San Antonio Missions

The history of the missions in Texas goes back several hundred years. The Alamo is probably the one Mission which most people remember in San Antonio, But did you know that the city boasts five missions going back to 1718 with the Alamo was constructed. The photograph in this blog is The Mission, San Jose. It was founded in  1720 and was completed in 1782 . It is about five miles from the Alamo along the San Antonio River. Known as the “Queen of the Missions,” it is the largest of the five missions in San Antonio and was almost fully restored to its original design in the 1930s by the WPA (Works Projects Administration). Ttheissions in Texas were not only churches but rather communities, with a focus on the Catholic Church. In was a social and cultural center as well. It also provided the best protection from the Indians of all the missions there. People who were farmers would live in the missions and go out to their fields during the day and return in the evenings.

I like this view of the mission because of the sunlight on the side of the structure which was framed in the corner by a tree. I will be showing others missions in future blogs.  Also, the price shown for the prints includes postage and 100 percent satisfaction.

To read more about this mission go to:




Why I Like Black & White

Many people ask me why I like black & white photos better than color. Maybe it is because I had my first exposure (pardon the pun) to black and white photography in my cousin’s darkroom at a young age. There is magic in watching an image coming to life in the chemicals in the darkroom.

But secondly, there is much greater detail visible to the naked eye in black & white than color. You can’t see the contrasts and detail in color as you do in black & white. It is more than “just pretty.”

In black and white images, the absence of light can be as important as the highlights. Solid, deep blacks can give a depth and solidity of an image. Sunlight, properly used, can paint a total photograph with total brilliance.

Black and white has a distinct atmosphere of its own. It’s classic, yet simple and elegant, even romantic. It has a refined quality. Without the distractions of color, the photograph asks each viewer to recognize the individuality and uniqueness of the subject. Black and white focuses the attention on form, shading and pattern, not color. It forces the viewer to see the world in a way that cannot be seen with the human eye.

To me, a black & white photograph is the purist art form of photography. It makes a viewer, stop and look at the detail and the structure of the photograph.

The photograph with this blog is from the San Jose Mission in San Antonio, TX. It is the front doorway and window of an Indian  dwelling which consists of a single room. The exquisite detail of the wood in the doorway and the stones of the outside structure is lost in a color photograph, but comes alive in black & white. For comparison I have also included a color photograph too.

This photograph was taken in January, 2011.

San Jose Mission  2 copy

Doorway color copy 1

What’s in Focus?

Most of today’s digital cameras focus automatically for you. And depending upon the type of photograph you take, most of it might be in focus…and some of it may not be in focus. Why is this. We “old” photographers call it “the depth of field,” or the part of the photograph that is in focus. Today’s photographs call it “a slice” of the photograph that is in focus.

If you have an automatically focusing camera and the camera determines your exposure and shutter speed, everything is done for you and all you have to do is to aim and shoot.

The rule of thumb is that the further away from your subject, the greater amount of the photograph  will be in focus. The closer you are to a subject, the lesser amount will be in focus.  That is ok if you are taking a photograph of a group of people in a straight line…or nearly in a straight line. But if you are taking a closeup of a flower or a subject, just a small amount of the photo will be in focus and the rest will be out of focus.

On my landscapes I always try to get something close up to frame the actual subject. On non zoom lens you can set your lens opening and shutter speed to to change the depth of field. On a zoom lens with digital cameras you will need to focus in the middle of your subjects if you are trying to frame your photograph and want both the foreground and the background to be in focus.

Sounds simple but not always. With your zoom lens set to a wide angle mode you will get more in focus than you will in the telephoto  extended all the way out. I may have confused you here, but a person could write a book on the depth of field issue.

I have included two photos with this blog, one of a Mission in San Antonio taken in 2011 and one of a cruise ship at harbor in New Orleans taken in 2010. In the mission photograph, the tree branch is in fairly good focus, not as good as I would like, because I was close to the tree. In the cruise ship photo, the bridge, which frames the ship and gives us an idea of its large size, is in focus as well as the ship itself. Even though this was taken with the zoom quite a ways out, the fact that I was a distance away from the bridge and the cruise ship, everything is in focus.

SA Mission  1  copy

NO Cruise ship 2

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