Tag Archives: insights

Responding to a memory


What makes I stop to photograph something we see? Often, it’s a scene that triggers a response, and emotional reaction. I was driving down this road heading for a small town I had been told was ‘pretty’, and about 60 feet past this tree, I stopped and turned around to check it out. There had been several wild turkeys walking about under it, eating the apples. But of course when I arrived back to the spot, they were scattered into the woods, wary of my intentions. No matter. It was the tree that had really caught my attention.

The apples hung like brilliant red ornaments on the branches, the tiny pale yellowed leaves filling in some of the space between. In the quiet light of the overcast day, the details were defined of each leaf and apple. I was compelled to photograph it. It brought me back to my childhood, and my grandfather’s small in-town farm that had an apple orchard. Had I really noticed the same thing when I walked through that orchard as a small child? I’m not sure, but something in my memory was triggered, and I resonated with this peaceful scene.

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Posted in general photography, Insights, Landscape Photography, road trip Also tagged , |

Rockin’ around the rocks in Namibia



I love geology, and when I travel to places with weird rock formations, I get excited. Nature’s processes to shape our world never cease to amaze me. I’m also amazed at the transformation an image can have, when it’s converted to monochrome. The image above has the drama that I was envisioning for this area in Namibia called the Giant’s Playground – a region filled with odd-shaped boulders of dolorite. It reminds me of our own southwest USA, yet the rocks have more blocky shapes than our Arizona/Utah area. And, this “playground” has quiver trees, also unique to that area.

After we photographed sunrise in the quiver forest, we went off nearby to explore this rocky playground as the sky was getting more interesting with clouds, and we thought we could make some cool black and white pictures with the contrast of mid-morning light. The reddish rocks looked nice in contrast to the blue sky, but the light was really strong. It’s funny how we accept the strong light in black and white, but not in color always! To find images that would work in black and white,  I switched on the black and white ‘filter’ in my eyes, looking for tonality differences, textures, and shapes to put against the sky. I knew I wanted to bring out the texture of these rocks, too, and it was just a matter of finding things at the appropriate angle to the light to make that happen. A polarizer helped to increase the contrast in the sky. We had a lot of fun scampering around on the rocks making pictures. This was one of my favorites – it looks like a huge earthenware jar with a lid on it.

Thanks for visiting!




P.S. We are going back to Namibia in 2016. Deposits are being taken and we have 3 spaces sold at this time. Please consider joining in the fun! It’s a terrific country with such diverse landscape opportunities combined with the adventure of wildlife and culture.

Posted in Black-and-White, Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, Insights, Landscape Photography, Namibia, nature photography Also tagged , , , , , |

Let’s not take things for granted!



For this blog post, I am posting snippets from an email one of our participants on our January Cuba Tour sent to me. She assembled several PDF slideshows she shared with us all, each one prefaced with comments. This was from her Trinidad email:

“Trinidad was the most fun part of the trip for me.  I had spent months brushing up on my Spanish, and this was my chance to use it.  Sometimes I got so involved in my conversations, I forgot to take pictures…

…I gave another woman a pen.  She started crying and hugged me.  She told me (in Spanish) everyone else gives her shampoo and soap, but no one had ever given her a pen.  She was so happy.  So I gave her a few more pens.  We take so much for granted in the U.S.  I could walk into a TD Bank tomorrow and grab a handful of pens for free.” 

What a thought-provoking email, thank-you, Kathy!

In the 6 trips I’ve made to Cuba, I too have experienced how precious the simplest things – sewing needles, thread, pens, fishhooks, combs – can be. I photograph not only the artsy (from a photographer’s perspective) photos, but the real life stories that are played out everywhere I go. Like this line-up of water jugs of all types: a pipe had a leak, and someone connected a hose to the break. Residents in the area lined up their jugs to gather extra free water, leaving this one man to move the hose to each jug as one filled. And why? Because running water is not always available inside homes and at regular times, it seems, the city of Trinidad turns the water off completely.

Here at home, we turn on the tap without any thought about how precious that water is. It’s just one example, but think about all the things we take for granted! The next time you ‘borrow’ a pen from the bank, or turn on your shower, or reach for your favorite snack, pause for a moment and appreciate all that you have.

Thanks for visiting!





(Note: In northern California, we are in such a drought condition that we are thinking about every precious drop of water at the moment!)

Posted in Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, Insights, travel photography Also tagged , , , |

Sky Art

First pink, but faintly.

As the sun bids farewell to another day

         the clouds begin to glow.

Blue, then orchid, then wild peach and flaming pink –

         as if rolling through giant palettes of water colors.

Nature painted a wonderful canvas tonight.




It was a wildly colorful sunset, and it’s impossible to resist recording the beauty, but like so many straight images, it usually ends up in my ‘just another sunset folder’ on my computer. So I asked myself: “what if?” I’ve been doing a lot of ‘swipes’ lately – panning on still subjects- and so it was with that in mind that I panned horizontally on this amazing sky just to see what I’d get. I ended up liking this one a lot, out of six that I made. It just had a more fluid, wave-like effect in the motion and I felt that added to the painterly effect. I kept some of the dark land in the bottom just for a base to the image.

When looking at the photo yesterday, I had also just unearthed from my messy desk my notebook of poems, essays, and haikus that I’ve been writing, and remembered this poem I had written. It just seemed to fit the image beautifully.


No matter what our situation in life is, we can still be thankful for the wonderful beauty that nature shows us!


Thanks for visiting, and please share this with friends if you like it.


Posted in Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, creative ideas, Insights, Landscape Photography, nature photography, photography, Special Effects, The Blog Also tagged , , , , , , |