Blogs Prior to 2016 - Michael Burke

Blogs Prior to 2016


December 21, 2015

Even with the most diligent planning, a part of outdoor photography is luck. There are so many factors (weather is a big one) out of a photographer's control that he or she simply has to commit to the effort without knowing if things will work out as planned. The peak of the annual Geminids meteor shower occurred one week ago, and Mother Nature provided a clear sky to go with a new moon that set early.  With these factors in my favor, I decided to drive to Steamboat Rock State Park in eastern Washington to see if I could create some nice star trails and simultaneously catch a meteor with my camera. It helps to be an optimist...

The  image that resulted isn't beautiful in a classic sense, but it is a good example of photographer's luck.  It's easy to see meteors with our eyes but incredibly hard to capture one because the camera only sees a small portion of the night sky.  In addition, circular star trails require that the camera stay fixed in place for at least an hour to adequately capture their motion.  I remember watching meteors flash by all around me, just hoping that one would streak in front of my lens.  In five hours of shooting star trails, only two frames had meteors in them - but that was all I needed.

I debated whether to create a blog post for a single image, but decided that it gives me an opportunity  to thank you for viewing and commenting on my images in the four months since I created this website.  It has been an interesting journey of discovery.

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for 2016 -

Michael


November 8, 2015

Sherry and I have just returned from a whirlwind 2 1/2 week trip to see some of the high points of South America, including Machu Picchu, Iguazu Falls and Easter Island.  These places are so iconic that it's nearly impossible to capture them in a way that hasn't already been done hundreds of times by very capable photographers from all over the world.  With that humbling thought in mind, I attempted to capture some not-so-obvious images of the continent in addition to the iconic ones.

Cathedral Arches

The image above is a perfect example.  This is a small alcove in a corner of the Santo Domingo Convent in Cusco.  The convent is famous because it was built by the Spanish on top of the ruins of Qurikancha, one of the most important religious temples of the Inca empire.  One tours the convent to see the remains of the beautiful Incan stonework.  It is historic and majestic, yet I was absolutely captivated by the light in this tiny little alcove, which doesn't even contain Inca masonry.

You can go directly to the South America gallery by clicking here.  For more images from South America, you can get to my Flickr album here.  Photos in both galleries are captioned with information to explain what you are seeing.  Or, you can just click the Slideshow icon and enjoy the show.


October 19, 2015

It’s a basic premise that photographers self-identify in a certain category: weddings, portraits, sports, wildlife, etc. I consider myself primarily a landscape photographer, and love capturing a great sunrise or sunset in a new setting. So it was a bit of a surprise that I realized my most recent set of images are not mostly of landscapes. Why is that? It is a particularly relevant question, since Sherry and I just returned from a three-week fall trip to New England, where leaf-peepers go to die.

I’ve concluded that there are so many fascinating visual details in the world that it’s impossible to restrict myself to any one category. I love the way colors, forms and light interact, and how lines and patterns sometimes reveal themselves in interesting ways. I love when my images to convey a sense of place and of the story that was occurring at the moment the image was taken. And sometimes, it’s just about capturing a beautiful image.  Of course, it could also be because the leaves turned later than expected this year and the grand vistas weren't grand enough.

Woodworking Tools

I created a new gallery titled Recent Images for images posted since the last blog entry. The Recent Images gallery this time looks like a dog’s breakfast - everything from the Blue Angels at this year’s Seafair Airshow to the Perseid meteor shower to a set of woodworking tools (above) at a Shaker Museum in western Massachusetts.

You can still click on the Favorites gallery for a compilation of my favorite images over time. One day I’ll reorganize everything into categories, but for now it’s just the two galleries.

For those of you who want to see more images from our recent trip to New England, click to visit my Flickr page. If you happen to be into “airplane porn” and want to see more images from the Seafair Airshow, I've provided a link for that as well.


August 20, 2015

Welcome! It has taken some effort and several deep breaths to launch this website, but I am by no means done.

My starting point is to simply list my favorite images in chronological order. At some point I will likely have categories (people, landscapes, etc), but for now I have simply put them in the order I took them over the years. 

Whenever I take a photograph I try to capture whatever it was that made that moment special.  Cameras can’t touch, smell or hear, and they only see in two dimensions, so it is the photographer’s task to create an image that expresses what it felt like to be there. If you say “wow” when you view one of my images, I will have accomplished that goal.

For example, the following image of a small barn and cloud is one of my recent favorites. I was driving down a dirt road east of Colfax, WA, rounded a curve and there it was.

Barn and Cloud

By pure luck there were only a few wispy clouds in the sky that morning. The image practically took itself. And yet…would it have better if I had captured it during the “golden hour” just after sunrise? That is the allure of photography - the awareness that the next one can be even better.

I also hope to use this website to catalog and report on my travels over the next few years.  My goal is to travel to all seven continents and record the amazing images that make them worth visiting.  I hope you decide to "come along".


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