Warren Wilson PHOTOS.: Blog https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog en-us (C) Warren E. Wilson warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:28:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:28:00 GMT https://warren-wilson-photos.com/img/s/v-12/u464836028-o477806211-50.jpg Warren Wilson PHOTOS.: Blog https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog 90 120 Mother Nature https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2019/7/mother-nature Northern Mockingbird All photos and text by Warren Wilson, 2019

 

Where we live seems to be a great place for birdwatching, Although I admit I ignore most wildlife, this bird has squealed and screeched at me for the past few weeks. Each time I walk out the door, this little guy is there---it's either in my front yard tree, or the neighbor's tree, or across the street on the roof. And, it always has something to say. I've tried to ignore it. The bird was nonrelenting in its showmanship. Finally, today, I decided to tag it with a name. This bird is a Northen Mockingbird. He lives here in Maryland and tries his best to remind me that nature was here before me.

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) Maryland nature Northern Mockingbird photography warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2019/7/mother-nature Thu, 11 Jul 2019 12:00:00 GMT
The End of the Road https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2018/2/the-end-of-the-road This is my last blog at this site, at least for now. I want to have my own site. That way, whenever I change sites I won't lose all of my material, which is what will happen here.

I will soon start my animal blog, hoping for March 1. The blog will cover my adventures with animals and will be aimed at my pet photography website.----warrenwilsonpetphotography.com

Blog address to come later.

As far as this blog goes, it gave me a chance to work on my writing skills. That's was the sole purpose but I got a lot more out of it. And, I was reintroduced to the concept of meeting a deadline. I have been retired for 13 years now and I had become a bit rusty when it comes to punctuality.

So, join me next month with my new blog.

thanks for stopping by,

Warren

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog photography warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2018/2/the-end-of-the-road Fri, 16 Feb 2018 02:31:10 GMT
A Collector https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2018/2/a-collector words and images by Warren Wilson

Hmmm! Perhaps I should call it "pack rat". Although I like collector better, pack rat gives you a better idea as to what I've been doing all these years. It's not like I choose one thing to collect; I have many "hobbies" and fetishes. Once it's in my possession, I tend to keep it for years. In particular, this goes with my collection of T-shirts.

It's not like I like clothes. I usually avoid spending the money for them. They're an essential, but I'd rather collect other things. Like camera gear! So, I do have have my priorities. But, in the case of the T-shirts, I've been collecting them since the early 90's. I think my wife told me not to bring in another T-shirt in the year 2011. I've pretty much honored that request. It was a wise decision. I had run out of closet space and I'd lost my desire to wear a different T-shirt each day of the week.

A few Black Fridays ago, I picked up this book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I got as far as page 50, then put it down for 3 years. Finally, a few weeks ago, I picked the book up again and read the rest of it. Perhaps out of desperation, the book made more sense to me this second time. I realized that I had to do something with my "collections". And, why not start with something I don't use that much, like my T-shirts.

I have over 100 T-shirts. Each one tells a story. I believe I held onto the shirts because of the story they told. Usually the stories brought a smile to my face. But, there comes a time when we all need to move on. And, the time for me has come (at least in regard to the upper half of my body).

I figured one way to deal with a sense of loss and the fear of letting go was to take pictures of the shirts I toss and take pictures of each. Then, I'd share my stories with you.

So, here goes...

This T-shirt is one of my favorite shirts. Many years ago, a co-worker came running into my office and asked, "Did you know there was a Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC?" Having been asked this same question about once every year, I had an answer, "Yes, I know the college is there. My great-grandfather was a  co-founder." (Not true!) Finally I decided to buy a T-shirt from the college. I called up the Campus Store. The lady who took my order didn't seem amazed that my name was the same as on the shirt I was purchasing. I suppose that should have been my first clue that none of this really mattered. But, I was proud of the fact and would wear the shirt with a frequency that my wife finally asked me to stop wearing it EVERYWHERE!!! Besides, she reminded me, it had a hole in it. Still one of my faves, it's time to get rid of it.

 

This one I purchased in NYC in 1990. I've always liked it. It was the week that my wife and I went to NYC, stayed at the Algonquin Hotel, went to see the NY Mets play, and hung out in NYC! A great week!!

 

 

 

A few years ago, I belonged on a bowling team. We had named the team 'The Three Stooges'. We decided it was appropriate for us to identify our team with t-shirts of the individual Three Stooges. Chuck chose Curly. Bernie chose Larry. The only one left for me to choose was Moe. Now, this is where it gets tricky...Chuck and Bernie must have been unaware that Moe was the leader. I had Moe's shirt. So,.....I took to calling myself the leader. Well, a few ha-ha's later, they decided to change shirts to a more generic T-shirt. We changed the design to a shirt with all three Stooges on each shirt. My days as leader were short lived. But, I had the last laugh...I still wore my Moe shirt and, on occasion, reminded that I was the boss...nyuk nyuk.

 

 

Kodachrome color transparency film was my favorite slide film. I liked it better than whatever Fuji offered. My favorite Kodachrome was their ASA/(ISO) 25. It possessed very little grain and was very easy to work with. Yes, Kodachrome stopped making ASA25 many years before they finally pulled the plug on the entire series. Once the ASA25 was gone, I switched to the ASA64. I came to love that film. I believe they had other ASA's, but they were more sensitive and, IMO, too grainy. Well, the day finally came where Kodak pulled the plug on the entire Kodachrome series. A National Geographic photographer, Steve McCurry shot the last roll of Kodachrome. And, Dwayne's Lab was the lab to process the last roll.

 

Eight-track tapes were such a pain. They liked to get caught up in the player. The player would chew the thin tape into accordion shaped strips, rendering your favorite album useless. Then came along the cassette tape. I remember the day I told my fellow bicycle friends at a rest stop that "I now declare the cassette tape my choice of recording". This was 1976 and I was still using the cassette tape until early 2000's. Such a great medium. (In fact, I was the only one at the gym using a cassette tape player. Everyone else had gone mp3. As I mentioned, something becomes my choice and I stick with it.) Anyway, my favorite maker of tapes was Maxell. Then, one day I saw this photograph in a store. LOVED IT! I even bought one (and, yup, it's hanging on the wall over my computer). And, of course, I had to have the T-shirt.

Of course, I went through the stage of going to all the outdoor arena rock jams. This shirt I used to wear all the time. Pearl Jam was great! (Notice Pearl Jam was like about 4th-5th billing. The big group was RHCP.) But, I was at my most miserable at this particular show. It was in some field in Northern Virginia. And, the rain would stop just long enough to allow the water to run off the field. Then, it would start raining again.

 

This shirt means a lot to me. I was invited by some Vietnam Marines to go back to VietNam with them. These guys were members of 3/5 Marines. They were part of a wicked operation in 1967. This particular operation saw several Navy Crosses, etc. The first Navy chaplain to be KIA in Nam was killed on this operation, the first day of Operation Swift. How do I play into all this? I was the photographer assigned to them on the first day of this operation. We got our butts kicked.

 

I had never heard of M.C. Escher until about 1971. A friend who lived in the apartment above mine introduced me to his art. I immediately fell in love with the artwork shown here. I finally had a chance to see a collection of his work. Great!!

 

 

 

In 1991, Washington, DC had a very high murder rate. I happened to have been working downtown DC during this period. Some 400 people were killed. I believe it was later determined that most of the murders were caused by drug wars. So, what's a better way to declare yourself a survivor than to wear a T-shirt?!!

 

 

National Geographic Society...I worked there for 35 years as a lab technician. I started off as a Black-and-White Lab Tech and bounced around the lab, finally being a part of the upcoming digital technology. I witnessed many changes there, starting with the family-ya'll come attitude to the if-you've-been-here-5-years-you've-been-here-2-years-too-long policy. But, the gig certainly had its benefits. I worked in areas where I saw the cream of the crop photographs and stories. Unknowingly, viewing between 1-2 million images in 35 years sharpened my religion concerning image quality.

 

Los Angeles...my wife and I LOVE L.A., more in particular Hollywood. Everyone always seems to shake their head in disbelief when they hear us say that. I don't know why, unless, of course, you don't like "seedy".

 

 

 

Ahhh,,,The Washington Nationals. I'm not big of a sports fan. But, when I choose a team, I become diehard. Such is the case with "The team that can't". My love affair began circa 2009. I went to at least a couple of games, preferring to sit and watch the drama unfold. During the past 8 years, I've seen them go from a team that couldn't get out of its own way to a team that seems to buckle under the big pressure. Great stars! But, put them under the lights in cool October nights, they suddenly forget why they're there. Sad!

 

I am....SUPERMAN. Reminds me of the REM song. It would be logical to think that I bought this T-shirt to show off that I am indeed the most self-confident person on the planet. But, the story is far less exciting than that. I bought it as a self-portrait shoot--Superman is performing a voodoo ritual on a stuffed Captain America. Do you see where this is going?

 

 

I bought this T-shirt to remind me of the time and effort I put into photographing the Maryland Renaissance Festival  (MDRF). Each weekend, starting in mid-August, I'd go both Saturdays and Sundays to photograph the happenings at the MDRF. The main reason I liked it was because the people loved being photographed in their costumes. It was great training for my street photography--thinking quick and being ready for the shot. I went each weekend for 4 years. I finally started weaning myself off the MDRF when I noticed that they started dropping the number of acts each year--the quality and frequency began to suffer. But, I remember days in mid-October where the people were so thick I had to tuck my camera to my chest and push my way through the crowd. Oh, yeah! Should you go, be sure to get the turkey leg!

Jazz and volunteerism...For years, I pretended to be a musician. I even went to school for a few years. That was when I learned about the East Coast Jazz Festival. I figured I could see some free music by volunteering. It was a fun gig...and I got this T-shirt  to prove I was "STAFF".

 

 

Ken's BBQ...You gotta eat, right?! This was one of my favorite hangouts whenever the wife and I would go down to see my family when they lived in Birmingham, Alabama. The BBQ was good (I always got the pork BBQ with 2 slices of white bread spread with mayo.), but the coconut custard pie was the best. Once they stopped making that, we stopped going. All 7 of us would put away some pie!

 

 

Another part of L.A. that the wife and I enjoyed was Santa Monica. We definitely were attracted there. Today, I'm hard pressed to tell you why...it wasn't Muscle Beach, nor was it the boardwalk, not even the people. We went for the bicycles. We loved renting the bikes for an hour and riding the path. Panting, we'd return the bikes and head off for lunch in the business district--usually the La Trattoria. (It looks like they've dropped the La and added C&O.) Delicious!! And, since I was a huge fan of Santa Monica, I had to get a T-shirt to remind me of the great times we had there.

 

While I'm talking about L.A., I'll tell you of my experience at the UCLA Jazz/Reggae concert. This happened on our 2006 trip. Listening to the music in the background, my wife and I toured the vendor tents. One in particular caught my eye. It was the Coke versus Pepsi Test. Now, I knew my Coca-Cola. Nothing compared to a very cold (possibly frosty) Coke in a tall glass brimming with chipped ice. As I told the vendor, "I know my Coke!" Sipping each, I smiled and declared which was the Coke (I know my Coke!) A life-changing event then occurred: I was wrong!!! The one I had chosen as my favorite was the Pepsi. Since then, I always ask for Pepsi. And, if they don't have it, I like to beat them into submission with the telling of the day I saw the light and became a believer.

My wife learned to watch me whenever I walked into a souvenir ship. After a 24-hour train ride from DC to Orlando, I wanted to eat at the Hard Rock. Good food, as I recall. But, I was most anxious to go shopping. On that short 30-minute shopping spree, I bought this T-shirt, a fanny pack (which my wife never liked and was happy when the zipper gave out a few months later), a couple of shot glasses and a mug. And, of course, I can't forget the cap. I was strickly a hard-rocker! My love affair with Hard Rock bit the dust years later while in L.A.  The first thing the waitress told us was that we had a time limit in order to eat. Since then, I've never been in a Hard Rock. And, why would I want to be? I still have this T-shirt.

Although my photography hasn't taken me everywhere I want to go, it has offered me a window in the lives of others--things I wouldn't ordinarily give a second thought. Such is the case with the 4-H Club. 4-H is comprised of young students learning what it's like to work in the agricutural field. And, it's also for me because I see them doing things I'd never think of, things like moving a sheep by sticking your finger in its butt. That's a bit too organic for me and I generally feel safe with my camera in my hands.

 

This shirt was given to me by a fellow Marine about 10 years ago. He had been my replacement in VietNam. Then, here we are meeting close to 40 years later. It was a nice gesture from him when he gave me this shirt. It took me years to get over that era in our American history. And, it's nice to be remembered in such a way after so many years apart.

 

 

And, how can I forget the Pig?! Piggly Wiggly is a grocery store I was brought up on growing up in the deep South. Great store with a long history. And, would you believe, I get most of the comments about this shirt. Whenever I'd wear it, at least one person would say something about the Pig.

 

 

This all started with my telling you about my collections, how I've been known to collect just about anything that would catch my eye. And, I keep my things for a very long time, often perhaps too long. Although it's not a T-shirt, let me end with an example of my keeping something just a bit beyond its appeal. This is a hat I purchased in L.A. (where else?!) Santa Monica. I loved this hat but had to retire it a few years ago. But, first I needed that picture to remind me of the great times we had together. Even this photo brings back a smile.

 

 

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog clutter collection photography t-shirts warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2018/2/a-collector Thu, 08 Feb 2018 19:00:00 GMT
Old Havana in words and pictures https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2018/2/old-havana-in-words-and-pictures Havana: Che lives hereHavana: Che lives here

words and images by Warren Wilson

This blog post is mostly a smorgasbord of pictures and  recollections. My trip to Cuba helped to open my eyes to the world of travel photography. Sure, I'd been other places. But, Cuba was the a-ha moment for me and my photography. In ten days, I shot close to 6,000 images. When others in my photo group would opt for an afternoon of rest (aka siesta), I would be sure to be out there in the noonday sun looking for subjects to photograph. My motivation? I wanted to capture whatever I could with my camera. I didn't want to miss a single potential memory. And, I think I came close to fulfilling my goal.

This post is mainly about the pictures I took in Old Havana. Old Havana is a section of Havana. It's obviously older, seeming to be lagging behind the rest of the city. Old buildings. Poor infrastructure. Crowded. But, this section of Havana has soul. The people were amazing! Friendly. Helpful. Humble. So, as you thumb through the Old Havana Gallery, I hope to leave you with a sense of what it was like to be with me walking the streets of Old Havana.

Click here to view my gallery of Old Havana.

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog cuba havana old havana people photography travel warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2018/2/old-havana-in-words-and-pictures Thu, 01 Feb 2018 19:00:00 GMT
The story behind "Muffler" https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2018/1/the-story-behind-muffler Ingenuity, HavanaIngenuity, HavanaA fire extinguisher is converted into a car muffler. words and images by Warren Wilson

My last full day spent in Cuba started early in the morning with a sunrise photography session at the Malecon. Malecon is a Spanish word meaning "a stone-built embankment." It's a dike that stretches for about 5 miles against the backdrop of a redevelopment project. New businesses and tall buildings are making a new footprint in a city that has long forgotten what the era of prosperity was like.

After the sunrise shoot, our group headed to the inner-most heart of Old Havana. With the sun barely over the horizon and dilapidated buildings surrounding us, we walked the streets seeking new photographic ventures. We saw the locals starting their their new day--going to work, hanging laundry and scurrying to their next destination. We even had the chance to stop and talk (through our translator) to some. All were friendly and willing to talk about their lives in Havana. Quite an experience!

As we were leaving the inner-city, we ran across the men shown in the above photograph. Asked what they were doing, they replied that they were making a muffler for their car. Really?! Here, they were making the muffler out of a fire extinguisher. (Note in the right of frame the piece of foam the man is holding. That fire extinguisher was very hot from the heat of the blowtorch.) Needless to say, we were all impressed. I know, for myself, that I'd heard how adaptive the people of Cuba are. But, I didn't expect to run across such a perfect example on my last day in Cuba.

(Just in case you missed the last blog on Havana, click here to a gallery of Havana photographs.)

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog cuba havana people photography travel warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2018/1/the-story-behind-muffler Thu, 25 Jan 2018 19:00:00 GMT
Havana in Photographs https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2018/1/havana-in-photographs Just outside the Havana AirportJust outside the Havana AirportThe first of many signs I'd see in Cuba. Some were anti-American, but not as prevalent as I had thought there would be.

words and images by Warren Wilson

As I might have mentioned before, my favorite thing about traveling is having the opportunity of seeing how others live. And, the people help give me a sense of place. As a photographer, I make every attempt I can to include people in my photography. Sure, sometimes people don't add to a photograph. But, often they do. They help to tell the story.

How do the people live? What are their daily activities? These are questions I try to answer with my photography.

I found Havana, Cuba to be a place I'd always known about. Growing up during the Cuban Missile Crisis in the early 1960's, Cuba was not far from my home state of Alabama. I recall my parents being concerned about the future. Uncertain times, indeed!

From that childhood experience, I followed the story of Castro and his many years as ruler of the small nation. So, when I had a chance to visit the small nation, I jumped at the opportunity.

I envisioned a country of sad people. After all, many years under a dictatorship does tend to wear a people down. Happily, I was wrong. I discovered that the people seemed to love the Americans. I found that to be evident on the 90-minute plane ride from Miami to Havana. The plane was filled mostly with Cubans. Many had items they had bought in the States--mostly electronics. They were a happy group and several were interested why our group was on the plane. We took pictures of each other and got to know a bit about each other.

Initially, I was thinking that my worst fears would be right. As the plane was in its descent to land in Havana, I watched the "shacks" where I assumed many Cubans lived. They looked like they were pieced together with string and bubble gum. I thought "Such a poor nation."

Arriving in Havana, I expected the Customs to be similar to the Customs I witnessed in Hanoi, Vietnam. In Hanoi, I found it to be quite intimidating. The agents were checking practically every bag. Nary a smile. Kinda scary! But, with Havana, although the Customs agents weren't acting jovial, it was a more relaxed atmosphere. I actually found it easier than arriving in Philadelphia after an international flight.

I had hoped to reach Cuba before it became what I call "Americanized". By this term, I mean a McDonalds on every block, a Marriott to stay, and 7-11's to grab a soda. None of those fears were realized. But, I did find the kids to be quick to open their palm for money. I suppose we can forgive them of that; I see that same behavior when I visit downtown Washington, DC.

Our photography group spent three days out of ten in Havana. Such a great city. I know we didn't catch everything there was to see, but we did our best. We had a chance to soak in the city and to be a part of some extraordinary cultural exchanges. The people greeted us with open arms and warm hearts. What more can one ask for?

Find a gallery of Havana images here.

 

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog cuba havana photography travel warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2018/1/havana-in-photographs Thu, 18 Jan 2018 19:00:00 GMT
The story behind "Joyride" https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2018/1/the-story-behind-joyride Joyride words and images by Warren Wilson

It was halfway into my Cuba trip in 2013. I was part of a photography tour traveling Cuba. With only ten days to do Cuba, it's impossible to hit all of it. But, we hit some really memorable cities and small towns. Getting away from Havana, we were able to see how the people lived. And, personally, I found the people in the smaller towns/cities to be friendlier. I had said that I wanted to visit Cuba before it became "Americanized". In Havana, I felt that we had just made it. But, in the country, the people seemed to be interested in why we were there and were more friendly.

Fog in the Vinales ValleyFog rolls in to the Vinales Valley, Cuba. This was our view at the small motel we stayed at. One of our stops was the Vinales Valley. We were there two days photographing the people going through their daily lives. It was a nice afternoon when we rented three convertibles and hit the roads. This particular image at the top was one of many photographs I took that afternoon. I had my wide angle zoom on the camera when I saw this scene. Us in the car having a good time (note the rear view mirror). People out for a walk looking at us (or the car).

This street scene has won several local awards, including one Travel trophy. And, it goes down as one of my favorite images of that trip.

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog classic car cuba photography travel warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2018/1/the-story-behind-joyride Thu, 11 Jan 2018 19:00:00 GMT
Sign up for my newsletter https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2018/1/sign-up-for-my-newsletter words and images by Warren Wilson

Yesterday, I sent out my first newsletter. If you'd like a copy, contact me. Place in the SUBJECT line the word "newsletter". I'll then send you a copy and put you on my newsletter list. I hope to be publishing one every couple of months, if not once a month.

Thanks as always for stopping by,

Warren

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog newsletter photography warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2018/1/sign-up-for-my-newsletter Thu, 11 Jan 2018 16:55:30 GMT
We all have our reasons for avoiding the snow https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2018/1/we-all-have-our-reasons-for-avoiding-the-snow A blizzard attacks Washington, DC area. words and images by Warren Wilson

Being a product of the South, I never really saw much snow while growing up. When it did snow (more than 3 inches), it was cause for celebration--we got the day off from school. And, it was certainly a day to remember. Wow! Look at all that white fluffy stuff!
I remember one particular snowstorm where there was at least 6" left on the ground. Once it stopped snowing, we then had the task of clearing it away. But, we also had time for such things as snowball fights and snow ice cream. Although it doesn't bring back too fond memories, I loved snow ice cream. Taking snow (fresh, of course) and adding vanilla and maybe some sugar, it was a fun treat.

And, I can't forget the kids (from up North somewhere) who would bring their sleds out and we'd all take turns riding down the hilly slope.

My affection for snow ended when I moved northward. Spending New Year's Eve in NYC, I was greeted with a large snowstorm. And a flat tire! It took a while to realize that I had a flat because I thought the problem was the snow. Fixing the flat tire, we made it to Greenwich Village in time to bring in 1968. I don't recall too much about that trip other than my having to deal with the snow.

And, that's the operative here--"deal". For me, snow = work. Ever since I've left the deep South, all I've been doing is dealing with snow. After that New Year's Eve, I then had to drive from New Jersey to Quantico, my next and final duty station. I recall driving through the Quantico gate and seeing nothing but snow as I drove down the 4-lane street of the base.


I remember most of the snows since then. Why?!!! Because I had to deal with them. For instance, the wife and I went to Europe in 2009. We saw some snow, not much. We arrive back at BWI, get our bags, walk out and find that the area had been hit by a blizzard. "Oh, no!!! In the morning, I have to get up and work for hours clearing away the snow."

White Christmas? I only recall one. It was nice, snow angels and all.

Now, here we are again today. I had other plans. I get up and see that it actually did snow (the weather people have been known to get it wrong). That meant what? WORK! Now, my morning is shot and I have to scrape the sidewalk, clear the cars, lay down rock salt...but, it's all been done now and I'm a happy camper (if only I could now find someone to cut the grass when the summer comes).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog photography snow warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2018/1/we-all-have-our-reasons-for-avoiding-the-snow Thu, 04 Jan 2018 19:00:00 GMT
It's all in the story https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/12/its-all-in-the-story HemingwayOld Havana. This older gentleman, living on the equivalent of $5 a month, was a Cuban veteran during the Cold War. He said that he manned a gun that shot down a U.S. jet during the Cuban Missile Crisis. words and images by Warren Wilson

Don't get me wrong. Awards are nice; trophies are nicer. They're one way to keep us inspired. But, what I like best about my photographs are the stories that go along with them. With every picture taken, there's a story. By remembering the story, I take a quick trip back to the time I took the picture.

A couple years ago, I went on a photography tour to Cuba. I wanted to get there before the country had become "Americanized". I mentioned my proposed trip to a camera club buddy and he said he'd like to go with me. Perfect! Here's someone I know and I would avoid that extra free they like to charge for single occupancy.

Ten days and over 6,000 shutter clicks later, I was home sorting through my images from the trip, reliving each moment as though it was unfolding before me again. Just last night I was looking through the images trying to decide which ones I'd use for this blog. That's when it struck me again... each image has its own story. I have a story for most of the images I shot on that trip, even down to the camera I used for a particular shot. That's a lot of stories! But, it's true. Photos help to jog my memory and often bring a smile to my face.

A lot of feedback has come as a result of that trip to Cuba:

  • Getty Stock Agency wanted 4 images for possible resale;
  • I won two consecutive camera club Travel awards;
  • Several images from that trip are my top sellers at art fairs.

Most importantly, I learned that I can touch people with the stories I have. I'd never, up to this point, really been a storyteller. That's when I realized that photography still can open doors for me. And, I suppose that can give life to an older saying that talks about an old dog learning new tricks.

Cuban DominoesThese two American tourists play dominoes.

Two CheThese twins didn't care too much about standing in front of Che for their picture to be taken.

My receiving my second Travel award in two years. Taken near the Vinales Valley, this car was full of teens cruising.

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog cuba photography travel warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/12/its-all-in-the-story Thu, 28 Dec 2017 19:00:00 GMT
I don't have time for Christmastime https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/12/i-dont-have-time-for-christmastime

words and images by Warren Wilson

...just yet.

Life used to be simpler. As a kid, before the TRUTH, I took all that was told to me as the gospel. Then, in the 3rd grade, some kids started picking on me because I still believed in Santa Claus. Confused, I ran home and asked my parents if the kids were right. As I figured they would, my parents straightened it out for me ... YES, there is a Santa Claus, and he'd be coming to see me soon! I breathed a sigh of relief.

Tucked and snugged in the bed that Christmas Eve, I had visions of sugar plums in my head. Santa would be here (the sooner the better). And, I knew Santa had a lot to give me because I had been a good boy the entire year. I could hardly wait.

Then, it happened! I heard a rumbling in the house. Assuring myself that it was Santa most likely stuck in the chimney (even though the house didn't have one), I jumped out of bed and ran into the living room. I could not believe what was in front of me! There, still standing on the basement steps, was my father with what was left from his dropping my Christmas toys.

I was sad that the truth had been revealed. But, I was happy that I could start playtime early. A mixed set of emotions for a child at age 9 to cope with.

The truth had set me free. I now could enjoy the season for what it was intended, the birth of Christ (along with some toys thrown in--a chemistry set I had hoped).

But, as the years have rolled on, I/we have culturally moved on. We no longer regard Christmas as a sacred event. The season has become longer (some people even leave their outside decorations out all year and turn them on around the first of November). Just the other day, I realized that the "countdown" to Christmas is now a thing of the past ... 4 Shopping Days til Christmas. Now, about the only ones that remind you how long you have is the Hallmark Channel. After all, who needs a countdown when we start the celebration two months ahead of time? I think we're all ready for it to explode and shrink back into dormancy.

Just waxing the nostalgic, I suppose. Things change; we change. We're moving at such a hurried pace that the lines for most things have become blurred. And, although I feel at times I'd like to reach back to those days of yore, I realize that I need to deal with the present and where we are at this moment.

It helps to keep me focused.

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog christmas claus culture holiday photography santa warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/12/i-dont-have-time-for-christmastime Thu, 21 Dec 2017 19:00:00 GMT
Music and photography https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/12/music-and-photography

words and images by Warren Wilson

Photography and music, for me, go hand-in-hand. I was fortunate to start each at an early age. Brought up in the 1950's-60's, we had do-wop, soul music, The Beatles, the (first) British Invasion, and Frank and Nancy Sinatra. My brother and I would lie in our beds and listen to AM radio stations---one as far away as Chicago (WLS). We each had these tiny transistor radios with ear plugs.

I picked up the photography bug at about the same time as I discovered music. I'm pretty sure I drove my parents crazy. Each day, I'd had them at least one roll of film to have processed. I know I must have extended their budget!

Music and photography have been with me....well....forever. They've both played a huge role in my life's journey. And, they're both with me still today. Whenever I can, I go photograph music--musicians, instruments, crowds.... I look at each as being part of who I am.

There are so many ways to tackle photographing music.----instruments, musicians, crowds, body shots ... The subjects are practically endless.

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog music photography warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/12/music-and-photography Thu, 14 Dec 2017 19:00:00 GMT
Spoiler Alert: A Sad Christmas Tale https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/12/spoiler-a-sad-christmas-tale Shadow watches over his favorite toy

words and images by Warren Wilson

Descendants of wolves, dogs became our best friends. They go everywhere with us--to the beach, to the park. Starting off as puppies, they, sometimes rather quickly, grow to become adults. And, if we're lucky, they will stay with us for a good ten years.

Well, my dog was an exception. I got Shadow as a puppy. Shadow was a Newfoundland. Already a huge dog at 5-weeks old, I gladly went to the store weekly to buy his bag of dog food. He seemed to really relish the comments people made about him, especially his size.

Shadow went everywhere I went, necessitating the purchase of a SUV in order to place him in the (uncovered) trunk whenever we'd go. He loved to hang his head out the rear tailgate window. Drool everywhere!!

Shadow lived to be 10 years old ... then he made it to 15. Slowly, his eyesight went. Even when he was practically blind, he always enjoyed his weekly trip to the pet store. And, he still liked the comments people made about him.

Shadow made it to age 18. He died last year, a few days before Christmas.

Great dog! Many memories. Many trips to the pet store.

R.I.P., Shadow!

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog dog newfoundland photography tombstone warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/12/spoiler-a-sad-christmas-tale Thu, 07 Dec 2017 19:00:00 GMT
Utah Skies and Sandstone Ledges https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/11/utah-skies-and-sandstone-ledges Sunset over Utah

words and images by Warren Wilson

Just recently got back from a 5-day trip to Utah. While there, I had a chance to visit Canyonlands, Dead Horse State Park, The Arches, and more.While there, I had a chance to pick up a book in the motel that looked really interesting. The book covered the "outlaw" career of Bill Tibbetts. Poor Bill made a group of cattle ranchers angry and caused him to become an outlaw. I marvel at the fact that this took place in the 20th century. Being out "West" was a whole lot different than living in the big east coast city. They were still riding horses and firing guns ... all in the 20th century!!

Since I was going to be out photographing most of the days and nights we were there, I asked my wife to pick up a copy of the book for me. It turns out that the granddaughter of Mr. Tibbetts was now working at the motel. She told my wife a few stories of the wild west.

Skies over UtahNear the Arches, a jet leaves its contrail I'm not a great climber. So, the little climbing I did was a matter of necesity. I only climbed where and when I was forced to. A lot of the rocks are slick because of the sand in its composition. So, if you've never slid down a rocky ledge, take my word for it ... it's a challenge. But, as you can probably surmise, I made it and lived to tell about it. Would I do it again? Probably not. It was kind of like when I went to Kitty Hawk, NC and learned to hang glide. It's not like I ever went truly hang gliding. We learned on the beaches where there were plenty and sand dunes and tons of sand to break our miscalculated landings.

Beautiful country, Utah! Some of the places I visited were an hour's drive away. Leaving very early in the morning (after getting up shortly after I'd gone to sleep--4 a.m.) and driving to spots where it was still pitch black brought home to me the fact that there was no light pollution. I couldn't see my hand in front of my face. Thank goodness for the pocket flashlights! (Be sure to take extra batteries!)

 

 

 

Arches JumperAt the Arches, a young man jumps for the camera.

 

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) arches bill tibbetts blog outlaw photography utah warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/11/utah-skies-and-sandstone-ledges Thu, 30 Nov 2017 19:41:55 GMT
What I'm most thankful for https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/11/what-im-most-thankful-for Talking to MyselfI'm here giving myself a few words of advice on how to adapt to a changing world that is, at times, leaving me behind.

words and images by Warren Wilson

Today is Thanksgiving Day, 2017. And, this is the time of year I spend a lot of time reflecting about the progress I've made/not made during the past months of the year. Usually, I'm trying to do too much. My lists go on forever. I've always said, "If it's on my list, it stands a chance to be done. If it's not on my list, it pretty well stands a snowball's chance of getting done."

I look at what I've done and think of ways to improve during the year coming up. I especially evaluate my photography--do I still want to photograph animals? Do I need to upgrade my camera/lens? Do I need to get on social media?

Social media...a discussion all to its own. I'm finding that it's time to send my business to social media. I've fought it for a few years now. Just like at the gym where I was the only one with a cassette player while everyone had an iPod. I'm slow to conform. But, eventually, I come to terms with the technology. So, this coming year, I need to resolve my relationship with social media.

So, how do I do this? I'm a book reader. Each new subject demands a trip to the local bookstore (alas, in a few more years, we won't have our local bookstore because nearly everyone will be buying online. But, how do you preview a book before the purchase?!) I've already purchased a few and have gotten a head start on next year's goal. Wish me luck on this social media thing. It will certainly be a challange for me.

Here's wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year!

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog photography warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/11/what-im-most-thankful-for Thu, 23 Nov 2017 19:02:57 GMT
What it's like to enjoy what you do https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/11/what-its-like-to-enjoy-what-you-do Government ShutdownGovernment ShutdownPushing my way through a throng of people at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC. One may ask why I'd take such a photo. Well, it combines three techniques I enjoy using--1.) the use of flare; 2,) camera movement; and 3.) street photography. They're combined all in one shot!!!

words and images by Warren Wilson

Life is short. It's too short to be doing things you don't like/hate doing. But, I suppose we all do it at one time or another--that trip to visit in-laws you don't care for (forget the money you put out for the trip), working too hard and too long, or even going swimming when you deathly afraid of the water. For me, it was working too long, too hard--not exactly a feeling of self-accomplishment.

Why do we do these things? I have no idea, but I, after many years of deliberation,  have a solution for it.

Stop what you're doing and start doing what you enjoy. We read about people doing this all the time....so, why can't we seem to get ourselves motivated to do the same?

I retired after 35 years of working at a job that I couldn't seem to let go. I reasoned that the place where I worked had a mighty big influence in the publishing industry, and frequently questioned the reason why I would want to go out on my own. Look at what I have!!!! Isn't life great?! I have all I could ask for.

No, not really.

Sometimes when we decide to finally cut the purse strings, we gain a new sense of accomplishment and energy. Regrettably, for me, this only came with when I retired. I retired early, but I was still battle-fatigued. I stayed way too long doing the same job for so many years that once it was over, I felt a sense of relief and a belated sense of a goal met.

Upon retirement, my wife decided that I would need a hobby to keep me out of trouble. She was actually right and she picked a great hobby for me to pursue...photography. Sure! Why not!? I'd worked in photography my entire adult life. But my savvy wife led me to a side of photography which I hadn't pursued in quite a while--the actual creative aspect of pointing a camera at a subject and getting a picture (the getting of a good picture comes much later).

I knew that whatever I was to take up I'd be sure of one thing--enjoyment. And, for some reason, photography has met that criteria for at least another 12 years. It would probably be a sad day if I was to wake up and realize that photography no longer thrilled me.  It may happen, but probably not. I say that because I'm more in tune with who I am and what I want.

I suppose that if anyone was to ask my advice on whether they should do this or that, I'd have to say...Whatever you may do, enjoy it! Use your enjoyment ranking scale to help determine how long you'll continue.

 

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog photography photos warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/11/what-its-like-to-enjoy-what-you-do Thu, 16 Nov 2017 19:00:00 GMT
What's in a Name? https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/11/whats-in-a-name

words and images by Warren Wilson

It probably happens to me about once every 3-4 years. But, recently, it’s become a bit more frequent. Why, just this past month, it happened to me twice. That is, twice in one day.

What’s going on!? Years ago, a co-worker asked me if I was aware of a certain college in Ashville, NC. The name of the college is Warren Wilson College. Hey! That’s my name! I hadn’t heard of it, but I didn’t miss a tick. I blurted out that my great-grandfather had been the one to get the college started. {smile!}

Since that day, people do ask me “that” question. And, I give them the same answer with a {smile!}.

Have you ever googled yourself? I have. But, each time I do so, all I get are listings for the college. Yeah, I know. Put in the search criteria “not”. I’ve done that and it still doesn’t work for me. Even when I search “Warren Wilson Photography”, the first couple of pages list only the college. So, it’s almost impossible for anyone to find the real me.

A few years ago, I figured the shirt would be a good conversation starter. So I decided to purchase a T-shirt from the college. I called the 1-800 number for the college’s bookstore and ordered the shirt. It should have been my first clue when the person at the store asked me for my name in order to pay by credit card. I proclaimed my name with the dignity of a member of the alumni. She didn’t seem that impressed.

The shirt hasn’t helped my social skills, but at least everyone knows who I am (only when I wear the shirt), or at least they know the name of the college. It’s so difficult to stand out nowadays and I thought that this was the beginning of my 15 minutes. I was wrong. I suppose I need to find another way to be rich and famous.

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog photography warren wilson college warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/11/whats-in-a-name Thu, 09 Nov 2017 19:00:00 GMT
Straight Outta Moab https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/11/straight-outta-moab Sunset over Moab, UtahSunset over Moab, Utah

words and images by Warren Wilson

Just got back from a few days in Moab, Utah. Born and raised on the East Coast, I found it exciting to learn that even in the 20th Century they were still toting guns and rustling cattle. And although I don’t fully understand how those beautiful sandstone structures were formed, I was there to take in the sights—and to photograph.

Moab’s primary industry is tourism. So, very much unlike the East Coast, everyone was friendly and willing to serve. It seemed that there was a restaurant and a motel on every block. Several motels had “No Vacancy” signs. So, here it was late October and the area was still in tourist mode. Warm days and cold nights gave me a sense of early-Summer and late-Autumn on the East Coast, all in one day.

Traffic was a mess on the weekend I arrived. There was an off-road car tournament. Thousands of fans seemed to assault the small city of Moab. The congestion was bumper-to-bumper most of the weekend. But, once the weekend was over, traffic died down and it was much easier to travel. And, the diner wasn’t as crowded.

Living on nights of 4-hour sleeps, I covered a lot of ground including Canyonlands, Arches, and Dead Horse State Park. Had a chance to see some petroglyphs (ancient wall paintings). But, you really need to keep your senses about you as you drive. The roads are winding and, at times, steep.

Should I have a desire to return to Moab, I’d do one thing differently. I’d fly into Grand Junction rather than Salt Lake City International. The drive from SLC is 4 hours. That can be quite a journey early in the morning. But, I made it! And, I’m ready for my next destination—Death Valley.

Gallery images can be found here.

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) arches blog canyoulands moab utah photography travel utah warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/11/straight-outta-moab Thu, 02 Nov 2017 18:00:00 GMT
A (Photo) Visit to Cowtown https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/10/a-photo-visit-to-cowtown Cattle at Cowtown

--words and images by Warren Wilson—

Ask anyone. They’re liable to tell you that I am not the ideal specimen of masculinity. Yeah, true, I sometimes make the attempt to lower my voice and sound mannish. Truth be known, whenever I have a bad cold, my only joy is my imitation of Barry White (in a 1970’s growl, of course).

So, when I tell you I went to Cowtown, it was not to ride a bronco, or even to sling a rope. I went to Cowtown to take pictures of the rodeo. Leaving early in the day, I was to make it from Washington, DC to Cowtown (located in New Jersey) in a few hours. That gave me plenty of time to get to know the area and scout around Cowtown to see what all they have to offer.

It was actually a day of fun! They have horses (which I stay away from), cows, and REAL cowboys. And, if you’re so inclined, you can get your face painted for free!

Cowtown says they are the oldest weekly running rodeo in the USA. The rodeo has plenty of riding, roping, and clowning. It’s a great place to take the family to see what we on the East Coast rarely have a chance to witness.

(Tall) Cowboy @ Cowtown Cowboys

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog cowboys cowtown new jersey photography rodeo warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/10/a-photo-visit-to-cowtown Thu, 26 Oct 2017 18:00:00 GMT
Go Ahead! Take Out the Color https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/10/go-ahead-take-out-the-color U.S. Naval Academy Marching Band

--words and images by Warren Wilson--

It is true! We do live in a world of color. We see it in the sunrise; we see it in the brightly-colored Easter dress. And, we even dream in color. It pervades our sense of reality. But yet, we are capable of escaping, if only for a short while, the hues surrounding our universe. One avenue of escape is through the medium of black-and-white photography. Not everything in photography needs to be in color. There are times where a well-done image void of color can really outshine the color version.

When would we use black-and-white over color? Answer: when the color does nothing to enhance the photograph. When you look at it in this regard, you realize that we are able to take the color out of many of the pictures we see.

And, even after we remove all the color from the image, we can still enhance the image. A sepia tone will give your image a “days gone by” look. Nowadays, you don’t even have to get your hands wet with those awful chemicals. Use image software to strip the color, or even some of the color, out of the image. It will give your photography a different look and will set the image apart from the rest.

 

Couple at the Beach

 

 

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) black and white blog photography warren wilson photography https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/10/go-ahead-take-out-the-color Thu, 19 Oct 2017 18:00:00 GMT
Call It a Field Trip https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/10/call-it-a-field-trip On-Shoulders DayI'm not sure that this is an official day, but it seemed everyone I passed had a shoulder to stand on.

words and images by Warren Wilson

Have you ever lived in a place--a city, a town--and not visited the most iconic/identifiable sites the place has to offer?
I live in the Washington, DC area--been here for years. And, I'm sure I could probably count on two hands the local places I've visited. It's almost like we have to "go somewhere" before we'll call it "vacation", not even considering our local offerings.

Why do you think this is?

Maryland Sheep and Wool FestivalHeld each year on the first weekend in May, this is a very popular festival. (Go on Saturday--the crowds are smaller.) Whenever I think of travel photography, the last place I think of is Washington, DC, I'll think of Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York City...anywhere but nearby.So, perhaps we should all slow down, take a deep breath and become acquainted with our own back yard.  Let's call it a field trip. I know: it's like dressing up a pig. But, think of how much money you'll save by packing a lunch, pulling the kids from their electronics and heading out to that spot you pass by each day and have never been inside. Why, you could take pictures and perhaps impress the neighbors with the new place you've been. Maybe that will inspire them to venture outside their house, too. Maryland Renaissance Festival U.S. Naval Academy Marching Band

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog local sites maryland renaissance festival maryland sheep and wool festival photography u.s. navy marching band warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/10/call-it-a-field-trip Thu, 12 Oct 2017 18:00:00 GMT
Believe it or not https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/10/believe-it-or-not Superman vs Captain America

words and images by Warren Wilson

Pittacus Lore is one. Karen Carpenter sang about him. REM declared they were one. Even Joey Scarbury was one for a while. I suppose we all strive to be more than who/what we are. But, being a superhero isn’t what it used to be. Sure, it sounds great to be able to “think” that burger over to where you’re sitting. Or, it would take a load off you if you could take care of the bully at school. But, it actually gets more complicated than that.

Being a superhero carries with it the weight of using your powers for the betterment of humankind. I think using the ability to fly over the morning’s rush hour traffic wouldn’t fall into the realm of making the world a better place. And, speaking for myself, I know I wouldn’t be able to cut the mustard (although I’ve been told that I’m the greatest). Alas, I am barely able to walk and chew gum at the same time. I probably could use some divine intervention. But, knowing that it probably won’t come my way anytime soon, I can always pretend that I’m a superhero. I can dress up as my favorite hero and, in my mind, conquer all the desperadoes in the world. King of the world!!

Once we are granted the power, we can use it in one of two ways: for the good or for the evil. It’s easy for us to say we’d be on the good side. But, with all that power……

The photo exhibited here is a play on what it would be like to act on the evil/dark side. It shows Superman putting a hex on Captain America. I know, I know…that’s so un-American!

I agree!

But, which force would you fight for?

 

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog captain america photography superhero superhuman superman warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/10/believe-it-or-not Thu, 05 Oct 2017 18:00:00 GMT
Come Undun https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/9/come-undun Cello MotionCello Motion

words and images by Warren Wilson

Trust me: exciting, exhilarating, adrenaline-pumping, and sense-of-accomplishment are all great words to use when something, tried for the first time, works out. It can be a mind-blowing thrill. On the other hand, “come undone” is a term used to the opposite extreme to convey an event not going as well as expected. In shorter terms, it’s a failure.

Yep, I said it. Failure is not a word I like to cling to for an extended period of time. But, there are times in which we need to own it. Owning it doesn’t necessarily mean letting others see your failures. And, that’s something I avoid. I don’t mind talking about the failure, but I never go so far as to show you the proof. “See! Here’s the proof. I failed.”—Nope! That won’t happen here.

Failures in photography are best kept to yourself because you can remedy the situation. We learn from our mistakes. We pick ourselves up and try again, and often, we’ll try again, and again because learning from our mistakes only makes us stronger. Don’t say you can’t do it; work at it until you get it. Or, alternatively, decide that it’s not for you and try something else.

One of my favorite genres of photography is what is called Intentional Camera Movement (ICM). In this technique, you’re already doomed to failure. Finding the right combination of camera settings is different for each subject. The idea is to shoot a lot of images and choose the best two, or three. Persistence is the key.And, remember this: If you aren’t having fun, it isn’t worth it!

Click here for a link to my ICM gallery. All images are for sale. Contact me for information.

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog blur icm intentional camera movement motion photography warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/9/come-undun Thu, 28 Sep 2017 18:00:00 GMT
Ten Days in Cuba https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/9/ten-days-in-cuba People of CubaLeft: A bodybuilder in Havana; Middle: Boys play a game in Old Havana; Right: A Vinales Valley farmer offers a cigar to one of the touring group.

words and images by Warren Wilson

One aspect of foreign travel I enjoy is seeing how other people go about their daily lives. Are the streets filled with cars? Bicycles? Do they buy their bread from a street vendor? Often, their lives are much more different than mine. And, this is what I find intriguing.

I recall, while growing up in the late-1950’s through the mid-1960’s, the ratcheting-up of the hostility between Russia and the U.S.—the Cold War. Those were scary times. In school, we practiced getting under (hiding?) our desks. I suppose we thought that would protect us from a nuclear explosion. Most likely, it was intended to give us the peace of mind that we were protected from all harm.

In particular, I remember the Cuban Missile Crisis. A tiny island just to the southeast of Florida was commanding all the news of the day. The Russians were reportedly installing missiles with nuclear warheads, an act that the U.S. found threatening.

Once this crisis was over, the U.S. placed an embargo on Cuba. For many years, these two countries glared at each other from not-too-distant shores. But, as we all know, nothing lasts forever and the situation began loosening up to a point where they began a cultural exchange.

That’s where I step in. My desire was to make it to Cuba before it became ‘Americanized’. By this I mean a McDonald’s on every block, or maybe even a Holiday Inn. Going in 2013, I feel I accomplished that goal. I never saw an inkling of the giant capitalists. Now, that’s not saying they’re not on their way. They are; I just happened to beat them before they were able to build. Laundry Day

I learned of the “People to People” cultural exchange and was able to find a tour that concentrated on photography. I was there for ten days, visiting the big city (Havana), the medium-sized city (Cienfuegos), and the farm (Vinales Valley).Taking plenty of memory cards, I took 6,000 photos. I jokingly tell everyone that all 6,000 are winners, something I wish was true!

The peoples’ resiliency helped to make me appreciate the human spirit. One example: One early morning, we were walking in Old Havana. We happened across a small group of men working with a blow torch. They were in the process of converting a fire extinguisher into a car muffler.

IngenuityIngenuityA fire extinguisher is converted into a car muffler. “Adapting” is another word I like to use in my description of the Cuba people. They’ve adapted and have made the best of it. I think that’s something we can all learn from.

Click here to view Cuban trip gallery. All images are for sale. Contact me for information.

 

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog cuba photography warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/9/ten-days-in-cuba Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:08:15 GMT
Taking a Step Back--Prague https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/9/taking-a-step-back--prague  

King Wenceslas rides

words and images by Warren Wilson

For the second time in three years, I would revisit Prague. All of this would come about because the first time we visited, we didn’t have enough time to thoroughly visit the Christmas Markets. It’s difficult to soak in the ambience when all you have is forty-five minutes and keep looking to make sure the bus hadn’t left you.

Prague is a beautiful city. And, there’s so much to do there. Planning ahead, I decided that I wanted a different set of photos than I got the previous trip. A few weeks before we left, I searched for a photographer who would give me a tour of the city. The last time I had searched for a photo tour guide, I was going to North Carolina. I put feelers out and the cheapest I could get would have been $450 a day. December 8, 2012It just happened I chose the day of John Lennon's death to tour Prague. If it hadn't been for my tour guide, I would certainly have missed this. It's one of my best-selling images.

That wasn’t quite what I wanted. I wanted a guide to take me around and show me places I’d never seen before in Prague. For $60, I was told I could have 4 hours. I jumped at the chance.

The wife and I get to Prague and the big day came. Of course, it almost never did happen because the hotel clerks told the guide that I wasn’t registered there. But, this guy was persistent and was finally able to convince them I was there about the time I was walking into the lobby for the tour.

Shaking off the anxiety of the nearly-missed tour, we hit some really neat places. We were to only be together 4 hours. But, I bought him lunch and we called it a day at close to suppertime.

Flesh-eating fishTake your shoes & socks off, plop your feet in the tank, and feel the nibbles. What a blast! I was able to get some neat out-of-the-way pictures and that was what I had set out to do. I’d say my favorite stop was at the Art Nouveau Place. There, we came across a metal sculpture by David Černý. It’s an upside down Saint Wenceslas.

That trip to Europe goes down as one of my most memorable. Now, whenever I travel (out of the States), I try to find a local photographer willing to spend a few hours. And, maybe we'll wind up having lunch and getting back way past dark.

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog photo tour photography prague warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/9/taking-a-step-back--prague Thu, 14 Sep 2017 18:00:00 GMT
Project: Money https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/9/project-money

words and images by Warren Wilson

First I Look at the Purse

Money, money. It’s everywhere, right? “Everywhere but in my pocket,” I hear you say. True, we all need it. We even are looking for it even when we don’t actually need it. As they say, it’s the root of all evil today. But, alas, I’m not one who has much. So, I make it a point to document it when I find it. People are funny about their money. When they sense I’m interested in taking a picture of their money, they tend to get a bit uptight and overprotective.

I avoid credit cards. I found early on that I’m too easily persuaded to buy now, pay later. But, I still like to buy “things”. A few years ago, I ran across this formula for saving. It’s a great way to buy a camera.

Here’s the formula: n(n+1)/2

So, if you were start with a penny the first day, on the second day, you’d save $.02, then $.03, then $.04. By day 365, you will have just shy of $668. It’s a great way to save quickly. But, try to avoid overextending yourself. For example, by starting off with $.05 the first day, by the end of the year, you’re saving $18.25 a day. That’s a big sum if you aren’t used to it. The good news with saving multiples of a nickel is that at the end of the year, you’ve saved $3,375. Not quite enough for a yacht, but good enough for a vacation. I rarely find money. It was a big day for me to find this $20 bill on a path.

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog money photography savings warren wilson https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/9/project-money Thu, 07 Sep 2017 18:00:00 GMT
Project: Shooter Shots https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/8/project-shooter-shots

words and images by Warren Wilson

Everyone is now a photographer. Everywhere you go, you see someone with at least a cell phone taking pictures. Have you noticed the cell phone TV ads nowadays? Rather than talk about the phone's communication features, the ads talk about how great a camera their phone is.

So, my idea is to take pictures of people taking pictures--I call them Shooter Shots. I divide the results into two categories. The first, and ultimate, category consists of when I include the photographer's LCD screen showing the picture. The result is capturing the photographer at the decisive moment in his photograph. You, in turn, are doing the same with your photograph--a decisive moment capturing a decisive moment. Try it sometimes--it isn't that easy.

Another category is a more generalized image of people taking pictures. These can really be a lot of fun. People are interesting and you never know what you're going to get.

I like to call the Shooter Shots a form of street photography. Nothing is setup. It's all hit-or-miss. But, with enough practice, you can get decent results. Give it a shot!

 

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog photography shooter shots street photography warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/8/project-shooter-shots Thu, 31 Aug 2017 18:00:00 GMT
Photographs and Memories https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/8/photographs-and-memories Danang, Vietnam. December, 1966.Only two days new to the country, the author tours Danang.

words and images by Warren Wilson

Remember the photo album? Now a relic, it was a reminder of the past. It showed us the good old days of family, friends, events and gatherings—some long forgotten. It was used to help knock those cobwebs out of our memory bank.

Yes, a thing of the past. In this digital age, we have conveniently done away with the desire to physically hold a photograph. We no longer need to purchase film. And, there is no longer a necessity to take the film to the drugstore for prints. Why should we? We have it all there on our computers.

And, that is the problem. It’s all on the computer. Beginning with the premise that you have a backup of all your digital files, I ask “When was the last time the family sat down at the computer and viewed the family photos?”

No need to answer. I think I already know what you’d say. You see, I have had the same problem. I have at least ten years of images on my computer. Yes, they’re separated, for the most part, from the rest of the junk.

A Boy and His DogSummer, 1956. A couple years ago, I realized that having all my images stored on the computer didn’t help when I wanted to share them. So, I went to the craft store, bought a large photo album (500-4”x6”) and began printing my images. I’m on my third book of images now.

So, go ahead. Dust off that hard drive and take a walk down memory lane. Print your images. It’s really isn’t that expensive! You can get a 4”x6” print for as low as $.15. Put them in a photo album. Who knows? You may even place a smile on a sick friend’s face with that photo of the two of you windsurfing!

 

Brother and Sis

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) photo album photography prints warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/8/photographs-and-memories Thu, 24 Aug 2017 18:00:00 GMT
Spiders and Snakes https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/8/spiders-and-snakes Prey

words and images by Warren Wilson

Years ago Jim Stafford reminded me in a song that “I don’t like spiders and snakes.”  Not much has changed since then. I still find them to be creepy creatures with a tenacity in finding me. Spider webs seem to find my face as I’m walking down the driveway. Snakes find me in the yard, the woods, and even in my house!

I suppose as a boy that it was fun to go out searching for snakes hidden under logs in the forest. There was no just cause to hunt them down; they certainly weren’t bothering me. But, those days are gone. The farther they stay away from me, the more secure I feel.

Of course, I still find a fascination with them. Do you remember the 1990 horror movie Arachnophobia? I attended opening night. Watching the movie in a packed theater with everyone screaming throughout most of the movie is something I’m sure I’ll never forget. I think we all like to be creeped out, even for just a little bit! But then we settle back to reality, the reality of “we don’t like spiders or snakes”.

Snakes in the HouseLeft: A 6-foot Black Snake found its way into my house and decided to hang out on the blinds. Right: A self-portrait of 'The Snake Charmer'. They say that spiders are good to have in the house. They seek out the bugs we don’t want in the house and eat them. I don’t know about all that….after all, a bug is a bug is a bug. To me, each one is as creepy as the other. I always keep a can of bug spray in each room, with plenty of spares in the pantry. My motto remains “Not a bug passes my way without a spray”. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog photography snake spider warren wilson photos https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/8/spiders-and-snakes Thu, 17 Aug 2017 18:00:00 GMT
Squirrels https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/8/squirrels words and images by Warren Wilson

Watch a squirrel sometimes. Aren’t they industrious?! They are great gatherers, always working toward an end goal. They seem to always be up to something. If they aren’t procuring nuts, flowers, or even bird seed, they’re sitting out-of-range watching you dig that hole in the garden. (Have you ever wondered who dug-up your newly planted zinnias? Yep!...you guessed it…that squirrel that sat watching you work.)

They seem to always be constantly on-the-move, fulfilling a purpose we are unaware of. Personally, I’d like to inherit some of those qualities...imagine what all I could get done!! Always-with-purpose does have a great ring to it.

Who can hate a squirrel? They always seem friendly enough. But, don’t be deceived. If they are sharing their cuteness with you, most likely you have something they want.

But, they have enemies. Their resourcefulness doesn’t always sit well with us, especially when we hear them in our attic or when they have figured a way to get to the bird seed out in the back yard. The battles can be endless. Red-Tailed Hawk eyeing a squirrel

Besides us, they have other predators, foes that none of us would want to be on the wrong side of. One day, I was eating lunch in a city park. I heard a commotion and looked up to watch a squirrel scurrying from limb to limb. This squirrel had a purpose—it was trying to elude a red-tail hawk. The squirrel was giving the hawk a run for its money. The squirrel seemed to be easily winning the battle. But, I had the give the hawk credit also. It remained persistent in its quest to catch the agile squirrel.

I took a few pictures, got bored and sat down to finish my lunch. Just as I was packing up to leave, I looked up just as the hawk was flying off with the squirrel firmly in its talons. The hawk had won the battle but all I could think about was the missed photo opportunity (and, of course, the poor squirrel).

So, next time you see a squirrel, show a bit more love. Remember that they don’t have it as easy as that happy, little face appears.

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog nature photography predator red-tailed hawk rodent squirrel https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/8/squirrels Thu, 10 Aug 2017 18:00:00 GMT
Time After Time https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/8/time-after-time  

Firefall FansMusic group Firefall enjoys having their picture taken at a recent concert in Annapolis, Maryland. words and images by Warren Wilson

Why was this happening to me?!

It seemed that each time I photographed a subject with people in the image, I would be stopped by a security guard. The guard would then ask me all sorts of questions in regard to why and what I was photographing. I didn't like the stops because it was happening much too often.

The final straw came at an indoor concert. I saw that many of the people around me were taking pictures. Not wanting to be left out, I pulled my Canon PowerShot out of my pocket. As soon as I started taking pictures, an usher interrupted my concentration with "No one is allowed to take pictures in this venue." So, I informed the usher that once they told everyone else with a SmartPhone to refrain from picture taking, then I would comply to their rule. They left me alone.

That was when I had my A-HA moment. (They really don't come that often!) Of course!! There was really a simple solution...I needed to blend in. So, I found myself a SmartPhone that was no longer smart. And I began using the phone as a camera when I thought there would be a chance of my being called out for taking pictures. 

I am proud to say that this tactic has worked. And, there have been times when these cell phone images have been better than what I could get with a larger camera. So, when you need to be inconspicuous, go low tech!

Double the Fun!Kid Rock performs on two screens.

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) black and white cell phone cell phone photography music photography warren wilson https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/8/time-after-time Thu, 03 Aug 2017 16:34:03 GMT
High-wheel Bike Race https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/7/high-wheel-bike-race High-heeled Racer

words and images by Warren Wilson

Each August the city of Frederick, Maryland hosts The National Clusters Spires High Wheel race, the only one of its kind in the U.S.A. If you have a difficulty understanding that that might be, I'll simplify--it's a bicycle race where the cycle dates back to the 1880's. The front wheel is about five feet high, while a much smaller wheel brings up the rear of this two-wheeler.

The cycle was first invented in 1871 by James Stanley. His was an improvement over the attempts made by his predecessors. Initially canned the Penny Farthing, Stanley's high-wheel bicycle became very popular.

The racers in the Frederick race cycle around a perimeter of city streets for an hour. As they pedal, volunteers throw water up to them. And, at the end of the hour, the rider who has clocked the most rotations wins.

OpponentsTwo racers vie for position.

I still marvel at how anyone can get up so high to ride a bicycle. But, I'm guessing, that's why we have the more-down-to-earth bicycles of today. There's even a place for the kids!

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) bicycle frederick maryland national clusters spires high wheel race penny farthing https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/7/high-wheel-bike-race Wed, 19 Jul 2017 17:47:49 GMT
I Miss Infrared Film https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/7/i-miss-infrared-film Allen Pond, Bowie, MDShot with Efke IR820, this film was scanned and colorized in Topaz Adjust.

 

words and images by Warren Wilson

I’ve found that what gets you started in a hobby has a way of sticking with you. I began my journey with photography as a child with a Brownie camera in hand. My parents found it cheaper to feed my habit with black and white, rather than color, film. All I did, especially during the summer, was take pictures. Pictures of dogs, cats, the neighborhood, friends, family, the family car…

Black and white/Monochrome has a way of inspiring me. It has a quality that seems to be lost with color. An oldies movie filmed in black and white comes on the cable station and I’m there for the next couple of hours. There’s just something about those shadows and the way the director lighted the scene. A sense of mystery has a way of keeping my interest.

Lake Artemesia, College Park, MD.Shot with Efke Infrared film, a bridge leads to a stand of trees. And, as with most things I do in photography, I’m always looking for an outside-the-box approach, something that makes the image stand out from the crowd. I’ve found that infrared photography is one technique that helps me do that. I prefer infrared film over digital, mainly because I don’t want to spend $400 to have my camera converted to infrared.

Going the film route, I settled on Efke IR820. I would use a Hoya R72 filter, a red, opaque filter and expose at f/16 for upwards of 3 minutes in bright sun. A bit slow, for sure, but it helps you plan your shot decisions—whether or not it’s worth the time to make the setup and exposure.

I would then hand-process in black and white chemicals, scan my favorites, process them digitally and then print.

The film has a soft, glowing effect which I find perfect for colorizing. Back in the day, I’d use Marshall Oils to paint the monochrome image, usually Sargeant Warren Wilson, 1968Shot with Infrared Polaroid on a matte surface. But now, with today’s technologies at hand, I prefer experimenting with various software plug-ins. Topaz Adjust has worked well in how it handles infrared. I can flip through the various options, choosing the one that’s close to my vision.

Sadly, Efke IR820 has met the fate of many other films—it’s no longer manufactured. Although I still have a few rolls in the freezer, they expired a few years ago.

We’re now witnessing a resurgence in the popularity of black and white photography. With that, there’s a hope film will become popular enough to make it to the store shelves. And, one can only dream that infrared film will make a return. I hope so. I miss those walks in the woods and 3 minute exposures.

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) Efke IR820 Warren Wilson colorizing film infrared photography https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/7/i-miss-infrared-film Thu, 06 Jul 2017 19:04:52 GMT
My favorite camera of all times https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/6/my-favorite-camera-of-all-times words and images by Warren Wilson

Government ShutdownGovernment ShutdownPushing my way through a throng of people at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC.

You'll probably notice that I like to talk a lot about the cameras I have used. I've owned quite a few over the years--from a Mamiya C33 to a small digital, waterproof camera. Concentrating on the positive, there are a few cameras I have always loved. My favorite camera has been my Canon G9. I liked the camera so much that when it finally died, I bought a slightly used one. Yeah, I know---it's noisy after ISO 200; it's not necessarily quick to focus and shoot; flare is easily introduced. But, you see, these are the main reasons I call it my favorite camera.

 

Some reasons why I like the G9:

  1. Live View. I really got used to WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get). Just by looking at the back screen, I can tell how good my exposure is, whether I have flare, whether it's sharp, and what all the camera sees as part of my picture.
  2. Flare-crazy. The G9 hates flare. Point the camera toward the sun and look at your live view screen. Take a picture. You may like the results.
  3. Slow to focus. Now, this can be a good thing. Have you ever heard of Intentional Camera Movement (ICM)? Press the shutter quickly while moving the camera. The camera doesn't have time to react and do everything properly. Experimentation is the key here.

 

The camera has served me well. It's a great camera for when I don't feel like taking my DSLR with its array of lenses. I stick it into my coat pocket or throw it over my shoulder. I'll be ready for that next shot!

 

 

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blur camera canon g9 flare intentional camera movement motion photographic technique https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2017/6/my-favorite-camera-of-all-times Thu, 22 Jun 2017 15:17:30 GMT
Frosty https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2016/12/frosty words and images by Warren Wilson

Blown-over JollyFrosty in a less-than-happy stance It happens this time every year. I get the bug to go photograph, of all things, Frosty the Snowmen. Notice I say "men" and not "man". It's a collective thing. The more the merrier.

Frosty, to me, is the one who makes this season so jolly. I'm kinda tired of Santa, as he's probably tired of me. "Try something new", they say. And, this is it for me.

Foggy FrostyFrosty left out in the fog But, there's one catch. I do my best to catch Frosty in the least flattering pose I can.  We're all used to seeing the jolly snow man all decked out and looking his most appropriate. I strive to take away his smiley, smiley edge and make him a bit more human...OK, I try to make him look stupid.

I've included a couple of images for you to get the idea. Frosty Majestic Frosty's Night Friends

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) christmas frosty photography https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2016/12/frosty Thu, 29 Dec 2016 01:47:55 GMT
Every picture tells a story (don't it?) https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2016/12/every-picture-tells-a-story-dont-it words and images by Warren Wilson

Well, I went and did it.....starting a second blog....even knowing that I don't have the time to do it. But, a new year is just around the corner and I'm feeling all inspired and fresh to do battle. Someone recently said, "Don't wait til the New Year to do something. Do it now while you're still pumped up about the possibilities of a new season, a time where all things are possible and, yes, we are going to get it done."

Since this is a new blog, I want to tell you my plans. It's something I've been thinking about for some time now. And, I think part of it has to do with the fact that I'm avoiding social media like the plague. Sure, I've tried it. But, I haven't felt that same "pull" I feel from talking about photography.

I've been in photography for a very long time....so long it's hardly worth mentioning. But, in all of that time, I NEVER felt photography like I have in the past ten years. You might ask, "What happened ten years ago?"

Ten years ago, my wife got me my first Fuji 2MP digital camera. Now, it was me who had told her just a few years before that to get me an Instamatic, that I was done with photography as an art form, that I'm burned out from all the chemicals (actually, I think I lost my sense of smell as a result of working with fixer and other non-environmental mixes for so many years.) Yes, just get me an Instamatic.

But, the first time I picked up that Fuji digital, I was hooked. LOOK! No film to rewind, take to the store to be processed, pick up your prints......Film had suddenly become cheap. I suddenly saw the light: A memory card held so many promises!!

Over these past ten years, I've had 2 camera systems. It's probably time for the third. But, that will only be a full-frame body. I'm never been this fired up for photography!

This blog (have I told you yet?) will be about the stories and recollections and trials of picture taking. You do it long enough and you see just about all there is to see...amongst them the ones that tell you that you just broke a rule, that you just photographed an item that you shouldn't have, etc. If there is anyone in the world who has been stopped more than I have, I'd like to trade stories with you. I may even let you guest-blog here (giving me a week off).

Yes, it's true, I will stick with the one-a-week rule no matter how "Happy New Year" I may feel at the time.

I run another blog. It's good but I have difficulty talking about something I'm only vaguely familiar with. That blog is about "Adventures in the Animal Kingdom." I've had my ups-and-downs with it. It's going OK. (Check it out http://www.warrenwilsonpetphotography.com/blog).

No photos this week. Maybe next week I won't be as long-winded and I can get down to business with the purpose of the blog. I've got a lot of stories to tell and there's usually a photo or two thrown in.

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warren_eugene@hotmail.com (Warren Wilson PHOTOS.) blog photography https://warren-wilson-photos.com/blog/2016/12/every-picture-tells-a-story-dont-it Tue, 20 Dec 2016 03:47:55 GMT