Thursday, October 19, 2017

Boyce Thompson Arboretum - Sony A7RII and RX1RII

Boyce Thompson Aboretum just East of Phoenix, Arizona

If you travel East out of Phoenix on highway 60, you'll find a little known desert oasis called Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Highway 60 offers a leisurely, scenic alternative to Interstate 10 for those traveling through Arizona and New Mexico. I was on the return leg of a trip from my home in New Mexico, to Phoenix and back, which included a stop at the Pima Air and Space Museum which you can read about and see the photo gallery in my previous blog post. For this trip I had brought along two cameras; the Sony RX1RII featuring a fixed focal length 35mm f/2 lens and the Sony A7RII with a manual focus Zeiss 50mm lens f/2 and a Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 lens. Both cameras feature an extremely high resolution, 42 megapixel sensor, I've included some cropped images so you can see exactly how much wiggle room high resolution cameras can give to a photographer, it's incredible really.

If you're traveling East, you can take Highway 60 to Highway 70, the two of which meet in Globe, Arizona, and you'll eventually find yourself in Lordsburg, New Mexico and can jump back on Interstate 10 to expedite the rest of your trip. This is exactly the route I chose to take on my return trip from Phoenix a few months ago. My hope was that I might see places and sights I might not otherwise get a chance to discover, I wasn't disappointed.

The Boyce Thompson Arboretum is officially designated as a state park but calling it a park really sells short the fact that it's marvelous and inviting oasis in the desert, complete with a lake and streams! For a small entry fee, guests can enjoy the foliage and wildlife that is found along several miles of well-maintained and manicured trails. 

I spent a couple hours enjoying a nice walk along the trails, taking in the sights and smells of herbs and flowers, it was extremely relaxing and delightful. There's so much to see, but you have to take your time and really pay close attention. I even encountered a few surprises along the way.

Below you can enjoy my photos and please consider making a small donation to help support my continuing artistic endeavors.

Here's the first of several examples showing the resolution power that the 42 megapixal Sony sensor can capture. Above is the original image, below you see how sharp the cropped image is, it retains a great deal of detail even when cropped more than 100%.

Another sample of the cropping capabilities, above the original, below the cropped image.

Another crop. Above the original image, below the cropped image.

Here are a series of 3 crops, above the original and the two images below have been cropped more than 100%, you can even make out fine details like the rivets and rust on the water tower.

Along the road home, New Mexico State Highway 9

If you're in Tempe, try out Snooze for a delicious breakfast and champagne mimosas.

The Arboretum offers a full schedule of fun and interesting events.

The drive home offered an endless number of breathtaking sights

Friday, October 13, 2017

It was "different"! Photographers / Models Meet Up - El Paso Fashion Week 2017.

When I was first starting to formulate this post in my head, I was going to use only one word to describe the photographers and models networking event for this years El Paso Fashion Week. However, that one word "different" would not have done justice to this fabulous event. No, no no.

I, like many, wondered how the venue would play to this type of event, given that Dave and Busters is A) open to the public and B) presents a number of challenges for the photographers due to the "all over the place" lighting. But I am happy to report that this event was not just "different" but it was also "fantastic" and I give it an A+ on my report card.

El Paso Top Model 2016 @allechant_ashleey posing for a photographer at the El Paso Fashion Week photographers and models networking event hosted at Dave N Busters.

Models were treated to professional hair and make up by the likes of Willie Hamilton

The only negative thing I have to say about last nights event had nothing to do with the event itself but with the quality control at the Dave n Busters bar. I ordered a beer, as I usually do, and was "miffed" as I watched the bartender take a pint glass and insert it into a sort of glass washing contraption. As he turned it right side up, I noticed that a few ounces of water were left in the bottom of the glass but he proceeded to pour the beer anyway! Being the beer snob that I am, I stopped him right then and there and pointed out his discrepancy. He explained the reason behind washing the pint glasses before pouring the beer... something about that without that step in the beer pouring process there would be more frothy head in my beer. What? As a former bartender, I know that's just plain bull shit. I poured plenty of beers without a frothy head and we never used this dumb thing. OK, whatever the reason for rinsing the glass before pouring the beer, it still doesn't excuse the fact that he just didn't bother to notice that there was a layer of water at the bottom of my glass before he poured it. Who wants their beer mixed with water? Certainly not this beer snob.

It was time to peruse the menu and make a selection for my dinner meal (I realize that this blog post is turning into something of a restaurant review but bare with me, we'll get back to El Paso Fashion Week in a moment). As I grabbed hold of the menu and turned the pages, I noticed a sticky substance on the menu that had expeditiously transferred itself to my fingers. It was as if the person who handled the menu before me, had his fingers lathered in buffalo wings sauce and hadn't bothered to wipe them before handling the menu again. Whatever the reason, the menu was sticky and gross. Who is keeping an eye on these things? Apparently, not the bartenders or management.

And lastly, after enjoying my fish and chips (they were pretty good), I asked for the check, the bartender dropped his pen in my beer as he reached across the bar to present my with the check. Rather than serve me a new, full beer, he merely poured my a beer with the same amount of beer as had the beer that he dropped the pen into. If it was me, given that this was already shaping up as a sub-par customer experience at Dave n Busters, I would have gone a head and poured me a full, new beer and make a customer happy, or at least happy with his beer.

The fish n chips was pretty tasty.

Lots of big TV's with lots of sports.

Hector and Roberto Chavez, organizer of the El Paso Fashion Week.

#LosPhotogs were in the house, as represented by none other than Ace Acosta!

Roberto Chavez makes his mandatory announcements and welcomes everyone to the event. This is the signal for everyone to start shooting!

Emily Vargas loves her hair!

Professional photographer, David Parish, wasn't sure what the lighting situation might require, so he brought everything, EVERYTHING!

David Parish can be found on IG @parishda and on Facebook.con/parishdavida

It's a good sign when some of the top professional photographers are spotted at an event such as this. It means that this is an event to be taken quite seriously. David Parish is clearly one of El Paso's most talented photographers and it was kind of fun to slyly follow him around and snap some shots of him doing his thing. But he wasn't the only "best of the best" at the meet up, a few of El Paso's top models were also on hand, including Miss El Paso Lauren Ashley @laurenashleey and her gorgeous friend Katie Scott @ktscott02 as well as El Paso Top Model 2016 @allechant_ashleey 

The appearance of elite models such as the ones I just mentioned provided a unique opportunity for a few of the amateur photographers that attended. When else might they get a chance to shoot Miss El Paso with their Canon Rebel T6i and kit lens that they got for Christmas last year?

There were, as well, a number of fresh, new modeling faces including a lovely young lady named Mia Molina and another named Ariana Romaner (pics further down the page). Neither of them have a web presence that I know of but I do have their phone numbers and plan to call on them to do some photo shoots. Both are gorgeous and seem eager to get into the modeling game.

Unlike last years meet up event, there was no waiting for space to shoot, there was an endless amount of places from which to shoot, although, there was only one theme (video games etc) it didn't really seem to bother anyone and both models and photographers were fully engaged from the word "go".

David Parish works his magic behind the lens!

As for myself, I usually swim against the tide, and just like last year, I skipped over shooting photos of the models and opted to shoot photos of other photographers shooting photos. Why do what everyone else is doing? I like to be a little different. But not just that, an event like this is an chance for the light to shine not just on the models, but also on the photographers. It's the synergy of those talents that makes sharing the beauty and fashion found in El Paso possible and I decided to make it my business to spread the words... El Paso fashions, modeling and photography  is "fantastic" and "different" and those are meant to be very sincere and flattering compliments. 

Enjoy the rest of the photos!

Armando Vela lines up a shot with the lovely @allechant_ashleey

As you can see by this photo of Ashley Alvidrez, the location provided some unique lighting opportunities. Challenging? Yes, but I think all-in-all, the photographers relished this chance.

Above, Armando Vela shooting Ashley Alvidrez, below.

Models and photographers discuss whatever it is that models and photographers discuss.
I think that's 

Roberto is always having a good time at his events! And why not?

Ace Acosta #LosPhotogs has some fun with Miss El Paso @laurenashhleyyy and @ktscott02

There's David Parish again and his "photo studio a la carte!"

Miss El Paso looks stunning in that red dress. Who you gonna call? (Get it?)

Ace Acosta #LosPhotogs lines up a shot.

Ariana Romaner posing for a photo with Roberto Chavez

Willie Hamilton is not only one of the top make up artists in El Paso but he's also one of the most stylish and even got in on some of the modeling action last night!

David Parish with his signature "crab defense" photography steady cam method. (It's actually a defense used in the sport of boxing but David has made it his own).

Can anyone please help me identify this photographer? She gave me her IG as @mecerdesbue_photo but there's no IG page by that name.