06/25/17
Gladiolus

Gladiolus and Sunday Thoughts

Gladiolus and Some Sunday Thoughts

Gladiolus flowers come in a very wide variety of colors and hardiness, much like many other flowers. This one is especially colorful, hardy, and reliable.

Gladiolus

Back Yard Gladiolus

Several years ago, during a total fireworks ban (I wouldn’t mind that again!), this gladiolus first bloomed on July 4. It has done so since. I’ve come to think of it as “the fireworks flower.” This year it has bloomed early, as have most of my flowers. (For rosarians, the exception was ‘Mermaid,’ that bloomed right on time!) I photograph it every year. I was happy that I managed to give this one a bit more of a three dimensional appearance than I have in the past.

For as beautiful as this gladiolus is, it is tough. It recurs without special care. It was here when I bought the house many years ago, but only when I retired did I come to really appreciate it.

I’m not sure why, but it reminded me of a Mark Twain quote:

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.

I have certainly found that to be true in my life. Fortunately, I have encountered more of the latter than the former, and I hope you have, too.

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An Aside
For my rose friends who read here but not at Southwest Desert Gardening, I include a link to a PowerPoint presentation on examples of “open bloom, stamens showing” under the 2016 ARS Photography Guidelines. For the blog, I converted it to a pdf file, but it is available as a PowerPoint. I will be doing a series of these to promote interest in photography of roses for the 2018 ARS National Convention and Rose Show in San Diego. The link may be shared.

Photographing Open Bloom Roses

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10/10/16

2016 Balloon Fiesta

2016 Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico

The 2016 Balloon Fiesta has ended, after what was a truly glorious week. Hopefully, the 74 images in this slideshow will give you a feel for the beauty of a Mass Ascension on an autumn morning in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The images may be seen in Full Screen mode by clicking on the small button on the lower right of the slideshow screen. Enjoy.

All the images in this slide show are available as photographic prints. Some are also available as canvas wraps, prints on metal, and small, miscellaneous items such as mouse pads, playing cards, tote bags, etc. Please visit the Portfolio site if you are interested.

On this Monday morning, here is just a taste of the joy seen at the 2016 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta:

2016 Balloon Fiesta

Just One of Many Special Shapes at the 2016 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

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08/11/16

Crepuscular Rays

Crepuscular Rays of Light – Beauty and Brevity

Crepuscular rays of light, “fingers of God,” and other names are beautiful atmospheric optics. August 2016 has been remarkable for their appearance over the Sandia Mountains. I’ve been able to photograph this phenomenon at sunrise twice in less than a week. Of note, many images on the internet were taken at sunset rather than sunrise, and the rays will appear pointing down. (The rays are actually parallel, but that is another discussion.)

This was the first. It was the most dramatic example I have personally ever seen.

crepuscular rays

Crespuscular Rays 6:20:25 am

This is the second. This sunrise was more typical. The rays and sky were “gentle.”

crepuscular rays

Crepuscular Rays 6:25:48 am

Phenomena like this do not last long. Within two minutes, the rays were almost gone.

crepuscular rays

Crepuscular Rays 6:27:34 am

Note that the days are getting shorter. Compare the time of the first image to the time of the second image, just a few days later.

Photographers in Albuquerque know the skies during monsoon season may present even more wonderful opportunities than usual. Many of us remember the summer of 2009 as being full of marvelous skies. This year, friends are capturing amazing images of the lightning storms we have had recently. Sunrises, which I have enjoyed for many years, are proving to be even more remarkable to me this monsoon season of 2016.

Edited to add: Added bonus: a rainbow to the west a little later in the morning!

rainbow

Morning Rainbow to the West

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07/6/16

Cooper’s Hawk Book Now at ABQ WBU

My Cooper’s Hawk Book Is Now Available at Albuquerque’s Wild Birds Unlimited

My Cooper’s hawk book, Cooper’s Hawk Courtship Display, is now available at the Albuquerque Wild Birds Unlimited at 7200 Montgomery Blvd NE, 87109. I am very pleased that the paperback book is now available locally, not only because the Cooper’s hawks are found in large numbers here, but because this remarkable display took place in my very own back yard. Serendipity on a Sunday afternoon…

my Cooper's hawk book

Front Cover, “Cooper’s Hawk Courtship Display”

For interested friends and readers not in the Albuquerque area, Cooper’s Hawk Courtship Display is available in both Kindle and paperback formats at amazon.com:

Click for Preview

I hope interested friends in the Albuquerque area will stop by Wild Birds Unlimited on Montgomery and support an Albuquerque business that is supporting local photographers and authors.

Individual prints from this Cooper’s hawk courtship display may be purchased at my portfolio site.

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06/21/16
2016 Moscow International Foto Awards

2016 Moscow International Foto Awards

This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series Persephone's Choice

2016 Moscow International Foto Awards – Honorable Mention for Persephone’s Choice: Every Woman’s Dilemma

Many thanks to the jurors of the 2016 Moscow International Foto Awards (MIFA) for the recognition of the Portfolio entry in Fine Art Collage of “Persephone’s Choice: Every Woman’s Dilemma” with the award of Honorable Mention. This is a wonderful honor for this series, which has so much personal meaning to me. It was produced with a lot of blood, sweat, and tears; and also a lot of joy!

An award for the entire series is icing on the cake for me. Creating the series after a brief mention of Persephone in an email last September 15, through thinking about what I wanted to do and why, finding the perfect model for my vision, then photographing and editing…those were the easy parts. Working through the editing at times was like a painful visit to a shrink. That was a huge surprise to me. Was it worth it? Yes. Will I do another series project like it? Not soon.

One image from the series has been especially well received.

2016 Moscow InternationalFoto Awards

My Fate, By Choice

“My Fate, By Choice” was juried into the 2016 Insight New Mexico Show earlier this year; was a winner in the 2015 Red Dog News Color It Red competition, and will be shown in Berlin in October, 2016.

Again, I thank the jurors of the Moscow International Foto Awards for the award for this series.

2016 Moscow International Foto Awards

2016 Moscow International Foto Awards

2016 Moscow International Foto Awards

2016 Moscow International Foto Awards

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06/11/16

Cooper’s Hawk Courtship Display Now in Paperback

Cooper’s Hawk Courtship Display Now in Paperback as Well as Kindle at Amazon

Cooper’s Hawk Courtship Display is now available in paperback format as well as Kindle format at Amazon.com. This was a very unusual display, one I was able to catch in photographic images almost by serendipity.

Both formats contain 32 images of this young hawk’s display. A friend wrote last night

I just read it and loved it! The last few images looks like he was bowing at the end of his performance. Amazing! I’m so glad you caught this.

Another friend noted in a review

The most interaction I ever got from Cooper’s Hawks is when they would often bring their catches and sit on a branch that extended over our deck and eat dinner with us.

The Cooper’s Hawk courtship display Susan captured is what makes this book so special and fun. It’s a short visual chronicle of a display rarely given a private exhibition to anyone but a female hawk.

The paperback edition is $12.99. The Kindle edition is $4.99. The title is part of Amazon’s MatchBook program; anyone who purchases the paperback may purchase the Kindle for $1.99 instead of $4.99. Suitable for all ages.

courtship display

Back and Front Paperback Cover

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06/4/16

Cooper’s Hawk Courtship Display Now Available

Cooper’s Hawk Courtship Display Now Available as Kindle on Amazon

Cooper’s Hawk Courtship Display is now available at Amazon in a Kindle version. A paperback edition is also coming.

Can be read on most devices with the free Kindle app. (See end of post for link.)

The volume contains 32 images taken on August 3, 2014. At the time, I knew I had witnessed something remarkable. I knew it was a very intense encounter. Initially, I took it to be some type of territorial display.

This spring, after doing some reading and going back through the images, I came to realize it was something quite different. The behavior is described in the literature, but this on the ground (more precisely, in the trees) display is not well documented photographically.

The encounter with this beautiful young hawk was serendipitous. The display was something I knew nothing about until I saw it that day, and it was almost two years later before I grasped its meaning and the insights it gave into the life of a male Cooper’s hawk.

Cooper's Hawk Courtship Display

Young Male Cooper’s Hawk

In the past couple of years I have had the opportunity to see and to photograph some rather amazing events that I will remember for the rest of my life – the Blood Red Total Lunar Eclipse of September 2015; the Alignment of Jupiter and Venus in the early morning hours of 2015; and I would add this hawk encounter to that list of things that became important to me as observations of life.

Amazon.com – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices

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05/10/16

Colorblind Paperback Now Available

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Seeing Color Colorblind

Colorblind Paperback Now Available

Seeing Color Colorblind” is now available at Amazon as a paperback book, in addition to the Kindle e-book version released earlier in April. I am as proud of this 60 page, 8×10 paperback book as I was of my PhD dissertation; maybe more so. It represents a labor of love for the colorblind people who have always been in my life, and whose world I really did not understand until I began this project.

colorblind paperback

From the Amazon description:

What do colorblind people see? What does the world look like to them? No single “right” answer exists, because there are different types and degrees of what is more appropriately called “color deficient vision.” Formally trained in Anthropology (PhD) and Medicine (MD), Susan Brandt Graham is a photographic artist who has had a lifelong interest in understanding how “colorblind” people see the world. Using the art and technology of digital photography, she unlocks the fascinating world seen by people with severe red deficient vision. From images in her professional portfolio, she creates diptychs that are indistinguishable to her son, who, like his maternal grandfather, has a severe red deficiency. This instructive and affordable volume is useful for people with red deficient vision to explain to others what they see; for family and friends to understand the world of their loved one; for ophthalmologists, optometrists, pediatricians, and other healthcare professionals who diagnose color deficient vision to use in explanation to patients and family/friends; for teachers to help students empathize with classmates who may perceive the world differently; and for anyone who desires to understand how others may see the world.

In the summer of 2015, after seeing the first of many videos from EnChroma, the company that makes special glasses that allow many, but not all, colorblind people to see a wider range of color, I tried experimenting with three of my images to see if I could produce images that my son would see as the same, even though quite different to me. I knew that, at least in theory, those three images should be close. But, I really did not believe the results. I did not think anyone saw the world like that. How could they? I mean, green people? I knew my son did not see me in shades of cyan. It was just too strange.

I posted those images here, and didn’t give it more thought because I did not believe them. I don’t think I even mentioned it to my son until quite a bit later. Some time later, when he saw the three pairs, he said, “Oh, yeah, those look the same to me.” What? The theory that should have worked, but produced results so strange to me I could not believe them at the time, produced results that were real and accurate.

Early this year (2016) I converted a series of additional images, and my son confirmed that each pair really did look the same. We were able to do the work at a distance, using computers, and on April 2, released the Kindle version of “Seeing Color Colorblind.”

In retrospect, that work was very easy in comparison to producing a print version. Monitors, hand-held devices, and many other things use projected light, in which the primary colors are Red, Green, and Blue, the RGB color space of projected light.

colorblind paperback

RGB Color Wheels

Print versions, such as for books, are done in the Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow color space, which is reflected light. Those are the colors you see if you look at the overlapping areas of the color wheel of the RGB system. For someone with a severe red deficiency, cyan, blue, and green are about the only colors left in that space. Converting the diptychs we had done in the RGB color space was not difficult for me; it is easily done in Photoshop. However, we could not accurately proof CMYK color for print on our RGB monitors. Doing proofs required actual print proofs, and that became a huge challenge.

My friends doing serious digital photography know that the print is in the CMYK color space, but that the photographer does not manage color in that space. You color calibrate your monitor, using one of the devices available for that purpose. When getting ready to print, you proof using the appropriate ICC profile for the particular papers and the particular printer you are using. All of that is done in the RGB color space. In fact, labs for photographic prints tell you not to convert to CMYK, but keep the proof in RGB. When you actually print, your computer talks to the printer’s computer, which is where the conversion is done, and out comes a print in CMYK that matches the RGB “proof” you created on your monitor. Photo books are done this way, but not regular hardcover and paperback books.

I considered photo books, even though they are quite a bit more expensive. None of them produced images that looked the same to my son. We decided to give paperbacks a try. Again, these did not have ICC profiles to apply, and the images had to be submitted in CMYK. Much to my surprise (this has definitely been a learning experience from beginning to end!), the interior images looked the same to my son, but the cover image did not, even though it was the same image used on the interior, where it did match. That cover had a glossy finish. We gave a matte cover a try, and that worked perfectly to my son’s eyes. We finally had our “colorblind paperback!” I would never have thought of using a matte cover, but I actually think it is more attractive. I will use matte covers for work in the future, work having nothing to do with this particular topic.

Although, one of my son’s first responses when this volume was finally done, was “Now you can do a book for colorblind people that shows what everybody else sees…:)” I wish…

This has been quite a journey into the land of color, a very satisfying journey. I’ve lived my entire life with colorblind people – my father and son – and until now had no idea what their world looked like. While I am not overly thrilled with appearing cyan with black lips (kind of “dead” to an Ob/Gyn surgeon), at least I know, and I find the rest of their world quite beautiful in its own right. I wish I could tell my father I’m sorry I told him to quit teasing me and expecting me to believe he and my son were seeing a “blue team and yellow team” on a black and white television years ago, and especially to stop teaching my son to lie like that, even as a joke. The joke was definitely on me, but not in the way I thought at the time.

My son hopes this “colorblind paperback” will help other colorblind people to be better understood, even if they have a different type of colorblindness to which these specific images do not apply. I share that hope.

For those who are interested, this “colorblind paperback” is now available at Amazon. It is 60 pages, 8×10, has diptychs for pink, orange, red, yellow, blue, monochrome, black and white, and skin tones. Green is discussed in some of the images along with a different color with which it appears. Its retail list price is an affordable $19.99.

My Amazon Author Page is, not surprisingly, Susan Brandt Graham 🙂

I thank you for your interest.

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02/19/16

Persephone: My Fate, By Choice

“My Fate, By Choice” from the Persephone Series in Color It Red 2016

My thanks to Red Dog News editor Tim Anderson, along with jurors Ann Marquis Hart and Pat Berrett, for selecting “My Fate, By Choice” from the Persephone Series as a winner in Color It Red 2016 contest.

My Fate, By Choice

Persephone color it red 2016

My Fate, By Choice

This is the fifth year for this particular competition, and it is always interesting. There were some beautiful entries this year. All the winners may be seen in the Color It Red 2016 gallery. Be sure to click on the little thumbnails to see the full images.

Sometime later in the year, this image will appear in the Single Image Showcase section of Anderson’s Shadow and Light Magazine.

This is but one image from the Series. More images, and an explanation of the series, almost as an autobiographical photoessay, may be seen in the e-book available at Amazon. The book may be read on any device with the free Kindle app.

Once again, many thanks to Kelly Angerosa who played Persephone so beautifully.

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02/6/16

2016 Insight New Mexico

2016 Insight New Mexico

2016 Insight New Mexico, organized by LeRoy Perea and held in the Fine Arts Building at EXPO-NM, starts the 2016 photography show year for me. This is a juried show for women photographers in New Mexico. The Opening Reception will be held on Saturday, April 2, and then will be open to the public from April 3 through April 24, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, daily except closed Mondays. All exhibited images will be available for purchase.

I would like to thank the jurors for including the two images I submitted for the show, “My Fate, by Choice” and “I Choose Both, Free as a Bird,” both from the “Persephone’s Choice: Every Woman’s Dilemma” series.

2016 insight new mexico

My Fate, By Choice

2016 insight new mexico

I Choose Both, Free as a Bird

I would like, once again, to thank Jim Stallings for introducing me to such a compelling myth which served as the inspiration for “Persephone’s Choice: Every Woman’s Dilemma,” the series from which these two images come, and Kelly Angerosa, who provided both beauty and substance in the role of Persephone.

More images from the series may be seen in this Slideshow. They are also available in a Kindle e-book at Amazon.

I hope friends who are in the Albuquerque area in April will try to visit the show.

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