Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Winter Wonderland.

Lone Star Rainbow.
Some days I feel really frustrated about my self-portrait project.  Most days I feel inspired.

I was feeling very low about taking pictures, in general.  I think this has more to do with the snow (read: icy) conditions that we were having this winter.  Until our big storm that has been lasting dumping snow on us over the last week, we've only had snow three days and we've been here for over a month now.  The days get above freezing, which means things start to melt.  The nights get well below freezing (-4 degrees F tonight), which means things freeze really hard.  This combination means that I don't feel inspired to leave my home.

However, because I've committed to getting out and take at least one picture a day that I have my camera with me almost always now.  If I'm going to go through the trouble of lugging it around, then I may as well use it - and I've been using it a lot out in the Upper Geyser Basin (ie the one right outside the Lodge).  In fact, I've been taking so many pictures that it's hard for me to stay caught up with organizing and any adjustments that I do (which is minimal on my landscape pictures).

The storm that we just had completely transformed the landscape.  We went out for a ski along Spring Creek and the up and around on the Howard-Eaton - it was calmly (i.e. no wind!) snowing the whole time creating a trail of wonderful powder that was so much fun to ski. 

Here are some of my favorites - I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Thermal Run Off along the Firehole River.
Grotto Geyser Erupting.
Blowing Snow and Shadows.
Lone Star Major Eruption.
Thermal Run Off on a Cold Morning.
Heart Spring.
Doublet Pool.
First Attempt at Night Photography - Castle Geyser
Old Faithful Eruption at Dawn.
Twigs in a Snowy Crack.
Of course, that isn't all.  Those are just my current favorites; however, if I were to remake this post in a year it would probably be a different handful that we posted.  I feel like my landscapes are getting calmer - maybe it's just the winter.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Inspirational Photographers.

Since I've been doing the Project 365, I've been researching other photographers.  There are a few that I've come across that I may have seen a picture or two before but now am delving deep into their work and being inspired greatly!  Here are just a few of those photographers and some of my favorite photos:

Sally Mann:

My favorite are her "Immediate Family" work.  There are a number of them I've seen before - and am drawn to the grittiness, rawness of the photos.
From Wikipedia: 
Mann is perhaps best known for Immediate Family, her third collection, published in 1992. The NY Times said, “Probably no photographer in history has enjoyed such a burst of success in the art world.” The book consists of 65 black-and-white photographs of her three children, all under the age of 10. Many of the pictures were taken at the family's remote summer cabin along the river, where the children played and swam in the nude. Many explore typical childhood themes (skinny dipping, reading the funnies, dressing up, vamping, napping, playing board games) but others touch on darker themes such as insecurity, loneliness, injury, sexuality and death. The controversy on its release was intense, including accusations of child pornography (both in America and abroad) and of contrived fiction with constructed tableaux. One image of her 4-year-old daughter (Virginia at 4) was censored by the Wall Street Journal with black bars over her eyes, nipples and pubic area. Mann herself considered these photographs to be “natural through the eyes of a mother, since she has seen her children in every state: happy, sad, playful, sick, bloodied, angry and even naked.” Critics agreed, saying her “vision in large measure [is] accurate, and a welcome corrective to familiar notions of youth as a time of unalloyed sweetness and innocence,” and that the book “created a place that looked like Eden, then cast upon it the subdued and shifting light of nostalgia, sexuality and death." When Time magazine named her “America’s Best Photographer” in 2001, it wrote:
Mann recorded a combination of spontaneous and carefully arranged moments of childhood repose and revealingly — sometimes unnervingly — imaginative play. What the outraged critics of her child nudes failed to grant was the patent devotion involved throughout the project and the delighted complicity of her son and daughters in so many of the solemn or playful events. No other collection of family photographs is remotely like it, in both its naked candor and the fervor of its maternal curiosity and care.

Gregory Crewdson:

Gregory Crewdson's photographs usually take place in small town America, but are dramatic and cinematic. They feature often disturbing, surreal events. The photographs are shot using a large crew, and are elaborately staged and lighted.  Something that I don't have the ability to do but the colors and unusual subject are greatly inspirational.

Annie Leibovitz:

Annie Leibovitz is most well known for her photos of famous people.  I started reading Vanity Fair a few years ago just because she is generally their photographer and her photos were so complelling that I would pick up a copy based on the cover photo alone.  She recently (in the last few years) teamed up with Disney to do a photo series for them, which capivates me since these were all my favorites as a child.  I could have very well picked any other photos and just been as pleased with the selections.  She is an amazing artist.

There are, of course, tons of other photographers that I look at frequently.  Some are landscape masters, some are struggling to get noticed by someone other than myself, all are amazing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Sacred Balance.

I recently finished reading the book The Sacred Balance by David Suzuki.  He takes the reader through the basic elements - air, water, earth and fire - and discusses how each of them were formed way back when the earth was still being formed, how they are when the Earth was healthy and how our transition from primate to modern society has affected them now.  He continues on to talk about the importance of love in humans - how it is grows out of the love from our parents and communities.

For example, the air that we know around us was first created when the first organisms (single-celled bacteria) started using energy from the heat on the planet to start (for lack of a better word in my non-science vocabulary) live.  They were similar to the cynobacteria and thermophiles that we have living in Yellowstone's hot springs - they don't have chlorophyll like most algae or plants but instead use the heat from the hot water to create the energy they need to live. When these first bacteria started to produce energy, they started to release oxygen.  As life continued to progress (all in the oceans at this point) they continued to release oxygen (whether from photosystensis or the original form) which eventually filled up the ocean.  Once the oceans became full of of oxygen, the oxygen particles passed out into the atmosphere. And evolution has continued into the world that we know today.

I was truly fascinated by the first few sections of the book.  It made me more aware of how I use the resources that so many of us take for granted (and are in the grand scheme of things only been so ravaged in the most recent years).  The later sections - once he starts talking about our need of love and community (which is true and he makes good arguments for) were a little more out of my realm of interest.  I can see that we have a striving need for community.  Although in the world today, it's less about who is your neighbor but more obvious in the online world.  The blogs that we follow, websites we go to (and create ourselves), and our Twitter "friends" have become the community that more people relate to than the ones that our physical selves are members of. 

I am trying to give more of my books away and am going to try to use my blog to help me remember what I've read, how it's affected me and what I've learned.  This will probably be a book (at least the first two thirds) that I read a couple more times before fully understanding the balance that he discusses with precision and care.  A balance that is being thrown off with consequences that is already becoming apparent as I watch the world around me more closely than I ever have.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

007/365 - Photo Shoot.

Today, I went out with the intition of a sad photo (or what I felt was sad) - I wanted a photo of my bare feet walking away in the snow with a rose falling out of my hand.  I am missing summer today and wanted to reflect that feeling. 

It's amazing how that idea changes once you get out in front of the camera.  I never even really got one that I liked where I was bare foot just standing there (or walking).  Instead, I started to enjoy the fresh crisp air outside and jumped for joy of life.

This one was my favorite closest to my original plan.

I cut my head off. 


My belly looks weird and my face looks scared.

P.S.  My feet definitely felt the cold!  Right behind my camera I had a sleeping pad with a towel and my warm socks and boots to slip into as I needed to.  Even with that - I only took a small handful of photos.  Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Big Fat Thank You!

I had a rather strange and wonderful dream last night.  I was camping on my dad's lawn when I decided to go for a walk.  On my walk, I ran into (almost) all of my old high school/junior high really good friends - some of them were as they are now (aka older) and some of them were as they were then (aka younger).

The thing is that I've always moved a lot as a kid so my group of friends was constantly changing, but I actually stayed in the same place during those cruitial years.  Not that my best friend at the start of junior high was still my number one at the end of high school - but I was still friends with them.  I still see their feeds on Facebook and am glad at their success and happiness.

I had a heart to heart conversation (in my dream) with almost all of them, especially Kelly (my junior high best friend - you know the one that "you will always love like a sister...").  She gave me a giant hug and told me that she was proud of me.  Even if it was just a dream, I feel very thankful this morning to every friend whom I've ever had that has helped shape me into the strong and independent woman that I am today.

P.S.  I have been awesome about keeping up with my self-portrait-a-day (even if this only day 4!).  Take a look on Flickr.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Resolution.

I always love having a new year's resolution but I've had the same one for the last few years - to have better posture.  I do have better posture now (still not wonderful but I'm conscious of it so it's much improved)!  That being said I've been trying to think of something for 2012 that would inspire my creative juices in the relm of photography.

I've varied up a lot of my work recently - with photographing at my mom's town and doing more black and white.  However, I really wanted to do something out of my comfort zone so the perfect idea is to take a self portrait once a day (albeit a day late for 2012).   (It's not my original idea - it's from Flickr's Project 365s that were super popular a few years ago.  I've been looking at all of Lauren Lemon's photos from her project in 2009 as well as other photographers she mentions as inspiration.  I want to learn what I'm doing instead of hoping that the good luck I've had with my camera just continues by some miracle.)

I hate taking pictures of myself or even have other people take pictures of me.  I've been trying to be better about it (with Graham's help) but I just feel awkward.  I feel awkward when I take pictures of other people - like I don't know what I'm doing.  This should help me take better pictures of other people since I'm practicing on myself.

I already had the idea of taking a self-portrait (with Graham) every day we were on the Appalachian Trail just for shits and giggles.  I won't be able to upload them daily (or probably even until the end of the trail am I going to get around to doing anything with them) but I will save them all during my 6 month hiatus and overload everyone when it's done.

Of course, I came up with the idea while lounging in bed already ready to close my eyes for the night.  So that's what I photographed: