Sunday, April 29, 2007

Moved out

I've logged since moved out of this blog. Please visit my blog at:

Friday, January 12, 2007


This past week I have been posting photos on my photo blog that I took some 2 years ago. I wanted to get back to my black and white roots. I missed them.

The digital camera that I used at that time, my Minolta DiMage A1, had a black and white mode, which I loved to use. Sure, you can convert from color to black and white, but this made it seem almost like shooting black and white.

Now, on to the intimacy:
When I lived in Texas, my photographic choices were limited. Texas doesn't have a lot of greenery, nor water. That said, living in north Texas, it is difficult to do much nature photography. If you want an example of this, take a look at any photo book in the book store. You'll fabulous pictures in books on Virgina, North Carolina, South Carolina, etc. However, when you get to the book on Texas you'll see some cactus, a few mesquite trees, shrubs, and the scene that everyone photographs, the wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country.

In north Texas, there are few parks, most of the trees have been cut down to factiltate housing, there are few rivers and greenspaces.
I had to photograph what I could and make the best out of it, so I chose 3 places that I liked to photograph.

1. Las Colinas golf course - This was easy pickings, as they say. It was about 1/2 mile from my house. I used to go there on my way to work and photograph the golf course during the early dawn hours.

2. Trinity River Park - This was a long and very narrow park that ran along the Trinity river fork that came through Irving, TX. Basically it was several miles long, but perhaps a couple of hundred feet wide. You could always here the cars whizzing by.

3. Lake Worth - This lake was about 1 mile from where I worked. On overcast days, I would go to the lake and take pictures. This is where I got the picture of the fisherman.

So, why do I feel that my pictures taken in Texas were better than most of those taken here in NC?

I became very intimate with those 3 areas and my photographs show it, or at least I think so.

In June of 2004, I moved to Charlotte, NC. North Carolina is a nature photographer's paradise! There's so much to see and to take photographs of. In Charlotte, public parks, streams, rivers, trees, trees, trees abound everywhere that you look. There is such a thing as too much choice. Perhaps it's sensory overload. I've been all over the place.

In evaluating my shots, I realize that the best ones come from the places that I have visited many, many times. For example, I always come back with good shots from Seabrook Island, SC. I know the island well. As a matter of fact, I'm going down there this weekend. This time, I think that I'll take a walk on the inside of the island and photograph it. I've never done this before. There are beautiful trees with fantastic beards of Spanish Moss hanging down and lush vegetation everywhere.

So, now, with this knowledge in hand, I think that it is time for me to go those places that speak to me. Places where I can sit back, relax, wait, and listen to that inner voice. Places where I have that intimacy. Places that I understand.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

So, why don't you sell your prints II

Imagine my surprise when I got this e-mail today:

Dear Mr. Lester,
My name is ______ and I am a Gorilla Keeper at the North Carolina
Zoo. I was just searching for some pictures online of animals at our
zoo and came across some of yours and then your website. The pictures
of the gorilla are amazing and so are the baboon ones too. I also work
at Africa Pavilion, so I spend a lot of time with the baboons and the
other animals inside the building as well. I was just curious if you
sold any of your photos at all and how much because there are some that
I would love to get and I know some co-workers of mine would too!

So, since I've been approached about 3 times in about 7 days to sell my photos, I went ahead and established an account so that I can sell them. We'll see how it goes.

Next is a redesign of the website, at some point, to make it look professional, and not just another blog. No, I'm not going Hollywood, I just want to put on a better presentation.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New dependent!

I finally won one, after much trying. I was able to get the guy to put a buy it now price on this baby. So, now I'll have a range finder. I've always wanted one.

So, streets, look out, here I come! I hope that it arrives before Friday as we are going out of town to, where else, the beach on Saturday morning.

Working for the bank has it's advantages. We get a holiday nearly every month. :-) So, for MLK day, we'll be at the beach.

Now all I need is some good 'old' expired film. I've already ordered by film processing tank. I have chemicals, already. I'm ready to shoot. It will be interesting to do film again. I don't know how long it will last, but I hope that it will be for some time. I'd like to think that I'd use this camera at least 10% of the time, or 100% of the time for street photography. Back to simplicity. 1 lens, no tripod, no instant gratification.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Deeper still

I was cruising around Luminous Landscape and clicked on the What's New link. I read an article by George Barr, who is a full-time physician and part-time fine art photographer. The article was talking about taking your photography to the next level. But, in order to take it to the next level, you have to find out where you are at the moment.

I took a few moments, read through the various levels, and decided where I thought that I would fit. First, before saying where I think that I am, I would say that this level is not for all of my photography, but for a select subsection: B&W landscapes and color/B&W animals.

That said, I think that aesthetically, I am somewhere squarely inside of 'E'. Perhaps I have an occasional photo at the outer fringes of 'F', but for the most part 'E'. However, sometimes, my images do evoke emotions.

I didn't rate my self on the Technical aspect with regards to printing because I don't print many of my images.

Today, I received a comment on one of my images that was the highest compliment that I've received in a while.

"I stared at the beauty for sometime before commenting"

This is just fantastic and inspiring. If I can take someone away, for just a moment or two, and have them into my world and to see what I saw, then I've made a great photograph. I wish to get into the topmost level where I can make someone weep, cry, or swear, as Mr. Barr put it. These are indeed rare, but something to strive for.

Just this past week, I've returned to my roots. My black and white. I understand it better and I expect more from myself. This is not a resolution, or anything so trite, it is a genuine desire to be a better communicator in the area of photography.

So, for now, it's back to black and white for a while. Back to my roots, both digital and film. :-)

New year. New template.

I just decided to change the template for the new year. Why not?! :-)

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Lately, I've felt as if something is missing in my photography. I think that I might know what it is. It's a sense of purpose. Since starting my blog, I strive to post a new photo every day; however, this has, I feel, left me feeling somewhat shallow. I try to post something exciting and new, but they are starting to feel superficial and shallow.

I kind of got caught up in the wow of the color, but I have felt that they lack a deeper sense of meaning, at least for me.

I used to do some small projects, although never printed, they gave me a start and and end point and they required a little more depth and appreciation than is required by the picture of the day.

I've also wondered why it is that, even though I am not a big fan of the beach, some of my best pictures are of that environment. I guess its because I've been there so many times and I have a real feeling for the rhythm and flow of that environment. I'm intimate with it.

Shooting a photo to post on a daily basis is not nearly as satisfying as a well thought out and deeply felt photo.

Over the past week, or so, I've gone back to primarily Black & White photography and to some of my older photos. Why? Because these images, to me, are a little bit deeper and more about the subject than about the color. Also, I like black & white much better. So, for now, that's my direction.

I've been bidding on Olympus 35 RC range finder cameras. I've not won one yet. I want to get back to film a little bit. It's a slower pace. Truthfully, I also miss the development step a bit. So, I'm going to take a hybrid approach. I'll shoot some film, develop it myself, scan it in to digital, and then post it. I'll not let go of my D2x, though! No way!

I'm also getting the itch to do a little people photography, too, although my heart is really with the animals and the environment. I just love photographing nature.

Hopefully, by the end of the week, I will have shot a bit of B & W 120 film with my Yashica Mat 124G. Surprisingly, after all of these years of being idle, the battery is still good. Now, I have film, developer, and fixer. All I'm waiting for is the daylight tank!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

So why don't you sell your work?

I've been asked this question so many times today. I have this image on my desktop. I usually place my image from the day before as my desktop image at work.
Several people have commented on it and asked me where I downloaded it from and who took it. They seem quite surprised to learn that yours truly did it.
I could use some reason like: "I'm an artist and true artists do it for the love of it and not for the commercial aspect, blah, blah, blah", but in truth, I guess that I have never taken the time to set up a way to sell.
Also, I get a sneaking suspicion that if the selling gets good that I'll start looking for shots that sell and will loose some of my creative expression.
I made myself a promise start printing them and hanging them in my house. I need to order some double mattes because I've cut them before and I'm not good at that and don't want to take the time and expense to learn! :-)
I think that this may be my first one that I hang on the wall. I'd like to see it in a 16x20 frame and an 11x14 matte! Expensive, but he I like the shot!