In the still times of the early mornings, before the sun rises, before the birds sing, there is a quiet time where we can contemplate our place in the world. What are our personal goals? What is the future of mankind in fifty years? A thousand years? Five thousand years? Longer than recorded history?
These times are but a drop in the bucket.
I am starting to offer “One Day Road Trip workshops.” The intent is to teach a very small single-car group of people how to use their cameras to capture their imagination in various situations. I do that by showing you how to decide what we want to shoot, and how to use their cameras to capture the needed images for a wide range of photographic targets, from a single image, to multiple image HDR panoramas.
This workshop worked the San Diego to L.A. route from the south, north. The next time, we will work from the north to the south, ending with a sunset somewhere along the coast.
The day went something like this, Drive and talk about options for the next target, and plan those shots while driving. Pull over at the target, and shoot the images we discussed, plus a few non planed shots. Then drive again, discussing the post production that those captured images will go through, and plan the next stop. … We did that all day long.
For example, this day, the first stop was in Encinitas, where we visited the art gallery of Kirk Saber. This is an Image of Kirk and Renee in the gallery. It is a multi image stitched panorama. You can click on the image to see a larger version.
We stopped, and started, all along the way. … Here we did some light painting in Venice. This is a combination of 10 long exposure images.
Everything that exists is its own complete universe. …
I stand by the sea, clicking away with my shutter release, grabbing the moments of a local sunset. Grabbing the fleeting moments as the sun hides behind the limb of the earth.
I stand with Gypsy, my dog who also enjoys the last few rays of this day. This day, when the sun, and the earth, and Gypsy, and I, all exists simultaneously.
This little moment, a few eye blinks between the Big Bang, and the final collapse of this universe, we share, almost entirely, the entirety of everything.
Everyone is the center of their own universe. … We are all equidistant from our centers, in all directions, at the speed of expansion, our individual observable universes, as they recede in an ever growing bubble of space time. Because we are all in different locations, and the speed of light is finite, all our observable universes are slightly out of sync.
Our universes overlap in every point except at the edges of the universe. Our edges are either, slightly closer or slightly farther away, from each of us, depending which edge we are closer to, by the distance that light takes to travle between us.
This is just a little piece of information about why I shoot multi image panoramas. …I could shoot this with a single image using a very wide angle lens, or I could use a longer lens and take multiple images, and then stitch them together.
The secret is in the detail. … I believe everyone who reads this is a great photographer, or is smart enough to know the little things I know already. …
Detail. … The source image is a stitched set of ten images, five images per horizontal row. I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II, whose RAW image width is about 5,600 pixels. … This combined RAW image has a width of 20,000 pixels, and a height of about 9,000 pixels. … In little words, “This image is way big.” That is what the image call-out is showing at the bottom of the image. Detail. … A little detail of the center of the combined image. If I had used a single wide angle image, my source would be only 5,600 pixels wide, not near as much detail in 5,600 pixels as 20,000 pixels.
I like stitched multi-image panoramas because they can maintain the beauty of a great space, as seen from a distance, and simultaneously, you can get close and see all kinds of interesting stories in the same image. … 😉 Details.
Let us speak of sunsets and the time just after the sun has gone. Here is one of those images. …
Usually, I like clouds to grab the light from the sun as it slips over the horizon and out of my view, but it lights the remaining, high altitude, clouds very nicely. … On this evening, there were no clouds. I was a little disappointed for the nonce, because I always think about what I am planning to shoot before I head out to shoot. … The weather chose to ignore my planing, and the sky remained cloudless. …
Still, I looked at the sky, and what was there, and I thought it beautiful.
Lunar View Cafe – Dancing in the Dark of the Moon
[by Jack Foster Mancilla]
Purchase this image.
Or view on Flickr.
These two images were taken exactly seven minutes apart, on the same day, December 10, 2011, in Ocean Beach California.
It was my intent to wait until the moon got as low as it could, so that I could capture the Moon, the Pier, and the Surf, with maybe a little sand. Alas, it did not come to pass. We are all limited by external forces. 😉
I got there early, and used my compass and “The Photographers Ephemeris” on my iPhone to plot where the moon would actually set. The Moon would eventually set just right of center in these two images, if it could be seen.
That was the problem. I had forgotten to consider that the eclipsed moon is very dark, in contrast to the dawning sky. … So, as the sky lightened, the moon faded away. It faded away long before it even got to the fog bank that you can easily see in the second image.
I find it very interesting to open both these images in two separate tabs of my web browser then use my arrow keys to jump quickly from one image to the other to compare the height of the moon, and the lightness of the sky.
Sunsets have always grabbed my attention. Many people see them as signaling the end of the day. For me, they are the bringers of the night, but more important, they open my eyes.
Sounds a little silly, but, the night is full of many amazing things to see and hear. There are sounds, stars, the moon, lights, living things, almost all of which, can only seen at night.
The night sky opens our minds to the immensity of the Universe. As the sunset colors fade through twilight, and afterglow, the distances of the Universe open the consciousness for those that gaze upon the deeps. The very closest thing we can see at night in the sky, is the 238,857 miles away moon, and we can see way beyond that. The most distant object visible to the naked eye is M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, which is about 2 million light-years distance.
In between those two objects is a huge space filled with untold, and unimaginable, objects. That huge space is only a minuscule portion of the Universe.
How can looking at such things not open our minds?
Some days require keeping your nose to the grindstone, working your bottom off, and a couple pots of coffee to keep the pups primed.
This is the opposite of that kind of day. The kids are in school, most of the tourists are between here and there. It is a day of reflection, listening to the birds by the bay, the gentle lapping of the wavelets against the pilings. … Tomorrow is another day, but today, I am comfortable.
Being Cleaned – Pacific Sheepshead – California
[by Jack Foster Mancilla]
Pimelometopon pulchrum: The California sheepshead ranges from Monterey Bay to the Gulf of California with the largest populations in the lower half of the range, south of Point Conception. It is usually caught at the edges of kelp beds and rocky shores where its main diet consists of mollusks, lobsters, crabs, and small fishes. It is not related to the sheepshead of the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico. And, even more important, it is mightily tasty!
This was a wonderful evening. These boys had spent the evening dancing across the surface of the sea with the wind and the surf. They had sat on their boards, watching the horizon, looking for any wave that caught their eyes. It did not have to be the perfect wave, the moment was perfect sitting on the gently rolling swells, only occasionally speaking with each other.
Even now, as they leave the sea, walking beside each other, they spoke not a word. The rhythm of the surf breaking against the pilings of the pier, and the call of the gulls, was all that could be heard. The boys of the sun were on their way forward, leaving their love behind, to rejoin common man.
What are you doing today? This image is from last year. I will be trying from a different location this year. This image, and the images in the set it links to, were shot from Coronado Island.
I think I was a little too close to the action for the image I had seen in my head while I was waiting for the fireworks. So I have scouted a new location for this year.
We will see shat we shall see tomorrow.
Vulcan Geothermal Plant Across the Salt Flats
[by Jack Foster Mancilla]
I really like the contrasts of smooth waters and clear skys with their gently colored hues, against the manmade power lines, cooling towers, all the hard equipment of the Vulcan Geothermal Power Plant, and all its hard colors.
This is the second image of the Vulcan Geothermal Plant that I have published on my blog. Earlier in the day, I also shot a close up view of the right side of this plant. <-Link
I really like this image. I also like the vertical version. … I think they should be hanging side by side on some wall somewhere.
High places are wonderful! … I think I might start a project, shooting from all the buildings I can. Does anyone have any connections to other penthouse owners?
That sounds like a good thing to do. 😉
San Diego – Overlooking the Santa Fe Train Station
[by Jack Foster Mancilla]
I just love San Diego. This image includes the buildings of Santa Fe Train Station, One America Plaza, Advanced Equities Plaza, The Pinnacle Museum Tower, Manchester Grand Hyatt Seaport, Harbor Club East, The Grande North at Santa Fe Place, among others.
This is a day that was supposed to be dominated by “June Gloom,” which generally means a low marine cloud that obscures the sun. … It turned out to be more like 90% of all the other days in San Diego, gorgeous.
This town is my
adopted home. Like many of us here, I am a transplant. Let me tell you something about the weather; this image was shot at 5:30 in the evening on January 3rd, 2006, our winter. The temperature was 76 degrees Fahrenheit. 😉 … It does get warmer, and it does get colder, but whatever the change is, it is very little compared to most of the U.S.
I did go away for a few years. … But I have returned, I think, to stay.
This is an interesting image to me. … It evokes loneliness, and yet it is a colony of birds as well.
They are protected here in their lonely home on the lake. Land based predators cannot reach them through the shallows.
For me, sitting on the shore, they are unreachable, except by my long lens.
The Salton Sea is a wonderful place to visit.
It has so many good memories for me and there are new memories. This image is just after sunset.
While capturing the image, the sea was very quiet, no wind, and still warm from the heat of the day. I could hear birds singing their evening songs as they were going to roost.
It is a good day.
At the time, in any location on our planet, when the sun is sinking in transit from day to night, all the species of plants and animals prepares for their nocturnal or diurnal missions. Diurnal, to sleep, and dream of love, life, and events untold coming from the events of the past day. Nocturnal, to rouse, take stock, touch, feel, taste the blood coursing through the veins, to live again.
Here we stand, at a point of decision. We can look at a moment and decide. Shall we live, or shall we sleep?