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Steve Bruno Photo

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June 2016

WPC: Partners

On one of my trips to Valley of Fire State Park, I was fortunate enough to come across a herd of bighorn sheep.  They weren’t too fond of my presence at first, but I kept a slow methodical pace to follow them.  This made for a lot of butt shots in the beginning, and eventually my patience rewarded me with the shots I was hoping for.

These 2 (above) stayed together most of the time, which made me think they were partners.  My entire time following the herd was about an hour, and one couple was never close.  I’m assuming this was the alpha male of the herd and his partner (below).  I was under his watchful eyes all the while.

Bighorn Sheep in Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada by Steve Bruno

WPC: Curve

For this week’s Daily Post Challenge, I’ve found a few shots where the emphasis came from the curve in the photo.  The top shot comes from Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.

Rainbows made me think of curves, whether in the skies over southern Arizona, or frozen in sandstone at Rainbow Bridge National Monument, Utah.

Rainbow in the desert of southern Arizona by Steve BrunoRainbow Bridge from underneath, Steve Bruno

Curves in the road also came to mind, and this one has plenty.  It’s called the Swift Trail, and it heads up the Pinaleno Mountains of Arizona.  As you can tell, there’s nothing swift about this drive, but it can be a lot of fun, and takes you into a beautiful mountain range.

Pinaleno Mountain highway, Steve Bruno

Also in Arizona, you will come across many of these Saguaro cacti.  Although the younger ones are a single column, the older ones develop arms that often curve gracefully.

Curvy Saguaro Cactus Arms, Arizona, Steve Bruno

Window Seat VII: Earth or Mars?

Well, the obvious answer is Earth, but several locations I’ve flown across bear resemblances to sci-fi movie settings.  These are all desert locations, so it probably helps that I fly in and out of Las Vegas.  This also means we’re still at an altitude low enough to see great detail.

Mojave Desert, patterns, aerial, Arizona, Steve Bruno
Textures of the Mojave Desert
desert hills, southern Arizona, aerial, Steve Bruno
Hills in the desert of southern Arizona
Mountains near Lake Mead at sunset, aerial, Arizona, Steve Bruno
Mountains near Lake Mead at sunset
Desert ridges by stormlight outside of Las Vegas, Nevada, Steve Bruno
Desert ridges by stormlight outside of Las Vegas
Wash patterns, northwestern New Mexico, Steve Bruno
Wash patterns, northwestern New Mexico
Craters Near Flagstaff, Arizona, aerial, Steve Bruno
Craters Near Flagstaff
Desert Dunes near Death Valley, aerial, Steve Bruno
Desert and dunes near Death Valley

Sunset Of The Year

sunset, Las Vegas, Nevada

 

As I headed out to meet with friends the other night, the skies looked as though they might light up a bit as the sun headed down.  I didn’t take my real camera along, as I knew I didn’t have time to make it past the city limits.  Almost nearing my destination, I stopped a couple blocks short, where there was a decent sized clearing away from structures and power lines.  I snapped a couple shots on my phone, but mostly I just stopped to take it all in.  Here in Las Vegas, we’ve had a couple really spectacular sunsets this spring, but this might be the best one we’re going to see all year.  This photo can’t possibly bring justice to the surroundings that night, not all of which would fit in the frame.  There were so many variations in cloud shape, texture, and color that a phone camera just can’t pick up.  After getting back in the car, I realized the heart of the city was the best viewing angle, and any trip I would have taken to the nearby desert or mountains would not have yielded similar results.  I wasn’t planning on printing this one, and besides, thousands of people saw, and possibly captured, the same thing.

Upon showing the photos to some friends the next day, one remarked, “You should always have your camera with you.  You could have just added a different foreground to it, and it would have made a really amazing photograph!”  That comment reopened a can of worms that had its origin a few years ago.  I was at a highly attended event where one of the major camera manufacturers had a photographer with his powerpoint slideshow.  As he neared the end of his talk, he said “and this is one of my favorite photographs from the trip, but it didn’t really look like this.  I started with this sunset, then added this group of animals (a shot taken in the middle of the day), to get my final result.”  At that point I thought you’re not a photographer, you’re a graphic designer and completely lost interest in anything else he had to say.  I felt his presentation would have been better suited for the folks at Adobe.

A couple of my non-photographer friends have made comments in the past stating that they don’t know what to believe anymore when it comes to photography.  The deluge of imagery on social media has them distrusting of anything they see, and significantly less appreciative of the medium.

When Ansel Adams was photographing, b&w sheet film was his preferred method of capturing images.  His real masterpieces didn’t happen, however, until he got into the darkroom.  If you or I used those same negatives, our results would probably look nothing like the prints that Adams produced.  Yet nobody ever said his work didn’t represent photography accurately.  Darkroom manipulation was considered part of the process that allowed each artist to put their signature on their work.  Now that the majority of images captured around the world are in the form of pixels, and a large number of those go through some form of editing software, it’s not reasonable to expect many photographs to be exactly the same as they came out of the camera.

But how much is too much?  I know in several large photo contests, there are separate categories for lightly retouched images and full-blown manipulations.  That makes me believe that images once considered graphic design have come to be accepted as photography if the elements were all captured with a camera.  My friend’s comment has stirred up a debate, so I’d like to know how you feel.  Is there a point where you don’t like or at least appreciate someone’s work if you feel it has been over-manipulated?  Or the opposite….completely untouched?  Should I have taken my camera along to capture this sunset, then gone out next week to add a Joshua Tree forest to the foreground?

Window Seat VI: Where Water Meets Land

Although most of the flights I have taken in the US are entirely over land, there are times when the direct route veers over the ocean or other larger bodies of water.  The contrast can make for striking compositions.  It’s interesting that ocean currents seem to appear in photos from above, as in the top image, taken off the west coast of Florida.  I don’t know my bearings off the mid-Atlantic so well, but I think the next shot was over the Chesapeake Bay, where patterns on the water also show up.

Cheasapeake Bay Aerial - Steve Bruno

Rivers dissecting the land make great subjects, especially where they cut a sinuous course.  This one, the Mississippi River shortly after takeoff from New Orleans, has those moments, but is more like a boating superhighway here.

Mississippi River, New Orleans, Steve Bruno

Sometimes flights make it over the meeting of two water sources, such as this one from the edge of the Great Salt Lake, Utah.

Great Salt Lake, Utah, Steve Bruno

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