Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Wonderful Visit to Old Tucson Studios

Finally made it to Tucson yesterday.......magnificent blue sky, expansive landscape welcomed us as we headed east towards Tuscon on 10. I have never seen such a beautiful clear day, devoid of haze and the usual desert dusts, courtesy of the torrential downpour of the past 4 days. The time of the day seem suited for the kind of photography I wanted to do, old rugged western town and an arid desert backdrop. It was between 2-4pm, good hard shadows, and a beautiful sky of puffy white clouds. Starting out almost noon, we only managed to visit one place - Old Tucson Studios it was well worth the 2 hours drive from Phoenix. See pictures below.

I am definitely not done with Tuscon yet ...... downtown 4th street Old Pueblo area is next and I am heading back to this place for more photography.

I shot both digital and flim/slides. This time I went a little more prepared. I even had my Holga with me and was able to get a couple of frames on the Velvia 120 slide film. The only regret was we had arrived late and we had only a little over an hour before the studio closed for the day. A little history of the place for those who love old Western classoc: Old Tucson Studios hosted over 300 film and television productions since 1939, including many Western film classics such as "Tomstone, The Outlaw", and others starrring John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Elizabeth Taylor, Kurt Russell and the likes. The roll of Ilford FP4+ 125 that I have been carrying around with me since my visit to Sedona was finally finished and I am developing the roll today. Can't wait.

Having now visited Apache Junction, Goldfield Ghost Town in the east, Sedona in the north, downtown Phoenix, Tempe and its university town and now a bit of Tucson, Tucson wins top spot hands down as far as photoshoot location in Arizona (thus far until more destinations are added :)). The landscape enroute on 10E was breathtaking, tall cacti flourishing in the parks, wild flowers are starting to bloom. It was a Saturday and cyclists were out on their mountain bikes tackling the gorgeous challenging terrain. A hike in the park around the Old Tucson Studios is in order as soon as the weather warms up a little....There is so much to photograph, dramatic desert landscape, nature, old Western movie sets, cowboys, horses and more. A feast for the eyes and my beloved cameras.....It was a good day - a GREAT Day!!

Of all the film sets, Chinese Alley was my absolute was a little of the old Chinatown if you will, all before your eyes....

More photos of Old Tucson Studios taken yesterday on my Smugmug page here : JC's Old Tucson Studios Photo page

Click here to go to Old Tucson Studios website

Sunday, January 10, 2010

GIMP 2.6 - Mixed Media Experiments

This was quite refreshing. I started with two of my favorite photos I took some time back. The first an image I took of two young girls, two latino sisters, playing in the sand on the beach at Santa Monica Pier, their pretty long hair blowing in summer breeze. It was a much cherished photo in my own collection. Ever since I took that picture (image available for download on stock photo sites), a different image has formed in my mind, that of it taking on an impressionist look, perhaps of an oil painting or a water color feel to it. I wanted to paint the image on canvas then a thought came to mind that I should work with GIMP's artistic filters to see what it would look like. Well, below are the end results. I am actually a little embarrassed, because I had just transformed my photo into art using GIMP filters (the wonderful software technology) and not with my paint brushes. talk about feeling guilty :(

The second photo was that of a lone canoeist kayaking in the channels of Santa Barbara harbor on a beautiful Sunday morning. I had driven up to Santa Barbara with my sister who was visiting from the east Coast. While strolling along the boardwalk and soaking in the beautiful scenery, I saw canoeist pulling into one of the channels dotted with sailboats tied to their slips. I sprang to action, shot a couple of frames and they are some of my favorites. It was a perfect day, blue sky, sailboats reflecting in turquoise water.

This was probably the first time I have truly tested GIMP ever since I installed it on my laptop a few months back. I am a Photoshop user, and until now have used GIMP sparingly. All in all, GIMP operates very similarly to Photoshop CS. The only things to be mindful of is that it does crash from time to time, not major and all I have to do is relaunch it. Apparently they have fixed it in later versions. GIMP is a freeware, and I could not have asked for more from an open source freeware.

If you want to really dig in and use all the functionalities of this great freeware, you can spend a little money getting this book Beginning GIMP: From Novice to Professional, Second Editionfrom Amazon. It is a mere $31 and well worth the money!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Sedona, Apache Junction and Superstition Mountain

It has been a while since my last post. I have been busy attending to family matters and that always comes first. In the meantime, we relocated to Glendale, Arizona over Thanksgiving holiday and that was a feat in itself, packing up the hundreds of books we have acquired over the years and treasures and trinkets we collected. The reason for the move was two-fold. First, a better project had come along for him and second, the opportunity for me to be in Arizona made this an easy decision. The lure of the beautiful US Southwest canyon landscape, seeing them first hand and visiting the many national parks in Arizona and New Mexico, and Sante Fe and Taos only half a day's drive away, the move was a dream come true. Though Washington was only my home in the winter months, the cold and gloomy wintry weather in southern Washington had taken a toll in me. I was missing the sunshine I had become so accustomed to and it was time to have a new adventure.....

We situated ourselves rather quickly in Arizona soon after we arrived into town and went about exploring the area the following weekend.

"movie memorabilia of the Apacheland film set, was told many famous western movie scenes were made there"

"The Church at Superstition Mountain, Apache Creek, Arizona"

Both photos above were from our day trip to Superstition Mountain, Apache Junction and Goldfield Ghost Town. Pictures below from our trip to Sedona, both places warrant many more trips in Spring and Fall for serious photography. I will be up there again as soon as my schedule permits. I can only imagine how beautiful it must be come Spring with wildflowers in the valley beds amidst the majestic towering red rocks and mesas.

"Arid desert landscape along Highway 17N before Prescott, AZ"

"Stunningly beautiful red walls and mesas, sculptored by forces of nature, shades of red, brown and peach and every color in between. A feast for the eyes. Sedona, AZ"