I decided in 2013 to take Bill Helsel's Advanced Photography class again and try my hand again at the little photo show after (see first and second show). On the whole, it was pretty much a disaster.
Spacing/Sizes - The above spacing is close to the spacing I had in the show. The largest my Epson R1800 will print is 13x19. So the water print is that large with a mat and a frame
around it. I am no longer sure of the exact titles I used. Below are notes on how it was done.
For the water photo, I asked people at my church to volunteer for the photo. I told them to walk along normally, unconcerned, in front of a brick wall. I shot them over the course of 3 Sundays.
Then in Elements I would select people to separate them from the brick background and cut them out. Next I would position a layer in the water and change the opacity and resize it either for
further away or closer up. The final result took about 30 layers (each person was a layer and there were several water layers as well). I was never happy with the water, I felt it came out... okay
(except for being too dark). Not the effect I wanted, but somewhat close.
The problem was I had a whole concept in my head that never really got executed, because 1/2 through my shooting for the project I suffered an injury. The night photos were pre-injury, but I had
planned on more. They also did not go the way I wanted. I found it extremely difficult to find a location where I could take unimpeded night shots of a freeway. I only came up with one
and it was not directly overhead (overpasses had chain link fences around them). Bill suggested I crop the cars shot the way it is. And I never got back to try a HD shot of the refinery.
But the major problem was Martinez. It is the county seat and has a courthouse, records office, etc. for the county. It is also less than six feet above sea level. Minimal predicted sea level rise is 6 feet. Yes,
all of downtown Martinez, including all the county offices, will flood. I wanted to capture this idea, somehow. But downtown Martinez is also all flat. I searched for weeks for a higher elevation to shoot the downtown from above.
There are a couple of residential hills I tried, too far away. I finally found a park on a hill, with a dirt road up to it going through open space. I started walking up the road, it was long. About 1/4 or 1/3 of the way up I
tried cutting up the side of the hill by the side of the road as a short cut. It was really too steep for me to try that and there were a lot of dry oak leaves... I fell and twisted my ankle
very badly. I had to get back down the road by scooting along on my butt. I later put on a shoe strap thing I had at home from an old injury. Eight months later, when it finally healed, I
realized I had probably done more than twist my ankle, I had probably had a hair line fracture in a bone or two.
After that, I just went with the photos I already had. (Friends later suggested to me that I could have shot from the roof top of some building.
Not a bad idea, but the tallest buildings were the county courthouse and police HQ (3-4 stories each). A lot of people don't understand the paranoia that officials exhibit these days about people with cameras.
I do, so I never tried to talk any of them into it. ;-)) I had taken a few of downtown Martinez, from street level. I filled one street with muddy water, trying to get the idea of flooding across. I did not feel it worked
very well. Although a couple of people were convinced I had actually shot Martinez when it flooded sometime (which it never has). I also felt the night shots were ordinary, average, not that interesting.
So I felt most of the project simply... FAILED.
I've debated taking Bill Helsel's class again and doing a show again, but for now, a lot of my interest in that has faded away. Both PDML and Bill
sort of insist on "straight photography," and I feel I would like to move beyond that. So I am now contemplating a multimedia Climate Change series that would include
photography, but also collage, painting, and maybe sculpture. I could at least show this series at my church. Well shall see what happens.
Click on any thumbnail to see all the photographs more close-up.