Darkling Beetle's Journey





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2 Comments | Report
cjtphotography June 15, 2015
Stunning in its simplicity
michaelkeel December 12, 2016
Thank you!
kjfishman December 11, 2016
Love the texture.
michaelkeel December 12, 2016
Thank you!

Behind The Lens

White Sands New Mexico
This was actually the smack dab middle of the day - worst light ever
The light was really harsh - I had the camera at f/16 I think with an ISO of 400 - quite windy. .09 ND filter screwed onto lens.
At this time I was testing out the Nikon D610, and using the D750 (I use the D810 as main camera now)Lens: Nikon 24-70, no flash, handheld
I really enjoy the desert. In fact - I'm obsessed with the desert and always searching for "alien looking landscapes". So where do I go? It’s mainly the Sierra Mountains and the desert surrounding them. The first time I saw the desert was with my parents, I was 9 years old - I fell in love. The desert is a brutal but beautiful place. In all honesty it is the only place I feel the weight of life lifted off of my shoulders, the pressure of bills gone, reaching your goals, maintaining everything and getting away from traffic!! It’s the one place I can concentrate, focus, and feel I do my best work as a photographer. The desert really is my own therapy office to go to and deal with past demons or whatever you want to call them. The desert is my Therapy office and The General (Vito) my travel companion is the Prozac. I let everything go, there in the moment in complete peace, then I come back refreshed and I’m wrecked all over again back in the city. A repeating cycle as if I’m Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. When I’m in desert areas I’m always looking for Nautilus symbols. Not the shell itself but the actual lines of the Nautilus symbol within nature landscapes. In ancient cultures it represents a symbol of life, internal harmony, and the perfection of nature, the nautilus shell evokes a sense of mystery to me. I find them a lot in the desert with the way the wind interacts with the dunes, creating those graceful lines swirled beneath your feet. They are just so beautiful to me. It’s strange too, I could be walking on a desert dune, miles of sand, and then all of a sudden it’s like a painting on the ground, I’m about to make the photo – and my dog runs through it disturbing all of the sand!!! Mother Nature painting art within art for you to enjoy. Now, I’m not a religious person, but something or someone is definitely behind putting these beautiful images everywhere – the earth is surely alive with talent. To me the Nautilus symbol/shell encapsulates what I try to achieve in my work: balance, beauty, consistency and continual growth
Yes, in Lightroom. Exposure left at 0 Contrast +2 Highlights -30 Shadows +4 Whites +35 Blacks -26 Clarity +4 Darks -23
In my camera bag
I carry the D750 as backup and for lowlight shots. The D810 is my main go to. SB900 flash, some diffusers, old fashioned with screw on filters, I do not use software filters in Photoshop or Lightroom EVER. ND filters, Grad Filter, Polarizer. All Nikon lenses: 24-70 2.8, 14-24 2.8 and a 135mm 2.0 For landscape travel. When I go on the street, I only carry a 50mm 1.4 and or a 28mm 1.4 with the D810. I'm really a minimalist. As for tripods I know I should have a better one, but I never get one. I have a higher model Dolica tripod...it's nothing special at all. But it does the job.
Light and desert sun in the middle of the day. LOL. I advise not making those photos. It's too hot. No but really, it is a lot tougher in the middle of the day making photos, as every photographer has experienced. But that just happened to be the time I was there. So no control over that. I think new photographers shouldn't be so afraid of screw on filters. Honestly, I'm kind of sick of the laziness with a lot of newer photographers. I keep hearing "I will fix this in photoshop" "Oh I can just crop it in Photoshop". I don't know, maybe it's because I started on film and LOVE film still to this day. I really try to use Lightroom as just a dark room tool. Dodge/Burn, Darker, Lighter and so on. I think photographers should really strive to get everything right "in camera". Think about your shot - make the shot. Why make more work for after? Get it right the first time. Framing etc. I really think photographers should start out on film. You really do notice the difference in a photographer’s work that started on digital and never shot on film. I’m not saying it looks good or bad either way. But you can definitely see the difference with someone’s work that never shot on film. I miss film and I'm hoping when things get squared away on my end, that I can get a dark room going and get back into film. Getting back into the science of it – something like that.

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