Friday, June 27, 2014

One More Time

Graffiti Silo With Clouds, Asheville, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

I've photographed this graffiti-covered silo several times before, but the dramatic sky on this particular afternoon made me want to point my camera that way one more time.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Power Of Music

A Song With Daddy, Clyde, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

I was asked to do some portraits of the soon to be three year old daughter of some friends from church. With a three year old, you never know what kind of mood you're going to find when it's time for pictures. I had a tough time getting this little girl to warm up to me, and I thought her parents were about to give up and wait for another day. Then Dad broke out his guitar, and her attention shifted from me and my camera to a favorite song that they liked to sing. Click! Gotcha! Through the power of music her guard finally came down, and she later became quite playful, resulting in some more good photos.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Experimenting With Filters

Chase Furniture, Charleston, SC  -  2012
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Most of my photography is pretty straightforward; I don't usually go in for a lot of special effects and filters. Occasionally, however, I'll see something by another photographer that makes me want to experiment. The Chase Furniture building, an art deco structure on King St. in Charleston, looked like a good photo to play with.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Nature Eventually Wins

Vines And Graffiti, Asheville, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

The site of some abandoned silos on the edge of the River Arts District in Asheville has been a favorite spot for graffiti artists for years. New works would appear on the walls virtually overnight, painted over the previous artists' efforts. In some places, the spray paint is at least an eighth of an inch thick.

For some reason, the spray painters have lost some interest in the silos. Perhaps they've moved on to more challenging and dangerous locations for their work. Nature, however, has continued the tradition of covering old work with new compositions. Kudzu and Forever Pea vines have now added their own mix of color and texture to the walls, partially covering previous works.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Graffiti Details

 Sometimes you have to be able to see the big picture, and other times it pays to examine the details. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Trying To Lighten The Load

Until recently, all the camping I've done has been done with a pick-up truck. That meant I could bring almost anything I wanted, as long as I could make it fit into the bed of my truck. Weight and bulk were almost totally irrelevant. Now I've gotten interested in backpacking, and it's an entirely different mindset. Whatever I decide to bring, I have to carry it on my back. The ice chest full of food and drinks, the comfortable camp chairs, and the big, roomy tent can no longer make the trip. I'm also having to re-think what photography gear I take with me.

Normally when I go out on a photo hike, I carry my photo gear in a small knapsack designed for that purpose. Now, my back is carrying a much bigger, heavier pack, and there is really no extra room for cameras and lenses. The additional weight is no longer welcome either. I can't imagine going into the outdoors without a camera, so what to do?

Canon Powershot A2000 IS

I have a small "point and shoot" camera that I carry with me to work. My Canon Powershot A2000 is capable of surprisingly good quality, but it does have its limitations. It is pocket size, and has a 36-216 (equivalent) zoom lens, a zoom range which covers most of my needs. However, it has no way to manually control aperature and shutter speed, depending totally on programmed exposure. That means I can't get the smooth textured water I like for waterfall and mountain stream photos that comes from using a slow shutter speed.

Photo made with the Canon A2000. Not bad for a "Point and Shoot"!
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Well, what about a more modern "point and shoot" with manual controls? I began to research a category of camera referred to as "travel zooms", for their diminutive size, long zoom range, and relatively high quality images. There are plenty to choose from in this category, all with various strengths and weaknesses. I had decided on the Canon SX 280 HS, which got excellent ratings in several reviews. It has a 25-500 zoom lens, which out-distances the lens I have for my DSLR! It's pocket size, and produces really good quality files. I was all ready to pull the trigger on this one until this past weekend's backpacking trip which revealed a deficiency in this kind of camera that I have decided I cannot tolerate.

Canon SX 280 HS

On this trip I brought only my little A2000. Like the SX 280 I was all set to purchase, the A2000 has only a LCD viewer on the back to compose and view your photos. There is NO optical viewfinder. I was painfully reminded how useless the LCD viewfinder can be in bright sunlight, even when shaded by my left hand. On most pictures I was just guessing at the composition, since I couldn't really see any detail on the screen. After a Saturday afternoon of guessing at what I was actually photographing, I decided the similarly limited SX 280 wouldn't work for me. I need a camera with a viewfinder.

Cameras with a decent viewfinder, either optical or electronic, are bulkier, heavier, and more expensive. That brings me back to my original problem with bringing my DSLR. Why spend money on a new camera that isn't really much smaller or lighter than what I already own? So now, instead of searching for a new camera, I'm back to looking for a way to fit my current gear onto my already aching back!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Art Or Vandalism?

The subject of graffiti has really become a hot button issue in Asheville. I've seen some really amazing art work done with spray paint cans, but I'm sure my opinion would change if it appeared overnight on the side of my house or on my garage door. These two examples were on a building in the River Arts District that I know has been abandoned for years, so I guess they actually dress up the place a little. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Candid Portraits

Lunch On The Trail, Flat Laurel Creek, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Sometimes the best portraits are made without any posing or direction. Sometimes the best portraits are done without the subject even being aware that he's your subject. I caught my friend Owen while he was enjoying a beautiful day, and a lunch in the woods. I doubt he was aware that a camera was pointing his way. I made this one with my little Canon point and shoot, which helped me be less noticeable than I would have been with one of my big DSLRs.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Advanced Training

Coffee School, Asheville, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Interesting signs always catch my eye when I'm out walking around with my camera. This is one I don't think you would have seen even ten years ago.

It used to be that pouring coffee was one of the few jobs you could get without advanced training. Not any more. Today, an entire culture has grown up around the world of gourmet coffee and the many new coffee-based beverages. This local java purveyor has begun its own school in downtown Asheville for this specialized training.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Downtown Landmark

76 Sign, Asheville, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Pizza fans and frequent visitors to downtown Asheville will recognize this sign and its location.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Where does the time go?

Door To Nowhere, Asheville, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

An afternoon that started off looking so promising, somehow got gobbled up by some little chores around the house that ended up taking longer than planned. I had intended to spend a leisurely afternoon biking or hiking, and ended up getting to do neither. In a desperate move just to get out of the house, I went to Asheville to pick up some items I hadn't been able to find in Canton on Saturday. While I was out, I made a few photos of graffiti and such, but I ended up wondering how my afternoon had gotten away from me so quickly. This is the last photo I made yesterday, shot through the open window of my truck while waiting at a traffic light. It pretty much sums up my afternoon.