Big Glass, Small Tripods

I mentioned in a previous post that big lenses typically require tripods that I am too impulsive to fiddle with. Hence, not for me.

Such dedication also sometimes invites the macho to endure cold, wet, and mosquitoes. Double-hence, not for me.

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North Lagoon, Ft. DeSoto Park

🙂🙂🙂

SPRING Update, 2016

Unless one says goodbye to what one loves, and unless one travels to completely new territories, one can expect merely a long wearing away of oneself and an eventual extinction.

–  Jean Dubuffet –

I have not abandoned travel & adventuring for good but I note with some sheepishness that I have been 15 months now in one location. And that has unleashed some new creative energies perhaps worth noting.

1. Shortly after arriving in St. Petersburg I got involved in ‘street photography’ and spun off a new website, StreetSt.Pete, which has attracted a few followers and is still going strong. But that involved shelving my long lens for most of last year in favor of a smaller street camera. Now I am carrying the 400mm again and it feels good to get off trail and back into the habit of scanning trees for birds.

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2. Some may recall that Tzuri has her own website but now that she is 33 months old and we are not climbing mountains I have maintained it only sporadically. The good news is that there are 10-12 recreation areas within a 30-minute drive where we can find secluded niches for her to run free. At least two open up into salt water beaches where she can frolic without fear of alligators.

tzuri20160322_7540-Edit-13. ‘Urban Thursday’, debuting tomorrow, is a new weekly project (along with Monday murals & random Fridays) dedicated to the sampling of downtown buildings & city landscapes. This new deadline will encourage me to seek out fresh perspectives as I wander the streets.

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4. But what is most exciting to me right now (in addition to some writing projects) is not wielding a camera but learning to print my own images. I have invested in both a high-quality monitor and a professional-level photo printer, as well as some software programs to coordinate the printing workflow.

Not as simple as one might think.

Without measuring and matching ‘color profiles’ what you see on screen is not what will appear on paper and all your photo editing is for naught. I even have a gizmo sitting on my desk measuring ambient light and every five minutes adjusts the image on my monitor accordingly.

But what a thrill it is to finally hold a large museum-quality print in your hands! Looking at an image in reflected light is vastly different than seeing it back-lit on screen.

I’m still learning, watching numerous video tutorials on all aspects of photo printing. Okay, so maybe my first print was a disaster. How was I to know the top piece of expensive premium 17×22 inch photo luster paper was actually the cardboard filler? That wasn’t covered in any tutorial.

[I suppose I should also confess I couldn’t get the new 32-inch monitor to power up. Yes, it was plugged in. I returned it to B&H Photo in New York and received a replacement. That one wouldn’t turn on either, at first. After a couple of hours of supreme frustration it finally popped on for no apparent reason, and now I just don’t turn it off.]

I probably have 100,000 images from which to choose my select few “exhibition best” so this new archival printing project is not an overnight affair. I’m starting with landscapes and these are the first two hot off the press.

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lamar valley01Master file

🙂🙂🙂 life is good 🙂🙂🙂

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If Looks Could Kill

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I take pictures of people I don’t know.

Sometimes they smile, sometimes they frown. I can try to make educated guesses but in truth I never really know how they are going to respond.

I have been prowling streets for only slightly more than half a year now, but have accumulated some encounters you may find interesting.

The above is from the Foreword to a photo-essay, “If Looks Could Kill: When Strangers Notice You Taking Their Picture.” Click on the title if you wish to read the 26 page pdf.

 

spider web header20150223_094520 as Smart Object-1

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

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It has been raining for 18 days now and I am not the least bit thrilled. Not the normal summer pattern of brief-but-intense showers quickly replaced by a blazing sun but steady all day pitter-patter, streets flooded, and even the towering Skyway Bridge occasionally closed to tall vehicles susceptible to high winds.

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[There used to be a newspaper here in the “Sunshine State” that was given away free any day the sun didn’t shine, an anomaly in these parts occurring only about 5-6 times a year. One year Mother Nature didn’t cooperate, however, and St. Pete’s Evening Independent went broke.]

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Last Fall at a marina in Humboldt County on the coast of Northern California just as their rainy season kicked in I shelled out over 100 dollars for a shiny brand new oilskin slicker, the kind like brawny commercial fishermen wear to keep dry on trawlers out on the high seas. But I quickly discovered that while it looked neat it was way too cumbersome to climb in and out of, especially from inside a car with bucket front seats. I never wore it, I just headed South ‘till it stopped raining.

pacific ocean20141029_3695 as Smart Object-1

Which is not to say that I don’t enjoy SOME rain, splashin’ & playin’ like I was 60 years younger. (Okay, so maybe I carry an umbrella and a towel.) And Tzuri of course loves when it rains “cats and dogs” (bad pun intended). She gallops through puddles yappin’ at her reflection and heroically plunges into the Gulf to rescue sticks.

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She’s happiest when she’s wet and muddy.

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But enough is enough! Storm skies, yes, can be dramatic…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But rain skies are just wet and boring. And few venture out to have their picture taken by an aspiring street photographer.

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🙂🙂🙂