29 June 2010

Tuesday morning-

I am sitting at Doc's Sandwiches trying to wake up and wrap my head around another day.

The weekend at Augusta was a challenge for me.  It started out well-with a sunrise shoot with Rox and Sarah at the Lolo flower fields.  It was stunningly beautiful out there and I know I got some good abstract images.  Getting up at 4AM isn't bad, and I think that I may try to do it at least once a week while I am in Montana.  The mornings in the country are peaceful and serene, with as many opportunities to photograph as I have time to do.

Rox and I drove to Garnet Ghost Town (http://www.garnetghosttown.net/) on the way to Augsuta.  The town was celebrating "Garnet Days" so it wasn't great shooting, but it was fun to walk around the town and scope it out.  There are a few buildings filled with interesting artifacts to photograph; the tack room, the hotel and some of the houses.  Because the town is fairly accessible by car (only 1 hour from Missoula) there are many more tourists than in a place like Bodie.  However, Garnet has been kept in it's native condition, which to me is a saving grace.  I want to go back at night and shoot here.

We stayed in a town about 30 minutes from Augusta called Fairfield at a B & B with 5 rooms. It was overtaken by RMSP students and staff! The town has more grain silos than I have ever seen in one small place before. It was beautiful to me! The huge metal silos all lined up all in a row with the sun shining on them-amazing. I took shots of the silos in the daytime, the early evening, the late evening and the morning morning. They change in the different light and I wanted to capture it all. I think that this was my favorite part of the weekend!

Augusta is a type small town in Eastern Montana, and the town was geared up for the Rodeo when we arrived. Cowboys/girls, horses, cattle, manure, dust & lots of drinking. It was all good or me until I was actually at the rodeo-than something shifted in me and I became acutely aware of the distress of the animals. I am not sure why I noticed it. Perhaps it was the calf roping cowboy who was kicking the calf with his boots. Or maybe it was the blood and sores on the bulls and the calves. Or the cramped conditions that they were housed in. Whatever it was, I got a strong visceral reaction, so strong that I felt as if I would start to cry. I left the rodeo and returned in time to catch some kick-ass barrel racing. Now that was fun.

I am not sure how quickly I will return to watch a rodeo-perhaps never?  I posted an entry on the Facebook Page stating that sometimes I am too sensitive to the pain of the world.  I did learn sometime about myself, which is always a good thing. 

28 June 2010

Photos from the past few days

25 June 2010

It's Friday, which means a two day weekend! Yippee.  Most of the RMSP students are headed over to Augusta for the rodeo.  Me included.  I am looking forward to getting out into the country and experiencing the rodeo with all my newly gained photography skills.  Rox and I are heading out tomorrow so we can stop and shoot at the tractor museum along the way to Augusta.  The place is supposed to be amazing-full of ancient farm equipment all in different stages of decay.  A rust lovers paradise.

Here is a photo of the sunset last night.  I am calling it "Big Sky-Montana Style".

23 June 2010

Trains in Missoula & Some F-Stops Are More Equal Than Others

Some F-Stops Are More Equal Than Others

Photo Studies 9 with Neil this morning.  He talked about wildlife and stage photography and the possibilities in each of these fields.  Although I enjoy a beautiful broad landscape photo as much as anyone else, it is nothing that I yearn to re/create myself.  The small & seemingly insignificant things are what fascinate me.  However, there are more tiny possibilities in a broad landcape to capture than my mind can possibility wrap itself around.  

Stage photography can be anything from concerts, theater, dance, to talent shows.  I have never thought of this type of photography before now.  Something to ponder...

22 June 2010

An easy day, after a long Monday

The sun came out, I had a great ICEM (image/capture/edit/management) class and a productive lab session.  Tonight, groups A/B are meeting for dinner and calibrating our cameras and lens, so that all of our equipment is in tip top shape for the Augusta Rodeo this weekend!

21 June 2010

Today was a very long day, but after the Reiki training yesterday, I seem to have found my mojo again!  I feel better than I have in a couple of weeks, and hope that this feeling will continue.  

I woke up in the middle of the night last night and had a new vision for my big project for Photo Studies class.  My shift may work out, and after speaking with Tony about it this afternoon, I think that I can pull it off.  Particularly if I keep in mind that my way of looking at the world is uniquely  mine and not anyone else's vision.  I have to keep that vision in mind and not pay attention to anyone else. 

Catch-up time

It has been over a week since I have found the time to sit down and update my blog.  t really was my intention to try to write at least a few times  week, but clearly that is not happening right now.

The past week has been an emotional one for me-mostly because I am so tired.  It is difficult to explain the intensity of the program unless you are actually experiencing it.  The classroom lectures, the weekly assignments and now the studio lighting class all blur into each other and sometimes I can barely remember what class I have on any given day and when what assignment is due.  I have given up on trying to be a "A" student (a hard one for me) and am just trying to absorb as much as possible and turn in my assignments on time.

Last week we learned how to "ghost" an image.  It is fun & oh so easy to do. For one of my assignments due today, I used Max as my model ghost.  Max is a rambuncous golden retreiver who lives here with me, but managed to settle down for 5 seconds so I could complete my assignment.

Here is Max, fading into the couch.

and here I am

This past weekend was a busy one for me.  A couple of the women in my group and I decided that we were going to shoot the sunrise at Lee Medcalf on Saturday morning.  Because the sun rises early this time of year, we left at 4AM and, after geting a bit lost along the way, arrived in time.  However, the weather was not cooperating &, instead of a sunrise, we had a fogrise.  It was OK, beacuse I got some interesting foggy images and we all still had fun.  Afterward, we treated ourselves to breakfast and a visit to the local flea market, where I found a great "quippy" doll for $5.00 to add to my doll collection.  

I was wiped out the rest of the day, but it was worth it!

Sunday I, along with 12 of my fellow RMSP students, had an all day Reiki training session with Neil.  It was magical.   The day went by so quickly, that I wanted to slow down time and make the day last a few hours longer.  We learned the proper hand positions and worked on one another on and off all day.  Our longest session was 30 minutes (of giving and receiving) and I was amazed to discover that giving is just as healing and powerful as receiving.  That is also true in life.  I loved the day, and it also gave me the opportunity to meet some people outside of my group.

Today I have class from 9-1, 2-6 & 7-11PM.  Wish me luck!

11 June 2010

It's Friday

and the end of week two already.  It is hard to believe-I feel as if I have been here forever and that my life has always been filled with photography.  Every day is filled with pertinent facts  relating to-cameras, software, hardware, the business of photography,- that it is hard to properly process it all, but I am sure doing my utmost. It has been 18 years since I completed graduate school, and I don't think my brain has had such a workout since that time.  I don't want to miss anything.  Maybe it is because I have wanted to be here for so long, but the lectures all seem important to me. 

The teachers & the staff are 100% supportive of the students, and have an amazingly high level of enthusiasm for the art and business of photography. It is very clear, otherwise they won't be at the school. There appears to be a wonderful symbiotic relationship going on at the school between everyone, which will prove to be invaluable as the summer moves on and the work becomes harder and much more personal. I had the same teacher all day today (from 9-1, 2-4 and 4:30-6:30) and was neither bored or distracted. Astonishing.

I get to play with a Canon 7D and a 24-70mm 2.8 lens all weekend! By the time Sunday night's lecture on Bear Safety rolls around, I am sure that I will be in love with both.

09 June 2010

The Canon Rep arrived

After a 10 hour rest last night, I woke up feeling with a brand new woman!  It was wonderful, especially so because I had the morning off.  A luxury not to be taken for granted.

What could have been a very long afternoon, sitting in a conference room at the Holiday Inn listening to the Canon Rep talk for 4 hours, was anything but boring. Mike Gurley was enthusiastic, informative, funny and engaging. He isn't a "sales" person-he is an educator with Canon-so there wasn't that hard sales edge to the afternoon that I felt we had with the rep who came to speak about tripods.

Here are some websites he recommended for us:

the stobist   all about off camera lighting

explores of the light    A Canon learning website

I learned that Canon has a business philosophy called  kyosei  which means living & working together for the common good.  How incredible.  

I asked a lot of questions and I believe that Mike answered me honestly.  Although I didn't like he answer he gave me when I asked him when the 5D III was going to be released (probably not until next year), I  got a great deal of good information about the different lenses and camera bodies.  There are many good reasons to wait until the 5D III comes out, rather than jump in and buy the 5D II.  Live view and video is in my future.  Also, the pluses of having a cropped sensor camera (in addition to a full sensor body) is getting longer every day.  Between the two bodies, and  a few great lenses, I could do anything!  My equipment wish list is getting longer by the day.

08 June 2010

My Visual Studies class with Eileen is a perfect class for me. I have never formally studied art or art history before and am learning all kinds of information that will help me with me art & photography. Of course, I have heard of negative space before, but never had it explained as clearly as today. I knew that I have always had a love affair with lines and repeating patterns, but now I know the power that lines can have in art; creating tension, creating formality, moving your eye through the image.

I am already "seeing" differently than I was a week ago. What will the next 12 weeks do to me?

The Canon reps come tomorrow afternoon, with lots of lenses and bodies and accessories to tell us about and demo. Oh joy!

07 June 2010

Monday, the start of another week of classes, shoots, critiques and inspiration.

I am very tired, having stayed up to after 1am for the last 2 nights. I am starting to feel my need for 8 plus hours/night sleep shifting slightly, even in the first 7 days of the summer session.  But I do need more than six hours to function properly, so I need to figure out a way to get all of my work done, and have a bit of fun pleasure shooting, in the hours I have free from structured classroom time.  I know that I will start to settle down into a routine soon, and I have confidence that I can take care of myself and accomplish everything else that I need and want to do.

This mornings class we had a great lecture on manual exposure, 18% gray, and metering.  This afternoon was a lecture on lenses.  I wanted to get this information early on n the summer, because I have set aside money to upgrade my lenses, but didn't want to start buying without getting as much information as I could to make an informed decision.  I have made some poor equipment choices in the past, and didn't want to do so anymore.  The camera store is NOT the place to get impartial information! Now I am much clearer on what types of lenses I will need to buy to help me with my art.  What a relief.  Now comes the fun part, ordering the equipment :--))

My mysterious rash got much worse today, so I ended up at the emergency hospital after school.  Not exactly how I wanted to spend two precious hours of potential shooting time, but if I didn't get the rash under control it may have taken over my entire body and driven me, not only to distraction, but perhaps, insane from the itching.  My emergency room doctor was young and handsome and said that he didn't have a clue why I had a rash all over my neck and head.  Dust mites?  Something I ate?  A plant allergy?  Who the hell knows, but I hope that my 8 days on steroids fixes the problem.

Here is my daily photo and my assignment for my visual studies class tomorrow.  The assignment was to shoot an image that evokes a sense other than sight.  I took this image yesterday at the Missoula Farmer's Market.  Did you know that "cotton candy" was once called "Fairy Floss"?

06 June 2010

Sunday..a day of rest?

When I was seriously thinking of attending SI @ RMSP this past year, I thought that I understood the concept of "intensive".  I knew that I would be living, breathing, dreaming & having nightmares about photography.  But what about Sundays?  Class is only six days a week, right?  

Today was the first Sunday of SI, and I found myself pondering: my projects due tomorrow and whether I ought to re-shoot all of them & wondering if I have had thought enough about exposure this week; shooting: Yes, one of my assignments for Tuesday and a re-working of one due tomorrow; visiting the school; for a review session with Neil.

There will be no days off until I get in my car and leave at the end of the summer.  This is  true immersion into the art & technology of photography.  That is why, at midnight, I am still awake and have to complete one last project that is due at 9am tomorrow morning.

What have I learned today?  I learned that it is never too late to give yourself up to your dream.  Who knows where it may lead?  It was true for me and for the woman I met in the park today.  She ran away from a career in air quality control and is now happily painting faces at Farmer's Markets, concerts and rodeos.  She went to Vegas to study her new craft, and I am in Missoula learning mine.

05 June 2010

We had our first field help class this morning in the park.  The sun was out and the weather couldn't have been better.  It was perfect weather to work on my assignments and meet one on one with a teacher.

I had some questions about my camera and focusing properly, because I seem to have troubles with it.  Somehow, switching the focusing button from the back to the front  made a big improvement in my ability to get a sharper image.

Believe it or not, my afternoon inside the red cave, with my group and a teacher for 4 hours, talking about Lightroom and digital workflow, was FUN.  Maybe I am a big of a nerd at heart, but the idea of properly managing my images through the brilliance of LR, just thrills me.

04 June 2010

It was an easier day today.  School started at the Holiday Holiday @9am, for a 4 hour product lecture & demo from B&H Photo and Bogen Distributors.  Much of it was interesting, some not.  The long discussion of tripod legs and heads was too long and a bit of a hard sale approach for me, although if you knew nothing about either a tripod or the head it may have been interesting.  I got excted about the new line of Kata Bags that have just been released, and with our educational discount at B&H, I am seriously thinking of buying a new sling bag.  The cool thing about the bag is that it can function as either a sling bag or a backpack.  The versatility is endless!

After the session at the hotel, we had the rest of the day free!  I immediately came home, had lunch and look the best nap that I have ever taken.  Well, maybe not, but it sure felt that way.

The first Friday of each month, Missoula has an art walk (O.K. Half Moon Bay..what about it? If Missoula MT can have a really successful art walk once a month, why can't HMB?). The timing couldn't have been better, because 3 former SI (summer intensive) students were having openings tonight.   At the  RMSP Gallery :

Richard's work is unique and inspiring and FUN!  He created several 3 dimensional pieces that began as 2 dimensional action shoots, but morphed into a 3D block photo pieces.   Rita's landscape photos are breathtaking.  They both graduated from SI last year!

Then I waked over to the Missoula Art Museum, that had an exhibit of Josh Meier's photography.   Josh took SI in 1991 in the days when the school was primarily teaching the "old-fashioned" way-shooting with film and processing it in the darkroom.  Josh's photographs are stark and a bit disturbing but speak to me in the same way that Eileen Rafferty's does.  There is something about how these 2 photographers see the world and have that vision translated into art that touches me deeply and makes me believe that I am in the right place to begin my journey. 


03 June 2010

school has started & am I am bit overwhelmed

It's the end of day 3, and already my hed is spinning with ideas, information and general excitement.  The orientation was exhilarating-students from all of the United States-and 1 from Germany.  The ages are skewed to the under 25 set, but there are a decent number of folks over 50 as well.  I am counting on the energy of the younger set to keep  all of us going throughout the summer.

The classes are broken up into sections: Photo Studies; Visual Studies; Image Capture Editing and Management;  Output and Color Management; Lighting; & Field Help.  I am in Group B and am often in classes with Group A.  We have at least 2 classes a day- one from 9am-1pm and the next from 2-6pm.  There will be days when I also have an evening session.  So far, I have had 4 classes and have loved them all.  I am already learning many things that I didn't know!  My Visual Studies class (taught by Eileen Rafferty) is going to be a life changing experience for me.  As I viewed her images, and listened to her talk this afternoon, I started to cry a little.  Luckily, the lights were dimmed and I could have this moment in anonymity.  Eileen is creating a body of work so closely aligned to my vision of the world that I was shocked.  I spoke with her afterward and told her how much I appreciated your vision and her work.  Now I know why I am here.

I have found my tribe at last.  Thank you, thank you, thank you...