…in Yosemite National Park, California.
Independence Day 2015
Before Columbus made his fateful voyage in 1492, there was no United States. And there was no Canada or Peru or Columbia or Mexico or Cuba and on and on. The United States is referred to as the land of immigrants, but the entire Western Hemisphere is the result of immigration. Europeans, African slaves, Asians – all traveled to and settled in North and South America. The indigenous tribal nations of the Americas were conquered by the immigrants and new nations arose. And in these nations, new citizens called themselves by their nation-names – Cubans, Mexicans, Canadians, Colombians, etc. Just one name. Not two. Descendants of African slaves also live in Haiti, Cuba, Brazil and they call themselves Haitians, Cubans, Brazilians. Not African-Haitians, African-Cubans, African-Brazilians. Descendants of Italians in Argentina call themselves Argentinian. Descendants of the Spanish in Columbia call themselves Columbian and on and on. Only in American do we hyphenate our personal history. “Fill-in-the-blank”-American. Why? Surprisingly it was a Canadian who pointed this out to me. She said, “why are people in this country afraid to say that they’re from here? Why do they always say they’re from someplace else?” I’m not sure that we’re afraid to say we’re an American, but we don’t identify with it. We identify with our heritage. And it doesn’t matter if you’re 5th generation American – I still hear, “I’m Italian.” In the past the Italians were Romans but that changed. At what point aren’t you just an “American?” With our different complexions and facial features our ancestral heritage is obvious. But maybe if we only referred to ourselves as Americans, that might bring us together. So when we hear about an injustice to another American, we won’t say, “I’m not an African, Japanese, Hispanic-American so I don’t care.” We’ll say, “It’s an American calling for help and I’m ready.”
Anyway, I’m just an American and if I decide to visit the
European countries of my heritage, then I’ll need my passport.
I’m not one who uses the Daily Show or Stephen Colbert to keep me up-to-date on the news, but it was on the Colbert Report that shows the damage that free reporting – aka “CNN’s iReport” is doing to the jobs of editors and photojournalists in the field – 50 of them are being laid off. When a CNN viewer photographs/videotapes an event and uploads it to the news organization – they are working for free, letting CNN profit off their work and putting Americans out of a job. That momentary elation of “look Ma, my photo/video is on the the news!” has evolved into employees losing their jobs. Free reporting is obviously not a good idea.
If I’m ever in a position to photograph a newsworthy event, I will be paid for my services. I don’t work for free.
Click on Colbert Report – CNN iReporter to take you to the video.
Travel across this bridge and you’re heading in the direction of Skywalker Ranch.
Photo was taken before leaving for London.
What was created as the name of a software program, has evolved in it’s meaning. This is obviously not news to anyone, but can be frustrating to photographers. I have family members showing me 4×6 inch prints, poorly photographed, lacking image definition and detail, poor color, etc. and they’ll ask, “You can photoshop this, right?” In other words, “make it look absolutely perfect”. When I say no, they give me that quizzical look, “Why not? You know photoshop.” I’ll be polite and ask to see the film negative thinking, maybe there’s more detail there. “I don’t have the negative. It’s lost. Why should that matter?” Yikes, I’m dealing with amateurs. Yes, I realize that photos from 1920 are “restored”, but these 1960 images don’t fall into that category for me. I’m not going to spend hours “creating and filling in” to make it look wonderful.
Which brings me back to my use of Photoshop. I used to have a B&W darkroom. (I left color processing and printing to the labs.) I had a print processing setup purchased from Spiratone (remember them?) for making quickie 5×7 prints for clients. (If anyone remembers what the process was called, let me know.) And I also made prints with equipment I purchased from Zone VI -for images that were important to me personally. I used my darkroom in the manner that was typical – dodging/burning/setting up contrast via filter or paper/processing time, etc. And this is how I essentially use Photoshop, as an electronic darkroom, dodging, burning, contrast, etc. Yes, I employ some tricks of the trade as any photographer would do for clients, but for personal work, I generally like to keep it simple.
The image above is an example of that process. It was shot quickly, before my kids had a chance to move. The place is Monument Valley and the sun was rising. Dodging, burning, creating masks, adjusting contrast were my tools to create the image. Just like in a darkroom, but I admit, more convenient because I could turn my computer off when I was tired, save everything and return the next day when I had time to reflect on my work. That, for me, is the real advantage Photoshop has that a darkroom doesn’t.
I thought it was time for a facelift for my blog.
Small changes can really make a big difference.
Today is the final mission of NASA’s Space Shuttle program and there is no replacement. There are plans for future missions, space vehicles and the like, but I’m not feeling confident. We can’t get our debt in order or have a serious energy policy or start creating new jobs (the ending of the Shuttle program is costing even more job loss – both in government and the private sector), and on and on. I don’t live in a fantasy world. There have always been and will always be problems/challenges to solve. But when you are the leader in the world in space technology and exploration why would you want to acquiesce that role? For, at least, the next 5 years the Russians will be taking our astronauts to the space station. Wow. Will we have another “Sputnik Moment” when the Chinese threaten to push us into 2nd place in space exploration? I hope so. Our elected leaders, both liberals and conservatives, preach that we are “The Greatest Nation in the World”. Being “Great” means to achieve and we’re not achieving much except agreeing to take a back seat to the future.
Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of Britain, said it best in his memoir:
“A friend of mine whose parents were immigrants, Jews from Europe who came to America in search of safety, told me this story. His parents lived and worked in New York. They were not well off. His father died when he was young. His mother lived on, and in time my friend succeeded and became wealthy. He often used to offer his mother the chance to travel outside America. She never did. When eventually she died, they went back to recover the safety box where she kept her jewelry. They found there was another box. There was no key. So they had to drill it open. They wondered what precious jewel must be in it. They lifted the lid. There was wrapping and more wrapping and finally an envelope. Intrigued, they opened it. In the envelope were her U.S. citizenship papers. Nothing more. That was the jewel, more precious to her than any other possession. That was what she treasured most.”
Happy 4th of July.
Just got back from my yearly mancation. This year my buddy was wishing that he had one of these as a pet.
On Memorial Day, I pause to honor those who selflessly gave all to our nation. Thank you.
A street scene from Paterson, NJ around 1970. Woolworth’s was a favorite spot of mine. My best friend and I would walk through the toy department, have a cherry sundae at the counter and rummage through the vinyl records. I was a fan of Chuck Berry, found one of his records in the bin, and asked my friend, a musician, “Who’s the black guy?” Well, he didn’t stop laughing. Some fan I was. I didn’t even know what Chuck Berry looked like.
The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the Civil War, the Union victory that ended General Robert E. Lee’s second and most ambitious invasion of the North in 1863. Often referred to as the “High Water Mark of the Rebellion”, it was the war’s bloodiest battle with 51,000 casualties and the setting for President Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address”. (info from the National Park Service website)
Who knows where I am?
I posted a new photo gallery titled “Life” on my Rich Green Photography people and lifestyle website (as opposed to my RJGreenphotography site which focuses on my corporate work.
Okay, here are my Top 8 television shows of all time (it’s not that I can’t have a top 10, I just have 2 empty spaces waiting to be filled):
1- Farscape – those who share my love for this series understand my addiction to it.
2- Star Trek (original series) – I watched every sequel – TV or movie, liked some, hated some, but I still love Kirk the most.
3- Seinfeld – I highly recommend the Kramer Reality Tour in New York City. Google it for info.
4- Andy Griffith Show w/Don Knotts – an American comedy that rises above everything else.
5- The X Files – The first 7 seasons. Always knew that there were aliens but loved the ambiguity.
6- 24 – I want to be Jack Bauer
7- Eureka – Can’t explain it, but I love this series.
8- Dexter – I knew about Dexter, and was familiar with Michael Hall from “6 Feet Under” but didn’t think that I would like a show about a serial killer. All I can say, this show catapulted to the top almost immediately. I am on the edge of my seat watching it.
Now I have plenty of second tier shows that I love – Battlestar (Ron Moore edition), Green Acres (it’s hilarious), The Invaders – if I started a list of top ten show openings, this one would be at the top of the list.
So, this is my list. What’s yours?
Early morning joggers in Washington, D.C.
Are you a lifeguard when there is no one to guard?
The other face I never tire of looking at.
One of my concerns is what image to display on the homepage of my corporate website. When a potential client clicks onto my site, within 5 seconds or less he or she has decided to stay or go. While my work falls into several categories, I usually put a scenic style photograph. My feeling has been, “I’ll hit them with something pretty or interesting and then they’ll click to see my portfolio.” Obviously this works some of the time but the trick is to increase the number of visitors who click through. I haven’t been able to figure out what really works best for me, so I change images often. But on this occasion I decided to take the “throw’em all in” approach. Let’s see what happens.
Once a year in Paterson, home of Lou Costello, we hosted the annual Frisbee game competition.
Pictured above is a winner (on the right).