FRAME OF MIND ... words of wisdom from famous photographers and artists

PABLO PICASSO:

"I do not read English, an English book is a blank book to me. This does not mean that the English language does not exist. Why should I blame anyone but myself if I cannot understand what I know nothing about?"

 

 HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON:

“The most satisfying photographs achieve coherence using weight & rhythm, juxtaposition & flow, shape &  graphic to create personal vision. If the shutter was released at the decisive moment you have instantly fixed a geometric pattern without which the photograph would have been formless and lifeless.”  
    

AUTHOR UNKNOWN (OR I FORGOT):

Imagine if there were no photographs. You can just imagine.

 

ROBERT CAPA:

“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough

 

W. EUGENE SMITH:

"What use is having a great depth of field, if there is not an adequate depth of feeling."

 

MARY ELLEN MARK:

"Immerse yourself in it like a method actor tackling a difficult role." 

"An iconic image is intriguing, mysterious. It makes you wonder. You think about it. Beautiful yet strange."

Ride On Rodeo Houston

This March 2013 over 2.5 million individuals attended the Rodeo Houston which has been going strong since its first event in 1932. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo at Reliant Stadium is the largest rodeo event in the world. It has an attendance which is more than double the one million that go to the second biggest annual rodeo event held in Calgary up north in Canada.

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An outstanding corps of 24,000 volunteers makes this huge 20-day Rodeo Houston event succeed each year.

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Preceding the Rodeo, a mass trail ride by a company of almost 3,000 horse riders coming from over twelve different locations relive the Old West as they stride hundreds of miles towards the business center of Houston.

On its first day, spectators line up the streets of downtown Houston to enjoy the parade of the trail riders and rodeo participants, a walk and run competition and the feast at the “World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest”.

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The highlight of each day of Rodeo Houston happens in the early evening with the fast-paced exciting sequence of tie-down roping, bareback riding, team roping, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing, bull riding, calf scramble,  under 5 year-old kids lamb riding and music concert.  Aside from   rodeo action, Rodeo Houston features livestock competitions, a carnival, pig racing, an international wine competition, shopping, and livestock auctions.

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The world's biggest recording artists, including Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, George Strait, Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Selena, Bon Jovi, ZZ Top, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Bruno Mars, Blake Shelton, Band Perry, and Lady Antebellum have performed in the Rodeo’s main venue which is currently the 70,000 seat-capacity Reliant Stadium.

In The Land Of Make Believe

(This was originally posted last May 2, 2011 in my original blog  http://bacosastudios.wordpress.com/)

Life is a tangled circus in Hollywood, the land of make believe, and it’s our kids’ debut to the real world. Because of Hollywood’s pervasive influence, humans have been made to believe:

• To act like a star when the camera rolls

• There were persons that have been stars

• The starstruck believe certain mortals are stars and wait for hours to see these stars

• Beauty, through cosmetics such as Botox, can be skin-deep

• That drugs, like marijuana, can be summarily prescribed to cure various physical and mental illnesses

• Religion’s distinction from science stopped

To view Hollywood, families drive a labyrinth of roads for the city walk to see commercial art purveyed by movie studios and businesses. All the while, non-commercial art is hardly visible as it is consigned to garbage alleys. Non-commercial artists, on the other hand, purvey their “make believe” nether world.

See my photos of the land of Make Believe at http://vimeo.com/23053171 and at http://www.bacosastudios.com/make-believe/

Being One with the Spirit in Grand Canyon

The plan was for my wife and me to visit and take photographs in four contiguous U.S. national parks – the Grand Canyon, Arches, Zion and Bryce - in seven days. We have visited Bryce and Zion before but it was going to be our first time to visit the Grand Canyon and the Arches. This is my reminiscence of my first visit to Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon being the nearest (relative to the other three parks) from Los Angeles was our first stop. We had to choose between the North Rim and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We could not visit both as it would take a five-hour drive of 215 miles to get from one Rim to another. Crossing by car the almost one-mile-deep Canyon that bisects the North and South is not possible. Hiking from "Rim To Rim" is a 21-mile grueling overnight trek. While traveling to either Rim will take about eight hours coming from Los Angeles, we chose the North Rim as its 121-mile distance from Zion is less than half the 249-mile distance from the South Rim to Zion.

Eight thousand feet above sea level, the North Rim sits atop the Kaibab Plateau. It has lush green meadows covered with conifer and aspen trees. The deer and flock of turkeys that we saw several times on the road are a common sight in this part of the Grand Canyon which is less-visited compared to the South Rim.  (Ninety percent of the nearly five million people who visit the Canyon view it from the South Rim while the rest view it from the North Rim.)  Each Rim’s fascinating attraction is the mile-deep canyon that has been carved by the Colorado River and by incredibly long years of weathering, erosion, volcanism and other forms of geological transformation. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 kilometers) long and up to 18 miles (29 kilometers) wide.

We went to the North Rim just at the nick of time. Visitor lodging and food services inside the North Rim which opens from mid-May was about to close that mid-October.  As we entered the Park Ranger-guarded entrance of the North Rim, the first item in our checklist was to buy an $80 National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass in lieu of paying a $25 entrance fee every time we enter each of the four parks we were visiting.  This  $80 annual pass investment would not only save us $20 dollars for this trip but it will allow us to  save $25 dollars each time we enter a national park or federal recreation land for the next 364 days.

We have made sure our car’s gas tank was full before we entered the North Rim entrance. We already had lodging reservations a week before our trip and resting right away at our lodge was not what we travelled eight hours for. Our immediate goal  which was the second item in our checklist was to take a look before the sun sets at the most accessible viewpoint that provides beautiful photography opportunities. For the North Rim, that go-to viewpoint is the Bright Angel Point which can be approached through entering the Grand Canyon Lodge.

As I walked towards the Bright Angel Point, my fear of heights fused with my feeling of awe at the sight of the enormous 270-mile long and 8,000-feet deep Grand Canyon. I knelt on the cemented trail not caring at all if other visitors noticed me and bowed my head to the magnificent spirit I felt one with as I entered the majesty of our Creator’s kingdom.

Saying more words cannot sum up what I reminisce as lucid as sharing pictures of what I saw.

Through my photographs, I share as well the spirit I felt in Grand Canyon hoping that you too would value nature’s gifts. 

Going for Bryce Canyon's Glowing Hoodoos

Among four contiguous national parks – the Grand Canyon North Rim in Arizona and the Arches, Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in Utah – that I have been to, I would choose Bryce Canyon National Park  as the place I would like to explore again. All four give a visitor the awesome feeling that he is looking at the majesty of our Creator’s kingdom. But the visitor of Bryce Canyon, particularly each individual who has hiked one of Bryce’s many trails invariably exudes the happiest smile after viewing the depths and heights of such magically spectacular creation. Eric Peterson,  author several travel guidebooks on the American west  including “Frommer’s Utah” and who has written about backpacking in Yosemite, and cross-country skiing in Yellowstone, had this to say,  “If you could visit only one national park in your lifetime, make it Bryce Canyon.”

Bryce Canyon consists of a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters carved from a plateau. Inside these amphitheaters are thousands of standing “hoodoos” or colorful limestone rocks with bizarre shapes. Geologically speaking, the hoodoos were shaped after millions of years of water and wind erosion. These hoodoos and the cliffs of the amphitheaters grab your attention with their colors in shades of red, brown, yellow and white that glow with the rising and setting of the sun.  When the Canyon was first promoted to tourists in the late 1920s, the Union Pacific Railroad wrote a description of the Canyon which I believe remains true to this day:  “To those who have not forgotten the story books of childhood it suggests a playground for fairies. In another aspect it seems a smoldering inferno where goblins and demons might dwell among flames and embers."

A visit to Bryce starts with a drive by car to its many viewpoints which stretches 18 miles from beginning to end. Amazement kicks in as you take a stroll along the rim of the canyon or amphitheatres. The most thrilling part is the hike in one of Bryce’s many trails, the most popular of which is the combined Navajo and Queen’s trails.

Start your hike of Bryce’s trails just after daybreak and enjoy the morning light as the sunrise brings the Canyon to life, illuminating the radiant hues of the hoodoos and the Canyon’s walls. Narrow switchbacks will take you 1,755 feet straight down into hoodoo formations, which include an eerie narrow passage into the heart of the Bryce Canyon. While some trails are considered a moderate hike, all the final climbs up out of the canyon are tough so much so that every hiker who finishes the climb gasps with a wide “I made it” smile.

Bryce Canyon National Park is located in southwestern Utah. It is 273 miles south of Salt Lake City, the capital of Utah and 256 miles going northeast from Las Vegas. It is 520 miles or almost 8 hours by car from Los Angeles. From Bryce, Arches National Park is 249 miles up north, Grand Canyon North Rim 160 miles south and Zion National Park is 78 miles south. The route coming from and to Bryce takes one through Utah State Highway 12, which has been designated by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration as a National Scenic Byway because of  its numerous one-of- a-kind historical, natural, recreational, and scenic features that by themselves are exceptional destinations.

Five Reasons For Taking a Trip To Rock Creek

I have travelled through the US 395 highway several times to and from Los Angeles and I have camped at California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range area quite a few times too.  My favorite place for camping in the Sierras is Rock Creek canyon. To my mind, these are the best reasons for  driving through US 395 for a  trip to  Rock Creek:

 

 

1.      Rock Creek is famous for more than fifty (50) lakes that are linked by hiking trails surrounded by 13,000 foot-mountain-peaks. This famous area is called the Little Lakes Valley and is part of the wilderness named after John Muir whose brainchild was the preservation of the United States' wilderness into national parks.

2.      You can go  camping, rock climbing,  hiking,  horse riding, mountain biking, and fishing in the Rock Creek area. It has 13 campgrounds on federal land with more than 300 individual campsites, many of them nestled among juniper, pine or aspen trees. All but one of the campgrounds are near the creek or Rock Creek Lake. All campgrounds have potable water and flush toilets, except for Upper Pine Grove and Tuff, which have chemical toilets. Most campgrounds do not accept reservations.  You may go to  the recreation.gov website for those that can be reserved.

Cabins and lodges are available within rock creek and, Crowley Place,  the town next to it.

3.      From Rock Creek, you are conveniently less than an hour drive to places  going up north or down south of US 395 where you can visit some of the not-to-be missed places of America.

Around fifty miles up north is Mono Lake which is more than a million years old and has an area of 60 square-miles. This lake, which has unusual spires and knobs butting out of its waters, is two and half times as salty and 80 times as alkaline as salt water.

About fifty miles going down south at US 395 is Alabama Hills. It has amazing oddly rounded rocks backed by the jagged high peaks of the Sierra. Over 150 movies, especially Western genre movies, have been filmed in Alabama Hills’s rugged environment. The more recent movies with parts filmed in the area include “Gladiator”, “Iron Man”, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”, and Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained”. From Alabama Hills, you can  drive half-way  to (and,  if you choose to, climb the rest of the distance going up) Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States.

4.      While driving through 395, a must turn 10 miles off the highway is the Rock Creek Lakes Resort. You have to taste their absolutely delicious home-made pies. You cannot find a restaurant in any of the  backwoods of California where there is always a  long line of people dying to taste a  pie in the sky. However, you must get there before 2:30 p.m. or else all the different flavors of pies will be sold out. If you have to settle for something else, order their awesome salmon burger.

For weary tent campers,  hot showers are available  at Rock Creek Lakes Resort at a  minimum cost of two dollars.

5.      If you feel  silly or guilty that you have to check your email or submit a report while you are out of town, do not worry. There is a free 24/7 Wi-Fi internet connection available near rock creek. Just drive less than half an hour to 3627 Crowley Lake Drive, Crowley Lake, CA 93546 and park in front of the Crowley Lake Public Library.

See you there.

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