Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sunday hike at John Bryan was cold but really worth it. As the sun was getting closer to the horizon, the quality of the light was just great. Setting up the tripod was an added bonus to get the shot at f16 for the best depth of field. Deb was getting the shpilkes near the end of the hike thinking that we would never make it back to the car.

John Bryan was the first place that I ever camped as a kid and it was in the winter as well, so it holds a special place. I would hate to follow in the footsteps of Cornelius Darnell and attempt to jump the gorge with a whole tribe of (angry) Native Americans chasing me. But then even without the tribe, jumping the gorge would still not be my first choice for a fun afternoon.

As the photos show, a leasurly hike does make a fun afternoon. According to what I am reading, hiking for a few hours gives the same calorie consumption as running for 5 miles. However it is decidedly more fun.

The light coming down through the gorge are was really golden and bright making the water and the surrounding trees seem to come alive.

It only lasts for a few moments and then it is gone so you have to enjoy it while it lasts. The camera lets me enjoy it vicariously a little longer but it is no substitute for actually being there and feeling the cold air freeze you.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fall Foliage Trip

The Fall Foliage Trip of '08 is complete. Travels to New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio yielded some fun photos. Look for them to be on my website soon.

To the left is a little sample from southern Ohio near Marietta on US 26.

The 800+ photos that I took have been boiled down to about 100 and a small portion of those will make the web site as soon as I reduce the size and make thumbnails for the pics.

For anyone using Simple Viewer, you need to create an XML file that references the picture name and caption. I wrote a .NET Windows program that will automatically create this XML listing saving a lot of tedious keying if you have many images. I can make this program available to those interested.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Night Sky

A few of the photos are up, but not all.
Hopefully he is not done and planning to blow off the rest or he will have a concerned citizen on his hands!
One never quite knows with phlegmatics what is inside the box of chocolates.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


My mind is in a fog partially from a cold and partially from focusing on getting photos matted and framed for a show at Night Sky. It is a lot of work cutting the mat board and measuring. Just procuring the frames was a more extended process because no one store had enough and I had to run around all over Dayton getting the ones I wanted. Certainly being out and pressing the shutter is the fun part. Finishing the whole process through to a framed photo causes me to have to stay on task and be disciplined when I would rather "go out and play". It was like being in school and having homework and seeing the other kids out playing ball. I remember a particular Sunday afternoon working on an Ohio History notebook (remember those Nelson Olmstead films in 7th grade?) while there was a baseball game going on in Zimpfer's yard. It was agony to stay inside and work on that silly notebook.
Framing the pictures was not agony by any stretch, but not as fun as hiking out in the woods or riding a bike on the back roads. But Larry and Jordan both rescued me last weekend with a few hours of biking as a great break.

When the photos go up at Night Sky, then that circuit will be complete and I can start on a new cycle of collecting a new set of photos and looking through the lens and pressing that shutter button.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Photography as Art

Now I'm not going to claim that the image that I used for this post is art -it is just a picture from a kitchen. But it is a composition of light and dark shapes with a curved line in it that *could* be somewhat interesting. But I used the image as an into to some quotes from a photographer named Ken Rockwell. Some people hate him and think he is full of, uhm, something... But I really like some quotes from his web site.

Here are some snippets that are especially good, to me, about photography:

"An image is all about the relationships between light and dark, up and down, warm and cool, and big and small. How do the shapes, gradations, scale, angles and everything work together? Are these creating depth, balance and impact, or just a confusing jumble of junk? These dynamics are what give an image its wow factor. A real image catches your attention and draws you in to explore, regardless of size.

This is why the best photographers tend to be those with an art background. Artists understand these basic and critical image elements and know how to use them to create outstanding images. Most photographers have no clue, and instead waste their creativity fretting about lens sharpness, raw vs. JPG or 16- to 14-bit redithering algorithm design instead of the mandatory basics of image design."

"The first thing to create are the fundamentals of values and tones, colors, shapes, balance and dynamics. If you get these right, your image will have impact. Adding the details later is the easy part. As a photographer, you need to be looking for these before you start looking for trivia like focus or depth of field."

Here is another great quote on how to be a better photographyer:

"Attend art school. Read every art book you can. Hang around artists, not photographers. Avoid the Internet, which is overpopulated by websites made by, as if you'd never guess, computer and technical weenies. Take art workshops. Pay attention to what turns you on in images you see and create, and do more of that. Keep an open mind."

And finally one more quote:

"A good photographer makes great images with a disposable camera because she knows its limits and how to use it. On the other hand, plenty of poor photographs are made every day using very expensive cameras by people lacking passion and vision, regardless of how much technical skill they have and how sharp their lenses are.

People write novels, not typewriters. So why do some people think buying a different camera or learning all about shutter speeds will help them make better images? People make photographs, not cameras. Your choice of camera has NOTHING to do with anything. NOTHING."

I am guessing that the people that do not like Ken Rockwell are the ones with expensive camera equipment and are enamored with their knowledge of all the technical details of the hardware.

That's it for today.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Letting Go

This painting from 30 years ago had no real title until this morning.
The original questions centered around "is it a game, or is it more serious than a game?", "who came in through the window and threw down the switchblade into the still life?", "did they bring the window with them, or was the window already there?"

And the answer to those questions today is - "who cares". The new title is "Letting Go".

Overlooking the "misdeads" of another, perhaps a coworker, perhaps someone else, has unexpected reward. There is a bit of zen-like feeling in not judging the offending event and not discussing it with others so as to not stir up the negative energy. When negative energy is stirred, it doesn't just move the energy around like house dust, it magnifies and increases the energy in some quantum way (entirely unexplained). By leaving the energy go, it disipates more quickly and I return to "normal" (what is normal by the way) sooner rather than later. The event and the energy of the event try to trick the mind into believing that talking about it will make the energy go away, but it makes the energy live and expand instead. Letting go is the quickest path to "normal" and the more efficient approach to making suure that more events don't get spawned like a new hurricane out in the ocean just waiting to come to shore and create even more devestation. By just experiencing the event, not judging it as good or bad, and then moving on, I can let the universe as a whole act instead of me acting individually. The whole universe is much better at finding balance and equilibrium than me on my own. In fact, a single part cannot balance on its own. The reality is, we don't exist as a single part.

My image from 30 years ago took on new meaning this morning to me, regardless whether the energy was 30 years old or 3 days old.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


What's the first thing to happen when looking at this picture? You see the label and immediately know that the black and white image is of bananas. What would happen without the label? Maybe labels can be helpful to sort things out and understand, but many times labels just make the picture less clear. How often do we label and judge the fruit we interact with every day instead of just investigating?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Purple Cow

So what is a Purple Cow? It is actually a book by Seth Godin about products and marketing. (Ok, I know that my picture is not really a "purple" cow, it is just a picture of a normal cow with the colors wacked out of shape to have a pink/purple haze to it - but it's close enough.)

What the book is about is being remarkable. The author was driving through France and saw a field with cows and thought how nice a sight it was - at first. But as he kept driving, he saw more and more fields with cows and they were not remarkable anymore, they were just boring. He asked himself, what would make a cow not boring now, maybe if it were purple it would be remarkable.

In today's world, people have learned to ignore the tsunami of information coming at them at all hours of the day from a gaggle of sources so that the real message rarely gets through our information overload defense shield.

So, the only way to get through, to stand out, is to truly be remarkable. That doesn't necessarily mean to just be weird only for the sake of being weird. But it does mean finding a niche that suits you and is not crowded and then be the best in that niche. That really resonated with me that I want my images to be remarkable, so I am on a quest as to how to do that. I know, you're saying "good luck with that!" But why shouldn't I go for it. Maybe my tombstone will read "Here lies a crappy to average photographer that had the temerity to think he could even approach the province of fine arts - but at least he went for it." So that is my quest, how to be remarkable in my own way.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

This photo of Pittsburgh at night from Mt Washington reminds me that it all looks great from the bird's eye view. It is good to get away from the day to day "street level" view every so often and as Covey says "sharpen the saw". Vacation in Michigan was like that and I realized that I want to search for purple cows. What is a purple cow? That my friend, will get you coming back to find out! Anyway, this weekend will be church family camp which is also another ten thousand feet view that leaves the pedestrian street level behind and gives a clear shot of the "bigger picture".

Sunday, August 24, 2008

First post

This is the first post for Photobyhart.
Many thanks to Suzy for her encouragement and help.