An excellent week of exploring and lightpainting

My last post left off in Santa Fe, where we spent about four days exploring and shooting. After exploring the town there, we took a drive to Pecos National Historic Park, which is about 40 minutes from the city. The highlight of the park is an ancient pueblo, with some ruins and kivas surrounding it. We spent a good amount of time shooting in one of the kivas, which are circular, underground rooms that used to be used for religious rituals. We did find a little problem with the first kiva, however. I started to go down the ladder, and just as my head went underground, I found myself face to face with a small, but very irritated, rattlesnake. We decided to move on to the next kiva, but not before I tried to photograph the snake!

My shot from inside a kiva.

Instead of high-tailing it out of the snake area, I decided to try to photograph the little sucker.

The resulting snake photograph. I was using a fisheye, which made him look a little farther away.

After leaving Santa Fe, we moved on to the mountain town of Taos, a place I’ve been wanting to visit for a while. On our way there, we passed an amazing place that I just had to stop and photograph. It’s called the Classic Gas Museum, and is basically one man’s collection of vintage gas pumps, cars, signs, you name it. The place was full of old stuff… the kind of stuff I just love to shoot. The owner, Johnnie, was great and had no problem with us photographing there. He even let us return two nights later to do some lightpainting. Karen and I spent a good 2-3 hours shooting there after dark, and I was really happy with the results.

Karen’s iPhone montage from the Classic Gas Museum.

I was excited about this composition at the Classic Gas Museum. I just loved the old gas pumps surrounding this old race car.

This is the main building/shop at the Classic Gas Museum.

While in Taos, we explored the historic downtown area and then drove the famous High Road to Taos. You’re “supposed” to drive it from Santa Fe to Taos, but we did it the other way around because it wasn’t the most convenient road to take a 40-foot motorhome down, so we waited to drive it in the Mini. We mainly stopped to photograph old churches on the road, as they had a lot of character and history to them. The high road ended in the town of Espanola, where we stopped for dinner. I’ve got to mention the place we ate at because it was just excellent. It’s called El Paragua (The Parasol) and they specialize in Mexican cuisine (a standard in Espanola). The atmosphere in the place was charming, and the food was just delicious. Karen and I both ate more than we should have because it was just so darn hard to stop! We’ve been to a lot of Mexican places, and many of them are extremely similar as far as the menu and flavors go. This place definitely stood above the rest.

While in Taos, I also started experimenting with camera gear. I’m a Canon shooter, but I was curious as to how I would like Nikon’s D800E. I love to be able to make huge prints, and the D800’s 36 megapixels was taunting me a bit. Overall, the files that I’ve been getting from it are excellent, but I think I’m still going to stick with Canon. I’ll do a longer post on this later.

Karen and I both really enjoyed Taos, and we stayed there for four nights. Then, we were Colorado bound. We made a short stop at Great Sand Dunes National Park and we would have stayed longer had the weather been in our favor. It’s definitely on the list to visit again. Our first stop in Colorado is near Canon City, and we came here because of the unique aspects of the RV park. It’s called the Starlite Classic Campground and they feature a whole bunch of restored vintage trailers that are in beautiful shape and they’re all styled to perfectly to the era in which they were “born.” The couple who runs the place is just great and they were gracious enough to let me lightpaint some of the trailers. In fact, the first night’s lightpainting turned out so well that we extended our stay so I could shoot some more of them! We spent most of today arranging setups for the trailer shoots, and I’m going to be heading out to shoot some more as soon as this blog post is finished!

Here is my first lightpainting from The Starlite Classic Campground.

My new lightpainting e-book is now available!

Finally, I have some exciting news to share! This week, I released my new e-book, “The Fine Art of Painting with Light.” If you are interested in lightpainting, whether you’re experienced or not, definitely check it out. The book is a comprehensive guide, starting with your very first lightpainting and moving through to advanced techniques and post-processing in Photoshop. It includes a guide to the tools required, examples of different lightpainting styles and how to achieve them and 28 real-world examples where I demonstrate how I created specific images. The e-book is separated into two distinct sections. The first teaches the process of lightpainting and the Photoshop post-processing skills, and the second breaks down specific images and shows how they were made. The best part of it is that it’s only $9.97! You can read more about it, and order it HERE.

That’s all for now!

The Vintage Bus Project Begins!

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For over a year I've been contemplating, planning and trying to start "The Vintage Bus Project". In the process of searching for a vintage bus, I've investigated no fewer than 89 individual buses. I've driven all over the US inspecting them and am very happy to have finally picked what I am sure is the right bus for me. 

On October 21st, 2009 I'm scheduled to acquire the 1963 Flxible Starliner bus that is shown above. It's located near Akron, OH at the moment. My current bus is located in San Diego and the person I'm thinking of using to re-power the vintage bus is also in Southern California, so I plan to drive the vintage bus all the way from OH to CA over the next few weeks. 

I've also found a 1957 Buick Caballero station wagon that I might want to acquire on this trip. It's the car I was planning to tow behind the vintage bus once I start to live on it. I plan to repaint the vintage bus so that it resembles this paint job (yes, it's that's the bus that was used in the Robin Williams movie "RV"):

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After seeing that, you might get an idea for why I think the Buick would be a good car to tow behind the vintage bus… here's what the station wagon looks like:

Sort on Sunday
As with the bus, I'd plan to update the Buick to a modern drivetrain. I'll inspect the Buick the day after I pick up the vintage bus… it's located in Michigan. 

I plan to follow the entire length of Route 66 on my way back to California. I'm planning on shooting night scenes this time around to really round out my photo library since I've already followed the full length of Route 66 twice. It will likely take me a few weeks to make it back to California.

It should take about a year before the bus and wagon are ready to replace my current bus/jeep combo. Until that point, I plan to remain living in my current bus.  

Here are some more photographs of the vintage bus. Keep in mind that I plan to repaint it, rip out the interior and do a brand new interior that is customized to my needs and tastes. 

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If you're itching for more frequent updates, then be sure to check out my twitter stream on the left sidebar of this blog. The map in the same area is usually a pretty accurate gauge for my current position on planet earth.