Black & White: The Humphrey Bogart of Photography

The unknown. The unspoken. The infinite spaces “in between”. The unanswered questions, which do have answers, if we can just find them. These are the notions that draw us, lure us, pull us into any great mystery.

The main character of our mystery today is light itself. It is fleeting and temporary.  Capturing it is like a siren song to photographers. It lures and captures us our hearts, then demands that we tell its story, beginning with its glorious illumination, its gradual fade –  its eventual disappearance into darkness. Or is it the other way around?

The Humphrey Bogart of Photography

I often think of black and white as the Humphrey Bogart of photography; it cloaks itself in mystery, dancing between light and shadow, making no apologies, offering no explanation, simply leaving you standing there by yourself to decide where one reality ends and another begins. It is the ultimate mystery, which keeps you asking questions and wanting to know more.

In the deep dark nightbeneath a bright streetlight,she wore a hood drawn tightto keep her hair just rightas she waited all night...for him.
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Walk in the Park x 2

There Was This Day…

One day whilst in New York, I had a morning all to myself (shocking!!). I decided to grab my camera and head out. No real goal or plan… just get out there and see stuff. I hadn’t done that yet in the neighborhood where I was staying… and it had easy access to Central Park, among other cool neighborhoodie sights.

It was a frisky-brisk fall day. Whereas back home the autumn leaves had all but fallen – here, they were still heating up. (Let’s hear it for two autumns in one year!). So of course, I ended up in Central Park.

The big elm trees were putting on a show. I can tell you two things: I’m a sucker for elm trees and I LOVE a good show! This particular show moment is brought to you by the friendly-friends who were walking that morning, who so very kindly provided scale for these awesome trees. To me, it was quintessentially Central Park, autumn… and life. Sigh.

WalkInThePark

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Do I Really Have to Tell You?

Some Stuff I Like About This Photo

Y’know what I like about this photo? The colors. The light. The tree. The clouds (lerrrrrv the clouds!). The way it looks like the tree is dreaming those clouds out of its dreamy little noggin. That it’s vertical. Just some stuff I like about it. It’s not a million dollar print, but it’s a cool little photo, IMHO. It was taken in Croton-on-Hudson, New York (literally ON the Hudson!) a couple of weeks ago.

Radiator
Continue reading “Do I Really Have to Tell You?”

Lines, Contrast, Patterns = Monochrome

 My, What Strong Lines You Have!

This is a brand, spankin’ new photo. I haven’t posted it anywhere, except here. ‘Cause my blog gets first crack at everything. I’m partial that way.

It DID appear in a recent webinar I did on Tonality Pro for Macphun Software, because that’s how I processed it. This particular photo is just such a great example of how you can work with selective colors in Tonality Pro.

I do love this one… single shot, hand held… I found it while I was waiting for sunset at Donner Lake one evening this summer. I still remember the sound of the mosquito I was dodging at the time.

The little boat rental outfit was closed for the day… and all their boats were tied up, but this one was just as you see it. Such a classic set up – and perfect for a monochrome approach. The strong lines make it so; the verticals of the trees, the horizontal of the boat and dock… accentuated by the vertical orientation.

It’s a good thing to remember, should you wonder if a subject would make a good black and white image. Does it have strong lines, contrasts and repeating patterns? Then it’s probably a shoo-in for monochrome.

MyRedCanoe

 If You Like Learning…

On a whole other topic (but still related to learning)… remember last week when I said “Something Big is Coming?”
It starts tomorrow. I can’t give you the complete lowdown on the rundown until then, but I do get to say this much… Wow!

Yeah. Check in tomorrow… I’ll have the entire thing all laid out for ya. It’s COOL!

Facebook-Sale-Teaser-1

Meanwhile, Just Outside of Las Vegas…

I’m off to Photoshop World in Las Vegas today. Gonna jump on the big silver bird and wing my way to the Bugsy’s big playground in the desert.

OK, I’m really going to connect with a bunch of photographers, put my finger on the pulse of the industry – and probably go out in the desert and take pitchers (as my friend Barry Blanchard refers to photographing. hehheh).

This was from last year, when a few photographer friends headed out to Valley of Fire for what turned out to be a gorrrrgeous sunset. I’m hoping for another sky like this one! There are also wild donkeys out in another area out there… am hoping for a wee visitation. They are so awesome… but I don’t want to disturb their natural flow. If they happen to flow my way… well, who am I to turn away? Grin.
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Climbing, Like a Girl

The Climb

I named this photo “The Climb”, ’cause well, how could I not? The hubs and I were out hiking and photographing along a stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail, one lovely day on Donner Summit in the Sierra Nevada mountains a couple of weeks ago – and we’d gotten separated. No biggie – we agreed to meet back at the car when we were done. As I clambered through a section of rocks, I stepped out onto a granite outcropping overlooking a small group of rock climbers. There were couple of spotters on the ground, a fella on some crazy section of rock – and this gal.

She was working on a move that was relatively new to her, though not being a climber I couldn’t tell you exactly what it was. I just know it looked pretty tough to me – and that she was getting coaching and encouragement from the guys on the ground. Whatever it was required several tries. In between them, she’d dangle in mid air like it was the most comfortable place to hang out; a hundred feet above the ground on a rope. She was huffing and puffing like a freight train too, which gives you an idea about how challenging it was. One thing I CAN tell you for sure: she was badass.

Like a Girl

And it made me think of this video I’d seen recently called Like A Girl . Standing there, watching her focus, determination and strength – I knew what it meant to climb like a girl.

I’m a climber too.
Just not on vertical granite rocks.
But I do it focused, determined and strong…  like a girl.
Hoping to help re-define just what that means for younger generations.

How ’bout you?

TheClimb

911 & Consistency

The Peculiarness of Downtown Santa Cruz 

I’m sitting up at 1am. Awake. Not because I want to be… no, I’d much rather be sleeping.
But here in Santa Cruz, California where I spend part of my time, there’s a contingent of… what do I call them? Street people… night crawlers… musicians (no, that’s too generous)… lost souls… sigh. Whatever they are, they come out after midnight.

Their fave thing is to set up a band.. complete with bongos and other percussion instruments and start playing them on the street corner below the apartment. Badly. They sing. Badly. They keep anyone who lives nearby awake. Really, really well. It’s like a midnight (wannabe) music festival. I’ve learned that the way to handle it in downtown Santa Cruz is to call 911. Weird, huh?  But one day, I asked the cops who patrol the streets by day how to get help with this dilemma and they said “Call 911.” So I do. Every time. Because one thing I learned from training horses is that you have to be consistent to get results.

[Pause]

Ah now, there… see? In the time it took to write this, which I did after calling 911 (again)… the cops came, the festival broke up and I can now lay me down to sleep.

Thanks for keeping me company!

Random thought: I wonder if anything keeps redwood trees awake at night?

StandDown

Shiny Things, Reflecting

I love shiny things.
I don’t mean to the exclusion of other things. Just that “shiny” is high on my list of “liked things”.

What I liked about this shiny thing image is how it responded to just the wee bit of processing I did in Adobe Camera Raw. Clarity, a little contrast… that was about it. It surprised me. The way shiny things often do.

Shiny things reflect light… which of course, is what make them shine so.
The nice thing about that quality is that you can see yourself in them.
Reflecting. Never a bad thing to do, especially if it leads you onward and upward.
Which is where I was just heading… and shall continue to, now.

Thank you for joining me on this KHutt stream-of-consciousness moment.
It’s always such a pleasure having you along! 😀

ISeeMyselfInYou

Scenes From a Boat

Adventures Revisited

The great thing about not processing photos from a big trip all at once, is that you get to go back later and revisit your adventure.

Take this photo. Whilst in New Zealand last year, we took a cruise around the Milford Sound area. Went all the way to the edge of where the ocean begins. (It started to get a little rough out there – I was WAY happy when we turned around!). These boats take you up to waterfalls, right along the shore in places… and you get to see areas you’d NEVER see otherwise.
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Depth of Mustard Fields

Mustards in Spring

I’ve been wanting to photograph the mustard fields in Napa, California for a couple of years. Typically, you have to be there in January or February (at the latest) to accomplish this. Well, I finally made it there in early March – and despite it being completely cloudy, I came away with a few choice images to fulfill the dream.

I was glad for the clouds – and the rain that came with them – because we’ve been having a serious drought here in California. The LEAST of all major concerns was whether the mustard seeds would be snuffed altogether out by extreme dry conditions.  As it happened, the rains were late – so the mustard was too… but life has its own force and mind. So here we are, standing in fields of gold! I’m prone to celebrating the little things – and I’m celebrating that blessedly, fantastical fact…

Depth of Mustard FieldNapa, CaliforniaIn a veritable a riot of yellow, the mustards welcomed spring.
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Icons and Perspective

Let’s Go Shoot An Icon!

A photographer friend was in town, so we headed out to Bonsai Rock at Lake Tahoe to shoot some sunset action.
Bonsai Rock is a bit of an icon. Google it and you’ll see what I mean.

We’re having an incredibly dry winter in the Sierra Nevada mountains… which means no snow where there should be MANY feet of it! It also means that Bonsai Rock and other locations around Tahoe are unusually accessible right now in winter. Which further means… we had LOTS of photographer company one Thursday night in January at Bonsai Rock. They were a quiet, tense, kind of cranky and definitely territorial bunch. Hey, I wished we’d had the place to ourselves too… but what the heck. Roll with it! There’s plenty for everyone. Sigh.

But Don’t JUST Shoot An Icon

My friend Lisa Donchak and I tried to lighten up the mood. Said hello as we moved about making multiple compositions amidst the “butt campers” as I like to call them.  I refer to the practice of finding a spot, setting up camp and possessing it like you own the very air molecules surrounding it. But I figure, why go to all the trouble of getting there only to walk away with one shot? Oh well, I’m sure they have their reasons.

This was one of my non-Bonsai blue hour images. I love the way Tahoe light and color is so blocky and clean at that time. And the moon! Cool.

Sierra RocksLake Tahoe, NevadaThe big rock shining above the little ones below.It was a rocky night... but oh-so-gorgeous!
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Leave the Light On

Envisioning a New Year

I’m excited about 2014.
I also think words, numbers, the vision we hold, the thoughts we think, the attitude and stance we choose to take are ALL factors in the reality selection we experience. It’s certainly proven to be true for me.

So, this is interesting to think about as I look ahead. Let’s take couple of numbers. First, 2013. The significance of 13: Rebellion, Disintegration. Mmm-hmmm. Fits.

Then, 14. How ’bout some Deliverance or Salvation? Works for me! This is from a particular system of numbers I’ve found verrrrry interesting and useful over the years. And since I get to choose… I’ll take me some deliverance and salvation any day! I’ve officially woven this whole notion into “Karen’s Vision for the Coming Year” tapestry, BTW.
Just thought I’d share.

Now, this rather simple photo is like a snapshot for the Hero’s Story, along these very lines. You’ve got you Light Above All… your dragon chained to the wall, some cool implacable walls, the vastness of the sky and world outside, beckoning invitingly. It’s vertical, so the journey is tall and strong. The colors feel really clear and pure, like the best qualities of Our Hero.

But the main feature: The Light. Always The Light.

Just a little flash card for how I’m going to prioritize my world in the coming year. Just a little life interpretation, KHutt-style.

Grin.

Lessons from a Bristlecone

Hello, Bryce Canyon

The hubs and my recent trip to the Southwest started with the national parks closing a few days before we left. GAH! We came up with an alternate plan… then a couple days before returning home, the parks opened again! YAY! We were within a few hours of Bryce Canyon, so we hightailed it over there in our little rental RV. I’d never been to Bryce before and Joe wasn’t into photography on past visits, so it was kind of like a first visit in different ways for us both.

The View from Below

We’d been driving alot – one of the side effects of avoiding national parks – so we were REALLY in the mood to do some hiking. The views of the hoodoos (that’s what they call these conical formations that Bryce Canyon is known for) were iconic and epic from above… but once you drop down into them on The Navajo Trail or any other that takes you down into the canyon, it’s like Alice in Wonderland on crack!

PullingUpRoots Continue reading “Lessons from a Bristlecone”

All Lined Up For Awesomeness

“All Lined Up For Awesomeness” seems like a silly title… but that IS what I thought when I looked at this cool cloud formation at sunset – then saw these pelicans. Later, when I looked at it on the computer… the pellykins (as I fondly refer to them) were also lined up with that one bit of the arc in the clouds. I hadn’t seen that bit so clearly when I was just concentrating on getting the shot. I love juxtapositions!

SunsetFormation

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Photo Processing Doldrums: Begone!

When you first see this photo, what’s your first reaction? Do you know what it is? Does it make you curious? Does it irritate you? Entice you? Make you tilt your head like the RCA dog? Yawn? Judge it in some way? Er, what?

Mind you, I didn’t create it with any particular reaction in mind, I was just wondering. I really processed it as an exercise. The end result and process turned out to be so interesting, I though I’d share.

FrozenInTime Continue reading “Photo Processing Doldrums: Begone!”

Tall Trees, Towering

I visit the Redwoods whenever I can. I’ve talked about my history of swinging through the trees in a previous post (click the link to see it). Here, there are some bay trees in the mix; they’re the ones with broader leaves and thinner trunks in the foreground. They smell awesome and add some nice variety to the leaf/needle visual mix. There are a few tricks to photographing in forests. And since, in a world of possibilities, you may well find yourself wandering through one some day – here are some things I keep in mind.

TallTreesTowering
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Courage

Courage… Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand

I love moments like this that make you think iconic thoughts. Several crossed my mind – but maybe because of where I am in my own journey, I settled upon “Courage”.

Courage

I think one of the marks of courage is knowing the odds… but sailing on (to use the immediate metaphor) anyway. Radiantly. With panache. That “panache” bit is key. Hehhe. At various points in my life, people have commented  that I was courageous. I used to think I wasn’t  – because I was mostly so scared at the time, but I did persevere and always won whatever I was after in the end, even if I grunted along the way. Continue reading “Courage”