Random Sights and Diversions

Photography Media Reviews Commentary

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Ghost Ranch Country at Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

In the midst of editing and posting images of the area around New Mexico’s Ghost Ranch. where Georgia O’Keeffe painted and lived for many years, I have stumbled across this announcement from Santa Fe that the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum has just opened an exhibition of O’Keeffe paintings of the country in and around the Ghost Ranch.  (Museum website here.)

Georgia O’Keeffe, Ghost Ranch [“Untitled (Red and Yellow Cliffs)”] Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe New Mexico. Published in the Albuqerque Journal, December 7, 2014.

 This painting [“Untitled (Red and Yellow Cliffs”)] and others like it have long inspired me. Scenes like this abound in the Ghost Ranch area, but I can imagine that O’Keeffe was painting cliffs much like the ones pictured in the background of my image for the December One Four Challenge.

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Expedition Arguk

This marvelous video – “The World Beyond the World” – was produced by Paxson Woelber from the 2013 Arguk Expedition, a 300 mile backpacking trip through the Alaskan wilderness.  “Arguk” means to “walk against the wind” in Alaskan Inupiat. Woelber was a member of the expedition team that travelled 300 miles through Alaskan wilderness without roads, trails, towns or campgrounds.

The video was produced by Woelber entirely from digital still images assembled in Photoshop. Woelber’s video production technique is fantastic. (Most of the mages are available free and without restriction at the Expedition Arguk site – One of the purposes of the expedition. Here is their photo gallery – It includes much fabulous landscape photography.) Most images for the video were shot in Gates of the Arctic national park.

Woelber is a prolific producer. Visit his website. Woelber uses a painstaking technique to construct the video. Image layers are separated in Photoshop and then assembled into the video in Adobe After Effects. The technique is known as “motion graphics.”

The video includes a narrative audio from Robert Marshall’s “Alaska Wilderness: Exploring the Brooks Range” (1929). According to this Wikipedia entry, Marshall was the father of the wilderness preservation movement and partly responsible for the US passage of the Wilderness Act.

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Fog of San Francisco

This beautiful time-lapse video, titled “Adrift“, is by Simon Christen. Christen subtitles it “A love letter to the for of the San Francisco Bay area.”  I used to live in San Jose, in the South Bay, for a number of years. I easily fell in love with San Francisco and the whole Bay Area. Frequently I made the drive back and forth to San Francisco and enjoyed the fog that would flow like a river in the sky over the peninsula hills. The fogs in San Francisco itself were splendid. And this video truly does justice to the Bay Area and its fogs.

I found this video at The Atlantic, here, “Fog, More Beautiful Than You Have Ever Seen It Before.” It was posted on Vimeo where the video has received three-quarter million views in just a week. Simon Christen writes:

“Adrift” is a love letter to the fog of the San Francisco Bay Area. I chased it for over two years to capture the magical interaction between the soft mist, the ridges of the California coast and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. This is where “Adrift” was born.

The weather conditions have to be just right for the fog to glide over the hills and under the bridge. I developed a system for trying to guess when to make the drive out to shoot, which involved checking the weather forecast, satellite images and webcams multiple times a day. For about 2 years, if the weather looked promising, I would set my alarm to 5am, recheck the webcams, and then set off on the 45-minute drive to the Marin Headlands.

I spent many mornings hiking in the dark to only find that the fog was too high, too low, or already gone by the time I got there. Luckily, once in a while the conditions would be perfect and I was able to capture something really special. Adrift is a collection of my favorite shots from these excursions into the ridges of the Marin Headlands.

I hope with my short film I am able to convey the feeling of happiness I felt while I experienced those stunning scenes.

Simon Christen’s website is here, where you will find more timelapse video work as well as stunning travel, landscape, and abstract still photography.

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Flowers Timelapse

This is an absolutely spectacular piece of timelapse photography of emerging flowers by a Czech photographer, Katka Pruskova.  The video is 2:41 and best viewed in HD fullscreen. The music is “Arrival of the Birds” by The Cinematic Orchestra. Katka Pruskova’s website is here, and a page of “behind the scenes” information on the flowers video here. The video is copyright 2012 by Katka Pruskova.

This work is magnificent and exhibits both extraordinary skill by Ms. Pruskova and exceptional artistic flourish. The flowers are truly fascinating. Flowers include Amaryllis, Lilies, Zygocactus, Rose, Gladiolus, Tulip, and Gardenia. Relaxing and deeply enjoyable!

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Iceland: The Midnight Sun

Summer is the season of the midnight sun in the far northern hemisphere. There is  splendid landscape and time-lapse photography in this video of “Midnight Sun | Iceland” shot by Scientifantastic.

Best viewed fullscreen and in HD (the embedded video is HD), “Midnight Sun” was shot over a 17-day period in June 2011 by Scientifantastic. If you like mountains, sky, water, oceancoast, and spectacular scenery, you should love this video! Some of the mountainscapes almost look like abstract paintings.

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Human Planet: Audio Slideshow

Photo by Timothy Allen. Click image for BBC Human Planet Audio Slideshow.

This is a marvellous audio slide show featuring the photography of Timothy Allen. Timothy Allen accompanied film crews shooting the BBC series Human Planet.

From the icy Arctic to Africa’s dense jungles – and the mountain tops of Mongolia to the deep waters of the Pacific – the BBC series Human Planet has explored mankind’s incredible relationship with nature. Accompanying the film crews was photographer Timothy Allen. His stunning still images captured unique glimpses of people living in the world’s most extreme environments. Take a look at some of them, and listen to him explain how he snapped the most arresting shots.(*)

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5 Top Tips for Photographing Gardens and Flowers

Every time I go shooting in the gardens, I need to try (increasingly these days) to put a different spin on flower photographs. Or sometimes it’s a different approach in post, but it helps to have an interesting image to start with. It’s all too easy for flower pictures to start looking all the same. Here’s a helpful short article by Tiffany Mueller in LightStalking with Top Five Tips for Photographing Gardens and Flowers.

It’s not uncommon for nature and flower photographers to keep taking the same old picture of different plants and flowers. However, flexing your creative muscles and pulling yourself out of that rut isn’t all that difficult to do. Just remember, flower and garden photography is essentially another form of portraiture; most of the same lighting rules will apply.

The Top Five Tips…

  1. Pack Your Bags …
  2. Life Cycle …
  3. Depth of Field …
  4. Don’t Forget the Little Guy …
  5. Look for Angles …

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Facing The Future: Nine Perspectives on the Future of Photography

This fascinating article is from Petapixel.

Late last year, during the Day of Photography in Amsterdam, PhotoQ interviewed nine photographers about the challenges facing them and photography as a whole from both an economic as well as social perspective. The resulting videos offer nine different perspectives on the business of photography, how it’s changed, where it’s headed, and how to adapt. Some viewpoints are more negative and others more positive, but in the end you can tell that each of these photogs love what they do, and just want to make sure they keep getting to do it for a long time to come. (*)

Here are two of the recorded interviews. There are seven more video interviews with professional photographers.

Many of the bloggers who follow Random Sights are not professional photographers.  That is, they do not seek to make a living from their photographer. (“Enthusiast” is, I think, the most apt description.)

All of us, whether our involvement in photography is a livelihood or a serious amateur pastime, have found, I think, that both the demand for pictures and the popular interest in photography are greater than ever. At the same time, as most of the photographers in these interviews attest, the field of professional photography is changing as a result of both social and economic pressures. Whether we are talking about professionals or not, never before have so many people been part of a particular medium of expression or dedicated to a love for creating pictures.

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