Saturday, May 28, 2016

Memorial Day

Memorial Day here in the US is for remembering those who served, and died, in combat. Some really went through hell and their sacrifice should always be remembered, not just on Memorial Day.
For Memorial Day I decided I wanted to photograph the memorial at Memorial Park here in Colorado Springs which I did yesterday. The memorial has some very interesting curves and angles. It was cloudy, and it had been raining a little earlier, which I felt would accentuate the somber feeling I was experiencing.
Here is the first frame. Not bad framing with the anchor in front of the main memorial.

I like exploring my subject further however so I continued on. For my second frame I decided to get a little closer to the main memorial.

Noticing the flag I decided to get even closer so I could get it better in the image.

This I think is the best of the bunch. About half a meter from where I shot the last one I pointed the camera up and got down on my knees.

These three seemed to line up nicely.

This is the same anchor from the first frame. After looking it over I decided to get down on the grass and frame the image using the chain as a main element. I think it's my second best image of the day.

I photographed the memorial one last time.

That's it for now, have a great day. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Building shots.

Yesterday my MIL was getting her teeth pulled. For a little bit I went outside of the building and began to notice the way the clouds were reflecting on the glass. It looked interesting and the building reminded me loosely of the Flatiron Bldg in NYC. Here's my first shot. 

Not being entirely happy with my first frame I moved a bit and recomposed.

Studying the building a bit I decided to focus on the one side of the building.

This is the one I was happiest with of the four.

My phone is a LG G4. It takes 13 megapixel pictures. It doesn't do too bad though pretty much everything is automatic unlike a lot of cameras. You can get it to focus on a particular part of the framing. It also has a fairly decent zoom except I'm not a fan of the way it interpolates the pixels if you zoom in a lot. It also has very few image controls, like the F stop you want. Despite the limitations photographs from my cell phone have won a few awards, though not as many as with my Fuji.
Beyond those issues the composition really is pretty similar to what I do with my Fuji. Most of the time I even have the rule of thirds lines up on the screen. Those were lined up on the tops of the windows of the bottom two floors in the last frame.
When I first discovered a love of photography was when I was a courier many years ago. I had a Yashica SLR at the time. I'd do a very few frames. Film processing, and having large prints done, was rather expensive as I recall. I entered a large print of an Iris as I recall in a 4H art competition in Holly, CO. My image won third place. It made me realize I might have a bit of a talent in photography. 
Later on the costs involved was bothering me. I wasn't making much money at the time so I dropped photography for a few years. I rediscovered it via a Polaroid digital camera after Patricia passed away in 2002. It had very low resolution of something like 1.2 megapixel. Really an awful camera but it was one of the first available to consumers and I could afford to do a lot of images which I did on the ranch I was living at during that time. I look at them on a computer though. 
It opened a world of wonder to me. I captured sunsets, the horses, life on the ranch, and some of the parks around Colorado Springs. I didn't care about entering any of the resulting images in any of the photo competitions though. Over several months I upgraded cameras and I think the best camera of the time I had was a 2 megapixel Vivitar with a 3x optical zoom which expanded my capabilities quite a bit. It was the first decent camera I had since the Yashica SLR and was one of the best available at the time to the average person. 
Now my Fuji is very comparable to the Yashica on image quality. It takes really good images though I'd like a few additional settings though that are only available on DSLR's however. Believe me I do look at what's on the market but haven't quite decided yet to splurge like that. Photography is mainly a hobby for me, after all, and it's hard to justify the expense when you aren't making any money at it.
If you look at my book covers some time you'll notice photographs on the covers of several of the books. I shot most of them with a 7 megapixel Canon. It made it a bit cheaper when I needed a book cover as I didn't have to pay for the licensing of the image. After I quit writing a year and half ago I upgraded cameras once more and got the Fuji which is my main camera now.
Have a great day. Hope you enjoyed my reminiscing today.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Hi there!

This is Pikes Peak from just before our trip. I shot it from the parking lot where I work. It probably would have been a little better if I'd used the polarizer filter to bring out more of the blue in the sky. 

We have plans to go to several places in the coming weeks. One is seven bridges trail in North Cheyenne canyon. It's been several years since I was on that trail last. I'm thinking Susan should be able to hike it with me. She has no cartilage in her knees so she can only hike the easy trails wherever we're at.
One of the things that's happened with me is apparently I have the start of skin cancer. I've been having to use a chemo cream, Fluorouracil, on my forehead, and temples. The particular condition is called Actinic Keratoses. Over many years you build up damage from too much sun. Eventually it turns into something that sounds really nasty, Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Having looked at pictures of it it looks really nasty too. My second two week round with the chemo cream starts on Friday.
While you're are using the cream your breaks out where the skin is damaged. It looks like a chemical burn, and I guess it is. I still have a couple of small scabs as of this morning from the last two week round. In my case they are mostly on my temples. I do have to wear a hat all the time so I bought a cool looking fedora to wear outdoors. Your skin where you're using the cream gets even more sensitive to sunburn, and further damage. I can expect the skin cancer to come back in another year, or two. I'll have a regular dermatologist from now on, and the one I have now is pretty cool.
One benefit, other than with my skin cancer, is that the hat helps shade the viewfinder on my camera better. I also get a lot of compliments on the hat which is nice.
Until next time have a good day. I need to head out the door shortly so I can go to work.

Friday, May 20, 2016

More from Great Sand Dunes

A week ago we visited Great Sand Dunes. I really wish we'd had more time to explore the park further. Unfortunately for me that wasn't to be however as there isn't the coverage for my shifts at work. Some vacation is better than none so I do thank my lucky stars. I've worked a lot of jobs over the years with no paid vacation time. Just because a job is full time doesn't mean there's any paid time off like most apartment complexes, etc. If that's something you're interested in you need to check when you apply for the job. At one time it didn't. I just wanted to work.

More recently I'd gotten some additional filters for my Fuji. There's an adapter ring that I had to attach to the lens frame. It came apart and I glued it to the camera. Some of the glue spread out on to the glass. If I don't zoom out enough it shows up at the corners like in the next image. The gray part is some of the glue that I have now managed to scrap off of the glass very carefully with a paring knife. All the time I was doing it I was concerned with scratching the lens.
Presently I am looking at various DSLR's because I'd like to use filters and have some additional photography capabilities that I don't have now like longer shutter time. I haven't made any definite decisions yet, however, though I came really close to splurging on a rather nice remanufactured Olympus set that came with the camera body and two lenses.

The river you see is one that disappears under the sand in the south part of the park. I'd taken off my shoes and walked across the river. The water was quite warm and there's a lot of suspended sand in it. It looks almost like a river of gold as you look down at the water.

I'm not sure the name of the mountain in the background. It sure is lovely though.

This is one of the big dunes. The black spots at the top are people.

Here are some more people headed to the top.

I managed to capture several images of this couple and their very young child. These, in essence, are the outtakes. a bit later I got the mountain in with them and that's what I uploaded to View Bug.

The forms the sand takes is quite fascinating.

This is another two with the couple and their young child.

This is another interesting image. Lighter sand forms these ridges on top of the darker.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

More from Mesa Verde

Here are some more of the cliff dwellings. It amazes me they lived in such a place. Naturally, as to the reasons why, I wonder. These are not easy to get into. To get some of these shots you need a lot of focal length, and therefore a lot of glass on your camera.

I can see how this would be named the Dance Plaza. It kind of looks like one. 

They must have had really good climbing skills to get into the upper parts.

The dwellings start right at the bottom of the canyon. Technically they would be in the flood when there was serious rains. At the time, however, my understanding is there was a major drought going on.

This is the canyon those cliff dwellings is in. Not too bad I think from the bottom of the canyon. To get to the bottom of the canyon easily you have to walk a couple of miles.

I'll try to post some more in the coming weeks.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Great Sand Dunes

We also visited Great Sand Dunes. The sand pile is huge. You don't really get a concept of how huge from the pics unless a person is in the picture. Susan is the little figure in the middle of this panorama.

I thought the footprint cross was cool.

The dark iron deposits looks cool on the tops of some of drifts.

There's a weird optical illusion happening in this frame. The footprint was actually inset instead of the way it looks here.

Now we're tired. I kind of wish we had a vacation from our vacation. Altogether I got about 170 pictures. Some are really good, others, not so much.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Four Corners

One of the things we wanted to see is the Four Corners Monument. It was quite different for me this time compared to the last time I'd been here which I think was about thirty years ago. Susan had never been here before.

The flags was cool and I got this frame with most of them.

This was outside the monument. I did a panorama of the Ute reservation. 

This is the marker that denotes where the actual four corners is.

Susan was acting silly here. I thought it was cute.

The shadow and light of the benches was interesting for me.

This is Treasure Falls. It's located on US 160.

We weren't able to get to Great Sand Dunes today. I guess tomorrow morning we'll be visiting that park.