A Funny Thing Happened on My Way Through the Gardens…

2015_09_04_3058-1I have slowly been working toward a IR converted camera for the last 6 months or so and it arrived back home yesterday- couldn’t help but take it out for a spin! The 720nm glass makes black and white feel like a dream-

while still offering me the option of surreal color processing-

For those of you who follow, I am working on a small redesign of the site/ my approach (including enlarging my standard image size), as my “all things I love” blog has shifted lovingly to an “I love photography” blog and my site structure needs a revamp. This is taking some time, with life and all, but I will be posting more frequently (and hopefully better!) going forward.

Hand Held Macro, Take 1

Two weeks ago I rented a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS lens to test out whether or not macro was a format I could dive deeper into, technology notwithstanding. After an initial meet and greet with the lens in the (relatively) controlled environs of my kitchen, confidence bolstered by the benefit of my tripod, a remote shutter switch, and nowhere else to be, I decided to give the stabilized lens a more real-world test. With only a couple hours to spare on Saturday (at high afternoon, no less), I took my camera back to UNM for a quick tour of the duck pond.

Generally speaking, this is a wide angle or standard lens location, full of students, fountains, ducks. geese, and families. While I wasn’t the only photographer on campus that day, I was certainly the only one crawling around the ground with a 12″ diffuser flared out behind my head like the feathers of a peacock.  (Definitely need to work on a less ostentatious approach to light control…) I hadn’t used my diffuser much to date, but it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with it- that little thing may just salvage many a mid-day photography opportunity– a great gift indeed in this land of very hard sunlight.

It took a while to get the hang of swaying my body front to back to fine tune my focal plane (though far easier than trying to manually fine-tune the lens focus while accounting for my natural motion) and eventually I got the habit of breathing out before taking a shot.  About 50% of my shots were technically acceptable on closer inspection, but frankly, while it was a fun outing,  I still wasn’t overall thrilled about my compositions or the lens. (That changed, thankfully- though the bolus of photos I ultimately took with the lens has completely jammed up my post-production workflow and I am still trying to get them ready for posting!)

I leave you with a small gallery of the images from that first hand-held macro trip.

Take Two

Last Friday I left the office early to sneak in some quiet photo time at the aquarium and the bio park and was, once home and uploaded, amazingly disappointed in the pictures I got.  I got some of the shots I had been planning for, and am still processing them, but on the whole, I was very disappointed.

Interestingly, though, instead of feeling set back (the problems were absolutely oversight and human error, total rookie mistakes, I assure you) I felt a very deep and nagging desire to go back there and get it right, dammit.

The images that I was trying to get were only somewhat time sensitive and frankly not so different from the other shots I’ve done there. But the feelings of discernment, of tenacity, and of ‘I KNOW I can do better than this’ confidence were unexpectedly persistent. I have been doing photography again for about a year, and this was the first time that I felt, fully, that I knew what I wanted, knew how to get it, and knew that if I went back and tried again, I’d get the shots I had in my mind, at a level of quality I could be proud of.

So I did. And I feel as if, not so much in the pictures as in the ownership of my craft, I am slowly claiming my own title of artist.