Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

The Natural Eye: A Summer Landscape, Part I

Wow! Another awesome week in Santa Fe with another great instructor, Eddie Soloway. He lives in Santa Fe; is an accomplished photographer but also a talented teacher.

We began with several exercises without camera — on a short stroll into the undeveloped area just behind the campus — intended to improve our ability to "see" nature.

One was using a mirror to explore things we do not normally see — the underside of a leaf — other side of the twig — the sky from the vantage point of a branch.

He also gave us each a small card with a color — almost like a paint chip — and we were to find that color in the natural environment (not on a classmate's clothing). When you look closely, you will be amazed how many colors are to be found.

The image to the right shows the results of one exercise — a "recording" of the sounds I heard while outside. The squiggly lines were bird sounds. The "hook" in the upper left corner was a motorcycle loudly rounding the curve. The long gentle curves were flies. The heavy lines at the bottom were trucks, one of which backfired as I listened.

During the afternoon, we were to scatter to one of several nearby locations to being our photo safari. I went to the Audubon park just outside Santa Fe. The next four images are from the park — on a cloudy day, heavy with the threat of rain. Regardless of the weather, the park was beautiful.

Trail Ravine

Bush growing out of a rock Juniper Berries

Each morning we would quickly select our favorite photos from the preceding day then Eddie would whittle that down to a half dozen or so images — which we would then review with the whole class. Eddie would talk about the aspects of the photos that he liked and areas where we might improve. It was a very useful exercise and I was very impressed with the quality of photography from all of us all week long — a lot of talent there.

Aspen Tuesday afternoon we went to Big Tesuque in Santa Fe National Forest. This is a wonderful, scenic area with large stands of aspen and pine. I followed one trail uphill and within a few minutes I did not see another person until it was time to head back to the cars.

Mountain stream It was a mostly cloudy day with only a few patches of blue sky — but again the scenery was wonderful. The path I followed paralleled a small stream which offered a few wonderful opportunities for photography — both from a distance and...

          up close.

         Up close

Curious Pine I also spotted some interesting plant life such as this small pine tree that has a curious shape to its top branch.

Unususal flower And this unusual flower — imitating a fireworks explosion — although the fly on one flower destroys that illusion.

All of a sudden there was a crack of thunder — time to return to the cars. I was lucky with my timing since the rain started to fall just as I was arriving at the parking lot. Before long, we were winding our way back to Santa Fe in a driving thunderstorm complete with hail hitting our car. Surprisingly, some of my classmates were able to take some wonderful photos from the car as we drove so slowly downhill — photos which we were able to enjoy the next day in our daily review.

That evening, we were invited to Eddie's house for pizza and margaritas (or sparking water for those who preferred non-alcoholic beverages). After dinner, we shared the six photos that each of us were asked to bring as well as a short statement of what we are passionate about in our personal photography. Of course I shared six of my Hawaii photos (that I have already shared with you) but decided to print them on 11x17 paper (so the prints were approximately 10x16). I was quite happy with the results and Eddie and my classmates (one from the Big Island) seem to enjoy them as well. It was delightful to see all the different visions and passion that each of us brought to Santa Fe — we are all very different individuals but united in our love of taking beautiful pictures.

Enough for today — more photos from my class next week.

 Life is good.

 B. David