Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Beautiful Mojave Desert

The Yellow Desert - Mojave, California
In yesterday's post I said something, and I realized that none of the images in the post backed up the quote. I said:
"The desert offers many photographic opportunities. The beauty may not be immediately obvious, but this is indeed a beautiful place. The mountains have a bit of red in them. The The sky can be dramatic. The desert flora can be interesting. Everything has a wide-open feel."
Yes, a couple of the photographs in the post demonstrated the dramatic sky and the wide-open feel, but the rest of the quote wasn't demonstrated. However, the photograph above, which I recently captured using a Nokia Lumia 1020, does a pretty good job of putting what I said into a visual example.

What The Yellow Desert demonstrates is that beauty exists everywhere if you look for it. Even in a harsh environment that many would describe as "brown" and "boring" there is indeed true beauty. You just have to find it. It's there.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Trains In The Mojave Desert - The Railroad Along U.S. Route 6

We Will Deliver - Rosamond, California
The Union Pacific Railroad has a mainline that runs along old U.S. Route 6 south of Mojave, California. The desert is hot and dry. Summer storms bring occasional flash floods. It's a harsh and lonely environment. This is California's Mojave Desert.

Old U.S. Route 6, once the longest highway in America, and sometimes called The Grand Army of The Republic Highway and Sierra Highway, is a paved two-lane road that parallels the tracks. It begins at Silver Queen Road just outside of the town of Mojave and travels south, eventually leading to the L.A. Basin.
The Train Meet - Rosamond, California
The section of Route 6 south of Bishop lost its federal status in 1964. Much of the road became California Highway 14, which is now a freeway that runs parallel to the old route, offset to the west.

This is a fairly busy section of single mainline tracks. There are several sidings and a handful of industries along the route. Almost all of the trains that traverse this track also make their way through the infamous Tehachapi Loop.
Waiting - Rosamond, California
The desert offers many photographic opportunities. The beauty may not be immediately obvious, but this is indeed a beautiful place. The mountains have a bit of red in them. The The sky can be dramatic. The desert flora can be interesting. Everything has a wide-open feel.

I captured these photographs recently using a Nokia Lumia 1020. Yes, a cell phone. It shows that any camera is capable as longs the photographer has vision

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sentimental Saturday - Photos of The Day

The Roesch Photography Blog has been around for four years now, and to celebrate that I've been publishing a series of posts called Sentimental Saturday. It's like Throwback Thursday, except it's on Saturdays.

The first Sentimental Saturday was about the very first post on this blog. The second Sentimental Saturday featured some photographs from the first handful of posts. The next Sentimental Saturday was about an early post dealing with gear. This is post is the fourth in the series.

About eight months into this blog I started a series called Photo of The Day. I attempted to post one photograph each and every day (I wasn't always successful at that). It went on for about four months.

Below are some of the Photo of The Day photographs from November and December of 2011. I believe that my photography skills have greatly improved since these were captured. I'm sometimes embarrassed when I look back at my old images, because back when I captured them I thought that they were better than they really were. Even so, I think these ones are decent enough to re-share. Enjoy!
Freight Train At Days End - Tehachapi, California
Monolith - Tehachapi, California
Golden Field - Tehachapi, California
Oak Trees And Snowy Mountain - Tehachapi, California
Foggy Night Emergency - Tehachapi, California
Coal Train At Sunrise - Mojave, California
Moon Over Desert Sunrise - Mojave, California
Burger Spot - Tehachapi, California
BNSF Climbing The Pass - Tehachapi, California
Waiting Under The Light - Tehachapi, California
Union Pacific In The Desert - Mojave, California
Christmas Carousel - Mojave, California
Train And Truck - Tehachapi, California
Climbing Tehachapi Pass - Tehachapi, California
Kodak 35mm Camera - Hesperia, California

Thursday, March 26, 2015

My CrowdMedia Page

Sunset At Morro Rock - Morro Bay, California
I mentioned awhile back that I was contacted by CrowdMedia and was asked to join. Well, I did join. (If you are not exactly sure what CrowdMedia is or what I'm talking about here, go ahead and read that post I linked to.)

I have yet to sell anything through CrowdMedia. I'm not really surprised by this. It seems as though they've recently changed their model, and instead of just being a stock agency, they're now accepting assignments from clientele. That aspect of it reminds me a little of Talenthouse. We'll have to wait and see if it's successful or not.

Anyway, something that I've been up to lately is creating different portfolios on there. It's still a work-in-progress, but I feel it is done-enough to share here. So go check it out (click here)!

Right now I have Color Landscapes, Monochrome Landscapes, Seascapes, Farm, Energy, Color Flowers, Monochrome Flowers, Color Abandonment, Monochrome Abandonment, and Perilous Journey. I'm still working on a couple of others.

If you view those portfolios, you'll see on the left a few things that you can click on. Clicking on the heart will "like" the portfolio. Clicking on the "f" will share it on Facebook. And clicking on the bird will share it on Twitter.

If you have a few minutes, go on over and check it all out. There are plenty of great images to see. If you think about it, leave me some feedback on what you think of it all.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

California's Central Coast - Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, Morro Bay & San Luis Obispo

Foggy Day Pier - Avila Beach, California
Back on February 15th I took my family on a day-trip to California's central coast. We visited Pismo Beach, Avila Beach and Morro Bay. We also made a stop in San Luis Obispo.

The first thing on our agenda was the Monarch Butterfly Grove in Pismo Beach. This was a pretty cool stop. Thousands of butterflies cluster in the tops of the trees in this one small grove. I wrote about it already in a previous post, so be sure to take a look at that if you haven't already (click here).

After Pismo we headed up to Avila Beach to play in the sand and splash in the water. This is a great spot that's often overlooked. It has sandy beaches, a pier, a boardwalk with shops and restaurants, and it's a bit secluded in a cove. It's one of my favorite places.
Pacific Dudes - Avila Beach, California
The kids had a blast here. We found seashells, made a sandcastle, and dipped our toes in the water. It was a great place to explore the Pacific shore.

The weather was nice. It was overcast and the fog rolled in and out and back in again. Yet it wasn't cold--we left our jackets in the car. We really couldn't of asked for anything better.

Once we'd had are fill of the sandy beach, we once again headed north and made our way to Morro Bay just before sunset. We arrived just as the sun was going down. The fog cleared out just in time to capture a couple of great photographs.
Seaweed On The Shore - Avila Beach, California
The trip to this point had been great. The timing of everything just seemed to work out perfectly. It was a memorable day-trip to the beach.

On our way back home we stopped in San Luis Obispo for dinner. Besides getting some good food, I was able to grab a few more photographs.

All of these photographs were captured using a Nikon D3300 DSLR and a Nikkor 40mm AF-S DX f/2.8 Micro lens. It goes to show that you don't need expensive gear to capture great images. Vision and creativity are most important.
Coastal Fog - Avila Beach, California
Kelp Close Up - Avila Beach, California
Sand Design - Avila Beach, California
Algae Rock - Avila Beach, California
Sunset At Morro Rock - Morro Bay, California
Pacific Sunset - Morro Bay, California
Little, Big - San Luis Obispo, California
Apple Farm - San Luis Obispo, California
Dusk Horse - San Luis Obispo, California

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Nikon D3300 Battery Life

Rock Behind Ice Plant - Morro Bay, California
This was captured last year.
I just got back from a weekend trip to Morro Bay, Cambria and San Simeon along California's central coast. The trip was really great. It was like a shorter version of last year's Pacific Coast Highway adventure. I'll post the photographs once they're finished.

The only camera I brought along was a Nikon D3300 DSLR. It's great because it is small and lightweight for a DSLR, yet it really delivers on image quality.

I also brought along a Nikkor 40mm AF-S DX f/2.8G Micro lens (which was used 95% of the time) and a Nikkor 55-200mm AF-S DX f4-5.6G ED lens. The 40mm lens was attached to the camera, and that set up comfortably fit into the middle console of my car. The 55-200mm lens sat in a little bag (that came with the lens) and it also fit into the car's middle console.

The camera was comfortable around my neck since it isn't too big or heavy. The 55-200mm lens fit into my jacket pocket--often, though, I left that lens in the car and just took the 40mm lens that was already attached to the camera.
Zebras Below The Castle - San Simeon, California
This was also captured last year.
That's the entirety of the photographic equipment that I brought along with me. I didn't even bring a spare battery or the battery charger. I wanted to keep things as simple as possible. Less is more.

I exposed over 600 frames on this trip. I still had some battery life left when I got home. In fact, I probably could have exposed another 100 frames before exhausting the battery. That's really great! That allowed me to take less gear with me.

I didn't have to worry about changing or storing batteries. I didn't have to worry about forgetting the battery charger in the hotel. I only had to "worry" about grabbing the camera on the way out of the car. I can't tell you how great that is compared to how previous trips (with previous cameras) have gone.

The D3300 and its exceptional battery life allowed me to "get away with" not bringing an extra battery or even the battery charger. I had one camera and two lenses (and I could have left one of those lenses at home and been perfectly happy). Simplicity is better. It certainly is more enjoyable.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Sentimental Saturday - Your Camera Doesn't Matter

Pool Chairs and Lake - Goodyear, Arizona
The Roesch Photography Blog has been around for four years now. In honor of that I've been doing Sentimental Saturday, which is the same thing as Throwback Thursday, except on Saturday. Specifically, I'm re-posting nuggets from the early days of this blog. The excerpt below is from a post published about six months into this experiment. The photograph above, which was captured using a "free" cell phone, accompanied the article. 
Your camera doesn't matter. If you are a good photographer you can use any camera and make good photographs. If you are not a good photographer you can use even the most expensive camera and still not make good photographs. 
The camera is just a tool. A camera is to the photographer what a paintbrush is to a painter. If you gave a great painter a generic set of paintbrushes from Walmart, he or she would still be able to create great works of art. Yes, the artist might prefer higher quality brushes, but the brushes do not make the painting great, the painter does. 
The camera does not make a photograph great, the photographer does. 
Most people own a cell-phone, and most cell phones have a built-in digital camera. Most people have the tool required to be a photographer with them right in their own pocket or in their purse: a camera. That's all you need! Learn to be a good photographer, and you could use that tool to make good photographs.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Castles And Zebras - My Upcoming Getaway

Zebras Below The Castle - San Simeon, California
Very soon I'll be heading out of town to enjoy a couple of days of R&R. I'm going to a land of castles and zebras. If you've been there before, you'll immediately recognize where it is from the photograph above.

I went through this area about a year ago, but it was more-or-less just passing through. This time I will stay a little bit longer. This time I'll actually go inside the castle. It should be a fun trip.

When I get back and have a chance to get through all of the photographs, I'll be sure to post about here on the Roesch Photography Blog. Stay tuned! Oh, and be sure to enjoy your weekend, wherever it is you are.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Creativity In Photography - 7 Tips To Wake Up Your Images

Creativity is essential to successful photography. It is a critical element of photographic vision. Yet for many it is a mysterious thing that's seemingly unattainable. Either you are born creative or you are not. But I'm here to attest that creativity is something that can be learned and fostered. I believe everyone is capable of being creative.

Below are seven tips to awaken the creativity within you.

Cultivate Curiosity
Endless Summer Wish - Stallion Springs, California
Kids are naturally creative and imaginative. I'm often amazed and intrigued at the way my three young children see the world around them. It's so much different than how adults look at things.

Children don't know. They haven't been told yet how everything works. They don't know what different rules and laws there are. They haven't been told what they can and cannot do. Because of this, they don't have boxes and limits.

Since there are no boxes or limits, kids are free to explore. The sky is the limit! Anything is possible. Their developing minds are eager to understand. Children are quite curious about it all. That's why they are so full of questions.

It is curiosity that drives creativity. Creativity lives in the unknown. Know-it-alls are not creative because they lack the mysterious.

Arthur Schopenhauer said, "Thus, the task is not so much to see what no one yet has seen, but to think what nobody yet has thought about that which everybody sees." Creative photographers stop for a moment and ask themselves all sorts of questions about the scene in front of them before they capture the photograph. Those that make a successful photograph do so because, while asking questions, they were able to think about the scene in a different way than what everyone else has done before.

You have to cultivate curiosity, and the way to do that is to find the mysterious and question it. Keep questioning it, in fact, until an original thought forms about it. Once you've thought about the scene in a way that "nobody yet has thought about [it]" then you are able to creatively capture it.

It is that inner child you must find--the one that doesn't yet know everything and is eager to explore and understand the world around them. You have to be full of questions.

Lose Yourself
Sunset At Morro Rock - Morro Bay, California
With regards to capturing photographs, Henri-Cartier-Bresson said, "You can't go looking for it; you can't want it, or you won't get it. First you must lose yourself. Then it happens."

How I understand what he was saying is that great scenes often just happen. No matter how badly you want to capture a great scene, it's not usually within your control. You can't control Mother Nature or what other people do. What you can do is immerse yourself into the scene and keep an open mind about what you might find.

Losing yourself means keeping an eye out for photographically-worthy things, even if--especially if--it may not be obvious at first. You cannot be rigid in your approach and you cannot be rigid in what you will capture. Rigidness is not conducive to creativity.

In other words, stay loose. Keep an open mind. Be open to spontaneity. Celebrate unpredictability.

Become Uncomfortable
Mystery Drive - Stallion Springs, California
Comfort is an enemy to creativity. Pablo Picasso said, "If you have five elements available use only four. If you have four elements use three." This principal can be applied to several aspects of photography.

If you own five lenses only ever use four of them. If you own four cameras only ever use three of them. Actually, I'd make those numbers smaller. If you own three lenses only use two of them. If you own two cameras only use one.

The less options you have, the more likely you'll think outside-the-box with the options that you do have. Renown poet Charles Bernstein said, "Art often thrives on limitations."

If there are five compositional elements in a scene use only four. If there are four compositional elements use three. Don't include too much and keep things as simple as possible. "Art lives only on the restraint it imposes on itself, and dies of all others," said Nobel Prize winning author Albert Camus.

Less is more in photography. Don't include too much in your images or in your camera bag. This goes against what society says, but you'll never be satisfied with "more." You will never have enough "more." All "more" does is make you lazy.

This is why almost all of the great innovations are made in garages and basements. Big corporations with seemingly unlimited resources are not able to do what some individual can accomplish on his own in his spare time and with a limited budget. It's the opposite of what one would think, but it is true. Less is indeed more.

The concepts of limitations and less may not sound appealing. Society says that we should have more, not less. Society says that we should free ourselves of limitations. "Embracing the limitation can actually drive creativity," artist Phil Hansen said. "We need to first be limited in order to become limitless."

Throw The Rules Away
A Football Dream - Stallion Springs, California
Photography rules are meant to ensure consistently good results but rarely allow for great results. They were designed for students and amateurs to make a noticeable leap in progress, but they were never meant for long-term use. Photography rules are actually mere guidelines.

Some photography "rules" are the rule of thirds, keep the horizon out of the middle of the frame, the triangle swirly thing, Sunny 16, odd numbers, negative and positive space, histograms, keep the sun behind you--there are tons of others, and new ones are created all of the time. Whenever you hear someone say that you should always do something in photography, that comes from some "rule" that they've learned.

Rules bring formulas, and no creative photograph has ever been made from a formula. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to photography. Each photograph must be approached individually, and what works for one image may not work for another. You have to judge each scene separately, and decide what is best for how you want your photograph to look.

Forget Fame
Light Rays - Stallion Springs, California
Don't get caught up with how many likes, stars or pluses you get on social media. Don't get caught up with how popular you are or are not. It really doesn't matter what other people think. Your photography should be personal to you.

You cannot please everyone and you shouldn't try. When you try to please others through your photography you often "play it safe" or try to copy someone else's work who is popular. Either way, you are stifling your creativeness.

Instead, forget fame. Forget about commercial success. Be true to yourself. Value your individuality. Do not worry about whether or not anyone else "gets" what you are creating.

Photograph Your Passion
Cathedral Spires From Cook's Meadow - Yosemite National Park, California
If you photograph what you are passionate about, you'll give it your all. If you photograph what you love, you'll create your best work.

Imagine trying to hold a conversation with someone about some subject that you don't really care about and that you are not knowledgeable about. Do you think you could make the conversation engaging? But if the conversation is about something you care deeply about and are knowledgeable about, that conversation now has interest.

Photography is a form of communication. When you photograph what you are interested in, you are able to hold an engaging nonverbal conversation with the viewer.

Creativity lives just as much in the heart as it does in the mind. When you feel intensely about a subject you are more likely to move beyond the surface and into something more meaningful.

Photography Projects
On A Brighter Day - Tehachapi, California
Having photography projects will help develop your creativity. Projects challenge the photographer to achieve more by giving him or her purpose and direction.

Projects will get you off the couch and out in the world with your camera in hand. There is a motivation that pushes one to actively photograph more often.

Another benefit of a photography project is that you can explore a subject at a deeper level than if you simply encountered and photographed it. You are able to find the deeper meaning, which allows you to photograph it in a different way than you would otherwise have done.

An example of a project that I'm currently working on is abandoned structures. You can be as broad or narrow as you'd like, but having something specific that you are working towards will go a long ways toward awakening your creativity.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Photograph What No One Else Is Thinking About

Web of Neglect - Mojave, California
I came across a quote from legendary photographer Rene Burri. I was really struck by it. I think there's a lot of truth to it. He said:
"Everybody now has a cell phone and can take snaps, which is great--even children. But my advice for young photographers--what I think young photographers should do--is to go and cover things that nobody else is thinking about. Put your nose into things. Use the third eye of the camera and don't be completely dependent on Photoshop or the way other people want you to cast the world."
There are a lot of good nuggets in there. I lot of photograph truth is found in those words. And, even though it is addressed to "young photographers" the messages can apply to anyone of any age.

First, it's very true that everyone has a camera and everyone is taking pictures. My seven-year-old daughter likes to take pictures and her photograph's are sometimes pretty good. Just because you snap pictures--and even if some of them are decent--does not make you a photographer. There is more to it than that. Photography begins in the heart and mind of the photographer. Snapshots are thoughtless.

Second, if you want to stand out from the billions of people capturing images, you need to photograph things that others are not. Not including amateurs, most photography genres are oversaturated. You have to be absolute top-notch (and good at marketing) to stand out. But if you are the only one (or one of a few) that are capturing something, you have a much better chance at getting noticed.

Another way to think about this is found in a quote by Arthur Schopenhauer: "Thus, the task is not so much to see what no one yet has seen, but to think what nobody yet has thought about that which everybody sees."

Next, if you want to really photograph something, you've got to put your nose into it. If you are a street photographer, you've got to go down that avenue that you're less than comfortable with. If you are a landscape photographer, you've got to get up before the sun and head down that trail to catch the sunrise in a lonely place. Whatever your genre is, you've got to do the things that others are not. Richard Steinheimer used to tell people that photography is often about being in places that other people are not willing to go.

When Rene Burri talks about "the third eye of the camera" he's speaking of photographic vision. You've got to develop this in order to craft great photographs. Some people depend on post-processing tricks to try to make their boring photographs interesting. This will only take you so far. Eventually people will realize that your photographs don't really say anything.

Finally, you've got to be true to yourself. You can't photograph what you think others want to see. You can't make your style what you think others will want. That doesn't work. You need your unique voice and perspective. That's what people want to see--the photographs that only you could create.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Roesch Photography Blog Is Four Years Old Today!

On A Brighter Day - Tehachapi, California
The Roesch Photography Blog is four-years-old today. On March 16, 2011 I published the very first post. I had no idea what I was doing back then (and maybe I still don't), but I did it anyway. There have been plenty of ups-and-downs and things haven't always gone smoothly. Yet, four years later, the Roesch Photography Blog is still here.

No one pays me to write this blog. I do it for free. But I wouldn't do it at all if no one came here to read my posts and view my photographs. It's you, the readers, that make this blog happen. I have you to thank, so thank you!

I don't know what the future holds for the Roesch Photography Blog. Will this be the last year? Will it go on for decades and decades? It's difficult to know. No one knows what life will throw at them. I hope this continues for a long time to come.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Sentimental Saturday - Early Images

The Roesch Photography Blog will be four years old on Monday. It's hard for me to believe--it seems like it's been half that time.

In honor of the anniversary I've begun a new regular feature called Sentimental Saturday. It's like Throwback Thursday, except on Saturdays. For this post I'm showing a few photographs from the very early days of this blog. Enjoy!

Flower About To Bloom - Scottsdale, Arizona
Horse Speak - Onyx, California

Thistle Flower - Cane Brake, California
Green And Red - Cane Brake, California
Ladder & Wall - Cane Brake, California