After dinner, DD will often pull out the fiddle while I start the dishes and EV works up the motivation to take her daily bath. A little fiddle session while washing the dishes makes me all the happier to be home.
On a technical note, I opened up the nifty, thrifty 50mm to 2.8, cranked the ISO to 1600 (the max for my humble camera), set up a reflector to camera right for a little fill light and shot away.
Autumn is in full swing in these parts and the weather service notes that there is a chance of snow tomorrow. Hopefully we'll still have some fall color this weekend when we hope to spend a little time leaf-peeping.
On the way to town I pulled off at Tollgate Canyon. Last time I exited here with the girls, we got terribly stuck on a sheet of ice on a hill that, at the time, I was certain angled up at 45 degrees. In truth, it wasn't anywhere near that steep, it just seemed that way. Since then we've invested in some decent snow tires. And today, I decided the time was right to exit and give the canyon another go.
Here we have an 18 megapixel image from my humble 6 megapixel camera. Don't try this in Photoshop without at least 4 GB of RAM. And avoid Microsoft Windows if you can, I don't like to see anybody experience that kind of pain.
Last week was a little nutty as one of our customers came to meet with us at our offices for the week. These circumstances prevented me from doing as much photography as I would normally like. So I came up with a selfish scheme that would afford me a little photo time and give them the opportunity to enjoy the mountains here as well. I offered to take them up Big Cottonwood Canyon for the sunset if they were interested. As I had hoped, they were more than willing to accept my offer and so we went.
In that they come from England, they were quite impressed with the vista at which we stopped. Heck, I live here and I am still just as impressed.
You all know the routine: Open your browser as wide as it will go and click the image to see the larger, more impressive version.
I think I'll just put the crisis on hold for now while I think it through. In the meantime, let's just talk about my rather inspiring session this evening.
Last night when I shot that pinkish sunset over the Uinta mountains, I came away feeling like I hadn't really done the scene justice. The colors were incredible, my composition was lazy. Here's how it played out:
DD: Sunset alert to the east!
CJ: (putting the dishes on hold, running to my camera bag)
EV: Wow, pretty!
CJ: (running to the garage to pull the tripod out of the trunk of the car)
I then step out to the front porch, plop down my tripod and get this very boring straight on, flat panoramic shot that has about as much depth as and personality as a dung beetle. No I take that back, at least what a dung beetle does is unique. That shot was not.
So, my photographic endeavors were not particularly inspiring for me last evening. I certainly didn't push myself to make something compelling. And maybe that's the problem. I'm just in a bit of a funk and need to challenge myself a little more seriously.
So tonight I feel a lot more inspired by this shot:
Now this is not the perfect shot, but in my mind, it is a bit more interesting than the shot from last evening and I certainly pushed myself a little more to get it. This time I had to haul two flashes, a shoot-through umbrella, a mounting bracket, the camera, and tripod. Somehow I thought that I could carry all of this without my bag. Then when I saw the light on the peaks to the east (I began shooting toward the west), I somehow managed to pack all that gear about a tenth of a mile through the wild grass up to the top of the hill for this and a couple of other shots.
In any case, I like how the sage bush stands out because I went to the trouble to bring the two flashes and brelly. I had that sense of anticipation and excitement which motivated me to schlep all that stuff at a near jog to the top of the hill. I also learned a technical lesson: I should try gelling the flashes next time so that the foreground gets the same warm light that the background is getting.
Perhaps the funk can be solved by finding a way to push myself, even if just a little, every day. Let's give that a try.
And in the meantime, I'll keep thinking through the philosophy that one should narrow one's photographic focus (pardon the pun) to be most effective.
Welcome to part one of my self-absorbed story about my photo identity crisis. But first, I wanted to post an impressive sunset captured in a mediocre photograph:
I've been reading a book called "Fast Track Photographer" which is written by a really impressive wedding photographer named Dane Sanders. The book is challenging me in a very productive way--a way that has me taking a step back and thinking through my motivation and passion for photography. And this challenge is making me think through where I need to take this.