Archive for June 2011

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I’m back!  I rode down to Reno on my motorcycle, picked up my truck (which has been stored down there all winter) and returned.  Before I left my new Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105 f/4L lens arrived.  On the way down there, I spotted these flowers alongside Highway 58 east of Eugene, OR, and decided this was as good a subject as any for first light.  So it’s back to full-frame nirvana for me baby!  I should explain that I had this same camera for a year or so, traveling with it to many great destinations.  But in Nicaragua last Fall, it and my other camera gear was stolen.

Posted June 15, 2011 by MJF Images in Uncategorized

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 The lanterns at Rocky Butte in Portland form a nice silhouette against the orange sky of sunset.

 Often I approach photography indirectly.  That’s to say, instead of marching right up to the hilltop park and looking out for a vista to photograph, I poked around at the base of the rock walls for awhile, looking for a different perspective, looking for foreground.  I wound up finding nice silhouettes to photograph.

  But it’s my shyness that prompted me to do that, honestly.  I heard a bunch of boisterous people on top, the sound of laughing girls, and avoided going up there until things were quieter.  But then as I walked around down below, despite having a more obstructed view of the river and city below, I sensed that the developing color in the sky would make a nice image if there was an interesting subject to set against the sky in silhouette.  The lanterns were an obvious choice.

  It’s interesting how all this passes through the mind subconsciously.  Many how-to books on photography read very much like what I just wrote.  But when I was out there with my camera, my mind was not preoccupied with these thoughts.  In hindsight I realize that what I was after was something interesting to photograph, and by doing my usual thing (avoiding the obvious choices, avoiding people), I was able to position myself for a fairly unique perspective.  But at the time, my mind was pretty much just idling while my eyes worked over my surroundings, that is until it was time to position the tripod just so, deal with the equipment, and so forth.  Then my mind was on doing that quickly and well.

  It’s funny how chaotic and unplanned, maybe organic, the process of finding good images is for me, and how the act of setting up and taking the photo is very much like work.  I’m finding I take a little more time looking around than I did in the past.  That’s a good thing, I suppose.  I like my process, in general.  I would only like to add some planning and organization, in order to benefit from that aspect of good photography.  This is to avoid frequent frustration, because, for example, I am not in position to catch the perfect evening light.  But I certainly disagree with photographers who spout off about good photography resulting from good planning, research and the like.  Research to a great extent exposes you to ideas that someone has already had.  It gets you to the same locations, offering the same photos as everyone else. 

 I really want to keep the organic and chaotic nature of much of my photography, that which is a direct result of my screwball borderline loner personality.  I just need to add a bit of organization and planning to that core process.  I think it is what gets me the occasional stunning image.  And I really feel that I often take pictures that are very different from that of most others, just by virtue of arriving at a spot and diving in, without the recommended internet search.  This applies to my travel photography as well, where I photograph people much more.  It’s a very personal process, whether going for people, animals, or landscapes.

Posted June 8, 2011 by MJF Images in Uncategorized

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The evening light promised to be nice, after a gray day, and I headed up to Rocky Butte, a small park nearby that is situated at the top of one of the extinct volcanoes dotting the east side of Portland.  I’m not sure why I don’t come here more often.  I prefer Mt Tabor for overall atmosphere, but when I go there I often am stuck for subjects to photograph.  Rocky Butte has better, more unobstructed views, and the small park at the summit is notable for its nice rock walls and old-style lanterns.  Views extend north over the Columbia River and east towards the Gorge.  While photographing the beautiful lanterns against the glowing sky, I spotted a young couple sitting on the rock wall.  They had a great view of the sunset, but were clearly oblivious to the outside world.

Posted June 8, 2011 by MJF Images in Uncategorized

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Riding across this bridge on my motorcycle after one gorgeous day (finally!), I realized I’ve always wanted to stop and take a photo of the Clackamas River as it rolls by Carver.  And the crescent moon made it irresistable this time. 

I didn’t have a tripod with me, so first I tried just bracing on the bridge railing.  But that wasn’t steady enough, so I set my camera down on the bridge deck and poked the lens underneath the railing, using the timer to get good sharp shots.  That is, when no traffic was on the bridge, vibrating things.  I kept a good hold on the neck strap though, since it would not have taken much to send it straight into the river 40 some feet below. 

I rode my horse up through the National Forest lands above the barn today, with another guy named Paul and his arab gelding named Majestic.  What a great ride!  Followed by a great ride on my motorcycle.  And would you believe it?  No rain today.  Seems a bit strange not to have the wet stuff, not to have huge threatening clouds always in view.

Posted June 4, 2011 by MJF Images in Uncategorized

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