The Way it Was

Photography by Gary Gray
Harris 11 meter C-Band Satellite Dish

The way it was…

I was digging through a catalog from 2004 to find a particular image for the blog when I ran across this image. It caused me to pause and reflect, so I’ll share that today.

I began my professional life as an Earth Station Engineer. Meaning I went to military school, college and worked in Satellite Communications ground stations for most of my adult life.

My radio station was always on the air. We didn’t make mistakes.

This photo was taken a couple of years before I retired from the WSJ. It was the last time I painted our satellite dish. It was the near the end of my professional career in Radio & Satellite Communications, but not the end of my involvement.

My wife, Trudy, recently retired from her job as a Space Systems Engineer for Lockheed and I was lucky enough to revisit my previous field through her in the time since my retirement. It’s nice to have things in common with the love of your life.

These days, this is all a memory my wife and I can now enjoy. I am proud of what I learned and did for most of my life and this shot reminded me of that.

These days, We’re drifting on our inner tubes into the great sea of retirement. All of this technical stuff is long gone and some other company now owns that property. I heard they bought the old building for 3.5 million.

Top Shot

Kentucky Thoroughbred photograph by Gary Gray
Kentucky Thoroughbred

It is no surprise that this image has by far been my best selling stock photo for the month of March. I took this shot on April 27th, 2008, almost 10 years ago to the month. It was Kentucky Derby time then and it’s coming up again on the first Saturday in May.

Horse photos sell if they are good shots of interest and demand and was one of my reasons for going back to Kentucky two weeks before the Derby last year. Get more photos of Kentucky horses at the prime time to get them. I do know a little bit about Kentucky horse country. It was my backyard growing up. If I lived there today, thoroughbred horses would be high on my priority list for photographs.

 

True Grit

Photography by Gary Gray
Chimney Rock and Courthouse Mountain

On Owl Creek Pass in the Cimarron Mountains near Ridgway, Colorado.

This is the field where the climactic scene of the 1969 John Wayne movie True Grit was filmed. Robert Duvall and his gang lined up here on horse back and John Wayne charged, waving his rifle in the air as he cocked it, from directly behind me.

Interestingly, in the movie, Glen Campbell and Kim Darby were watching from a hill above to the left.

Campbell made his heroic rifle shot from a hill the doesn’t exist. It’s just a dirt parking lot along road that takes you to Silver Jack reservoir.

A large portion of that movie was filmed in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains near Ridgway/Ouray

Here’s a link to the scene on YouTube.

Adventures in Backyard Photography

Crows by Gray Photography
A Murder of Crows

My family pet, Doobie has new friends to play with.

A flock of crows has been hanging out in the cottonwood trees about 100 meters from our back porch. They gather here multiple times each day and when Doobie is in the yard they like to fly over and taunt him. I’ve watched one crow intentionally drop a stick in the yard. Some do laps.

I hope to document more of this activity. It’s fun watching the new pooch learn about the urban wildlife we have living with us.

Oh, and there’s at least one handsome fox frequenting the yard. I’m going to put the camera trap up today and get some photos. He has a nice multi-shade, thick coat and he is larger than the average suburban red fox too.

New Shtick – Hat of the Month

Many of the literary hooks I’ve developed over the years have been incorporated here into my blog. For those of you who’ve followed me on Facebook, you’ll know them instantly when you see them.

For example. For ten years, I did a regular Facebook post called “Today’s Words of Wisdom.” It’s alive and well, though not on Facebook. Just look at the right hand side of my blog and you’ll see I’ve carried on the tradition, only in a different setting.

From time to time I’ll also try new Shtick.

I’ve been playing with a hook whereas I use the last few words of the article to title the piece. I remember learning about that little trick in a college “writing & rhetoric” course. I’d never seen it used effectively until I stumbled upon a photographer’s blog (The Sole Proprietor’s Journal) by Bob Follett of Oakland. I recommend giving Bob a read. He’s a good writer and a very good street photographer.  Bob has used this writing hook in his blog for many years and I’ve decided to adopt the technique myself from time to time. It makes coming up with a title for your article a lot simpler.

I’m initiating new shtick. It’s call “Hat of the Month”

Those who know me know that I always wear a baseball cap. I have dozens of them, and looking through them I’ve discovered that they represent many different eras and aspects of my life.

So, this April’s hat of the month.  St. Augustine, Florida.

My wife and I did a tourist trip to St. Augustine a few years ago and I bought this ball cap. I’ve worn it maybe a half dozen times since. This month, it gets dirty.

This will be my hat through April.

Yeah, it’s all silly, but hey.

A fella has to come up with new shtick from time to time.

I Have My Camera With Me

Colorado Landscape Photographer Gary Gray
Priest Lake Cabin

Browsing through my landscape photos this morning looking for a lazy day Sunday image, I came up with this photograph from the San Juan Mountains at a place called Priest Lake.

This photo was taken shortly after a robust snow storm hit the area near Telluride. It made for difficult driving but offered up some great photography.

I love it when seasons collide and I have my camera with me.

Photography is a Business Too.

Colorado Landscape Photographer
The Dallas Divide – Colorado

One of my continuous photographic endeavors is to steadily increase my stock photography catalog.

For the entire months of February and March to date, this has been my hottest stock image.

This photo of “The Dallas Divide” in the San Juan Mountains was taken last Autumn on one of my photo tours using the Nikon D7200 and the 18-140mm VR kit lens. It’s a great portable camera kit and is capable of taking outstanding landscapes.

The real trick I suppose, is to keep taking photos of everything you see. Those photos can be converted to cash. Photography is a business too.

The Interloper

Great Blue Heron by Gary Gray
Great Blue Heron – Colorado (NIkon D810/200-500mm VR)

Spring is in full swing here in Colorado.

This morning’s weather was exceptional so I made my way to the tree in the lake shortly after sunrise this morning. It’s good to know and understand the light in the location you’ll be working. Though these birds are roosting in an open area, the sunrise light is actually obscured by trees and buildings for a wee bit on sunny mornings. No reason to rush.

Today, a new great blue heron showed up. When he arrived, he was quite surprised to see that all of the available nests in the trees on the island had been claimed. There are two nests with great blue heron in occupancy, with one mating pair in the most visible nest. The remaining nests are occupied by mating pairs of cormorants. This guy shows up thinking he’s found a spot, but the nesting cormorants would have nothing of it.

When the mating male heron left the nest to go stick hunting, this guy decided to make a pass at the now unattended female. He didn’t even bring her an offering of a stick. If you read my post yesterday, you’ll know her heart is not for the taking. She immediately gave this stick-less schmoozer the cold shoulder and a threatened him with a face or belly full of angry beak.

She’ll have none of the interloper.