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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Stay out of the Dark(room) and move into the Light(room).

Donna is out of the blog-house today.
Mark (the photographer friend) guest-writes from Las Vegas

This is not a hostile takeover. I was invited. Donna is on vacation and she asked me to blogsit. I had thoughts of re-decorating the place as a prank, but her sons are both quite sturdy and protective of family. Besides – Stevie Nicks presides over ‘Life in the Bleachers.’ I can’t find fault.

If you’ve seen some of Ray Ray’s catering advertising, you may have seen my images. Boy, did I luck out to get to shoot some of Ray and Donna’s famous dishes. After I created the images, I got to try the food. Awesome. Plus, I was able to hang out at the Tagliaferri’s place and listen to wacky stories interlaced with inspirational chat. The food is awesome – the friendship endures.

So, do you ever look at the dashboard controls in the car and wonder why the air conditioner controls are named for men? You know, Max. And Norm.  I wanted to talk to Max once, but he didn’t answer when I pushed his button. Ok – there are other things like that, too. Take for example the slider controls on my photography software. 

I use a computer program called ‘Lightroom’ when I’m ready to produce an image that I created in my camera. Lightroom has some interesting labels for the effects that can be applied. I’ve thought about them this week after agreeing to step into blog duty.

In the big picture of life, we all need to get control of things from time to time. Wouldn’t it be great if you could view and adjust your life in Lightroom? For example, here are a few interesting sliders that I use often . . .
  • Clarity
  • Vibrance
  • Highlights
  • Sharpening
  • Luminance
  • Noise Reduction.
Heck, yes – I want some of all of those things! Who wouldn’t? I know I don’t have to spell it all out for you. You get it already. You need all that good stuff as antidotes for the other stuff of life. Here is some of ‘that other stuff’ . . .
  • Shadows
  • Roughness
  • Saturation
  • Crop (No one likes a load of that)
  • Masking
  • Detail.

When you get too much of those negative things, then you need to use these . . .
  • Balance
  • Spot Removal
  • and maybe a little Red Eye Correction.

And finally, like in life, if things are just totally messed up, you can always . . .
  • Update and
  • Reset.

Just like that. Easy-peasy. Sure, there’s a price but the effort is always worth it in the end.

Gotta show you an image. I visited my sister (also named Donna – coincidentally) and her husband recently. They have this great backyard with plants everywhere and a waterfall tumbling down the side hill into a pond filled with Koi, which I think look like little trout that were painted by a classroom full of kindergarteners.

Since I’m always up early and a type A sort of person, I was outdoors at sunrise with camera in hand, wandering the grounds. I love the peace of solitude in nature. The scene was like this. The pond water was black and looked bottomless. The water was generally still with ripples in a few places as the fish came close to the surface between the lotus pads. Moody and dark, quiet and mysterious. Cool and muted.

The image of the blossom came about as a slow and steady revelation. I hung around the edge and watched as the light from sunrise began to warm up the colors on the tops of the reeds. It was that sort of soft light that illuminates in an indefinite way. When that begins to happen, the colors change, and a person’s outlook is altered at the same time. We can see more clearly.

I’m the kind of guy who looks for the hand of God in nature. I accept natural forces, and the concept of millennia of planet-building and earth erosion, of course, yet tempered by a Creator who set it all in motion. And I regard light as emblematic of spiritual understanding.

This morning by the Koi pond, light came through a gap between the arms of two trees at the crest of the hill and fell on the flower bud. As the sun rose, the bud warmed up and began to open. In less than a half hour, the delicate beauty of the bloom was complete. It floats there above all that is dark and unsure, supported by the open palms of the pads and steadied by the vertical reeds. It became a symbol of peace. That’s when I made the exposure. I hope you like it.

And that idea about light and spiritual understanding? Here’s how I look at it; when times are tough, I find that things always look better in the light of day.
Thanks for listening.

Your guest writer, Mark Andrews, is an Emmy-award winning landscape photographer based in Las Vegas, Nevada in the middle of the Mojave desert. His recent works can be found here. Rebuttals, corrections and hastily formed opinions may be directed here: Mailroom at the OK4U Corral

Scoundrel of the western desert.