This place is sunny and bright about 98% of the time. But when the sun sets, things can get pretty dramatic. Also, when it gets gloomy, it really gets gloomy. But we never have more than a day of that, so I have to move fast to capture the theatrical lighting. That’s me with my dog in the top photo. She’s learned to stand still when Mom is photographing.
What is it about “vanishing points” that draws us in? I’m talking more about the emotional level of it. Of course the eye will follow a line like that out to the horizon, but there’s more to it than that. I know there’s more to it when I’m photographing it. Maybe it’s that we all disappear into eternity? So I’ll just leave it there.
Thoughts on Photography
Night photography is something I haven’t done very much with, but I’m thinking that’s been a bit of an oversight. I shot these with the Tamron 20mm f2.8, wide open, of course, with the Sony A7r3. I think a 1.4 lens would have made short work of this. That also means: $$$$. Right? Maybe Santa will bring me one.
Early morning is a great time to shoot. Of course so is evening, but I’m an early bird, so those photo-ops suite me much more. I’m still not bored with photographing my immediate neighborhood and even the front yard, All of these were taken within 100 yards of my home. As a matter of fact, there’s my white car parked in the driveway. I think the image is clear enough for you to even see what the make is, and maybe even the specific model. And best of all, there’s my dog to the right.
I’m still very happy shooting with the Sony A7r—. All those other numbers after the name are too much for me. Also, still with the basic lens, sometimes considered a kit lens, the 28-60mm. I think that lens was made for this camera. It’s just a flawless combination and I love that it’s small and weather sealed. Blowing dust is more of an issue here more than rain….generally. Although lately we’ve been getting drenched. Hoping for a great ski season with all the abundant moisture.
Monsoon Season is supposed to be finished, but somehow they haven’t gotten that message. We’re delighted. The rain is always welcome here and so are these theatrical cloud formations. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that motorists will literally pull off to the side of the road to watch the show. I should know!
Black and White Photography.
Santa Fe clouds. Monsoons.
Sometimes I get lazy and just take the Sony HX99 with me. It’s small and fairly easy to use, but not quite a “point and shoot”. I have to say that the smallness of these really small cameras can also be an impediment. There is such a thing as “too small” and this camera just borders on that. But, it fits in a pocket or ski jacket and that is inviting.
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What else can I say? They just keep putting on a show. I’m sure they’re very proud of themselves. Clouds are like that. They want us to look at them and be in awe. Come to think of it, being in “awe” is a pretty good state of mind to visit from time to time…after you’ve paid the bills that is. The photo below doesn’t exactly feature clouds, but I liked the contrast between the two subjects.
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This is one picture of a cloud posted yesterday. Only this time it is much higher resolution. My camera, shooting in uncompressed RAW, can capture amazing gradations of tone in the sky and clouds. Then I compress that image for the web and everything is lost. Instead, I thought I’d try posting just one image of higher resolution and see what happens.
You can click on this image to get the full size. If anyone notices any improvement, I’d sure like to hear about it. I think it looks better and all that banding in the previous Gallery photos from 8/5/22 is much improved.
It’s likely that these images are compressed twice: once by me and another time by the WordPress protocol (probably).
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The ever changing cloud formations up here continue to hold my undivided attention. I can’t seem to get enough of it and I can’t seem to stop looking. Funny that I’m never bored by this vista. They form, then morph, then merge, then dissipate, like “thoughts”. I find that I can’t leave home without the camera around my neck….just in case one of them calls to me!
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Dogs are one of my favorite subjects. My association with them has been a life-long love affair starting with the first one, a big fawn-colored boxer named Laird. He did not live long. It saddens me to write of it all these years later. He developed bone cancer shortly after he was 2 years old! My father was a physician and was absolutely devoted to this animal. He took him to every human oncologist in the city in a vain attempt to save him. After Laird came Cindy, a big, beautiful standard poodle. That kicked off the love affair with poodles, which has lasted a lifetime.
The photograph of the white poodle is “Lucky”…the latest permanent residence in my home. That’s a long story. And we all have long stories regarding our best-friend-pooches. Right? Lucky is now 18 months old and full of spunk and vinegar. He is the best friend and rough-house-buddy of Flicka, the German Shepherd mix rescue-dog that you see here from time to time. Both of them are smarter, and definitely more sensitive, than many human beings I know and have known. And that’s a fact.
That “dog” way out there, isolated in the vastness of this place is definitely NOT a dog, but rather a close relative. We have many coyotes here and they walk around and visit the yard from time to time. You can’t imagine how much I want to feed them, but I know that’s a bad idea. And I don’t. How they survive out there is a mystery to me.
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Every time I head downtown, I make it a point to stop in at The Monroe Gallery of Photography. There you’ll see the originals of great photographers, both contemporary and past. I stopped in there a few days ago and asked the director if I could take some photos at a discreet distance, of course. She was so glad that I had asked and immediately said, “Sure you may.” I told her that I would be posting them on my website and she was fine with that too.
But what I didn’t say to her, because it didn’t occur to me at the time, was that in “post” it might occur to me to play “make believe” or “make pretend” and insert one or two of my photos into these magnificent gallery displays. Wishful thinking maybe. I am NOT in this Gallery by a long shot. They don’t even know who I am. This is just me having some, I hope, innocent fun. I am NOT in any gallery anywhere. So there. Full disclosure on that score. Just a little photographic prankster-ism.
P.S. If there are any lawyers out there who know of any law I might be breaking, do let me know. I think I’ve given pretty blunt full disclosure.
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Believe me, I’m not doing anything to these clouds. This is how they look. People just stop what they’re doing to gaze upward. At least I’m not the only one! It reminds me of the movie, “Independence Day”, if any of you saw that.
Shot these with the Sony A7r3. I like hearing reports from others about their experiences with the cameras and lenses they’re using. I learn a lot from that. What it comes down to, of course, is a personal choice. How does the camera feel in the hand? Does it fit? Does its position of controls and options work with the way my brain works? That’s what it comes down to because here’s what I’ve discovered: all of the modern cameras and lenses are excellent. I should know. I have a quite an assortment in my Photo Stable. We have to split hairs to make an argument for one brand or model over the other. At least that’s what I’ve discovered.
Having said all that: this Sony A7r3 (I hate the naming conventions) is an absolute winner for me. We’re just a good fit. It’s beautifully constructed (that matters to me) and it’s light weight and easy to carry around all day with the small FE f4, 28-60mm lens on it. And the whole kit is weather and dust sealed. The “dust” part matters a lot out here. Anyway….we’re a good match. And may we live happily ever after.
9 responses to “Clouds to Astound”
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Skies like this leave me in awe and feeling very small.
On a technical note, adding a tint to some of these, does NOT translate well into the compressed version needed for the web. It bugs me, but as I have said before, a) I think I’ll live, and b) Life goes on!
2 responses to “‘Tis the Season For Sky”
Not Quite Ansel Adams
The “big” moral question of the day is: Is it OK to feature color images on what is mainly a black-and-white photography blog? I just have this sneaking feeling that I’m cheating in some way.
But here’s why I can’t resist. Normally we’re quite dry here, but as I mentioned in yesterday’s posting, we’re in Monsoon Season. That means that the plants jump to life, including what’s growing in my garden. I just stand there and look at the patterns in the leaves. I love it. It’s mystical to me. It’s miraculous and I drink it in. So, OF COURSE when I come back down to Earth, I just have to take a picture of it. And the colors are intoxicating. Maybe we’re not used to it. The “palette” here is usually rather soft and pastel-like. So, these plants with their saturated greens and yellows just beg me to have their picture taken. Plants are like that. They can be quite vain you know.
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Art in Santa Fe New Mexico
Well, I hope I’m not boring everyone who visits “santafeandme” these days. But we are in our Monsoon Season and that means epically amazing cloud formations and lots of storms.
When I’m driving, I have to remind myself to: “Keep your eyes on the road.” It’s really difficult and more often than not, I have to pull over and “click”. Some of these formations look positively nuclear or Biblical, or both! Others look like highways in the sky. I can’t stop myself, it’s worse than chocolate. So “clouds” may be the theme on this blog for a couple more weeks…
…Oh, that’s not true either. Clouds and Sky are just a major facet of the scenery in New Mexico’s high country all year.
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Raw is the right word to describe the landscapes here in New Mexico…especially when the weather is changing and the skies become very dramatic. These were taken just a few minutes before sunset. Because we’re at altitude (7000′) the air is crystal clear. Of course another reason for that is because there aren’t many people here! We’re in a rural area, so there are even fewer people and the air and the skies are even more clear than in town (Santa Fe). These low light situations with high contrast clouds as the sun catches them, “asks” a lot of the camera. I shoot RAW so I could lighten these quite easily, but I’m going for the mood of the scene and how it impressed me as I stood there. I should say, “how it captured me!” So there you have some silhouettes, solid inky black with little or no detail. The modern cameras are amazing for preserving detail and tone; and I know that I could have pulled that out of those areas.
These were taken, quite recently, with the Sony A7Riii. I’m pretty much in love with the camera. I love the size, the lightness, the fluidity in using it. It seems to read my mind, and who knows, with AI, maybe it is! I read a review of it by Ken Rockwell in which he referred to the A7Riii as “clairvoyant”. That’s really the perfect choice of words, so I’ll just lift that description from his article.
I used the very basic Sony FE 50mm f1.8 lens which “serious” photographers would probably scoff at. Well, I’m amazed by it and I am serious! And unless I were printing images one acre large, I bet that most of us would not be able to tell the difference between it and one of the breath-takingly expensive Sony G or Master lenses. Its clarity and performance are astounding.
4 responses to “New Mexico Raw”
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Sometimes, not only is it a lazy day, it’s a “why bother to go anywhere else to shoot day.” That describes my backyard out here in the wilds of New Mexico. Sometimes an amazing scene appears out of nowhere and I’ll just grab the nearest camera. That may not be the best one, but light changes so fast around here that I can’t get particular. Since most of the focus is on sky and clouds, that creates a big problem when crunching these down as small JPEGs. Because there is so much subtlety and gradation in those clouds, they tend to become blotchy as they are compressed. So I have to compromise.
Life goes on.
3 responses to “Backyard Treasure Trove”
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I was going downtown anyway to pick up some great olive oil at my favorite shop. I had already ordered it over the phone earlier in the day and they were holding it for me. So of course I just had to take advantage of another photo-op downtown. I had the “heavy-hitter” Sony AR7II with me, all hooked up with my favorite “nifty fifty” f 1.8 lens. Ready to rock-and-roll as the saying goes, but for one thing: mea culpa…I made a real beginner’s error and had not checked the battery before leaving. I must have been too preoccupied dreaming about all the interesting things that I could cook, bake or stir-fry with the oil I was picking up. So yeah, I got off one shot before seeing: “Battery Exhausted” flash onto the rear screen. That gets to happen once.
But, to the rescue, and always in my handbag, was the much-discussed Sony HX-99 with its tiny sensor, but huge zoom. Long story, but here are those photos. True, you don’t get the detail and dynamic range out of the smaller sensor, but somehow, for street shots, I don’t care. I almost prefer the softer image. So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
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Sometimes I say to myself, “Just step outside your own front door. Don’t go more than 20 meters in any direction, and see what’s there.” That is amazingly difficult. We had a nice blizzard the other day, but now it’s starting to melt. It was late afternoon when I went out, but it didn’t take long to become attracted to the strong light-play of pattern and design that was right under my feet.
Once again, I’m using a fairly “simple” camera by today’s standards. Well, not really. But it’s an older one, probably considered a “dinosaur” these days—and probably out of production. I think it does a great job with only a 1″ sensor. I love that the original Sony RX-10 (first edition) is weather-sealed, has a good Zeiss lens on it and a constant 2.8 aperture throughout the 24-200mm range. Macro is outstanding as well. I’ve kept it all these years because I still enjoy using it and I’m still impressed with the quality of the images. And remember, these images are crunched way down as JPEGs. The originals are RAW.
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This is a rural part of New Mexico. Most of New Mexico is rural so that’s no surprise. The way we control weeds sometimes is to bring in a herd of goats (some sheep mixed in) and just let them graze. They do a great job. No pesticides needed. No one out here uses pesticides anyway. The place is still too pristine and pretty to allow that. And, we’re all fairly conscious about how that effects the bees. A lot of people out here like to grow their own food. I wish I had a greenhouse!
Here are some nice portraits of the kids I met today. They completely ignored me…too intent on what they were doing. Me too.
And, by the way…what’s the best camera? Ok, we all know the answer to that question…The one you have with you. I always have the little Sony HX99 tucked away in my hand bag. It does shoot RAW and has no anti-aliasing filter. That gives a boost to the small sensor. As I have mentioned before, if this camera were any smaller, I wouldn’t be able to operate it. It is a miracle of miniaturization.
4 responses to “Goats = Weed Control”
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Several years ago I was in a photo class at our local college. There were some very talented people in there. We all got along great and had a total ball posting our photographs to FaceBook. In response, we were supposed to post serious, highly intellectual commentary for each photo. That was too heavy for me and I wanted to have fun. Some “Sprite” possessed me and I spontaneously started writing very short stories for each photo.
These are selections from just one of the students who had to endure this—although, he loved it. Sometimes we take ourselves too seriously. GK Chesterton once said (paraphrasing) “The reason that angels can fly is because they take themselves lightly”. This is an odd posting for me, but I thought it had some comedic, and photographic merit. Any maybe someone out there will get a chuckle or two out of it. We sure could use more of that! So here they are…my Great Literary Responses to the wonderful work of Henry Aragoncillo, fellow photo student at the Santa Fe Community College. These are ALL his photographs.
We haven’t gotten a lot of snow this year. It keeps missing us, but all the surrounding areas are getting epic amounts. Oh well, January is typically a dry month in the local mountains. February and March are generally when we get most of our snow pack which is so important for the Spring run-off. The smoke in the lower right photograph is the result of what’s called a “Controlled Burn” around here. The Forest Service will start a fire to burn out dead leaves and logs that could ignite during the hot weather.
Today was bleak, very dark and moody up there, as my title suggests. We are skiing at 12,000 feet and mountain weather can change VERY quickly and dramatically. I always have the tiny Sony HX-99 with me because it fits in the front ski pocket and I hardly know it’s there. The sensor is small, but I continue to be amazed at what a good job it does…capturing a lot of detail with a pretty nice dynamic range. I used to try carrying the “real” camera with me, but it was just too much effort and it put an expensive camera in harm’s way. I couldn’t adequately protect it. By the way, I also would NOT want to fall on it! Ouch and Snap.
This is supposed to be a site dedicated to black and white photographs only. But I’m going to make an exception here. This was the “Biblical” event in our skies that I was awed by as I drove home yesterday. It filled the entire sky and here is the jpeg-compressed pale imitation of what I saw. I had to pull over and just watch as the light changed. Luckily I had the Olympus M5iii with me. For a small sensor, I’m always amazed at how able it is. I haven’t added any color or contrast.
Olympus 12-45mm Pro
As usual, we got all packed up (me with camera gear) and headed downtown to see the lights and half of Santa Fe as they strolled up and down Canyon Road. Even the adults don’t tire of seeing the whole place lit up so prettily for Christmas. We had dinner at a lovely restaurant nearby and then walked from there. It was raining as we got started! It was supposed to snow. At least the rain stopped and it was a great evening. We love Christmas and so does this city. I took way too many photographs and have probably posted too many as well. But it sure was fun. A happy and safe 2022 to all who read this. (Sorry for slow download speeds. I’ve crunched these photos way down, but there are a lot of them.)