Week 8: Blue Boots with Black and White and other Photographs

So as promised I did not wait three weeks to blog again!  The picture taking has been fun this week and I have been quite inspired.  Thank you to all who have been praying for Ginger.  The hypomanic bubble she was in last week burst, back to reality, and the typical up and down that gradually lessens and the OCD that comes with it.  We are in the third and final stage of dealing with a traumatic event.  The periods of things being level are getting longer now!

So first off, Valentine's day.  So one of the things that Ginger had told me for a while is that she did not really like flowers.  Well....yes she does....especially when you have them delivered to her work!   Moss did a fantastic job!  I went in about a week in a half ago and said I wanted something unusual, which they said they specialized in.  This arrangement was perfect!  Ginger loved it and I loved how quirky it was, perfect from a quirky guy like me!  Hubby did good she said.  And of course I took her to a favorite restaurant of hers, Breakers!

 So with my present from Valentine's day I was able to order a new gimbal head.  I got it yesterday:

This thing is fantastic!  Briefly, a gimbal head is for a camera with a long lens.  It allows the lens and camera to be balanced so that you have no camera creep.  Camera creep is when the lens starts to creep down or up, usually slowly.  It can affect sharp images.  So I set it up and balanced it and now I can have it at any angle and it stays, I do not even have to tighten it down!  Plus, I can pan shoot with it so I can track flying birds, animals, planes, cars, you name it.  And I am loving my new lens, having already gotten some really good shots with it!

So one of the shots I have been wanting to do I finally got to scratch off my list.  I took this on Monday.  The sun was almost an orange and it was being diffused by clouds.  So I took the shot:

This is a dandelion.  This is a tricky shot.  You cannot focus the shot while staring at the sun, can damage your eyes.  You have to focus about a foot to the right or left with the dandelion, then move it in front of the camera and take the shot.  Live view works wonderful with this shot.  It took about 9 shots to get it right.  This one, the sun was behind a cloud so I got it focused, moved it, waited for the sun to start appearing and took the shot.  My 100mm Macro lens worked perfectly for this though it was being finicky focusing!  

So one of the places that I go to to get inspired is my studio.  This is a panoramic shot of my studio at night, all lights blazing:

Now the string lights I cannot change the color, but the lights on the shelves I can change to any color I wish.  Two of my favorite pictures are hanging up and lit up.  Ginger loves the blue light.  You can tell I have a fascination with the moon and lights....  Love the cage light with vintage light bulb.  And if I want to light up my studio I can by making the strip lights surrounding the shelves up above turn white.  I was going to do a shot in the morning of my studio with the sun beaming in but the last two days we have had cloudy mornings.  That shot will be coming....soon.

And then there was Rebecca's.  Went out there this Saturday, have I mentioned how much of a joy it is to go out there and work on the ranch?  So I saw these boots by a fence post.  Had to take a picture of them.  The last shot, which you are about to see, was my favorite, and Ginger's.  Let me put in a side note here.  Ginger is a very, very important part of my creative process.  I have learned to take several shots, at different angles.  Then I get home and start going through the pictures.  Ginger has this uncanny eye for details I do not see.  It was her idea about the blue and black and white.  I saw black and white, but it was the blue that originally caught her eye.  We make a fantastic creative team, and I am so blessed to have her in more ways than one!  So the shot in black and white and in color.

Black and white and blue


Now I was riding the 4 wheeler back and forth getting sand for a project that Rebecca's brother Andy is working on.  I happen to look over and see this shot in my mind and well, had to take it.  So grabbed my camera with the 100mm and snapped the shot. 

So this is a favorite shot of mine.  I wanted it vertical.  I could focus on the saddle, but I wanted to show more than that.  I wanted to show the lead ropes and the training pen.  It speaks of training, and repetition.   This is one of the places where Gretchen gets trained.  Funny, there was a time, not so long ago, that I was afraid of horses.  But the repetitious exposure to Gretchen has cured that.  I work around her, talk with her, pet her, and she has become use to me too!  She is an amazing animal and has this personality all her own!  One of my favorite filters is the bleach bypass filter, so naturally had to apply that to this picture.

So I saw a documentary on a photographer, Antoniou Platon yesterday.  Born in London, raised in Greece.  He is one of the most famous and saught after portrait photographers in the world.  And I was inspired.  He still uses a film camera.  Granted it is a Hasselblad medium format camera (which are very expensive cameras) and a Leica film camera.  To him, it is not about the equipment so much as it is about the photographer.  And his shots are amazing and his creative process is about telling the story more than getting a technically perfect shot.   It was just fun to watch him work!

My best shots are when I am just being creative.  If I strip away trying to impress anyone or any other distractions, and I just concentrate on what I see in my mind to put into an image I find I am at my happiest.  It doesn't matter how many people like your photo on Facebook or Flickr.  The greatest honor I have been given are when those close to me admire my photographs and even want one.  My Mom and Dad putting a self portrait of me in their living room was one of the greatest honors as an artist I have had the pleasure of having.  I rank it above getting pictures published in magazines.  Because a piece of me is with every creative shot I do.  I am trying to convey a message, or tell a story, or show how I see the world.  I have an old violin now that I am letting my creative mind mull over what shot I want to take with it.  I love the process of going from nothing to "seeing it in my mind".  When I was drawing portraits, the same thing happened.  I would finally "see it" and then the portrait would come.  From mind to image is getting easier as I learn my camera more and I learn to shape light.  I get inspired by other photographers, artists, or those around me.  I love being a storyteller because even though I can write, a picture is worth a 1000 words....


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