooting a time lapse with the GoPro so it stayed in the bag. We spent most of our time walking around the strip and I did not really want to drag my DSLR all over so in the bad it stayed too. My primary reason for taking the big backpack was a possible run out to the Grand Canyon.
We picked one day to rent a car and drive out. Let’s just say that was poor planning on my part. A lack of research lead to not getting any shots of the canyon. I picked driving to the Skywalk, a mistake for a photographer. You can only get to eagle point and the skywalk via a tour. The cheapest of which is $70 a head. Notes on the pamphlet also tell you no bags or cameras. We had a nice drive out there and back at least. I did catch this out of the corner of my eye and pulled over to try to get something.
Our backup plan was Hoover Dam and that turned out to be a nice stop. For whatever reason it wasn’t busy and you can once again take a short tour down to the turbine room. the hallway from the elevator yielded a nice shot too.
It is time to update that gallery area of the website and bring a little focus back. I’m also looking into options for printing some larger format pieces and plan to sell some limited editions of those. More to come on that as the details are worked out. For now I have some prints listed at Rocket Paper Scissors. Go take a look, there are some works there from several local and regional artists.
I’m really torn on the large format pieces. I have one photo in particular I would love to print large however I really love the way it looks on a quality matte paper. Put that behind glass or acrylic and the texture is ruined. This leaves me with experimenting with mounting and framing it myself or contracting that out. I think I’ve been stuck here at this decision for nearly a year. It festers in the background until it’s time to pick shots for a show entry or I wander through a gallery.
A less pressing problem to solve - do I invest in a larger format printer with more versatility or do I start printing through a service. I really like the control of doing my own prints but that gets expensive.
Well, right now I’m going to enjoy some time here in Vegas with Keri and figure out next steps later.
Fall is a special time visually for many reasons. The classic is the color of the leaves however the shift in temperature combined with some increased moisture brings out some season fungus too. My backyard and the backyard at OctoPi yielded some tiny treats last week. I’ve got quite a bit going on it seems and having these things pop up just a few feet from my door is really handy. My only regret is that I haven’t started any mushroom logs to replace the ones that gave up the ghost last winter. That will be a project for next year and hopefully I can get more varieties going.
The weather was excellent today and it looked like today was going to be my only chance to get a shot of the fall colors. Rock Island seemed like as good as any place to give a try.
A friend wanted to go hiking and follow it up with some pizza and beer this weekend at OctoPi. I was happy to oblige and the weather was excellent for some hiking. We had our first real coldsnap this fall. Temps got down into the 30’s on the Cumberland Plateau. I picked a mid level hike, not too long but with some elevation changes and a little rough terrain to cross. Grundy Forest Natural Area near Tracy City has two trails. Fiery Gizzard which runs from the natural area picnic site and ranger station 11.75 miles down to Foster Falls. There is also a nice loop trail the branches off from Fiery Gizzard and comes back out near the picnic area. We took the loop.
There were recent rains and the temperatures had been down consistently enough to trigger some nice mushroom growth. I got a few shots, but this cluster of mushrooms that were at the end of their time really worked for me.
I only carried my Canon 70D with the 100mm Macro lens even though we were going to be hiking along a creek with tons of falls and cascades. The sky was clear and blue, this was really a hike trip not a photography outing. I generally don’t take good photos when I am out with other folks. I don’t get into my zone very easily if I know someone is standing around waiting on me to get moving. Even so, I spotted this cascade in full shade and found an angle to get a pretty satisfying shot.
My back yard is pretty raw and wild. I’ve got some rotting logs here and there. I used a few to make some raised beds a few years ago that are decaying nicely. There are also a couple of stacks that haven’t made it into the fire pit yet. The logs I was growing shiitake on are finished and I need to get some fresh logs to start a new crop. Mostly my back yard works because I’m lazy and hate yard work. However it also offers up some pretty cool photo ops if I pay attention. I’m a fan of fungus and it really pays off some times.
This is my first pass at editing a video more than just a cut or trim and adding some music to a single cut. I'm working on learning DaVinci Resolve which at first blush looks to be an amazing tool. I've also included footage from all 3 tools in my bag here. Comments on this post are appreciated.
One of my favorite places to go close to home is Blackwell Run. I mentioned Wheeler Wildlife Refuge in the last post. I’ve been out there a couple of times this week because other local photographers have gotten shots of one of the alligators that haunt that inlet off the Tennessee river. It’s been a couple of years since I saw one but the conditions are great right now. The water is down and the temperature is up. After about 4 hours of watching I managed to snag one photo and a video of the one running around an easily accessible section of the swampy area.
I also grabbed a couple of other shots too while waiting.
I live within 10 miles of a section of Wheeler Wildlife Refuge along the Tennessee river. One particularly accessible area is Beaver Dam Boardwalk. Handy for me and the dog to go for a nice mile walk which is about as much as she needs or wants. Can usually count on a bug or two and depending on recent weather a little fungus as well.
Keri and I took a trip to Savannah, GA this week and had a great time. Lots of food and just wandering around the historic district. So many excellent places to check out and the Victorian architecture, well, it gets photographed and hyped for good reason. This was the first trip Keri and I have taken together without some other agenda attached. Just the two of us headed somewhere with no real agenda. We've been on other trips together, but those have been tied to family which were great. We were due.
The last day we rolled out of the excellent hotel and to one of what could be the most photographed roads in the south. Located in the Wormsloe State Historic Site, the avenue is lined with live oaks dripping with Spanish moss (not actually moss).
This history of the site was very interesting, not really all that photographic, but interesting. However, there are several trails to hike through the cedar and live oak forest and along the salt marsh. Lots of palmetto and cabbage palms as well. This was the part of the 4 day trip where I really took the time to concentrate on the camera and take some pretty good photos. I did still use the iPhone as well and there will be a few of those dropped into the post below too.
This is the reason I try to always have my camera in my FJ. Was packing up to come home from Keri's in Tennessee this morning and noticed the dragonfly who was dead set on staying perched on this stick. It looked like a prime spot to watch for prey on another bush about 2 feet away. I walked right by it and it launched and then returned. I grabbed my tripod and camera and set up to get a few good shots. I love catching the facets of the eyes.
Trying something different, 3 images above - click to progress through the slideshow.
Finally - part two on the trip to Nashville. After visiting 21c, we started wandering the streets which is always fun. I mentioned the first Saturday art crawl that happens in several locations around Nashville where there are galleries and that the Frist often has an architectural tour of the building (or so I've heard). The it dawned on me I had no idea what exhibitions were going on. A quick check and there were two exhibitions that looked really interesting. Chaos and Awe: Painting for the 21st Century and Image Building: How Photography Transforms Architecture.
Both shows were quite good, I was obviously more interested in the photography exhibition and there were prints from a couple of photographers I admire so that was a bonus treat. There were several large prints by Hiroshi Sugimoto and smaller prints by Julius Shulman. Those two photographers are a pretty good examples of the wide scope of the exhibition and well worth the price of admission for me. Everything else was pretty amazing too. I'f you'd like to learn a bit more about either of these photographers I can't think of a better way to get a start than Ted Forbes and his YouTube channel The Art of Photography.
I think I'll post to my other blog more about just walking around and the Chaos and Awe exhibit.
Last weekend, even though it was hot, humid, and spotty rain I took the camera out for a day of driving around in Tennessee. One of my favorite places to visit after a decent amount of rain is Short Springs Natural Area just outside of Tullahoma, TN. The trails are nice, it isn't generally crowded and there are some nice cascades and falls. This trip I just concentrated on some cascades above Busby Falls and didn't bother with Machine Falls at all. I also made a stop at Old Stone Fort but did not stay long at all. I just walked up to an area above the museum and found a couple of critters on the rock wall. It was crowded and the rain was coming in in waves there.
Keri and I went on a day trip to Nashville on 7/23/2018 to just enjoy the day with a bonus of being able to actually be able to see an exhibition of Beth Cavener's sculptures at the Nashville 21c Hotel location. We weren't really sure what to expect and were really pleased with the experience. We walked in the lobby and began seeing art right away. The galleries start in the lobby and extend down and up one floor from there. It's easy to get to all the art via a nice central stairway. I'm not going to go into much detail about the hotel, the website covers that nicely and if you visit the staff is great about talking about the place if you want to interact.
I do have a few photos of the art and want to go into that a bit. It is contemporary and stretches across an excellent breadth of that subject. There were a few interesitng photographic works hanging as well as scultpures, painting and mixed media. A large number of the pieces are pretty strong emotionally and or socially. This is a place you need to check out and wander through. The Beth Cavener works are hanging currently in the Gray and Dudley Restaurant and Bar which is on the ground floor of the hotel.
The art by Hank Willis Thomas is really something to see. He uses archival new photographs which are printed on refelctive vinal and metal surfaces. Under standard light you can barely make out an image on in the frame. The placards tell the viewer to specifically use flash to photograph the pieces. Once flashed the images resolve as I've illustrated above. Very striking to see it happen.
There is a park just down the road from my house. I walk Calli there most days and we pass by these flowers. I finally carried the dslr with me today. I’d have kicked myself if I missed getting some shots of them this year.