Exploratorius Redux

Atelier Aquarell & Fotografie

Desolate Island

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The rocks in Ennis Lake
Ennis, Montana — October 2016
Zeiss Ikon ZM + Zeiss Biogon 21/4.5 ZM
Ilford Pan F Plus + T-MAX RS (stock) 4 minutes

Looks worth exploring.

Watercolor Field Kits

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My first watercolor field kit
Central Maryland — April 2018
Sony RX100 V + Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 24-70/1.8-2.8

As I mentioned in my last watercolor post here, I was able to finally save up enough coin to buy a Winsor & Newton Professional Water Colour Field Box (see image above).  This photo is of my first Winsor and Newton field kit (we have three of them now, including one for Cindy to use), and it still holds a special place for me, as I dragged that little box of watercolors hither and yon all over the country.

At the time, even though I was a professional photographer at work (read all about that here), I was so poor that I couldn’t afford to own a decent camera myself — nor could I afford to have any photos be printed that I may have shot during that austere period.  For example, the cost of getting a set of 35mm prints developed depended upon a lot of variables, such as follows: Continue Reading →

The Call Of The Mountains

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Looking toward Mt. Calowahcan
Kicking Horse, Montana — October 2016
iPhone 6S + 29/2.2

Cindy and I can only go for a few short months before we begin getting a hunger to see the big peaks and long ranges of the mountains in the American West.  Which are our favorites?  Dunno, as they all have their appeal and charm, and we’ve seen a bunch over the years.

The Red Buds Are Blooming

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Redbud (Cercis) tree in full bloom
Great Falls Tavern, Maryland — April 2018
Sony RX100 V + Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 24-70/1.8-2.8

Do you like vibrant pink blossoms?  If so, now is the time to go out and enjoy redbud (Cercis) trees.  Guess what else likes — really really likes — redbud trees?

Beavers!

We once lived on a property that had a small pond which attracted beavers like there was no tomorrow.  There were a large number of redbud trees on the property, including one that was just inches from the house.  Every year the beavers would tear into those redbud trees just as they hit peak color, including the one that was right next to the house.  Eventually the damaged tree became such a safety hazard that we had to cut it down… a sad day to be sure, but the beavers had chomped almost completely through it, and the trunk was in danger of taking out our roof.

So if you’re seeing redbud trees without any damage around the lower trunk area, then there may not be any beavers lingering about.

Endangered Vista Near Chaco Canyon

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Buttes near Chaco Canyon
Whitehorse, New Mexico — November 2009
Leica D-LUX 4 + 24-60mm

If you have any interest at all in the incomparable vistas of the American West, there are some real beauties near Chaco Canyon in New Mexico.

Fracking locations near Chaco Canyon
April 2018
Image credit: Sierra Club

Sweeping… vast… open… empty…

For all who crave the big skies and vast emptiness that the West can offer — this region offers flat-out stupendous panoramas that appear to be utterly devoid of human activity.

But I don’t know how long they will remain that way, as the current administration seems hell-bent on destroying the Federal protections to the region and handing everything over to oil and gas firms.  Don’t believe me?  Check out the following map of all the fracking operations that have already begun to encroach most of the northern and eastern sides of Chaco Canyon.

When we last visited Chaco Canyon nearly a decade ago, there were a few solitary oil rigs visibly dotting the landscape every now and then while we drove for hours through the area… but nothing like the density of the fracking operations that exist now.

Some articles to read for further details can be found here and here.

Different Levels Of Artists And Materials

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The view from La Grulla Gun Club
Ensenada, Mexico — June 1969
Water-based paint on paper — 12″ x 14″

My earliest memory of using “watercolor paints” (above, created when I was 7-years-old) is actually not what I would define today as watercolor paint at all — they were craft-grade Prang Water Colors for kids (fun fact: this product line was named after Louis Prang — “the father of the American Christmas card”). Continue Reading →

Best In Show

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Ford Model A
Central Maryland — September 2016
Zeiss Ikon ZM + Zeiss Sonnar 50/1.5 ZM
Ilford Pan F Plus + T-MAX RS (stock) 4 minutes

We had a classic car rally to support a good cause, and this was best in show — a really fine specimen of a 1930s-era Ford Model A coupe.

What Color Is Your Parachute?

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Painting for a coworker
Washington, DC — August 1990
Watercolor on paper — 7″ x 10″

This is a painting I did for a coworker that was leaving the place where I was employed at the time.  In retrospect, I think she may have had a crush on me, as our boss kept trying to get me to socialize after-hours with my coworker many times during the period that we worked together.  However, I was too blind at that point in my life to see anything beyond simply being friendly and courteous with her, and nothing ever developed from my end of the relationship. Continue Reading →