The Sky is Falling

Posted May 9th, 2006 by
Categories: Fossil Beds

This last week or so has been filled with all that “Life” stuff that makes you feel like you’ve just been run through a blender. So allow me please this one small chance to vent.

 We own an older house, and the ceilings still had the old asbestos cottage-cheese type covering. Yuck!! – Anyway – last week our house got stripped and wrapped in plastic tarps as a construction crew came in bearing water hoses and scraped the ceiling clean. It was quite a sight to see all that work, especially with the drops of dust ladden water streaming down the plastic tarps. After several days of being warped in plastic, another crew as come in to tear up our living room floor, in prep. for replacing our kid stained carpet with hardwood. Ok, Laminate. But it’s still gonna look worlds better. Last night we ate dinner standing around our living room coffee table, which is now chest high in the middle of our kitchen, perched atop a displaced cabinet and our stereo speakers.

Add to all that headache and inconvenience, I’ve managed to get  concurrent cases of an aggravated hip ligament, and strep throat.

File under: “Perspective; use it or lose it”. All of life’s little headaches, inconveniences, and annoyances mean nothing. I learned this when my Dad passed away nearly 15 years ago. “It’s all small stuff.” Last week a family member faced some very Big Stuff, and has so far come through everything with Two Thumbs Up. So right now, the sky could be falling around me, and relative to that, I feel great. “If it’s just small stuff, I’ll take it, –  thank you very much.”

New Photo of the Month May 2006

Posted May 3rd, 2006 by
Categories: California, Mountains, Photos, Spring, Trees

Picture: Oak tree covered hills in spring below the snow covered peaks of the high Sierra, Tualre County, California

Oak tree covered hills in spring below the snow covered peaks of the high Sierra, Tualre County, California

I shot this image on assignment for the Nature Conservancy.

We see image after image from the Eastern Sierra, showing the dramatic rise of the mountains. Rarely do we get to see that same feeling from the Western slope of the Sierra. This is primarily because of the long gently rolling slope of the foothills. In this case, I got to enjoy a nice trip onto private ranch lands. when we came to a ridgetop, there was this incredible view of the lush green foothills rising into the snowy peak in the distance. If I had my way, I would have loved to get this shot at sunset, but the assignment timing just didn’t allow for that. On the other hand, I do like how the backlighting helps to show the very slight haze, giving us a clue to the depth and distance. In summer, there would be so much Central Valley haze stacked up against the western slope, you wouldn’t be able to see the mountains at all. BTW – the mountains are in Sequoia National Park.

What to do when your wallet is stolen

Posted May 3rd, 2006 by
Categories: Fossil Beds

 Protect thy self and thy credit. We all have them; friends and family members that send us jokes or other email tidbits that have 10+ fwd notations. Worst are the ones where if you send it to 12 people your prayers for instant wealth will be answered. Being a business person and parent, I’m usually too busy to read most of these – except for a few of the jokes. But one family member sent the following email, and this was one of the better tidbits of advice I’ve seen – so rather than clog your email box – you can read it here and take it for what it’s worth. Apparently it was written by a corporate attorney and circulated to employees in his company. I guess one of them forwarded it to their friends and family.

ATTORNEY’S ADVICE — NO CHARGE – Read this and make a copy for your files in case you need to refer to it someday.

1. The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your checkbook, they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name, but your bank will know how you sign your checks.

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Big Bang Poe

Posted May 1st, 2006 by
Categories: Space and Science

What do you get when you mix thoughts about the Big Bang Theory, God, and Edgar Allen Poe? Some Damn Interesting reading! Check out the related links, and don’t forget the comments.

Sorry Mother

Posted May 1st, 2006 by
Categories: Rants and Raves

This is a belated rant – good for a beautiful spring Monday morning. As many of us may recall, Earth Day was recently celebrated. Sitting in my email inbox was a mailing from photographer Michael Fatali. I just had a chance to read his email. It was a drippy, hippee-speak laden poem praising our Earth Mother. It read in part with statements along the line of Let us give thanks to our goddess Earth Mother as we renew our spiritual energies in your pools of eternal yada yada yada.

To be clear; I don’t have a problem with Mr. Fatali’s images, and I don’t have a problem with hippees. In fact I live just over the hill from Berkeley. I don’t even have a problem with drippy cheesy poems praising the Earth Mother on Earth Day. What gets my gall in a knot is that this cheesy Earth Mom poem was delivered to me by a photographer convicted of scarring our National Parklands with duraflame presto logs for the sake of getting a picture.

So next time, Mr Fatali – if you want to send me a drippy poem praising your Earth Mommy, just remember that it would come across much more sincere if you included an apology for giving your Mother a fire scar.

Sheessh!    < end Rant>
Read More opinions about the incident from several years ago HERE and also about the outcome posted at the NY TIMES.

Photo: Morning Light on Oak Trees

Posted April 27th, 2006 by
Categories: California, National Parks, Photos, Travel, Trees

Picture: Morning sunlight on oak trees in spring, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California.

This isn’t one of the images I referred to in my earlier post, btw. This was taken on the third or fourth morning, and I’d been hanging out near Sentinel Bridge when I saw the morning light illuminate these oak trees across the meadow. One of the points I always raise in my workshops or lectures is to not shoot a subject, but shoot the light.

See more images in my TREES & FORESTS online web stock photo and fine art print gallery.

The Good Old Days

Posted April 27th, 2006 by
Categories: Photo Business, Stock Photography

Here I sit, again pondering the changes in how I work since turning from film to digital last year. The week in Yosemite yielded a good number of images. But the working process sometimes leaves my head spinning whenever I contemplate the efforts once the shutter has been tripped.

Here are a few of the numbers; I shot about 900 RAW Frames. Each Frame is 19Mb. I have a 4GB card that I filled almost five times. (A 4Gb card holds 199 shots.) It took two days to edit that number of images down to those I wanted to processes for my stock photo files. Part of the time lag in this process is having to make sure I look at every photo at 100% for sharpness. Out of approx. 900 images, I selected 250 image to RAW Convert using Adobe Camera Raw. Each converted 19Mb RAW turns into a 71Mb TIFF. It then took another two days to individually check each image for color and clean any dust spots. I’ll do another edit to determine which photos I’ll send to my agents. I’m willing to guestimate around 150 images, of which another 2 or 3 days will be spent doing keywords and captions. Call it 7 days to process 150 images.

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Sad Loss – Aviation photog George Hall dies.

Posted April 26th, 2006 by
Categories: Fossil Beds, Newsworthy

I’m bummed. Just a few moments ago I opened my newsreader to see that About the Image had posted a memorial statement about the passing of George Hall. I only met him once or twice here in the Bay Area at local events, and never for more than a few moments; enough time to merely say how much I enjoyed his images. I’ve always had a personal interest in planes and aviation, and photographer George Hall shot exactly the types of images I’d love to shoot if I ever became an aviation photographer. Take a moment and see George’s excellent collection of aviation images at his Check Six agency. I can only hope he’s spending his time soaring through the clouds.

Top That

Posted April 24th, 2006 by
Categories: California, National Parks

First light on El Capitan, Yosemite, CaliforniaOne of the driving forces that keeps photographers going in the field is the quest for a better photo. In my case, when driving or hiking, it’s almost impossible for me to not want to see what’s around the next corner. The main reason for this is simply the wondering if something better (a better photo) will be there waiting for me to discover.

In the case of my latest trip to Yosemite last week, I found myself in an unusal state. I was still very much in California, but I was no longer driven to see what was around the next corner. Why, you ask? Well this time, on my first morning, not more than 45 minutes after the alarm had gone off in my tent, I got not one, but three favorite Yosemite Valley photos. Two are really really nice, and the other may have enough potential to become one of my signature portfolio images. It was an odd feeling to spend several more days shooting, knowing that I’d likley already bagged what would be the best photos of my trip. On the otherhand, it also made for a refreshing challenge looking for new opportunities. Of course, the photo shown here is not an image I took that first morning. This photo is just a tease. Sorry. But stay tuned for more images…

You can also see my online web gallery of Yosemite Photos.

Yosemite Valley Conditions

Posted April 24th, 2006 by
Categories: California, National Parks, Spring, Travel

I got back a couple days ago from a week long camping trip with the family in Yosemite Valley. I’ll be honest, of all the times I’ve been to the Valley, this is the first time in over a decade that I’ve spent a night or more in the Pines Campground. We had to break down camp and move to a new site once during our stay, but otherwise the camping part was blissfully uneventful.

But the one thing all my photography friends want to know is, “What was the Valley like?”

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