Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Los Lobos

Aspens and Ferns
Kebler Pass, Near Crested Butte
Look Deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.
-Albert Einstein

The woods do funny things to city dwellers unaccustomed to the outdoors. Can't say that this city slicker's forte is camping either but I will do anything for the sake of photography. After two days of camping I was not only exhausted from sleep deprivation induced by both the altitude and camping discomforts, but I was quite ripe from poor hygiene. I discovered my true scent and I can't quite say if I loved it but I can say that I was ready to be cleansed from myself.

As evening fell I heard in the distance the howling of what I believed were wolves. My guide, friend, and fellow photographer, Adam, said to me kindly: "Al there are I believe only two wolves in all of Colorado."

My response was swift and keen given the altitude and sleeplessness. "Then, I think I just heard them both." At that point of exhaustion neither wolves nor coyotes made a difference.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mountain Dream

Kebler Pass View
South of Crested Butte, Co
"How important is a constant intercourse with nature 
and the contemplation of natural phenomena 
to the preservation of moral and intellectual health!"
Henry David Thoreau [Journal, 6 May 1851]

Prior to my trip, my week was full of many things to do. Lot of things to check off my to do lists including my new website showcasing both my commercial and fine art work. (You can view it at www.photographybyalhernandez.com.) The weekend just seemed like it would never get here and my trip to Colorado appeared more like a dream that would never happen.

They say one thing leads to another and that nothing happens by coincidence, I am not one to love cliches, so I must say that I am skeptical of most repeated proverbs. However, after taking many turns on my journey and meeting new and interesting people by "chance", I've begun to change my position on serendipitous encounters. The universe puts certain people directly in our paths for reasons that we can't ever explain. However, it only happens, if we open our hearts and minds to "chance". We must be willing to "be in the moment".

Friend and Photographer:  Adam Diesi
Last year, while on vacation with Kim, at the top of Rocky Mountain National Park a young man by the name of Adam approached me and started talking with me about my camera. We talked and talked as if we were old friends neglecting the fact that I was twice his age. In a short time, he told me how it was his first time to the mountains and that he was actually there on his honeymoon. It all seemed so interesting to me. We exchanged contact information and I thought that would be the end of it.

We followed each other on Facebook and soon I found out that he and his wife accepted a transfer to the Mile High City, Denver. Amazing his dream came true and to think that I witnessed the power of his thoughts and dreams while on a mountain top. It all happened within months.

Early this month, Adam contacted me and inquired if I still had an interest in landscape photography. His question was with merit given that to sustain myself, I also do extensive commercial work ranging from portraiture to weddings. Adam's call was timely, I needed a break from the mundane and I sorely needed to nature to heal my wounds and to soothe my spirit. In a way, however, it was more than that, I confess I wanted to learn from Adam on how to dream and make things happen.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It's Now or Never: It's My Life

Photographer: Al Hernández
Estes Park, CO
Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.
Henry David Thoreau

Getting ready to make my trek to Colorado where beautiful aspen trees adorned with bright yellow leaves and chalky white bark await me. My trip will hopefully inspire and motivate me to create more. This is truly what I enjoy and I need to work hard and develop my vocation for the balance of my life.

Yes, the former marketing and financial executive has turned over, um, a new leaf. Actually, you might say that I've discovered my passion in the autumn of my life.

Certain feelings, images, tunes, and ideas flow throw my head incessantly like a need to be doing something great. It consumes me and motivates me to go beyond my fears and self imposed insecurities. For once in my life, I am not driven to do the logic but rather to do what pleasures my soul.

Think I will crank up my iTunes today and play some Bon Jovi. Feel a little "It's My Life" coming on.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Revisiting An Old Friend

View from El Paso's Franklin Mountain
El Paso, TX

Out in the west Texas town of El Paso, I fell in love with a mountain, the Franklin Mountain. (Sorry Marty Robbins, but its true.) Along with an occasional margarita, not in Rosie's cantina but at Carlos & Mickey's, I spent a greater part of ten years falling in love with the immense spaces and the desert of this town. In fact, I spent so much time traveling there that my children renamed me and called me, AlPaso, a fitting tribute.

The arid town and wide open spaces taught me the romance of the desert lady's plain dress. I frequently found comfort in the bosom of the mountain as I glanced at the distances far below into the twinkling lights of Juarez at nighttime and the peaks near Las Cruces, New Mexico. I knew everything about that mountain and when her skirt would be in full bloom. It was a photographer's love affair.

Judging by the clouds in this shot, I can tell you without my camera's metadata, that it was shot sometime when a storm either hit or just past. Clouds like this simply do not adorn the El Paso sky frequently. For a decade, I never grew tired of visiting this neglected lady. In my eyes, she always wore a different dress for me to photograph. The day I shot this she was dressed to the nines.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Il Signore Di

Il Signore Di
Keller, TX

Experimenting has become a way of life for me. Sometimes, the best tool is the only one you have at your disposable. If you hesitate, you pass on an opportunity.

Last week I had the opportunity to stop by an visit with my friend Giuseppe Di Stefano. As we were saying goodbye, I noticed the light near his doorway and the reflection of a makeshift curtain nearby. If I could capture him side lit and capture some reflected light, I though that I would have an interesting shot. The only tool at my disposal was my iPhone. Regardless, I snapped the shot and processed the results with several iPhone apps. As a final tweak, I fixed some facial features within Photoshop.

Photography at times is the mastery of imperfection. Neither tools nor time are always just to our liking. We forge ahead with the variables we face and simply do the best we can. In the long run, we end up mastering imperfection with makeshift tools. Nothing is ever perfect.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dancer in Purple

Lidia in Purple
Plano, TX

The past few weeks, I've been searching for a new project that would take me further out my comfort zone and force me to think creatively. As a result of a virtual introduction by a photographer friend, I had the good fortune of meeting belly dance instructor, Lidia Dalida. She in turn invited me to watch her rehearse at her dance studio in Plano.

For those of you who are photographers, you understand how much we abhor fluorescent and incandescent lighting. It's far from ideal. The drama heightens when you assume the task of shooting without flash or strobes. Truthfully, I wasn't there to create great images but rather to get into the rhythm of belly dance and to learn when to shoot.

Regardless of what subject matter I choose to shoot, my images continue to be about two things: passion (warmth) and details. Both are key elements of my photography. They are a must for me to release the shutter.

As I watched Lidia and her students dance, I paid attention not so much to the bare midriffs but rather to the positions of hands, heads, and feet. These also disclose the story of  belly dance and subtle seduction. I was entranced by studying the body as the revelation of a story where each position was a different verse in a chapter.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Visiones de las Bailadoras

La Dama: Lidia
Plano, TX

Reinvention is a necessity. For me it requires to find a new creative voice within my commercial work. This week I met with several perspective clients to work out the details for my next idea and to get their buy in. My objective was to convey my desire to express my creativity and theirs while conveying a story which relays  their skill and passion for self expression and art.

La Dama: Saritza
Plano, TX
My two prospects are dancers. That's their passion. One teaches dance and the other works as a realtor. Lidia is from St. Petersberg, Russia and Saritza is originally from Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico. For both, dance is art and expressed as choreographed passion. They were born to dance as much as other artists were drawn to sketch and paint.

A few weeks ago, these ladies were strangers to me. However, my curiosity and my own passion to create art, express myself, and to find my own voice lead me to them. It's something I would have only thought about but never done had I still been a corporate disciple. However, since finding a different religion and eschewing all others I now follow a new master and heed a different voice. You might even say, I've left behind me the way of the world. The choice is simple: to follow my calling.

Although there will be other posts on this blog, behind the scenes, I will be working mastering my craft and finding ways to effectively tell their story in a creative artistic fashion that complements them and enables me to showcase my passion as well. For those interested, my new series will be called Visiones de las Bailadoras.