Recent Posts
2 months, 3 weeks ago 16
Posted in: Uncategorized

 

In the last few monhs I’ve been wrestling with some new issues, no, not health, but photographic!  As most of you know, I teach with Jack Graham and we have been having a number of pretty deep discussions on where photography is going, and where it started, at least for us.  Very recently Skylum announced their new Luminar 4 which will include, among many new features, including a sky replacement, AI feature.  The bottom line is it will allow you to replace boring skies with any number of impressive skies from a library of choices.

 

I’m pretty sure I won’t be taking advantage of that feature, but let me explain why.  First let me say that compositing an image is a legitimate art form, and I highly admire the work of many folks that are masters at combining elements from different images to create a new one.  My problem is that it is still called “photography” and I think, personally, it should be called “Photography Art”,  not just a Photograph.  To me, a photograph  should be something that is essentially a subject or scene that is captured as it was.   When we shoot an image and we quote, “clean it up”  meaning remove a telephone pole, or darken a bright area, is that considered manipulation?  I don’t know and I’m not sure who can set that standard!  I, like many of you, will take those steps without feeling too guilty.  I’m honestly not sure where I think the line should be drawn.  Let me provide and example of what a photograph is to me.

 

fuji x system

 

This incredible image from my dear friend,  Jack Graham is what I consider a “magical moment” captured at the perfect time, in great light, of a wonderful subject. It didn’t need any extra special processing to make it more affective.  My point is that, for me, photography is all about those magic moments that we are privileged to be there, when they happen, to have even a chance of capturing them with our cameras.

 

Here is another example;

 

 

This stunning image from Guy Tal is, for me, a beautiful example of a photograph.  A magical moment, in perfect conditions that the photographer had to find, and then carefuly compose to produce a beautiful work of art.  You could go to this spot in all four seasons and maybe never see these specific conditions and even then you would have to masterfully compose the image, as Guy did, to make it work like this Photograph!

 

So what is my point?  I’ve spent a lifetime going to beautful places in the hope that the light would be great, the conditions would be wonderful and then that I would not mess it up and be able to craft a wonderul image.  The joy I feel when I’m fortunate enough to have all those things come together and then I was able to make the shot, is the pleasure I get out of photography. It doesn’t happen every time or most times, but that is the magic,  and when it does happen, it’s special!!!!

 

I used to wear an wrist band that had the initials WWJD, and it stood as a reminder of the question I needed to ask myself when I was faced with a question of a behavior or an action, What Would Jessu Do?  I’m going ot get another one and when asked what it means I will answer; If it is regarding  morals or character it means, What Would Jesus Do?,  if it refers to photography I will say “What would Jack do?”  Since Jack Graham and I are seemingly on the same page about photographs, that is a good enough standard for me!

 

I hold to this standard, “Do what you want, and always be honest about what you did, then let others decide how they feel about it!”

 

 

Photograph what interests you, and then enjoy what you shoot!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

Rosebud………

 

3 months ago 52
Posted in: Uncategorized

 

On Tueday of this week I started to have severe chest pains and had to take a couple of nitro glycerin tablets to relieve the pain.  This was repeated again on Wednesday, and two more nitro tablets, this time my daughter Catherine who manages our local Baptist Heath Cardiology office insisted, more like ordered me, in for an exam!  I went in and was immediately hospitalized and scheduled for a heart cath the folowing morning.

 

Long story short, that beautfiul young lady above, with the old man, saved his life. Dr. Subramaniyam did the heart cath and found that my left anterior descending artery was 99% blocked.  Often called, the widow maker, because heart attacks from this arteries being blocked are most often fatal!  As he stated it I was hours or days away from a fatal heart attack.  Fortunatey he cleared the blockage and placed a stint in that part of the artery, so you could say he and Catherine both saved my life!

 

I’m sharing this becaue I want to thank Dr. Subra and the excellent medical team that gave me a second chance to stick around and serve my maker for a few more years, and to thank my daughter for lovingly insisting I get this checked out, which I woudn’t have done without here insistence!

 

I certainly want to thank my Lord for steering me to the help I needed and giving me a little more time to clear up some very imporant assignments he has me working on!  I am ready and anxious to be with my Lord in paradise, but I want it to be in His timing. plus I would like to think Sherelene and Chester would miss me!?

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

3 months, 2 weeks ago 23
Posted in: Uncategorized

 

Several years ago at the Great Smokey Mountain’s Nature Summit I met a nice lady named Madonna Martin.  She later attended some of our workshops and has become a good friend. She was one of my students in the Master Class in the Smokies this past weekend.  I was simply astounded at the quality of her work, her great personality and her kindess to all the other attendees.  She was the “hit” of the event and I learned a great deal from her!  I am introducing her to you guys because she will likely be teaching some classes at F32 in Knoxville in the coming months and I highly recommend you sign up for 0ne!!!  I certainly will.  All the images this blog are hers axcept a few product images and one example at the end!  For now just enjoy these wonderful and diverse images!

 

 

This was a Master Class and the students are admitted after a portfolio review, because the reviews are much more complete, you can imagne how often my mouth dropped open when Donna’s images hit the screen!  In fairness, everyone had great stuff, but I felt Donna’s work was somthing special!

 

I shared with my students that I often shoot images to share with my family, via text, with my iPhone.  Donna shared some iPhone stuff I was not aware of and it was an eye opener!  She uses a really cool bracket that is compatible with Arca Swiss ball heads to hold her iPhone for video or long exposure images!

 

 

You can get all these products on Amazon and the bracket is a Sunwayfoto CPC-01 priced at $29.95  The quality is very high!  Lots of adjustments.

 

 

This is the CamKix Wireless Bluetooth remote for your iPhone Amazon again and for $7.99.

 

 

RAVPower iPhone Flash Drive 64gb 2 in 1 with SD Card Reader, Photo Stick,Touch ID Encrypted, USB External Zip Drives for iPhone

This device allows you to tansfer files from your iPad or iPhone to your computer!!!!

$38.99

 

So we had e a great time and I larned some new tricks!  With the new tools I was able to do the shot below with my iPhone!!!!!!

 

So I taught a workshop and “I” learned a lot!

 

…..and that’s the way it should be!!!!  Thanks Donna!

 

 

blessings,

 

the pilgrim

4 months ago 1
Posted in: Uncategorized

 

I got an email yesterday that I decided to answer with this blog entry,  so, thank you Steve!  The question was; “How do I decide on whether to buy a new lens or not?  That’s a good question and one that deserves a thorough answer!

 

FIRST:  Lenses are not cheap!!!!  They can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, or more!  Depending on your financial situation, it’s a big decision.

 

SECOND: You can only carry so many, so it matters that what you buy, is something you will actually carry and use!    * Caveat: I’ve broken that rule many times myself!

 

THIRD Do you really need it?  This is a tough one becasue we often make “want” the equivalent of “need”!

 

So, let’s consider that you have already determined that you can Afford it, will Carry it, and really Need it!  On what basis do you know you are getting a good lens?  Here are a few tips:

 

A.  Listen to others that own the lens, or people that have tested it say.  I have a few sources that i trust to do real testing of lenses and I often consult them early in the hunt.  (DP Review, opticallimits.com, dxomark.com)  Lenses develop reputations and often your freinds who own a particualr lens will be a good judge of how good it is optically.

 

B. How well is it constructed?  After all, the lens is the most used part of your camera system and if you are a heavy user, mechancial quality will really matter down the road after years of use.  Grasp the mount end of the lens and the lens barrell and gently twsit it to see if their is much give or flex in the lens.  If there is now, new, it will likely be loosey goosey in a few months or years of hard use, avoid these lenses.  The lens body and barrell should be metal or a very high quality polycarbonite material.  The mount should always be of the best metal materials and afixed to the lens with several screws, I prefer 4 or 5 to give lateral strength.

 

How many aperture blades does it have and how rounded is the aperture pattern when stopped down?  This is very important to the avoiding of chances of defraction.

 

Does the lens have quality multi-coating on it’s elements?  Does it have a lens hood?

 

C. How to buy a lens.  This is my advice, take it for what it’s worth.  Find a dealer that allows returns so you cna buy the lens and carefully test it before you decide to keep it or not.  Treat the lens as if your best friend loaned it to you and you intend to return it like new!  This will allow you to know if the lens is going to fulfill your needs!

 

D. Once you buy your lens take good care of it.  Protect it in your camera bag or backpack.  Keep it clean, but don’t over clean it, optical glass will often be fine with just a blower to get the dust off.

 

Well that’s it, buy good lenses, use the ones that work for you and try to keep it down to a few, unlike me!!!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim