Photography

General Information

New Age Avoidism…

Avoidism is the new philosophy designed to save modern man from himself. The principle of Avoidism is simple. An Avoidists avoids things. He/She avoids because Nonavoinding  leads to involvement, and most of mankind’s troubles have grown out of involement.

Descrates once said, “I think, therefore I am.  The Avoidist  says “I won’t, therefore I ain’t gonna”

Contemporary man is admittedly heading nowhere fast. This happened because man has an insatiable compulsion to prove himself as a unique and superior being.

It seems obvious that such attempts will lead to anxiety, frustration and dismay, to eventual neurosis (by far the best word in this article).

You see, Avoidism tells us we are already superior by the sheer virtue of belonging to the species of Homo Sapiens. (If you are are not such a species, please email me)

For example, think how superior we are to the common clam! Let us examine the differences between a Man and a Clam, shall we? I chose my good buddy, Harry, as a representative of a typical man and found an exceptional Nova Scotia clam who prefers to keeps remain anonymous.

After exhaustive tests, our team came to the following results, beyond all of our wildest expectations…

Harry vs Clam

Motor Ability: Harry +12 Clam +18

Sense of Humor: Harry +40 Clam +30

IQ : Harry +97 Clam +121

Physical Attractiveness: Harry: +3 Clam +12

Ability to remain under water: Harry: -53 Clam: +750

Tastes good with Horse Radish: Harry: -1 Clam: +60

Ability to keep mouth shut: Harry: -3 Clam: 100

Ping pong skills: Harry: +300 Clam: -143

These tests prove that Harry is clearly superior over the common Nova Scotia clam. (one critic, Dr. Klaus von Krusctraian, a noted expert, claimed that the differential in Harry’s favor was due entirely to the inclusion of Ping Pong, which he claimed was unfair.

…it now seems clear that any man is superior to the common Nova Scotia Clam

The Argument Against Avoidism…

Many reactionary folks will tell you that Avoidists are nothing but slobs

The Rebuttal to The Argument Against Avoidism

This is true

How to Become and Avoidist

This is not as easy easy as it first seems. Any new Avoidist should only listen to nothing. Frequently, though, you will find it necessary to take certain steps to make sure that there is nothing for you not to listen to.

Avoidist conversation should be employed immediately when someone inclines their torso towards you. The danger increases in direct proportion to the cube of the sine of the angle of inclination…calculated with MathLab!

Whenever this sort of danger happens, you may avoid by employing the Seven Tested Remarks!

The Seven Tested Remarks

  1. A girl I used to date is an Operator for a telephone company
  2. I got these socks four years ago in Thunder Bay
  3. I went to sleep last night at eight, but did not sleep until two
  4. I did not have much for Lunch today, just a Salad, pie and coffee
  5. My second nephew will be 8 next month, you should hear him talk
  6. I sure wish I had kept up with my piano lessons
  7. My hovercraft is full of eels

If you practice these remarks, you can avoid almost anyone!

 


“A new light” : The world in infrared

x-1200One of my photography mentors, Deborah Sandidige, wrote a book about Digital Infrared Photography several years ago and I read it front to back and forth many times and was inspired to attempt to take some of her very intricate techniques and put a bit of a twist on them. I converted one of my old Nikon DSLR cameras to 720nm IR. I was so excited when I received the body back from LIfepixel who executed the conversion…I immediately took a shot of a flame…hmmm LOL! (Not so good result)

Since then I have experimented, learned, failed and failed again and the process continues. I have always liked night photography and light painting. Light painting involves using a steady camera on a tripod, long exposures and illuminating the subject with incandescent light. It is a very cool technique and produces spectacular images. I then thought, why not Infrared Light Painting? I had never seen anyone do this, so time to figure it out!

With a 720nm converted sensor, one needs to find an appropriate light source for illumination. After a bit of thinking, I discovered that a 850nm light source would be perfect. In order to execute IR light painting, one must be in total darkness such that there is no light contamination from any incandescent sources (not to mention the sun). The 850nm light is barely visible to the human eye so most of the painting is done only by imagining the way the light will behave…weird, yes!

I practiced on objects in the dark, then tried some long exposure “Selfies”. I then had the cooperation of some local artists in Southern California who bought into my madness! We all had fun and learned new and exciting things that neither of us had attempted before!

In the words of a great German writer, Goethe, “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it! Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now”

Here is a link to Deborah’s website…she is an inspiration: http://www.deborahsandidge.com1-49


Endings

Image

One of the most difficult decisions we ever make in life is leaving a long-term relationship (…insert Marriage, Partnership) that just isn’t working. When attempts at repairing and working out issues aren’t working, it may be time to examine moving on. We are emotional creatures, and when our heartstrings are tied to those of another, separating from that person can feel like an act of courage. It is not something most of us will take lightly, and many of us will struggle with our desire to stay in a relationship that is unfulfilling simply in order to avoid that pain. We may question whether the happiness we seek even exists, and we may wonder if we might be wiser to simply settle where we are, making the best of what we have. 

On the one hand, we almost relish the idea that true happiness is not out there so that we can avoid the pain of change. On the other hand, we feel within ourselves a yearning to fulfill our desire for relationships that are vital and healing. Ultimately, most of us will follow this call, because deep within ourselves we know that we deserve to be happy. We all deserve to be happy, no matter where we find ourselves in this moment, and we are all justified in moving, like plants toward the light, in the direction that leads to our greatest fulfillment. First, though, we may need to summon the courage to move on from the relationship that appears to be holding us back. 

Taking the first steps will be hard, but the happiness we find when we have freed ourselves from a situation that is draining our energy will outshine any hardship we undergo to get there. Keeping our eyes trained on the horizon, we begin the work of disentangling ourselves from the relationship that no longer fits. Every step brings us closer to a relationship that will work, and the freedom we need to find the happiness we deserve.

Erik


Motion Blur Tutorial

Using a fast shutter speed will freeze motion in its tracks, and using a slow shutter speed with moving objects will spread the image over time. This creates a sense of motion. There are many methods to achieve this motion blur, such as panning on a moving object, shooting from a moving platform (train, car etc), using the zoom feature while the shutter is open, moving the camera on a still subject, or keeping the camera fixed while the subject is moving. Here we will focus on the latter....Keeping the camera still while using a slow shutter speed will generate a blurring of the moving objects giving a sense of speed. Slowing the shutter even further may exaggerate this and tend towards the abstract. Blur is nice, but keep in mind the basics of composition for all the objects that are not in motion, such as buildings, street signs with the Rule of Thirds in mind. Remember, you are trying to convey a storey and not just execute a technique. Imagine the lights as a river and compose the flow as if it were a landscape photograph. Look for low angles, and perhaps use a wide angle lens to exaggerate the motion as the subjects pass through the frame.I have found that traffic is a great place to start and especially in an Urban environment. Shooting just after sunset provides just the right balance between ambient light and the ability to catch the oncoming or receding lights. When it gets darker, lights become highly saturated and non-moving objects a bit more difficult to expose properly.If you have time, check out the traffic patterns before it gets dark and take a couple of test shots to check your composition. Also, try to get as close to the traffic as possible by looking for traffic islands or other vantage points. This will save some frustration later once you want to execute your shot. Look for some other vantage points as well, so you can quickly relocate if you are not satisfied with your first results.The Set UpYou will need to have a camera that allows control over Aperture and Shutter speeds, or even better a DSLR that you can set to Manual. A good sturdy tripod will help to avoid any unintentional camera movement when the shutter is open to keep the non-moving objects crisp. You can also weight down the tripod with you camera bag hanging it from the center hook to further stabilize it. Using a remote shutter release helps as you will not even have to touch the camera, but if you don’t have one, use a self timer on your camera after you have composed and see the shot emerging.Some DSLRs allow a “Live View” from the back LCD display. This allows you to have a bigger view, but more importantly, locks up the mirror for less shake when you trigger the shutter. If you have a lens hood, use it to avoid unwanted light intrusion.The Camera SettingsHow slow is too slow? It depends on the light and the speed of the subjects. Try a shutter speed of between 3 and 10 seconds and start with an aperture settings of f8 to f16. If you like the blur but it is too dark, open your aperture and take another shot. If the exposure is right, but not much blur, slow down the shutter and compensate with a smaller aperture. I always shoot in RAW, so I can make some adjustments later with my post processing software. Keep your ISO settings low (100) to avoid noise. Also look at the scene and try to judge the temperature of the light. Is it mostly incandescent, neon, sodium vapor and try a few test shots to adjust your White Balance. Often it can be a mix, so some experimentation might be in order.Using a fast shutter speed will freeze motion in its tracks, and using a slow shutter speed with moving objects will spread the image over time. This creates a sense of motion. There are many methods to achieve this motion blur, such as panning on a moving object, shooting from a moving platform (train, car etc), using the zoom feature while the shutter is open, moving the camera on a still subject, or keeping the camera fixed while the subject is moving.

Here we will focus on the latter….Keeping the camera still while using a slow shutter speed will generate a blurring of the moving objects giving a sense of speed. Slowing the shutter even further may exaggerate this and tend towards the abstract. Blur is nice, but keep in mind the basics of composition for all the objects that are not in motion, such as buildings, street signs with the Rule of Thirds in mind. Remember, you are trying to convey a story and not just execute a technique. Imagine the lights as a river and compose the flow as if it were a landscape photograph. Look for low angles, and perhaps use a wide-angle lens to exaggerate the motion as the subjects pass through the frame.

I have found that traffic is a great place to start and especially in an Urban environment. Shooting just after sunset provides just the right balance between ambient light and the ability to catch the oncoming or receding lights. When it gets darker, lights become highly saturated and non-moving objects a bit more difficult to expose properly.If you have time, check out the traffic patterns before it gets dark and take a couple of test shots to check your composition. Also, try to get as close to the traffic as possible by looking for traffic islands or other vantage points. This will save some frustration later once you want to execute your shot. Look for some other vantage points as well, so you can quickly relocate if you are not satisfied with your first results.

The Set Up: You will need to have a camera that allows control over Aperture and Shutter speeds, or even better a DSLR that you can set to Manual. A good sturdy tripod will help to avoid any unintentional camera movement when the shutter is open to keep the non-moving objects crisp. You can also weight down the tripod with you camera bag hanging it from the center hook to further stabilize it. Using a remote shutter release helps as you will not even have to touch the camera, but if you don’t have one, use a self timer on your camera after you have composed and see the shot emerging.Some DSLRs allow a €œLive View€ from the back LCD display. This allows you to have a bigger view, but more importantly, locks up the mirror for less shake when you trigger the shutter. If you have a lens hood, use it to avoid unwanted light intrusion.

The Camera Settings: How slow is too slow? It depends on the light and the speed of the subjects. Try a shutter speed of between 3 and 10 seconds and start with an aperture settings of f8 to f16. If you like the blur but it is too dark, open your aperture and take another shot. If the exposure is right, but not much blur, slow down the shutter and compensate with a smaller aperture. I always shoot in RAW, so I can make some adjustments later with my post processing software. Keep your ISO settings low (100) to avoid noise. Also look at the scene and try to judge the temperature of the light. Is it mostly incandescent, neon, sodium vapor and try a few test shots to adjust your White Balance. Often it can be a mix, so some experimentation might be in order.

Click on the Image to jump to our Photo Website other examples of this technique and for more Free Tutorials and cool Images for purchase or just to have a look around!


Earthly Giants

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky

Click here to purchase a limited edition print

Mountains have always captured our imaginations, calling us to scale their heights,  and to pay homage to their greatness. Mountains can be seen from hundreds of miles away, and if we are lucky enough to be on top of one, we can see great stretches of the surrounding earth. As a result, mountains symbolize vision, the ability to rise above the adjacent lowlands and see beyond our immediate vicinity. From the top of the mountain, we are able to witness life from a new perspective—cities and towns that seem so large when we are in them look tiny. We can take the whole thing in with a single glance, regaining our composure and our sense of proportion as we realize how much bigger this world is than we sometimes remember it to be.

Mountains are almost always considered holy and spiritual places, and the energy at the top of a mountain is undeniably unique. When we are on top of a mountain, it is as if we have ascended to an alternate realm, one in which the air is purer and lighter. Many a human being has climbed to the top of a mountain in order to connect with a higher source of understanding, and many have come back down feeling stronger and wiser. Whenever we are feeling trapped or limited in our vision, a trip to our nearest mountain may be just the cure we need. There’s a reason that mountain views are so highly prized in this world, and it is because, even from a distance, mountains remind us of how small we are, which often comes as a wonderful relief.  Whether we have a mountain view out of our window or just a photograph of a mountain where we see it every day, we can rely on these earthly giants to provide inspiration, vision, and a daily reminder of our humble place in the grand scheme of life.

This is a shot from the top of Gate’s Pass, just outside of Tuscon, Arizona. It was a short hike to this location where we watched the sun setting and the sky slowly changing colors. Equipped with a tripod mounted Nikon D90, we were able to take some very long exposures as things became progressively darker. We lit up this cactus during one such long exposure with a quick burst from a flash. This is a common technique used for portrait shots – one exposes for the background using the normal techniques and then illuminates the subjects using off camera flash. This is very effective as not only does the background remain properly exposed in the image, but the subject tends to pop out! We have used this technique often during Family Portrait sessions on the beach in California during sunsets and invariably, the clients have loved it!


Woof…Woof

Last weekend Erik & I were exploring San Jacinto Mountain just outside of Palm Springs and Erik had some fun playing with the Macro lens… without a tripod….  it was tricky, but he did get a few interesting shots.  One is this up close and personal shot of tree bark- now, if I had not told you what it is- would you have known?

Enjoy!


Solitude

For some reason after the memorial service we held for Melody, when walking past this area on the other side of the breaker wall, this just called to me.  Something about all of the calm water, the rocks going out to the ocean- the site of Diamond Head through the “Vog” and the catamaran just waiting for someone to set sail.  I still just really like the way this photo makes me feel- nothing all that special about it- other than the feeling it gives me.

Enjoy!  KK