How I know God guides my photography.....

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies announce what his hands have made. Day after day they tell the story; night after night they tell it again. They have no speech or words; they have no voice to be heard. But their message goes out through all the world; their words go everywhere on earth."
Psalm 19: 1 - 4 (NCV).

Every time I look through the lens of my camera I see God working. Every day He reveals His majesty. Every night He shows me how He creates beauty even in the darkness. Even if I had not known Him before I started taking photos, the moment I looked at His creation up close (or far away) I see His glory and He guides me to see His beauty in all He has created. Photography just allows me to capture an image of what He has created.

Monday, November 8, 2010

New Melones Lake and Bridge Panographic


With the first chilling rains of Fall I figured it was time to do some experimenting with my photos. I'm working with larger format photos and doing "Panographic" landscaping. I hope to get over to Yosemite Valley right after the first snows of winter and taking photos of the Valley using the Panoramic process. Have you ever look up at the sky or an expansive landscape and wish your photos could capture everything you can see with your eyes? Well, that was what I was thinking when I saw this view off Hwy 49 and looking southward to the New Melones Lake and Bridge area on the border between Calaveras and Tuolumne Counties..

Friday, September 3, 2010

Past reflection on Ripon Balloon Festival


Color the Skies Balloon Festival – Ripon California

Just another early morning rise and shine to catch this shot of the beginning of the Color the Skies Balloon Festival that benefited the Children’s Hospital of Central California. So many thing need to come together to allow my camera to capture the excitement of this event. The skies (must be clean and clear - yet filled with color), the wind (there can’t be any... often these events shut down before they begin due to the winds), and the crowds. As you can tell from this shot, this was one of those moments that just begged to be stopped for people to enjoy for a long time.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Yosemite Skies....



Another beautiful trip to Yosemite was what the day called for. The call was too strong, so on August 21st my wife and I headed out, bright and early in the morning on what looked like it was going to be a clear and sunny day. As we entered the Valley from the Merced side of Hwy 140 and past El Portal we could tell that this day would not just be what we expected for 92 degrees and the California Central Valley filled with bright sunlight. As the day progressed and we wandered up the Mist Trail toward Vernal Falls (and back again), then over to Mirror Lake, it became more and more apparent that the expected sunshine was fading fast. These are a couple of photo I took from the Valley floor.

One of the things I like most about Yosemite (beside the unbelievable beauty) is its unpredictability. I have been going to the Valley since around 1964 and it is one place I never tire of (the crowds yes… the Valley, never!)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Still Boats on Calm Waters




"Still Boats on Calm Waters". This is one of the photos I will be showing at the Mistlin Gallery (1015 J Street, Modesto, CA) this coming October 2010. I'm still going through the hundreds of photos I took in Ireland and all those who have view the photos have urged me to print many of the photos and to present them at gallery showings. Well, I'm going to follow their urging.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Irish Spirit - Set 3 ... the beauty that is Ireland

After two (plus) weeks at the beginning of June 2010 traveling all over Ireland (from Dublin through the North of Ireland, across the top of the world and down the West Coast and back to Dublin, I've put together 3 sets (Irish Spirit) and I hope you take a look at each one as each set tells a different story of the Irish people that I came to know. The Spirit of the Irish people is one of courage, commitment, and sacrifice; it is a spirit that grows stronger each day. These photos can't even begin to tell the story or express the beauty that is Ireland. I hope you enjoy my effort to give you a hint of what I experienced. video

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

IRELAND - Two Nations.... One People

This is the second set of pictures on the Ireland theme and the musical background quite frankly states the new Ireland that I have come to love. Being of Irish heritage (Moore, Handlon, Moran) part of the reason for my visit was to bring a full circle to my family history trek back to the land of my forefathers. Jeremiah Darby Handlon (Great-great-great-great grandfather)was born in 1765 in Dublin, Ireland and came to America as a very young man (like so many Irish did) with only the clothes on his back and a very few Pounds in his pockets. No member of the family has been back since he left (even though there are hundreds of his descendants in the States). Our family follows the tree back to his marriage to Mary Betsey Young on September 21, 1787(they had three children); and to the year of his birth. I had hopes of tracking the line further, however that was where it stopped. The music is titled "Irelands Call" and I thought the words were appropriate to express (even though still divided) the spirit of the Irish people.

I hope you enjoy Set two of my "Ireland" photos.
video

Saturday, July 24, 2010

IRELAND.... a trip to remember forever

In between May and July 2010 has been a month of excitement and travel and the opportunity to capture well over 3,000 photos. Beginning in early June and ending at the end of June my wife and I were able to visit Ireland (both the North and the South ) and to spend a couple of weeks weaving in and out of its big cities and tiny villages (mostly the tiny villages).

Dublin (the Guinness tour and The Book of Kell in the old Library at Trinity College were must sees; and for a great a dinner, Gogarty's Pub - great traditional Irish food... and it didn't matter that it rained cats and dogs... that's Ireland. Dun Loughaire (ya have to stop by Walter's for some fish and chips and a Guinness). A short drive up the M5/A2 to Belfast and through Ballystruder to Carrickfergus Castle and then a stop in Londonderry (or for the rest of Ireland just Derry) - Oh, a must see church in Londonderry is St. Augustine's Church - on top of the wall where the Troubles happened (their motto is: "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers "Hebrews Ch.13 V.2" and I can tell you after meeting and talking with a woman greeter there they certainly take that message to heart. The woman was a joy to listen to and she told us of the history of the city, the church, the times of Troubles (she was married at the time when bullets where flying past the front of the church doors)- We could have talked with her for hours, but after our hour visit, we realized we needed to move on to see the rest of the city. We were there when they were about to announce the results of the British inquiry of the shootings in the North. It was then up the Northern Coast to Portrush (a beautiful village at the very top of Ireland. We stayed there a few days and made day trips to Dunluce, Bushmills (and yes, we did the tour... and a wee bit of the taste... a very wee bit). Balleycastle, Causeway Coast, Mourne Mountains and Fermanagh Lakelands, miles of one lane roads on our way to Antrim and Bellymona and so many other towns - a breathtaking experience (not to mention they drive on the left - opposite from the US).

One of my biggest fears is "HEIGHT"... One of my greatest joys is a fantastic view. Both come together at Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge (it's a rope suspension bridge near Ballintoy and the bridge links the mainland to the tiny Carrick Island. Bridges usually don't bother me (like the Golden Gate, San Mateo, Brooklyn etc... this one did... 65 feet long and 80 feet above the crashing sea and rocks. Oh, did I mention that it's a wind swept bridge? What fun! (Oh and I walked that rope bridge - one inch at a time...)

On the way past the Giant Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede is the little harbor of Ballintoy. Peaceful little village that, like on the day we were there, you can look out across the sound to Rathlin Island and beyond to Scotland. Well worth the short out of the way wander.

Well, I could go on and on and on about the Irish portion of our trip, however, the theme of my blog is "Photography" and "Looking Through My Eyes". I'd probably best get on with the "Looking" part. This is the first video compilation of our trip and my photo memories. There will be more as I review the over 3,000 (plus) photos I took. There will also be photos from the Normandy and North Eastern area of France, and our little side trip through Belgium. I hope you enjoy these. If you do, your comments are appreciated.

I mixed the Ireland photos around so some are from the North and some from the South... Ireland is so beautiful that for this blog it doesn't matter... it's IRELAND! (BEST VIEW IN NON-FULL SCREEN FORMAT... I used low resolution for posting) video

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dragonfly up close and personal


Sometimes don’t you just like to get up close to nature and zoom in on the small things in life? Macro photography is just that. Getting a close up view of nature and seeing things just a little bit differently than you normally do. Many years ago (too many to want to count) I remember the fascination I had with the microscope. Small details that the eye doesn’t notice just jump off the screen (or once printed “off the paper”). This dragonfly that I noticed in my back yard is such an example. I’ll have to thank the little critter for staying so perfectly still and long enough for me to capture its image. Once I downloaded the digital image onto my computer, the once unnoticed colors and shapes came into view. The golden browns, the blues, the minute veins in its wings; all the way down to the invisible hairs on its body and legs. Things you would not notice if you just saw it flying bye. I did not even have time to go get my regular camera (Digital SLR), I just had my “carry where-ever I go” point and shoot Sony Cybershot 8.1 mega pixel camera. Just shows you that you can capture very good images with many of the newer simple to use cameras.


Photography is not always about the camera (although quality and great lenses really do help); most of the creative part of photography comes from the person behind the lens. Angle, lighting, focus, patience, and often time’s just plain old luck play a big part in taking good photos. I was fortunate this time to have all those elements. I don’t know if having my Digital SLR and macro-lens would have made a difference with this one photo as time was a factor that I just could not risk. Shoot with what I have, or risk loosing the shot all-together by going for the high end camera. I think I made the best choice.



Thursday, May 20, 2010

Amgen Tour 2010 Modesto CA - Team Radio Shack

Well another year and another fantastic Amgen Tour of California race here in Modesto, California. I had the best spot for seeing the faces of the racers as they slowed to round a corner near Enslen Elementary School. A few sprinkles of rain didn't dampen the crowd. This year I managed to capture Team Radio Shack and Lance Armstrong during Stage Four of the Tour. Unlike past years, the race circled three times giving me (and the hundreds of others who were next to me) the greatest view (short of the finish line) possible. Here are just a few of the photos I took. I hope you enjoy them (and the song by Queen - "I Want to Ride My Bicycle"). It just fits the tone of the race. Makes me "want to ride my bicycle" now also. Just click on the clip, turn up to volume, sit back, and let's go for a ride.
video

Monday, February 22, 2010

Three Dimensional Illusions

Have you ever wanted to make photos in 3-D? It's not that difficult and really not that expensive (especially with digital cameras). Sure, you can go out and buy a 3-D camera (like the 10 megapixel FugiFilm 3D camers; or a Holga Sereo Pin-Hold camera (using 120 film); or ever a high priced 3D World Medium Format Stereo Camera (about $1,750), but with just a little effort and your existing camera (preferably digital), you can make some amazing 3-D photos.

The example here was made in less than 10 minutes:

The steps I used are simple... The first thing I did was set up various objects at different distances against a background that was stationary (doing landscape will wake a little more practice to get the effect down, however, most of us will be taking 3-D shots of family and friends (or pets) so I'll save the long distance landscape 3-D how-to for later.

The basics of 3-D photos is to remember that you already have a built in 3-D in your head... Your eyes! When taking 3-D photos, just remember the distance between your eyes. Each eye angle of view is ever so slightly different, so when you take your two photos, you may want to mark the distance between your eyes on a ruler (or paper) and then take your first photo shot at the distance of your left eye, and the second photo at the distance of your right eye. Focus your center of the photos at the same spot on both photos (as in the case of my sample, I used the center candle as my focus and then just took both shots focusing on the same spot on the candle. Then keeping my head stationary, I shifted the camera from one eye to the other (you could use the same eye to shoot, but just remember to only move your head the same distance as the space between the center of your two eyes.

Technically the name of the difference in the space and angle is called "parallax" which just means that the object being photographed (or the objects nearest the camera) change their relative position as it relates to the subject in comparison to the other background objects in the photos (just like your eyes do). You can see the difference even without a camera just be looking at something close to you and switching between your left and right eye... you'll notice the object furthest from you doesn't change that much (the background) while the subject you're focusing on does (by approximately the width between your eyes). When taking your photos, be sure to keep the objects parallel to your eyes to get the 3-D effect.

After you've taken your two photos, you can either print them and tape them together (no boarders if possible), or put them side by side (both equal sizes) and then focus on the center of the photo (I put a red dot on the sample). Adjust the photo closer or further away until both photos become one (if you cross your eyes the photos will merge into three photos... the center photo that appears will be a compilation of the two original photos and that compilation will be a 3-D image). If you have a pair of 3-D glasses (Polarized like the kind that were used when viewing the movie Avatar) and you have a program such as PhotoShop CS series, go into Layers and superimpose one photo layer on top of the other photo, then put on the glasses to get a cool 3-D effect... (I know, too much work!) There are mirrored devices that can be purchased that will merge the two photos together (like the "Multipurpose Pokescope Viewer", the "Loreo 3 D Pixi Viewer" (which is really cheap), or an "Adjustable Stereo Wide Viewer" side-by-side BIG print viewer like the "SS-1" - (all these can be found at 3Stereo.com - "http://www.3dstereo.com/viewmaster/3dl.html" and "http://www.3dstereo.com/viewmaster/sv.html" (and a dozen or more sites by typing in 3-D cameras or 3-d viewers)...
(changing the colors heightens the 3-D effect)

With very little practice you can learn how to see the 3-D photo without the aid of a viewer or special devices... just remember to put the two photos at a distance (all depending on the size you made of your photos - the bigger they are, the further away they will need to be - however the better the effect will be with bigger prints) where you can move forward or back to have the two photos merge without straining your eyes. A good way to start is stand close to the photos and move either the photos away from you (or you move away from the photos) until they merge into one picture (focus in the center)... Remember also that three pictures will "ALWAYS" be seen when the proper distance is met. The picture in the center is the 3-D photo. You'll be amazed how much more detail you'll see in the center photo verses the single photos to the right or to the left of the center 3-D photo. Colors will be brighter and the depth-of-field will pop! This all happens because each eye picks out the information presented in the photo on that side of the eye... When the two pictures meld together, each eye is picking up the information in the photo on its side and your brain creates the 3-D image. Cool - isn't it! As a bonus, while looking at the center picture, move your head from left to right and back again (just sway back and forth). What you will experience is the illusion that you are actually moving around the objects.

One of the biggest problems with doing all this without the viewers is that your eyes fatigue quickly and you can't just talk long looks at the photos (hint... spend a few dollars and get a viewer)... I have an antique Stereoscope viewer and I made photos that fit in the viewer... that takes a little getting use to and experimenting putting larger photos in a 3 inch by 7 inch landscape format. The one thing I discovered with landscape photos is that to get the same effect as close up 3-D photos is that the distance between your two photos is in comparison to the distance of the object (the further the object is away from you, the wider the two shots have to be taken: (example... if I'm 50 feet away frojm a tree that I want to photograph in 3-D, I have to shoot several feet apart focusing on the same spot in both photos. You just have to experiment on that (which I'll hopefully write on soon).
(adding an object in on photo also intensifies the 3-D illusion)

Well, as I've said so often before, with photography you just need to look at things differently and experiment with your camera. Half the fun is trying new and different things that give your different perspectives and effects. That's what makes it fun!