Mountain Man

Mountain Man

One of my favorite summer albums for calm yet hot southern summer days is Made The Harbor by Mountain Man. It quickly snuck into my favorites back when it was released in 2010 and is still a go to record for catching a moment of rest during a busy day or adding a touch of solitude to an already calm summer night. Recorded with a minimal, lo-fi approach the folk influenced music found here sways calmly through vocal harmonies and catchy melodies that linger in your mind long after listening. More information on the release can be found here on the Partisan Records shop page.

Angel Oak v1

Angel Oak

Back to Charleston for a few black and white shots of a beautiful tree called the Angel Oak, thought to be at least 400 years old (if not much more so). I had been trying to get down there to see this tree for years now and it was nice to finally make it there and soak it all in. These old southern oak trees are achingly beautiful and one of my favorite parts of traveling to the southeast. Their long, hearty branches seem to defy gravity as they spread outward and in some cases such as this tree, end up growing so far outward they end up touching the ground. The Angel Oak is free to visit and has a modest park surrounding it with a gift shop full of a handful of local offerings and photos for sale.  There are a couple of websites dedicated to the tree but I’m not exactly sure which is the official site, this one here has visiting hours listed at least. Well worth the drive if you are int he area.

I held off sharing these because I was not completely satisfied with the way they turned out. I am starting to feel a bit claustrophobic using a 50mm lens, well, on the X-Pro1 it’s the equivalent of one at least. After developing my personal style using 35mm lenses on full frame bodies I don’t mind shooting with a 50 but it often cramps my style. These images also show the shortcomings of my current camera setup and trying to shoot with my classic, wide open, shallow DOF reliant compositions. I am hoping to figure out a way to pick up Fuji’s newer 23mm f/1.4 lens eventually so I can get back to my familiar focal range and give myself the breathing room I am used to having when approaching a subject.

Angel Oak v2

Angel Oak v3

Angel Oak v4

Mountain Shrub, by Conor McClure
Guest Desktop

Mountain Shrub

Today I am happy to introduce the return of the guest desktop series here on 50ft. Everyones favorite on again, off again set of posts here on the site where I reach out to other photographers around the world and convince them to share their amazing work with you guys through the art of digital wallpaper. I have the intention to start releasing these every couple of weeks here on the site and will start to be on the lookout for suitable new images to share.

I love this series because it gives me a chance to expand what I am able to offer here on the site photographically by offering others viewpoints on the world and expose great photographers to fresh eyes in the process. This time around I am happy to share an image by Conor McClure, a young James Dean looking fellow who has an admirable dedication to his growing personal site conormcclure.net, a site I follow along with to keep up with the ambitions of this up and coming photographer. I was lucky enough to meet up with Conor for a while while in Boone, NC a few months back and had a nice time chatting for a while and hope to cross paths again sometime in the future.

I saw this shot pass through my RSS reader a couple of days ago and the thought suddenly occurred to me that I really should jump back into my guest post series, so here we are. In Conor’s words to me through email correspondence he had this to say about the photo seen above:

“The photo was made back in October 2013, so the story behind its creation escapes me. My girlfriend and I were hiking to the top of Beacon Heights, an overlook off of the Blue Ridge Parkway just outside of Boone, North Carolina — it’s considered an easy beginner’s hike for those looking for one of those typical scenic Blue Ridge views.

At this point, I was still in the honeymoon phase with my Fuji X100S, so I took it with me everywhere and took pictures of everything. The photo is a typical wide-open low-profile kind of shot, of what appears to be some unattractive dying plant. The post-processing is typical of most of my photos: the Fuji “Velvia” camera profile, some basic exposure edits, jacked up clarity and sharpness, and liberal amounts of hazing and fading in the curves.

It might be interesting to go back to this spot sometime soon and see if the flowers are in bloom this time.”

For desktop cropped versions see the link below and be sure to check out his other work and follow along over at conormcclure.net!

Object No. 14 v1

Object No. 14

After a brief hiatus for the Object series I am happy to start things off again with a new object. Well, in this case it’s a pair. Apparently it’s common for casinos in Vegas to sell off used cards and dice after using them and regularly rotate their stock to avoid cheaters scamming the place. While I personally have never placed a single dollar on a Casino floor table I did find these minimal red dice unmistakably lovely and seeing as they were the single cheapest thing available for sale in the gift shop I figured why not pick up a pair? Who knows, someone may have won big of these.

I have a couple different versions this time around, both were shot at a high ISO, something I have been experimenting more with to see how usable or aesthetically pleasing the digital noise is from the Fuji X-Pro1. I’m still on the fence about it and plan on continuing to mess around with higher than I am used to ISO settings to see what I can get away with before things start to fall apart. Links to wallpaper versions below.

Object No. 14 v2

Kerouac

Kerouac

The image above was taken at a studio we were borrowing for an afternoon to experiment with flash and portraits, something I want to have a better understanding of. This ladder being used as a casual bookshelf of sorts was begging to be photographed and as I approached it I noticed there must be a fan of Kerouac that works in the space.

I’ve always wanted to dive into the books of Kerouac, at least his classics, but the few times I have tried I could never find myself pulled into the story or the characters enough to want to finish them. The two I have cracked open were Dharma Bums and On The Road, both well acclaimed works of fiction that I feel as though, based on my personal taste, I should really enjoy but neither have been able to grab hold of my imagination. I’m sure I will pick them up again eventually but for now they can simply sit among my collection.

When it comes to books and reading I more or less only read fiction. The only non-fiction books I read are typically product manuals (which I always read or at least glance through), and occasionally a book on photography or a good indie book such as the few offerings from Patrick Rhone.

Fiction inspires me in a way non-fiction can not. My creative thinking is very much emotionally driven and novels provide an emotive backdrop that makes me want to create. Non-fiction provides lessons worth learning but history only supplies a guideline for what has worked or not for others, valuable information but rarely gives me the raw energy that it takes to make me want to create and explore the world. So I often gravitate to fiction when I want to create, and non-fiction when I need to learn. Huh, comme ci comme ça, I’m sure there are plenty of opinions on the matter, either way, enjoy the new desktop!

Black Tap Coffee

Black Tap Coffee

While in Charleston a few weeks back we visited this amazing little coffee shop tucked away in a nondescript building called Black Tap Coffee and could not help but go back at least three times while in town for a couple of days for more. The inside of the space has a beautifully light tone to it causing you to feel right at home and the coffee is, not surprisingly, fantastic. The shop features a namesake black tap that dispenses iced coffee which is honestly one of the best cups of iced coffee I have ever had and is well worth the trip so if you ever find yourself in or around Charleston by all means, stop by and see for yourself.

Processed with VSCOcam with e2 preset

Neon Graveyard

Some of you may remember that I spent some time in Vegas recently for a big industry trade show and while I did not have a lot of free time to explore the city we did make time early one morning to see something I have long wanted to check out, The Neon Museum. A humble but fun corner of Vegas where many of the old signage from casinos have gone to spend the rest of their existence as a homage to the rapidly evolving face of the city.

The signs here are from an era that has all but vanished from Vegas which has turned to giant LED displays instead of classic neon and bulbs for obvious reasons. Evolve or be left behind. It’s great knowing there are people committed to preserving these signs in a way we can all enjoy. The thought of them sitting in a dump somewhere is just depressing.

The only way to visit the museum is by guided tour, mostly due to liability I’m sure. It’s a playground full of broken glass and old rusty metal, not exactly a place you want to allow people to run loose in. Especially considering how eager photographers are to crawl around for JUST the right shot. A couple in my group were so over eager and snap happy I swear they must have taken a few thousand photos on the short tour. On that note, the museum is surprisingly stern on photographers and only allow a minimal amount of camera gear on the general tours yet offer photography specific sessions and the ability to rent the space for photo shoots at a higher rate.

I took my usual minimal approach and brought along my X-Pro1 and iPhone though I sure wish I had a wider lens for the Fuji! I managed well enough considering and captured a few detail shots that I thought you guys could enjoy as desktops. The sunlight was unbearably bright (and hot) as we took the tour, a scenario where the iPhone excels by the way. The top two photos on this post were shot and edited with VSCO Cam on my 5s and for anyone interested, here are the full resolution output of those shots (first / second) if you would like to use them as a wallpaper, they are too small to crop for regular use but why not share.

The museum is well worth seeking out if you are in Vegas at any point, the history lesson alone is worth the price of admission and there is a lot more to see than this modest little collection. In the mean time, enjoy the colorful decay of these classic Vegas signs and I will see you guys here again soon! As usual, the images are available through download links at the bottom of the post, in order that they appear below as well as in a big zip file with desktop, iPad, and iPhone versions all in one place.

Blue

Green

H

Of

Ote

Yellow

Zen

Elephant

Elephant

At home we have a new miniature garden and I found a great moment to capture it late one afternoon just as dusk was settling in. It was taken on one of those days where my desire to shoot weighed on my mind yet my ability to get out somewhere fresh to capture was limited so I turned to the corners of our apartment and searched for light. The plant photographed here is called an elephant plant. I have had a few desktop requests for this one after posting it to YWO so I thought I would take this slow afternoon and toss this up for everyone, enjoy!

Captiva

Captiva

Finding good ambient music seems to be getting harder. Not because there is any shortage of it, but because it’s hard to find interesting new takes on the genera. While I don’t need music to constantly break new ground I do like it when I come across something refreshing  enough to go beyond my expectations going in. That said, this new release by Stephen Vitello and Taylor Deupree is really hitting the spot.

I have always had a soft spot for field recordings and Captiva is full of them. Recorded while in residence at a beautiful looking guesthouse/studio in Florida you will hear sounds of birds, water, shells and other samples from the ocean fall intimately together with guitar, piano and synthesizers. The music found here is not something that will grab ahold of your attention and stick in your head. It’s more suggestive and leads your mind through various moods and landscapes as it evolves.

I find it perfect for stolen moments of meditative time at home or while at work during a stressful day. While this release is available digitally they only pressed 300 copies of the double 10” vinyl so if your interested don’t wait to pick up a copy of your own. A great addition to any collection and one I am sure to be putting on for a long time to come.

Release page on 12k with more information.

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