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Crystal Springs Reservoir Multiuse Trail

My real job has been kicking my butt lately so I haven’t been finding nearly as much time for photography, or art for that matter, as I would prefer. Frustrating, honestly. I would like to work exactly 40 hours a week and have nobody bother me when I’m not at work. What jobs exist that are like that today? It seems like it’s a dying concept- the idea of a separation between your life and your job. If you want to make more than minimum wage, it seems like you are expected to always be attending to your job a little, even if it’s just checking email. This is not the same as actual Time Off, FYI, Corporate Masters. Your minions are all stressed and miserable. I’m sure it loses you money somehow.

This morning I went for a 7 mile walk along the Crystal Springs Resevoir. I’ve posted about it before, I’m sure. It’s a good walk if you want some lovely scenery, but flat, no hills. Very pretty early in the morning. Actually, I wouldn’t consider going any time other than dawn. The parking gets nuts anytime after 8:30 on the weekend. I’m not a big fan of Lots of People when I’m walking. Anyway, the photos:

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The Park

I haven’t been posting as much here lately, but I have still been taking photos. My attention has been diverted to making myself a website for my art, which is a work in progress, but here www.rockstarkate.com if you’d like to check it out. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this blog. Move it? Keep it? Repurpose it? Still considering.

I’ve also been thinking about filming some stuff and making some videos. I would like to make something I can show people to display the fact that I do indeed have video editing skills. I might make a video about the park, because I like the park so much. Still thinking about that too.

Just stopping by to say I haven’t put down my camera, just took a break from posting photos here.

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Steep Ravine Matt Davis Loop

This is the third year in a row visiting Stinson for this hike in the last week of April. It was awesome to see the impact of the rain we got this winter. The waterfalls were rushing and plant life was thriving, almost overtaking the trails in places. We missed the “super bloom” by a couple of weeks, but there were plenty of impressive patches of wildflowers. To experience the following pictures, imagine the sound of rushing water and the ocean crashing on the beach in the distance, accompanied by many birds singing in the rustling trees.

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250mm

Up until now, my longest available zoom has been 135mm. Then I was poking around on Amazon and I noticed that I could grab a 55-250mm discontinued Canon kit lens for less than $120. I felt I would be stupid not to get this, so I did.

Camera gear enthusiasts are an interesting bunch. I’ve been reading more blogs and videos about camera gear and photography this year and I can see how one could easily get sucked into a never-ending crusade to acquire the ultimate camera/lens combinations. I must remind myself that there is no real reason for me to do this, from time to time. I don’t aspire to be a professional photographer. (But if someone is offering some awesome job I may reconsider!)

Photography serves several purposes for me:

  1. It’s an art you can do outside! It entices me to go outside and walk around. Drawing and painting are my real artistic passions, but you must sit still to accomplish them. One cannot sit still all the time.
  2. Reference photos for my art. I only draw from my own reference photos when I draw realistically and since I learned more about photography it has really improved all of my painting. Taking pictures that capture interesting and beautiful light is the key.
  3. Documenting the things around me. I live in an amazing place with great weather almost year round (rain excluded) and an incredible array of plants, especially flowers. No matter what lens I use, I’m going to take more pictures of flowers and hiking trails than anything else because that’s what interests me most.
  4. Messing around with abstract photography. I get composition and color ideas from my abstract photos, and can see whatever the thing is that is “my style” in them.

None of these purposes require me to buy the most expensive gear.

Here are some photos from the new lens. It’s definitely going to be fun to use to capture more bird photos. And I was impressed with how great the flowers look at 250mm.

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Sunlight Through Trees

Today I went for a hike in Wunderlich park and I took my wide angle lens.

I was thinking of my post from the other day about the photos that give me the feeling of hiking, and I observed that light is really the thing. I especially like the light when the sun is directly in front of me, somewhat low in the sky either morning or afternoon, and casting long shadows over the trails. The photos of this light scenario tend to have a lot of contrast, with the sun blasting out the foreground. Or if I adjust for the foreground, the sky and background becomes enveloped to be in a fog of light.

The impressionists had it right.

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Hiking Feeling

I’ve been looking back over my photos for art subject reference materials, and I notice that I react to photos that aren’t the ones I initially chose as my favorites from the batch. For example, the following photos, which I  included neither in my first post about this hike in Wunderlich park nor in my second, seem to capture the essence and the feeling of hiking. They stir up solid memories of being in these places, the smell of the air, the sound of the breeze ruffling the leaves, the smell of unknown herbs and flowers.

 

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Sunrise on the Grid

Beautiful red sunrise this morning. I showed some of these to a friend and he said “great sunrise, too bad those power lines are there.” But I don’t know, I kind of like them. They have a personality and add contrast to the photos between nature that grew itself and the nature that humans have built.