A relationship, in the truest sense of the word, means relating to another. Usually when we say that we relate to someone, it is because we’ve found common ground. But part of relating is finding ways to make ideas that seem different come together. So often when we choose relationships, we try to fit another person into our predetermined ideal. When they don’t fit perfectly, we may try to make them over, creating our own vision from the raw material they’ve brought. But unless someone asks for guidance and direction, entering into a relationship with someone we want to change is dishonest. Then our relationship becomes with someone we’ve imagined, and anytime our partner steps outside of that imaginary projection, we will be disappointed. An honest relationship is one in which we accept each other as whole individuals, and find a way to share our life experiences together. Then, whenever we want, we can choose as a couple to give the relationship a makeover by renewing the way we interact.
By wanting to give another person a makeover, we are basically saying we don’t accept them for who they are. If we take a moment to imagine the roles reversed, we can get a sense of how it would feel if our beloved only committed to us because they thought we were, or would become, someone else entirely. In such an environment, we are not relating to each other from a real place, and we are keeping ourselves from being able to learn and grow from the different viewpoints that our partners offer.
If we feel that a change is needed in our relationship, the only makeover that we truly have the power to make is on ourselves. By accepting our partners for exactly who they are—the ideal and the not-so-ideal—we will create an energetic shift in our relationships, and we may find ourselves really appreciating our partners for the first time. Working from within, we determine how we relate to the people and the world around us, and when we can accept it and embrace it all, without conditions, we make every act of relating a positive one .
This shot was taken recently at Huntington Beach in California after a difficult day with my Partner. We had been to this location during happier times and now circled back. There was a certain sense of release and calm this day and yet an undercurrent of unresolved troubles and emotions remained. Technically, this is a 30 second exposure using a Singh-Ray Variable Neutral Density Filter. This allows the waves to smooth out into their ethereal glow….Magic of sorts.
Thank you for your kind visit, Erik
Heartbreak happens to all of us and can wash over us like the in rushing tide. We are soaked with grief, and the overflow is channeled into the body. Loss becomes a physical emptiness with feelings that often cannot be put into words. The idea of healing can seem so enormous that often we don’t even try for fear of further damage. This leaves an enduring mark upon us and by no means does recognizing that this is not permanent dull its sting for it is the sting itself that stimulates healing. The pain is letting us know that we need to pay attention to our emotional selves, to listen to our feelings and be in them fully. There is a saying that time heals all wounds, and this may be true to some degree. Time tends to dull the pain. Most importantly, open yourself to the possibility of loving, trusting, and believing again. When, someday soon, you emerge from the cushion of your grief, you will see that the universe did not cease to be as you nursed your broken heart. You emerge on the other side of the mending, stronger for all you have experienced.
I discovered this fissure in the rock at Sunset Cliff’s in San Diego during a low tide at sunset. It is quite a challenge to get to the beach from the cliffs above, the final descent is down a 30 embankment where a rope has been secured to assist hardy souls getting up and down – a beginners introduction to rappelling of sorts. Having a hefty Manfrotto Tripod and a pack full of photo gear made this even more fun! The waves were quite vigorous this afternoon and this called for a Neutral Density Filter which allowed a 30 second exposure to smooth things out and capture the many tiny waterfalls. I used a Variable ND from Singh-Ray on a 10-20mm lens. Mounting the tripod on a sturdy rock outcrop stabilized the shot with the tide sweeping around its feet (and mine). There are many such geographical features along the coast of Southern California which emerge during the low tide and will be subject of further exploration in the coming years!
Please have a look to our website http://www.kerstenbeck.com for more scenic landscapes and other gems which would look amazing framed and on your wall!
Thanks so much for the visit!
Transformation is a universal constant that affects our lives from the moment we are born until we leave earthly existence behind. At the root of all growth, we find change. Occasionally, change and the circumstances leading up to it are a source of extraordinary joy, but more often than not they provoke feelings of discomfort, fear, or pain. Though many changes are unavoidable, we should not believe that we are subject to the whims of an unpredictable universe. It is our response to those circumstances that will dictate the nature of our experiences. At the heart of every transformation, no matter how chaotic, there is substance. When we no longer resist change and instead regard it as an opportunity to grow, we find that we are far from helpless in the face of it.
Our role as masters of our own destinies is cemented when we choose to make change work in our favor. Yet before we can truly internalize this power, we must accept that we cannot hide from the changes taking place all around us. Existence as we know it will come to an end at one or more points in our lives, making way for some new and perhaps unexpected mode of being. This transformation will take place whether or not we want it to, and so it is up to us to decide whether we will open our eyes to the blessings hidden amidst disorder or close ourselves off from opportunities hiding behind obstacles.
To make change work for you, look constructively at your situation and ask yourself how you can benefit from the transformation that has taken place. As threatening as change can seem, it is often a sign that a new era of your life has begun. If you reevaluate your plans and goals in the days or weeks following a major change, you will discover that you can adapt your ambition to the circumstances before you and even capitalize on these changes. Optimism, enthusiasm, and flexibility will aid you greatly here, as there is nothing to be gained by dwelling on what might have been. Change can hurt in the short-term but, if you are willing to embrace it proactively, its lasting impact will nearly always be physically, spiritually, and intellectually transformative.
This was shot one evening on the beach in Del Mar, California before covering a Press Event for a local Artist. The smooth waves and ripples were achieved by using a very long shutter speed (30 seconds ) and letting the waves wash over the sand. Using a Neutral density filter, the available light was reduced by 6 stops – these filters are great for making silly waterfalls, flowing rivers, musty waves etc. Also, and often overlooked, one can use these filters in strong sunlight to control the exposure to allow portraits to be shot with a wide open aperture. There are many manufacturers of such filters, this one was from Singh-Ray. Lee, B&H and other also make great products – The Big Stopper by Lee is a 10 stop Neutral Density filter, which can allow exposures of several minutes – awesome for moving clouds against fixed foregrounds!
This image is available for purchase on our website http://www.kerstenbeck.com/International/Domestic-Landscape/23603331_JrbKxX#!i=2293421194&k=9X4jJsP&lb=1&s=A
….or just drop by and have a look around!
Like pieces of a puzzle, the many different aspects of your being come together to form the person that you are. You work and play, rest and expend energy, commune with your body and soul, exalt in joy, and feel sorrow. Balance is the state that you achieve when all of the aspects of your life and self are in harmony. Your life force flows in a state of equilibrium because nothing feels out of sync. While balance is necessary to have a satisfying, energetic, and joyful life, only you can determine what balance means to you.
Achieving balance requires that you assess what is important to you. The many demands of modern life can push us to make choices that can put us off-balance and have a detrimental effect on our habits, relationships, health, and career. In creating a balanced lifestyle, you must ascertain how much time and energy you are willing to devote to the different areas of your life. To do so, imagine that your life is a house made up of many rooms. Draw this house, give each part of your life its own room, and size each room according to the amount of importance you assign to that aspect of your life. You can include family, solitude, activities that benefit others, healthy eating, indulgences, exercise and working on self. You may discover that certain elements of your life take up an inordinate amount of time, energy, or effort and leave you with few resources to nurture the other aspects of your life.
A balanced lifestyle is simply a state of being in which one has time and energy for obligations and pleasures, as well as time to live well and in a gratifying way. With its many nuances, balance can be a difficult concept to integrate into your life. Living a balanced existence, however, can help you attain a greater sense of happiness, health, and fulfillment.
Shot at Oceanside, California, for a 2013 Calendar Project for a Corporate Insurance Client, what is interesting is not only the gorgeous sunset about the Fisherman in the background setting off to catch Dinner for his family.
You can see more images at our Photo Website: http://www.kerstenbeck.com Please take some time to look around! …..We appreciate you kind support of our work!
The most important relationship we have in our lives is with our selves. And even though we are the only ones who are present at every moment of our lives—from birth onward—this relationship can be the most difficult one to cultivate. This may be because society places such emphasis on the importance of being in a romantic partnership, even teaching us to set aside our own needs for the needs of another. Until we know ourselves, however, we cannot possibly choose the right relationship to support our mutual growth toward our highest potential. By allowing ourselves to be comfortable with being alone, we can become the people with whom we want to have a relationship.
Perhaps at no other time in history has it been possible for people to survive, and even thrive, while living alone. We can now support ourselves financially, socially, and emotionally without needing a spouse for survival in any of these realms. With this freedom, we can pursue our own interests and create fulfilling partnerships with friends, business partners, creative cohorts, and neighbors. Once we’ve satisfied our needs and created our support system, a mate then becomes someone with whom we can share the bounty of all we’ve created and the beauty we’ve discovered within ourselves.
As we move away from tradition and fall into more natural cycles of being in the world today, we may find that there are times where being alone nourishes us and other periods in which a partnership is best for our growth. We may need to learn to create spaces to be alone within relationships. When we can shift our expectations of our relationships with ourselves and others to opportunities for discovery, we open ourselves to forge new paths and encounter uncharted territory. Being willing to know and love ourselves, and to find what truly makes us feel deeply and strongly, gives us the advantage of being able to attract and choose the right people with whom to share ourselves, whether those relationships fall into recognizable roles or not. Choosing to enjoy being alone allows us to fully explore our most important relationship—the one with our true selves.
The image here is from one of the most beautifully desolate locations in Southern California – The Salton Sea. It is truly unworldly and seemed appropriate for the subject of this post. This was a long exposure taken on the East Shore close to Bombay Beach. The crust in this old pier is from accumulation of salt from the sea over time and extreme temperature fluctuations – the shoreline is not sand, but millions of dead Tilapia, dried and bleached by the hard desert sun!
If you would like to purchase this Limited Addition image just follow this link to our Photography Website http://www.kerstenbeck.com/International/Domestic-Landscape/23603331_JrbKxX#!i=2206685615&k=LT4Mj78&lb=1&s=A
Thanks for stopping by!
Of course Vampires are mythological or folkloric beings who subsist by feeding on the life essence (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures, regardless of whether they are undead or a living person/being. This year, we decided to play a bit on this theme with the help of some wonderful models at a photo shoot in Riverside, California. The stage was the historical downtown area and at an old church. Now why Vampires would like to be there is beyond reason! We found that Vampires come in many shapes and colors like this one blow from Russia, having a tasty Cigar after a good feeding!
Sometimes, they are Vampire Brides, left wanting at the altar!
Teaching the young the tricks of the trade!
Or Just dropping in for a quick snack!
Lighting in outdoors shoots needs to be effective and portable. For most of these scenarios we used a Quantum Q-Flash as Key and an old Vivitar V285 as fill (dropped many times and still kicking). Some light modifiers helped, like a diffuser in front of the Q-Flash. We tend to think of this as Guerilla Lighting. Many on location Photographers used studio strobes, portable batteries and huge beauty lights on rolling stands. This is something perhaps we can do, but in the mean time, basics work just fine until we hone our talents to a new level.
Hope you enjoyed our Halloween Set and have a visit to Kerstenbeck Photographic Art to check out some of our other Projects, maybe even purchase a Print or Digital Download!
For better or worse, many people have been raised to believe that communicating in an honest and open way will not get them what they want. They have learned, instead, to play mind games or go on power trips in the service of their own ego. As with all relationships and situations, we must look within for our difficulties and the solution. By disengaging, being still and going within we can begin to see what has hooked us into the mess in the first place. We will likely find unprocessed emotions that can be released into the stillness we find in meditation. The situation will untangle itself and we will slowly break free. Whenever people come into our lives, they have come to show us something about ourselves that we had not been able to see. When unhealthy people try to hook us into their patterns with mind games and power trips, we can remind ourselves that we have something to learn here and that a part of us is calling out for healing. This takes the focus off the troubling individual and puts it back on us, giving us the opportunity to change the situation from the inside out.
This was shot recently at The Salton Sea just east of San Diego. The area is beautiful for its desolation – you may recall several other posts with this same Harley and Model. Here we wanted to capture the Ghost Rider zipping off into the distance with the thoughts of two women on his mind, the old and the new. The old, he carries with him as a shadow of what once was, the new still fresh in his mind.
To purchase a Digital Download or Print of this unique shot, click http://www.kerstenbeck.com/Things/Things/23228532_wZgQtf#!i=2050290494&k=j7nZKSn and you will go straight to our photo website – you might want to check some of the other Salton Sea pictures while you are there!
Stephen Covey, a former Brigham Young University business professor who blended personal self-help and management theory in a massive best-seller, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” died Monday, July 16th at a hospital in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He was 79. The cause was complications from injuries sustained in a bicycle accident, said Debra Lund, a spokeswoman for the Utah-based FranklinCovey leadership training and consulting company he co-founded. In April, Covey lost control of his bike while riding down a hill in Provo, Utah. He was hospitalized for two months with a head injury, cracked ribs and a partly collapsed lung but “never fully recovered,” Lund said Monday. Covey became a household name when “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” was published in 1989. On best-seller lists for four years, it has sold in excess of 20 million copies in 40 languages and spawned a multimillion-dollar business empire that markets audiotapes, training seminars and organizing aids aimed at improving personal productivity and professional success. I have had the privilege of attending one of his seminars – a truly inspirational awakening. His message is a philosophy for living – he will be missed and his message lives on in the hearts and minds of all who have taken to time to listen and learn!
Whenever we lose something or somebody we love, it is important for us to take time out for ourselves and truly feel the weight of what we are experiencing. Although it may seem that doing so will push us into a deeper state of sadness, truly giving ourselves permission to be with whatever arises actually creates space for us to begin the healing process. This is because the act of grieving is a natural process, allowing us to sort through the range of emotions that are present in our everyday existence. Even though it may sometimes seem easier to involve ourselves in activities that take our minds off of our sadness, this will only make the route to healing more difficult. Unless we listen to where we are in the moment, the emotions we experience will only grow in intensity, and our feelings will manifest themselves in more powerful and less comfortable ways. Once we consciously acknowledge that these emotions are present, however, we are more able to soothe the sorrow of the moment. When we allow ourselves to accept and deal with our loss fully, we will then be able to continue our life’s journey with a much more positive and accepting outlook. This will make it easier for us to see that our grief is ephemeral and, just like our moments of happiness, it will also come to pass.
Somehow this lone bench, overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Coronado seemed appropriate.
Living in the moment: It is the basis of a many philosophical movements and embraced by almost every spiritual practice. It is both simplistic and complex in concept; living in the moment is about just being. Being fully present in every situation, body, mind, and soul, so that you experience everything you do totally and absolutely. In those moments when you engage yourself completely, nothing in the future exists – and nothing in the past is holding you back. While it might be a challenge to always be present, you can start small. Be aware of your surroundings. Notice the color of flowers, the scent of rain, even a leaf on the sidewalk. Pay attention to what is happening at every moment, but don’t fight what is. After all, there’s nothing you can do about it anyway. By simply accepting each moment as if you have chosen it, you’ll be surprised at what the day has to offer you.
Photographers tend to try to exercise this with every shot they take, watching the scene, gauging the light, composing the image,and most importantly slowing down and enjoying the moment. It is amazing what happens when you forcibly slow down the shooting process and take some time to breathe – sometimes using a tripod helps, even though you may not need one. One has to lug it around, set it up, make adjustments….and in the mean time, the vision for the shot formulates… slowly. The image today was taken at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California. This is the only beach where people can take their canine buddies to play in the sand and the surf. Using a 70-200mm f2.8 Nikkor lens and shooting wide open (full aperture) allowed us a discreet distance to our subject and her friend and at the same time gave a delicious blur to the background. Shooting wide open is fantastic for portraits or other subjects where you don’t want the main subject to be distracted by a busy background. There is a tranquility to this shot as the puppy watches the action on the beach from a safe spot.
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. 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 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 the energy 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. 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.
You may recognize this shot of Yosemite National Park – it is what you see when emerging from the long, dark tunnel as you drive into the valley. It is appropriately called, The Tunnel View. This is an extremely popular spot for everyone and their dog to stop and take a snapshot, so if you have the opportunity to go there, use a bit of caution as many vehicles execute unexpected maneuvers once seeing this spectacular vista upon emerging from the tunnel. In our opinion, the best time to visit would be early spring, late fall, or even better, during the winter…the summer is peak tourist season and this place gets somewhat congested. Make sure to take along a sturdy tripod, a variety of lenses and a compass – you want to be aware of where the sun is rising and setting as this will make all the difference in your shots.
Our lives are defined by the decisions we make each day whether we are selecting a restaurant or considering a cross-country move, we shape our lives. The decision-making process can be empowering, allowing us to enjoy the benefits of self-determination. Yet it can also be a source of anxiety because decisions force us to face the possibility of dissatisfaction and inner conflict. As a result, many of us opt to avoid making decisions by allowing others to make them for us. We consequently turn our power over to spouses, relatives, friends, and colleagues, granting them the stewardship of our lives that is ours by right. Though the decisions we must make are often difficult, we grow more self-sufficient and secure each time we trust ourselves enough to choose. Ultimately, only you can know how the options before you will impact your daily life and your long-term well-being. Within you lies the power to competently weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each selection. Even if you feel incapable of making a decision, your inner wisdom and your intuitive mind will give you sound counsel if you have faith in yourself. Try to come to your own conclusions before seeking the guidance of others, and even then, treat their suggestions as supplementary information rather than votes to be tallied. When your choices are your own, you will be more likely to accept and be satisfied with the outcome of those choices. Your decisions will be a pure reflection of your desires, your creativity, your awareness, and your power. Since you understand that you must live with and take responsibility for your decisions, you will likely exercise great care when coming to conclusions.
This was shot was taken at The California State Railroad Museum. The museum features 21 restored locomotives and railroad cars, some dating back to 1862. The “Sierra Scene” shows a large scale mockup of a construction scene high in the Sierra Nevada representing Donner Pass circa 1867, featuring the locomotive Gov. Stanford. Other exhibits show how the influence of railroads changed American society, influencing travel, commerce and daily life, as well as the lives of railroaders and the diversity of people who work on railroads. Changing exhibits featuring photography, ephemera, and artifacts from the museum’s collection, add depth and incidental information to the overall story of railroad history. The Museum has an extensive educational program for elementary students from across the region to help them learn about railroad history using re-enactments, costumed docents, and including train and handcar rides.
We all have days when we are faced with chores, errands, or responsibilities that we don’t want to do. At times like these, it’s easy to get into a bad mood and stay in one as we tackle these tasks. However, given the fact that our bad mood will not change the fact that we have to do these things, and will most likely make things worse, we could also try to shift our attitude. Many wise people have pointed out that it is not so much what we do as it is how we do it that makes the difference in our lives. It’s important when we’re facing something that’s really hard for us, whether it’s doing taxes, paying bills, or visiting a challenging relative, that we lovingly support ourselves through the process. The more supported we feel, the easier it is to open our minds to the idea that we could change our way of looking at the situation. In truth, most of the chores we don’t like doing are intimately intertwined with our blessings. When we remember this, we feel gratitude, which makes it hard to stay in a dark mood. We can shift our attitude by considering how much we love our home as we clean it and how lucky we are to have a roof over our head. Any task can be transformed from a burden to a necessary aspect of caring for something we love. All we have to do is shift our perspective, and our attitude follows shortly behind.
This wonderful window scene was shot at The Prager Winery in Napa, California. Prager is a purveyor of some very fine Ports and the atmosphere in the testing room is just jubilant. This window has not been dusted for many years if not decades and has grown home to many a critter. The owner, Peter, mentioned that he considered this shot to be one of the best he has ever seen – this is a high compliment coming from someone who sees this every day! We were flattered beyond measure! We used a Manfrotto Tripod to stabilize the Nikon D90 (ISO200, f3.5, 1/8s) as the room was very dark and we did not want to ruin the subtle natural light coming from the cobwebby windows. Someone recently mentioned that this reminded them of an old officer’s quarters in a Pirate vessel….what do you think?
Throughout our lives, we are taught to value speed and getting things done quickly. We learn that doing is more valuable than merely being, and that making the most of life is a matter of forging ahead at a hurried pace. Yet as we lurch forward in search of some elusive sense of fulfillment, we find ourselves feeling increasingly harried and disconnected. More importantly, we fail to notice the simple beauty of living. When we learn to slow down, we rediscover the significance of seemingly inconsequential aspects of life …time to indulge our curiosity, to enjoy the moment, to appreciate worldly wonders, to sit and think, to connect with others, and to explore our inner landscapes more fully. Conducting ourselves at a slower pace enables us to be selective in how we spend our time and to fully appreciate each passing moment. This is especially true in Photography!
How it was Done: We recently visited The Salton Sea in the desert east of San Diego with some friends, models and a stunning Harley-Davidson motorcycle for some photographic fun. As the sun set, things got dark really fast and we had just one more shot in mind. This shot involved the rider and Harley driving slowly in front of the two models and down the long stretch of road as the camera’s shutter remained open. The idea was that the motion blur of the rider and tail lights would lend a stark and spooky contrast to the two stationary models. To execute this we had to work fast as it get pitch black in the desert after sunset! A Nikon D7000 with a cabled shutter release was set up on a very stable Manfrotto Tripod and set low to the ground. The camera was adjusted manually for a shutter speed of 3 seconds, aperture of f8, ISO100 and focussed on the models with the help of some flashlights. The autofocus was then turned off (the camera would try to track the moving bike as it passed). The rider started his run and just as he passed the camera’s viewing angle, the shutter was tripped. As the driver approached the models, the scene was briefly lit up by a Nikon SB600 Speedlight. The light from the bike’s headlamp continued to light up the road in the distance. These types of shots take a bit of forethought and setup, but when they come to fruition are truly rewarding and often surprising!
There are times when our whole world seems to be falling apart around us, and we are not sure what to hold onto anymore. Sometimes our relationships crumble and sometimes it’s our physical environment. At other times, we can’t put our finger on it, but we feel as if all the walls have fallen down around us and we are standing with nothing to lean on, exposed and vulnerable. These are the times in our lives when we are given an opportunity to see where we have established our sense of identity, safety, and well-being. And while it is perfectly natural and part of our process to locate our sense of self in externals, any time those external factors shift, we have an opportunity to rediscover and move closer to our core, which is the only truly safe place to call home. The core of our being is not affected by the shifting winds of circumstance or subject to the cycles of change that govern physical reality. We can cling to this core when things around us are falling apart, knowing that an inexhaustible light shines from within ourselves. Times of external darkness can be a great gift in that they provide an opportunity to remember this inner light that shines regardless of the circumstances of our lives.
This was shot at the east coast of The Salton Sea on the shores of Bombay Beach. Several decades ago, this area was a thriving Mecca for Hollywood‘s “Rich and Famous” and a very popular Resort Town for people who enjoy water skiing, sport fishing and otherwise soaking in the desert sun. Over the years, popularity has faded and the area has fallen into a state of decay. For a Photographer, this presents many wonderfully dramatic opportunities with old building, piers, machines, cars and the like. The best time to visit this area is in the winter when the temperatures are not quite as scorching and there is the possibility of storm clouds and spectacular sunsets. Using long exposure times on shots like this will smooth out the surface of the water to great effect. Certainly this is a go-to place for the curious and the intrepid Photographer.
Some SPHINXOLOGY to start: Along with the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Sphinx is one of the greatest enigmas and the most studied ancient monument of mankind’s history. The whole complex of Giza, composed of the Sphinx, the Great Pyramid, other pyramids, and distinct structures, definitely holds the key to understanding advanced past civilizations. There is no other place teeming with so many researchers looking into the mysteries of mankind’s past, which may cause history to be rewritten. Now there are basically two schools of thoughts concerning the origin, age, and the builder of the Sphinx in Egypt. The Egyptologists believe that Pharaoh Khafre built the Sphinx around 2500 B.C., which is about the 4th dynasty. This theory makes the Sphinx about 5,000 years old according to Dr. Zahi Hawass, Director of Giza Saqqara of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization.
Now the other school of thought does not believe that the Egyptians built the Sphinx, but think that it was built by an advanced civilization 8,000 to 10,000 B.C. This school of thought has been around for hundreds of years, but new findings give it more credibility. The most popular myth was that “…the Sphinx was the true portal [entrance] of the Great Pyramid” and “The Great Sphinx of Gizeh served as the entrance to the sacred subterranean chambers [of the Great Pyramid] in which the trials of the initiate were to be undergone.” Some claim that sand and rubbish covered a bronze door in the forelegs of the Sphinx that the Magi sprung open. Now various diggings around the Great Pyramid have not verified any of these basic claims about the Sphinx.The consensus about the Sphinx is that some priestly class erected it for some symbolical purpose. It is clear from the granite Stela, inscription by Pharaoh Thutmosis IV of the Fourth Dynasty, that many of previous eras believe that there is something magical about this Sphinx.
This striking image was shot at The San Diego County Fair as part of a series on night photography, specifically on capturing the excitement and motion of the whirling rides. We will be publishing a “How to” article shortly detailing the Tips and Tricks for night photography – stay tuned, or better yet, subscribe to the blog! Here, this Sphinx ride would rock eager passengers through 180 degrees of motion – we tried to capture this dynamic in this shot…what do you think?
The wondrous displays of color that define the world around us are manifestations of light and, as such, each possesses a unique frequency. The attraction we feel to certain colors is not a matter of pure chance. It is easy to overlook the colors that saturate our personal and professional environments. Yet these, whether in the form of the paint on our walls or the clothing we wear, can influence our thoughts, behaviors, and feelings to an extraordinary degree. The colors we like best are often those that we need most in our lives, and there are many ways we can utilize them. Basking under a colored lightbulb or gazing at an area of color can stimulate or calm us depending on the color we choose. For example, red stimulates the brain, circulatory systems, giving us an energy boost, while blue acts to soothe the body and mind. Human beings evolved to delight in vivid sunsets and rainbows, to enjoy the sensations awakened by particularly eye-catching color, and to decorate our spaces and ourselves with bright colors. In essence, we evolved to love the light because of its harmonizing influence on every aspect of the self.
Shooting Tips: This is a picture taken at the Del Mar Fairgrounds of their amazing Ferris Wheel in motion. We mounted our trusty Nikon D7000 on a tripod and equipped it with a 10-20mm Sigma wide-angle lens. Finding a good vantage point was somewhat challenging – it had to be out of traffic and still capture the immensity of the spinning wheel. You can gauge the size by some of the people on the foreground. Setting the camera to Manual Mode, the aperture was adjusted to f13 and then the shutter speed was varied depending on the speed of the wheel and the effect we were trying to achieve, in this case it was 1 second. The camera ISO was set to 100 for minimum “grain” and White Balance set to Auto (primarily due to the various temperatures of the lights all around) and as always, camera RAW (or NEFF for Nikon shooters) was used so that small non-destructive adjustments could be made later. To avoid camera shake during the 1 second exposure, a wired remote shutter release was used – this way you don’t have to physically depress the shutter (and cause the camera to move resulting in a blurred or even jerky image). Much of these types of shots are the result of experimentation since there are so many variables of light and motion tempered with a bit of experience. It is a good idea to preview the images as they are shot, look at your Histogram to ensure that highlights are not overexposed and make adjustments on the fly…and of course, have fun!
The idea that our best isn’t good enough…how often do you hear that and how much sense does it really make? Your best is always good enough, because it comes from you, and you are always good enough provided you are giving your best. You may not be able to deliver someone else’s idea of the best, but the good news is that’s not your burden. You only need to fulfill your own best potential, and as long as you remain true to that calling, and always do your best to fulfill your purpose, you don’t need to expect anything more from yourself. It’s easy to get tangled up with the idea of trying to be the best—the best parent, the best employee, the best child, or best friend. If we try to be the best, we run the risk of short-circuiting our originality because we are striving to fit into someone else’s vision of success. On another note, there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve, but examining where this feeling comes from is important because wanting to be better than others is our ego coming into play. Letting go of the tendency to hold ourselves up to other people’s standards, and letting go of the belief that we need to compete and win, doesn’t mean we don’t believe in doing the best job we can. We always strive to do our best, because when we do we create a life free of regret, knowing we have performed to the best of our ability. This allows us to feel great personal satisfaction in all of our efforts, regardless of how others perceive the outcome.
This dramatic image was shot at the Del Mar Racetrack in San Diego, California. While we were not right onto of this horse and jockey, we did have the benefit of using a long telephoto lens, specifically the Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8. We added a 2x doubler and zoomed in even farther. This makes for a heavy and hard to handle combination, so we mounted the Nikon D7000 along with the zoom and doubler on a monopod and found our way close to the finish line (having cool looking gear often helps to convince Security folks that you have some importance). Shooting multiple frames per second and panning the action, or having the focus on the subject and moving the camera and lens to follow, allowed us to capture this action. Panning takes some practice, but is really helpful for any action scene, especially when it is running at 90 degrees to the camera. Having a monopod allows for quick swiveling to follow the action and it is compact as not to disturb others in the area. You might watch photographers at NFL games, they almost all have their massive lenses supported by monopods – they are inexpensive, portable and allow very reasonable stability, even for portrait sessions!
Habit #7 in Steven Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is called “Sharpen the Saw.” Covey uses the story of a woodcutter who is furiously sawing trees. He wonders to himself why it is such hard work and why it is taking so long. An observer happens across the scene (noticing the exhausted woodcutter and the smoke coming from his blade from friction) and casually asks, “When was the last time your sharpened your saw?”, to which the woodcutter says, “I’m too busy cutting these darned trees to sharpen a dumb saw!” (more or less)
So what does this really mean?
If you are working your tail off and your productivity begins to drop off, you might think…time for a vacation! This is not sharpening the saw, it is putting down the dull saw to be picked up when you get back from your getaway. In order to sharpen your saw you should engage in a renewal activity such as exercise, healthy eating, education and seminars, learning a new skill, meditatation, maybe writing a journal or just having a long meaningful talk with someone. Are your blades (knowledge, body, mind, motivation, spirit) still honed to perfection? If not, find the ones that are dull and take some time to sharpen them!
This is from our favourite rusty haunt, Bernardo Winery. The blade here was used for ripping lumber and was attached to a series of gears and pulleys which were likely driven by a linkage to tractor. Using a wide-angle lens and a low perspective, the scale of the blade is accentuated. Compositionally, the center mounting point is placed in the lower right third of the frame (Rule of Thirds). One can even get trickier and use the rules of Fibonacci Composition, which in itself is rather fascinating! Photographers, look up Fibonacci and sharpen up your compositions!
It is good to remember that one of our goals in life is to not be perfect. If life is about experimenting, experiencing, and learning, then to be imperfect is a prerequisite. Life becomes much more interesting once we let go of our quest for perfection and aspire for imperfection instead. This doesn’t mean that we don’t strive to be our best, but to simply accept that there is no such thing as perfection. Perfection may happen in a moment, but it will not last because it is an impermanent state.
In spite of this, many of us are in the habit of trying to be perfect. One way to ease ourselves out of this tendency is to look at our lives and notice that no one is judging us to see whether or not we are perfect. Sometimes, perfectionism is a holdover from our childhood—an ideal we inherited from a demanding parent. Now that we are the adults, we can choose to let go of the need to perform for someone else’s approval. Similarly, we can choose to experience the universe as a place where we are free to be imperfect, where we can begin to take ourselves less seriously and have more fun.
This is another rusty gem from the grounds of Bernardo Winery – oh, did we mention that they have spectacular vintages as well? Rusty things are just fun to explore and shoot. Here we used a Nikkor 105mm fixed focal length lens (that also doubles as a Macro) allowing us to get up close and personal with our favourite form of oxidation. Having a tripod for Macro work is not a luxury but absolutely essential. The closer one gets, the more critical the focussing becomes and hence, the stability of the camera. In the “old days” of SLR cameras and film, viewfinders often had split image focussing and other optical aides to get that tack sharp image. Now, we always take off the Auto-Focus feature and focus by eye and forget about the camera making choices for us. Also, using a remote shutter release, wired or infra-red, helps minimize vibrations when releasing the shutter. If you want even less potential vibration, you can use the Mirror-Up feature after composing and before shooting (yes, the movement of the mirror to expose the sensor causes the camera to shake).
We all experience frustrations each and every day. Our expectations go unmet, our plans blocked, our wishes go unfulfilled…we discover that our lives are subject to forces beyond our control. The tension that permeates our bodies and minds when we are late for an event, interrupted at work, or sitting in traffic can interfere with our well-being in profound ways. The small frustrations and irritations wield such power over us because they rob us of the illusion of control. However, every problem is a potential teacher—a confusing situation is an opportunity to practice mindfulness, and difficult people provide us with opportunities to display compassion. There is a natural human tendency to invest copious amounts of emotional energy in minor frustrations in order to avoid confronting those often more complex issues on our plates. It is only when we let the little stuff go that we discover that the big stuff is not really so devastating after all.
This image was shot at Bernardo Winery in San Diego, California. The number of rusty vehicles, farm contraptions and other curious objects can keep a photographer occupied all day! The Winery is host to many Weddings and Engagement Parties and is an excellent venue for couples portraits or some fun Vintage Photo sessions! Taken with a Nikon D90 DSLR equipped with a 10-20mm wide-angle lens, it was important to maintain stability, even with reasonably fast shutter speeds. For this, we almost always use a tripod. Not only does this prevent the camera from inadvertently moving during shutter release, but it forces the photographer to slow down and compose the vision.
PS “Dagnabit” a mild expression of frustration uttered for polite company from the convolution of “God Damn It”
When we get caught up in our packed schedules and obligations, weeks can go by without us taking time to look at the bigger picture of our lives and we run the risk of going through our precious days on this runaway train. Taking time to view the bigger picture, asking ourselves if we are happy with the course we are on and making adjustments, puts us back in the driver’s seat where we belong. When we take responsibility for charting our own course in life, we may well go in an entirely different direction from the one supposedly preordained for us. This can be uncomfortable in the short-term, but in the long-term it is much worse to imagine living this precious life without ever taking back the wheel.
This was shot at Bernardo Wineries in San Diego, California. This Winery has a tasty selection of Boutique vintages as well as a scrumptuous variety of rusty machines, farm implements and other eye candy for the willing photographer. This is also a great place to shoot Engagement or even Trash the Dress post Wedding pictures. Always check with the owners before showing up with your Cast and Crew – they are very helpful and accommodating!
Life is a cyclical journey through our issues and processes, and this is why things that are technically new often seem very familiar. Whenever we work to release a habit, change a pattern, or overcome a fear, we often encounter that issue one last time, even after we thought we had conquered it. When this happens, we feel defeated or frustrated that after all our hard work it has come around again to confront us. However, the reappearance of a pattern, habit, or fear, is often a sign that we have come full circle, and that if we can maintain our resolve through one last test, we will achieve a new level of mastery in our lives. When we come full circle, there is often the feeling that we have arrived in a familiar place, but now we ourselves are somehow different. We know that we can handle challenges that seemed insurmountable when we began our journey, and there is the feeling that we might be ready to take on some new aspect of the old problem. We feel empowered and courageous to have taken on the challenge of stopping a pattern, releasing a habit, or overcoming a fear, and to have succeeded. At times like these, we deserve a moment of rest and self-congratulation before we move on to the next challenge.
We found this gorgeous antique carousel after exploring underneath the pier at Santa Monica, California. It was just being loaded with excited children and parents as we stepped in to have a look. Quickly realizing the potential for some Motion Blur Photography, we set up our cameras for low shutter speeds and found solid perches against the handrail. As the carousel began to spin, we experimented with varying the time that the shutter was open until we achieved the desired effect. As soon as we were done, an attendant approached and informed us that photography was prohibited here unless we had a license from City Hall which we could apply for Monday through Thursday. There are many places where photographers are not welcome to use tripods, but this was the first time where just resting the camera on a handrail seemed to be of offense.
Some people seem called to help others, responding to the needs of family members, strangers, or even animals with a selflessness that is truly impressive. Often, these people appear to have very few needs of their own focusing their lives on rescuing and helping others. While there are a few people who are truly able to sustain this giving lifestyle, the vast majority have needs that lie beneath the surface, unmet and often unseen. Perhaps, their motivation to help others may be an extension of a deep desire to heal part of themselves that is starving for the kind of love and attention they dole out selflessly to those around them on a daily basis. Sometimes, they are unable to give themselves the love they need and so they give it to others. This does not mean that they are not meant to help others, but it does mean that they would do well to turn some of that helping energy within. One problem with the rescuer model is that the individual can get stuck in the role, always living in crisis mode at the expense of inner peace and personal growth. Until the person resolves their own inner dramas, they play them out in their relationships with others, are drawn to those who need them. In the worst-case scenario, they enable the other person’s dilemma by not knowing when to stop playing the rescuer and allow the person to figure it out on their own. However, if the rescuer finds the strength to turn within and face the needy aspects of their own psyche, he or she can become a model of empowerment and a true source of strength in the world.
We found this lone life guard rescue craft while exploring underneath a pair in Santa Monica, California. We seem to have an affinity to go underneath piers to explore the dark, damp, salty realms and more than often we find wonderful treasures of textures, colors, smells – or sometimes just fascinating geometries. It was impossible not to notice this bright red vessel which provided a powerful focal point to this image. In the distance, there is a compelling myriad of posts vanishing into the bright light of the day – perhaps symbolic of the complexities and uncertainties which lie before us. Taken with a tripod mounted Nikon D90, using a small lens aperture (great depth of field or focus) and slow shutter speed (more light) allowed us to capture the details of the boat and surrounding sand as well as bring to light the beauty of the underbelly of this iconic pier.
The time we are blessed with is limited and tends to be used up all too quickly, so how we use that time is one of the most important decisions we make. It is far too easy to put off until tomorrow what we are dreaming of today. Our hectic daily pace affords us an easy out; we shelve our aspirations so we can cope more effectively with the challenges of the present, in order to have more time and leisure to realize our dreams in the future. Or we tell ourselves that we will chase our dreams someday once we have accomplished other lesser goals. In truth, it is our fear that keeps us from seeking fulfillment in the here and now—because we view failure as a possibility, our reasons for delaying our inevitable success seem sound and rational. If we ask ourselves what we are really waiting for, however, we discover that there is no truly compelling reason why we should put off the pursuit of the dreams that sustain us. All the joy, passion, and contentment you can envision can be yours right now, rather than in some far-flung point in time. You need only remind yourself that there is nothing standing between you and fulfillment if you decide that today is the day you will take your destiny into your hands.
This was shot at Huntington Beach in California. We were exploring the wondrous undersides of this pier – we tend to do that searching for a good opportunity for some dramatic High Dynamic Range shots (HDR). When we found what we were looking for and were about to head off to our next destination, we spotted this lone surfer, patiently waiting for The Perfect Wave.