I CAN’T EXPLAIN IT…

•March 28, 2019 • 1 Comment

HISTORY

History was by far my least favorite subject in high school. World Civilization…it seemed if we weren’t memorizing dates, we were examining a skeletal bone that was supposedly thousands of years old. Ho–hum…

But, then came U.S. History! And seemingly a whole new world opened up! So much so that I actually taught High School History for 3 years! There’s a tidbit of information that most of you did not know about me.

Perhaps that is why I love traveling the back roads of Texas to discover…whatever is there just waiting for me to bring it to life! One of my latest discoveries was unearthed during a recent visit to a very small “out-of-the-way” museum in Clifton, Texas. While there, I was introduced to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church. To say the least, I was hooked! I had to find it and photograph it. And so, off we went…

The community of Norse began in 1854 when eight couples arrived from east Texas following the suggestion of Cleng Peerson, the “Father of Norwegian Immigration to America”.  Cleng Peerson is buried in the cemetery of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and his grave site brings many visitors to Norse, including the King of Norway in 1984.

The Rev. O.O. Estrem formally organized Our Savior’s Lutheran Church on June 14, 1869 with over 230 charter members.  In 1871, 111 acres of land was purchased for $1.00 per acre, and a two-story, stone parsonage was built on the property.  A wooden sanctuary was begun in 1875 and completed and dedicated in 1885.  The chancel furniture in the church is the original.

In 1907, the church was enlarged and brick-veneered, but the interior was not changed.

In 1915, English spoken services were introduced and gradually increased until there was only one Norwegian service each month in 1925.  (It was 1941 when the Norwegian services stopped entirely)

And this is what we found…

OUR SAVIOR'S LUTHERAN CHURCH - Clifton TX

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FAMOUS LANDMARKS…OR…BACKROAD FINDS??

•February 27, 2019 • Leave a Comment

When I first began to get serious about landscape photography, I was determined to capture the “Big and Famous” landscape images. And living in California made that very possible. After all, there are 9 National Parks in California – more than any other state.

So, initially I chased images like this one:

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK - HALF DOME New Sig

This is actually one of my favorites. But, everyone has an image similar to this one. I mean, there were at least a dozen people capturing this exact shot while I was there. Don’t misunderstand me though, I realize you can get off the beaten path…you can capture something unique – even in a high-tourist area like Yosemite National Park. And to that I say, “Do it!”

But honestly when I get on the true back roads, I rarely meet another person – let alone another photographer. That means when I capture an image like this one:

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Or, like the one I shared last week:

ABANDONED HOUSE - The Grove Texas - Dark Charcoal

You will likely not see the image in any other media venue. The only other person around when I captured these images was my wife, who has become an expert at seeing unique perspectives.

So I encourage you to capture the famous landscapes! But in doing that, don’t forget the back roads. That may be exactly where you discover your most treasured image.

Stay tuned for more of my transition from California to Texas – from working and part-time photography…to retired and full-time photography!

ONE THING CERTAIN IN LIFE…

•February 19, 2019 • Leave a Comment

CHANGE. 

My life has seen so many changes over time. And before each change, I was certain everything in my life was settled. And with that being said, once again I bid farewell to my latest place of perceived permanence – California.

While I’m happy about my photography adventures in California, I am eagerly looking forward to new challenges and opportunities in Texas. I must admit, I had no idea my new-found interest in photography would lead to the wonderful experiences afforded me in California.

  • Sports photographer for a local high school
  • Event photographer for a local university
  • A WordPress blog (that actually has followers) – people are actually interested in my journey into professional photography (who would have thought?)
  • Rights to my photography purchased by the Mission at San Juan Capistrano – allowing several prints to be sold in their gift shop. Also using my images for coffee mugs and candy bars.
  • Year book cover for a high school in Palos Verdes
  • Website images for a Long Beach non-profit
  • Numerous private individual and family portrait shoots
  • Website images for a local church
  • And so much more…

But, I only list those to encourage you to continue to follow your dreams. No matter how difficult it might seem, never give up. I remember the day I was told that I could no longer display my artwork in a local beach art fair because some of the other vendors complained there were too many photographers in the fair. I was upset and totally unable to understand the reasoning behind the decision – but the decision was final. The very next week, I was contacted by the Mission at San Juan Capistrano. They wanted to buy the rights to use my images on several of their marketing pieces. They also wanted to purchase several of my framed prints to sell in their new gift shop. It was beyond believable. I had to seek professional advice as I had never sold the rights to any of my images.

It can happen!

But before this gets too long, let’s post some images from my back road travels in central Texas. This is an image of an abandoned house that I came across on an old farm road. I am posting the original as well as some processed images:

ABANDONED HOUSE - The Grove Texas - HDR

Version 2

ABANDONED HOUSE - The Grove Texas - Dark Charcoal

Stay tuned. I have only begun to share the changes that have come into our lives.

 

BACK TO THE WORLD OF PORTRAITS

•June 2, 2017 • 1 Comment

Yes!  I still do portrait photography.  I actually love the world of portrait photography. Having said that, I thought I would share a few images from my photo shoot last weekend.

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AZZY 4 FINALS SIG

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MORE LONG EXPOSURE PHOTOGRAPHY

•May 15, 2017 • 2 Comments

Now that you’ve mastered fireworks photography, it’s time to once again step out of your comfort zone and experience a broader spectrum of night photography. Capturing any night scene is very similar to shooting fireworks, but there are a few nuances that you may want to note in the following instructions. I am posting 3 images, all with differing settings to help you gain a perspective of adjusting for each different environment you may face. First, the “Lights of the City” shot. There may be a more famous city for night photography, but there isn’t one that is more immediately recognizable than the city of Seattle. This image was captured at ISO 100, 60mm, f/5, at 8 seconds. It really is not that difficult because you can simply make an adjustment after your first attempt to either lengthen or shorten your shutter speed to create the desired result. The second image is of a tiny tea cafe in the city of Orange, CA. ISO 1600, 33mm, f/3.5, at 1/10 second. Did you notice the camera changes? I used a higher ISO, a larger lens opening, and a much quicker shutter speed. Because I had to stand in the middle of the street to capture this shot, it became necessary to increase my shutter speed for my personal safety. In order to do that, every other setting had to be adjusted to compensate for the faster shutter speed. If your camera is good enough, a high ISO is not problematic. And frankly, that will make the greatest difference in your shutter speed setting. Finally, my third image is from my living room. Since it was a low light shot, I think it compares to what we are talking about with our night photography, even though it is indoors. This image was ISO 100, 35mm, f/8, 5 seconds.

Don’t be afraid to give low light/night photography a try. Remember as with fireworks photography, you must use a camera that allows for manual control; and you must use a tripod. Although, for the tea cafe shot, I was able to hand-hold. But again, I was dodging traffic and it was necessary.

SEATTLE CITY LIGHTS SIG

ORANGE TEA CAFE

CHRISTMAS - NOT A CREATURE WAS STIRRING

IT WILL SOON BE THAT TIME OF YEAR

•May 8, 2017 • 4 Comments

With fireworks season rapidly approaching, I thought I would share some of my ideas for capturing an impressive fireworks burst. Contrary to what may you be thinking, you will need a long exposure rather than a short exposure to best capture the explosion and it’s trails.  Let’s review some basics: First, your camera must have a manual setting. In most photography situations, you want to be in control of your camera. That means you must move away from the “point and shoot” mentality. Second, night photography requires the shutter to be open longer. And that will require you to manually control the duration of the exposure. My shutter speed for these fireworks images was 4 seconds. Of course if you are going to have an extended shutter speed (4 seconds) your camera must be mounted onto a well stabilized tripod. This will eliminate any possibility of camera shake. If you do not have a remote shutter release, just set your timer to engage the shutter at 2 seconds. This will also eliminate any camera shake from manually activating the shutter. Next we’ll talk about focusing on the burst. You will soon realize that your camera will not automatically focus on a dark sky. This is an easy fix. If you have an auto focus lens, you will need to disengage that feature. Simply turn it off. Then manually set your lens focus to infinity. Since the fireworks are so far away, this will place everything in perfect focus. Finally, shoot at a low ISO setting to reduce noise. I have used ISO 100 on all of these images. If you’re lucky and live close to Disneyland, you can practice your fireworks photography almost any night. I just grab my gear, head over to the free parking lot at Downtown Disney, and set up. Within a few minutes, I am shooting away. Night photography is always rewarding. So, go out there and give it a try. These steps also work well with city lights at night. Look for a future post with some help in that area.

I hope you will consider following my blog to receive regular photography tips.  Also, you can jump over to my Facebook page and like that page to receive even more photography information.

Some of my Disneyland images:

FIREWORKS 1

FIREWORKS 2

FIREWORKS 3

FIREWORKS 4

EVERYONE HAS A “GO TO” PLACE

•April 25, 2017 • Leave a Comment

If I had to choose a local favorite, my “Go To” place for landscape photography would be Huntington Beach – and more specially, the pier at sunset.

This particular image was captured about 7-8 minutes after the sun had already set.  I have come to realize some of the best sunsets do not require the sun to be in the picture.  Sure I love to capture that golden ball of fire in my images, but oftentimes there will be more vibrant color a few minutes after the sun sets.  Many times I have been one of several people taking pictures of the sunset, only to see the majority of them leave immediately after the sun disappears beneath the horizon.  If you want to capture the full spectrum of the sunset, stick around.  You will not be disappointed.

This particular shoot, I was waiting for the pier street lamps to come on.  I thought it would add interest to the image.  I’m pretty satisfied that I waited.

HUNTINGTON BEACH CORAL SUNSET