Do Not Let Life Slip Away

In this modern age of instant gratification whether it be something we buy on impulse with a credit card or a digital photograph we take and see instantly, life passes us by quickly and we tend to forget those things we thought were important a few minutes ago.

While this blog is intended to improve your photographic abilities, I just want to take a few minutes here to remind you to grasp and keep those things that are important to you right now.

How often do we look at “old pictures” found in trunks, shoe boxes and envelopes that were taken 50-75 or maybe even 100 years ago…and let them bring back memories of past things in your life–the photo of your parent’s wedding 50 years ago…or a photo of your grandfather who served in World War I dressed in his uniform?

I am spending some of my spare time going through boxes of photographs and negatives of “stuff” I have taken and saved over the past 50 plus years. My concern with today’s digital photography is that photos of family histories will be wiped out because we hever had prints made, or we merely left everything on a memory card or transferred to a disk or maybe left it on the computer’s hard drive…until it crashed.

I really don’t believe that 15 or 20 years from now..or even 50…we will be able to access the photos we are taking and saving on memory devices today. The technology is moving so fast that we will be unable to retrieve these…unless you have prints made now of the photos you want to cherish later…and keep as family keepsakes.

These days many young couples who are getting married have photographers who take the photos, and then hand them a cd…and let them make their own prints. How many really do?

Have prints made now…or make them yourself even if you think you might not want to keep them or they may be gone forever. We may become the lost generations when it comes to family photographic memories years from now.

The photograph with this blog is one I took probably 45 years ago but never made a print…but I had the negative and discovered it going through my “stuff.” It is one of my son taking along a wooded road on an autumn day leaning against a brick wall. You can see the sun shining through the colored leaves…and all the leaves on the ground.

If I had taken this photograph digitally only 20 years ago, I probably would not be able to look at it today or make a print of it. Today I can.

Boy at the wall original copy copy

Abandoned Railroad Passenger Car

I found this abandoned railroad passenger car sitting behind an abandoned grain elevator at Prairie du Chein WI while taking photographs along the Mississippi River in 2009.

The clouds of the summer day and the dirt surrounding the old tracks tell a story of times long gone by for many river towns along the river.

Who knows all the stories this old car would have of the places it visited and the people who travelled on it? A voice out of the past.

Abandoned railroad passenger car  copy

A New Gallery

Normally this blog is used to help you improve your photography. This week it is to introduce a new gallery on my website: ” French Quarter Doorways,” in New Orleans.

How many times in our lives have we made a committment to finish one project right now without going off in another direction before it was finished? While working on my Mississippi River project we were spending several days in New Orleans and the French Quarter, I noticed all the differerent old doorways and the interaction of people around these doorways. I immediately decided to do a small gallery on the doorways of the French Quarter. These old buildings and their cafes, galleries and shops provide an interesting viewing experience to those people who have not been to the French Quarter…and also to those that have.

Meanwhile my River Gallery has taken a second seat to this one. But only for a few days.

I guess you could say that in the French Quarter life circulates around doorways and I have tried to provide that with this new gallery. Enjoy the doorways.

Painter in doorway  2  copy

Florida Keys Sunrise

The Photo of the Week is another view of a sunrise on the Florida Keys. The rising sun coming through a broken layer of clouds gives a dramatic view of the two palm trees whose trunks have by curved the winds. It started to rain about 20 minutes after this scene was captured near Marathon, FL. Photo taken 2010.

Florida Keys Sunrise copy

Taking A Walk

When you are shooting an outdoor scene, don’t just stay in one place and take one or two or a hundred pictures of the same thing, walk around a bit…even if other people walk up and take the scene from the same angle that you are taking it from…and then walk away.

Use your imagination and see what the scene looks like from 50 feet away…a hundred feet away or by some nearby trees.

I always complain that most people tend to take many more photos that they should of one scene..there is nothing wrong with taking many different photos of the same scene or subject from different angles.

This was true in my case. I was taking photos of old southern plantations in Louisana as part of my Mississippi River project and wanted to include three plantations.

The last one, the Nottaway Plantation between New Orleans and Baton Rouge presented a very good example of “talking a walk” around the subject.

The three photos with this blog are taken of the Nottaway Mansion. The first one is the one you see in many of the brochures. It is ok.

First  view. JPGThe second one is the front entrance of the mansion that faces the river…but you can’t see the river because of the dikes along the river bank.

Second view

A groundskeeper told me one side of the mansion was designed to be like the White House. So I walked to that side and that is where the best photograph was taken…between the large oak trees. You rarely see this side of the house in any of the brochures. It was beautiful because the leaves were just starting come out on the trees and the curved branches of the old oaks proided the perfect frame. The afternoon sun provided both highlights and shaded areas.

Final view  1 copy

Of course I like the last view best.

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