12:01 pm, securawr
picture HD

Filoli, a set on Flickr.
My second set of photos from my California visit were all taken at Filoli, a lovely historical estate and garden.  The gardens are vibrant and immaculate. I tried my best to overcome the harsh midday sun, in many cases with exposure bracketing (all handheld) and Photomatix. It really is worth the extra work to me. Completely black shadows are nothing but wasted space in photos like these, and I simply couldn’t squeeze out enough from a single shot.  I can imagine the wealthy residents and visitors of Filoli going about their lives here. What a life of leisure! The interior shots of the house itself required much higher ISO ratings (10,000 to be exact). I certainly wouldn’t blow them up to large sizes, but it is good to know that my EM10 is capable of producing something usable in those circumstances.  Filoli is a must-see if you are ever in the SF Bay Area!
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Filoli, a set on Flickr.

My second set of photos from my California visit were all taken at Filoli, a lovely historical estate and garden.

The gardens are vibrant and immaculate. I tried my best to overcome the harsh midday sun, in many cases with exposure bracketing (all handheld) and Photomatix. It really is worth the extra work to me. Completely black shadows are nothing but wasted space in photos like these, and I simply couldn’t squeeze out enough from a single shot.

I can imagine the wealthy residents and visitors of Filoli going about their lives here. What a life of leisure! The interior shots of the house itself required much higher ISO ratings (10,000 to be exact). I certainly wouldn’t blow them up to large sizes, but it is good to know that my EM10 is capable of producing something usable in those circumstances.

Filoli is a must-see if you are ever in the SF Bay Area!


01:01 pm, securawr
picture

Castle Rock State Park, a set on Flickr.
I was in California this last week visiting my family and was able to spend some time at Castle Rock State Park. What a magical place! The forest was well-shaded, leading to the incredible cavernous rock formations pictured. It saddens me at times when I realize how much more I could have seen growing up in the Bay Area, but I quickly remind myself not to dwell on such things. After all, I probably wouldn’t have captured it so nicely then!
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Castle Rock State Park, a set on Flickr.

I was in California this last week visiting my family and was able to spend some time at Castle Rock State Park. What a magical place!

The forest was well-shaded, leading to the incredible cavernous rock formations pictured. It saddens me at times when I realize how much more I could have seen growing up in the Bay Area, but I quickly remind myself not to dwell on such things. After all, I probably wouldn’t have captured it so nicely then!


07:02 am, securawr
3 notes
picture HD

Minnesota State Fair 2014, a set on Flickr.

I have lived in Minnesota for 16 years and have always declined the State Fair. I imagined nothing but crowds and greasy food. This morning I was in a strange mood after sleeping poorly from the loud storm we had, and had this urge to go do something new. After realizing that the fair was opening that day, I quickly decided that I would make the best of it as a photographer.
In all honesty, I was feeling rather overstimulated and annoyed before I got there, simply by riding on the express bus to the fairgrounds. These kinds of routes are often very loud and chatty, and I have such a hard time turning off all of that background noise. Once I got into the fair and had a beer, I quickly realized that I could refocus on all of the color and activity. It wasn’t at all about participation for me, but observing and capturing the aesthetic to produce an experiential record.
Later in my visit, my mood changed significantly as I visited the various animals. The mood of the photographs changes accordingly, from color and energy, to the juxtaposition of beauty and sorrow I see in the animals. It is difficult for me to accept that right outside, people are eating them, while children are being endeared by them indoors. It is so dishonest. To think that the cages and pens at the fair are probably luxurious accommodations compared to the way animals are kept in factory farms make the whole thing seem like some sort of mythology and distraction. I recognize the food chain of the natural world, and I find it naive to make judgment about species killing other species, but it is the gratuitous and cruel nature of our attitude towards animals that bothers me. The animal photographs I took today will always be empathetic reminders for me.
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Minnesota State Fair 2014, a set on Flickr.

I have lived in Minnesota for 16 years and have always declined the State Fair. I imagined nothing but crowds and greasy food. This morning I was in a strange mood after sleeping poorly from the loud storm we had, and had this urge to go do something new. After realizing that the fair was opening that day, I quickly decided that I would make the best of it as a photographer.

In all honesty, I was feeling rather overstimulated and annoyed before I got there, simply by riding on the express bus to the fairgrounds. These kinds of routes are often very loud and chatty, and I have such a hard time turning off all of that background noise. Once I got into the fair and had a beer, I quickly realized that I could refocus on all of the color and activity. It wasn’t at all about participation for me, but observing and capturing the aesthetic to produce an experiential record.

Later in my visit, my mood changed significantly as I visited the various animals. The mood of the photographs changes accordingly, from color and energy, to the juxtaposition of beauty and sorrow I see in the animals. It is difficult for me to accept that right outside, people are eating them, while children are being endeared by them indoors. It is so dishonest. To think that the cages and pens at the fair are probably luxurious accommodations compared to the way animals are kept in factory farms make the whole thing seem like some sort of mythology and distraction. I recognize the food chain of the natural world, and I find it naive to make judgment about species killing other species, but it is the gratuitous and cruel nature of our attitude towards animals that bothers me. The animal photographs I took today will always be empathetic reminders for me.


07:02 am, securawr
4 notes
photoset

As I was leaving my day job at the Mall Of America today, I came upon this lovely display of color and spirit presented by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Wacipi.

I had to rely on luck, as most of the time I just held my camera up over the audience and used the movable LCD screen to try and get an idea what I was capturing.

It was a fun departure from the focus and discipline I put into my floral photography.

Cheers!


08:00 pm, securawr
5 notes
picture HD
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, a set on Flickr.I am pleased to share my selections captured from the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum yesterday. The Arboretum is such an amazing place! The gorgeous glass sculptures by Craig Mitchell Smith are an extra bonus!
The daylight was harsh at times and I didn’t want to concern myself with diffusing it or using a tripod for the sake of time, so many images were bracketed at capture, processed later with Photomatix, then adjusted with Lightroom for web. This allowed me to capture a much fuller range for softer shadows and great detail. HDR can be a wonderful tool if used with care! Some of the images are reminiscient of film. Anybody wanna head back there with me next week?  :)
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Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, a set on Flickr.

I am pleased to share my selections captured from the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum yesterday. The Arboretum is such an amazing place! The gorgeous glass sculptures by Craig Mitchell Smith are an extra bonus!

The daylight was harsh at times and I didn’t want to concern myself with diffusing it or using a tripod for the sake of time, so many images were bracketed at capture, processed later with Photomatix, then adjusted with Lightroom for web. This allowed me to capture a much fuller range for softer shadows and great detail. HDR can be a wonderful tool if used with care! Some of the images are reminiscient of film. Anybody wanna head back there with me next week? :)

06:01 pm, securawr
11 notes
photoset

I couldn’t be more excited about today’s floral shots!

My day began in frustration, as I had headed to the Farmer’s Market early for a specific vendor that was unable to be there due to illness. I felt obligated to make use of this early morning time, and so I stopped at Loring Park to take advantage of the light. It ended up being what I consider my most productive and best floral shots so far!

It was so nice to be there without much other activity at the park. I focused on getting much closer and just sat on the ground and did everything handheld. Totally therapeutic!


07:37 pm, securawr
6 notes
photoset

I suffered from an extreme lack of motivation this morning, finally forcing myself out for a walk in the early afternoon. Sometimes, I start my walks with a slight sense of dread. What if it bores me?  I mean, I have certainly wandered around a lot in this area. Rarely does this actually happen. 

I discovered some interesting urban garden elements in the neighborhood and experimented with some blurring and abstraction using the mucky receding floodwater at Lake Of The Isles as my subject matter.

The best part of my afternoon was by far my last stop, at the Tin Fish restaurant at Lake Calhoun. How great to be able to sit on a bar stool right at the edge of the water and just relax! I got a sweet shot of a couple having a romantic moment taking pictures of each other on the pier and took advantage of the bright, but overcast light to capture ducks just doing their thing. They are cute, but the images are really about the highlights in the water, which give it a surreal, almost metallic look.

Photography can be so therapeutic.   :)


10:45 pm, securawr
link
The Weekly Flickr video series

Flickr is my favorite photography-oriented place to be. I share my own work there, but it is also such an amazing resource for inspiration and connection. This video series highlights a different photographer every week, and tells the story behind their work. It quickly becomes clear that photography is often a therapeutic activity for people, instigated by some sort of emotional trial.

Perhaps this isn’t true all of the time, but it certainly reinforces the idea that art is very personal. In my case, it helps me overcome the sense of overstimulation I sometimes feel. Instead of the world, I have a photograph, and because my mind seems to take so much in, I just might see something that someone else missed. Some beautiful insignificant thing.

Take a moment to browse this video series. 


09:20 pm, securawr
2 notes
photoset

Photography isn’t usually about stories for me, although I suppose that is the point of the blog. I don’t want to forget the details entirely.

Tonight I simply brought my camera along for a spontaneously timed cocktail connection with friends Michael and David at Jet Set Bar. There were others involved, but not pictured. 

Jet Set is a minimal space that tends to capture light well. I didn’t have to try very hard, which is a good thing, as cocktails tend to reduce skill, while improving spontaneity.


06:01 pm, securawr
2 notes
photoset

I am only off one Sunday every four weeks, so today began with a brunch downtown, followed by a walk to the riverfront, and back to my neighborhood for some coffee at Caffetto to recharge.

It was nice to take a break from “nature”, starting with the city trash perfectly nestled into a wooden post. These kinds of juxtapositions are always interesting to me, especially if they organize themselves into something aesthetically useful.

I also got an interesting picture from the bridge, which involved me setting up at a small space in between both sides of traffic for a unique perspective. This initiated my switch into HDR to get a strong and dynamic look, which carried through into the riverfront cityscape. I am very pleased with these photos, as many photos in these areas don’t come out looking distinctive enough to me since they are so popular.

I could probably spend hours taking pictures in Caffetto. The whole place looks like a Polaroid to me, and is full of curio. In this case, I felt comforted by the warm glow of sun in the window, and slightly humored by the retro micro-toy vending machine near the door.