09/19/17
ars rose photography

ARS Rose Photography Update

ARS Rose Photography Update

ARS Rose Photography Update: the American Rose Society’s Board of Directors has approved the final version of the First Edition of Guidelines and Rules for Judging Rose Photography. Editors are completing the final editorial review. The text will appear shortly on the website of the American Rose Society. Members will be able to access it by going to “Resources”and scrolling down. In the meantime, members may see and download six PowerPoint programs explaining use of the Guidelines. The PowerPoints appear alphabetically rather than by topic, so be sure to scroll through.

ars rose photography

2017 ARS Photography Guidelines and PowerPoints Explaining Use Are Now Available

Because some readers may not be ARS members but still interested in the PowerPoints, I’m posting links here. Click on the links to view.

The current six are:

Creative Interpretation

Floral Arrangements

Shrubs, Old Garden Roses, etc.

Rose Sprays

Fully Open, Stamens Showing

How to Mount and Mat an 8×10 Photo for ARS Shows

While those are the current six, watch for additional ones in the future. In addition to these, planned are One Bloom, Macro Photography, The Enhanced Sections, What’s New in the 2017 Guidelines, and People, Not Cameras, Create Images.

You may view the current ones, as well as new ones as they appear, at a PowerPoint Library at Southwest Desert Gardening.

One does not have to be a member of any rose society to enter roses, arrangements, or photographs in ARS sanctioned rose shows. Anyone can enter!

09/10/17
Anticrepuscular Rays

Anticrepuscular Rays

Anticrepuscular Rays

Anticrepuscular rays are a phenomenon that occurs opposite a rising or setting sun. I first became aware of them on the weekend of autumnal equinox, 2013. After dinner, looking down from Los Alamos across to Santa Fe and the Sangre de Cristo mountains was something I had never seen before, and it was spectacular! To the west were huge, roiling, golden clouds, remnants of a storm I had driven through earlier. They were also precursor to a new forming storm. But the view to the east was calm. The sky was blue, and soft pink rays seemed to emanate from the middle of the Sangre de Cristos. It was breathtaking. At the time I did not know what I was seeing, but I knew I was fortunate to be seeing it. Camera? It was in the motel.

Anticrepuscular Rays in Albuquerque

Fast forward to Albuquerque, summer 2017. Those of you who read here often know that I have discovered how frequently crepuscular rays occur here. I just have to look for them. As an early riser, I can prepare for what looks like a promising sunrise long before it happens. I watch for it to develop, and have the camera with the right lens handy. One day I had “hit the wall” and overslept until 6:30am. Bright orange light coming through the blinds and curtains awakened me, heralding a colorful sunrise. By the time a sunrise is orange, it is almost over. I had no time to waste. Grabbing the camera, which still had a 100mm lens in place, I ran out. No time to change to a landscape lens, I thought. It should be more or less OK for the typical shot east from my back yard.

Sunrise

Sunrise

Then I turned and looked west. You never know what you might see. This is what I saw. I thought it was pretty, but I did not yet realize what I was looking at.

anticrepuscular rays

Moon at Sunrise

I went into the front yard to pick up the newspaper, and this is what I saw. Was I kicking myself for not changing the lens before I went out? Yes.

Anticrepuscular Rays

Anticrepuscular Rays

Anticrepuscular Rays

Anticrepuscular Rays

Anticrepuscular Rays

Anticrepuscular Rays

I returned to the back and took another shot looking west. Note how much lighter the sky has become. Total time elapsed from the first sunrise image to this last one? 5 minutes, 6:45am-6:50am.

Anticrepuscular Rays

Anticrepuscular Rays

More in the Future?

Many of you have seen the variety of crepuscular rays I have posted here. Now that I have seen anticrepuscualr rays here, I’m hoping that all it requires is an awareness to begin to see them more often. And, if not, well, I was fortunate to see them for a second time.

09/8/17
Corrales fine arts show

29th Annual Corrales Fine Arts Show

29th Annual Corrales Fine Arts Show, During the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

The 29th Annual Corrales Fine Arts Show begins with a reception October 6 at the Old San Ysidro Church. The show will be open daily, October 7-15, 11am-5pm, except closing at 4pm on Sunday October 15th. The show opens after the morning’s Balloon events, and closes in time for you to make it to the evening’s Balloon events.

Corrales fine arts show

Old San Ysidro Church, Corrales

I love showing in this venue. The building itself is historic, and part of old New Mexico. The light in autumn is beautiful. A portion of the proceeds from the show go to maintain the structure. The show consists of paintings, sculpture, photographs, textiles, and other arts. It is as varied as New Mexico itself. The show is juried by artists.

This year I am showing three pieces:

Corrales fine arts show

Fruit of Ancient Myths

Corrales fine arts show

Awakening

Corrales fine arts show

Emerged

The show is free, as is parking. All items are available for purchase.

If you live in the Albuquerque area, or are coming to visit for the Balloon Fiesta, plan to visit the 29th Annual Corrales Fine Arts Show.

09/5/17
smoke distant fire

Smoke from a Distant Fire

Smoke from a Distant Fire

Smoke from a distant fire, in this case, multiple fires in the west, has made its way into New Mexico and Albuquerque. The sky has been hazy for several days. My eyes have burned a bit. I knew the smoke was here, but had not paid too much attention. Until last evening, that is. When I went out to change the water in the hummingbird feeders, I caught a glimpse of the moon rising over the Sandias. The moon seemed huge, but rather than the bright silver I’m used to seeing, it was a muddy red. By the time I got my camera, the moon was already up, but the same color. When I plan to photograph the moon, I generally use a tripod. This wasn’t planned and I didn’t have time. Such is life.

From 7:30pm MDT:

smoke from a distant fire

Smoke From Fires in the West Has Reached Albuquerque

With thoughts for all the people affected by the fires burning in the west, the firefighters, other emergency responders, as well as those affected by Harvey and those facing the threat of Irma.

This old song always comes to mind when fires are burning and smoke is in the air:

09/1/17
monsoon rains

Monsoon Rain and Roses

Monsoon Rain and Roses

Monsoon rain and roses have been outstanding this year!

Monsoon Rain

In July, I showed the first real rain at my house of the 2017 monsoon season. It was unusual, dropping 2.5 inches of rain in 40 minutes. Overall, I’ve gotten almost 7 inches of rain this monsoon season. The transformational power of rain in the desert is remarkable.

July 17, 2017:

monsoon rain

Monsoon Rain and Pond

August 21, 2017:

monsoon rain

Back Yard, A Month Later

Roses

The roses have responded in like manner.

The hybrid tea ‘Gemini’ has put out many sprays, which will appear at a later time. The one-to-a-stem blooms have had the perfect form for which this particular rose is known. This image is from the other night, after a brief monsoon shower. The new ARS guidelines that will be coming out later this month strongly suggest avoiding images with water droplets on the petals. I agree with avoiding such images if the light is wrong and the droplets light up as blank, a real distraction. But raindrops on roses after a gentle life-giving rain in the desert? I will photograph and show such images, happily. ‘Gemini’ is one of my favorite hybrid tea roses to grow in Albuquerque. “Raindrops on roses…” The stucco of my house, against which most of my hybrid teas grow, is the background.

monsoon rain and roses

Raindrops on Roses – ‘Gemini’

Another of my favorite hybrid tea roses in the desert is ‘Veterans’ Honor.’ It has also responded to the monsoon rains. While I frequently get sprays on ‘Gemini,’ most ‘Veterans’ Honor’ blooms for me are one-to-a-stem. However, it produced a spray this year. This is not any kind of classic spray form by any stretch of the imagination. Nevertheless, I kind of like the almost ‘golden spiral’ effect of this spray, the always-gorgeous color, and healthy foliage seen here.

monsoon rain and roses

Spray of Hybrid Tea Rose, ‘Veterans’ Honor’

Although Albuquerque will see some additional rain this year, the monsoon season is rapidly drawing to a close. From my perspective, as well as that of my yard and flowers, this has been a great – and much needed – monsoon year!

08/22/17
eclipse bokeh

2017 Eclipse Shadows and Bokeh

2017 Eclipse Shadows and Bokeh

2017 Eclipse shadows and bokeh were what I photographed yesterday. Albuquerque had a partial eclipse, rather than the total eclipse seen in a large swath of this country. But, any eclipse is exciting. I photographed what I know how to photograph, and learned some new things and a better appreciation of light along the way. For beautiful images of the eclipse itself as seen in Albuquerque, do yourself a favor and visit and visit Tim Price’s blog, Off Center and Not Even

Eclipse Shadows

I photographed these eclipse shadows on the sidewalk at my mother’s house six minutes after the peak of the eclipse here. The light was filtered through her crab apple trees. Clouds rolled over the sun, then left a clear sun briefly, then rolled over again. You will see much sharper shadows of the eclipse from areas with clear skies Nevertheless, I find these an interesting phenomenon. It is a safe way to view an eclipse.

Eclipse Shadows and Bokeh

Eclipse Shadows on the Sidewalk

Eclipse Shadows and Bokeh

Eclipse Shadows on the Sidewalk

Eclipse Bokeh

I knew about the shadows, and have photographed them before. Until yesterday, I had never thought about eclipse bokeh. Yesterday I learned about it accidentally. Had I known, I would have spent more time photographing birds and sunflowers in my yard! Not until I was processing casually shot images did I realize what I was seeing.

This image of the floribunda rose ‘Fabulous!’ is from May. The bokeh, the light filtered through the tree, is clear and round. This is normal bokeh.

bokeh

Normal Bokeh

Look at the bokeh in this image, taken when the eclipse was about three-quarters over. Note the distortion, and how different it appears from the bokeh in the image above. The eclipse is present in the bokeh! Seeing that in processing the image was an “Ah, hah!” moment for me. While it makes perfect sense, I had just never thought about it before.

eclipse shadows bokeh

Eclipse Bokeh

This is a closer crop:

eclipse shadows and bokeh

Bird, Sunflowers, and Eclipse Bokeh

Albuquerque saw only a partial solar eclipse yesterday. Nevertheless, I had so much fun photographing eclipse shadows and learning that the eclipse appears in bokeh! Most of all, because I had never thought about bokeh during an eclipse, this was a very exciting learning experience about light for me! Finally, I hope you enjoy the images too! 🙂

07/5/17
Nature's simple beauty

Nature’s Simple Beauty

Nature’s Simple Beauty

Nature’s simple beauty is refreshing after a wonderful, colorful, noisy holiday. My neighbors, organic gardeners, grow many things. While they harvested their onions last week, they left these for a few days so I could photograph them. I thank them!

First of all, a relevant quote for this post:

“If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Nature's simple beauty

Onions – Intertwined Beauty

Nature's simple beauty

Intertwined Onions

Nature's simple beauty

Things Aren’t Always What They Seem – Onions

Although these are plants, I could not help thinking of two posts Tim Price did on his blog this spring: Lizard Love and Snakes in Love. Nature is so full of interwining, whether you interpret them as the same or opposite in plants and animals.

In addition to the two onions in the three images above, a small one especially caught my eye. Most of all, it seemed so elegant in its simplicity.

nature's simple beauty

04/29/17

Beautiful New Photography Book

Beautiful New Photography Book

This beautiful new photography book was a gift from a dear friend earlier this month. I have found it to be a source of inspiration for reassessing my own photography, as well as just a joy to view. I do not ordinarily use posts here to promote the work of others. However, I think some of you will enjoy this book as much as I have, and I wanted to let you know about it. This Land: An American Portrait by Jack Spencer with foreword by Jon Meacham:

photography book

My Amazon Review

This magnificent volume of some 140 photographic images spans thirteen years and the Lower 48 States. Begun in 2003, partially as a response to 9/11, this photographic essay, with intense and raw beauty, is a search for meaning by a photographic artist. The images as they came out of the camera were a starting point for creating images Spencer saw in his “mind’s eye.” This is not a glossy travel brochure with beautiful travel images designed to entice tourists to visit, jump out of the car, take a snapshot, and move on to the next spot. Indeed, it is the exact opposite. These are images over which to linger, to contemplate what the artist was thinking as he created each image and what he hoped to show us. These are images that open the mind and encourage the viewer to look deeply and differently at the world around him/herself. What is the meaning of each image, and, taken as a whole, what do they say about the meaning of America? There are probably as many answers as there are viewers of the book.

Jon Meacham, in his Foreword, writes of what he finds “surprising images” in the book. Those were not surprising images to me. I live in “The Land of Enchantment,” which, in some ways, is still a frontier. But Spencer’s treatment of images from places I know, such as Truchas and Cerrillos, New Mexico, made me see them in a different way. This is a book that will influence my photography going forward.

Spencer is saddened, appalled that the majority of people he encountered seemed to be unaware of the beauty around them: “I was constantly stunned by the sheer volume of sleepwalking masses.” And, “…a phrase from the Gnostic Gospels of Thomas does come to mind: ‘The kingdom of heaven is spread out across the earth but men do not see it.’” I was not surprised when he noted that sometimes the beauty was so great he knew no camera could capture it, and that he would watch a scene, with camera packed.

I was fortunate to receive the book as a gift from a friend who knew the images would speak to me. Photographers and artists will find much to enjoy here. People who have quietly enjoyed the beauty of this country, whether in their own back yards or along country back roads or in local, state, or National Parks, or anywhere, for that matter, will find the book and its images offer a chance for reflection about many facets of life. Those groups are a natural audience. But, a group to whom I would especially recommend this book are parents with children of all ages. Study the images and your responses to them. Show them to your children, and let them tell you what they see. Discuss the history of this country, and the magnificent beauty there for the seeing. Help them open their eyes, not just to look, but to see. Five stars.

If you have the time and interest, take a look at this beautiful landscape photography book, available at Amazon and elsewhere. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

02/1/17
pomegranates fruit myths

Pomegranates: Fruit of Myths

Pomegranates: Fruit of Myths

Pomegranates: fruit of myths; regular readers here – thank you! – are familiar with the myth of Persephone. Enjoyable for eating today, they are also wonderful photographic subjects.

pomegranates fruit myths

Pomegranates: Fruit of Myths

Some quotes:

“And the pomegranates, like memories, are bittersweet as we huddle together, remembering just how good life used to be”
Author: Guadalupe Garcia McCall

“So where does the name Adam’s apple come from? Most people say that it is from the notion that this bump was caused by the forbidden fruit getting stuck in the throat of Adam in the Garden of Eden. There is a problem with this theory because some Hebrew scholars believe that the forbidden fruit was the pomegranate. The Koran claims that the forbidden fruit was a banana. So take your pick—Adam’s apple, Adam’s pomegranate, Adam’s banana. Eve clearly chewed before swallowing.”
Author: Mark Leyner

The pomegranate as a fruit and in myths and religion has a very long history throughout the world. With this image, I wanted to create a “feel” for its Middle Eastern origins as well as a sense of age.

A Note About Photography

As this is a photography blog, I want to mention something all serious photographers know well. That is, cameras do not create images, people do. The camera is but one tool for the creation of photographic images. When I hear, Öh, but so-and-so has a good camera,” I am reminded of an old joke loved by photographers.

A photographer is invited to dinner. During dinner the hostess says, “You do beautiful photography. You must have a great camera.” To which the photographer replies, “The dinner was delicious. You must have a great stove.”

Serious photographers do something with their images daily, most of which are never seen by the world. They learn something each day, be it about their camera, other equipment, or themselves. This affects every image created, going forward.

Life issues have temporarily decreased my blogging time, but not daily photography of some sort. Many thanks to everyone who continues to check in here periodically.

01/10/17
film negative Chaco Canyon

A Found Film Negative!

A Found Film Negative from Chaco Canyon, Many Years Ago!

A found film negative – one that I looked for over a couple of years – is something to celebrate! This image of Chaco Canyon was, for many years, the only one of my photographs hanging in the house. A 26×20 inch print remains a fixture in my dining room. Over the years, although long ago, I had given prints as gifts to friends who knew and appreciated the area. This image was taken when Chaco Canyon was just called “Chaco Canyon.” It is now “Chaco Culture National Historical Park” and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

film negative Chaco Canyon

Great Kiva, Chetro Ketl, Chaco Culture National Historical Park

Several years ago I thought it would be fun to obtain a scan of the 35mm film negative just to play with it in digital form, and perhaps make some smaller prints for other friends. I started going through all the film negatives I could find, which I had never filed in what I now would consider an appropriate manner. I looked everywhere. Film negatives were in multiple places. The negatives were sometimes with different prints. The dates on the folders did not always match the date of the negatives. I had finally given up on finding this particular one, although I found many that I probably should dispose of.

Regular readers here may have noticed I have been on an extended winter break, which will continue on for a bit after this post. (A slight digression – if you visited on January 8 or 9, you may have encountered “the white screen of death.” A Word Press plugin was broken, and I spent much of the evening of January 9 figuring out how to fix this when I could not login to the site, which had gone offline!) In my time off, I have been working hard on decluttering the house, which has taken me into closets and drawers which had not been looked at for some time. Last week – Eureka! – in a small envelope obviously placed in a very safe place, was the negative for this, and three others. The three others were unimportant, they were just attached to the strip that contained this image.

Conversion of a 35mm Film Negative to a Digital Image

I sent the film negative to one of the professional labs I use for large digital prints, not for printing but for scanning. In an email I saw a charge for “mask.” Reading about issues of color in scanning 35mm film to digital, and the use of color masks in the conversion process, interrupted my decluttering. I know a little something about color and digital processing, but this was the first time I really had to stop and think about color in the scanning process. It did make the time seem to go fast, the time I was waiting for the digital CD to arrive.

When the package arrived, I did not open it immediately. That is very unlike me. I set it where I could see it, and continued what I had been doing. After a couple of hours I opened it, and found the four negatives had been separated and placed in their own sturdy envelopes, along with their attached masks. This was all new and interesting to me.

Finally, I put the CD in the computer, and copied the images to a file on my hard drive. I then opened the images in Lightroom. That was the first time I was absolutely certain I had found the 35mm film negative I had been searching for for a couple of years. This is the image of Chaco Canyon that I carry in my head. The image that you are seeing here is one that I “color corrected” to my memory and to the print that has been hanging in my house for years. The color corrected one from the lab was too bright and shiny. 🙂

Working with the image on the computer, I noticed a lot of flaws. Only one can I blame on the age of the negative improperly stored for many years. I had to go look at the print, and I was more than a little surprised that all but one of the flaws I see now were there all the time on the print. I also had to learn at an emotional level something I knew at an intellectual level: film grain and digital noise are two very different things.

Do the flaws in this found film negative change how I feel about the image? Yes and no. I doubt I’ll be making large prints as gifts, and I won’t be entering it for jurying for shows. But this is how I see Chaco, a place I loved from the first time I was there, spring of 1966. It is a place where even people who are not particularly religious feel the spirituality and power of the land. I have been very fortunate to be there multiple times when there were not many other people around. This image reminds me of so much that is very personal to me. I am glad to have it now in a form in which I can work with it. Friends may get small prints, or I may use it on note cards. It represents a part of my life that shaped who I am now. Just a personal bias, but I also like this image as much as any of the images of Chetro Ketl posted on the Park Service site.

In Today’s World

If you have never been to Chaco Canyon, it may be hard to imagine the power that this place has, even to a casual visitor. I close with a link to an op-ed piece written by two young people with ancestral ties to the land.