Thursday, November 29, 2007

SO tired.

I'm dead tired tonight. It's 10:31 pm in Kanab, Utah - which means it's 12:31 am back at home. I got up this morning at 3:30 am. I have been awake for a long time. Too long. In fact, so long that I can't seem to figure out exactly how long.

After a layover in Chicago which turned into a long delay, I arrived at the Las Vegas airport around 11 am, met Jay (who was on a different flight), and got in our big, picachu-colored, SUV rental. We drove to Kanab, stopped for gas, and then drove to Grand Staircase Escalante National Park (following the light). We hoped to capture the sunset, and we did get a few shots. However, since my flight was delayed, we didn't have time to find a good location, so I don't think I have anything worth keeping. We did get an absolutely glorious sunset. The sky turned bright red - and stayed that way for 45 minutes or more. Incredible.

Tomorrow, we'll be up bright and early - headed out to catch the sunrise. And then to Escalante or Paria or Buckskin Gulch or White Pocket... it all depends on the skies.

I am going to bed before I fall over from exhaustion. Good night.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Photographer of the Week

Wow - what a week. Enlightenment took second place in the Nature & Landscapes category of this month's BetterPhoto photo contest, and I have been chosen as Photographer of the Week on the ADIDAP weblog!

BetterPhoto tells me there were over 37,800 entries in this month's contest, so I feel very honored to have my photo chosen as a winner. For those of you who found this blog via the BetterPhoto website - Welcome!

I also feel honored to be Photographer of the Week on the All Day I Dream About Photography weblog by Antoine Khater. He contacted me last week to ask if I would allow him to use my photos on his site in the POTW section. He has chosen some amazing photographers in past weeks, so the distinction means even more to me.

I want to welcome ADIDAP readers to my blog, and I wish to thank Antoine for his attention to my work. If you haven't seen his weblog, take a look. You'll find some good information, and beautiful photographs by a variety of photographers.

And finally, I will be leaving for Utah at around 4am tomorrow morning. We are looking forward to a fantastic weekend in the desert. I am packed and ready to go! I don't think I'll have time to update my blog while I'm away, but I will be back next week.

Have a great weekend, wherever you are!

Home again.

We arrived home yesterday after a long drive. We left Smoky Mountain National Park at noon and made it home by 11pm. I'm tired this morning, since I get up at 6am with the kids - but I'm not complaining. We had a great trip.

Smoky Mountain is a beautiful park. We stayed in Pigeon Forge (which we've renamed "Pigeon on a Fork"). It's a terribly commercialized strip of neon and traffic - but the hotels are cheap. Unfortunately, you get what you pay for... and although they did ask if we'd like a wake-up call, they did not follow through. And the only clock in the hotel room read 2:32... always... but we didn't discover that until morning. After we'd missed the sunrise. Next time I'll set my cell phone alarm.

We did take a few shots of the park and I hope to have them posted within a few days. It will be a busy week, and I'd like to get the photos processed before I have more to work on.

We'll be leaving for Utah Thursday morning. I'm looking forward to it! :)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Scouting in Tennessee

We're in a hotel room in Tennessee today. We're scouting Smoky Mountain National Park and the surrounding area. Once we know what we want to photograph, we'll choose the right time of year and come back. We will take some shots this weekend, but we intend to return at a later date.

Our scouting trips are invaluable - we'll hike as many trails as we can, explore the area, do the research, and make note of potential locations for future trips. Then we'll decide when to return - we'll determine which season will suit the location best, what time of day, what compositions will have the most impact... and we'll track sun/moon rise/set times, reference tidal charts, look at peak bloom and autumn color times, find out which direction the light will be coming from at a given time of day at a given time of year, memorize topographical maps... and so on. And finally, when the time comes, we know exactly what we need to do. Then we can focus on getting the best possible shot - rather than wandering around looking for a location.

We drove through Cumberland Gap this evening - the beautiful clouds cleared out before the light was right, but we did find a few locations for another day. We drove a little further South to stay the night so we could be in Smoky Mountain National Park tomorrow morning before sunrise. I've just requested a 5 am wake up call - that's late, really. Sunrise is later this time of year, so we get to "sleep in". :) We intend to shoot a few waterfalls and take a look at some of the historic buildings in the area. And we'll spend a good part of the day hiking.

I'm shooting with a 1Ds Mark II this weekend - at the request of the guys who print our images on canvas. I made sure I had the batteries, charger, memory cards, and manual - and my tripod and computer and battery pack. I even took the time to learn the controls before we left - there's no way I could have a Mark II in my house and keep my hands off it. :) I remembered everything - except the "quick mount" plate for the ball head... it is still screwed into my 20D body. It's difficult to attach the camera to the tripod without that piece, but I'll remove the clamp and screw the camera directly onto the ball head - so all is not lost. And I'm glad I forgot it on this trip - rather than our trip to Utah next week. I'll make sure I have it for that. Still... I'm kicking myself.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

This is what I am most thankful for. My children - Nora, Anna, Nicholas, and Damian. They are healthy and happy and smart and funny - and I am so grateful for that. My husband, Jay - who is the love of my life and my reason for breathing. My two beautiful step children - Eian and Ellena.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you - regardless of whether you celebrate this holiday or not. I wish you good health and happiness - and I hope that you can see the beauty in your world, no matter where you are.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Two New Articles!

Two new articles are up and ready for download on my website. One is a brief tutorial on sharpening without halos using a simple PhotoShop technique. The other is more personal - and if you're keeping track of my blog it will be familiar to you. It's titled Seeing the Light, and it's based on my blog post from November 14th. Please let me know what you think of them. Input makes a big difference. I always listen carefully to what people have to say about my work, and I'll make appropriate changes if I feel it is necessary. I can't do this without the people who are looking at my work - without you, I'm just taking pictures like everyone else. So, I take comments, criticism, and critiques pretty seriously.

Thanks for your interest! :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Seeing the Light

I started noticing light when I was a child. My eyesight began to deteriorate noticeably sometime in fifth grade, but I didn’t start wearing glasses until 2 years later. During those years - and since then - I have been much more aware of light and color than I was before. I couldn't see the details that other people could see... the millions of blades of grass that make up a lawn or the thousands of leaves on a tree. Instead, I was aware of light and color.

Once I started wearing glasses, my perspective changed again. Suddenly, I could see details that I hadn't been able to see for years. I became aware of texture and detail in my visual world - and I was able to experience them as though they were detached from the light and color that were so familiar to me.
I remember sitting in class years ago - bored by some lesson I should have been paying attention to. I was looking out the window on a beautiful sunny day, and absently pushing my glasses up and down... alternately looking through them and over them. Without the help of the lenses, my world looked like an impressionistic painting. Splashes of color and light without detail - form suggested by shadow and highlight. I have always loved impressionism - perhaps because it seems so familiar to me.

Through the lenses, though - the view returned to normal. I could see textured bark on the tree and the tiny flowers almost hidden in the grass. Those details were as interesting to me as the light and color - but somehow, being able to separate the light from the detail made an impression. When I look at a scene, I can still separate light and color from detail and texture.

I think each is as important as the other in any photograph. Although the viewer may not take the image apart the way I do in my mind, the careful juxtaposition of these elements makes a difference.

Each of my photographs can be broken down into its individual parts. Color, light, texture and detail – or the lack of any of these elements… this is what a photograph is made of.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Requesting Payment

This shoot was a lot of fun. He'd just had his lunch, so he wasn't hungry, and he was very cooperative... I wonder why. :)

Actually, about half way through the shoot, he looked at me and said, "Can I have the apple when you're done?" The APPLE? He wanted the APPLE, folks! Wow. :) He got the apple - and a cookie - for his trouble. It's important to pay your models well.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Well wow, ya'll. "Paria" was selected as a finalist in the "Your Best Shot" Popular Photography Magazine contest this month. I've uploaded my large size file for publishing, and now I await the final results. :)

I've had a lot of good things happening over the past month or so. The work I'm putting into my photography is paying off, and I'm loving it as much as ever. Life is good.

Another winner - second place.

"Enlightenment" took second place in the color category for the flickr Art of Landscape contest this month. Some of the other photos are truly beautiful - go take a look.

Meanwhile, I completed a couple of quick photo shoots today and taught some private classes this week and last. It's time to get to work on processing the photos from today's shoots. I'll also have an article ready to post on my website sometimes next week. And I ran for an hour at the gym yesterday. Can you say "productivity"? Woo hoo! I'm feeling a little cooped up, though. Wow. Time to get my tail out of Ohio for a while. Yikes.

Friday, November 2, 2007


The ground was covered with frost this morning. I grabbed my camera and took a few shots of the leaves edged with frost. Heavy frost like this happens only at this time of year and in early Spring - and these beautiful leaves will no longer be so lovely in a few months. So, I grabbed the opportunity. My favorite shot is this one...I'll probably put it up for sale sometime next week.

We spent a few hours last weekend working out the details of printing our images at large sizes on Canvas. It's neat to see your work at such a large size. The Epson 9800 is a fantastic printer, and canvas gives the photographs an amazing texture. I love the look. We'll be preparing a gallery of images for print this weekend. Pretty exciting! :)