Why the title?

"Pioneers take the arrows"

Oh, wait. I should be upbeat and taking arrows doesn't sound like an upbeat thing to say.

So, let me amend that statement.

It was courage and vision that led the pioneers to leave behind a comfortable, settled life and trek West to begin a new life in a new place. Many of those from the East that went West found a strength within themselves that they didn't see while they were in their old life. Instead of being one of those that just kind of went along with the others in the old life, they became leaders and visionaries in their new lives.

The sentiments of that last paragraph come from a favorite author, Louis L'Amour, in many of his books. So, I can't really say that it is an original thought from me. However, what he said is truthful.

Welcome to being a pioneer. Look ahead and ignore the "barking dogs" that give you negative opinions and comments. Louis L'Amour also spoke of the barking dogs.

In some of his stories, it was usually a father or older man telling a young boy how it was that when the Westward bound Conestoga wagons rolled through towns, the dogs came out to bark at them. His character then told the young listener that the barking didn't stop the wagons from going on to their destinations.

Following the advice of the Louis L'Amour characters, may we all forge ahead with our plans, after carefully considering all consequences and leave the "barkers" behind.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Photographer’s Curse

The advent of the digital camera has brought about both blessings and curses. I began a more serious interest in photography back in 1967 with the purchase of my first 35mm SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera with interchangeable lenses, which was an Asahi Pentax Spotmatic.

My mother liked many of my photos (don’t mothers always?) and wanted an SLR for herself. However, being a person of limited interest in setting the camera manually, she wanted something that would be pretty simple to use. That led me to search and settle on a Minolta XG-1 for her with suggestions for possible telephoto lenses for her.

After several years of good photographs (even when the camera’s setting weren’t right), she had several rolls of film not come out good when on a cruise. She bought a simple point and shoot camera and the next time she saw me, she handed me that Minolta and all the extra lenses. I now had two cameras, which can be a blessing when photographing nature and wildlife.

Then, my sister informed me one Christmas that she was going to sell her Canon T50. I took immediate interest because the T50 had an automatic film advance system where the Spotmatic and XG-1 were strictly manual film advance cameras. Anyone photographing wildlife knows the advantage of speeding up the chance to get a second or even third or more photographs of a moving critter. When I asked her how much she wanted for the camera and lens, she said $50.

So, I was suddenly the owner of three SLR cameras. With that setup, I could have one camera with a set telephoto lens, one with a zoom lens, and the Canon T50 with the standard lens and fast film advance. I thought I was in heaven. Well, except for the cost of buying and then developing all those rolls of film.

With digital cameras, one doesn’t have to be so concerned with film processing, so one can take oodles of pictures and only print those that really deserve printing. I suspect that most photographers are like me in that they take a lot of photos just to get a few really good ones.

With so many photos taken with wild abandon with the shutter button, there comes the day that “the Curse” takes effect. That is that period of time after the trip or vacation when one has to view each one, organize them all, and choose the ones in which one has a real interest.

I am at that stage of reviewing and organizing them. My first experience with the digital cameras on a vacation was in 2002 on a two week vacation to Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons, Idaho, and back home through Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas.

That time, I took over 1700 photos in the two week period. I also DID NOT do any daily organization of photos. So, when we returned home, it must have been almost a month before I got all the photos organized according to the areas of the country and the various features of Yellowstone that I had photographed.

After that, I learned to download each day into folders for each day. I also learned to take a picture of any sign designating an area, such as Old Faithful in Yellowstone, before I even took one photo of the area itself. That way, my first picture would indicate what the area of interest was.

Thus, the 12 day Alaskan Cruise and Land Tour that we took in 2005 was better organized and it didn’t take as long to organize photos after that trip. But, because I took over 4000 pictures on that trip, it took longer to view and choose the better ones for organization into photo presentations.

Over 3200 photos on our two week vacation to the Pagosa Springs area in 2009 were even easier to organize since I was learning the best ways to “organize on the fly” for each day’s photographs.

This year’s trip to the Canon City/Colorado Springs area of Colorado resulted in only just over 2500 photos. But, that was in only a one week period. While they get organized by date each day as I download the photos, they don’t get reviewed quite as fast as I take the photos in the first place.

Thus, “The CURSE” is now upon me. It can be intimidating and frustrating with my photos. I get to see such beauty and photograph it, but the camera doesn’t always give me the result that my mind’s eye captures. A lot of photographs come out darker than I remember. And even though imaging software can better lighten up the photos, they never seem to have the same beauty and lushness of color that I remember after the lightening process is done.

That is usually made up with some really good ones, though. Many of which fall into that “realm” of which Ansel Adams wrote when he stated, “Sometimes I do get to places just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter.” Many of those fall into the category of photos that I want to share, but need to be protected as an image for my book.

While in Colorado this year, we visited the Florissant Formation, which is a site with fossilized redwood trees. While there, I stumbled upon a disc set (either CD’s or DVD’s) about the Phantom Canyon Drive. The images on the case showed some beautiful fall colors. Guess where I asked to be taken the next day….

Anyway, here are two photos of that day’s drive into the Phantom Canyon. One of a critter and one of some fall colors. Here’s hoping you enjoy them.

Critter and Pine Cone.


Simply Color….


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