Time for a Me-Set

Ever want to just have a break, take a step back, reboot your brain and have everything in your noggin just heave a big sigh and let go a little? Or a lot?

Me too.

That’s why I make photos like this, by the shores of Lake Tahoe in the morning.

They’re like a “me reset.”

Wait… I’ve got a word for it: a Me-Set. Or shall I say… “We-Set”, since we can all do this. Yup. That’ll do. 😀

What’s YOUR Me-Set?

TahoeCords

Portrait of a Lady… er, Lake

Whenever I post a photo of Lake Tahoe on one my social streams, there’s this one fella who always pipes up, “You sure like to photograph that lake!”
Now I ask you… wouldn’t you, if this were 30 minutes from your home? I mean, seriously!

I consider myself blessed. When I’m home, I actually DO go lots of other places around Tahoe area to shoot… but there’s just something so otherworldly and awesome about catching Lady Tahoe herself bejeweled in her aquamarine finest.

Aquamarine
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Take a Detour

Ruts… Bleh!

Ever been stuck in a rut? I sure have! They often feel safe, known, comfortable… and you don’t always feel “stuck” in them! Sometimes it can be just smooth ‘n nice, which ain’t all bad sometimes.

I always know I’m hovering near rut-dom when I feel a little bored by my own self. In photography, it might feel like I can’t find anything original in anything I see, maybe I’m a little bored with my photo processing, maybe it’s just the itch to see and do something different(ly).

Rut-B-Gone!

In any case – I HAD a case of “the ruts” recently. When it happens, sometimes I’ll just step awaaaaayyy from the camera. Go out and enjoy life a little, without feeling like I have to find ART in every moment. Other times, I have an itch to photograph – but I just don’t want to look at another tree, ocean, beautiful sunset. Funny, huh? It doesn’t usually last too long AS LONG AS I take a detour from the norm to cleanse my palette.

Here are 4 things I do to banish The Rut:

 

GildedPast
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Shark Fin Cove

The Perfect Pirate Name

How can you resist a place that sounds like a pirates’ landing? From the moment I heard the name “Shark Fin Cove”, my hearty imagination had me hobbling around on a peg leg “Arrrr-ing” to passersby. Of course, I know the whole “Pirates say Arr” thing is a myth… but don’t tell my Hollywood imagination that!

In any case, we ventured out one day recently after some recent storms had passed through – and a nice sunset looked like a real possibility. The shark’s fin looking sharky… the water really wild and loud. Some of the waves’ thundering crashes startled me, even from my bird’s eye vantage point. This mountain girl views the ocean with a combination of admiration and suspicion. Tsunamis, rip tides, every 7th wave… you have to keep your eye on it at all times lest it wrest you from this life into Davy Jones Locker! But I digress…

SharkFinery

Filters: From “GAH!!” to “Ahhhh”

I’ve photographed Shark Fin Cove near Santa Cruz a number of times. I usually do something HDR-ish with multiple auto exposures. I usually like the churning water, the depth of color and textures – and being able to capture all the levels of light. Today, however, I was in the mood for something different.

I’m not much of a filter girl… I fumble with them, worry about dropping them, fuss over the time it takes to set them up. I have a Lee Big Stopper which I rarely use. It makes me nervous about breaking it every time I set it up… then I wrestle with the damn thing and when I finally get it all set up it only does the one thing: 10 stops down. It just leaves me wanting more. And I really don’t fancy carrying a quiver of colored sunset and gradation filters either; multiply the whole mess? Ack!

Then my friend Barry Blanchard introduced me to GenusTech Eclipse ND filters. They screw on the end of your lens, adjust from 2-8 stops and provide a ton of options to delight even the fussiest among you! Or me, since that’s who’s really fussy around here!

Approaching the “Done” With New Eyes

So I played with it that day. Wanted to make the incredible churning of the waters below seem more misty and mystical. Turn the absolute into more of a suggestion. Make a purely wild expression of nature seem more like a potential: sort of soothing and menacing at the same time. I liked it!

It also made the clouds seem more misty, adding to the mystique.

For this image, I used 2 images: one exposed for the sky at 8 seconds, the other for the ocean at 20 seconds. Both f/14, ISO 50. Blended them together in Photoshop and applied my mind’s eye vision of colors and gradations of light. For that, I used some NIK Collection goodness (Viveza, Pro Contrast, Skylight filter), as well as some Photoshop color fill layers and a pass with one of OnOne Software’s glow filters, brushed into certain areas. I’m thinking of making a short video showing the process. Should I?

I also made a panorama of the whole area; I’ll share that with you later. It was quite the day for doing things I don’t normally do! Plus it was a decent sunset to boot(y)!

A fine day all around, Arr!

Purchase? Thank you for asking!

You can usually purchase prints of the images on my blog, including this one.
Just click on it – then click the “Buy” button on the lower right.

Color or Monochrome?

Plan A, Hijacked

I was heading elsewhere this day; intending to shoot sunset (if there was one) at another location. But when I looked over and espied this scene, all other plans went out the proverbial window! I love matching reflections… strong cloud formations… and an almost surreal/abstract arrangement of elements when they happen naturally. It’s magic! (and this day, certainly one of my daily miracles. Especially since the west hasn’t even SEEN clouds for months!)

Unbroken
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Perfectionism, Art and Life

Perfectionism and Rejection

Wow, I just named this post in a way loftier manner than perhaps this photo warrants. Then again, it helps make my point. Which is…

“Perfectionism” is a slippery slope when it comes to both Art… and Life.
Dictionary dot come defines perfectionism this way: “a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less.”

My perfectionism rejected this photo for about 6 months.
It’s also rejected any number of impulses, ideas, experiences, personal self worth more times than I can count.
Good thing I’ve got longevity in my family! I’m quite determined to outlive and give the ultimate boot to the demon Perfectionism!

SunsetOverYonder
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Making Post-Processing Decisions

Decisions, Decisions

I love post-processing photos. Since my approach to photography means creating my own vision or “take” on what I see, I have no problem processing a photo in dramatic directions and find it all incredibly satisfying. I was raised in an artistic family, so I guess that just got baked into me. By the same token, I was trained classically in photography, revere Nature and have learned that sometimes Nature does all the work for you. When that happens, you really shouldn’t mess with perfection.

Such was the case on this day:

Nature is such a drama queen sometimes.
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I’ll Take Mine Inspired, Thanks.

Creating Our World

I have a deep belief… certainty, even… that we create our worlds with the power of our belief, faith, knowledge, wisdom, discernment, actions. I’m not here to debate whether or not you think that is true… I’m simply going to show you two photos. One represents my world when I still had doubt about what I just said. The second: well, perhaps you’ll say it’s the view through my very own rose colored glass. My mom used to be accused of wearing rose-colored glasses… but she didn’t care, she just went about her business of creating her world just the way she wanted it. Like the soul artist she was. She also laughed a lot more than other people did.

Doubt

So. Here’s a representation of a world-with-doubt:

TheDistantMountain-RAW
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Valley of Fire

Coming home from our Southwest photo vacation, we drove through Valley of Fire in Nevada. Our re-planned trip (the one we made up after the national parks closed, erasing our original Plan A) had us staying over night at VOF so we could do sunrise/sunset there. But when the parks opened in time to visit Bryce National Park, well… there was no discussion. That’s where we went for 2 nights.

And still.. we managed to hit a Valley of Fire sunset as we headed back to Las Vegas to return our RV. It was absolutely splendid! A girl does love to have her cake and eat it too. 😉

TheRoad

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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The Daily Grind

I named this photo “Daily Grind.” Mostly because it ended up looking the way coffee smells to me. Which is odd I know, but there it is.

“Daily grind” also made me think about the artists, photographers and business folks I’ve talked to so far on “The Chat” and some consistent traits I’m already noticing. They kind of redefine the entire daily grind notion.

My last guest, “Red” HongYi has a daily “grind” of doing her art/work every single day, PLUS traveling between her two countries to do them. But she loves it, is always upbeat about everything when I talk to her and is always has a sense of childlike excitement about what’s coming next. I don’t mean “childish”… but the ever-magical “childlike”. Big difference.

DailyGrind

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The Power of Blue Hour

Blue Hour = Blue!

Blue hour is blue. Not kidding. Blue. Blue. Blue. Hence the name. If you haven’t even gotten out to photograph that special time of evening from shortly after the sun goes down till it’s actually dark – you should! It’s so interesting to see how your camera sees it too, which will probably be rather different than your eyeballs. My Canon 5DIII sees in that low light MUCH better than I do… so it makes it a fun surprise every time.

ThePowerOfBlueHour
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The Thing About HDR Photography

Mention “HDR”… then Duck!

Mere mention of “HDR Photography” can be very polarizing amongst photographers. There are thems that love it – and thems that think HDR is the end of civilization as we know it. Or something along those apocalyptic lines. I like shooting HDR (High Dynamic Range). It’s fun. I like color – and I like the option the see allllll the variances of color and light in a photo. Where a typical photo can handle 6 or so f-stops (levels) of light, a human eye can take in 12 to 14 levels of light. HDR lets you create a photograph that’s more in line with what your eye sees. And I love doing that.

PeachSorbet

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