Dave Howard: Blog http://davehoward.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) Dave Howard dave.howard.photographer@gmail.com (Dave Howard) Sat, 26 Nov 2016 21:04:00 GMT Sat, 26 Nov 2016 21:04:00 GMT http://davehoward.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-5/u291957775-o74872150-50.jpg Dave Howard: Blog http://davehoward.zenfolio.com/blog 90 120 Beyond the Studio http://davehoward.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/11/beyond-the-studio The calendar started with a wedding that brought family and friends from all over to Texas.  In February of 2015, Lois's older sister Alyssa was getting married and Lois was the Maid of Honor.  The day after the Wedding, Lois and I agreed to do a shoot in Palo Duro Canyon, which is the second largest canyon in the U.S.A., and was in fact the site of the wedding--which we almost made it to, but that is a different story.  In this blog update, I'm going to give you a little context for the photos that made the calendar and show you a few of the many images that couldn't be squeezed into the 2017 calendar, either due to formatting or space limitations. Click on any image to see it in its gallery.

February in the panhandle of Texas is not generally in the 70's with a gentle breeze, and no wind or rain, but it was that year, letting us take some lovely shots out in the Canyon.  Here is a sample of Lois doing a lovely leap silhouetted against the amazing colors of the Palo Duro Canyon wall. 

Palo_Duro_Canyon-1338Leap silhouetted against Palo Duro Canyon

Later that same year Lois came to California for a summer ballet intensive, with the San Jose Ballet.  While she was here, we spent parts of two days photographing in several locations, including the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, Fort Baker, the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, and the Sixteenth Avenue Stairs.  

Unfortunately, the calendar requires mostly horizontal pictures, so many great vertical shots had to be eliminated, including those from the Palace of Fine Arts.  One example from that location follows.

Lois_San_Francisco-8602Palace of Fine Arts

The Japanese Tea Garden provided us with some lovely opportunities, and some of my favorite shots.  Here is a vertical image that would not fit into the calendar.

SF_Thurs-9194Lois and Pagoda

We didn't see Lois again after her visit in June 2015, until late October of 2016, when she came out to visit family and friends in California.  We whisked her away to Monterrey where we had two amazingly beautiful weather events in the same day:  a rainbow while walking on a beach in Pebble Beach, and a lovely sunset in Pacific Grove.  

Lois_Monterey_Fri-2341Rainbow and Reflection, Pebble Beach, CAA full rainbow reflected in the wet sand provided the context for Lois' ballet talents. I don't think I have ever had a chance to photograph a full rainbow and reflection, certainly not with a lovely ballerina to add power, beauty and grace. 

To finish off the evening, we had a lovely sunset, with the sky alight with reds and oranges, providing a perfect background for displaying Lois's hard earned skills and grace.  For obvious reasons, we didn't do any jumps.  I should rephrase that to say, she didn't do any jumps.  I never did any jumps.  

  Lois_Monterey_Fri-2412Sky on Fire, Pacific Grove, CA

I hope you have enjoyed seeing a few more images of ballet taken Beyond the Studio.

Should you wish to purchase a copy of the calendar, please click the following link and follow the directions on the left.

Beyond the Studio, 2017 Ballet Calendar

dave.howard.photographer@gmail.com (Dave Howard) Bridge Gate Golden ballet dance rainbow sunset http://davehoward.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/11/beyond-the-studio Sat, 26 Nov 2016 21:03:56 GMT
Mixing Media http://davehoward.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/mixing-media Many things speak to my heart.  High on the list are images and words.  It should be little surprise then, that my two main creative outlets are writing (mostly my fantasy novel) and photography (flower, landscape and family photography). 

For many years, I have combined images of some sort or other with verses from the Bible to create "posters" that I display in our downstairs bathroom.  I figured this would give people sufficient time to meditate on the message.  My initial attempts at this preceded my photography and tended to involve clipart, generally from the vast collection provided with CorelDraw. 

Finding a combination of a quotation from the Bible and a picture that have a unique and maybe even synergistic meaning when combined, is clearly both subjective and intensely personal.  You might not be in the same place as I and so the quote I love so much may touch you.  Or you might not care about the same images that touch me.  Nonetheless, I think that there is enough shared experience in life, that what touches me will touch some of you at some point in time. 

Perhaps because of the personal nature of such efforts, I don't believe I have never shared any of my previous assemblies outside of my house.  However, I have recently found a combination that is very meaningful to me and thought I would share it. 

Russian Gulch and Psalm 42:1-2Russian Gulch and Psalm 42:1-2

(Sorry for the print size.  It looks fine when printed at 13"x19".)

I suppose that everyone encounters points in their life when their need is as desperate as a deer trapped in the desert.  The need for help within us is every bit as desperate as the parched deer.  A year and a half ago the need was for help dealing with a Mother who was in the late stages of dementia.  This woman who had raised me from helplessness could no longer deal with life.  How could I help her? 

This year, my recent need has been to know God more deeply than I have known him before.  So many things that I have tried to slake the thirst just made me thirstier.  Going out into nature and seeing God's creation made me thirsty to meet the creator of the beauty I was seeing.  Creating a world, as when writing a novel, makes you think long and hard about the nature of the God who made the universe.    Losing a mother made me realize that my time here really is bounded.  There is an urgency in moving from casual knowledge of this God to a deeper knowledge of him.

Where can I go and meet with God?  Fortunately, it is not far.  There might be something special--indeed I think there is--about places like Russian Gulch or a thousand other places where God's hand is more visible than man's hand.  And yet, God will meet with us wherever we happen to be when we suddenly realize that we are thirsty--parched like a deer about die of thirst in a desert. 

dave.howard.photographer@gmail.com (Dave Howard) Deer God Russian Gulch thirst http://davehoward.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/mixing-media Mon, 10 Aug 2015 04:11:05 GMT
Gray Day http://davehoward.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/12/gray-day Some days are gray.  Today was one of those days, and frankly the sky fit my mood rather well.  Perhaps it was post-Christmas blues or maybe the memory of my Mom's death just about a year ago.  Whatever the reason, the gray sky fit. 

On a lark, I set out for Coyote Hills, where I have been having some fun recording sunsets the last week.  (This is the only time of year when the park closes after sunset.)  I set out hiking for the western side of the park where, honestly, I expected to see the sun set in ever dimming grayness. 

On the way out into the salt ponds, I chanced upon a blue heron.  He was hardly distinguishable from the gray background of the day. Coyote_Hills_Sunset-0725Blue Heron on a Gray DayCoyote_Hills_Sunset-0725 Coyote_Hills_Sunset-0729Coyote_Hills_Sunset-0729

I noticed just a hint of light breaking through the clouds to the northwest.  Seeing some small "islands" in the salt ponds, I liked the way the reflected light framed them.  Coyote_Hills_Sunset-0737Coyote_Hills_Sunset-0737

To my surprise the more light broke through, and with it just a bit of color.  Hidden HeronHidden Heron I was prepared to take this image and call it a day.

And almost before I could keep up with it the sky went from pinks to reds as the sunset light broke through. Coyote_Hills_Sunset-0756Coyote_Hills_Sunset-0756

And from there the colors got more and more intense.  The color is so intense in the last few images that it doesn't actually display well on any normal monitor.  For the geeks out there, some of the reds are outside of the sRGB color space, and most monitors don't even display all of sRGB.

Coyote_Hills_Sunset-0778Coyote_Hills_Sunset-0778 Coyote_Hills_Sunset-0780Coyote_Hills_Sunset-0780 Coyote_Hills_Sunset-0782Coyote_Hills_Sunset-0782 Despite my gray attitude, I had set out, to quote Ps. 27:5, "...[t]o behold the beauty of the LORD” (Psalms 27:4 NAS95) on a gray day with no color.  I was surprised that God revealed a bit of that beauty in the intense fire reds of a sunset. 

dave.howard.photographer@gmail.com (Dave Howard) Coyote Hills Regional Park http://davehoward.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/12/gray-day Sat, 28 Dec 2013 04:21:36 GMT
The Fading Flower http://davehoward.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/11/the-fading-flower Irises Flowers are not discussed in the Bible very often.  Jesus did talk about them (comparing them to Solomon's riches), and Isaiah used them as metaphors in chapters 28 and 40. James and Peter mention flowers, but they are clearly quoting and applying Isaiah chapter 40.  By and large, when the word flower is used, it is used to talk about fading beauty or past beauty.  And often flowers are coupled with grass used frequently to indicate something that doesn't last very long.  In contrast, when the word, "blossom" is used, it seems to be in the context of hope and the future.  They also seem to be discussed more frequently.  I'll come back to Solomon and "blossom" in the future.  Today is about "flowers."

I've been thinking far more about the fading of life since my Mom's illness and death.  Her mental faculties had been fading for several years, but last year about this time, they took a sudden turn--more of a plunge--for the worse.  And after that, not even four months later, she died.  For 86 years, a flower had blossomed, shown its beauty for a time and then faded as all life does.

Since the primary metaphor for flowers comes from Isaiah, what did he say?

 “A voice says, “Cry out.”

And I said, “What shall I cry?”

“All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.
The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.””

(Isaiah 40:6–8 NIV)

End of SeasonEnd of Season

This passage does not deny the loveliness of the flower. And indeed as God's creation, they reflect the glory of their Creator by their very existence.  They can do nothing else. 

And yet, as beautiful as a flower is, it does not last long.  Some flowers last for hardly a day.  Others last for months.  But no matter which flower the Lord was talking about, compared to the normal human lifespan, it is nothing.  It grows, it blooms, it fades, and it is gone.

 One day there is field of yellow flowers filling the world to the horizon.  Later, nothing is to be found but a few twigs in a field.  The grass grows up and covers the hills in green.  Later nothing is left but withered stalks.

And by analogy, compared to the planet on which we live and the universe in which we find ourselves, we are like flowers.  Perhaps, even more short lived than flowers given that comparison. 

But, the story does not end with our faded flowers or withered grass.  The Word of the Lord stands forever.  It is the base on which the universe was built.  It is the force that holds it in existence.  And when the universe itself finally fades like a flower, the mustard_sunset-8047A field of mustard at sunset. Word will still be standing.  Coyotye_Hills-9156Mustard Plant Grass in the Field



dave.howard.photographer@gmail.com (Dave Howard) Death Flowers Isaiah http://davehoward.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/11/the-fading-flower Wed, 13 Nov 2013 05:04:37 GMT
The Heart of Muir Woods http://davehoward.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/2/the-heart-of-muir-woods Muir Woods National Monument in Mill Valley, is on the "far" end of the Golden Gate Bridge, but not really very far from anywhere in the Bay Area.  It is a lovely grove of tall trees, mostly redwoods.  muir_woods-8160

I have visited a number of times.  I have found it one of the most difficult places to capture in photographs of any place I have visited.  Yosemite seems to throw itself at your camera and make great pictures.  Uvas Canyon down near Morgan Hill is a bit more work, but the waterfalls are clearly the "heart" of the park. 

It is not hard to take photos in Muir Woods, however, I have had trouble taking photos that I thought captured whatever it is that people come by the droves to see. 

So, what is the heart of Muir Woods?  I suppose the answer is the grand trees.  And why is it hard to capture?  Because the trees are easy to miss.  Not the bases of the trees, they are all around you in these massive 10 or more foot diameter cylinders.  It is the tree going up and up and up, until your head is back all the way and you are looking straight up.  Indeed, modern man is not used to "looking up" at things he has not built himself.  Which is a terrible shame.

And yet, not all is the redwoods.  There is the beautiful stream and flowers and the "lesser" trees that fill the holes between the grand redwoods.  Fungus muir_woods-8110 growing in fantastical shapes on the dead and decaying remnants of the previous generation. 

I think the redwoods in the stream captures much of this.  It brings a ... copy of the grand trees down where people look.  Perhaps not as grand as looking up, but a lot easier on aging necks.  :)

dave.howard.photographer@gmail.com (Dave Howard) Muir Woods redwoods http://davehoward.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/2/the-heart-of-muir-woods Thu, 23 Feb 2012 06:45:31 GMT