Morning Mist On the Medina River

It is interesting looking back at these photographs which were made in 2007 using my first DSLR, a Canon 10D. A couple of things come to mind. First, you can get quite a lot of information out of a 6mp RAW file if the exposure is reasonably good. Also, I used a tripod more then and the images are better for doing so. I was way too busy trying to shoot trophy images to recognize those things at the time.

I purchased the 10D from a pro photographer after he bought a new Canon 30D. In truth my envy for his 8mp sensor camera was overflowing. The older 6mp camera seemed quite inferior measured against such a fine photographic tool as the 30D. In hindsight the 10D was nearly perfect for an inexperienced wannabe photographer.

The 10D started me off on a series of Canon gear, 10D, 5D, 40D and 60D. All had good qualities and each improved upon the previous camera. The 5D was something of an outlier, it had the advantages of full frame capture but functionally it reminded me of a clunky oversized 10D. Only the 60D was purchased new and that was a struggle on my shoestring hobbyist budget.

Fortunately it is easy to find excellent used gear one or two generations old. People still think the newest cameras will always make the best photographs. My current Sony A7II 24mp full frame camera is a generation or more behind current standards. It has quite modest specs compared to newer models. Even so, I sometimes struggle to use all the performance it is capable of providing.

After years of practice I finally get it. Photographers make photographs and cameras capture light. That is a good thing to remember when considering new gear.

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Phototrice Calendar No. 34 – North America

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Phototrice Calendar No. 34 – International

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Phototrice Calendar No. 35 – North America

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Phototrice Calendar No. 37 – North America

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Tools for Modern Times

When this self portrait was photographed back in 2009 my idea was to consider the implications of private and public persona. Over the past couple of years I have reprocessed the photo several times based upon my original idea. With each new version it has become apparent that the image makes some people uncomfortable.

There are many reasons why someone wrapped in a headscarf might be considered provocative. The face of the subject, me in this case, is obscured. It is a headshot which eliminates any body language to help the viewer read the image. later versions of the image are composited which adds layers of information to further obfuscate the subject.

I believe there is another reason why my self portrait makes people uncomfortable. It is a more sinister reason. For more than twenty years we as free citizens of the United States have been taught to fear those among us who speak with a different accent, dress in a different way or hold unfamiliar beliefs. Xenophobic attitudes now mainstream in our society.

Every day we are reminded to fear and judge people we don’t know because they hold certain religious beliefs. Politicians shamelessly use fear of ‘the potential threat’ to attain office. News outlets shamelessly echo those politicians without asking meaningful questions. Incidents that are thought of as terrorism are endlessly replayed twenty four hours a day for commercial gain. We are warned on a daily basis to hold our fear close.

The bargain we are making is freedom in exchange for security. The case could be made that we are trading those things that make our country great for the warm blanket of a comfortable police state. In our society informers are not even necessary, we inform upon ourselves. Every electronic utterance and transaction is subject to examination without our direct consent by machine intelligence. Senator Joseph McCarthy was once asked; “Have you no sense of decency sir?” Who in the government and security apparatus would we ask that of today?

Water

Falling Water
Falling Water
The Texas Hill Country is filled with springs that feed small creeks. They mirror the levels of the underground aquifers that are the source of water in Central Texas. When the rains come, water percolates down into the limestone and eventually overflows onto the land as springs. Each spring has a unique habitat it supports.

We live in a world where the environmental balance is rapidly shifting. Conditions are not as predictable as they once were. There are now great concerns about the future viability of the precious aquifers we depend upon. For now the waters are flowing. The habitats they support are still intact.

In my lifetime I have witnessed devastation of much of our natural world. I will not pay the price for the squandering of our world but someone will. We are beings evolved to live within the natural environment of our planet. Our truly wonderful technologies cannot provide a substitute for our home on Earth.

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The North America calendar
Weeks starting on Sunday.

Phototrice Calendar No. 33 – North America

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Weeks starting on Monday.

Phototrice Calendar No. 33 – International