Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I Need Some Spring

It's only January and I am SO ready for Spring. In Michigan we have had several weeks of single digit weather. Tonight is no exception. The forecast is for a low of 9 degrees F tonight...which is 7 degrees warmer than last night. BRRRR. I'm ready for a heat wave!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Needy?

This little fellow's birth parents are nowhere to be found. That's the bad news. Can there possibly be any good news? Yes! He may be an orphan, but he is NOT needy. He is being nurtured in a loving, nurturing Christian children's home. He's got 59 brothers and sisters that love him very much.  And he has a house mom that treats him as if he is her own son. In most ways he is.

Everything he owns fits in one small suitcase tucked neatly under has bed. He looks terribly deprived and unhappy doesn't he?  This little guy has more going for him than many folks I know that have big bank accounts, big homes, fancy cars, and empty souls.  Who are the "needy" ones?

This little guy has Jesus. Ya can't beat that.



Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dock Worker




Monday, January 19, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tribute to Canada

This is one of the great cities of Canada and all of North America. My Canadian friends will likely recognize it. Nightfall cannot disguise some of the very distinctive landmarks if you look closely. Do you know what city this is? Leave me a comment and take a guess.




Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pure


Does anyone remember Pure? I do, but only vaguely. Pure was a filling station (fuel) here in the States years ago. I knew when I shot this, that the sign would be gone or vandalized before long. I was right.  It's long gone.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pink


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Yellow

Yellow...by special request.

"Yellow is the colour of faith, triumph or love."
- Vincent Van Gogh

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Red


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Blue


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Seeing - Part 3

FoggyColor

Improving Our Ability to See

I have lived in Michigan all of my adult life. There are areas of Michigan that are incredibly beautiful. I live in central Michigan. It's as flat as a pancake. I've heard many people complain about it being bland and mundane. Maybe it is. But for me, it is not a beauty contest. In my mind, beauty is here...it's just needs to be discovered.

"The best pix are right in front of you"
- Joe McNally

I suspect that living here has made me a better seer. When I hear people criticize this area, it saddens me. Not because they're badmouthing the area I've chosen to live, but because they are choosing not to see. They're being lazy with a God-given gift. They are putting their brain in neutral. There is beauty here, they just don't see it. It's on a different measuring stick. They prefer that their version of beauty be displayed like an opulent feast…an over the top, in-your-face beauty. Don't get me wrong, I love that kind of beauty, too, but I've learned that I prefer to discover beauty. I find it far more fulfilling…like finding a gold nugget. I have never thought that standing in front of a beautiful tourist attraction and mindlessly snapping a photo was nearly as fulfilling as finding a buried treasure. To me, a magnificent vista is no more impressive than finding an illusive cactus flower in the desert. Maybe I have a screw loose. I'm okay with that.

I would much rather discover beauty than have it handed to me on a platter. I don't need overused clich├ęs of beauty. I have seen the beaches of Thailand and the Caribbean, the rainforests of Brazil, the Swiss Alps, Venice, Nice, the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, the canals of The Netherlands, Mount McKinley and more. I love them all. All those experiences most certainly contribute to who I am.

Maybe I am naturally curious. I have a thirst to see. Thankfully, it's a thirst that I never seem to quench. And it's the element of discovery that propels me. Capturing a photo is secondary. As a kid, I loved finding an Easter egg…a penny on the ground, a wildflower, a frog, or a baby bird in a nest. I still love it. Just because we are adults doesn't mean we can't have fun with discoveries.

"Don't take photographs. Be taken by photographs."
- Ernst Haas

Here's my advice.
As often as you can, carve out some peace and quiet. Shed the chatter of civilization - your cell phone, iPod, computer, TV, radio, pager, and yes, this blog. Listen to what silence sounds like....it's probably been a while. Let your creative spirit take you over....and challenge yourself with a photographic self-assignment.

Examples:

  • Shoot a series of things that are blue (or your favorite color).
  • Shoot a series of things that say "no" (a stop sign, barbed wire, a locked gate, a child-proof cap, a neon sign that says "Closed").
  • Shoot things that are round.
  • Shoot the letters of the alphabet that create your name, your child's name, or a verse.
  • Shoot signs that bear your name.

Sierra Exif JPEG

  • Shoot arrow shapes.
  • Shoot the five Rs (rust, ruin, ramshackle, ruble & rot).

Don't have any expectations. Expectations are a killer of creativity. You will see things you've never seen before. I promise.

"Go out empty and be filled with what you see"
- Jay Maisel

Now get out there.

And call me...I'll go, too.

*****

Monday, January 5, 2009

Christmas Colors

_DSC3741 copy

Since my third installment of "Seeing" is not quite ready for prime-time, I decided to buy a little time by sharing this snap with you. Besides, my limited brain power will not allow me to be too serious more than two days in a row.

If I'm not mistaken, today is the 12th day of Christmas. What better way to celebrate, than share this noggin that only a mother could love. I don't know his mother, but I'll bet she is disturbed delighted with his Christmas spirit!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Seeing - Part 2

I'm going to apologize up front. I'm about to break one of my self-imposed rules for this blog. I'm thinkin' I may be about to get preachy. If you do not want to hear me get mental judgmental, BACK AWAY FROM THE BLOG.

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Wanting to See

I was on my way to work one summer morning. The weather was threatening. There was heavy, dark cloud cover in one direction and sunshine in the other. A light rain had begun. With weather conditions like this, I start looking around. Looking, looking, looking, SEEING. A rainbow. A double-rainbow! Horizon to horizon. Wow. It was really magnificent. Luckily, I was on a major road with a large shoulder. I was able to pull over safely and I got off the road. Click. Not a great shot (because of my location and random clutter), but a great rainbow nonetheless. I took it in and savored it.

In the five minutes I was along the roadside, well-clear of any traffic, I had three people honk at me and many others look at me like I was a crazy.....or worse. I suspect they were wondering what I could possibly be doing by the side of the road that could be of any value. I swear they never saw the rainbow. How could they not? Maybe they didn't care to see it. Maybe they had seen a double-rainbow before...and one was enough.

Are we really THAT detached? Have we forgotten that we live on a planet? A living, churning, giant ball of wonder? A gift from God.

Sadly, we have more important things to pay attention to. Drive-time has become all about cell phones, texting, satellite radio, GPS, coffee, soda pop (me), breakfast sandwiches, or several of the above simultaneously. I fall into the trap, too.

Seeing - Ya gotta want it. For heaven's sake, let's shut down the distractions and get out there to see. It is a gift from God. All we have to do is grab the gift and unwrap it. 'Tis the season.....

"You are never alone if you remember what you see."

~ Vincent Van Gogh

_DSC4696_rainbow

Next post: Seeing - Part 3

...and then I'll shut up about it. - D2

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Seeing

A friend of mine asked me to share some thoughts on seeing. It's a favorite topic of mine...yet seeing does not come naturally to me. For what it's worth, I'll share some thoughts over the next few days.

Over the years, I've learned that any ability I may have to capture decent photographs has little to do with my camera equipment and everything to do with my ability and motivation to see. Not just the ability to look, but to see...to be ultra-aware. The most valuable photographic tool I have is not in my camera bag - it's between my ears. I don't consider myself to be great at seeing. I struggle with it. I'm required to fight my brain's natural inclination to be lazy. Seeing is an ability I find illusive and fleeting. My favorite photographers are great at seeing. They see things others will never see. Others will never see these things for three reasons:

  1. They don't plan to see
  2. They're not motivated to see
  3. They don't develop their ability to see

Planning to See

Planning to see? Yes. At any given time, I may have two dozen photo ideas running through my brain, in a holding pattern, waiting for the right moment, the right conditions, the right light, or the right season. In addition to the items I have on my brain's hard drive, I have countless notepads and sticky-notes with ideas and locations I've jotted down...not wanting to forget. I'm not smart enough to remember them all. Eventually, I get to them. And more often than not, my journey ends with a click.

The photo at the top of this page (the gnarly crabapple trees) is an example of "planning" to see. You would not recognize this scene without the fog. You would be distracted by the cluttered background. If the fog did not obscure the background, you would see a black fence, a sidewalk, a road, a brick building, and traffic. When the fog rolled in, I rolled OUT.....click.

The photo below (Happy Frosty New Year) is another example of an image I had in a holding pattern for a year or more. I knew the composition and the textures had promise, but I felt it needed something else to make it more compelling. I wasn't sure what it needed, but I knew it needed something. Then I got lucky. When the frost came, I pounced.....click.

Tomorrow: Wanting to See

Friday, January 2, 2009