Cloudplay Over Rural Southern Utah / UFO?

beryl_cloudsDuring a lazy afternoon tracing around the vast and empty desert, I’m always keeping my eyes peeled towards the sky looking for some sort of shimmering-flickering object darting in and out of a cloud, or behind it; something that could be labeled a UFO? They are real. I’ve seen them and witnessed the phenomena. Non-believers can call us crazy but it doesn’t change the truth of the matter. There is buzz all over the world about aliens and extra-terrestrial creatures. I know they are here amongst us and all around us. We cannot know for sure why they are here but I do believe they play a pivotal to the future of humanity. Are they really ETs or are they just an extension of ourselves? I want to go to this! What is the UFO Congress!?

The Evolution of Photography

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I’m building Talking Tree slowly, one day at a time. I’ve committed myself to updating four different blogs. This is my photography site dedicated to tips, insights, artist highlights, and talented Instagrammers that I stumble upon. Not only is Talking Tree dedicated to the art of photography, but it also embraces the speed at which the technologies in the imaging world are  progressing. I don’t care whether old vanguard photographers declare that only professionals work with Silver Crystals (film) in a traditional dark room – I believe in any well-established “pro” who embraces the iPhone as their every day tool. What matters is the fact that mobile technology is bringing more people into the field. We should welcome new innovations because there is no stopping this tsunami of change. What an adventure to be alive during this transition from film to digital! For the last 15 years I went from shooting an old Russian Zenit SLR to digital Micro Four Thirds cameras.

My niche is very specific – Photography and new technology. I enjoy editing photos on an iPhone 5 about as much as I love shooting an interchangeable lens cameras. I’m digitally wired and love social networking and meeting new creatives (through Instagram) from all over the world. This is what I want to write about. Instagram has been a major tool for me ; you can find me: @Talking_Tree or Tumblr.

A little over a year ago my brother, Joseph Cowlishaw, inspired me to get a iPhone and which took a while for me to catch onto. My workflow now involves Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop CC and then the images get transferred to to my iPhone for any finishing changes, usually utilizing Instagram filters! There’s apps out there that give Adobe products a run for their money as well. Here are a few highly recommended apps: Mextures, Snapseed, Hipstamatic & Repix, just to name a few of my favorites.

 

Photographer Highlight: Fred Askew

*Please Note: I’m in the process of restoring this blog because it went offline in 2012. It’s coming back with some great content. Stay tuned!

I want to highlight a photographer that I stumbled across on Instagram, whose work I am very pleased with because it is so emotive and reminds me of the romantic victorian era but placed in the context of post-modern times.

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Fred’s work is spectacular in the essence that it’s simple. You can follow his feed on Instagram via @PhotoAskew or by clicking This Link! According to Fred’s website (http://fredaskew.com) it states:

Fred Askew is a freelance News and Editorial photographer based in New York City. His work is published internationally in journals, newspapers and magazines.

His photographs have appeared in Time Magazine, The New York Times, Le Monde, El Pais, The Times of London, La Repubblica, New York Magazine, Artforum Magazine, The Village Voice, Stern and other publications.

On a final note, you can also see more works by the photographer by visiting his blog: (http://fredaskewphotography.blogspot.com/) – All photos in this post are by Fred Askew, from Brooklyn.

Fisheye Motel Sign – In Ely, Nevada

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This is located in Ely, Nevada, near the downtown area. My brother and I, stayed in this ratty motel but that has never scared me away from cheap motels. If they have excellent neon signage and Americana, I’m always down. Simply unroll a sleeping bag on-top of the bed spread and you never have to worry about what might have happened in that bed?

My Love Affair with the Panasonic Lumix 14mm F2.5 Pancake Lens – Perfect for Landscapes!

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I want to share briefly my experience with the amazing, Panasonic Lumix 14mm F2.5 Pancake lens. It’s beautiful, ultra small and compact and a joy to shoot with. Combine it with the adventurous Olympus OM-D E-M5 and you have quite a professional and pocket-able mini-landscape combo! I’ve shot with this lens both on Olympus and Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras; the G1, GF1 as well as the E-P2! The lens looks perfect on all these camera bodies and significantly smaller than the legendary Panasonic 20mm F1.7 Pancake.

My first impression of this lens, when I first got it in the mail, was how dinky it was in size and the feeling was somewhat bitter-sweet! However the lens quickly grew on me and I’ve began using it as my primary wide-angle because of the ease of use and it looks very streamlined with the Olympus cameras. I like it better than the Zuiko 17mm F2.8 Pancake that I have. BTW, the old Olympus 17mm got a really bad rap, but I really love the sharpness and quality of that lens. Maybe I’ll post another short review with image examples shot on the E-P2, since that lens has also created some superb landscapes with my talent, of course.

Yes, I did own the legendary super wide-angle Panasonic 7-14mm lens but it was real bulky and unable to accept screw-on filters which left something to be desired… It produced some stunning landscapes for me over a few years time and I loved it but ended up selling it on eBay while keeping the 14mm pancake! As a standard wideangle, it’s not super-wide, but it’s adequate for any landscape or architectural work. It is capable and adequate for professional work as well. I’m not the type of guy that buys into all the marketing hype and I’m definitely not a pixel-peeper either. The photo of my feet, wearing Chacos above the San Juan Goosenecks was captured with the same Pancake. This photo example was good enough to get accepted in a Santa Fe art gallery along with some of my other prints that will be on exhibition soon at the Jezebel Gallery in New Mexico. The great thing about the 14mm lens is that it’s a prime.  I prefer prime fixed focal length lenses versus zooms which is probably another reason why I chose to sell the Panasonic 7-14mm When I was shooting the Panasonic super-wide zoom, I was always shooting at the widest field of view; 7mm and I miss having that capability of course. What would be really cool is if Olympus or Panasonic could engineer a super-wide prime (not a fisheye) that could produce good outstanding results? I would invest money in such a lens especially at the 7mm focal length!

In this short post, I’ve included real world results of my work with this lens to demonstrate it’s characteristics and show you it’s capable of some serious work. I’m very happy with the results I have gotten so far and have taken many photos with it on my OM-D!

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For a pancake lens I was mesmerized by the quality of the glass. This is the San Juan Goose-necks near the Navajo (Diné) Reservation in the Four Corners region. This image was shot with a Panasonic GF1. The rest of the images below were shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M5. All the images were post-processed on an iPhone using Snapseed and Pixlr Express, and Instagram Filters. All photos were shot in JPEG right off the OM-D with minimal processing except for using filters and lightening shadows in the dark areas of some of the photos.

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The following photos were below were during flash flood that took place in Zion National Park in July of 2013. while hiking with my best friend, Omar Hernandez. We got stuck in a massive cloudburst, and water started to come off the cliffs forming instant water falls. Back in 2008, I was stuck in a flood in Havasupai which gave me a lot of experiences under such dire circumstances and this definitely was not the first time I’ve been holed up by flash flooding. It was sure a beautiful day to take pics though out on the Angels Landing Trail.

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In conclusion, I would highly recommend this lens for any dedicated Micro Four Thirds user. It is a wonderful little lens at a dirt cheap price that you cannot beat being that it’s a prime. It’s perfect for adventurers and hikers who want to travel light. I got my lens on eBay, brand new for around $150 dollars. That’s unbeatable! You get excellent image quality in a compact package. It’s a joy to shoot and reinvigirates my excitement to do photography every time I shoot. I love the Micro Four Thirds camera system and the variety of lenses available for the format. I was first introduced to Micro Four Thirds while attending the 2008 PMA convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. It prompted me to sell off my Nikon equipment. Stay tuned for more interesting posts…

A Man’s Inner Strength is his Beauty

A man’s inner strength is what makes him beautiful and gives him the ability to believe in himself. This morning I was reminded of this skill and that it’s what attracts the good things in my life. My connection to the land and the people around me is very real and the power of that spirit manifests itself in many ways. It’s easy to get lost or wind up in the rut but that’s the purpose for trials and tribulations, because in the long run those struggles make us more powerful. Someday, when I look back at this picture, I want to remember what I looked like in my younger years. It will also serve as a reminder about where I’m going…