"Though men now possess the power to dominate and exploit every corner of the natural world, nothing in that fact implies that they have the right or the need to do so."
Edward Abbey - from "A Voice Crying In The Wilderness"
The work goes on with the editing of images from my journey to the Tony Sweet workshop in the Badlands of South Dakota, though I think the end is in sight. While it's been time consuming I am so pleased that the time spent in this beautiful space was so rewarding in so many ways. The blog image is from the Pinnacles area of the park and, during my free time before the official start of the workshop, I spent many hours working this find.
The only real special application for achieving this capture was the use of a Singh-Ray "Vari-ND" filter which is a neutral density filter that is adjustable from 2 to 8 stops of density and allowed for a longer exposure that recorded the movement in the clouds overhead. By using this effect it I feel a greater sense of depth is achieved.
The dawning of the technology age that we find ourselves immersed in has been cause for a lot of mental turbulence for the last several days, part of which has been spent with a phone in my ear while discussing a faulty download issue for a product that I needed to update. While I will agree that digital technology has given photography a truck load of artistry tools that have made the medium all the more thrilling to use, I am struggling to find areas where the technological advances of the last 10 years have added quality to our lives overall.
As I traveled the roads of the Badlands I swerved or stopped behind vehicles that had an arm sticking out with a phone device attached to a hand which I assume was in the process of image capture with the camera phone device. Somehow I just couldn't make myself believe that this process was anything more than a reflex reaction by someone unwilling to invest themselves, their brain, their eyes, or their ears in the geographic area that we were both sitting in at the moment. There is something about being involved in hiking a trail or gazing into a great abyss that makes for a much more rewarding experience at image capture than the "drive by shoot" that was in progress. The same is the case for waking up in a tent that one has taken the time to erect and, with the air still and the blackness of night all around, being able to hear a distant call of wolves instead of seeing a stuffed display in some park info station as the alternative.
Another example, and again I'm equally guilty of this infraction, would be the sending of an email to someone, which to me equates the operation of communication to being a chore, instead of sitting down to a handsomely rich piece of paper and actually composing a letter in ones own script, thereby making the process of communication more about caring and the literary process.
Have we gained that much with the advent of computers, ipods, laptops and cell phone? It would appear that these "toys" have gained us material instruments in our lives, but have they appreciated the quality of our lives? Those that are in the work force are probably getting more "through put" by the end of the day, but are the number of work hours in the day diminished from years gone by? How has technology added "quality" to our living experience?
"A Piece Of Work", Spirit Lake, Iowa http://www.apieceofworkinc.com
"Art On 16th" http://www.hankhallarton16th.com
Artisans Road Trip www.artisansroadtrip.com