Bristlecone Pine

Among the Ancients

I took enough shots of the trees in the White Mountains that I figured they deserved to be shown on their own. On Thanksgiving, I drove out of the Owens River Valley and back up into the White Mountains to seek out the groves of Bristlecone Pine trees. The long and winding road provided an amazing view of the valley as well as the Sierras, however it was the texture and coloration of the ancient trees that intrigued me most. One tree in particular had great lighting and kept me occupied for a good while as I wished yet again that I’d brought a tripod…

Eastern Sierra

Arch Nemesis

I just noticed that I didn’t post anything for the month of November, however, this may also be one of my last posts of the year. I’ll return with a wrap up of the 52 Week Photo Project that has spanned this past year and add the whole collection of photos as a separate gallery. Now, I just spent ten days traveling and climbing in the Eastern Sierra of California and wished most every day that I had brought a tripod or even just a Gorilla pod. I made due with using rocks, the ground, picnic tables, or going handheld, although with the low temps I was less inclined to “play” after dark for more elaborate night shots. Even so, I took around 700 photos – most of which will never be seen – and spent a good amount of time sorting through them.

It turns out that most of my favorites were HDR. With the exception of sunrise and sunset, lighting throughout the day was harsh and there wasn’t much shade to be found. I think working with bad lighting can boost creativity although it can also be frustrating. Everything just started to feel sun-blasted, so then I started using the sun for flare or for sunbursts. I wanted color and it’s not like I had the time to wait for the perfect light or even for a cloud to appear. I also started being very picky about compositions with the wide angle lens. With such giant scenery and wide open spaces, it’s easy to take a photo of nothing. I was consciously searching for compositions with foreground and mid-ground interest. When all else failed or the situation arose where I could just take a normal shot, I happily did. The photo of the dog was shot underexposed as he lay panting in the sun.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Eastern Sierra photos, a trip to up into the Bristlecone Pines.

Late Season Foliage

Wildey Path

I drove by Pine Grove Cemetery in Manchester, NH and felt obliged to stop. I hadn’t explored beyond the pond and bridges and numerous people were walking along the twisting, narrow roads. Yellow, orange, and red leaves were being backlit by the sun further south. Another photographer was even down by the bridges shooting a client or friend. I realized that I didn’t have a wide angle lens on me other than a fisheye, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me, so I spent an hour on a quick walk. A few of the resulting images are in the gallery below…


The other photos are part of the 52 Week Photo Project. Themes for the past couple of weeks were “Brown” and “Fall” and this week will be “Spooky” considering it’s Halloween and all. My image for Fall involved savage gourds attacking somebody, which is a reference to a story I wrote years ago. My original idea for Brown was to stuff myself into a cardboard box, but instead I grabbed a few brown objects and created something eerie with a couple of flashes. The Spooky image that’s here kind of reminds me of Psycho while the outtake version is of Floyd’s head being served to a cat. It almost seems comical instead of spooky so I trashed it.

South Willow Animal Hospital Open House

The Goofy Shot

This past weekend, October 13th, the South Willow Animal Hospital in Manchester, NH hosted an open house to show off their new facilities. They featured a pet Halloween costume contest, a raffle, treats from Baked, and goodie bags for everyone that walked in the door. I was set up taking pet portraits, or as it turned out, quick family portraits with the proceeds going to charity. It was a bit chilly to start the day, but the sun was warm, the skies were blue, and the wind eventually died down. Session length was far from normal and not a single one of them topped five minutes. In the end, after some of the staff had left, the girls asked for a group photo. A few of the shots are included below. A big Thank You goes out to everyone who dropped in!

Interiors

SWAHAfter

With the exception of my bizaarchitecture photos, I haven’t spent much time looking at interiors through a lens. Unlike my other twisted images, my intention here was to at least attempt to present a place as it is, without distortion or much post processing along the lines of real estate photographs. The vertical lines needed to stay straight. Harsh contrast needed to be tamed. Clutter needed to be controlled, although in this case, I had very little control. I started by finding the best angle, one that made the lobby look large, that showed off the front counter and the windows, and immediately I cleaned off the counter. Ideally, the flower pots would have also been moved, along with the pictures, scale and carpet to clean up the view. It would be difficult to clean up the right side of the frame behind the desk. I fired off a quick set of bracketed shots and that was it. Quick and dirty. I pulled them up in Lightroom to try a few different options for processing, and the results are in the gallery below. The first image, a normal exposure, shows the brightness of the window and the darker interior. A quick foray into HDR yielded a result that didn’t feel natural, and a fusion of two images came out flat and dingy. Fusion:Intensive gave me something I could work with, and with a quick stacking of images to fix a few things via masking, I wound up with something decent. Roll over the image below to see a comparison of the original to the final image.

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