Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ladies who Landscape

I happened upon a link today discussing landscape photography, in fact, questioning why there are so few female landscape photographers. Turns out there is a wonderful website called Landscapes by Women which I checked out and thoroughly enjoyed. While the website was wonderful, the issue still remains. Why are there so few women in landscape photography?

In the old days, it used to take a lot to lug a camera around. It's no coincidence that Ansel Adams had a pack mule! Nowadays, however, we seldom need that much in the way of equipment. Heck, some people are even working with their iPhones. Still the stigma remains. Why so few women? I think it's not just relegated to the field of photography, I think it's true in the art world in general but photography is starting to address it, specifically in relation to landscape and outdoor photographers. It's no longer, or at least it won't be for much longer, a man's world, folks. Women are involved in all aspects of career life and choice-everything from holding down some of the most dangerous jobs, to racing fast cars, to running more inanimate objects, like money for banks. Ladies are holding their own and it's high time we allow them to shine in fields such as the arts and photography in particular. Why should this be a man's world when women are just as good, if not better (in some ways) then men at the whole communication thing?

So I say, go ahead. Make room on the gallery walls for some ladies. Let us in, we deserve a spot at the table. Seriously, we're pulling down the work, right? It's not a question of equipment anymore, no I think it boils down to women don't like to take as many risks and maybe aren't as "pushy" about getting their artwork out into the wilds. Men are more go-getters in this regard but that's ok too, it's changing, we all know it's changing. The men are going to have to, as a matter of course, start making room for us women.

I've never been one to identify myself as a "female" photography, although I have touched upon more feminine themes in my work. Given that, I do think it's a good thing, that women are to be more represented, given more gallery shows, maybe the imbalances will finally be addressed. Some women photographers do work that's so worth seeing, it really should not be denied. Let's see to it that it doesn't get denied, shall we?

No, I think it's time, it's high time, some ladies had their day to shine. Rather than the typical "ladies who lunch" maybe we can start a field of "ladies who landscape" and do more to promote websites, raise awareness, and just celebrate a women's voice in photography. When all is said and done, it shouldn't matter really who took the image, so long as you like it, right? As long as we keep it about the image, about quality, about the craft, I'm all for it. Let's celebrate, ladies, our time to shine has come!

Until next time...

Monday, August 24, 2015

Bumbling Towards Perfection

Today I shared a video clip from Jay Maisel on "How to Be a Better Photographer." Really interesting clip, that is, as it really speaks to the process at least the process I follow. In the clip he talks about "bumbling and fumbling" (excuse me if I paraphrase here. I do wholeheartedly recommend you view the clip in it's entirety for the exact words.) Photographers are always "bumbling and fumbling" indeed. It's always a process. You walk around, you walk slowly, you're on the hunt, you see what you see, you feel what you feel and, in the end, you hope you craft images that halfway live up to all of that. Seriously. Nobody knows what they are doing and, if they do, they should go back and question everything they think they know. Nobody knows, for certain, what something will look like photographed. Sure, most of us have ideas but they actually fall into the realm of the "educated guess" more than the certainty factor. We all bumble, it's part of the process. It's hard work to get good shots and the best of the best, why, they make it look so easy, don't they?

Some days, frankly, I just don't know where photography comes from. Is it inside of me wanting to get out? Is it outside of me wanting to come in? Do I have a thought, share a clue or am I just enjoying the innocent hapless wanderings that life throws my way? These are really difficult questions to answer and, again, frankly, I doubt anybody really has a solid answer. We do what we do because we must. It's some kind of drive within us that makes us take pictures, yes, but it's never quite the process, it's not quite the journey we set out for it to be.

On some levels, we are indeed all bumbling towards perfection. We want the perfect shot and bumble our way halfway there. What was that Ansel Adams said? Twelve in a year is a good crop? A really good crop indeed.

Bumble on, my fellow photographers, bumble on!

Until next time...

PS This one shot with the new Lensbaby Velvet 56 on the Double Bluff driftwood beach. Man, I told you that stuff was golden. Love me some fresh driftwood when the light gets all soft like that. Fun stuff for a good bumble, don't you think?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Notes From the Road - Whidbey Island

Colorful abstract light patterns on a wall, Whidbey Island, Washington state, near the town of Langley, Washington
Some notes from the road from Whidbey trip. Let's see. Got in on the ferry on Saturday morning, after an un-Godly early flight out of ATX. The flight was smooth even though I could not sleep managed to push on through. Made it to the airport and almost got lost in Sea-Tac a couple of times. Turns out there is a train inside there and you have to get to another terminal and, yada, yada. Been there before, done that (Dallas, Texas, anyone? Anyone?!?) OK, so no surprise there. Finally made it to the shuttle desk about an hour early. This is the thing I was calling the "floating van" on account of the fact that it was an airport shuttle which also went over the ferry onto Whidbey and dumped us at a Valero gas station. Interesting concept on paper, worked even better in real life, in fact, I'd have to say, if you are traveling to Whidbey, the floating van (aka shuttle) is your best bet. It cuts off mountains of traffic at the ferry stop and goes right on the ferry to Whidbey.

At the terminal itself, I was afraid my friends would not recognize me, but my fears were put to rest when Taz ran up, out of the blue, with a look of happiness to see me and surprise on her face. It was like we had met yesterday. In fact, highlight of the trip for me was catching up with everybody. This was so much fun. To go shooting and just catch up with photographer friends was a joy for sure.

So, we made it onto the ferry, shuttle, floating van thing and made it over to Whidbey and met up with Helen who picked us up at the gas station and then we drove into town to visit our new little town, aka home away from home for the week. Turns out Langley is a very cool little town, another on my highly recommend list for Whidbey. Totally cool, totally cute, even if overrun with bunnies. (Seriously. Bunnies.) Ended up shooting around Langley for the first part of the trip and it was worth it on account of being so cute and easy walking distance.

We wound up shooting Coupeville on Monday, which was also fun, and doubled back to a beach called Double Bluff which was also fun. Turns out Whidbey Island is also a place I've dubbed "Driftwood City" as there is a lot of driftwood on all of the beaches. Now, don't get me wrong, I love the stuff. I love how it looks like monsters and monoliths, how it washes up on the short, how it floats around and gets washed up looking but still kind of cool. It was very cool and we had perfect weather. Got home to find out I Borked my 5DS (only to eventually return to B&H photo in an exchange) and had to switch back to the 5d Mark II. No worries there as I think I managed to drop a card but might be able to salvage it at some point. I've always loved that 5d Mark II anyway. It's a favorite camera on mine, so it felt like going home again.

Tuesday was fun as we got invited into an old Victorian home owned by an interesting lady. I don't know which was better, frankly, the lady or the house. It was an old B&B not converted to a private home for a lady who filled it with antiques from her travels around the globe. Had an interesting conversation about Montevideo, but that's a blog for another topic. Uruguayan city discussions aside, we also had Champagne and truffles. I mean, come on, who would not like some Champagne and truffles while shooting an old Victorian house? What a shoot that was, let me tell you.

Wednesday we did a night shoot which was filled with hooting and howling of laughter. Really had a grand time with that one, even if the images don't reflect it. Have to do that again sometime, as it was so much fun. Thursday, we braved the Puget Sound ferry system over to Port Townsend and got in a teeny bit of shooting before having a nice dinner and catching the last ferry of the day back to Whidbey. Friday was met with more class time, some discussions, and the like while Saturday we made it up to Desolation Pass to check out the north side of the island and the cool bridge and park up that way.

All in all, great trip. Some great friends, some great food (highly recommend Penn Cove mussels, man those were yummy, as well as Useless Bay coffee company) fantastic weather and the like. Didn't shoot as much as I would have liked, shame about the 5DS which is now on it's way back to Canon-land via B&H and wish I could spend about a summer up that way just shooting and eating my weight in mussels.

Notes from the road, indeed. Happy to be back home, almost done with the laundry and started the process of uploading to Flickr and other points on the web.

Until next time...

PS This one shot with the 5DS before it Borked, in Langley with the walkabout lens.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Seeing Double

I've been doing a lot of 2X lately. Just seems to sort of sink in my mind. I love double exposure type work. It's fun. We tend to approach it differently too-some people just jump right in and sort of randomize it while others more carefully plot out their real estate. 

Do you find you want to do more of it? Less of it? Hate it? It's kind of like HDR or Hemmingway's whisky-a little is too much and so much more is never enough! 

Until next time...

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Today's Office

This is a shot of me working it. On location today near Coupeville, Washington, watching the ferries go by, shooting both the Canon and the iPhone. I really liked the reflections and found that I was able to do a two fisted selfie. Go me! Seriously, spent some time today at the beach shooting and got invited into an old Victorian home that was just fabulous. It's been a simply fabulous day and the weather is nice. Oh, we had good food too. Another incredible day at the office.

Until next time...

Monday, August 10, 2015

Langley Today Coupeville Tomorrow

We took a walk around Langley today. Look bunnies! We have some serious hare action going down in our 'hood. Seems to me they are multiplying like, oh wait, they *are* bunnies. Explains why there are so many afoot perhaps? Must have seen four today, hopping about.

We have a coffee shop of sorts. Useless Bay coffee house appears to be our local watering hole of choice. This is, pretty much the view from the front yard. Getting settled into the house and gearing up for Coupeville tomorrow. More notes from the road soon, I promise!

Until next time...

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Fly Me to the Moon

Actually, just as far as Seattle, please. First night in Washington State. Notes from the road to follow. 

Until next time...

Monday, August 03, 2015

Mash Up

One on the things I love about the iPhone is the mash ups. This image was made with a finger tracing app, a Diana double exposure app, and then finally an app called trimaginator which works with geometric shapes. It's so fun to mass things up.

Until next time...

Sunday, August 02, 2015


Focus turning towards cleaning and packing now that I have my folio ready. Still a lot to do before my trip but things are moving along nicely. The more I have to do the more stress I feel but also the more excited I get as I inch closer. Can't wait to get out and do some shooting again!

The iPhone will be coming along for the ride too. Don't worry, I intend to generate  a lot of raw material on this trip! 

Until next time...

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Conversations about Clouds and Portfolios of Sorts

I was doing my homework tonight. What do I mean by homework? Well, next week I'll be taking a workshop with Arthur Meyerson, noted photographer of all things color and author of the book The Color of Light. As with most workshops, the instructors want to see a few of your images so they can determine what sorts of assignments you should get. Lordy, my stuff is all over the map as usual, but I've decided that I'm going to give up a few brightly color images, so I'm going to include some punchy colored shots along the lines of what you see here, in order to give him a feel for how I try to work with color.

Going into my homework assignment, I thought I would have a lot of architecture, but it seems like I'm actually getting more nature into the mix. Maybe I'm just in a more nature-y kind of a mood but I've managed to select icebergs and water reflections peppered with one or two architectural shots like I always do. Maybe this workshop will help give me some direction and offer up some new subject matters to explore as well. Since I've not been to the Pacific Northwest before, I'm looking at is a new territory to explore, get out, see the world, catch up with old shooting buddies, and get a break from the summertime heat. It's a blamy 77 degrees up that way these days, at the very least I'll be enjoying that part of the trip. Plus, I'll get to meet some new people, get out and explore a little bit. Doesn't that sound like fun to you?

I guess you could say I'm looking for some direction, lots of information about color (color, color, and more color!) and a nice break with a lot of shooting. We should all be so lucky!

Until next time...