I blink therefore I am

Well, I’ve blown my posting schedule so I will stop making promises about regular posts.

One reason is all this running back and forth to San Diego. It has been fun, but exhausting.   I also just got a shiny new car and have had fun getting it all tricked out.  Got some tasteful license plate frames that sparkle subtly and a custom license plate with my name, Bethany, on it.

After I bought the custom plate, Geoffrey reminded me that I had better watch what I say on NextDoor as I will be highly visible in our neighborhood now, LOL! Oops.

Back to this post. I recently attended an Art Wolfe seminar. Wolfe is a pioneering photographer, known world-wide, as well as artist and author (over 100 books). He has been everywhere that any of us could imagine wanting to take photographs or sketch or paint.  In fact, he was among the first photographers to climb Mt. Everest some 45 years ago. But Wolfe is both a pioneer, a master and an iconoclast.

His instruction in this particular day-long seminar was about finding extraordinary art in ordinary, everyday places and subjects.  He tells his students that there is little excitement in taking the 2000th shot of the Tetons or Iguassu falls, penguins on ice in Antartica or a monastery jutting out from a cliff in the Himalayas. Lots of people have been there and done that.

Instead, he looks for beautiful possibilities in plain or even ugly places and objects.  Up for a challenge, I took 100 pictures all around Valencia and sought out the ugliest things I could find. The results were really encouraging. This post features just a handful of my processed pictures.

As always, I used my four digital cameras (mostly the Nikons, D800 and D610, with their best lenses) and shot in RAW, then turned the best 75 of those shots into TIFs in Lightroom; then took the TIFs into Photoshop to make any further adjustments (like cropping in tight, while maintaining the original ratio so size and information were not compromised, or straightening them or removing excess noise or distracting artifacts, etc.). Often that was all they needed, but I also ran some of them through the various programs in Topaz (I have them all, the latest versions of Textures and Glow, being my favorites). I selected the best 50 or so and turned them into the final, lossy JPEGs.

The originals would really make you laugh and can be seen on my Flickr photostream.

Now when I am out with my cameras (and I always have at least one with me, or use my phone when desperate), I purposely seek out subjects with exceptional characteristics Wolfe listed in his neat little summary: line, color, texture, or all three. He takes people on photographic safaris all over the world, all year long, so I plan to sign up for one when I can snag a block of time. Pretty exciting.

The meaning of the title of this post is conciously conceiving of your eye as a camera, or deliberately making your camera do what your eyes and mind do automatically. When we look at something, we immediately process it in our mental machinery and the result is usually added values. If we can train ourselves to use our eyes and camera together as one artistic assembly, we can produce limitless, original works.

Wolfe frames and sells many of his to museums, offices, homes, and public spaces. When you see them framed, you realize the genius of his eye and mind. I hope to train myself along those lines.  All of these pictures in RAW were over 40 feet wide in their original format.

Another reason I have been so busy and therefore absent for longer stretches here, is that we have decided to buy a condo in Downtown San Diego. My next post will be about that. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am at the prospects there.

My in-laws have planned a family trip to a resort scheduled for two weeks this summer and then my family is making their annual pilgrimage to Plum Island in July, so I have a lot of decisions to make, upcoming. I am now just keeping a set of suitcases in the foyer. With all this traveling, no point in putting them away.

We plan to head to the beach in Ventura on Saturday. It is supposed to rain, but that just makes the prospect of dark waves and lots of wind-whipped seafoam all the more attractive to my Yankee heart.  If we do go, I will be bringing the cameras, natch.

Miss you all and love you! Stay tuned.

Images: Chez BeBe assets: Art of the Real originals



28 Comments on “I blink therefore I am”

  1. Wow, great manipulation of these photos, Beth!
    I finally broke down and used the slide/negative scanner I bought last year, so have been able to use my old slides on my blog. It also pushed me into purging them – took me an entire month!
    Next up: scanning my negatives!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well done Beth! Worth the wait. Not sure why I’m so fascinated with the picture that looks like a sandwich with melting cheese oozing out of it. My imagination is having way too much fun with these pictures.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you JM.

      That was a stack of tiny metal “shims” glued to the inside of a gate to hold it tight to concrete. The glue was yellow and the blue was rust! It was about 1.5″ square and I rotated the frame 90 clockwise. Hee hee.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jen you are so good to me. I will be over to catch up this weekend. I hope you are all well there. We are just counting the days here, one by one and hanging on. ❤ ❤


  3. I was going to ask you what that first shot was, then realized I didn’t know what many of them were. What is that one purplish, just before the fence looking thing? And OK, the first one, too? These are all just lovely, real works of art. Now I see why you suggested Art Wolfe. What do you mean they were all forty feet wide? The thing, or the photo? Or the final piece? So now you’ll have three homes?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry for the delay, BF.

      So the first one was a dandelion. The purplish thing was concrete in a parking lot. They are all on my Flickr photostream: https://www.flickr.com/photos/a_tree_grows_in_valencia/

      The shots in RAW were very wide. That enabled me to crop and pull in tight on small portions of them and then do the processing on the details to make them into abstracts like these. The subjects themselves were not that wide. I blew them up so I could crop them down and emphasize detail. Does that make any sense?

      The main reason I suggested Art Wolfe to you was not for these abstracts, but more for his photo-journalist anthropological studies of the world and all the exotic places you like. He has been an artist and a photographer for over 50 years so he has been everywhere on earth, takes tours to exotic remote locations to film/photo and has written 100 books on all his travels, discoveries, collaborations and award winning work.

      Yes, technically. Right now we own our Valencia home, rent our Burlingame home (and may buy it) and plan to buy an investment home in DTSD. We will sign it up with HomeAway or Air BnB so it earns income and then later we can have it for family or ourselves.

      Thank you for all these great questions. I plan to focus the next post on our Downtown discoveries.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Robin. I have been experimenting with making some sort of artwork, as you can see. I am not sure where my photography hobby is headed but I am having fun with it in my spare time. I carry the camera around when I can and when I don’t have it, I find my phone takes very good pictures. xo


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