News and Views from Dave Wilson

Archive for July, 2010

West Texas Sunrise

by on Jul.31, 2010, under Photography

West Texas Sunrise

West Texas Sunrise, originally uploaded by DaveWilsonPhotography.

Often it’s worth the interrupted sleep to get up and out before sunrise. On our recent trip, I set the alarm early on three mornings and snuck out of our hotel room for a couple of hours shooting while the rest of the family slept. In Texas, this worked out fine – sunrise was at around 7am so it meant I didn’t have to get up at a completely ungodly hour – but New Mexico, where the clocks run an hour earlier, proved problematic. For Santa Fe, this was fine since the lighting was still rather excellent downtown at 6:45 or so when I arrived. The bigger problem, however, was at White Sands National Monument where the part is gated off until 7am, a full hour after sunrise.

If I return to White Sands, I think I will plan to go during springtime. That should allow the park opening time and sunrise to coincide and, if I’m lucky, may allow me to get there when the yucca plants are blooming.

For summer trips, however, west Texas offers a nicely timed sunrise allowing images such as this one to be captured without having to sacrifice too much sleep.

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Next HDR Workshop Date Set

by on Jul.27, 2010, under Photography

The June HDR workshop was a great success and I had several people who expressed an interest but couldn’t make it on that particular day. As a result, I’ve arranged to give another workshop at Dragonfly Gallery on Saturday October 16th, 2010. This will follow the same plan as the previous class. If you are interested in learning how to take and process the kind of images I typically post here or on my photoblog, head on over to my workshop page to read about the class.

The workshop is limited to 8 people so please let me know as soon as possible if you would like to take part and I’ll add your name to the list.

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World Wide Photo Walk, Austin

by on Jul.25, 2010, under Photography

Yesterday, July 24th 2010, was the day of the third annual World Wide Photo Walk organised by author and photography guru Scott Kelby. Over 33000 photographers in 1100 locations got together in groups of 50 to shoot pictures of parts of their local town or city and generally have three or four hours of camaraderie and photo-geekery.

Austin this year had 3 photo walks to choose from. Fellow HDR aficionado Pete Talke led a walk in the evening around the State Capitol and most of the local HDR types joined him. I was keen to shoot somewhere different, however, so teamed up with the group led by Simi Shonowo which started at 8am and walked south of the lake around the Palmer Events Center, Long Center and Auditorium Shores area. A third walk was also organised for the area of the Oasis Restaurant on Lake Travis.

Each walk ends at a restaurant to give people a chance to socialise and discuss the event. Our ending venue was Threadgill’s on Barton Springs Road – an excellent venue which had no trouble accomodating the 30 or so people who stayed for lunch at the end of the walk.

Once again, the walk was great fun. Our group had locals and also people who had travelled into the area to shoot somewhere different – several from San Antonio and one from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Although I enjoyed the walk, again, the experience was valuable more socially than photographically – I had a hard time getting particularly inspired and came away with only 3 or 4 pictures that I’m really happy with. No prizes this year but the event itself is definitely a winner and I would encourage any photographer who has not taken part to sign up when next year’s event is announced.

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Santa Fe Inspiration

by on Jul.16, 2010, under Family, Photography

Santa Fe Adobe

Santa Fe Adobe, originally uploaded by DaveWilsonPhotography.

Things have been a bit quiet here recently since I’m currently on a trip to New Mexico and am relying on hotel WiFi which, unfortunately, is not universal. AT&T are living up to the standard I have come to expect by having no effective data coverage anywhere in the state as far as I can see – even downtown in Santa Fe, I am completely unable to get any kind of usable data connection. That is, however, a story for another blog posting.

Today, we spent the morning in downtown Santa Fe soaking up artistic inspiration. Not only is the city centre absolutely beautiful with fabulous adobe buildings everywhere, it’s also home to more excellent art galleries and museums than just about anywhere I’ve ever visited. After the must-be-visited Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, the highlights for me were three photography galleries.

The Lisa Kristine Gallery contained some of the most beautiful images I have ever seen – large format prints of people and scenes shot mostly in Asia. Amazing portraits and landscapes with absolutely perfect light.

Since the demise of the last dedicated fine art photography gallery in Austin (by which I mean a gallery selling prints by internationally acclaimed and famous photographers) couple of years ago, I was also delighted to get a fix of superlative print quality at the Andrew Smith Gallery which features original prints by masters Ansel Adams, Yousuf Karsh amd Henri Cartier Bresson among others. You may think these photographers’ images are superb in books of their work but until you have seen original prints, you really don’t have any idea of just how amazing these images are. The tonal range in the prints is something to weep over.

In addition to these masters, I was also delighted to see more of the luminous landscape work of Christopher Burkett whose large format images blew me away when I first saw them four or five years ago. His large prints are, sadly, rather outside my budget but I came really close to signing a four figure check a few years ago when I saw one if his pictures of an aspen forest in autumn. You could see every vein on every leaf in a 30″x40″ print. Truly breathtaking.

The final gallery I visited was Photogenesis which featured the work of several photographers, most of whom were new to me. One that really caught my eye was Nicholas Trofimuk whose black and white landscapes are wonderful.

While I didn’t walk away with any large prints (unfortunately), I did treat myself to a copy of “The Portfolios of Ansel Adams” and several greeting cards to remind me of the day.

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Look Behind You!

by on Jul.08, 2010, under Photography

It should be pretty obvious but it’s vitally important to be aware of your surroundings when on a photo shoot. You can look at this a couple of ways. If you’re not looking around you, you run the distinct risk of doing yourself and your gear some damage (see video) but there’s also the secondary interpretation. We’re always looking for great new images and viewpoints yet we frequently find ourselves looking only straight ahead either physically or metaphorically. We set out with the objective of getting a particular shot but end up missing a bunch of other images since we were so blinkered by our original idea.

A great skill for a photographer to acquire (and which Jim Goldstein talks about in his blog post today) is the ability to see pictures in areas that may otherwise have been overlooked and to do this you must remove those blinkers and consider all possibilities in the location you find yourself rather than merely the view straight ahead or the original plan.

Look up, look down and look behind you!

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