04 May 2016

Horses in Fog

In my dream, many white princes surrounded me with light.
Horses in Fog
Two White Horses

Horses in Fog
Two white horses nose to nose

Horses in Fog
Process 1 : Photoshop and Nik Effects

Horses in Fog
Process 2 : Nik Analog Effects

Horses in Fog
Process 3 : Nik Silver Effects

Horses in Fog
Process 1 : Nik Effects

Horses in Fog
White horse in prairie pasture
Horses in Fog
Process 2 : Nik Silver Effects

14 February 2016

Silver Forks Lined in a Row

A few weeks ago, I purchased a second-hand Rokinon 14mm F2.8 lens. It is a beautiful lens with clear, sharp images. 
Today, I decided to try it out on a project that I'm working on for Don Giannatti's Project P52. Each week, Don gives us an assignment to shoot. This week, the assignment was "forks" and "change."

I found several sets of vintage silver forks in the cellar a few months ago. My mother had bought a big box of silver flatware at an auction sale years ago. 
With props in hand, I started to sketch out ideas for "change." In the middle of ideas popping and sketching, I decided an interesting "change" would be a switch from my go-to Tokina 100mm lens to the Roninon 14mm lens. 
I think it made for some interesting shots.

All the forks are lined up on a black-top table. I experimented with small and large aperture settings. I liked the f18 setting and manually blurred the foreground with lens blur in Photoshop. With a few more enhancements in Photoshop, I added a layer of NikEffects bleach
Same process but opened a larger spot light over the focal point.

All the photographs were with natural light and long exposures.
Photoshop enhancement, NikEffects film effect and finally, layering a spot of light over the fork.
My first test shots. I laid out the forks, but didn't polish or fix them. As much as I like the rustic and worn look of the forks, I eventually polished them and fixed the tines.
Photoshop darkening the edges and contrast adjustment, then NikEffects vintage filter.

Flip the image in Photoshop, then added NikEffects Analog vintage camera

Photoshop enhancement in contrast, then added NikEffect Supercross pop.
BTS: The foreground fork was centimeters away from the lens.

13 February 2016

DSU Comm-University Photography Class CANCELLED tonight

Comm-University Photography Class 


I was able to reach almost all students...wanted to make sure everyone knows that I've cancelled tonight's class. 
It's been raining here for almost an hour. Roads are icing up.
I'm usually not a wimp when it comes to driving winter roads...but I am not very good at night-time driving on ice.
Thank you all for understanding. See you next week!

30 January 2016

Following the Winter Tracks, Motivation to Train in the Winter

Overall, we've had a very mild winter here in western North Dakota. But, there have been a few days when the temperatures have dipped below zero. Getting outside to take a daily walk can be challenging some days, but I have found a few things to look forward to on my walks through the pastures, like finding animal tracks.
I love seeing all the footprints after a fresh snow. We had a few inches of snow and then the temperatures warmed up. All the animals seemed to make their journeys out of their dens to find food.
How many tracks can you identify?

Winter, snow, and cold should not get in the way of your fitness routine. Just be smart
about dressing properly and taking care during sub-zero temperatures.

13 January 2016

Creativity, Commitment, and Crap: Distracting your Muse from Perfection

What do you do when your muse dumps you? 

Last month, I fell into the creative black hole. I think we've all experienced that void space: Overworked. Overloaded. Overused. I was over the precipice of a foul funk hole. But, I still had three weeks to the end of the semester. It took my every effort eek out any creative functions to deliver final lessons, exams, student project critiques, and lastly personal projects.
Something had to give. With no energy to muster ideas...creative or cliché...I gave up on my personal projects.
After the semester finished, my energy was spent. But, over this last year, I've trained myself to refuse dwelling in foul funk holes. It gets me nowhere except on the spiral down to deeper self loathing. 
I've learned to cultivate my inner determination...whether it's my daily exercise or my daily creative spark. It was time to nurture my tired muse. But how? 
Enter a long-time quiet on the perfection front. 
For the first few days of holiday break, I paused and asked for different, experimental ways to allow myself to decompress and enjoy.

Time for Something Different

I decided to start going through my storage boxes. I reminisced through boxes of journals, slides, travel notes and photos. It was in one of the boxes where I discovered a La Sardina Virginia is for Lovers lomography camera that I bought last year. I never took it out of the box. I never used it. I bought it on a wim and so didn't really care to find the time to use it.
La Sardina toy camera Virginia is for Lovers
La Sardina Virginia is For Lovers. Lomography Toy Camera.

Film Roll Number One: Undaunted Action

I decided it was time to break free with this little toy camera. I loaded a roll of film. I was set. 
Over the first few days of holiday, I constructed "Lomo-worthy" scenes to photograph. I took my time. When I finished the 24-exposures, I was excited to get it processed. Luckily, we have a lab in North Dakota that still processes film, in-house. 1-hour film processing!! Hurray. Bob's Photo in Bismarck. 
It's a 90-miles, (one way), for me to drive to Bismarck. But, it is one of my favorite cities, so I visit there a couple times a month to shop and enjoy. Groceries, petrol, everything is cheaper in Bismarck, away from Bakken boom gouging territory.
I dropped off the film at Bob's and then went shopping. When I returned, they handed me the envelop and said there were no images to print. Being awesome service people, they offered to look at my camera and repair it, if it needed. No need. Toy camera.

Negatives were clear. Creative victory defeated.

I went home and reviewed the manual. What did I do wrong? Load film. Pull out lens. Twist. Turn. Shoot. I decided to try again and loaded film number two.
This time, I was less constructive with my image set up. Nonetheless, I took time taking pictures. Outdoors, I captured the beautiful snow frosted trees. Indoors, I captured pretty Christmas decorations. Each shot I imagined would look awesome with the Lomo effect. A few days later, I had to drive to Bismarck to stock up for Christmas dinner. Bob's Photo was my first stop. Shopping and a few hours later, I returned. Once again, they handed me the envelope, no images. Maybe you need to throw away the toy camera.

Film Roll Number Two: Negatives Clear. Blank. Nada. Nothing.

I was pissed. Even though I got the camera on a discount, I still paid $50 for the thing. I was determined to get this cheap little sardine box to pony up some images. Screw the creative process.
Lomography La Sardina toy camera clear negatives
Why are my negatives clear? Lomography La Sardina Camera

I started search strings: "why are my lomography camera images blank" "negatives clear lomography camera" ...etc.etc.etc.
The official Lomography site offers little insight into such questions, no matter how I formulated the infinite ways. 
I knew it wasn't because I was overexposing or underexposing.
I found this link:
La Sardina for Starters: Remember the Twist and Pull.
So, I decided to trigger the shutter mechanism with a small eyeglass screwdriver. I did the "twist and pull" lens, then triggered the shutter. It wasn't working. I could see that the lens wasn't completely cocked into place.
inside the La Sardina toy camera
Inside the La Sardina camera. The lens is pulled and twisted, but not engaging the shutter.

Looking on the lens of the La Sardina camera. The lens is pulled and twisted, but not engaging the shutter.
I gave the lens a strong sturdy twist...there it was: the lens snapped into place. The shutter triggered.
inside the La Sardina toy camera shutter in proper position
Inside the La Sardina camera. The lens is pulled and twisted. The shutter is engaged.

Looking on the lens of the La Sardina camera. The lens is pulled and twisted. Notice where the silver button aligns with the word "You." The shutter is engaged.

Film Roll Three: Third Time is a Charm

I loaded my third roll of film. "Twist, pull, and firm click into place"
This time, I shot like a three-year-old with her first camera. I shot anything that fancied me. I finished the roll of film in about 15 minutes. I was on my way to Bismarck that day. My first stop was Bob's Photo. This time, I returned to the store in an hour with more determination and anticipation. And, I wasn't disappointed. Success. Crappy images, but I have images!
lomo images suffocation warning
A stack of images from my third attempt with the La Sardina camera.
Now...on to creativity. Evoke the Muse.

Crappy images, but hey...no clear negatives.

To be continued...

I'm taking more time with my fourth roll of Lomography film. I can't believe how an unexpected photography challenge turned into a liberating process. I completely unhooked from perfection and worrying about "making" an image. I wanted to "see" an image...literally!  A toy camera and technical conundrum gave me the "different" way to connect to the creative process.

Commitment + Determination = Creativity 

All this from a flippin' sardine can camera!

How do you awaken your hibernating muse?

08 January 2016

I'm a proud Highpointer! 31 of 50 State Highpoints under my feet.

Highpointers Club
I decided to collect and preserve my highpoint photos on Flickr.
This week, I found a box of slides, negatives, and photographs from my highpointer adventures. Neatly tucked on top of the mess of photos, was my well used "Highpoints of the United States. A Guide to the 50 State Summits" written by Don W. Holmes.
I decided to get scanning and try to preserve my high pointing adventures. All this nostalgia has made me get excited to start training again and bag those last 19 peaks!
Highpoint's of the United States: Guidebook

My signed copy of the book. I was delighted to climb (and summit) Mount Whitney with Don.

An example of the type of notes that I wrote to remember my climb. 
My last highpoint attempt was Mount Elbert in 2010. My husband took the hike with me, but when we passed 12,000 feet, he started to exhibit all the symptoms of altitude sickness. It took us almost two hours to descend. He was sick for almost 24 hours. Altitude is nothing to mess with.

It's Not the Peak. It's the Adventure.

I've been a member of the Highpointers Club since 1994. Since then, I've summited 31 of 50 United States geographical state high points. Almost all of these photos are scans from film, negatives, or slides. All the photos of me are self-portraits; back in the day of auto timer and no preview LCD screen. I had one, maybe two shots at the most to document my position and make a decent face.
And, all of my hikes were navigated by a paper map, topo map and compass.

Highpointing is the sport of ascending to the point with the highest elevation within a given area. Examples include: climbing the highest point of each U.S. state; reaching the highest point of each county within a specific state; and ascending the highest mountain on each continent. I climbed my first highpoint in 1994. At the time, the Highpointers Club was just a small group of krazy klimbers founded Jack Longacre.
  You can find more about the Highpointers Club here.

My Highpoint List: Summits both successful and unsuccessful. 

  1. Alabama, Cheaha Mt., 2,413-ft / 735-m. Summit w/ friend April 21, 1997
  2. Arizona, Humphreys Peak, 12,637-ft / 3,852-m. Solo summit July 29, 2001.
  3. Arkansas, Magazine Mountain-Signal Hill, 2,753 feet. Summit w/friend April 9, 1997
  4. California, Mt. Whitney, 14,505-ft / 4,421-m. Team summit June 29, 1994.
  5. Colorado, Mount Elbert, 14,433 ft. Summit attempt to 12,000 ft, August 2010
  6. Florida, Britton Hill, 345-ft / 105-m. Summit w/friend April 20, 1997.
  7. Georgia, Brasstown Bald, 4,784-ft / 1,458-m. Summit w/ friend April 23, 1997 in total fog.
  8. Illinois, Charles Mound, 1,235-ft / 376-m. Summit w/ friend May 8, 1997.
  9. Indiana, Hoosier Hill Point, 1,257-ft / 383-m. Summit w/friend May 2, 1997.
  10. Iowa, Hawkeye Point, 1,670-ft / 509-m. Summit w/friend May 10, 1997.
  11. Kansas, Mt. Sunflower, 4,039-ft / 1,231-m. Solo summit August 28, 2004.
  12. Kentucky, Black Mt., 4,145-ft / 1,263-m. Summit w/friend July 28, 2006.
  13. Louisiana, Driskall Mountain, 535 feet. Summit w/friend April 11, 1997.
  14. Massachusetts, Mt. Greylock, 3,492-ft / 1,064-m. Summit w/friend Sept. 13, 2006 in rain.
  15. Michigan, Mt. Arvon, 1,979-ft / 603-m. Solo summit September 7, 1998.
  16. Minnesota, Eagle Mt., 2,301-ft / 701-m. Solo summit September 6, 1998.
  17. Mississippi, Woodall Mt., 806-ft / 246-m. Summit w/friend July 25, 2006.
  18. Missouri, Taum Sauk Mt., 1,772-ft / 540-m. Summit w/friend April 3, 1997.
  19. Montana, Granite Peak. 12,799-ft. 1999 Unsuccessful summit. Solo climb, made it to Granite-Tempest Saddle.
  20. Nebraska, Panorama Point, 5,424 feet. Summit, solo April 6, 2000.
  21. Nevada, Boundary Peak. Unsuccessful summit.  Got to the base of the mountain, but spent too much time trying to find trail, lost daylight.
  22. New Hampshire, Mt. Washington, 6,288-ft / 1,917-m. Summit w/friend Sept. 11, 2006.
  23. New Mexico, Wheeler Peak, 13,167-ft / 4,013-m. Two Solo summits, September 1994 & August 2005
  24. North Carolina, Mt. Mitchell, 6,684-ft / 2,037-m. Summit w/friend April 24, 1997 in freezing snow.
  25. North Dakota, White Butte, 3,506. Summit w/friend Sept 14, 1997
  26. Ohio, Campbell Hill, 1,550-ft / 472-m. Summit w/friend May 2, 1997.
  27. Oklahoma, Black Mesa, 4,973-ft / 1,516-m. Summit w/friend May 6, 2006.
  28. South Carolina, Sassafras Mt., 3,560-ft / 1,085-m. Summit w/friend April 24, 1997.
  29. South Dakota, Harney Peak, 7,244-ft / 2,208-m. Solo summit February 14, 1998 in snow and freezing weather.
  30. Tennessee, Clingmans Dome, 6,643-ft / 2,025-m. Summit w/friend April 25, 1997.
  31. Texas, Guadalupe Peak, 8,751-ft / 2,667-m. Solo summit May 27, 2001.
  32. Utah, Kings Peak, Unsuccessful summit. Solo climb, made it to Dollar Lake. Camped 2 nights in rain. Returned on a very soggy trail. 1995.
  33. Wisconsin, Timms Hill, 1,951-ft / 595-m. Solo Summit: September 8, 1998
  34. Virginia, Mt. Rogers, 5,729-ft / 1,746-m. Summit w/ friend: July 30, 2006
  35. Vermont, Mt. Mansfield, 4,395-ft / 1,340-m. Summit w/friend Sept. 11, 2006    

1. Connecticut, Mount Frissell
2. Delaware, Ebright Azimuth
3. Maine, Mount Katahdin
4. Maryland, Backbone Mountain
5. Pennsylvania, Mount Davis
6. New Jersey, High Point
7. New York, Mount Marcy
8. Rhode Island, Jerimoth Hill
9. West Virginia, Spruce Knob

1. Alaska, Denali / Mt. McKinley
2. Colorado, Mount Elbert, 14,433 ft. Summit attempt to 12,000 ft, August 2010
3. Hawai’i, Mauna Kea
4. Idaho, Borah Peak
5. Montana, Granite Peak. 12,799-ft. 1999 Solo attempt, made it to Granite-Tempest Saddle.
6. Nevada, Boundary Peak. Unsuccessful summit. Got to the base of the mountain, but spent too much time trying to find trail, lost daylight. July 2005.
7. Oregon, Mount Hood
8. Utah, Kings Peak, Solo attempt, made it to Dollar Lake. Camped 2 nights in rain. Returned. 1995.
9. Washington, Mount Rainier
10. Wyoming, Gannett Peak