bridge song

Found myself in the city by the bay recently. You can include me in the hordes, the masses who are compelled to photograph the Golden Gate bridge.

On my last afternoon in the city, I hopped a bus (along with a couple of fellow-intrepids) to the Presidio. I was told this was an easy place to get stellar photographs. My guide told me this excursion was imminently doable in under 2 hours. With 15 million shutter bugs visiting the site every year, would I be able to capture a unique view of the sweeping icon?

Exited the bus in the Presidio (a former military base) and began schlepping to the bridge. Could see the object of my desire in the distance. ‘Hello, lovely!’

ggfarawayShe seemed pretty far away. ‘Ladies, let’s keep walking….not sure exactly where, but keep walking! You with me?’

006a‘Crissy Field? I need to be at Crissy Field? Gone.’

013aGetting closer, but still so far away. ‘I’ll tell you what, you ladies enjoy the park and Chrissie Field. Enjoy a cold drink and cool off. I’ll keep walking to the bridge. Meet you at the bus stop at 4 pm. See you there!’

o16aFinally made it to the water’s edge. Inexorably drawn by the Siren’s song. A wind-blown bridge zombie.

023aAwwww…..goooooey, oooooooey, sweeeeetie, pa-teeeetie. A dawg. A very big dawg.

‘Mister, may I take a picture of your handsome dog?’

037aHiking up the hill.

047aDoes having an object in the foreground make for a more interesting photo? Maybe not in this case. Can’t fault me for trying.

Cell phone call, ‘Hey guys….I’m not gonna make it back by 4 pm. Go without me and I’ll find my way back to the hotel. Sorry. Don’t worry about me. See you later.’

This melody is getting more interesting.

063aWhy are my best views being blocked by a chain-link fence?!’

048a‘Sure. I’ll take your picture. Will you take mine?’ Please forgive the crazy outfit. I was cold most of the time, so my warmth-strategy was to don all the clothes in my suitcase….hence the pants with a skirt look. My nightgown is probably underneath there somewhere. Don’t the red sneakers top everything off? An old lady on a mission.

o84aMade it under the bridge and to the other side. Better light over here. I like this shot, but I’ve seen plenteous versions of the ‘tree with the bridge’ shot done much better than this. Meh, move along….nothing new here. From this vantage point, the wind is so stout I can barely hold my camera. As an added bonus, I’m being refreshingly splashed with the spray from crashing waves. Suffering is part of making art. I’m humming her tune. No way, this journey is made in under two hours.

Back under the bridge, she draws me to an interesting perspective. Problem is, there’s another annoying 6′ chain-link fence blocking my view. I do the only thing a compulsive-obsessive photographer could do. I set my camera’s dials and hoist the beast as far as I can over my head and over the fence. I blindly snap shots and pray I capture something.

Here’s the result.

colorggbridge

It’s different, for sure. Haven’t seen this one in the guidebooks. My heart sings. Could be better, but for now I’m content. Live and learn.

Here it is in B&W.

b&wgoldengate1

Do you like this shot better in color or black and white? I’d really love to know which version you think is visually stronger.

Oh yeah….barely made it back in the nick. Didn’t crash and burn on the rocks. Windblown, damp and tired….but I made it.

Hope you are honoring your unique perspective.

Unchained melody-love to all.

 

 

following light

It rained. I went from looking like this.

birdfacesTo looking like this.

handsuphannahPraise God! Answered prayer, for sure.

I have lots of bovine friends who are ecstatic, as well.

roundupPhotographed a recent branding at the northern NM ranch. Look at the green grass!

I took tons of pictures. Played with all the settings on my camera; shutter speed, aperture and ISO. Figured if I took enough photographs maybe one of them would be worth showing.

This recent foray into ranch photography served to reinforce the principle of the golden hour. Or in reality, the golden FIVE MINUTES known as sunrise/sunset. Let me demonstrate.

Here’s a picture of a couple of cowboys.

reidandwillAn OK photo taken at midday.

Now, take a look at the same cowboys at sunrise.

willandreidBe still, my heart! I’m in love with this light. The guys are alright, too.

Why does sunrise have to come so early? A sunrise photographer must be dedicated and carry lots of concealer to cover the bags under her eyes. The flattering light is short-lived.

cassadyThis young lady and her glistening sorrel horse are simply magnificent. She’s nice and smart, too. She looks beautiful in the golden morning light. These subjects make me look like I know what I’m doing with my camera. Thanks, Cassidy!

Following the light-a metaphor for life, right?

More sunrise glorious-ness.

sunrisejingling

 

horsejingling

Unfortunately, there is action that takes place AFTER sunrise. I did the best I could.

stever
Preparing to gather the pasture.

Ray1

rhettroping
Ropin’ and draggin’.
ray
Cowboy Ray was my favorite subject. I know a great face when I see one.

 

reid1
Branding fire.

 

walter

antelopepair
A couple of antelope roaming.

 

grahamonwall
A budding cowpoke still in his jammies.

 

I’ve learned my lesson. I’ve got to get up early and stay up late to get the most outstanding photos.

Hope you enjoyed branding day at the ranch. Now I’m off to purchase more concealer.

Stay out of the dark places.

Enlightening love to all.

my lens

I enjoy taking pictures for the blog. I keep trying to up my skills, but that requires donning bifocals and reading and studying about my camera. ISO, aperture, shutter speed, white balance and focus mush my brain into a slimy swamp.

Recently, I acquired a ‘new-to-me’ lens. Bought it used from local photographer extraordinairePam Lary. In case you are interested, this beast of a lens is the Nikon AF-S VR-Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G. It’s heavy as an anvil and as long as a submarine sandwich. Big enough to keep my chiropractor in business for years.

I’ve been trying it out. Learning. Making mistakes. When I whip it out, people automatically assume I know what I’m doing. Lens envy, I guess.

It’s fun to put the camera in aperture mode (‘A’ on the dial for most DSLR’s) and shoot with the aperture wide open. In this case, 2.8.

flower
mmmm…..creamy background. This photo inspires me to paint a room this mossy green and use purple as an accent color. Amazing color combo.

A gorgeous, milky background makes the subject of the photo really ‘pop’

doxyonrock
Look at the gray hairs on her muzzle. She’s showing her age. Have I told you we can no longer play tennis ball? It aggravates her back.
doxyonrock1
My sweet wiener girl. Since we can’t play tennis ball, we have to play ‘rock’ instead. Less running and more digging.

Do you like the fuzzy backgrounds for these portraits? The learned call this ‘bokeh’.

Here’s another wide-open shot.

hannah
Baby H swaddled in a fish curtain at the cabin. I knew those old curtains would come in handy one day! There’s a stack of games in the background. Can you make out the names? Scattergories? Clue? Boggle?

One more blurry background for your consideration.

groundsquirrels
Ground squirrels or ‘chipmunks’.

Do you know what instinct these rodents trigger in my dachshund?

roxycollage
The most natural state of a badger dog.

Another handy setting on the camera is the shutter-priority mode ( ‘S’ on the dial of most digital cameras).

I use this setting when I need a certain shutter speed to capture the action.

72a
The wily Rufous hummer.

Have I told you I am compulsively trying to get the perfect hummingbird photo? Been at it for 3 years. I know I need a fast shutter speed to catch them, but man, are they difficult to photograph!

I suspect I have neither the skill nor the proper equipment to get a truly great shot.

indexI won’t stop trying.

59a
The Rufous jealously protecting his feeder. Catching these buggers in flight is like trying to photograph a mosquito. Sorry….I had to catch him through the wire-mesh fence.

Well, that’s the A and the S mode for you and how they look through my new lens.

At times I just point the camera and shoot on auto. Maybe I’ll get lucky.

catThat’s why I enjoy photography. It makes you LOOK. You never know what you’ll find lurking in the weeds.

Hope your week is coming into clearer focus.

Big lens love to all.

suffering for my art


While working in my garden the other night, I noticed being bathed in a velvety pink light. The sunset/cloud combination was a stunner and as a budding photojournalist, I ran for the trusty Nikon.

I’ve been working on perspective….trying to see things and take pictures from unexpected angles.  I’m looking for the unconventional, interesting ‘arty’ shot.

I was trying to capture the gorgeousness of the sky while having the lovely blooming yuccas in the foreground.  To accomplish this, I kept lowering the camera and lowering my perspective until my side laid on the bare ground.

That’s when I sensed the rapidly-spreading, searing pain.  I looked for a fire ant bed.  I looked for cactus thorns.  All I knew was my arm, hip and lower leg felt flaming and I was an uncomfortable distance (being injured and all)  from my house.

Jogging back to the house with the precious camera swinging around my neck, I hoped my throat wouldn’t close up in a bout of anaphylactic shock.  Would the Texan come looking for me?  Did he know I was out here in mortal allergic danger?  Would I collapse in a heap ‘o hives onto the surrounding cholla?
  

Sorry for the disgustingly graphic image.  I’m a blogger and I over-share.
Blessedly, I made it inside and dove for the shower and the Benadryl. I recounted to the Texan of my brush with death and he ASSURED me he did not know where I was, nor would he have looked for me until much later. He did seem impressed with the rash, though.

This was the type of shot I was going for. Yucca in foreground, breath-taking clouds in background. Me on ground in inappropriate clothing for rugged country breaking out in welts.  Glorious pinkness all around.

It’s the classic artist tale. The more we suffer, the crazier we are…
…the more creative and highly lauded our art. Think Van Gogh, Mozart and Sylvia Plath. Think of the tortured blogger who parodied Thornton Wilder’s classic play, Our Town with prairie dog photos!

Can you think of other talented, crazy artists? Tell me…I’m all ears. For now, anyway.

take a closer look

Think I vastly overestimated my brain’s learning capacity by purchasing a Nikon d3000 SLR camera.  Some days I’m getting it, other days…..well, not so much.  There are mulititudes of details involved in operating this camera and then throw in processing the shots in Photoshop Elements!  It’s lots of new stuff to learn and I’m the type to beat myself up for not understanding how to operate these things.  Oh, the struggles and travails of attempting to be a life-long learner…….

Instead of flogging myself with a wet tube sock or sorrowfully eating boatloads of mini-marshmallows, I’ll share some of my recent photos with you.  I’ve been concentrating on macro shots.  Pioneer Woman is having a macro photo contest.  My pics never make it among her favorites.  However, this photographic endeavor has forced me to slow down and look at things more closely.  The joy is the journey….remember?  Truly observe.

Here is a macro shot of a hibiscus. See what beauty lies within?
The youngest sprout played with these small, magnetic beads on a recent trip.
My horse’s ears. We’re off the road for now. He has an injury and needs time to heal. Bummer….I love riding this horse. Lord willing, we shall return!!

This shot is full of loveliness and grace. It makes me happy.
Doesn’t get any more beautiful than this…..my nephew’s baby!
This next subject has a considerably different profile. Wiener dogs have the funniest shapes and angles.  What was the Creator thinking?!
I’m not so proficient with my photoshop skills, but this is one of my favorites. This is my grand-dog, Rose. The color and the processing remind me of photos from my childhood.  Wish I could remember how I achieved it.  Sort of a 1950’s or 1960’s dog shot. My daughter-in-law says the angle makes Rose look like Wile E. Coyote.  What do you think??
OK, so sue me. You KNEW there’d be more dachshund shots, didn’t you?? This photo captures Roxy-Doxy perfectly. It just reeks of EARNESTNESS, don’t you think?  Wiener dogs are supremely earnest creatures.

Thanks for looking at the photos. They may not be award-winning, but they inspire and remind me to keep taking a closer look and appreciate the loveliness of the small things. Exceedingly wonderful things surround us. I’m enjoying my journey.  Hope you are enjoying yours as well.