This blog was originally created to showcase my photography. That kinda stopped happening. Shooting (guns and images) is still my passion, but I'm a writer at heart, so that seems to dominate, regardless of what I try to do.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Few from Big Bend

We had a really great time at Big Bend and, as you're aware, I took an absolute ridiculously large amount of pictures. I finally went through them all and have a few I'd like to post.

My mother suggested I start a scrapbook with them all and include information about what we visited and its meaning to us, so that's what I did. I've gotten 10 pages or so done, and I'm only through the first day.

So here are a few of the ones I chose:

We drove through Fort Stockton and no visit is complete without a pic of Paisano Pete
I had a trackable that I picked up and its mission was to go to New Mexico. I dropped it in this geocache in Marathon.

Made it to the park!

It was a little misty when we arrived but stopped quickly. This is a picture of Casa Grande - the mountain behind the lodge - from The Window Trail

The famous view of The Window. I especially like this one because you can see the depth of the image due to the clouds between the mountains behind The Window.

An Aggie can't travel in Texas without taking Miss Reveille on the journey. These types of images are shared on social media - especially Instagram - with its own hashtag for other Aggies to follow.

I liked this one because it shows that, even in the Chihuahuan Desert, there is a whole other world tucked between water-retaining rocks, such as these. Ferns and moss can be found in many shady places if you just observe the world around you.

Although we did much more that first day, this was my end-of-the-day treat: a prickly pear margarita. Truthfully, it wasn't as good as I expected and was way more sugary than I'd hoped. Not a fan of super-sweet cocktails. But it was an experience.

So, those are just a few of the pics from the first day of our journey. I have 600+ photos, but I swear I won't be posting them all. In fact, I may just end up uploading the pages from my scrapbook instead, which would be much more efficient, I think. Maybe a little harder to scrutinize because of the multiple pictures per page, but still fun to look at, I think.

If you have something to say about these, leave a comment. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Stars at Night Are Big and Bright....

Deep in the heart of Big Bend...

Unfortunately, the "Heart of Texas" has become overrun with assholes from California and has built up so much that light pollution has reduced any chance of seeing those gorgeous stars.

Big Bend National Park, however, is free of virtually all light pollution except for right around some of the lodge parking lots and cottages. Even so, I was able to do some night photography and actually ended up with some pretty cool photos of a shooting star (or satellite, depending on who you ask) and the Milky Way.

I have to pat myself on the back a little bit, here, because I didn't set up my camera prior to attempting to photograph anything, and I ended up having to use a GoPro camera as a prop to keep my lens pointed upwards. I even forgot to remove my camera strap. And these images haven't been through any post-processing as of yet.

As you can see, there is quite a bit of noise in them. Unfortunately, I have a 10+ year old Olympus 10-megapixel Evolt E-510, and the archaic settings don't allow for much control over ISO or f/stop or anything else that requires high levels of adjustment to achieve professional results. In addition, my Zeiss lenses have taken a ridiculous beating, including 10 years in the heat of South Texas and caliche dust. But, I'm taking a lot of the blame too because, like I said, I failed to set up my camera prior to any attempts at taking pics. I did plenty of research beforehand to see what I should really be doing with the camera to get the best pictures, but my camera simply does not have that range of settings. So...you work with what you have.

And this is what I have.

I did end up with some fantastic, high quality photographs of other things, like lizards, millipedes, a jack rabbit, and some other things but I think it was just a fluke. To be honest, my phone takes better pics than this old DSLR. And the cool thing about my Samsung Note5 is that I CAN manually adjust ISO and white balance and all that good stuff. I ended up getting some pretty impressive photos with my phone instead, and a few botched photos with my camera that made me wish I'd used my phone instead.

Well, sorry to underwhelm. I have a lot more photos I can post, but this is all I really have time to talk about right now.

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to seeing the height of the Perseid meteor shower and maybe I can get some long-exposure pics of that, although I've been told they're about one a minute, so I'd probably have to leave the shutter open for longer than the camera can clearly process without a ton of blue and red pixels littering the image.

I wanted to pepper this entire post with creative, meaningful banter but, it seems, after a couple of years of writing nothing but scientific papers, much of my creative writing talent has withered. I feel like I have so much to say but, at the same time, it feels as if I'm trying to wade through mud to get it out.

Good news for you, though. You're my guinea pigs for new posts. Yay!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

I've Resorted to Scrapbooking

We returned from Big Bend a couple of weeks ago and I've been itching to get through all the pics I took. I've had the time but, with over 900 pictures between the two of us, it seemed like a daunting task. Plus, I wanted to make sure they're on both the computer and hard drive, because I've lost photos before and it's heartbreaking - especially when it's something you can never get back.

But I persevered and got through them. I've decided a couple of things: 1) I need a new DSLR with newer technology, better lenses, and a higher megapixel rating and, 2) Sometimes I get lucky with that old thing and manage to get some pretty decent photos after all.

Now, I could have just gone the regular route and picked out a whole bunch of the good ones and stuck them in a photo album, hopefully one with the little memo paper next to the picture, but I figured that would be a little boring and not much fun to go back through.

My mother started making scrapbooks for each of the little trips she and my dad go on together, so I decided to do the same thing. Joe and I went to Hobby Lobby and picked out a bunch of supplies to get started. I'm not sure what all I need to really make it look great, though. I've done one-page scrapbook pages for shadowboxes, but never a whole book.

I was a little disappointed in the choice of travel stickers there. Almost all of them were dedicated to flying - not road trips - and the ones they had were more international, PacNW mountains, or beachy things. None of which apply here.

So...I guess I'll be looking online as well, but I was really hoping I could keep this pretty simple but still make it eye-catching.

I've gotten the first 6 pages planned out, but I'm assuming it still might need some tweaking, depending on how the layout and embellishments and stickers go.

Either way, I'm pretty excited to see this come together. Unfortunately, it's one of 3 artsy projects I've got going on right now, and I'm running out of time to get them done. Summer's almost over and then I'll be bombarded with school work and mania. One solution, I suppose, is to set aside, say, one hour a day to work on a page or something related to the other projects. Maybe that will work.

I'm going to pick up my first round of photos today and we'll see how they work with the huge stack of background papers I got, and the layouts I have in mind. I'm trying to leave room to write a little bit about each site or moment captured, so we'll see how that goes.

Once I get some pages done, I'll post some. Feedback is kinda pointless, really, since everything will be glue-dotted on and relatively permanent at that point.

I guess it doesn't matter. As long as I have a good time doing it and it actually reflects what we did, that's what's important, right?