Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing: Blog http://blackscrossing.com/blog en-us @ Daryl A. Black blackscrossing@gmail.com (Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Mon, 16 Apr 2018 16:06:00 GMT Mon, 16 Apr 2018 16:06:00 GMT http://blackscrossing.com/img/s/v-5/u737315375-o129809688-50.jpg Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing: Blog http://blackscrossing.com/blog 112 120 cloud "tells" http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/4/cloud-tells Written media, including books, magazines, and newspapers in addition to movies and television, frequently feature gambling scenes.  From James Bond playing baccarat in the original Casino Royale (and almost all the other Bond films) to those scenes in many other movie and television series of people playing poker, and Texas hold'em, we have had an education in the "tell".  These are habits, facial/body expressions and other reactions that might "tell" one player what other players' next moves could be.  In the same way, clouds in the sky hold all sorts of tells about local weather.  This week, the cloud "tells" have been massive, and their story is mostly about the wind of spring in New Mexico.

All photographers are observers of the world around them.  One does not necessarily need to hold a Ph.D. in meteorology to know that something is afoot in the atmosphere these days.  But it is fascinating to watch clouds developing, taking shape, morphing and moving over the topography - just like water encountering rocks in a stream.  This is a very simplistic description, and photographs show so much more, including the two images below.  Even to the amateur weather geek that I am, I can see there is a whole lot of action happening here.  Holes are developing, with almost a whirlpool-type activity. One heck of a bumpy ride for those traveling by airplane!

 

From a slightly different angle, a few minutes later, and rendered in black and white, the clouds work their magic.

Later, in the western sky, the sun is setting amidst a set of swirls.

If you are interested in reading more about weather, there are several great sites for in-depth information, including the NOAA Aviation Weather site at:

https://aviationweather.gov/adds/  

It features data on winds aloft (at 30,000 feet), icing, and significant meteorological warnings, among other things.  The NOAA National Weather service radar loop shows the "painted" radar readings.  This particular site listing includes radar data roughly west from the Arizona border and east to the Texas border and south to north from Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, to the Colorado border.

https://radar.weather.gov/radar_lite.php?rid=abx&product=NCR&loop=yes 

And finally, the every day go-to forecast page (this particular one is set for Taos, New Mexico but you can input any location):

https://www.wunderground.com/forecast/us/nm/taos?cm_ven=localwx_10day

It features all sorts of juicy tidbits like high and low temperatures, wind, humidity, barometer reading, sunrise, sunset, moon sequences, historical weather data, and on and on.

Enjoy your explorations this week!

until next Monday,

DB

a passion for the image@

 

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blackscrossing@gmail.com (Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) aviation weather data blacks crossing photography clouds daryl a. black national weather service nature new mexico noaa photography sky skyscapes taos weather underground http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/4/cloud-tells Mon, 16 Apr 2018 16:06:10 GMT
people and portraits http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/4/people-and-portraits If you read my blog regularly, you know that one of my favorite photographic subject areas is environmental portraiture.  Always different, always stimulating, and sometimes challenging, this kind of "people photography" leaves a lot more to chance then studio portraiture.  The photographer has to be strong and firm with her or his own vision, but friendly and open, and use equipment as well as conditions to best advantage.   No fill flash was used in any of the images in today's blog.

Once again, it must be said that light is everything.  Isolating light and/or using shade and fill light is one way of making an on-site or environmental portraiture work.  Such is the case in this exterior shot of Jesse Ortiz at Tierra Wools in Los Ojos.

Clouds and sun were playing games when I shot an image of Julia while she was visiting the United States in conjunction with the film From Zimbabwe to Santa Fe, by doc filmmaker Cristina McCandless.

 

Weaver Joe Bacon seated at his home in Arroyo Seco.  Light from two different windows filled the scene, and white walls acted as diffusers and reflectors.

Although this is obviously a seriously posed shot of Ashley, I took a number of photographs of her on the Taos Territorial House stairway before capturing the image below. The walls are white, and a west window filled the small space. Some eastern light was also scooting down the first set of stairs at her.

I am quite envious of photographers who not only make amazing portraits of other people, but are so comfortable with their own beings that they mug and play with the camera when in front of it rather than behind it.  Although I am getting better about having my photograph taken, I am much more comfortable behind the camera, capturing interesting and beautiful faces of the world.  And I do my very best to make those I photograph feel comfortable and make the experience fun.  Being camera comrades, Steve and I have fun shooting.  He, unlike me, is one of those examples of people who are almost as comfortable in front of the camera lens as behind.

And finally, a shot of Fred in Cossack hat and sunglasses.  Lots of reflected light from the surrounding snow.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

 

There are so many images I would love to share with you, but out of respect for either minors or people in private events, I don't feel I can do that in this blog setting.  As photographers, you may struggle with this as well.  So I suppose those are for the pleasure and memory of the people involved and us as photographers.

until next Monday,

DB

a passion for the image@

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blackscrossing@gmail.com (Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black environmental portraiture from zimbabwe to santa fe men new mexico photography portraiture taos taos territorial house women http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/4/people-and-portraits Mon, 09 Apr 2018 15:13:46 GMT
structure in nature http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/4/structure-in-nature An episode of NOVA that aired this week on math spurred my thinking on today's blog.  A good chunk of time was spent on the Fibonacci sequence (according to Wikipedia "...every number after the first two is the sum of the two preceding ones"), and how they appear in nature.  1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, etc.  And that lead me to structure and how even apparent randomness is structured.

One of the primary examples of this type of structure is the Nautilus. Although I have never photographed one of those, the shell shown below from the Philippines is an excellent representation of structure.  Despite the fact that there are twelve segments, my suspicion is that the 13th was broken off at some point.  

shell - tower screw shellshell - tower screw shell

 

The Fibonacci sequence is vividly apparent in daisy-type flowers but it made me wonder if it also follows in the intermediate layer of bark from a palm tree in southern Arizona, shown here...

palm bark detail 2palm bark detail 2

or in this wonderful agave specimen from the United States Sonoran Desert...

agaveagave

or in bamboo segments from the Napali Coast on Kauai.  Or is part of the formula simply a reflection of growth and available water and nutrients?

Hawaii bamboo 2Hawaii bamboo 2

Nature, in all its elements and mysteries, is awe-inspiring.  That is why so many photographers choose it as their primary source of inspiration.  I hope you are able to get out this week and get up-close and personal with it.

Thanks for the comments on last week's blog, Ingrid, TTT, Steve, Terry, Dianne, Catherine, Wayne, Larry, and Orlando.  Always great to hear from you!

until next Monday,

DB

a passion for the image@

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blackscrossing@gmail.com (Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) agave bamboo blacks crossing photography cactus daryl a. black nature new mexico palm bark photography plants shells sonoran desert taos trees http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/4/structure-in-nature Mon, 02 Apr 2018 16:53:14 GMT
petal pusher http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/3/petal-pusher As far as I am concerned, there is nothing like a gift of flowers to get the creative juices flowing.  They also make me ponder color, how they reflect the surroundings in which I place them, and how different hues photograph.

In Sacred Emily, written in 1913, Gertrude Stein penned the now famous phrase "A rose is a rose is a rose".  I might add, perhaps.  They come in myriad colors, sizes, shapes, and fragrances, and all are photogenic in one way or another. The buds and fully opened flowers are both wonderful, but the petals have such expression.  In celebration of spring, today's blog pushes petals.  One of the reasons I like to use them for photography is that from the base to the petal top, there is a broad range of colors.  Some of those colors can't be seen unless you remove the individual petals at the base, where, in this case, white, yellow, and light green radiate outward.

rose petals in water 3rose petals in water 3    

 

As the petals oxidize, their colors turns, as is the case in several of the petals below.

rose petals in water 1rose petals in water 1

Bud and removed petals used together are complementary.

rose petals in water 2rose petals in water 2

rose petals in water 4rose petals in water 4

Regardless of your celebration this week, I hope it brings joy and peace.  Thank you C & B for presenting spring!

until next Monday,

DB

a passion for the image@

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blackscrossing@gmail.com (Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black flowers nature new mexico petals photography pink purple roses still life taos http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/3/petal-pusher Sun, 25 Mar 2018 21:53:19 GMT
organization http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/3/organization Nothing like revisiting photographs that are hither and yon to bring home the concept of organizing your photographic work, and placing value on each and every image you keep.  

It was that kind of weekend, and yesterday in particular, when the wind was howling and waves of grey-purple clouds were moving across the mesa that yielded snow, graupel, and everything in between to bring on those organizational skills.  

I am privileged to know many photographers, and I suspect I am not alone in my thinking about and delay of organization.  We would much rather be shooting.  Having written about this before in blogs, I write again as a reminder to self to get my act together, and to realize that regardless of the photo shoot being random or educational, or it being a project or assignment, each has value.  One person, a group, buildings, nature, travel - each should have its own category and file.  My slides and black and white projects are very well organized.  But then, there are the files marked "People - black and white", which means that to know what is in that file, I need to go through the file in its entirety.  That could be good because you see your work afresh and perhaps from a new perspective.  But, on the other hand, it involves time.  And then there is the ultimate photographer's sin - leaving a proof sheet or sleeved negatives without a date when they were made.  The negative may say "Ilford HP", signifying the type of film, but self-developing leaves no date.  And darned if I don't have sets of those.  Then there are slides that were made into prints or prints for which I have no negatives, or were digitized onto floppies that can be no longer accessed in the current format.

The great thing about all of my viewing the past few days was seeing images I had completely forgotten, and wondered why I had not digitized them.   Like the image below of the owner of Zorba's tavern on Crete.  I had previously used one of him I thought was better, but this one is casual and on the wild side, which is lovely.

ZorbaZorba

There are several shots from Crete and Santorini that, for some unknown reason, I had not bothered to scan, such as the one below.   Santorini sceneSantorini scene

Two more slides that were dormant in their files are below.  The first of bamboo on Kauai and the second of a hotel complex in Cabo San Lucas. Beautiful, bold paint and architecture, but the slide needed some attention.

Hawaii bamboo 2Hawaii bamboo 2

Cabo San Lucas hotel areaCabo San Lucas hotel area

Any working photographer has quite a body of work that probably needs to be revisited from time to time.  The long and short of this morning's blog is a lesson - shoot, download, label, print, and organize.  I am no longer counting on a particular format but printing so that if a format/computer/electronic system/program changes, an image can still be scanned.  Yes, second generation but at least you have it.  It is one's digital negative or physical memory. 

until next Monday,

DB

a passion for the image@

 

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blackscrossing@gmail.com (Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black environmental portraiture new mexico organization photography portraiture taos travel http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/3/organization Mon, 19 Mar 2018 17:15:44 GMT
of winters past http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/3/of-winters-past Thanks to all of you who read and comment so regularly on this blog.  It is great to receive your input.  Which is one of the reasons why today's edition is a bit of a nod to winters past.  TTT wrote saying she was absolutely not ready for spring, and that she wanted to see some winter before things start emerging from the ground.  By request, here are some shots from snow-filled winters, the first of which is from December 2015.

winter solstice shotwinter solstice shot

But just to give those of us faith that winter may still grace us with snow, here are two photographs from the 2nd of April 2017.  Yes, last year.  So different.

April snow on adobeApril snow on adobe

House in April snowHouse in April snow

And the grand finale, with aspen in full leaf and daffodils blooming, this quick shot is dated 19 May 2017.  I remember it will because I had foolishly planted our basil seedlings, grown in the greenhouse, outside.  After all, the official date of last frost, May 15, had already passed.

May snowMay snow

The weather in the Rocky Mountain west always seems to keep us guessing, which is probably a good thing.

until next Monday,

DB

a passion for the image@

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blackscrossing@gmail.com (Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black nature new mexico photography snow taos winter http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/3/of-winters-past Sun, 11 Mar 2018 22:50:32 GMT
the two springs http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/3/the-two-springs Because I tend to think that spring arrives on the vernal or spring equinox,  I did not give much thought to the 1st of March this week, except for changing the calendar. But the people at NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, use temperature data to define seasons, in this case, meteorological spring. Which began on Thursday.  

Typical of New Mexico at this time of year, the wind blew like mad yesterday, stirring up dust, pollen, and numerous particulates which turned the normally crystalline blue sky into an antique tinted photograph.  From their behavior, the birds have certainly felt spring coming for a few weeks.  And this morning, we thought we heard our first Say's Phoebe of the season, which, from our records, is at least two weeks early.  We hope that he or she has enough flying insects to eat.  

Even in the driest of seasons, green things start poking out of the ground in March.  Soon, some of the ground-hugging flowers will start to bloom, including the "Easter daisies" shown here.

Easter daisies 2Easter daisies 2

More low-growing, daisy-type flowers (the composite family) pop up later in the season.

flowers - daisiesflowers - daisies

Just as there is a meteorological spring and an astronomical spring for different scientific and planning purposes, there are two springs where we live, depending on whether plants and trees are on the north side or the south side of our house.  In normal years, the north side of the house can have snow covering the ground until April, and sometimes longer, whereas we see the first signs of spring on the south side of the house about three weeks to a month earlier.  In essence, our high pitched roof gives us the two springs here as well.  The first daffodils on the north side signify that the warm season is on its way.  The two images shown here are from my new "Fresh and Painterly" art card collection.

daffodil with orange cupdaffodil with orange cup

Daffodils (yellow and aspen)Daffodils (yellow and aspen)

All of these photographs were made in the morning hours, before 9:30 a.m., which yielded brighter, more stark light for the daisies, but isolated light for the daffodils.

Whatever weather presents itself where you are on this wonderful planet of ours, I hope you find pleasure in it, and plentiful photographic opportunities.

until next Monday,

DB

a passion for the image@

 

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blackscrossing@gmail.com (Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) astronomical spring blacks crossing photography daffodils daisies daryl a. black easter daisies flowers meteorological spring nature new mexico photography spring taos http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/3/the-two-springs Mon, 05 Mar 2018 17:13:18 GMT
Olympic prowess http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/2/olympics-prowess I love the Olympic games - both summer and winter - and cannot conceive of the practice and development of strength, endurance, and skill it takes to compete. The games also put my mind to work about games and how the origins of many of the sports came from sheer practicality and need, such as cross country skiing, biathlon, and downhill skiing.  Humans living in cold climates needed straightforward methods of transportation before fossil fuels were even imaginable, and the ability to procure food, probably with bows and arrows and later with guns.  The women and men competing now don't have the same life and death needs as the creators of these activities.  But they certainly have taken them to new heights.  Participants in the winter games that just concluded took every single event to new and stunning levels.

Another modern day event has its roots in real life, real time necessities.  The rodeo is a competition based on skills needed for riding and roping animals in order to get them and keep them on the range, in the corral, or to the train depots or stockyards.  From the photographs here, you can tell this was definitely "my first rodeo" - not as a participant but as a photographer - and I discovered that photographing a rodeo requires very special skills exclusive to the sport. The first two shots were of rodeo clowns preparing for their work. 

rodeo clowns perparingrodeo clowns perparing

rodeo clown stretchingrodeo clown stretching

Here is an action shot of the rodeo clowns at work, distracting the bull.

calf ropingcalf roping

 

I call this image of a cowboy waiting to compete "The Working End"

The Working EndThe Working End

 

Now the work is done, for the time being.

roperroper

A technical note.  These shots were made using a Mamiya 645 1 3/4 by 2 1/4 format camera, on lford 400 film, and scanned.

 

A tip of my hat to all, who, regardless of their work or sport, are constantly taking what they do to higher levels!

until next Monday,

DB

a passion for the image@

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blackscrossing@gmail.com (Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black kirtland new mexico photography rodeo clowns rodeos taos http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/2/olympics-prowess Mon, 26 Feb 2018 18:07:32 GMT
"Whose woods these are..." http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/2/-whose-woods-these-are Robert Frost wrote a poem in 1922 titled "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening".  For some reason, while going through thousands of my photographs this week - old and new - and despite the fact that snow has been basically on a leave of absence this winter season in the high mesa country, the poem has been wandering around in my head the last couple of days.  The poem has been analyzed, picked apart, assigned meaning, and multiple interpretations.  When I think about it, I take it at face value admiring the imagery, and the way Frost strung the words into lines and themes.  

"Whose woods these are I think I know..." reminds me of the many trips we have made, heading west and gaining elevation toward the pass on U. S. Highway 64.  Despite multiple visits, do I really know the woods in all their seasons?  Probably not, but I love them. nonetheless.  One stand of narrow leaf cottonwoods has always enchanted me.

narrow leaf cottonwoods colornarrow leaf cottonwoods color

narrow leaf cottonwoods black and whitenarrow leaf cottonwoods black and whiteKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Oaks in New Mexico are generally scrub or Gambel oaks, rather than the tall, towering varieties of the eastern hardwood forests in the United States,  European oak forests or the live and white oaks growing in patches in California and Arizona.  Their growth habit is a tangle and beautifully messy.

oak tangleoak tangle

 

Along the highway, just a few places fit Frost's line "the woods are lovely, dark, and deep...".  Plentiful water allows the growth of aspens and spruce "All Together", as I named this image, rendered here in black and white.

All together, black and white imageAll together, black and white imageKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

 

The woods tell their own stories, open to interpretation by the photographer or artist.

until next Monday,

DB

a passion for the image@

 

 

 

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blackscrossing@gmail.com (Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) aspen blacks crossing photography cottonwoods daryl a. black mountains narrow leaf cottonwoods nature new mexico photography robert frost scenics spruce stopping by woods on a snowy evening taos trees woods http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/2/-whose-woods-these-are Mon, 19 Feb 2018 17:45:16 GMT
a traditional wedding photograph http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/2/a-normal-wedding-photograph Friend and fellow photographer, Steve Immel and I are meeting on this "blog" Monday to discuss weddings.  As you know from following me online, I really enjoy wedding photography.  However, each wedding is a "once in a lifetime experience" which means the photographer has one chance to get it right. Since I have a need to control as much of my part in the event as I can, my mind kicks into gear the minute an agreement is signed.

The first task for me would be to scope out the venue/venues to determine ideal photographic locations.  Fairly quickly after that (with comments or questions gleaned from location research) I meet with the couple to determine their wants and needs as far as wedding photographs are concerned.  Giving them a form to complete about specific photographs they might want helps them think about the photography, and the photographer know and mentally set up the work at hand.  Just a hint from experience.  If tents are going to be used, encourage the couple not to use colored tents.  Unless you want to come equipped with massive fill light.  

Weddings are the one event when family and friends gather together - whether relationships are good or bad - to celebrate.  But opinions differ as to what photographs a couple wants taken and in what style.  The wedding site and its character - whether formal or informal, inside or out - is in the mix as well.  Some want traditional or "normal" photographs, wherein the couple are photographed straight on, and families are in huge lineups.  Others say they don't want "traditional" wedding photographs.  Usually, the couple wants a combination of both.  But you can bet if the photographer doesn't get a photograph of an aunt or uncle or grandparents or best friends, there might be disappointment.  Then there is the situation which actually happens quite frequently wherein a family member or two want photographs but the couple is ambivalent about them.  So the second task in the planning process is to sit down with the couple and really get a feel for what they want.  

Regardless of the style, I always try to remind myself to let the creative juices flow.  How can I make a group photograph more interesting?  In the photograph below, the wall and table enabled part of the wedding party to be on the wall with some standing in front of it, while the couple sat, giving the image a little more depth and interest.

 

Is it possible to take traditional shots in a different way?   This is a big one for me.  If a bouquet and flowers are used, they are delicate, temporary, and expensive, so most people want good photographs of them.  In the photograph above, many of the flowers are included.

Then there are photographs of the rings.  It is always a bit of a challenge to give them a little snap.  Here are two that show the grooms' rings, rather than the bride and groom's rings together, just for fun and something out of the ordinary.

Shots that usually set wedding photographs apart from the standard album are the spontaneous shots.  I loved this pairing of groomsmen relaxing after the wedding, and making sure it was made in the 21st century, with cell phones in hand.

The opportunities to shoot environmental portraits at weddings is endless.  The bridesmaid in this photograph looks like a Venus.  The wind was absolutely howling as her hand moved to keep her hair out of her eyes, I took this shot. Inclement weather can actually enhance some photographs.

until next Monday,

DB

a passion for the image@

 

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blackscrossing@gmail.com (Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black new mexico photography taos wedding photography weddings http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/2/a-normal-wedding-photograph Sun, 11 Feb 2018 17:10:38 GMT
the eyes have it http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/2/the-eyes-have-it Thrushes or the Muscicapidae family apparently have had a very good year. There are hundreds of robins, bluebirds, and solitaires coming to our water dishes to bathe and drink in this winter of little moisture.  These birds got me thinking about eyes and their significance in both the bird and human world.

Solitaires and robins have eye rings that differentiate them from other perhaps similar looking birds.  At first blush in flight, the solitaire looks like a fairly nondescript grey bird.  But a closer look reveals that white eye ring and some buff colored feathers above the tail area.

solitairesolitaire

The American robin also has an eye ring, as shown below.

robinsrobins

Roosters and chickens seem to have large, intense eyes.  Apparently, eye rings are not required.

Big Daddy eyesBig Daddy eyes

Eyes of all species are constantly searching and sensing what is necessary for survival, true of this coyote watching me.

coyote eyescoyote eyes

 

Then there is the human eye, coming in all shapes, sizes, and colors, each speaking its own language within a smile, a frown, glare, or in a stare of wistfulness.

 

I do not know the significance of an eye ring, or the particular color or shape of an eye, but I have a deep appreciation of them.  In my book, the eyes do have it!

until next Monday,

DB

a passion for the image@

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blackscrossing@gmail.com (Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) birds blacks crossing photography bluebirds coyotes daryl a. black eyes nature new mexico photography robins solitaires taos thrushes http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/2/the-eyes-have-it Mon, 05 Feb 2018 18:01:39 GMT
it is the sky http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/1/it-is-the-sky Besides photography that is scheduled within any given week in the life of a photographer, ideas for blogs seem to come from the most interesting places. This week, while having a conversation with a neighbor, she looked up at the sky and said "This is why I am here.  Look at that."  And how true her words were.  New Mexico's sky has attracted many, particularly artists to the state. Driving into Ghost Ranch, it is easy to see why Georgia O'Keefe eventually settled in the Abiquiu area.

Scenics - Abiquiu Ghost ranch landscapes-3Scenics - Abiquiu Ghost ranch landscapes-3

 

From the totally practical aspects of the sky allowing sun to generate energy...

solar panels and skysolar panels and sky

...and the tail end of a thunderstorm blocking the sun...

  skyscape 2017skyscape 2017

...to the view through a window at Chaco Canyon...

Chaco Canyon windowChaco Canyon window

...or across the plains near Fort Union...

wide open spaces near Fort Union, New Mexicowide open spaces near Fort Union, New Mexico

 

...the sky is huge in New Mexico and in our lives.

until next Monday,

DB

a passion for the image@

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blackscrossing@gmail.com (Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) abiquiu blacks crossing photography chaco canyon daryl a. black fort union ghost ranch nature new mexico photography sky taos http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/1/it-is-the-sky Mon, 29 Jan 2018 17:51:42 GMT
jewels of winter http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/1/jewels-of-winter The first real winter arrived late Saturday evening and early Sunday morning in the southern Rocky Mountains.  Although we had just an inch of snow on the ground here, ten inches fell in many of the mountain areas, and the variation in temperatures yielded beautiful crystalline ice in many places.  The sagebrush seed pods turned colors as the clouds moved across the sky, from yellow to almost a light green.  But the real bonus getting the creative juices flowing yesterday was the ice. 

Some of the same types of ice formations I had seen before, but the "creatures from outer space look" of snow melt freezing soon after contact was wonderful. This "ice claw" was the first creature I saw and photographed.

ice clawice claw

In our seventeen years of living on the mesa, I had never seen this before.  A ice lace ornament, hanging from a very thin wisteria branch.

lace ice ornamentlace ice ornament

 

But the encapsulated seed pods of gaillardia looked very much like the Hollywood version of the heads of aliens.

seed head encasedseed head encased

I was taken by how clean and clear the water was that dripped onto the pods and froze.

seed head encased 2seed head encased 2

I hope these jewels of winter find you healthy and content, with creativity flowing within and without.

 

until next Monday,

DB

a passion for the image@

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blackscrossing@gmail.com (Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography close-ups daryl a. black ice nature new mexico photography snow still life taos winter http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/1/jewels-of-winter Mon, 22 Jan 2018 16:06:16 GMT
musings over tea http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/1/photographing-ones-surroundings Nothing like a nice, hot cup of tea to get the creative juices flowing on a winter's day. Today's blog is courtesy of two friends who influenced the work that I did this week and subsequent thoughts and musings over tea.

Victoria sent us a video link about a woman who is both a photographer and caretaker of the Oceanic Hotel on Star Island off the New England coast between New Hampshire and Maine.  I was taken aback by the starkness, loneliness, greyness and cold of the place, but my initial reaction was replaced by Alexandra de Steiguer's peace with being alone and content there.  She embraces the aloneness, and uses photography during the off season (winter) when tourists are not there, as her record. She works with film, shooting stills of her surroundings.  Although Steiguer has a broad palette (which must be monochromatic much of the time) and an enormous number of locations to shoot, she photographs what is around her.  The black and white photograph below of the California coastline and Monterey cypress that I shot years ago, reminds me of the film.

Monterey cypress black and whiteMonterey cypress black and white

Watch it on The Atlantic - http://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/549518/winters-watch/?utm_source=eb The piece is titled "The Quiet Exuberance of Winter", and it is a stunning example of documentary filmmaking.  

Musing over tea this morning, I thought about the film, about her life of isolation during the off-season for 19 years, and others' lives as fire lookouts (including Edward Abbey), and photographers filming their own surroundings. Photographers and artists have always traveled miles to different places to capture history and fascinating locations, but many of the most memorable photographs were made by those who photographed the nearness.  Both present juicy material and frequently produce rich results.  

tea 2tea 2

tea 1tea 1

Further musings with a lovely cup of Darjeeling included the many photographs I had looked at, seemingly again and again, this week, as I embarked on a project to truly organize and further categorize my work within Zenfolio, the website I use.  A few changes had been made by Zenfolio, and I had, quite frankly, been putting off this task.  As every photographer knows, most of us would much rather be taking photographs than organizing.  But my friend, Susie, said she was running short on greeting cards and was unable to find names and information on my photographs.  Thus, I took the dive.  Having 800+ photographs featured in the Zenfolio blog alone, made it an interesting task.  I am very nearly finished.

Regardless of where you artistry or photography takes you this week - near or far - I hope it provides joyful and creative experiences.

until next Monday,

DB

a passion for the image@

 

 

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blackscrossing@gmail.com (Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography california coastline daryl a. black monterey cypress new mexico pacific ocean photography quiet exuberance of winter taos tea the atlantic zenfolio http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/1/photographing-ones-surroundings Mon, 15 Jan 2018 18:21:18 GMT
January smiles http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/1/january-smiles Most of New Mexico has been frightfully spoiled this winter with the relatively warm and sunny weather.  People in the midwest, south, and east are all suffering from record low temperatures and in some places, are buried beneath record snow fall.  Those of us in the Southwest know we need moisture badly, but most continue to revel in the sunshine.  

Yet, it is January, and there is still much less sunshine.  Combined with lows in the single digits most of last week and highs in the 40s, winter is holding on tight.  This made me think about what makes me smile in the winter.  Which also turned my mind to art and photography.  Art is evocative, period.  No one can look at a piece of art, whether it is a painting, a sculpture, or photography without eliciting a reaction.  That response may be "you call that art?" or "isn't that stunning?" but there is always a statement either verbally or emotionally to accompany the piece of art.  

The process of making an image includes many emotions, and the end product reflects those feelings in some way.  You know from reading my blog that I love many subjects and I react to each in a different way.  But I thought that during this winter month in the northern hemisphere, perhaps some January smiles were in order.  I frequently smile at portraits of people, but I wanted to include other images today that always make me smile, for whatever reason or reasons. Perhaps they will make you smile as well.

Roses for you...

roses in handroses in handKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

 

A very curious coyote pup in the garden...

 

Reeds in a pond in the suburbs of Denver...

reed in pondreed in pond

 

Frog of a most princely type...

 

and a few challenges and smiles for me this afternoon as I attempted one of the few selfies of me you will ever see...

 

May many things bring smiles to your January!

until next Monday,

DB

a passion for the image@

 

 

 

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blackscrossing@gmail.com (Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) animals blacks crossing photography daryl a. black frogs nature new mexico photography roses taos http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2018/1/january-smiles Mon, 08 Jan 2018 01:08:43 GMT
a new year http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2017/12/a-new-year Today is a brand new day in a brand new year.  My hope is that 2018 provides each of you abundant creativity, adventures, good friends, family, strength, joy, and love!  And that sanity and kindness rolls over the world like a gentle breeze!

 

A toast to you and life!

toast to 2018toast to 2018

 

until next Monday,

DB

a passion for the image@

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blackscrossing@gmail.com (Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black new mexico photography setups still life taos wine http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2017/12/a-new-year Mon, 01 Jan 2018 01:19:24 GMT
Happy Christmas! http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2017/12/happy-christmas Short and sweet this week, as I present the lowly and wonderful pomegranate (Punica granatum) for Christmas.  Originating in the broader area now known as the Middle East, it spread to Spain and into California during the 17th and 18th centuries.  It was a treat for New Mexico kids, and we relished picking out the seeds with their juicy, messy flesh whenever they were available in the markets.  At that point, photographing them had not even occurred to me.  So today's blog is my present to you on this special day.

I did two different shoots, both in natural light.  The first shoot took place under high overcast, rendering a soft and mostly even light, shown here.

pomegranate 2pomegranate 2

 

The second shoot was in shade of late afternoon light, using a light-toned pine board, which created the painterly cross-section below.

pomegranate cross sectionpomegranate cross section

 

I also shot is obscured sun, resulting in a subdued sheen on the pomegranate profile here.

pomegranate on woodpomegranate on wood

 

Happy Christmas all!

until next Monday,

DB

a passion for the image@

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blackscrossing@gmail.com (Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography christmas daryl a. black fruit nature new mexico photography pomegranates red taos http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2017/12/happy-christmas Mon, 25 Dec 2017 01:53:28 GMT
Ducks?? http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2017/12/ducks I know two things that are true in this world.  Where there is water, there is life, and it seems that robins are the nearest things to ducks or other water birds in their bathing habits.  No truer than during the past forty days or so when there has been no measurable moisture.  It is definitely bird central at our two water dishes these days.  The activity is non-stop with robins, western bluebirds, juncos, solitaires, nuthatches, jays, and finches the most frequent visitors. But robins bathe constantly, regardless of water temperature.  If there is no skim ice or we have refilled the dishes with room temperature water, the robins are there, flinging water everywhere.

Robins bathingRobins bathing

Robins bathing-2Robins bathing-2

Another interesting thing is that juncos (the smaller grey birds with brown on their backs) love to eat water off of grass and branches, just as they eat snow and ice.

Robins bathing-4Robins bathing-4

Photographing the organized chaos of bathing is interesting.  I did bursts of shots with the shutter speed at 1/1250 of a second in order to stop some of the motion, using my 70-200mm lens at 200 f.28.  Then, upon occasion, as in the shot below, a robin will just sit and hog the water.  It must feel good.

Robins bathing-3Robins bathing-3

As we enter the holiday season, I hope you find ample opportunities to create photographic images of all types, learn, and have fun during the process.  

Keep safe.

until next Monday,

DB

a passion for the image@

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blackscrossing@gmail.com (Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) birds blacks crossing photography daryl a. black nature new mexico photography robins taos http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2017/12/ducks Sun, 17 Dec 2017 23:12:29 GMT
El Rancho de las Golondrinas http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2017/12/el-rancho-de-las-golondrinas South of Santa Fe, in the bottom land formed by the Santa Fe River emptying into La Cienega Creek, stands a New Mexico treasure, El Rancho de las Golondrinas (Ranch of the swallows).  It is a living history museum along El Camino Real (the royal road) that extended from Mexico City to Santa Fe, which offered a stopping point for travelers.  The 200 acre landscape is a tasty combination of lush growth that happens in the presence of water in the Southwest, and dry sandstone mesas above.  Fred and I have been there a number of times, and there is always something new to discover and photograph.  A photographer can visit during one of the festivals and focus on the historic - both events and buildings - or you can seek out the wetlands (including the Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve of the Santa Fe Botanical Garden) that offer a completely different view.  

All of the buildings, even when there are no festivals or demonstrations in progress, are extremely photogenic.  The mill building offers details almost as interesting as the mill wheel itself.

Golondrinas images - wallGolondrinas images - wall

Golondrinas images - mill wheelGolondrinas images - mill wheel

 

A few of the buildings are constructed of wood.  There must be some history in the lace window curtain.

Golondrinas images - windowGolondrinas images - window

As they do on human skin, wind and weather always work on adobe plaster, leaving cracks and crenulations, 

Golondrinas images - buttress of churchGolondrinas images - buttress of church

If you visit El Rancho de las Golondrinas, the morning hours before 11 and afternoon hours after 2 are probably the best for broad building shots.  You can tuck some details in from the shadows at any time of day, but the New Mexico sky produces intense light on the buildings and land, offering some real photographic challenges.  Regardless, it is well worth at least one photo shoot, and more if you plan on doing environmental portraiture.

until next Monday,

DB

a passion for the image@

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blackscrossing@gmail.com (Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) adobe architecture black and white potography blacks crossing photography daryl a. black el rancho de las golondrinas golondrinas history new mexico phoaphy taos windows http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2017/12/el-rancho-de-las-golondrinas Mon, 11 Dec 2017 17:55:42 GMT
the work of photography http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2017/12/the-work-of-photography Anyone who has used a camera knows that there is more to photography than releasing the shutter.  The camera itself, developer and printing chemicals, computers, software, printers, and papers have to be made first before the photographer even begins her or his work.  Planning a photo shoot, calculating time and mileage, or doing set ups and studio shots and checking batteries and equipment are the first part of the individual's journey.  After the photographs are made, they are either developed in the darkroom or on the computer, and then printed or formatted for use in publications.  Meaning that, in the long run, the darkroom or computer work may actually take more time than the shoot itself.  If you love photography, none of these stages is really work but an adventure each time you enter the darkroom or sit down at the computer to render photographs.  There are deadlines for publication as well as those that are self-imposed, and pressures when shooting weddings (only one chance to get it right), but it is still fascinating.  An added bonus is that sometimes, as I did this week, you discover something you never knew about a computer program.

All this is to say that during the past week, I didn't shoot much, but devoted my time to photographic development at the computer, working on the sets of prints and greeting cards I am assembling.  Choosing images, making sure their rendering works well with the papers being used, and each print is what I want.   As they say, the best way to start any day of photography is with a good breakfast.  

breakfast - toast-2breakfast - toast-2

 

eggs in bowleggs in bowl

 

And to top it off, one of the great flavors of life, coffee.  

coffee beanscoffee beans

 

I look forward to getting out and doing some architectural and environmental portrait shoots this month, and learning more secrets of development.  Hopefully, you will be able to do the same.

until next Monday,

DB

a passion for the image@

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blackscrossing@gmail.com (Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography bread daryl a. black eggs food kitchens new mexico photography taos http://blackscrossing.com/blog/2017/12/the-work-of-photography Mon, 04 Dec 2017 17:51:04 GMT