Shooting for the Big Times: Kickstarter, Instagram and a Road Trip to New Mexico!

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This week, I travel to New Mexico with several opportunities to shoot photos of various landscapes using micro four thirds cameras. The photo above is one of my recent travels to Area 51 in the Nevada desert! Off in the distance is the little town of Rachel, Nevada on the border of a secret military base. The trip to New Mexico is one of many that I have planned for 2013 and this one will be a Kickstarter photo project that has yet to be made public. We are keeping it a secret because it is such a good idea! This is going to be great, because I’m taking nothing but a bunch of manual focus lenses and a few autofocus lenses for backup. I’ll clue you in, the photo project has something to do with zombies and their homeland. The bulk of the work will begin later this July. My brother, Joe already has a successful Kickstarter under his belt to mass produce indestructible ocarinas. They are also known as a flutes designed to fit perfectly into your pocket while withstanding the most rigorous abuse. A little over six months ago my brother, Joseph Cowlishaw quit his day job to follow this dream to become an entrepreneur and master flute-maker. He’s been doing clay and ceramics since high school but started making flutes back in 2003 and has never stopped. You can check out his startup company called Wowflutes.

For the last six months, we have been combining our creative efforts to form a collaborative. My company is Talking Tree Photo and we started networking and marketing on most of the major visual social networks. Instagram has worked very well for both of us, and my brother had one of his images featured on the main Instagram feed on Sunday, June 30th, 2013. Check out this last screen capture of his image at the Meteor Crater in Arizona.

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We were surprised that they chose his image and it gave him quite a bit exposure. We both have pretty good followings on there and we are working to reach out to those who have been showing support for our efforts. My feed got popular, because some of my photos reminded fellow instagrammers of the Coen Brother’s film; No Country for Old Men. Later, fans from the AMC TV shows; Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, began comparing my images to scenes from both shows. This prompted me to become familiar with both series and compare their styles with my own; the similarities were quite revealing. I really enjoy the specific cinematography of Breaking Bad by Michael Slovis.

New Mexico is definitely one of the most photogenic places in the Desert Southwest, and probably my favorite state right now. I’m looking forward to my trip there this week and will document the details of my trip here on the blog. My brother and I keep comparing notes about the Coen Brothers, and they are an inspiration to me. Their work has influenced my vision about the Desert Southwest as I create a portrait of what America is all about in the post-modern era. I look forward to the future and what these creative ventures will yield. Life is short but adventure is always out there, waiting. You’ve just gotta believe in yourself!

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…

Sunrise at Toroweap in the Grand Canyon

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Beauty is all around out in the Grand Canyon south of the Utah Border. You take a dirt road from Colorado City, 67 miles across the rugged Arizona Strip before getting to this spot. The dirt road is so primitive that a lot of people are not willing to take the risk. This area is a hot sport for serious landscape photographers who are familiar with the Southwest. I photographed this with an emphasis on the porous sandstone bathed in early morning light.

Ears of Corn in the Hogan

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Corn is an important staple and somewhat of a backbone for the Navajo People. It’s considered to play an important role to the creation of humanity and is apart of the origin of the Navajo people who call themselves the Dineh people. This corn was photographed in a traditional Navajo Home (hogan) with permission.

Juniper Tree in Monument Valley Tribal Park, Navajo Nation

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I can take these photos of any landscape you throw at me. This website is my portfolio and I thank Heavenly Father for this privilege to be an artist and take beautiful landscape photos of Mother Earth. If you like my work, please send people to my site. Let people know about my work. I’d like to survive financially doing what I love. It’s not easy being an artist but I want to create beauty and want to work in this field. So any and all support is appreciated. Thanks to my friends who come to this site and other places to let me know what they’re thinking.

Juniper Claws – Monument Valley Tribal Park

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I’m thinking I should steering more towards color? I’ve always kinda seen color as being taboo and tried to desaturate my images with all worries surrounding color balance and using proper color space is always a hassle but I’m missing the days of positive slide film and Velvia. Digital is so sweet and I’m ready to take a visit to yesteryear. This is a dead juniper in Monument Valley Tribal Park on the Navajo Reservation near the Four Corners area. It’s starkly beautiful country and it’s probably my favorite place to photograph in the Desert Southwest.

Handheld Shot in Antelope Canyon

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I’m not going to exaggerate the colors you usually see in photographs or other landscapes captured around the Southwest. These colors here are about as natural as I can get them other than the white balance on a digital camera being subjective. I’m not going to go out of my way and add strong color to these images, because it makes them look fake. Instead, I try to mimic the beauty of what I saw with my own eyes. Antelope Canyon is a beautiful place to visit but I need to spend more time in there to capture better images. As a tour guide, I’m always on a tight schedule and it would be fun to kick back and slow things down a bit when I visit these places.

Tire Swing in Lochiel, Arizona – Along the Mexican Border

This is a small ranching community on the very edge of Southern Arizona that straddles the border and the fenceline that separates Mexico and the US which can be seen to the South. I traversed this beautiful country for about 75 miles along Forest Route 61 and was advised by park rangers at Coronado National Monument not to travel solo because of drug traffickers and smugglers. When I spotted armed white ranchers patrolling the border, they were much more intimidating than just about anybody… The road ended in Nogales.

Discarded Baby Stroller at Picacho Peak, Arizona

This no man’s land is slightly north of Tucson, Arizona, just off the interstate. I avoided entering Picacho Peak State Park, because they try to make it to kosher. There’s nothing pristine to the landscape. I look for the garbage and abandoned trails that people leave behind because we share an intimate connection to the land. This stroller really added the spook that I wanted to capture. It tells me how harsh the Sonoran can be and to remember we are subject to the will of the planet. One day, civilization as we know it could become a relic, and artifact in and of itself. It’s all in how you choose to interpret the land and how we treat it…

Morning in Saguaro National Park

This is a second shot that I’ve decided to post on the photoblog here. I’ve captured many beautiful images of Southern Arizona and I’m tempted to post a bunch at once but will do so in my typical slow fashion until I can develop of standard photo series for each place that I’ve visited around Southern Arizona. I photographed a bunch of places between Bisbee and Tucson, Arizona. The beauty of Southeast Arizona is hard to surpass and I’m thinking of relocating and living there in order to capture more images of the area. So I hope that you enjoy these photos!

Morning Light in Saguaro National Park

There’s something very spiritual and supernatural about the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. Words cannot describe what I’m feeling when traveling through that country and getting up early in the morning to see the beauty. The desert is a miracle with the abundance of plant life and the variety of things that wax strong in the outback. My thought process is starting to lean towards the Tucson area, and down into Mexico. I may end up moving into this country in the near future…

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.

Sculptured Waves in Antelope Canyon

This is some strange light in Antelope Canyon on the Navajo Rez. I didn’t quite know how to balance the color but I upped it a little in Lightroom. Usually you need a decent tripod to shoot a slot canyon but I didn’t have any. So I put the ISO on about 800 and shot everything on that using the GF1. Here’s some wavy contour lines in Antelope Canyon. The light is pretty dramatic.