Winning a Leica M9 Monochrom & $20K!

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I did a crazy thing today and spent a measely $20 dollars on an incredible black and white photo contest in the hopes of winning an $8,000 dollar Leica M9 Monochrome and $20,000 in cash. This was a good deal. Mind you, this is the first time I have ever entered a photo contest of any sort, The fact that I love Leica so much is what pushed me over the edge. If there’s a snowballs chance in hell that I win, I would put some of that money towards a Leica Noctilux-m 50mm f/.95 lens. My brother tends to disagree on how good Leica is. He says they are a bunch of hype and I should know better but Leica isn’t just a Red Dot brand for rich yuppies, it is one of the oldest and most respected companies in the history of photography. I’ve done the research, frequented enough technical forums, and have always been impressed with the quality images that come from Leica users . So I plan on getting one someday. Until then, I’m stuck shooting the poor-man’s Leicas: My trusty Olympus E-P2 and OM-D E-M5.

The dead cow photo above is what I chose to submit, not in hopes of winning, but because it represents my vision. As an artist making an honest assessment, It’s my worldview when shooting Landscape Photography that not everything in nature is pristine. I’m chuckling as I write this because it’s a statement against some of the nature photographers in general that like everything untouched and undisturbed before they can compose a picture. It’s ludicrous when in reality, nothing is unscathed even in the national parks. What’s wrong with airplane trails and power-lines being apart of the intended wilderness? Embrace them. In my humble opinion human-kind is apart of the wild and cannot be removed from it. I wonder how this dead cow would have been rendered using Leica glass? Trust me, German glass is superior!

Of course, you don’t have to believe me. Everyone swears by certain brands but some are simply more endearing that others to use. Leica is my favorite company of choice because their whole system is dedicated to the advanced art of manual focusing and the red dot is simply amazing! I won’t go so far as to claim that only real photographers shoot Leica, but I will say some of the most serious street photographers and world famous photojournalists have used Leica since the early days. It’s a serious tradition. Life is short and you may as well go the whole nine yards! So cheers to my favorite brand.

 

Hipstamatic: Leafy Textures

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Okay, I saw this on the ground and picked it up because of the textures which were fascinating. I was at work and I had this deep thought. Oh, and the iPhone is a fun camera to shoot and yes, it’s going to dominate this blog for a while because it forces me to think outside the box and get to the very edge of technology and imagery that is enjoyed by the masses. I’m not going to be the elitist carrying around the ten grand Leica. I’m just want to enjoy what I do: take pictures!

Deserted Mine Mill in Southern Utah

The lens blur and vignetting is a natural part of the toy lens that I attached to my dslr to get an antique look and feel in the digital modern age. Yes, it is possible to get this effect without having to resort to photoshop. However, this was converted to sepia black and white using photoshop.

Colorful Curves in Antelope Canyon

I took this shot of Antelope Canyon handheld without the tripod last week while guiding a tour in Northern Arizona. This slot canyon is on the Navajo Reservation about five minutes southeast of Page. I work for about three different tour companies but I also travel to places like these alone. I love teaching people about the land and the importance of these beautiful places. Antelope Canyon is located on the Navajo Reservation and is a valuable source of revenue for Navajo owned and operated tour businesses.

Creepy Doll in a Pioneer Museum

I think I’ve said something about this before; toys tend to retain the spirit of the children that once owned and loved them. It’s kind of eerie in a way when the toy outlives the child. Browse the archives and you will see similar toy images. It’s about capturing humanity or the remnants of human existence through images whether it is ruins that haunt the landscape or an artifact that no longer is used. One day, we will all be gone from this tangible world and all that will remain are the things that we used.

Rip Van Winkle

While visiting downtown Santa Fe, I saw this bearded gentleman vegging in the sun, barefoot. He reminded me of Rip Van Winkle! On another note, I apologize to my subscribers & readers for switching platforms on you. The past week I was busy transferring my photoblog from Pixelpost to WordPress and this may throw some of you off until I can find a way to redirect my old image links. I’ve also been a bit confused trying to get this new site up and running a bit. So expect some errors to occur and give me feedback if you have any useful advice. Again, I apologize for the trouble this switch may have generated but at least it shows my dedication to continue photoblogging. Pixelpost has not updated their software in over two years and this left me feeling vulnerable. I wanted a platform that was more dedicated and WordPress has always had a strong community backing it with plenty of plugins. So you’ll see this site improve vastly over the next few months. I also would like to thank, Photomo for the use of his base template to build this site upon. Thanks!

Richardson's Cash & Pawn, Gallup, New Mexico

Richardson's Cash & Pawn, Gallup, New Mexico
I don’t know whether a company like this is beneficial to Indian people (artisans, weavers, jewelers & such) or is more of an exploiter of Native culture? I’m not accusing them of such, but this isn’t even one of those questionable non-profit organizations “dedicated” to preserving Indian culture. When scrutinizing these companies that capitalize on Indian arts & crafts, you have to wonder just how much they contribute to the greater health of both native and non-native people in New Mexico, Arizona, etc? Maybe their appearance and existence is just the continuation of the same colonialism that subjugated and destroyed indigenous cultures in the wake of westward expansion? The hearsay is that Gallup is one of the most bigoted towns in New Mexico against Indians. The town itself is in close proximity to several native communities…

Dumpters Behind a Hotel in Downtown Santa Fe

Dumpters Behind a Hotel in Downtown Santa Fe
I just love the stucco archetecture that composes the bulk of downtown Santa Fe. Unfortunately I didn’t get to spend enough time there to photograph the town extensively in May. I’ll be going back the first week of July on my way to the Roswell UFO festival in Southeastern New Mexico. Then, I’ll head to Odessa & El Paso Texas to pay tribute to some of the landscapes that inspired the Coen Brothers films titled, “No Country for Old Men.”

Pueblo Bonito in New Mexico

Pueblo Bonito in New Mexico
This was taken at the largest dwelling, Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon National Monument located two hours south of Farmington, New Mexico. In it’s prime it was considered to be the cultural center of the Anasazi Empire which stretched from Southern Utah, all the way down into the heart of New Mexico. The ancestors of the ancient Anasazi are believed to be the modern Pueblo tribes located through-out the Southwest with the largest group being the Hopi in Northern Arizona.

High Noon At Midnight

High Noon At Midnight
Main Street in Pioche, Nevada at midnight. Pioche was one of the wildest mining camps in the west in the late 1800s. It is said that over 76 people were killed in cold blood and shootouts before anyone died of natural causes. It never gained the notoriety of Tombstone or Dodge City because of how isolated and secluded this part of the country was. They say more people died in the violence that ensued in Pioche than the two other towns combined. There are a variety of ghost stories that locals will tell and I can feel the restlessness of whatever is left and still lurking. The history still lives in the presence. So, I try to capture what I feel through my images. There is an intuition at play in my photography and I hope you can see what I am feeling!

Nature's Own Bus

Nature's Own Bus
Everything man-made eventually becomes a part of the natural landscape. That landscape is there long after human civilization dies. This is the earth and we are here for a short time. Humans are a part of the natural landscape and that is why I consider human elements in every one of my natural shots. There is no such thing as pristine wilderness.

Sacred Pueblo Kiva

Sacred Pueblo Kiva
This is a reconstruction of a sacred Pueblo Kiva at Aztec National Monument in Farmington, New Mexico. At the site, the structure is considered very sacred and you are expected to show respect when visiting the Kiva. In many Pueblo cultures the Kiva is a place of community and religious gatherings and is the equivalent of a Christian church; a place of worship.