A Chronology of Photographs - Part 2

A Chronology of Photographs cont'd

January 5, 2012 - Dad's ranch, TX Canon 60D, 70-200mm f/2.8 This was the beginning of my project entitled Americana. My step-mom likes to collect old bottles, and apparently the people who lived in the ranch house us loved to throw bottles out so it we ended up with over thirty bottles of various shapes and sizes.  What was especially unusual, though, was that there was a certain spot on the ranch that the original owners must have used a landfill. We found a col(a)mine (I'm so, so sorry. I couldn't help myself) of old Coca-Cola bottles there. I'm not quite sure where this idea came from, but I think I was just in a very inspired mood for taking photos, so I was just looking at every possible way to capture the evening light. I saw the light shimmering through one of the bottles and the pieces fell into place. It was a very rare thing. This is actually a composite photo stitched together from several photos. During that Christmas break I learned about the Brenizer method of making panoramas out of several images taken with a telephoto lens in order to make one image that has a super shallow depth of field and a wider perspective. In other words, it gives you an images that has a really blurry background and seemingly far away view. 

January 5, 2012 - Dad's ranch, TX

Canon 60D, 70-200mm f/2.8

This was the beginning of my project entitled Americana. My step-mom likes to collect old bottles, and apparently the people who lived in the ranch house us loved to throw bottles out so it we ended up with over thirty bottles of various shapes and sizes. 

What was especially unusual, though, was that there was a certain spot on the ranch that the original owners must have used a landfill. We found a col(a)mine (I'm so, so sorry. I couldn't help myself) of old Coca-Cola bottles there.

I'm not quite sure where this idea came from, but I think I was just in a very inspired mood for taking photos, so I was just looking at every possible way to capture the evening light. I saw the light shimmering through one of the bottles and the pieces fell into place. It was a very rare thing.

This is actually a composite photo stitched together from several photos. During that Christmas break I learned about the Brenizer method of making panoramas out of several images taken with a telephoto lens in order to make one image that has a super shallow depth of field and a wider perspective. In other words, it gives you an images that has a really blurry background and seemingly far away view. 

February 19, 2012 - Dallas, TX Canon 60D, 24mm f/1.4 My first long exposure photograph. Unfortunately, Unfortunately, in Lubbock there just isn't enough traffic even at rush hour to be to capture those Bladerunner-esque light streaks as nicely as in larger cities, so when I took a trip to Dallas with my roommate to take at least one photo that wouldn't have been possible (more likely probable) in Lubbock.  I shot this from a small, empty overpass looking onto the High Five freeway interchange during a drizzle, and I recall so clearly that when I first got this shot I was so excited that I began jumping up and down and gave my roommate a literal high five and all of a sudden there are police flashes being reflected in the wet asphalt, so we turned around to a cop asking us, "Um, is there a problem here.?" "Oh no, we're just taking some photos." She gives us a suspicious look. "We just had a fatal stabbing on this overpass a few weeks ago. I was just checking." You know that awkward moment when you're taking photos and a cop tells you about a recent murder in the area that you're photographing? Yeah, I didn't either until that night.

February 19, 2012 - Dallas, TX

Canon 60D, 24mm f/1.4

My first long exposure photograph. Unfortunately, Unfortunately, in Lubbock there just isn't enough traffic even at rush hour to be to capture those Bladerunner-esque light streaks as nicely as in larger cities, so when I took a trip to Dallas with my roommate to take at least one photo that wouldn't have been possible (more likely probable) in Lubbock. 

I shot this from a small, empty overpass looking onto the High Five freeway interchange during a drizzle, and I recall so clearly that when I first got this shot I was so excited that I began jumping up and down and gave my roommate a literal high five and all of a sudden there are police flashes being reflected in the wet asphalt, so we turned around to a cop asking us,

"Um, is there a problem here.?"

"Oh no, we're just taking some photos."

She gives us a suspicious look.

"We just had a fatal stabbing on this overpass a few weeks ago. I was just checking."

You know that awkward moment when you're taking photos and a cop tells you about a recent murder in the area that you're photographing? Yeah, I didn't either until that night.

May 30, 2012 - near Mason, TX Canon 60D, 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 Now we're talking. This is a photo from my Junction photography class taught by the great Jerod Foster. Before this, I had never had a field class of any type, so having the privilege of spending two weeks shooting nothing but the Texas Hill Country really taught me a lot about "finding the light" so to speak.  We also got a lot of access to areas that are generally closed to the general public such as Dolan Falls on the Nature Conservancy as well as Mason Mountain and the surrounding area. But even beyond that, this picture was actually taken during what I can only assume were very rare circumstances. The sun was just beginning to go down, and we had been driving around Mason Mountain for about 30 minutes trying to find a photogenic spot to shoot some landscapes. This was the last day of the class and our second time at Mason, so we were looking for something different than what we shot earlier in the class. Well, low and behold, favor shone upon us and a thunderstorm rolled in just as we were getting a bit discouraged with how the evening was turning out.  This wasn't just an "Oh look it's dark and cloudy thunderstorm either. We were right on the edge where the sun was just peaking under the bottom, lighting it up with brillian oranges and yellows.  Just like with the image I took from the plane, this was just a natural anomaly that none of us could have ever predicted. Even Jerod said, in the ten years that he had been attending the class - Wyman Meinzer used to teach the class and 2012 was the first year Jerod took it over - this had never happened before.

May 30, 2012 - near Mason, TX

Canon 60D, 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6

Now we're talking. This is a photo from my Junction photography class taught by the great Jerod Foster. Before this, I had never had a field class of any type, so having the privilege of spending two weeks shooting nothing but the Texas Hill Country really taught me a lot about "finding the light" so to speak. 

We also got a lot of access to areas that are generally closed to the general public such as Dolan Falls on the Nature Conservancy as well as Mason Mountain and the surrounding area.

But even beyond that, this picture was actually taken during what I can only assume were very rare circumstances. The sun was just beginning to go down, and we had been driving around Mason Mountain for about 30 minutes trying to find a photogenic spot to shoot some landscapes. This was the last day of the class and our second time at Mason, so we were looking for something different than what we shot earlier in the class.

Well, low and behold, favor shone upon us and a thunderstorm rolled in just as we were getting a bit discouraged with how the evening was turning out. 

This wasn't just an "Oh look it's dark and cloudy thunderstorm either. We were right on the edge where the sun was just peaking under the bottom, lighting it up with brillian oranges and yellows. 

Just like with the image I took from the plane, this was just a natural anomaly that none of us could have ever predicted. Even Jerod said, in the ten years that he had been attending the class - Wyman Meinzer used to teach the class and 2012 was the first year Jerod took it over - this had never happened before.

September 8, 2012 - Lubbock, TX Canon 1D Mark II, 85mm f/1.8 This is probably one of my favorite portraits. Maybe it's just his face, or maybe it has something to do with the wind in his hair? Whatever it is, there's something about this man that just pierces me. And what's so interesting is that I had only just met him. I remember I was working for the Daily Toreador newspaper photographing the National Cowboy Symposium.  I had gotten most of the usual stuff: people cooking on grills, kind older cowboys who would greet you with a tip of their hat, chuck wagons. But then in the corner of the grounds, there was something that contrasted against the wagons. It was a teepee, and a group of men dressed in traditional Native American garb was having a pow-wow.. Of course, I was pretty intrigued since there just aren't that many people of Native American heritage who keep in touch with that side of themselves, so I asked if I could get a few photographs.  I already knew that I wanted a specific picture of this man when we shook hands. He said his name is Roy Baugh. He's part Cajun and part Caddo Indian, and that this was the first time he'd been to a pow-wow in many, many years. He really looked like he had lived life. Although I never got to hear the many stories he alluded to during my short time talking with him, I really wanted to catch that pride that he had for his Caddo background. I've never had the pleasure of running into him again, but I think this is the most authentic portrait I've ever taken of anyone.

September 8, 2012 - Lubbock, TX

Canon 1D Mark II, 85mm f/1.8

This is probably one of my favorite portraits. Maybe it's just his face, or maybe it has something to do with the wind in his hair? Whatever it is, there's something about this man that just pierces me. And what's so interesting is that I had only just met him. I remember I was working for the Daily Toreador newspaper photographing the National Cowboy Symposium. 

I had gotten most of the usual stuff: people cooking on grills, kind older cowboys who would greet you with a tip of their hat, chuck wagons. But then in the corner of the grounds, there was something that contrasted against the wagons. It was a teepee, and a group of men dressed in traditional Native American garb was having a pow-wow..

Of course, I was pretty intrigued since there just aren't that many people of Native American heritage who keep in touch with that side of themselves, so I asked if I could get a few photographs. 

I already knew that I wanted a specific picture of this man when we shook hands. He said his name is Roy Baugh. He's part Cajun and part Caddo Indian, and that this was the first time he'd been to a pow-wow in many, many years.

He really looked like he had lived life. Although I never got to hear the many stories he alluded to during my short time talking with him, I really wanted to catch that pride that he had for his Caddo background.

I've never had the pleasure of running into him again, but I think this is the most authentic portrait I've ever taken of anyone.

May 28, 2013 - Junction, TX Canon 6D, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 with a macro extension tube Junction round 2! Only this time I kind of know what to expect. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing in terms of photography is debatable though, ha. It seems so much easier to be creative when you're in a situation for the first time. Anyways, this has kind of a funny story behind it.  It's kind of a tradition in the Junction class to photograph rattlesnakes.Generally, either Wyman would catch some since he's just generally a badass, and he actually caught some for us to photograph. Unfortunately, they didn't make it to the end of the class (which is when we photographed the snakes), so we had to ask a local cowboy to help us out. We got out to the area that we were going to photograph them at pretty early. It was cold and cloudy: terrible rattlesnake weather. Since rattlesnakes are cold blooded, they LOVE warmth, so when it's chilly they move slowly and don't want to do too much. That's what happened with our snakes. They just would not coil up and give us a good rattle. I know it sounds a bit oxymoronic to complain that the snakes were not being aggressive, but, well, the best photos come from a really riled up rattlesnake. Otherwise, they just lack the dynamic vigor (to put it nicely) that people tend to associate with rattlesnakes. So here we are, in the cold, with a bored and cold snake. Fortunately the snake handler brought two different snakes, a small and large one, so we did have options. The real fun began when he pulled out the larger snake. This snake was pretty angry right out of the box...And it also thought it was pretty sneaky as well. The handler would nudge it with his tongs, and at first the snake would just rattle a little while it coiled back to strike. Well, he got a little too much to chew on one. He drew back, and snapped at the tongs catching, instead, a prickly pear off the cactus behind him. It sure took the wind out of his sails for about 10 seconds, ha. I like to imagine he was blushing from embarrassment thinking "OMG OMG they're all staring at me. Maybe if I just act like it didn't happen..."  

May 28, 2013 - Junction, TX

Canon 6D, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 with a macro extension tube

Junction round 2! Only this time I kind of know what to expect. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing in terms of photography is debatable though, ha. It seems so much easier to be creative when you're in a situation for the first time.

Anyways, this has kind of a funny story behind it. 

It's kind of a tradition in the Junction class to photograph rattlesnakes.Generally, either Wyman would catch some since he's just generally a badass, and he actually caught some for us to photograph. Unfortunately, they didn't make it to the end of the class (which is when we photographed the snakes), so we had to ask a local cowboy to help us out.

We got out to the area that we were going to photograph them at pretty early. It was cold and cloudy: terrible rattlesnake weather. Since rattlesnakes are cold blooded, they LOVE warmth, so when it's chilly they move slowly and don't want to do too much. That's what happened with our snakes. They just would not coil up and give us a good rattle. I know it sounds a bit oxymoronic to complain that the snakes were not being aggressive, but, well, the best photos come from a really riled up rattlesnake. Otherwise, they just lack the dynamic vigor (to put it nicely) that people tend to associate with rattlesnakes.

So here we are, in the cold, with a bored and cold snake. Fortunately the snake handler brought two different snakes, a small and large one, so we did have options.

The real fun began when he pulled out the larger snake. This snake was pretty angry right out of the box...And it also thought it was pretty sneaky as well.

The handler would nudge it with his tongs, and at first the snake would just rattle a little while it coiled back to strike. Well, he got a little too much to chew on one. He drew back, and snapped at the tongs catching, instead, a prickly pear off the cactus behind him.

It sure took the wind out of his sails for about 10 seconds, ha. I like to imagine he was blushing from embarrassment thinking "OMG OMG they're all staring at me. Maybe if I just act like it didn't happen..."

 

July 28, 2013 - Lubbock, TX Canon 6D, 14mm f/2.8 This is a portrait of Bohemia Rothschild that I shot last summer while I was taking a documentary photography class. We were tasked with finding an interesting social issue and then doing a photo essay about it, so I chose to do it over a segment of the Lubbock community that is somewhat overlooked: the LGBTQ community. However, that is such a broad and diverse topic, so I wanted to focus on a person who is a part of the community and can kind of give a glimpse into the LGBTQ community. I wanted it to feel somewhat personal, instead of just cold and detached. The reason I chose Bohemia (who's non-drag name is Leon Eldridge) for my project is that he presents a situation that I think is kind of unique to this area. You see, he's a regular at many of the gay clubs around here as a performer, but he is also involved with a local church and sings in the choir. I wanted to see how he was able to reconcile his religion along with his drag life, since, at a glance, the two don't seem to mix. It was an interesting experience, and I got some of the best documentary images I've shot to date while interviewing Leon/Bohemia and photographing his life.

July 28, 2013 - Lubbock, TX

Canon 6D, 14mm f/2.8

This is a portrait of Bohemia Rothschild that I shot last summer while I was taking a documentary photography class. We were tasked with finding an interesting social issue and then doing a photo essay about it, so I chose to do it over a segment of the Lubbock community that is somewhat overlooked: the LGBTQ community.

However, that is such a broad and diverse topic, so I wanted to focus on a person who is a part of the community and can kind of give a glimpse into the LGBTQ community. I wanted it to feel somewhat personal, instead of just cold and detached.

The reason I chose Bohemia (who's non-drag name is Leon Eldridge) for my project is that he presents a situation that I think is kind of unique to this area. You see, he's a regular at many of the gay clubs around here as a performer, but he is also involved with a local church and sings in the choir. I wanted to see how he was able to reconcile his religion along with his drag life, since, at a glance, the two don't seem to mix.

It was an interesting experience, and I got some of the best documentary images I've shot to date while interviewing Leon/Bohemia and photographing his life.

September 1, 2013 - White River Lake, TX Canon 6D, 14mm f/2.8 This is a portrait I shot of my grandpa, Harvey Cannon, and his dog, Penny. Although this wasn't taken at the end of the year, it's probably one of the last significant photos I took last year.  I took it as around my grandpa's birthday, because: 1. I am TERRIBLE at buying gifts (I even get stressed at buying a card,) 2. I realized that I didn't really have any current, good photographs of my grandpa.  My uncle recently scanned several photographs from the 60's and 70's, so we have a lot of older photographs from my mom's childhood, but in terms of nice photographs that are better than, say, an iPhone pic, there aren't any. Little did I know that that point the value of this photograph.  Last month my grandpa was out doing a routine replacement of a water pump pressure tank. The bottom of the tank was rusted out unbeknownst to my grandpa, and it exploded upwards, shattering the area around his nose and cheeks.   He survived it, but he's VERY lucky. He said that when it first happened he landed on his back, and because of his injuries, if he had lost consciousness, there was a high chance that he would have suffocated due to his injuries. This is probably the first time that I realized firsthand how important photography is. Although I do not like to say that we "capture memories" (cliche, cliche, cliche), that is kind of what we do. There are many uses for photography from communication to art to advertising, but one of the most common is just simply photographing for posterity. Sometimes that's all a photo needs to be for, too. Today it seems like so many photographers take more photographs of other people than they do their own family

September 1, 2013 - White River Lake, TX

Canon 6D, 14mm f/2.8

This is a portrait I shot of my grandpa, Harvey Cannon, and his dog, Penny. Although this wasn't taken at the end of the year, it's probably one of the last significant photos I took last year. 

I took it as around my grandpa's birthday, because:

1. I am TERRIBLE at buying gifts (I even get stressed at buying a card,)

2. I realized that I didn't really have any current, good photographs of my grandpa. 

My uncle recently scanned several photographs from the 60's and 70's, so we have a lot of older photographs from my mom's childhood, but in terms of nice photographs that are better than, say, an iPhone pic, there aren't any.

Little did I know that that point the value of this photograph. 

Last month my grandpa was out doing a routine replacement of a water pump pressure tank. The bottom of the tank was rusted out unbeknownst to my grandpa, and it exploded upwards, shattering the area around his nose and cheeks.  

He survived it, but he's VERY lucky. He said that when it first happened he landed on his back, and because of his injuries, if he had lost consciousness, there was a high chance that he would have suffocated due to his injuries.

This is probably the first time that I realized firsthand how important photography is. Although I do not like to say that we "capture memories" (cliche, cliche, cliche), that is kind of what we do. There are many uses for photography from communication to art to advertising, but one of the most common is just simply photographing for posterity.

Sometimes that's all a photo needs to be for, too. Today it seems like so many photographers take more photographs of other people than they do their own family

Here we are, the beginning of 2014. It's been a fun journey to this point, even if I feel sometimes like I take two steps forward and three steps back when it comes to my photos. I think that a little bit of self-doubt is healthy, though. It's helps to propel us forward. Complete satisfaction is the enemy of progress.

So I hope you enjoyed reading my short excerpts and looking at my photos. 

I tried to post some that show both my growth as well as the different meaningful stories that are behind each photo. because taking nice photographs is always good, but having great experiences is even better! :D