Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Miksang Day Five

Nikon D7000, 100mm (28-200), 1/1600, f/5.3, ISO 500

By the fifth day I was beginning to tire. It was a lot to absorb. We moved to Louisville, Colo., for the shooting part of the day, and wow was it ever hot. Plus I had to hit the road back to Kansas as soon as class ended. In short, not the best of conditions for the necessary state of calm and awareness.

Still, I managed to get two or three good photos. The assignment was “simplicity,” also known as isolation. The blue door at the top of this post is my favorite, another I may print and frame.

Nikon D7000, 200mm (28-200), 1/4000, f/5.6, ISO 500

As I limped down the sidewalk, this pine cone fell out of its tree and came to rest right at my feet. Such an obvious invitation proved impossible to decline.

Nikon D7000, 66mm (28-200), 1/80, f/4.8, ISO 500

To escape the heat for awhile, I hid in the local library. One of the walls sported a school of ceramic fish. The appeal of this shot is due more to the artist who created the fish than to my skill with a camera. Still, it’s a fun shot.

Thus endeth the Miksang expedition. Next week I’ll return to more standard fare.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Miksang Day Four


The assignment for today was pattern. I can do pattern, but it isn’t my favorite. Thus I have a tendency to find ways to disrupt it, such as shooting a repeating set of squares with a round object sitting on it. Or in the case of this shot from the sushi place, including a big umbrella in the bottom of a set of smaller umbrellas in a regular pattern.

Nikon D7000, 200mm (28-200), 1/1000, f/5.6, ISO 500, cropped

I liked the edge of this movie theater marquee because the different sizes of bulbs (and empty sockets) made for a less monotonous arrangement.

Nikon D7000, 28mm (28-200), 1/640, f/13, ISO 500

Likewise the colors behind this glass brick wall make it less boring.

Nikon D7000, 200mm (28-200), 1/2000, f/5.6, ISO 500

And this storefront supplied an interesting arrangement of line and space.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Miksang Day Three

Nikon D3000, 200mm (28-200), 1/500, f/5.6, ISO 450

This morning I saw a couple of small lizards sunning themselves on a wall outside the house. I look several pictures of them, and I liked this one best.

Nikon D7000, 50mm (18-55), 1/800, f/14,  ISO 500

Today the class shifted from color to texture, a subject that proved easier to work with. Two of the strongest shots I got were fountains. I was particularly fond of this close-up of a water fountain. The multiple textures – smooth, scratched, sandy, wet – were a good photographic find. I may eventually print and frame this picture.

Nikon D7000, 55mm (18-55), 1/500, f/11, ISO 500

I might have missed this fountain entirely if a kid hadn’t been sticking her thumb in it to make the water spray everywhere. When she finished playing I moved in close to capture the fine details.

Nikon D7000, 55mm (18-55), 1/320, f/9, ISO 500, cropped

For the first four days of the class we did our shooting at the Pearl Street Mall, one of those shopping areas created by replacing the street with sidewalks, art and plants. The environment was a magnet for Boulder bohemians, especially musicians. I didn’t take many pictures of them, because people were outside the scope of the subject areas I was trying to concentrate on. But I did snap a couple of good ones, such as this close-up of a saxophone player.

Nikon D7000, 200mm (28-200), 1/640, f/5.6, ISO 500, adjusted

After class and dinner I strayed across the street to Boulder Canyon Creek and shot some pictures of some folks kayaking.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Miksang Day Two

Nikon D7000, 55mm (18-55), 1/500, f/11, ISO 500

Day two once again found us in pursuit of color. Today I focused much harder on the Miksang approach, worrying less about getting technically good photos and seeking flashes of visual inspiration.

Nikon D7000, 55mm (18-55), 1/320, f/9, ISO 400

And that proved to be a challenge. Take this photo for example. It was the product of a fairly strong flash of insight in keeping with the Miksang process. Looking at it reminds me of the moment. Trouble is, it isn’t an especially good picture.

Nikon D7000, 55mm (18-55), 1/20, f/5.6, ISO 400

On the other hand, another flash produced this shot of a leaf in a fountain. It’s a product of the practice and a visually appealing shot. But note the motion blur produced by the slow shutter speed. I love the blur, but obviously I didn’t see it with my eye when I looked at the subject. So technically it’s outside the scope of what we should have been capturing.


Still, some Miksang moments were there for the taking. My lunch provided this one.

Nikon D7000, 55mm (18-55), 1/400, f/11, ISO 640, cropped

And this one was originally a larger shot that included all the girl and all the stone rabbit she was sitting on. But edited down to the core of the perception, it became a more Miksang photo.

Nikon D3000, 50mm fixed, 1/30, f/1.8, ISO 1600

That evening I stood on the deck and watched the clouds gathering to the east of the Rockies. I liked the thought that the storm developing as I watched might eventually sweep across the plains and find its way to KC.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Miksang Day One

Nikon D7000, 32mm (18-55), 1/250, f/8, ISO 100

First things first: happy birthday to the blog, one year old tomorrow.

Now down to business. In mid June I went to Boulder for a week-long seminar with the Miksang Institute for Contemplative Photography. The Miksang approach is sort of a blend of photography and meditation, a system that seeks to capture flashes of visual insight.

For the next month I’m going to blog some of the photos I look at the workshop. I’ll also stir in a few that I shot on the side, such as the mountain picture at the top of this entry.

Nikon D7000, 55mm (18-55), 1/400, f/10, ISO 200

For the first day of actual shooting, we were sent in search of insight with a strong color component. The first one that hit me was a pastel-painted brick wall where the paint had flaked away revealing the original red.

Nikon D7000, 50mm (18-55), 1/80, f/5.6, ISO 200

Another strong color moment hit with this lid from a recycling can. You can see texture creeping in a bit with the water on the surface.

Nikon D7000, 55mm (18-55), 1/100, f/5.6, ISO 400

I liked the strong yellow on this guy’s bike jersey. However, I didn’t show this one to the class because it was more a picture of a guy than it was a picture of a color. And the chaotic lines, while visually pleasing, also detracted from the sense of color.

Nikon D7000, 55mm (18-55), 1/30, f/5.6, ISO 400

Likewise this one didn’t exactly scream “color.” But I liked it as a photo. It’s a close-up on the face of a sculpture of a frog. Rare moment: you can see a “self portrait” of me reflected in the eye.