Random Photos and Thoughts. Adventures in life as a Amateur Photographer.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Restart and Reconnection

Every so often the camera which is in your hand and the scene make a connection. The camera comes up and in 1/60 of a second an image is taken. Without stopping you shoot several more shots.  Often with a pause waiting for the action to start again.

A few Saturdays ago I was lucky to make that small connection with my camera and the scene. While walking on a beach, I encountered three young men on surf boards. What was great was the tide was going out, and the surf while small was close in. This put the action well within reach of my X-200 zoom lens.

This is one of my 1st shots of the day. All I did was crop it slightly and change the light setting slightly.

Cropped and a slight color adjustment.

Sometimes one is just lucky to happen across a scene. This day I found these three surfers close in to the shore. The end result was something any amateur photographer should be happy with getting. The shots were done in groups of three and four shots. The delay was the result of my Nikon D60's speed limitation on writing to media. Not my choice and I tried to work around it. I missed some of the shots, but still I got some good action shots. The shots of the surfer in air and at start of an inverted 360. 

Below was the fourth of four shots. The surfer just started the upside down rotation and was completely in the air.

Starting an inverted 360 rotation

A few shots of riding the wave, and even a bailout shot

Surfing close to rocks just to the left


Here are some of the shots I took for art reference of the waves and surf.

I shot about 150 shots in just an few hours. And got maybe 12-14 good to better shots.  A few very productive hours.
Most of the shots will need to be cropped and a slight adjustment of color and contrast. A few didn't need much at all for my purpose.

After years of not feeling connected the the camera, it came alive for a little while. The water had that frozen effect and the surfers had the feeling of being on the edge of danger. They were surfing right on the edge of large and sharp rocks. For a few minutes I felt the thrill of a professional photographer making world class images at a surfing event. 

When I got back to the RV and downloaded the images to the laptop, I looked at them with the more critical eye. 

Good enough! I proclaimed.

I feel there is one or two images which might be worthy of printing and entering in amateur competition.

Later that evening I had made plans to try to capture an image of the Sun setting behind the lighthouse in the image below.

Lastly I used a program called The Photographer's Ephemeris to help locate an ideal place to try to catch a sunset behind this lighthouse.
Below is the printout which came from one of my favorite programs.

The legend is fairly self explaining. 

The map shows the bright orange line starting as the drop pin and disappearing in the left hand corner. I need to be someplace along that line at sunset. The bottom gives all the important times you might need.

The results of preplanning can give idea of a position which would work to capture the image you see in your mind's eye. However the weather didn't co-operate. As you can see in the following picture a dense cloud bank started coming in as the sun neared the horizon.

Sunset at Pigeon Point Lighthouse

I also should have moved to the left about 200 feet and would have done so but the sun disappeared into the fog.  

The Photographer's Ephemeris is copyright by Crookneck Consulting, LLC
The TPE can be located here.

The web app is currently free of charge. The IPad and Iphone apps are worth the money in my opinion. I have no connection with TPE or Crookneck Consulting. I just use their tool.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Five Years Later

My intention was always to return to this Photography Blog. It seems I had little time to do so. 

That's not really true. I did have time, and I made choices not to Blog. Yet, in the end those choices opened some doors to life, and closed other doors. Life has its up and downs. I am along for the ride.  

Maybe the bit of the truth is I lost my connection between myself, the camera and the scene which I was trying to image.  I was still taking pictures but felt little connection to the images. Writer call that their Muse. Do photographers have a Muse? 

I have not stopped working on the long ago promised Panorama-stitching article. It however will be pushed to the back burner. Maybe I find a better set of images to play. some that will not require so much editing, or I will drive and re-shoot the base images. 

So what's old?

What's new? 

That leaves to question to ask: Where do I go from here?

Those questions asked, in the last five years many things have happened to, and around me.

A year ago August (2014), I retired after 43 years of operating locomotives for one of the largest railroads. I can say I was glad to get away. Escape with some of my sanity and dignity intact is more like it.  Maybe like all old guys I worked with all so many years ago. I though things were going to hell in the hand cart. I would say hand basket but it was the railroad. The real problem was no one really cared. my fellow employees were more worried about the ever increasing number of efficiency tests and were constantly were looking over their shoulders as the testing kept increasing without reason. Managers had little knowledge of railroading and were following a business model written by a MBAs, which actually knew little about railroads or work for that matter. The constant fear of the micro managers, turned a potentially dangerous workplace into one that was truly dangerous.

To illustrate how both my wife and I felt last fall, driving down Highway 99 in California last fall, in our RV. We passed a northbound train pulling into Notarb Siding just north of Madera, California. The engineer had stopped his train so the cab was in the shade of an overpass. I remarked that I had done a the same thing so many times.

My wife spoke about the train, she smiled and asked me: 
"Do you know the best thing about that train is?"

Not knowing where this was going, I said "no ..."

She replied "You're not on it!"

Do you know what? She was 100% right.

And that folks is my new motto. 

The best thing about that train? I am not on it!

Also, along the way over the last five years, I helped bury our two mothers and two brothers and an older sister. Yes, brothers. They both were my wife's brothers.  Both had been my brothers for nearly 40 years. Both passed from complications of Type II diabetes. No, before you go there, neither one was obese or overweight. As it happens with Type II diabetes they didn't take care of how they ate, and how closely they monitored their BGL. High blood pressure and heart damage along with Neuropathy eventually took its toll.  My wife's Mother died several years after suffering from a major debilitating stroke. My mother slowly faded away, never fully recovering from breaking her shoulder and having a joint replacement surgery.  My older sister died from COPD. She beat the Doctor's date by living for over a dozen years after being told she didn't have very long to live. I will miss all five of them. 

On to some high points:
We, my wife and I, both earned our amateur radio licenses.  I took my Tech one day before Thanksgiving, she took hers a few months later When I took my General. Then I was surprised when 6 days later she took her General. I took the test to be a volunteer examiner. A few months later, I took my Extra Class test and passed. Over the next year I became an ARRL Instructor, and an ARRL Field Stocked VE. That means you will get to see blogs about photographs of radio operations and events. Some of them will be interesting, I promise.

Jestrbob's family bought an RV, and we've put nearly 4,000 miles on it last year.

Two 1500 mile trips, wood carving classes and lots of landscape and cactus photos.

Yeah, I am taking photos again, I really never stopped by found them less than inspirational.  I might even do a few blogs on that subject.  Really expect more than a few.  

Oh and most important thing I found was a renewed companionship of my best friend, a most able navigator, fellow artist and wife. Maneuvering a 35 foot motorhome while towing her car down a busy highway while towing a car is not a task one takes lightly.  She does make my task of driving much easy, and always seems to a jump ahead of me with the map. 

While I don't want this to become just another travel blog, it will involve some travel. I hope my focus stays on the art of finding stuff to image with my camera.  Stuff most people would just walk or drive by without seeing. 

So expect to see some new photos, the eventual completion of a panoramic article, and more of my random thoughts.

Yeah, did I say I was taking photos again?  I was waiting for that connection to happen. It did.

Note 1: I drafted this out a few months ago, and got around to revisiting it finally. I have an outline of the next article saved and just need to select a few photos, edit them and flesh it out a bit.

Note 2: I have also wrote an article for one of my Amateur Radio club's newsletter. It is being published in September!  Maybe the log jam in my mind has broken free.