April 7 – 10th, 2016
Victorville, CA to Holbrook, AZ.
I had signed up for this workshop with Keith Skelton before I knew I’d be having a left hip replacement (2/23/16). I knew going on this workshop was probably not good for my rehab but emotionally wanted to go and did. I paid the price seated in the car for 10 hours sometimes. I drove in my own car in case I had to turn back home.
Walking to what I would have liked to photograph with the others when we stopped ended up being very painful. I’d drive up close to what I wanted to shoot eventually and photographed subjects from my car. Unfortunately I only brought my Leica with a 28 mm lens since I figured the 5d Mark III fitted with longer lenses would be too heavy for my hip replacement leg to endure.
I am glad I went on this trip even with all the pain I experienced. I met some wonderful people, enjoyed being with my friend JJ (Jim Keener), and always enjoy being around Keith. He is a great workshop leader.
And……here are some of the photos I shot.
Jen and I decided last week that we needed to spend time experiencing the calm that comes when spending time photographing at the Salton Sea. I get lost in the beauty that somehow always reveals itself once I put myself in the mindset of singleness of purpose…..watching the birds. As I’ve said before….Everytime time I come away with a unique collection of photos that I couldn’t have predicted I’d get.
At home the previous night’s sunset was incredibly beautiful. I imagined Jen and I might have another beautifully colored sunset at the Salton Sea as a local storm was headed our way. We did not get clouds as I’d hoped and not much color. But I am happy with the photos I didn’t know I’d get earlier in the late afternoon. Not having expectations leaves me open to what is of interest to me at the moment.
I didn’t know head of time I’d only use the Canon Zoom EF 100-400mm 1:4-5-5.6 L IS II USM lens the entire shoot. But I did. Much of the time I was out at the 400 end. We arrived at the S.S. around 2:30pm so I had a little trouble knowing what exposures would work best. Lightroom in post processing helped me like some of the photos a little a bit more than how they looked straight out of camera.
I’m headed off to Sri Lanka on Friday, traveling as light as possible. To lighten my load to carry on only I am not bringing my Canon 5d Mark III photography equipment. Because I would never feel comfortable being anywhere with only one camera, I recently purchased two new lightweight cameras: the Ricoh GR II (28mm) and the Leica zoom (25-400mm – fixed lens).
The following photos were shot in B&W mode on the Ricoh GR II and edited in Lightroom in B&W.
I’m hoping I will become more knowledgeable with both cameras sooner than later. The Ricoh GR II is much easier to learn and use than the Leica. Many of the most used modes are featured as buttons right on the backside of the camera. The Ricoh also is so small it looks like a toy camera and I found the people I photographed up real close today didn’t feel as uncomfortable as when I use the Leica or the even bigger Canon (with the big lenses). It isn’t easy for me to get up close to people with wide angle lenses but I’m going to walk through my fear and move in to the 3 foot range and photograph people before they know what I’m doing so I hopefully catch moments and not poses.
Here are some first attempts at moving in closer. No one got mad.
This is a very interesting Challenge. Click on the link to read Otto’s Challenge if you wish.
Otto von Munchow offered up the following Challenge to his followers…….. https://munchow.wordpress.com/2015/08/30/another-challenge/
Below I am posting two photos of the many I shot attempting to break some of the 10 photography rules.
“In Photography and the Art of Seeing, Freeman Patterson recommends writing down a list of rules we assume to be true of photography… and then break them. Here are ten rules that recur repeatedly”:
1) Focus on the centre of interest.
2) Fill the frame with the subject.
3) Do not shoot between 10 am and 3 pm (the light is too harsh).
4) Don’t shoot against the light.
5) Hold the camera steady.
6) Follow the rule of third, e.g. 1/3 sky and 2/3 land or vice versa.
7) Obey the light meter.
8) Photograph children (or pets) at their own eye level.
9) Avoid lens flare when shooting against the sun.
10) Keep the camera level with the horizon.
Ok, here is my list I took outside with me and used to break these rules listed above.
I want to:
Shoot between 10 and 3.
Move the camera (up and down on trees). I didn’t move the camera but I thought to wait for the wind to move/blur the foreground pine branch a bit.
Shoot against the light.
Shoot with subject in center. (Actually my subject in mind was to have the exposure good enough to see detail in the tree bark and trees and not worry about anything else (Like I usually do!).
Create lens flare shooting into the sun.
Not have everything (the horizon, distortion) exact and precise. This shooting experience was painful letting go of looking for everything to be perfectly aligned etc.
Posted two photos because I couldn’t pick one!@!
Wrap Up Thoughts:
Just heading out to do this challenge was so informative. I hated having to go against the rules. I couldn’t even concentrate on what I wanted or what to do differently. But I shot some photos. I kept my ISO high so that I could see detail on the forefront subjects – cabin porch, trees etc. Typically I expose for the skyline using exposure bracketing. So having the entire background exposure blown out ……And having the starburst blown out went against my instinct. But I did it. Because it was so bright outside I couldn’t really see the LCD previews of what any of the photos really looked like. But I kept shooting. Again, making me feel frustrated.
When I got inside and looked at all the photos I was seeing a different kind of shot than I normally shoot. I was mildly enjoying the different exposures, the less than perfect composition and what showed up as the subject.
What was most important in this challenge was doing what was against my nature. I am such a robot, doing the same thing over and over again. Just going out when I didn’t want to, shooting how I didn’t want to shoot, opened my eyes to the importance of doing this exercise more and more and seeing what comes to me from doing it. Practice brings change and I am definitely interested in seeing what change will come.
Thanks Otto for this challenge.
Meet the musician’s in the band, “Slam Dunk”.
Walked outside for a little street photography:-).
Jen and I went out to The San Jacinto Wildlife Recreational Area yesterday based on a friend’s recommendation. July really isn’t the perfect time to go there as most of the ponds are depleted of their water, yet we still found much to shoot. Can’t wait to go back in September and October and then again in Spring when the wildflowers abound.
Before we arrived at the Wildlife Area, on the Romona Expressway, just a few miles before reaching Davis Rd., we found some water and birds to photograph.
Starting here are photos shot at the SJ Wildlife Area…..
Shooting as the cars are headed down and up Hwy 74 in Palm Desert, CA. It was a balmy night and even though we were tired we enjoyed the meditative couple of hours depressing our cable releases and hoping we’d get the white head lights and red tail lights in each shot. When this happens, that the timing is just right, it feels the same as when you catch a fish or win a jack pot. Luck does have something to do with the success of a photo!
Monterey Country Club, Palm Desert, CA
Thanks Matt for letting me use the Monterey Country Club to shoot the Palm Desert fireworks. The last (16th) photo was shot 5 minutes after the fireworks ended. Many of the photos were shot while I zoomed the Canon 70-200mm lens.
I know JJ likes to know the equipment and camera settings:
Canon 5d Mark III (two bodies); one body fitted with the Canon EF 70-200mm 1:2.8 L IS II USM lens, and the other Canon 5d Mark III fitted with the Canon Zoom Lens EF 16-35mm 1:2.8 L II USM.
I was in manual focus set at infinity.
I was in bulb mode.
I used a shutter cable release.
Settings didn’t change. I was at ISO 200; f/5.6 for a few and f/8 for most.
Focal length was typically between 70-100+.
When used zooming was one direction (not back and forth) and slowly.
Bulb time was a guessing game depending on how white and bright the fireworks were. Sometimes a second and sometimes longer up to 3 seconds or so.
I started shooting the fireworks with the 70-200mm lens but feared I was to zoomed at 70mm and after 10 shots switched to the 16-35 camera/lens. But I felt too far away from the fireworks and switched back to the 70-200mm. I really wanted to get some good firework shots before all the smoke accumulated, but missed the mark using that initial shooting time changing camera and lenses.