The Intimate Landscape

By Mark

 I like to try out new instructors at every Photoshop World and this was the title of one of the sessions taught by photographer Bill Fortney.  He is well known for his landscape work shot while flying an ultralight aircraft across the United States.  “America from 500 feet” has some beautiful images that capture the landscape from a very unique perspective.

The Grand Canyon--truly a grand landscape

The Grand Canyon--truly a grand landscape

In his talk, he really brought home the best description for the kinds of images I most enjoy creating.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the broad sweeping vistas of places like the Grand Canyon and the scenery of our local Blue Ridge.  For me, I really resonated with the idea of capturing the little details within these larger places which evoke the large sense of the place I am trying to capture.

In looking through my images I have discovered some common themes I didn’t even realize I have been creating over the years.  Things like these blue doors and one roof are a good example.  I don’t know if the warmth of the color is a counter to these regions fairly harsh weather patterns, or if they just stand out against their environments.

As a retired sailor, I seem to have a lot of images of boats as well.   Boats can be fairly complex machines, but they have so many interesting details.   The images remind me of being out on the ocean again.  You don’t even necessarily need to see the water in order to feel its powerful presence.

Mr. Fortney said that the Grand Landscapes really showed people that you have been somewhere.  The intimate landscapes should encourage people that they want to be there themselves.   His photography and his viewpoint were one of the highpoints of this year’s PSW.  You should be asking yourself, what is it about your own pictures that you like?  Which images keep bringing up great memories of places or people?  Then ask yourself why?

I've Been Away

By Roger (17 April 2014)

You ever notice how, sometimes, we get ourselves into a funk? The timing of said funk is always awful. Bad things pile onto you all at the same time. You don't notice the good news because you're stewing over the bad. It's a low down place to be. Yeah, that's been me for the last couple of weeks.

For 10 days, I was on the road with back-to-back-to-back-to-back trips, with no more than six hours between them: Florida; Virginia; Georgia; Virginia; South Carolina; Virginia. That might have worn me down a bit, but that wasn't the problem.

Just before and during that travel, I experienced several things that ranged from a death in our family of friends and a serious illness, all the way down to camera problems and quite a few things in between. I don't have much patience when things I can't control/fix go wrong. I get downright cranky when all these things happen simultaneously. I was chugging along on inertia, mostly.

Inertia was giving way, when a photography friend scolded me with the obvious – “Everybody goes through hard times.” Thanks. You are absolutely right! The sun began poking through the clouds (in the center of the photo because, if it had been a perfect composition, you would have never believed I took it).

Thanks for the emails and tolerating me when I don't post every week. It worked wonders. I promise the next blog will be about photography fun.

Rest in peace, Charlie. You were quite a man; a positive force in thousands of lives. Long ago, you introduced two of them to each other, and we just celebrated 35 years of marriage.

Semi-Live from Photoshop World

By Mark

Today is the first full day of the conference, and we are about to head out to the After-Hours party.  Yesterday, was the Pre-conference seminars, and Roger and I went with noted aviation and wildlife photographer, Moose Peterson. 

We headed out to the home field of the Dixie wing of the Commemorative Air Force for a day under the sun.  Whoops, slight changes in the forecast required our flexibility.  First, the unfortunate change impacted Roger more than it did me.  They had scheduled re-enactors with real WW2 uniforms to pose with the aircraft.  Because the uniforms are period and semi-fragile, they wisely decided a day in the rain was a bad choice.  Now I am an aircraft enthusiast, so I was OK. 

I might have under-represented the weather.  It was pouring down in buckets with great lightening and loud thunder.  Fortunately, most of it passed on to the South, leaving us with just a steady drizzle.   Moose really pushed us to change the angles for better shots.  Get down low as some people embraced.  

He and his sons (also photographers) and his wife Sharon (also a photographer) provided coaching and held on to ladders. 

They have a flying Zero, a Kate as well as USN aircraft.  My favorite SBD Dauntless Dive Bomber was there. 

In 6 minutes in June of 1942, these aircraft found the Japanese fleet at Midway and changed the course of the war.  

We got to climb up to see the Bell P-63 King Cobra they are restoring as well.  Not a great performing aircraft, but still a piece of history.  All in all, the trip was a good outing, even if we were a little damp.