Dec 31, 2009

Santa Came This Christmas

ANMPAS, NM Magazine, NM State Fair, Ship Rock, Joe Bridwell

Who Doesn't Pause to Recall on New Year's Eve?
2009 was less about shooting everything and more about making images fine art. In May, 2008 NM State Fair judges gathered to critique images. Several judges made direct comments to me about Ship Rock; taking my heart in my hands, I sought the next prescient level - matting, framing, and statewide competition.
I've already overly belabored this blog about the upward succession of events; State Fair, Annual New Mexico Photographic Art Show (ANMPAS), New Mexico Magazine Photo Contest for Ship Rock...
but there are a couple more items to chronicle.

New Mexico Magazine created a video where the judges panel chronicled their feelings about winning images chosen for the 9th Annual Photo Contest. I've quoted Fabian West above as she discussed Ship Rock. In a phone conversation, Fabian even told me she was going to hang it on her office wall!

At ANMPAS, an excited buyer’s push came the weekend after Christmas.
Ship Rock was purchased by a California movie producer...

Part of My Awe…
from this process includes consequences from being witness to a statewide judging process; all judges favored my favorite image. That was a first for me...
Results from being a volunteer during the first set up of our ANMPAS gallery. In helping to create an impeccable artistic sense as we hung carefully framed images - my view of photography was elevated. There were some incredibly neat images in the front room of that astonishing gallery…
Comes from interacting with excellent photographers who competed to enter that gallery. It was a distinct privilege to ask and receive their images and feelings about their images as we published my choice of best of show on Pathways of Light
Much of the very good-natured fun came from enjoying Leroy Perea, Gallery Director, who would occasionally put on a laughing comedian's face!

In a time when photographers are scrambling to find a new, positive venue to communicate their fine art, my hopes and dreams grew through 2009 into one of the merriest Christmases I've ever had!
Does anyone remember the old song, "Fairy Tales Can Come True, It Can Happen to You..."

May 2010 have even more Excitement and Glamour...

Dec 20, 2009

Heart of the Big-I by Bert Norgorden

ANMPAS, Heart of Big-I, Bert Norgorden

Winner, Landmark Category, 9th Annual Photo Contest,
New Mexico Magazine, January, 2010.

I took the photo “The Heart of the Big-I” in Spring of 2007. I am usually drawn to nature and the natural world, but I have been struck by the beauty and majesty of the Big-I since its completion.
I was sitting on the Seasons balcony visiting friends who were leaving town when I saw a storm moving toward the Big-I. I excused myself and left - arriving with the storm.
The lighting and colors were very dramatic! I was able to set up and take a few shots before the storm rushed further East.

Editor’s Notes on Heart of the Big-I
From my first glance, I understood Bert’s fascination with the Big-I. Between chasing the light and a storm, Bert nailed a remarkable image.

The Big I completes our photographers ANMPAS presentation.
Thanks to Don, David, Peter, Keith, and Bert – their work illustrates New Mexico’s devotion to Fine Art Photography!

Moulton Barn Morning - Keith Bauer

ANMPAS, Moulton Barn, Keith Bauer

Photographing in Grand Teton National Park is one of those experiences in life that every photographer should do. The incredible mountain range is one of the most spectacular ranges in the world. Of course that’s only one of the attractions from this magnificent place.

The “Moulton” barn(s) on Mormon Row are some of the most photographed icons in the west. This shot is of the barn which is less well known than it’s more famous cousin just a few hundred yards to the south. While these iconic barns have been photographed millions of times, I wanted to create my own image. Scouting the location the day before provided a mental model of what I might try to capture. The incredible backdrop of the Grand Teton range with morning light glowing in the background conjured up images in my head that I knew would someday create a print I’d be happy to hang on my walls.

Grand Teton Peak is the tallest of the peaks in the range standing at 13,770 feet. Not surprisingly, that peak and it’s cousins in the range are often shrouded in clouds. Much to my chagrin that cool September morning the clouds were there and the magnificent background for the image was nowhere to be seen. Clouds in the east also didn’t look promising. What to do..... Wait and see was the decision I made. As a small slit in the east allowed the warm morning light to rake across the valley, the barn and the foreground lit up. I was rewarded for my decision to wait. A few quick meter readings and I was capturing the image that stood in front of me. I knew while shooting this image that I’d be looking at a panoramic crop. While the blue hues in the sky were beautiful, they were not to be the focus of the image. The light on the foreground grasses, the barn and the gift of a white cloud hovering low were to be the focus of this image.

As with most of my images, this image came home, sat in my Lightroom library to age before I tackled trying to create the final product I eventually printed. None of my images match the experience that I enjoy when I’m out with my camera. That’s why they age before meeting the paper they are printed on. If I were to keep the images that really match the experience of “being there”, my library would be empty. So, I allow them to age, allow my emotions to age, and eventually create a print that’s a good as I can to remember the moment.

Editor's Note on Moulton Barn Morning
Like the other guys, Keith is one who 'Chases the Light...'

This nearly dawn shot doesn't show the luminance of the Tetons, masked by shadow. It does show Keith's persistence and coordinated sense of color and composition.
Notice how he preplanned the shot, then let light fall where it could.
I like the idea of letting one's emotion and the shot age…

Reflections on “Condor Takes Flight” by Peter Davies

ANMPAS, Condor Takes Flight, Peter Davies

Fuji Masterpiece Award
New Mexico Competition
2008 Professional Photographers of America

This photograph of an Andean Condor was shot on September 19, 2007 at the edge of Colca Canyon in Peru. Colca Canyon is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States. The setting is magnificent, as described in my journal entry for this day...

Early morning. Sun shining, warming the cool air. Before us are high, snow-capped peaks, with last remnants of glaciers in a high valley. Not long from now, these glaciers will be gone. Below us, a deep canyon... In many places, you can’t see all the way to the bottom.

The condors nest on side walls of the canyon, and as the early morning sun warms the walls and surrounding air, the condors jump from their nests to ride the updrafts of warm morning air. They soar, back and forth, riding the warm air currents up the sun-drenched side of the canyon, and as they reach the upper edge of canyon, they come into sight. Again from my journal entry this day...

Engaging, watching, experiencing these birds through the lens of my camera was a fantastic experience. You spot one in the distance, tracking it through the telephoto. Watching the details of its movements as it makes the finest shifts of its feathers in response to changing air currents. Closer and closer, arching my back, tracking straight up and around. Capturing tiny slices of time... images of grace.

“Condor Takes Flight” was taken when a pair of adolescents landed on a rock at the edge of the canyon about 200 feet from where I stood. They rested, and played with each other. And then, at the moment the closer bird took flight, I captured the image.

Closing Comments
I would like to thank LeRoy Perea for his creative vision in creating ANMPAS and for the outstanding job he has done in bringing this vision into reality. I would also like to thank Joe Bridwell for creating this opportunity to reflect and share.

Peter Davies
Fine Art Photographer

Editor's Note on Condor Takes Flight
My first glance at Condor was across the room. I couldn't figure out what it was.
But on closer examination I knew I had some kind of a bird – just not how, where, and when. Then I asked Peter, "Hey, can you tell me the story behind this shot?" And, he did...
Now, I've got to tell you; I think his written story is quite eloquent. I really like how he enhances the picture's drama with field notes (italics).

Rebirth by David Cramer

ANMPAS, Rebirth, David Cramer

1st Place, Professional Color Division
2009 Festival of the Cranes

Bosque del Apache is my favorite place in the world. When sandhill cranes and snow geese are in residence, it is my favorite place in the universe. It’s only natural to want to photograph in one’s favorite place, so I’ve spent thousands of hours with camera in hand exploring every nook and cranny of this place under all kinds of light and weather conditions.
This particular shot came about one cold winter morning on the last day of a workshop I was co leading. After having several mornings at Bosque, my co leader and workshop participants decided to spend the last morning staying warm and reviewing images.

Not Me...
While driving from San Antonio to the Refuge before sunrise, I noticed only one crane pool had a fair number of birds. As I’m always looking to photograph something new or different, after shooting the predawn blastoff, I headed back to this pool, which would have me shooting directly into the sun. I’d already begun visualizing and planning on backlit shots that might have some interest, or at least be different from thousands of cranes taking flight shots in my catalogue.
To my pleasant surprise, Mother Nature had provided a unique addition to the stage - a dense fog floating over the birds and the pond. Having seen Art Morris’s beautiful “Fire in the Mist” image, I immediately recognized this arrangement as potential for a unique photograph. It lasted only moments. The sun rose behind the brush in the background and began to illuminate the scene with light. Unfortunately, no birds were flying in or out, so I focused on areas with the biggest concentration of birds where cranes were beginning to move about.
My excitement was high, as I knew time would be short. Seconds later, bright beams of light were filtering through the fog, filling it with color and depth. I photographed for perhaps only a minute before light overwhelmed the scene and fog was fading fast. A few quick looks at my camera LCD confirmed I had something interesting, but it was only after viewing the image on my computer screen that I fully realized the beauty and depth it held. I called it a day and headed back to the hotel, eager to download and backup images for safety. Needless to say, workshop folks were less than happy with their decision to stay in that morning.

The image title comes from not only reference to the birds waking up each morning, but also the idea that each photograph, even when taken in a setting we’ve photographed thousands of times, has the potential to bring something new into our lives. Lately - I’ve been wondering how much it costs to rent a fog machine.

Editor's Note on Rebirth
David is one of those guys who gets the highly emotional fine art image because he 'Chases the Light...'. I can certainly understand why his workshop colleagues felt a bit of awe.
That bad boy with his wings up keynotes the soft, ephemeral drama of a moving sunrise Bosque silhouette. Too bad David didn't take a video - so we could listen to raucous morning sounds...

You can find David Cramer here.

At Rest by Don Bartram

ANMPAS, At Rest, Don Bartram

While on a trip to the coast of Maine during the summer of 1996 my wife and I spent a week on an old coastal schooner The "Grace Bailey" out of Camden.

This schooner had been built in 1882 and used to move coal and lumber along the east coast. It was restored in 1990 and had cabins for 29 passengers added. The stove in the kitchen was a large old fashioned wood stove like my grandparents used. All schooner power (including room lights) was supplied by a 12v marine battery. The schooner in this picture is the "J&E Riggen" and is quite similar to ours.

One morning while anchored off an island in Penobscot Bay I woke up fairly early and climbed the ladder to the deck. What I saw is depicted in the photo At Rest. The water was very still and the fog was everywhere. As you can see there is no horizon at all ~ the image just floats. I will admit I almost fell going back down to get my camera gear. I spent the next 25 minutes taking lots of pictures. This one is one of my favorites, and has done well at several shows and fairs.

Editor's Note on At Rest
When I first saw At Rest, part of me objected to centering the shot. But it was not one of those pictures I could pull my eye away from. I looked again; what did I like in the composition this time? I looked once more. I was totally struck by the fact that I could not see where the water ended...
Don Bartram is a master at understated photography. I think you'll like his description of how it came about.
Don, I'm really glad you didn't fall back down the howse hole...

As we noted December 8th, the First Annual New Mexico Photographic Art Show is under way. It runs through December 27th, so go down and take a look!
We're going to present five fine art photographers – Don Bartram, David Cramer, Peter Davies, Keith Bauer, and Joe Bridwell - to showcase ANMPAS. Joe's entry is in the prior blog about ANMPAS.
David, Peter, and Keith will be in succeeding blogs.

Well done, Everybody...

Dec 8, 2009

Annual New Mexico Photographic Art Show

Ship_Rock, ANMPAS, 9th Annual NM Magazine, 2009 NM State Fair

Ship Rock
2nd Place, Scenic Class, Professional Category, 2009 New Mexico State Fair
Winner, Landscape Category, Ninth Annual Photo Contest, 2009, New Mexico Magazine
Juried Entry, 1st Annual New Mexico Photographic Art Show, 2009

Places that really strike me have features in common. Harsh powerful grandeur, graduations of colors, tortured eroded shapes…
All are empty and lonely. They invoke a sense of both space and strangeness. All have a fierce inhospitality, an infinite variety of desolate beauty…
Ship Rock was formed as the throat to an ancient volcano 30 million years ago. A volcanic ray - thirty or forty feet high but only about three feet thick - wanders like the Great Wall of China southward from Ship Rock. Molten magma squeezed up through the cracked earth. Up the wall to the north, the core of old Ship Rock volcano rose a thousand feet against the sky, like a free-form version of a Gothic cathedral. Gothic, too, was the color — the stone reflecting soft sunset umbers. Balanced on the wind just over the wall, a red-tailed hawk hunted a rodent to kill. A million years of frost and heat cracked this dike as chunks have fallen out.
From 700 AD to ~ 1300 AD, the Anasazi lived all over this land. Their time honored legacy of remarkable stone dwellings is legendary!
The Navajo call Ship Rock Tse’ bit’ a’i – Rock with Wings. What about deeds done by Monster Slayer here in the time of Navajo myth? Monster Slayer, climbing the vertical stone of Ship Rock toward the nest of the Winged Monsters to kill them and make this landscape safe for the Navajos. Monster Slayer, at the nest, taught the Monsters' chicks to become the eagle and the owl. Monster Slayer rescued from his impossible perch by the sacred Spider Woman.
"I love the place," Tony Hillerman wrote of vast tribal lands that span the northeast corner of Arizona and straddle the borders of New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. "I need only drive west from Shiprock into that great emptiness to feel my spirit lift."
I penned these feelings 2 days after returning from shooting Ship Rock in 2008

On a day I most like to remember, gusting wind pressed me against the dike’s west wall. This wind was advance guard of a front sweeping eastward out of Arizona and Utah. It bombarded Ship Rock with long tendrils of cirrus clouds against blue sky, sending dust devils skittering across the prairie. Ship Rock, the dike, and sunset’s pastel hues provide a truly evocative memory of the West.
The tripod was precariously perched on angular basaltic chunks which fell from the dike many years past. Chirp of a squirrel, swish of feathers from a crow flying nearby - small events to break a profound silence where ancient Anasazi lived more than a thousand years ago.
Three quick high dynamic range (HDR) shots, timed just as the sun dropped behind Lukachukai’s western mountains, preceded a very careful descent down the dark, dangerous backside of the dike. I had absolutely no desire to damage either self or camera. Trailing through long shadows cast at the distant car, I thought, "This is an iconic moment....!" Little was I to really know...

As strong as this very special moment's memory remains, it's the next few months which also brand an everlasting memory. Ship Rock was to become an extended laboratory for digital darkroom development in HDR and oh so careful tone mapping.
Ship Rock was to become an image which has garnered remarks from world-class photographers such as,
"Congratulations on 'Ship Rock.' The light, detail, and composition are stunning. It's one of my favorites in ANMPAS/2009."
"I have been wanting to shoot it and you have chosen the best shot I have ever seen of it."

Between May and December, 2009, a number of prominent judges have also offered their professional view of Ship Rock. As noted above, it has placed prominently in three major photographic venues from New Mexico...

ANMPAS is a Christmas photo event celebrated at the Fine Art Building, New Mexico State Fair. It's free and open to the public daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m., except Tuesdays, until 23rd December, 2009.
I'd think at least twice if not thrice before I'd miss seeing these fine art images from New Mexico's top photographers. Seven rooms contain over 200 images juried by five judges for this first time event. At Saturday's celebration, awards were handed out for best image in each of seven categories. An overflow crowd cheered through the awards ceremony.
If you haven't been there, our Fine Art Building is an open, spacious gallery. Once through the foyer, you step into the main room. The array of quality fine art images is absolutely stunning. Framed, matted images have been meticulously prepared. Each image was carefully staged under overhead lighting.
Then, you proceed through the Judges room, to the five remaining rooms, looking at other images, seeking just those which really strike your fancy!

Pathways of Light is negotiating with selected photographers to present small versions of their images with a recap of emotions while shooting their image. Ship Rock paves the way for those images...
So, over the next few weeks as ANMPAS continues, you're going to see my selections for top entries. As each writer/photographer produces a piece and an image, we will post them. Keith Bauer has agreed to write an overview when this process is complete.

New Mexico Magazine - Update December 20, 2009

In a short video from New Mexico Magazine on their webpage December 15, 2009,, Fabian West, Art Director, described Ship Rock.
"This is one of the most beautiful pictures I've ever seen of Ship Rock!  It's such a different view with strong light and color contrasts.  I like the circular arc of the dike framing and leading ones eye to Ship Rock..."

Thanks Fabian…

Dec 4, 2009

Unique Portfolio Marketing Technique

9th Annual Photo Contest, New Mexico Magazine, Ship_Rock, Winner, Landscape

The 1st Annual New Mexico Photographic Art Show (ANMPAS) kicks off this evening with an Art Crawl at Fine Arts Building, New Mexico State Fair, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Saturday afternoon, there's a Reception and Open House!
What's that got to do with this iPod Touch image?

Lightroom 3 beta
LR3b has a fascinating new capability; you can make videos!
I thought, "Why not create a video of my portfolio to show people on the laptop?"
So I hustled around, found or created the proper images, and launched into Video land... I've never made a video before so I had to learn just the rudiments of that process. I have been using PowerPoint for many years. So, I basically constructed a slideshow of my portfolio in LR3b, then converted it to video.
But it's a little awkward to try to show your portfolio on a laptop with all its attendant set up and presentation requirements...

Apple iPod Touch 3rd Generation
I thought, "What's a smaller, more attractive way to show my video portfolio?"
On Black Friday, pure pandemonium reigned when I went into the Apple store at the new mall in Uptown. Now, sudden sounds really annoy me! I've been there about three minutes, when a five-year-old set off the burglar alarm on one of the iPods. Imagine a loud, imperiously shrieking klaxon; and yes, she was deeply mortified!
As I picked up my first Touch, the salesman said this happens three or four times an hour. Sure enough, wasn't long...

The Touch plays music, videos, podcasts, and movies. When I got home, I had to learn how to use iTunes version 9.0.2 to sync my new Touch video portfolio.
I just received word Ship Rock was Winner, Landscape Category of 9th Annual Photo Contest from New Mexico Magazine. When notification came in the mail, it included the certificate shown above.

For those of you unfamiliar with the iPod Touch we took a single, hand-held frame capture taken from the Touch. In other words, I used my camera, shot a frame of the certificate while the video was playing, and present it to you as a tickler for marketing and communication. Figuring I might have a three minute attention span from a delighted client, I tailored the rest of video like a PowerPoint slideshow.
I haven't figured out how to put the video portfolio on YouTube yet; stay tuned...
So now, I have the little portable portfolio on my Touch as a video, a DVD backup to hand clients, and a laptop presentation for those who want more exposure!

And yes, I'm now creating videos, listening to professional photographers podcasts, and constantly learning new technology ~ all on my pocket PDA a.k.a. iPod Touch! I'm getting a sense of adventures and photography shooting style of shooters like David duChemin, Chase Jarvis, Guy Tal, Darwin Wigget, Scott Bourne, and many, many more.
Thanks, Touch! You make me feel like all those insanely obsessed music-hungry teenagers...
Howah!!! (Theme word from Scent of a Woman)