Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Photo Work Lightened

For months I've grumbled to myself and photo colleagues about how heavy my tripod is. Finally I decided to do something about it. After reading a Mike Spinak (nature photographer elite) article about how to get tack sharp pictures, I knew what I had to do. This article, along with having the usual tips for how to make pictures sharp, also had good information on the types of tripods that work best for getting sharp pictures. I realized that what I had wasn't that bad, except for one major ingredient.
 
My tripod system is a Bogen, now marketed as Manfrotto (it was always a Manfrotto; Bogen was the U.S. distributor that expanded to other countries, and in 2010 Bogen changed its name to Manfrotto Distributing worldwide). The head I originally bought for it, was very large, with three different levers, degree markings, and spirit levels. When attached to the tripod it made the whole unit very awkward to carry. That was my biggest complaint--lugging it around. 
 
So rather than get a whole new tripod, I decided I would get a new tripod head.

Wow, did that ever make a difference. I lost four inches on the height of the head, and went from a 3 1/2 pound unit to a 12 ounce unit. The whole configuration is still heavier then many of the newer tripods, but suddenly the weight doesn't seem so bad. It was the levers that were really making things difficult. As you can see in this next picture, the change is dramatic.

With the handy carrying strap (far right), I now have no difficulty toting the tripod with me when I'm trekking around the countryside. I know I will still use my trusty monopod, but having a tripod with a smaller head will lighten my load and inspire me to take different kinds of pictures.

Monday, December 9, 2013

As I Was Saying

Wow, I could say that this article, "Quantum Theory Proves That Consciousness Moves to Another Universe After Death" (posted by one of my circle-mates on Google+) has fired my imagination. But in truth, my creative thinking had already come to these conclusions many years ago. I like that some people in the scientific community are as intrigued by this as I am. Dr. Robert Lanza, for many years a researcher in cell therapies, is the primary for this article. The article states:
"In fact, consciousness exists outside of constraints of time and space. It is able to be anywhere: in the human body and outside of it. That fits well with the basic postulates of quantum mechanics science, according to which a certain particle can be present anywhere and an event can happen according to several, sometimes countless, ways."
I have used this concept in all three of my Speculative Fiction books.
In The Gem of the Galaxy series the Evincor "collects/captures" a person's consciousness after bodily death. My protagonists, Dwinn (in Daughter of the Stone) and Juilan (in Child of the Mist) can communicate with past generations; their abilities and the Evincor are the basis of the Gem of the Galaxy culture.

In Dead Heroes, a prominent character insists "the body is merely a vessel," and one chapter is from the point of view of a character who has left her vessel—died—and how she perceives things. The important science I have called "strellics" is crucial to the entire story.

It is rather nice to have my creative process given a sort of affirmation in scientific study. Here's another article by Lanza on this subject.

One bitsy problem with this article, however, is the title "Quantum Theory Proves..." I'm not certain anything has been proven; it still seems to be scientific speculation...as string theory once was, and the existence of quarks. Proving this won't happen until we contact a consciousness that is beyond the constraints of time and space. Of course, some feel that this has been done. Psychics and mediums are often claiming to have communicated with people who have died. Perhaps we shouldn't chide them, but pay more attention.

While we're waiting for definitive proof, read about what might be real in Dead Heroes, Child of the Mist and Daughter of the Stone. All are available in print and for e-readers. Visit the Science Fiction page on this blog to connect with them, or visit my books page.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Young Appreciation

I recently sold this image on my Fine Art America gallery. The person who bought it emailed me about how much she liked it. She also said her 3-year-old neighbor was studying the framed image before it was hung, asking questions about the cape and the blue dress under it, and was seemingly mesmerized. Finally the little girl said "I want to go in there." 

I like that reaction. I hope most of my images evoke something like that from the viewers.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wolves and Bears

Sunday, 3 February 2013. Spent the late morning at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone, Montana. It's considered a wildlife Park. A good place to see healthy animals, although they've lost their feral quality, since the see humans walking around and pointing things (cameras) at them everyday. They pretty much ignore this and enjoy their resort-like setting. I pointed my camera--and enjoyed myself, too.

WOLVES= = = = =

This stance is typical wolf.

GRIZZLIES= = = = =

The three yearlings played hard for more than 40 minutes.
This one had fun with the tree branch.
Nothing like a good shake to get off the snow.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Yellowstone - 3

Yellowstone National Park is a geological phenomena and the waterways are pretty neat, too.
Taken from snow coach window.

I didn't get to some of the big geysers, but the Yellowstone River provides interesting winter views. The river isn't affected by any geothermal systems, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is filled with snow and ice. The strong flow of the river keeps the waterfalls with a narrow gush of water.

Looking into the river.
Upper falls of the Yellowstone
Walkway at lower falls
Ice is many feet thick and actually shrouding the moving water.
I see a face here. Really like the colors.

The lower falls barely show the incredible force and height that is so spectacular in the summer.

The river bottom is snow clogged by decants of feet of snow/ice.
The forceful water channels a small route through.
The Canyon in its snow glory.
Hoping to get back to YNP this winter. Lodging is booked solid, but I'm aiming to drive in at the North entrance, where personal cars are allowed. Mammoth Hot Springs is there. That's a great sight in the winter.

More YNP images: Norris Geyser Basin
Snow and Bison

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Yellowstone - 2

Many thousand visitors go to Yellowstone National Park every winter. My friends and I traveled in a snow coach with other tourists.
That's what you call traction!
Snowmobiles can also be hired in West Yellowstone. Many of them were out on Saturday.
At the Canyon Visitor Center...
we saw LOTS of them.
Plenty of snow...
It piles up on the building roofs.
These workers were removing it in blocks. This was a mild winter and the first time for doing this. Some other years the process has to be done more than once.
Eagle's nest: Ten feet across, several hundred pounds. Taken from the coach window.
Bison bulls travel alone.
This bull just kept on walking; didn't care about the traffic. It passed so close to the driver's side of the coach that my friend at the left window couldn't get a decent shot. I can imagine the bull thinking: My park, my road. Get out of the way! We did see more than one bison.
Yep. They're bison.
The cow/yearling herds were scattered around. Spotted elk just once, in the far-off distance; needed binoculars to know what they were. But then...Yellowstone isn't an "animal" park. The critters are a bonus. Geological features predominate.

Click here to see my images of Norris Geyser Basin

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Yellowstone 1

A visit to Yellowstone National Park in the winter can be magical. The geological features are what makes the park unique, and in winter they're like a fantasy land.
These images are from Norris Geyser Basin, taken 2 February 2013. I traveled with five other photographers from Helena, and we were in a Snow Coach with seven other people and a very knowledgeable driver/guide. I learned a lot.
I wish I could have spent more time there, but at an altitude of 7300 feet, geysers misting acidic compounds (what was I breathing!?), and more than a mile hike to go around just one section of the basin, I only took the short route (a bit less than 1/2 mile down and back).
Looking into the basin from the museum archway.
Along the trail down.
The trees are covered with hoarfrost from the geysers' mist.
Hot ground melts snow and is fragile.
The narrow trail serpentined 1/8 mile across the basin and extended nearly another 3/4 mile around the lower rim before getting back to the museum.
I didn't go that way, but took the short route uphill back to the museum (which is closed in the winter).
Others took the long trail.
Geysers along my route, too. See the "blow hole"?
Two of my friends also took the shorter route, and also stopped to take pictures. Sometimes in the mist...
Other times, not as much.

A Winter Wonderland, although a bit toxic.