Mammoth Hot Springs Yellowstone

Mammoth Hot Springs_730b_0509

Mammoth Hot Springs_730b_0509

Looking down on this small town nestled between the hills around Mammoth Hot Springs looked so serene.  I loved the way the clouds hung in the sky and the sun illuminated the hills on the left.

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Waterfall Bighorn Nat’l Forest

long exposure whitewater river

River in the Big Horn National Forest, Wyoming

When my husband and I travel, we like to drive so that we can see what is between here and there.  This was one of those ‘between’ places. We were on our way to Yellowstone and had to drive thru northern Wyoming which brought us thru the Bighorn National Forest.  If there is running water, I am sure to stop – this area was no exception.

Waterfall in Big Horn Forest_050924_269a

RAW – Mt Moran Tetons Dream

Mt Moran Tetons Dream

Shooting in the RAW format has been automatic for me for several years. But I do remember a time when I had no idea what it was.

Years ago the standard was film, the larger the format the better for capturing detail. I had limited funds so all I had was a 35mm camera. I didn’t know anyone who had anything different. (Not counting the little instamatics that took 110 film but I’m not sure they counted as cameras). If you were lucky enough to have a darkroom or were enrolled in classes at a college you could develop your pictures to match the vision you had in mind when you took the photograph. Digital had not yet been invented back then or at least was not main stream, so the new terminology had not yet either.

Changing from film to digital was a slow process as I still felt the film was the purer form of photography. But as I acquired a digital camera, took a few classes in photoshop (that’s an entirely new story ), I began to appreciate what you could do with digital. I’m sure my first digital camera did not have raw capabilities as it was more of the point and shoot variety. I had a foot in each realm digit v film for awhile.

I first heard of RAW while watching the sunrise over Mt Moran Tetons National Park.  I was discussing equipment with another photographer when he asked me if I was shooting 8 bit or 16.  What???  I had to do some home work.  All I had been worrying about was the composition and the exposure not this 16 bit business.

The information I read on it the more I knew that was where I was going next.  I never even think of shooting 8 bit any longer as the RAW format offers so much more latitude in the development process.  Where once I was limited to exactly what was captured on my screen (to a certain degree), I now had more room to play with my ‘negatives’.

Daily Herald – Tetons Photographers

Teton Photographers

This past Sunday one of my photos was featured in the Neighborhood section of the Daily Herald. This is a newspaper serving the DuPage County area in Illinois.  I’m so excited.

I have been a reader of the paper for some time and always took note of the featured photograph each Sunday. I often thought ‘I should enter that contest’. So I clipped the info on who to send entries to on several occasions. It took several months, but eventually I picked one of my favorites, along with pertinate info about it and sent it off.

It was a pleasant surprise when the journalist from the paper called to say I had won the contest.
This may appear to be a small accomplishment for many and it is true this is a regular feature, but being recognized by another is always a great feeling. For me this signified more. It was another small way I have recently ‘put myself out there’.  You see for those of us who are introverts, it is hard to ‘brag’ about your work or bring attention to yourself.  We are usually more comfortable remaining anonymous or blending in.  So my entry and subsequent win was for me, a mile marker and a step towards getting more comfortable with praise and acknowledgement.

Here is the link to the article along with the winning photos.

DailyHerald.com : Warrenville photographer splits from the crowd m.dailyherald.comIt was afternoon when Donna Sizemore and her husband drove past Mount Moran in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park and were captivated by the majestic view.

How do I set myself apart?

Mules Deer in Glacier Nat'l Park_167_0706

Mule Deer in Glacier Nat’l Park

I’m feeling a little discouraged.  Altho my photos have been added to favorites and to some treasury lists, I feel I have not made a big enough impact.  The images I have for sale on Etsy, although I think are good, have not inspired another to own or hang it on their wall.  I browse around at other people’s work and they seem to have a specialization.  A particular type or style  of photographs that they exhibit.

Do I have a style?  Doing an audit of the images on my site, I don’t feel that my style has been represented.  A review of my photos in my own files, I see that I gravitate towards nature.    But all the photos are more or less straight shooting.  In other words they are pretty faithful representations of what I saw at the time.

My challenge, it seems, is to find that something that sets me apart.  With the existence of  such high quality cameras ( some of which do all the work for you), an image must be much more than a documentation of that fraction of time when it was taken.  It must convey a feeling, mood or thought that strikes a cord with another.

Another  challenge for me will be to control the anal side of  me that wants to make a list, accomplish a specific thing or things on that list and then cross it off.

This list making side is mainly a result of working all day at my ‘day job’ and not being able to attend to things when I think of them.  I have always been the kind of person who doesn’t know what I am doing that day until I’m doing it,  but when it comes to this ‘side line’ of mine, I cannot be so flexible.  I have felt I need to organize and prioritize to get the best use of my time.   I have been spending my time getting more images added to my shop and less time on the art.  It has been important to get the shop running, learn how to navigate, set policies and so forth, but  as I get a better handle on that I will need to devote more time to producing an image that will not say to others “I could do that”.  Balance, balance, balance.

That being said,  I now need to concentrate on the art.

I was up early yesterday – 2:30 am  – it was a sleepless night and I decided to make good use of it.  First I attended to some housekeeping thinking that would put me back to sleep.   But after that was taken care of, I was still wide awake.  I opened a few photos that I had earmarked for possible addition to my shop and started tweaking.  I ran into something that I think worked quite well on the few photos I was amending. I may have bumped into, for these couple of photos, that element that conveyed my feeling at the time.   The beauty of this early morning session was that I did not feel my time was limited as I so often do when I am working in the evening.  During a weekday evening I often feel a need to accomplish something, but that morning  I had no specific agenda.  My hope is that I have produced something that says a little more – a little more about how I perceived the image/scene.

In the future, as I segregate those photos worthy of more attention, I will take a few minutes to clarify what makes it special for me.  What did I see, what inspired me and if I had (when taking the photo) seen only this or that.  This, then will be my foundation for making a more unique image.  An image, hopefully, that will inspire awe.

I need to give more leeway to the let IT happen and go with the flow stream of things.