Saturday, December 31, 2016

End of Time

Only a few hours left to go for 2016 and I am driving across Arizona, returning home to New Mexico.  I make this trip several times a year - usually with family members along, no light (middle of the night), and no time to stop. Today is different. I am heading home a day early to try to beat the weather and I just bought a car so I am driving it while leaving my wife to drive the minivan. There is light, and it is interesting because of the coming weather.

When I reached Flagstaff I was more worried about the weather than anything, but by the time I hit Twin Arrows the clouds were breaking up, and soon I was seeing the sites I kept promising myself I would photograph "someday."

This first shot was one of the last frames of the session. The lower left edge of the frame is actually a dark hole with a wooden walkway leading nowhere in the pit - but through the magic of HDR/Photomatix Pro and a 5-frame bracket at 2-stops per shot the image evens out.

 From the backside of the canyon with dramatic clouds billowing overhead I am left to wonder what exactly these old buildings were.  The front of the most visible building says "Mountain Lions" in faded paint, but nothing else.

This final image is a straight shot of the initial HDR scene - you can see the walkways is down in a shadowy pit.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Almost over, and then new

The end of the first semester of school is here. The end of the calendar year is right behind it. People are thinking about vacations, traveling, gifts, and the New Year.  Of course this also has people thinking about having a better new year and making their resolutions.

There are all sorts of resolutions that people will make. Things like losing weight, getting organized, drinking or cursing less, not spending as much money, and many more are all things on people's lists. The problem with so many of these resolutions is people usually seem to have completely forgotten them by January 3rd.

Change takes work. And big change does not happen instantly.  Imagine you are piloting a small boat (like the aircraft TV on back at home and wants you to turn around so he can go back.  That boat is not going to just spin right around 180 degrees and zip back to port. The rudder and the prop have to work hard to get even the smallest change of course. And when that course change begins it continues to take more work to keep turning.  Now imagine that the captain decides the course change is too hard to do, and it is just not worth it. Imagine he begins to doubt his memory and thinks he might be mistaken and perhaps he did not leave the TV on after all, or it was not on very loud and the neighbors won't complain. So you give up turning the rudder and soon you are heading out in almost the exact same way you were before. 

Of course if it is really important and the captain decides he really does need to go back he will tell you to keep turning, to have the  rudder and the prop keep fighting the water and the momentum to turn.  Eventually things will be turned around in the new direction and it is no longer a fight to go that way, but for a while it take a lot of effort.

Changing your direction in life is like that. It is easy to keep doing what you are doing. It is easy to see that you would like to make your life go in a different direction, and it is easy to begin making the change. The struggle is that it takes time and it takes a continued effort.  That's when people give up.  They either lose patience and stop because they can't wait for the new things. Or they lose energy and can't keep fighting the current and soon they are drifting back the same way they were. Sometime it is a case of people begin to doubt that they really want to change, that things will really matter.

Sometimes people think they have to wait for the New Year to make the changes. Or that if they mess up even one time they have ruined it and can't change.  You can make changes every day. And if the motor dies and you start to drift you can still restart the motor and continue to turn around.  You can keep trying and moving toward the new destination.

My new destination is to move toward that mystical land of taking better photographs and being more positive.  Years of covering news made my work cynical. It doesn't have to be.  Over and over I see post from Dewitt Jones and he keeps reminding us to all "celebrate what's right with the world."