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Fields of Gold

FIelds of Gold
(please click to view on black // canon rebel xsi, canon 18-55mm f/3.5, 18mm, f/10, 1/160th, iso 200 // buy print)

I was going through some old images from 2010 this weekend and while my processing methods back then horrify me, I found some RAW files that were actually pretty good shots and just needed to be re-edited with the way I do things now.

The above photograph was taken with my first DSLR…a Canon Rebel XSi, plus the kit lens that came with it. I merged two photos to get the panorama. It was such a stunning sight that afternoon. I don’t remember ever seeing it like that before or since. It must have rained a lot that winter, because the gold wildflowers were just everywhere. I had Lyla with me (around 1 and 1/2 at the time) and she was in awe of the flowers. It was also awesome to get some beautiful clouds to complete the scene.

 

 

Hinged

Hinged - Urban Phoenix

(click to see on black // canon rebel xsi, canon 50mm 1.4, f/2.5, iso 100 // buy print)

Stormchasing can be an unstoppable beast during the summer, where I feel like I’m non-stop on the road or processing weather photos. It’s actually been a nice break the past 4-5 days to have nothing going on almost anywhere in the state. I’ve gotten some other projects started, made headway in other areas that need addressing and have just relaxed a bit around home with the family.

Although yesterday when I picked my daughter up from daycare she said “Now we go stormchasing daddy!

Ugh, hated to disappoint her. And me. Can’t stormchase with no storms little one!

I actually processed this image back a few months ago when I needed to do something different than lightning and dark clouds. This was from a photowalk back on December 29th of last year around downtown Phoenix. I made it a goal that day to stick with my 50mm 1.4 and just shoot what I saw with it. I love the little details on the old buildings and warehouses in the southern area of downtown.

I always liked this old hinged panel and was glad I finally went back and brought it to life.

(oh yeah, countdown to Discovery’s Storm Chasers premiere is now…5 days)

Downpour on the San Tans

San Tan Downpour - Arizona

(click, see larger, dark background, you get the idea)

It’s kind of interesting if you ever go back to just wipe out old RAW files that you realize you’ll never, ever process, so may as well just recover some disk space. While I do usually end up deleting a ton of files, sometimes you discover those that you just plain forgot about. And at the same time, you may have improved your processing techniques enough that suddenly an image that didn’t “move” you before, suddenly speaks to you in a new way.

This shot is from waaaay back on August 17th, 2010, a full year and a handful of days ago. I had been lucky enough to capture this isolated thunderstorm dropping rain over the San Tan Mountains, which were close neighbors of mine until we moved downtown last October.

Snagging moments like this one are up there with my favorites…like lightning, or someday a tornadic supercell. That lonely, solitary storm dropping a heap of rain on a single spot in the desert. It’s kind of what the monsoons are all about out here. Sure, we can get walls of storms that are miles and miles wide…but a lot of the time it’s hit or miss.

(canon rebel xsi, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/14, iso 100, 1/50th – buy print)

Snow on the Four Peaks

Snow on the Four Peaks Arizona

Back on the very last day of December, I posted a picture of the Four Peaks mountain range fresh after a snow storm hit them. You can see that one below. I didn’t process the one above for awhile after that, but eventually got around to working on it. I’m glad I did because it ended up being kind of cool for me to really see how fast things can change when viewing a landscape.

The top photo occurred exactly 7 minutes and 42 seconds after the one below. I moved spots between the two captures…going lower I believe for the top one.

It’s kind of amazing to see this back on frames instead of what you saw with your eyes. While I  totally witnessed this and knew what was happening…it’s hard to top a before and after pair of images.

Oh, and if I haven’t said it before…man I love Arizona.

(top – exif: canon rebel xsi, canon 50mm 1.4, f/14, iso 100) (bottom – exif: canon rebel xsi, canon 50mm 1.4, f/16, iso 100)

Snow on the Four Peaks Arizona

 

A chair at the dog track

A chair at the black canyon dog track

(Click to see the photo larger, almost like you’re sitting in that chair)

I don’t know when the last time was that I posted an image from the dog track visit we did in the final week of December, but believe it or not, I still have a few shots left to show eventually! If you’ve missed any of the series or would like to look back, click here for the “dog track” tag.

This chair of course was just sitting there waiting to be photographed. I’m sure at some point it was moved out to this spot to either be sat on or to be a prop for someone else’s photography. I think it’s way interesting at a place like this to wonder a bit about why things are where they are. One of my buddies with me on this trip kept pointing out objects that were different from the time he was there before. In fact, a giant ticket booth was sitting in the middle of the main building, definitely a new thing. Who dragged that booth into here? The owner looking to dump stuff? A photographer wanting something interesting for a backdrop?

Anyways, I”ll always remember back fondly on the three hours or so we were here. A great experience.

Tonight a bunch of us are descending upon Tempe for a little photowalking action, so I’m looking forward to that! Haven’t been down there for awhile and while the forecast calls for the opposite, I’m praying for clouds over the lake to help us with some great sunset photos. If you are interested in going, let me know!

Have a nice weekend!

(exif: canon rebel xsi, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, iso 100, f/5)

 

Eights

(image is bigger and looks better with a dark background if you click on it)

Wow, today is starting off weird. Have you ever had an image that you poured over, processed for hours, uploaded to your blog, published it and then actually LOOKED at it and realized it had major flaws? Halos? Dust spots?

How did you miss that?  How is it possible you looked over that whole image for hours and it took this new eye of viewing it on your blog that made you REALLY see it?

Well, I’m honest enough about this stuff…happened to me today. Even after previewing it before publishing I didn’t notice what I noticed later. So I took it down.  Paranoia. I don’t like sub-par stuff from myself.

Think it all goes back to taking your time. A lesson I need to learn. Sometimes I rush through processing just to get it up on the website and I end up missing things. That’s not what happened today. This was just a lack of really paying attention at the time of processing. Also dust spots are a HUGE thing that I miss and I see others missing. You just don’t notice it well enough. I have to usually make myself stop and search them out.

NOW…this image is from the abandoned dog track north of Phoenix. I took a lot of shots while I there that one day and I still might have a few left in the tank to show at some point. What’s funny about this image and some others who have shot there recently is that some of sections of chairs don’t really look too old when framed in a certain way.

(exif: canon rebel xsi, canon 50mm 1.4, f/2.0, iso 100)

 

The Others

(Click image to see the forest for the trees)

Wow, talk about an old image. I think I even posted this one a long time ago, but I revisted it, converted it to B&W and still love it.

I shot this back in February of 2010 in the little town of Corvallis, Oregon when I was up there for work. In fact, stopping for this shot made me late to the contractor’s office. I honestly had no choice but to stop and walk around this mushy, wet park after a good soaking the night before.

The fog was everywhere and I only wish I could have driven around all morning shooting this stuff.

The title comes from the TV show Lost…because when I see the thick fog and the lights from the houses in the distance…I automatically think “Others.”

(exif: canon rebel xsi, canon 18-55mm f/3.5, 20mm, iso 800, 0.4sec)

Cold Mountain

Arizona Desert Snow Photography

(please click on me, I look better a bit bigger with a nice, dark frame around me – sincerely, the image above)

Sometimes the movies I pick for Movie Title Wednesdays are ones that I absolutely love and would watch a hundred times over. However, on some occasions, I love them mainly because the title fits perfectly with the photo I want to use.

At the same time…you can always be sure I’ve at least SEEN the movie. That is my one rule.

So this week we have Cold Mountain, a film starring Jude Law, Nicole Kidman (pre-plastic) and Renee Zellweger.  The main plot revolves around Law’s character as a Confederate soldier during the Civil War and his trip back home to Cold Mountain. I don’t remember hardly a thing about the plot, but I almost always remember when I liked a movie and this one was pretty good.

You can forget the movie at this point (although I’d love to hear how many of you have seen it and liked it) because the title is really all that matters. This image is one I shot back in late December when we had some crazy snow storms blow through Arizona. Around noon that day I saw some pretty good storms building up the Beeline Highway so I dragged my wife and daughter out there and basically we roamed that area until sunset.

The light was incredible after every wave of storm went by. Such clear, crisp air allowed these amazing views. This was just a shot in the late afternoon after a big storm cell moved through dumping even more snow. I just love the hilltop coated with the white stuff in contrast with the desert below and the dark, menacing clouds in the background.

This kind of black and white processing is something I’ve worked on since the beginning of the year and cannot wait to use during stormchasing season this summer. There is something beautiful about the relationship between stormy weather and black & white. I just love it.

(exif: canon rebel xsi, canon 50mm 1.4, f/20, iso 100)