Just Cruising

Just cruising is another way of saying, I was just thinking.  My thoughts today travel in and out of photography. What does a blogger do when he has a series of thoughts come to him? He writes a blog.

I’ve said many times that my favorite place to make landscape images, is without a doubt the high desert red rock country of the American Southwest.

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Just the same, my favorite place to be is in the high mountains. Life is different (and precarious) there. The attitude and the mood/atmosphere (my favorite thing) is like no place on earth. The people there are different, because where they live is different. On a windless day, it is the quietest place on earth. Even when it is windy, the wind’s noise is pure and honest. I believe that we all belong some place and the high mountains are my place.

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With all that having been said, the closest place I have found to replicate that mood, is deep in the northern forests of Wisconsin/Michigan. In particular, during the quiet, reflective season of autumn.

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When I use to travel to national parks, I photographed both the iconic landmarks, and the places that everybody else ignored. My image below was made at Big Bend N.P. in Texas. I loved the way those dark rocks contrasted with the white stone background. I also enjoyed the fact that they formed a nice pattern that leads viewers into the picture and towards those wispy clouds.  I cared not that nobody had ever made (or at least published) this picture from Big Bend before. In fact I enjoyed it.

Never limit your vision when you are out making pictures.

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Noise is not something I’m endeared to, but I always enjoy the sounds of nature. The Sandhill Crane is a noisy but beautiful bird. Their large size and frequent squawking makes it very easy for a wildlife photographer to catch them with their mouth open.

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My rule as far what subjects in nature to photograph, was to have no rules. Most of you who have bird feeding stations probably are not fans of the European Starling. That’s understandable but as long as they live wild and free, they are a subject for your camera.

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There are many birds that I miss seeing during my absence from nature, the Black-crowned Night Heron and the Black Tern are among them.

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The quiet reflective season of autumn will soon be here. No matter what state/province/county you live in, there is a place near you to enjoy the mood and solitude of this special time of year.

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It’s been many years since I have worked a conventional job. That means it has also been many years since I’ve had to deal with employers/bosses, or employees. Those reasons alone are worth going it on your own.

When I did work for others, my coworkers often picked me as the one to speak up at a meeting, and say what everyone (employees) were thinking. The reason they wanted me, was that upper management listened to me. I do not say that with an ego. It was just a fact at several places that  I worked at over the years. At the time, I thought it might have been because I made the point better than others.  Naw. Finally I had an upper management type tell me why they took me seriously. It was because I was usually quiet. In other words, because I didn’t complain perpetually, they took me seriously when I did decide to talk. Food for thought.

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I’ve often said that the one form of photography I was happy to quit, was weddings. I did one wedding where I was asked (and complied) to show up at the brides home at 7 a.m. I left the reception at 1 a.m. the next morning. In between, you are just a pain in the a** ruining that special day to everyone involved. Of course after it is all over, they expect you to have captured everything that happened.  Perfectly. Did you get my (drunken) Uncle Harry when he took his pants off and put them on his head? Did you get that special moment with the bride and her father when he had a tear in his eyes. Well no, you see he had just told me to get lost that, I was in the way, and the bride had  vomit on her dress from her bridesmaid. Chicken is not photogenic the second time around. And yes, I did get a picture of the food before it was served. It was my most cooperative subject of the day.

God made a few special people to photographic weddings.  I was not one.

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When I look back over my blog writings about other photographers, I think I sometimes give the impression that I believe that the only photographers who matter, are those that dedicate their lives to it. When I applaud those image makers who commit every available moment to photography, and criticize some others who do not, I am generally referring to those who say they want to be a professional, or to devote their lives to it, but really only want to create images when they are in the mood, or when it doesn’t interfere with the “rest” of their life. If you want this to be your life, you should want to shoot every day. You should feel uncomfortable if you didn’t make pictures yesterday. That is why Art Wolfe is Art Wolfe, and why Guy Tal is who he is, and why Deborah Sandidge, is at the level she is. I write about those people because they are who I admire professionally, and I can relate to their addiction.

With all that being said, for the rest of the world, I can think of no better hobby than photography. It is the perfect escape when you need it. You can “get a way” from it all, and release your creative juices at the same time. Even if it takes you a while to remember how to use those cameras that you haven’t held for a while, photography can bring you the peace and self-absorption, you lack in the rest of your life.

Try it you’ll like it.

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Thank you and have a great day,                                                                                                     Wayne

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Image resolution/appearance.

I’ve never been truly happy with the photo reproduction on this blog and many other places on the internet.  Crisp, perfect images look un-sharp. That goes for mine and those from other photographers. Not all pictures, just some, fall far short of how they appear on my computer. I can only assume that this is because of compression. I am looking at software programs that will improve the appearance of all of the pictures posted here. I may also change the format of this blog to allow horizontal images to expand to their true width. As is, they are compressed to fit that format. I have noticed that verticals hold their sharpness better, and they are not resized to fit a format.  I find the same issues for myself and other photographers on Facebook as well, although often when the Facebook picture is enlarged, it clears up. Flickr Photos, which is designed for images, is definitely one place where you will find pictures that appear with the same crispness and definition that they do on your own computer.

 

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