ECLIPSED – THE SPIRIT OF MOOSIE

ECLIPSEDECLIPSED  Joshua Tree National Park, California

At 7:01 pm, February 21, 2008, the shadow of the Earth covered the moon entirely, and the moon was in total eclipse.  An hour earlier, my sister Melissa and I realized we were lost in the rocky wilds of Joshua Tree National Park – with no food or water, in the dark, soaking wet from rain – on an evening that would dip to temperatures in the 30’s.

How did this happen?

Much easier than you might expect.

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JAWS – MAUI SURF BREAKS BIG

MAUI JAWS STUDY

In my last post, I mentioned having a workshop on the next day with big waves – and it did not disappoint!  Jackie and I had worked together the last two years and this year we decided to do a two day photo workshop, allowing us more time to get to some of the further out spots of Maui and the Hana side.  The first day, Jaws was breaking BIG – like, 40+ feet – so after a quick sunrise shoot at Ho’okipa Point, we made our way down the road to Pe’ahi.

MAUI JAWS STUDY

Over the course of the next 90 minutes, we both shot many frames of these incredible surfers riding these beautiful epic waves.

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BIG MAUI SURF ON MY MIND

BIG WAVES SERIES

We have had a number of large swells this winter here in Hawaii that has produced waves up to 30 feet and beyond – mostly on the North and West facing shores.  It sounds like the largest swell of the season is happening right now and waves are expected to get to over 40 feet!  I’ve got Big Maui Surf on My Mind!

BIG WAVES SERIES

A few weeks ago I made my way to Ho’okipa Point at sunrise to shoot this series of photographs in this post.  I assigned myself a mini-project so I sat down today, edited the images, developed them, and here they are!

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LET US NOT ASK HOW TO – BUT WHY – MAKE LONG EXPOSURE PHOTOGRAPHS

If you were interested in learning about long exposure photography techniques and were to do a Google search: “how to long exposure photography”, you would find 32,300,000 search results giving you 1000 lives worth of information, tips, pointers, techniques and more.  Over 32 million!  Long exposure photography is obviously a very popular topic, and one you could study forever.  However, studying the topic of photography technique is not nearly as exciting as actually going out and photographing, so let’s tweak the question and ask “why”.  Why make long exposures?  Asking “how to” activates something in the thinking-mind that wants to research, study, and gain knowledge.  Curiously asking “why” is born out of a different part of our self and activates something else entirely – the inner creative.  When activated, the inner creative is more inclined to go out and photograph life and experiment with different techniques – not just sit at home and read about them.  When you understand the why, the how to comes quite naturally.

There are countless reasons why to make long exposure photographs.  Let’s look at some of them and you will begin to not only see the endless possibilities, but likely begin to feel sparks of inspiration that with some focused attention, will allow you to go out and make fire with your photographs.

FURY

You can create a hint of movement in the water, as seen here with a 1/15 second exposure of a wave exploding against the rocks.  Why?  Because you don’t want your photos to look like the guy who jumped off the tour bus and took a quick snap.  And, it lends itself more to the feeling that the wave is blowing up into the sky.

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MAKE FIRE – TURNING A PHOTOGRAPHIC SPARK OF INSPIRATION INTO FIRE

THE WALL  La Jolla, California

There we were on Shell Beach in Southern California’s “Jewel” – La Jolla.  If you consider shorts, t-shirt and flip flops ideal attire, then the mid-August weather was just perfect.  The sweet morning light was just beginning to show herself to those of us eager enough to be awake, which on this morning included myself and seven photography workshop participants who were joining me for one of my California workshops.  Shell Beach seemed like an ideal location to take seven passionate photographers for a sunrise – it’s small and intimate, yet contains many elements that can be arranged well for a diverse style of seeing photographic compositions.  It’s only as wide as a football field, yet both sides lead upward to steep cliffs that stretch out toward the sea, undercut with partial caves on the sides and a scattering of rocks throughout the beach, with a couple large rocks just offshore where pelicans and cormorants linger about.  Having photographed this spot many times before, I knew good compositional arrangements could be made, but of course, it is also quite easy to include too much or too little and fall short of success as well.  So, an ideal setting to place students – a place where they can make it work, or not, and then discuss the why’s and why not’s as to what is working and what is not working in real time.

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VISITING THE LOUVRE AND THE MONA LISA NO ONE SEES

MONA LISA AT THE LOUVREParis Journals, Part 3

We made our way into the vast interior of the Louvre within an hour of the museum opening the doors to the public that day, and still we were swallowed up and taken by the herd of visitors.  We figured we better try and b-line it to the Mona Lisa and then to Venus de Milo, in order to at least witness those two pieces before the masses made it impossible.  The museum strategically places these pieces deep into the maze of corridors.  By the time we made it to Mona Lisa, the large room was already thick with visitors.  Over the next 10 minutes, I was struck, sadly, by an obvious and ugly new truth about our civilization.

  • •We are totally and completely addicted to our devices.  And worse, we are seemingly attempting to experience life through the screen of a device and the resultant images and videos.

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STREET ART IN PARIS

PARIS-BLOG-2AThe Paris Journals, Part 2

Artist John Fekner defines street art as “all art on the street that’s not graffiti”, so please, when I say “Street Art”, do not visualize graffiti or worse, tagging (which I detest), that is not what we are talking about.  We are talking about very talented artists offering their creative works to the world on the most visible and popular canvas – the street.  The street art in Paris was one of the highlights to our time there.  In fact, between the artwork we viewed in the Louvre, the Pompidou Centre, Versailles, and elsewhere, the art on the street was perhaps the most exciting to me!  Yeah, I said it.  Of course, the Mona Lisa is a piece of art of great importance and the Venus de Milo is admittedly beautiful, but there is something wonderfully exciting about coming around the corner of a Parisian street and seeing a stenciled painting like the one above by Nick Walker.

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WHAT IS THE BEST THING TO DO IN PARIS?

PARIS-BLOG-1D

The Paris Journals, Part 1

The only proper response to this question, “What is the best thing to do in Paris?” has to be simply “Being in Paris.”  The place is magical and if you are focused on doing more than being, you might miss the wonder and romance that is laced throughout the timeworn streets, cathedrals and countless cafe’s.  This became clear to Becca and I within the first few days of our two week stay in Paris, and we both agreed that it didn’t much matter what we did – being there, roaming aimlessly, and taking it all in was plenty enough to keep our senses enthusiastic and our hearts filled with passion and curiosity.  We’re in Paris! 

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DARK COAST – A POEM BY MELISSA EGBERT

I realized today that a piece of writing that my sister had done for me several years back for the portfolio Dark Coast isn’t currently visible anywhere.  Unacceptable!  I can’t believe I hadn’t realized this before!  She wrote me this beautiful piece and I included it in a Blurb book that I had made.  I wasn’t overly pleased with the Blurb book quality so never did much with it, and the poem ended up kinda forgotten about.  Sorry, Moose! 

Without further ado…I’d like to present a piece by Melissa Egbert!


DARK COAST

My constant journey leads me to the edge of the shallow seas.  Time passes with each fluid motion of the water and I wait, for someone or something to capture a moment of beautiful illumination.

The dark coast, where birds settle on the guardrails of the pier, erected by ancient pylons, surrounded by crashing waves of salty water brought from the furthest reaches of the Pacific Ocean.  Waves, gentle and anxious, rhythmically invade the coast, then retreat from the sinking sands back into the flood.

I wander the coastline feeling the ocean air as the breeze cools my skin, tasting the salt on my lips.  I’ve wandered too close to the sea and it tries to pull me in, trapping my feet in the soft sand.  The ocean slips away and in that moment, I feel connected to the transforming world around me.  The world transformed by light and water.  But the moment escapes me like sandcrabs playing and skipping out of my fingers.

As I journey toward the sun, setting in it’s night haven, the clouds have surrendered the last of their offering to the earth, and given way to a silent calm.  I walk the coast, ever nearer to the water, until it surrounds me, moving my body to the sway and rhythms it commands.  I feel the serenity of the world pour through me.

The light is leaving but the water remains.

Written by MELISSA EGBERT

MASTER BLAH BLAH BLAH

I was gearing up for a recent workshop and reviewing notes from the participant and saw that she had done a number of photo workshops in the past.  I was familiar with one of the photographers listed.  It had been awhile since I’d checked out his website, so in one of my many daily distractions, I headed over to see what was new.   The first thing I noticed was the steady dose of “Master” that was dropped all over the website.  Master this, Master that.  Learn from the Master.  Buy the best book ever by the Master.  Background of a Master.  Initially, I thought it was kinda funny.  Then, kinda embarrassing.  Who does that?

When I think of a Master, I think of a Kung Fu Master who can be challenged by 20 men and overcome them all with one hand behind his back.  Or, a Zen Master who is awakened and fiercely present, burning so bright that those in his company taste nirvana.  Li Mu Bai from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon was a badass Master!  Fo’ real!!  He certainly didn’t need to go around calling himself Master.  Everyone else recognized him as Master and referred to him accordingly.  He had reached a level of such mastery that it spilled into all aspects of his life and rendered him egoless.  Awake.

That’s what I think of when I think of “Master” – where such mastery in one area spills into all the other areas of one’s life and the result is a certain level of heightened awareness, egoless-ness, and inter-connectedness.  And, let us not forget – humility!  Is a Master really a Master if he/she is obviously ego-based?  Ego-driven?  And going around saying, “I am Master.  Bow down before me.”  Not in my world.  Not in my eyes.

Of course, I do think there are Master photographers.  Michael Kenna is a Master.  Christopher Burkett is a Master.  Edward Burtynsky is a Master.  David Fokos is a Master.  And you know what?  You won’t find the use of the word “Master” anywhere on their websites!!  Let us not forget, “Masters” do not have to announce themselves to the world and convince us of their mastery.