Signs

“Negative emotions like loneliness, envy, and guilt have an important role to play in a happy life; they’re big, flashing signs that something needs to change.”~G Rubin

Many Vintage Signs, Processed for A Vintage Feel.

Many Vintage Signs, Processed for A Vintage Feel.

This image reminds me of a funny yet thought-provoking TED talk that I watched. Basically, the speaker has studied choice and the prolific number of choices  that we now face on a daily basis and in so many areas.  He has come up with a premise that while people believe that numerous or unlimited choices make their life so much better,  in reality too many choices can lead to dissatisfaction. “The grass is greener on the other side, maybe the choice I made is not the best, there are so many choices that I will choose not to make one”, etc.  According to his studies, people are actually no happier now than a number of decades ago, when choices were less abundant and people had more societal expectations of “how things should be”.  Choices have run amok in people’s lives creating confusion and disillusion.  So many choices, so much second guessing! I agree with him to a certain extent.  I like options, choices, alternatives but sometimes it is nice to let go of the holy grail of trying to find perfection among all these choices we are bombarded with and just be happy with what we have.  Gratitude for the imperfect is underrated.

 

Cowboy

“To me, the magic of photography, per se, is that you can capture an instant of a second that couldn’t exist before and couldn’t exist after. It’s almost like a cowboy that draws his gun. You draw a second before or after, you miss and you’re dead – not them. To me, photography’s always like that.”~M Testino

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Sedona Red Rock Cowboy

How true the above quote is…literally a second can make all the difference in an image. Photographer vs. subject is a bit of a shootout, isn’t it?

I have been a bit preoccupied as of late..something is competing with my attention to all my photography. He’s truly special is the only thing that I will say. :)  It came as totally unexpected and I have been kind of taking a breather here but am also feeling ready to resume posts, although it may not be as frequently as before. Everything has a way of ebbing and flowing, doesn’t it?

And a second can make all the difference in your life.

 

Youth

“In youth we learn; in age we understand.”~M von Ebner-Eschenbach

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A Youthful Pronghorn Antelope with Budding Antlers

I spotted this guy from the side of the road while driving by a campsite in Bryce Canyon, flew from the car and tried my best to zigzag alongside the trees, hoping to hide myself until I could get close enough to get a decent shot of this young buck. At first I thought it was a deer but then recognized the markings and spindly legs.  We have Pronghorn Antelope here in the Prescott area and I pass them frequently going to and from work. The biggest thrill I got from this experience was not the image but hearing the antelope’s vocalization. Here and there he’d let out a soft bleating-type noise. I wondered if he was lost and separated from the herd as I usually see them here in a group of at least a dozen. Anyway, it made me want to bleat back “It will be okay” but I have yet to perfect my antelope voice. Or maybe they just talk to themselves…”Jeez, another tourist!”. At any rate, I was glad to get to hear his little voice, something that I had not anticipated when I ran out of the car to get an image.

Flowing

“Would that I were a dry well, and that the people tossed stones into me, for that would be easier than to be a spring of flowing water that the thirsty pass by, and from which they avoid drinking.”~K Gibran

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A Bit of A Flowing Stream in Bryce Canyon

The clouds were just beginning to build the morning before we left Utah to head back to Arizona. For “the big picture” in landscape photography, clouds are so important. It’s true all over but especially here in the West where things like fog and mist are almost non-existent. We do not get much in the way of atmosphere. There is such a thing as too blue of a sky, although of course, that is much better than a flat gray sky!

Transformation

Transformation literally means going beyond your form.”~W Dyer

Transformation-something is taken away yet also gained.

Transformation-something is taken away yet also gained.

When I was trying to find a quote for this image, I decided that transformation would be the key word. This area, called The Toadstools, has undergone quite a transformation. The wind, sand and water have created natural sculptures throughout the area. There are a number of toadstool spots in and around Kanab, Utah where nature’s conditions have transformed the sandstone over time. In a way, the toadstools are an analogy for man: we are born one way and transform over time, losing some things yet gaining others. Hopefully, what transpires is for the better, not worse.

We drove here after an afternoon in the Grand Canyon and I was hoping for clouds ☁︎☁︎ (yes, that word again) and to have arrived a bit earlier. By the time we got out to the toadstool area, the sun was setting rapidly. I tried to shoot as much as possible in the 30 minutes we had before it got too dark and we had to skedaddle (one reason why camping is a definite bonus when it comes to landscape photography) or we may have had to possibly spend the night ,not camping, just frantic out in the open and unprepared. We actually got a bit lost heading back but we made it to the car right as darkness really fell. Had I been with other photographers, I’d have suggested a return to this area on the way back. Two against one, I did not even mention it. But I am already planning a Kanab trip in the fall when it will be cooler and more enjoyable as the temps had hit 100* plus while we were there.

I am happy to say that parched Prescott got some rain on Saturday and the monsoons are setting in. I am hoping for a lot of rain this season as we certainly are in desperate need of it!

 

 

Memory

“If in the twilight of memory we should meet once more, we shall speak again together and you shall sing to me a deeper song”~K Gibran

Hotshot Articles (1 of 1)

This past Monday was the one year anniversary of the terrible Yarnell Hill fire tragedy when 19 men lost their lives protecting a nearby community. I was away for the remembrance ceremony but happened upon a tribute today, set up at a local hotel in honor of the heroes.  It was a moving and personal tribute; each fallen firefighter had a space with a portrait which I imagined showed their true selves: nothing overly posed, just more or less snapshots of them, mostly in their firefighting uniforms and smiling. Many of the images were taken by their fellow comrades. One of the men was so young; he looked fresh out of high school. All were in their prime.

There was a written blurb about each of the men, not your standard fare but truly personal memories. Each written memory illustrated some of the unique attributes about each of the men’s personalities. It was very moving. I started to tear up a few times….I knew none of them personally but felt like I did as I stood there reading about their lives and characters. One area showed their equipment and I was really taken aback when I saw the emergency fire shelters that they had to deploy in a futile attempt to save their lives. It was the size of a thick brick and looked very much like the reflective folding sun protector I put in my windshield. That made me feel incredibly sad.

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The Hat of A Hero

In retrospect, the year has flown by. Time flies and things happen in life that we sometimes cannot control or predict so live your life in the best way possible. Let your loved ones know that they are truly loved. Try to do a little good for someone in need. Honor your own true self. Life passes by in a flash and for the 19 heroes, it ended way too soon.

Independence

Independence? That’s middle class blasphemy. We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth.”~GB Shaw

FourthFireworkscollage

Dependence can be a good or bad, depending on its degree but I prefer to think of us all as interconnected as opposed to dependant.

A bit of a break from landscape images!

Today we here in the USA celebrate Independence Day and it pretty much always involves fireworks and BBQs. I had a very small celebration here at my home where I enjoyed the fireworks display from my porch and even managed to shoot some images without having to fight crowds (I had enough of that at Antelope Canyon, thank you very much)!

PS-this image is so small in the post but when I click on it twice, it fills my entire laptop screen. I’m not sure what is up with that!

Curves

“In life, as in art, the beautiful moves in curves.”~E Bulwer-Lytton

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Soft, sinuous, curvaceous, the feminine side of Mother Earth dominates Antelope Canyon.

The last slot canyon I visited was Buckskin Gulch in Utah. It is hard, linear and dark so I was a bit surprised at the softness of Antelope Canyon. I had seen images showing that voluptuousness, but the beauty of the canyon must be seen in person in order to really experience its seductiveness. It’s gorgeous: soft colors of sandstone, smooth lines and filtered light which breaks through at various points.

Now the experience of visiting the canon was a whole other story. To sum it up: it was a cattle call. Not only was it a complete zoo with streams of people being rushed along both in and out but I also experienced real rudeness in the tour operators efforts to keep things moving along at a pace that would allow maximum admissions. In all honesty, it just about ruined the beauty of this spectacular place for me. We were unable to do the photography tour as the other 2 people in my party did not have tripods or DSLRs (both mandatory). Maybe that experience would have been a better one…I cannot say. The beams of light that reach down to the sand floor that I have seen in other’s images can only be had at the morning tour which had been completely filled when we called for reservations a few weeks ahead. We took an afternoon time slot and I just looked at it as preparation for a photo tour in the future. I now doubt I will return as the tour experience left a bad taste in my mouth. I am not fond of crowds, dislike being rushed along like a cow going to slaughter and was kind of appalled at some of the rudeness.  Maybe I needed to do much more research as far as tour operator reviews go but what I encountered there is something I may likely not wish to repeat. There are so many other beautiful places I have yet to experience, places I can do so without having to feel like I am just a number that needs to be played and spit out of the chute as quickly as possible .

But having said all that, I am glad to have witnessed the beauty of the canyon.  I felt so rushed I was not sure I had taken even ONE decent image but to the canyon’s credit, it is so special that I was able to capture some of its stunning beauty. Maybe that alone makes the frustrating experience well worth it. I am still mulling that over…..

 

Abyss

“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life.” ~J Campbell

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Going down and back out the Grand Canyon is a goal of mine. I DO NOT want to do it on a mule…that would be too scary. God forbid, I rather slide down of my own accord.  I like a certain amount of control and I don’t think I’d feel much on the back of a jackass. :)

This image was taken from the top of the abyss called the Grand Canyon, from one my favorite accessible spots on the South Rim.  I figure I will post an image of each of the places I visited on my 4 day road trip and the GC was the first stop. We got there mid-day but I waited for a passing cloud to kind of minimize that negative. It was a hot trip and the only respite was inside Antelope Canyon BUT that was an unsatisfying experience to which I will dedicate a whole blog post, although as I last mentioned, it is, in the end, all good!