Ghostriders in the Bootheel of Southwest New Mexico

Camped outside this saloon and had the best sweet potato fries at this awesome joint. They let me camp outside on their lot in the dead heat of summer down in the boot heel of New Mexico near the border. The owner stated I was much better off at his place than camping somewhere in the boonies along the border due to the nocturnal activity that takes place in this part of the state due to coyotes and smugglers. I heed the advice of locals if they are friendly enough. They did had many stories to tell, the kind that would inspire the Coen Brothers to make a film. There is a lot of rugged untamed beauty in #bootheel!

Walter White’s Meth Lab RV!?

Man, it took forever! I finally located #WalterWhite’s RV in #SouthernArizona! 😆 – Captured by me with a @fujifilmx_us #XT30 & #Fujinon #56mm F1.2 lens shot wide open with an electronic shutter. Edited with #Afterlight2App for #iOS.

Extra hashtags:
#heisenberg #breakingbad#bettercallsaul #skyblue #desertlife #southernaz

Abandoned New Mexico Homestead

Hey there, I’ve been working on Talking Tree Photoblog as well as 7 other websites here on Desert Dream Network & Talking Tree. Come check it out and tell me what you think? Some of the sites are still under construction but I’m working a few hours on it, daily. I’ve also set up Desert Dream Guestbook! Sign it if you get a chance?

This is an abandoned abode in Southwestern New Mexico not too far North of Reserve, New Mexico which feels like one of the most remote areas of Southern New Mexico.

Happy White Man’s Independence Day from Phoenix, Arizona

Hello from Arizonaland where I have been living in the #PhoenixMetro area for a year now. I have to share a few thoughts about July 4th – That some may strongly disagree with but that’s the nature of the beast!

Happy White Man’s Independence Day, Everyone! But please don’t expect me to accept lies, myths, and an empire built on lies, enslavement of an entire race and the entire genocide and theft of sovereign lands from another which involved hundreds and hundreds of First Nations. All of Turtle Island was robbed – This is a Multiple Century Occupation built on an American Genocide and Haulocaust which can never be reconciled and this is the history that every American needs to take to heart. I will continue to talk about it and express my outlook, as a Warrior Spirit on this subject as long as Ignorance continues to dominate in my lifetime! I’m not being negative; I’m very positive and telling the truth as the real history states it. Besides, American Patriotism is super overrated and has been raised to the level of sacred but nothing so evil should have been elevated to this pitch because it is sanctimonious to do so. A lie no matter how big or small is still ALWAYS a lie and no body of mythifying it will ever compensate. The truth will prevail.

Bisbee at Night, Southern Arizona

#Bisbee, #Arizona is about 30 minutes South of Tombstone, and 2.5 hours from Tucson. It’s a historic mining camp that is known for its Lavender Pit Copper Mine and legendary turquoise. It’s right on the border next to #Naco, #Mexico. It’s a great place to escape the heat of Phoenix in the Spring and for a photographer who likes shooting #CoenBrother like cityscapes reminiscent of their major film; #NoCountryForOldMen

Samyang-Rokinon AF 35mm F2.8 FE – Field Testing

Two days ago I received the AF 35mm F2.8 for Sony Full Frame manufactured by Samyang from Rokinon and tested it on the Sony A7R last night. The images in this post are from that test shoot. I was on the phone today with the Rokinon letting them know about a concern I have with the autofocus noise that is coming from the lens. There’s been some complaints about it according to some reviews, and videos posted on Youtube.  This is not normal according to Samyang/Rokinon and they are working quickly to resolve. I will be getting a corrected copy from Rokinon with the next batch that comes in the next few weeks.

Rokinon is a great company in my opinion. I will be collaborating with them with some of my work using their gear. I look forward to working with them in limited capacity as a potential ambassador. So, I’m starting this off with some of the work I’ve taken with the new 35mm normal wide angle. It’s sharp! From what I’ve seen so far, I really have no complaints about the quality. Yes, there is some purple fringing and some chromatic aberration but it’s only noticeable at pixel level. I’m not worried about it, and all images were shot with the Sony A7R.


Initial first impressions of the lens is that it leaves very little to be desired where image-quality is concerned. It’s top-notch sharp and better than the first impressions I experienced with the budget Sony AF 28mm F2 FE lens for Sony Mirrorless. This lens seems to perform alright other than noisy autofocus which is being fixed in future copies from Samyang.

Let me know if you have any questions and leave them in the comments. I will try to respond in a timely manner.

Talking Tree is doing UFO Hotspot Photography Tours!!! :)

When I, Nathan Cowlishaw aka Nathan Arizona, offers UFO tours, I don’t do crazy stuff like psychic readings and the hocus-pocus new age stuff; I teach photography. I was a national parks tour guide for 10 years working for various independent tour operators. I worked as a Grand Canyon river swamper and a wilderness guide on the Arizona Strip which is the most remote part of the North Rim at the Grand Canyon. I know a thing or two about REAL interpretation. Let’s skip the questionable charlatanism, what do you say?

When you are interested in capturing better photos and have an interest in the American Southwest, and hearing stories of crashed flying saucers and other worth-while folklore, this may be the tour that’s right for you?

Landscapes of Terlingua in Far West Texas

During my travels along the US/Mexican Border between Calexico, California, and Brownsville, Texas, my favorite borderland landscapes were found in Far West Texas around Marfa, Terlingua and Alpine, Texas. This is a good location to escape winter somewhat!

These photographs were taken in April of 2015 but I can only imagine what Christmas would be like in this Big Bend Country? As a desert rat, I would guess that the nights still get cold in winter, but the day time hours are fairly pleasant. According to the latest weather check for Terlingua, it’s 42 degrees Fahrenheit with an average of 70 degrees this week. Not bad for December!

The mountains off in the distance are Big Bend National Park. I highly recommend photographers avoid this national park because I was harassed by park rangers there and they don’t take too kindly to any photographers using cameras in the national park. Locals warned me that I would run into trouble and I have enough fodder for a good story. On top of that, I would recommend visiting Texas’s own Big Bend State Park which is much more inclusive towards visitors and in my opinion, more beautiful than the national park!

 

From this Morning in Cedar City, Utah – Trapper Trailer!

 Trapper Trailer
Trapper Trailer

Captured the typography on this old trailer that has been abandoned to the elements with a Voigtlander Heliar 15mm F4.5 Super Wide on a Sony Alpha 7R… I’m enjoying the combination and the lens is extremely sharp and is able to exploit the 36MP sensor on the Sony. My goal is to get out 4-5 days a week to shoot even if it is only a few miles from home!

Voigtländer Heliar 15mm F4.5 Superwide for Sony E Mount – Test Drive

Voigtlander Heliar 15mm Test Drive

The other day I had the opportunity to take the new Voigtlander Super Wide-Heliar 15mm f/4.5 Aspherical III Lens for Sony E for a test drive using the Sony A7R. The results were pretty otherworldly for amazing landscapes. The sharpness of the lens, all the way into the extreme corners, passed my professional scrutiny. What is really pleasing is the fact that the Sony E-Mount version of the Voigtländer communicates all necessary EXIF data to the camera. It also automatically engages manual focus assist when you turn the manual focus dial on the lens.

I had to trade out several legacy lenses in order to raise enough money to cover the cost of this lens. Here’s a few more test examples from the same shoot, below.

Other thoughts regarding the Voigtlander…

All-in-all this lens really nails everything I need in a ultra wide for landscapes. When I finally switched to Sony Full Frame a few months ago from Micro Four Thirds – I was completely surprised by the unexpected learning curve that came with moving back into full-frame. The truth is, legacy glass works well on cropped sensors because the small sensor cuts out the imperfect corners of most legacy lenses while only utilizing the best part of the lens in the center. Switching up to a 36 megapixel sensor on a Sony Alpha A7R amplifies the smallest flaws of old 35mm lenses. So the HUNT for decent wide angle turned into quite a chore.

Bad Experiences with Samyang vs Voigtlander!?

There are a few legacy lenses that work nicely with the Sony but when shooting with Micro Four Thirds, I was used to shooting super-wide for landscape work. So my initial choice was the Rokinon 14mm F2.8 Ultra Wide Lens. The first copy of this 14mm lens turned out to be a de-centered piece of trash aka a $300 dollar paper weight. The whole right side of the frame was terribly blurry. I ended up trying three times to get a decent copy of the lens and finally gave up. When I tried to reach out to Samyang /Rokinon about this negative experience, they ignored me and deleted my comments on their Facebook fan page. That inspired me to do some research which led me to Voigtlander’s offerings. I was able to secure a near-perfect copy of the Heliar 15mm III on the first round despite the fact that Cosina/Voigtlander has had some manufacturing issues with the 15mm, as well,  resulting in this thread on Fred Miranda. However the latest copies of Heliar III  (as of Sept. 2016) seem to be totally fixed and I got my copy from one of their latest production batches.Yes, I also heard about the new Rokinon 14mm F2.8 Auto Focus Lens for Sony E-Mount. It was announced while I was investigating the Voigtlander.

Long Hunt for a Superwide Finally Settled! 🙂

With Cosina’s ability to listen to customers, fix any quality control issues they may have, as well as having a long history in the camera business; I am decidedly in favor of Cosina/Voigtlander and their high quality products. I’m happy with this iteration of the classic Heliar 15mm Super Wide lens. It reminds me of the days when shooting with Voigtlander’s 35mm Best-L camera with a 15mm Heliar attached. I miss those old film days and I’m glad to be shooting landscapes with a Sony Full Frame.

Shooting Rural Decay in Southern California

Using the Mextures App on my iPhone 6s Plus – I edited these images I captured in Southern California near Victorville, Barstow and Baker California. I’ve been struggling to evolve a new workflow using my mirrorless cameras with Eye-Fi SD cards and just my iPhone. I then uploaded them to Smugmug and posted here. It seems to be an awesome process that takes some getting used to. Southern Califonria has some amazing decay and rural subject matter. I hope to revisit there soon!

Will post some more images in a few days! Stay tuned…

Painting Camera Lenses with Rubberized Truck-bed Undercoating

One thing not a lot of people know about me as a photographer is the fact that I paint my camera gear on occasion. It’s mostly cheap lens hoods but also occasionally camera lenses and I do so to make them more tough and durable. Pictured above is the Panasonic Lumix 100-300 and the Panasonic Lumix G 42.5mm Nocticron!

I wouldn’t advise this if you are planning on re-selling your gear. However, I’m pretty invested into the Micro Four Thirds format since I sold most my Nikon DSLR gear in 2008 to make this major switch to M/43 and since then, I have never looked back.

The only reservation I had about my mirrorless gear is the fact that some of my lenses felt pretty plasticky including the cheap lens hoods that came with some primes.  After thinking long and hard about it, I felt like things should have some extra protection implemented. So I took the liberty of painting my lenses in rubberized undercoating to toughen them up a bit and it really works like a charm! These two lenses aren’t the first to get this sort of treatment.

One of my favorite lenses to be released by Panasonic was the 42.5mm Nocticron which is built solidlyand I used it on a 14,500 mile photography journey around the Desert Southwest last April and May. What I didn’t like about the Nocticron though was the oversized metal lens hood which seemed to scuff up the outer edge of the Nocticron barrel. I ended up retiring this hood and buying a generic 67mm lenshood that I could screw onto the UV filter up front making it look much more stealthy. I then painted the lens including the outer barrel as you can see above.

Not all paint coatings and rubberized undercoatings are created equal. Some rubberized undercoatings are downright CRAP and you should avoid the cheap brands at the local Autozone or else you run the risk of destroying your lens. I’ve had quite a few years of trying this and experimenting and the best recommendation that I can give is to use Evercoat Automotive Premium Rubberized Undercoating for a real heavy duty job. This is by far the toughest paint for protecting expensive lenses if you want to go down this route and give it a try. This may sound utterly insane, but if I owned the Leica Noctilux, I might be tempted to try this method on one of those!

The end result is this; It will also make cheaper plastic lenses feel much more durable and weather resistant. It seems to help my equipment hold up much better under heavier usage and stay new longer.

All I used was electrical black tape to cover up areas that I didn’t want exposed to rubberized undercoating and it takes about an hour to dry and 24 hours to completely set before the smell starts to fade after the paint job is completed. Sometime I put a second coat on to be extra safe but be careful not to over-do it! I’ve had this undercoating on some of my equipment going on 5 years now and it’s still looking new. I just like it because it makes me feel like I have something nobody else has ever really tried and I thought maybe this would be of interest to you. I’ve had people asking me to post something about this, so here you go.

Captured with A Panasonic Lumix 100-300mm Lens: Joshua Tree National Park

So the image above was captured just before sundown in Joshua Tree National Park with a Panasonic Lumix 100-300mm Super-Telephoto lens! One thing I don’t mention to people very often is that this is one my most often used Micro Four Thirds lenses as it is completely indispensable in my workflow as a landscape photographer and cannot recommend it enough. It’s very difficult to work with though and you have to have some patience because it’s easy to get motion blur due to camera shake or the photographer not holding still enough. This lens is now a veteran in my kit because some of my best portfolio images came from it. Yes, this lens is highly recommended for an M/43 landscape photographer and this is what I utilize it for 99% of the time.

Other than that – this is the third image that I’ve posted from my Smugmug site in the flow of utilizing SM embedded images from back up rather than resize and re-upload here to WordPress. It seems to have streamlined my blogging work somewhat as I try and form the habit of daily posting to the photoblog. I’ll try to give insight as a photographer, whenever I can.

Lincoln County – New Mexico. Billy the Kid’s Home!

lincoln_city_sheriff_badge

Lincoln County, New Mexico, is not the easiest area to photograph in the Land of Enchantment, but it’s one of the funnest. It’s the legendary turf of Billy the Kid. Photos in this post were captured with Micro Four Thirds equipment, the Panasonic Lumix 100-300mm lens, and a $20 dollar TV Lens off of eBay.

Lincoln City, New MexicoAbandoned adobe structure in Lincoln City, New Mexico.

haunted_house_newmexicoGrungy stairway in the Lincoln County Prison, where Billy the Kid made his legendary escape. You could feel the history in this old building!

Headed to Rachel Nevada for a #Kickstarter Project!

i_believe2

I’ve got my hands full as well as tied because I’m a busy guy these days because I’m organizing a festival in Southern Utah as well as a Kickstarter project that will hopefully springboard me onto a 65-day photoshoot into the deep Southwest. It’s taking a serious and brave leap-of-faith to do this and at 2:30 AM in the morning I cannot sleep because there is so much happening right now that my psyche is ready to hit this full throttle. We are headed to Rachel, Nevada, at 4:30 AM to make a Kickstarter Video before we begin wrapping up the loose ends of the Kickstarter and get it submitted for launch approval. I just wanted to update my blog here in regards to what’s happening. Stay tuned!

Emerging from the Sipapu – A Few Thoughts

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Solitude is how I dream BIG especially with nobody around; just me in the corners of God’s imagination. This is how I’ve been able to stay strong my whole life was to allow the natural world to heal me and teach me to be self-sufficient in my own happiness. The grandest of mysteries chose me to be a photographer; if only it meant for me to see something more meaningful on deeper levels such as these.

et_highway_nevada