Tag Archives: Alabama Hills

Death Valley #2

Below you will find more images from my recent trip to Death Valley.  Enjoy!  Oh and remember to see the images bigger, click on them

The first image is from The Alabama Hills in Lone Pine CA.  I was drawn to the texture on the background rock in shadow and then the gentle curve of the lighter rock in the foreground.

The next image is a result of the foreground and background being in deep shadow due to the clouds.  The sun was lighting up the middle ground.  This composition screamed to be photographed!

The Image below was made in the Salt Basin in Death Valley.  It is the rain water seeping onto the valley floor.  We could see it growing inch by inch…. very slowly.

 

Posted in Abstract, B&W, Cole Thompson, Death Valley, Workshop Also tagged , , , |

Whose Vision Are You Chasing?

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Alabama Hills –  Yes the sky was working this day!

Whose vision are you chasing?  Chuck Kimmerle’s latest post is excellent, stop now and go read it.  No really, go read it, it is essential reading.  Alright, now that you’re back, his post validated what I have been teaching in my new lecture “Discovery and the Creative Process”  The last slide in the presentation is a quote from Emerson, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”  My commentary is typically something like…. in the end we need to be confident in our own vision, in our ability to discover worthy images that make our hearts sing.  We should not be worried about what others think, rather we should be worried about how we feel about what we are creating.  As Chuck says, and I agree, we are human so positive feedback is good and oft times welcome.  BUT, it should not be why we make images.  My friend Donnie Fulks said this when responding to Chucks post, “when I joined 500px, it took me about two days to figure out what kind of image will garner 5,000 views. Yes, I admit that stokes the old ego.”  Then Donnie went on to talk about sharing a “personal favorite image” that only received 50 views let alone any likes.  What now?  Does he abandon his vision?  Does he post only images that will resonate with others and get him to the front page, lots of hits?  Or does he continue to create images that comply with his unique vision?

Might I ask why you photograph?  Is it for the joy of it?  To create images to sell?  To create images so that you can earn a living?  To create images that feed your soul?  To create images that others like that make you feel worthy, stroke your ego?  To create images that remind (memories) you of the journey you are on?  Why?  There is no right or wrong answer, however, I think it instructive to understand why we do what we do.  I photograph because it feeds my soul.  I don’t print many images.  I don’t actively market my images for sale. I love the process of making and processing images.  Yes, I enjoy the positive feedback, however, ultimately I’ve come to a place where I don’t need others approval to like what I produce. 

So, whose vision are you chasing?

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Posted in B&W, Chuck Kimmerle Also tagged , |

Alabama Hills #2

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Posted in B&W Also tagged , , |

The Alabama Hills

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The Alabama Hills are one of my favorite places to photograph. Clouds make for great opportunities there and we sure had it working for us on this particular day. 

Posted in B&W, Landscape

More on Photo Celibacy

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Recently I featured a terrific post written by my tour partner Dan Sniffin about his ideas with regard to photo celibacy which Cole Thompson tries to live by.  Dan’s article was written before we spent the week with Cole and the group.  The tour started with a wonderful lecture by Cole titled “Why B&W.”  In it he spoke not only about B&W but also more about his ideas on photo celibacy.  But what happened after the talk was quite powerful. I asked the group to respond to Cole’s ideas specifically about celibacy. What did they think? It was one of the most stimulating discussions I’ve been part of.  Some agreed, others challenged Cole with good honest questions. Some spoke about the need for a basic understanding of technique. We spoke about technique versus vision.  We spoke about the value of others opinions.  We spoke about rules and guidelines and much more. It was a stimulating hour of discussion!  I’m not sure we resolved anything but we carried the spirit of the discussion with us throughout the week. In fact, I am still pondering on the matter and would like to continue the discussion here.  

I am reading a book suggested by Chuck Kimmerle titled “Why People Photograph” by Robert Adams.  These quotes resonated in lieu of our discussion.

“I really didn’t have much to teach. I didn’t even believe in it. I felt so strongly that everybody had to find their own way. And nobody can teach you your own way…. in terms of art, the only real answer that I know of is to do it.  If you don’t’ do it you don’t know what might happen”  Harry Callahan,1991

“Can photography be taught?  If this mean the history and techniques of the medium, I think it can….. If, however, teaching photography means bringing students to find their own individual photographic visions, I think it is impossible. We would be pretending to offer the students, in Wililam Stafford’s phrase, “a wilderness with a map.”  We can give beginners directions about how to use a compass, we can tell them stories about our exploration of different but possibly analogous geographies, and we can bless them with our caring, but we cannot know the unknown and thus make sure a path to real discovery.” Robert Adams
 
“Even now I don’t like to discuss work that isn’t finished, because until it is revised over the span of a year or several years there are crucial parts that are present only in my minds eye, pieces intended but not yet realized……  “Art is made by the alone for the alone.”” Robert Adams with inserted quote by Luis Barragan.
 
“I knew I didn’t want to study at length contemporaries’ pictures, fearing that their work might come close to mine and blur my vision.”  Robert Adams
What do you think?  Are vision and technique connected?  Can you achieve your vision without some guidelines about good composition?  Can vision be taught?  Does looking at others work influence yours?  

With regard to the blog image from the Alabama Hills. Yes, the recent tour was focused on B&W and my folder of images is 99% B&W, however, that did not stop me from processing this one in color!  Why color versus B&W?  I wish I had a good answer, sometimes color just makes more sense and I run with my gut feeling.  In the dunes, I can’t imagine anything but B&W yet I’ve seen some wonderful images that are color.  So color or B&W becomes a creative choice, there is no right or wrong.  

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Posted in Chuck Kimmerle, Cole Thompson, Color, Creative, Inspiration Also tagged , , , |