Thursday, December 11, 2008


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Most of the time when I go out to shoot I simply photograph what I discover on a given day, rather than setting out determined to find something specific. I make a conscious decision to remain open to what presents itself rather than to work hard at fulfilling a particular agenda.

When I photograph horses—especially when I am shooting for a client, it’s a very different story. First, I normally spend considerable time scouting the location, interviewing the horse owner, and getting acquainted with the horse. The day before the shoot, I plan and dream some of the shots I would like to see. When the dreaming is over and the action begins, my goal is to remain open to surprises that exceed my imagination, and occasionally I am gifted with moments that I never would have hoped for.

Of course, there is a general plan even for my everyday shoots. Perhaps I have an idea of the type of location I am looking for, or I may choose a lens depending on whether I am seeking landscape shots or macro studies. The lens decision may be influenced—at least to some degree—by the time of day, the quality of light, and/or the number of clouds in the sky. Most of time I simply grab my walk-around lens (the 24-105mm f4) and set out to do a lot of seeing and to take pictures. Yesterday’s photo was an exception to the rule.

Early in the day, The Husband mentioned that Buck had just dumped a load of rock dust for the pad behind the house and would be returning soon with another load. The pad that is being put in place will provide a foundation for the mare motel. As I have mentioned once before, I won’t try to justify why the structure is called a mare motel. After all, they don’t vaguely resemble a motel, and there are just as many geldings and stallions using them for shelter as there are mares.

At any rate, having previously watched Buck dump a couple of loads of rock, then road base, and part of the required rock dust, I started thinking that it would be fun to get a photo of the rock dust coming out of the dump truck. With that in mind, I stepped out my normal let’s-see-what-happens mode and began to plan the set-up.

Since I would be shooting in bright light, I would need my ND filter to give me the shutter speed that I needed. I had decided that I wanted to capture the sense of motion caused by the vibration in the back of the trunk, as well as the rock dust flowing toward the ground. The slow shutter speed I would have to use dictated use of my tripod, which I don’t use nearly as often as I should. It turned out that my ND filter was barely strong enough to balance the bright light and while I would have loved to have had one load to use as a test shoot that wasn’t in the plan. This delivery is meant to be the final load. Still, the shot turned out well enough to start me thinking about doing more planned shots. Besides, it was a great excuse to do something completely different and to see Buck’s work more clearly than before.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


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I have tried to concentrate on writing about something else other than this. Just a few days ago, I had a long list of possible topics. But, life throws curve balls. On Sunday evening, we got one of those calls. They are usually rather blunt. There’s no gentle way to lead into some news. This occasion was no exception. The sound of the phone interrupted a quiet, peaceful evening and the news was delivered. “B____ was killed this afternoon.”

There you are cruising along in your little life bubble—content that tomorrow will be pretty much like today, and boom! All those questions are back again. First, you want to question the report. Surely, there is a mistake. Why this person? It couldn’t possibly have been his time. Why one of those truly good guys we never have enough of in our lives? B____ was cheerful, gentle, honest, reliable, generous, and just a joy to be around. He had only recently retired to finally take a deep breath, kick back, and enjoy his life after all those decades of working hard.

I suppose it is some comfort that apparently he avoided a long painful death, and he was doing what he loved to do for relaxation. He was out for a ride on a crisp fall day. B____ was riding a horse he took out periodically because no one else ever rode the gelding and B____ felt sorry for the animal cooped up in that stall all the time. The horse returned safely to the stable, but he came home alone.

There are a lot of heavy hearts and innumerable fond memories of B____'s kindness and good humor. His many friends will miss him. May his family find strength and comfort .

Monday, December 8, 2008

Light! Camera! Action!

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Not long ago, Beau Harbin posted this photo that he took at a local gracery store. He was waiting in the car with the children, while his wife shopped for the groceries. Like Beau, I often take photos of the strangest things, because I am waiting and I have a camera in my hand. Earlier this week—on the night we came back from LA, we stopped to pick up the mail at the Bear Valley Springs Post Office and Police Station.

There were lights in front of me. I was waiting. I had a camera in my hand. Why not see what I would get?

Sunday, December 7, 2008


I don't look at many You Tube videos, but this one that I found at Luminous Landscape today is hilarious.

Disclaimer: All you Nikon shooters, I would find this just as funny if it were aimed at Canon. While I have bought into the Canon system, I am well aware of the the many fine features of Nikon cameras. So, this is in good fun.

Come to think of it, this treatment could be given to innumerable manufacturers of all manner of goods.