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Monday, January 20, 2014

The Long and Winding Weekend

I wish I lived in some place with an amazing and dramatic view that I could use for practicing photography techniques, I fairly quickly have exhausted the small suburban backyard genre…although I'm sure people will say 'a good photographer can find a photo in anything.' None of those people are invited to my birthday parties because they are obnoxious. Also because I am too old to have birthday parties.

I have been on the B&H photo/video channel of youtube again, this time watching another of Jeff Cable's videos on night photography. I did take some night shots outside up at the trees and into the night sky, just to practice some of the exposure techniques. Nothing particularly interesting visually came out of it, but it got me ready to do some night shooting in more interesting areas. Also, I didn't want to change out of my pajamas yesterday and that somewhat limits my ability to roam the wide world looking for photos, so it's at least partly my fault.

Since I haven't shot anything in the last couple of days (other than the light streaming through the plastic ball that my rats roll around in…very dramatic and probably would fill a previously unknown void in the stock photography world), I revisited some of my images from Mexico. I took a lot of pictures at Monte Alban in Oaxaca and I keep looking through them thinking there will be more interesting stuff in them because the site itself was so wonderful. I have come to realize though that a lot of those types of environments require people in them in order to be more than just a visual note of the sites appearance. The sky there is big, but somewhat dusty and it was completely cloud free without being that deep piercing blue that can make photos stand out. The grass was fairly dry, the stones of the site are shades of buff and orange and I didn't take sufficiently good quality images to stitch together for the panorama, so instead I have overall panoramas where everything is just too small to really appreciate. It's like I'm learning…So, clearly, I will have to return in the future (because I can't return in the past or I would) and try again. 

I did come across one image of a woman walking across the top of one of the platforms that has grown over and the nearly white/blue sky disappears as a background creating this nice relationship between her figure and the lone tree growing in the middle of the frame. I'm pretty happy with this image and actually think it does a better job of capturing some of the desolate nature of the place. It wasn't all like this, the site is expansive and there are parts with trees that were absolutely overflowing with yellow flowers and alive with the sounds of thousands of bees. But, it was very hot and dry and so this feels like one of the moods of Monte Alban. Particularly since I think we had run through all of our water by the time I made this image.

One of the other things that I have learned from listening to photographers is that I shouldn't post every image I make, just the best ones. In that spirit, I am going to try to limit the images I put on the blog. I also would like to go back through my Flickr page and see if I can cut down on the number of images I have displayed there. It's hard to erase them, even though I know I still have them on my hard drive, but it makes sense to not have mediocre work out there to become part of any first impression I make. Given that Flickr seems to be somewhat like Facebook for photographers (shout outs about what you've done and a popularity game) I'm not sure what benefit the time spent on there really has, yet, but I'm still hopeful that there is a reason to be involved. We'll see.