Notes from Ben Lomond: 8 March 2023

Digital Photography

One of the misconceptions regarding digital photography is that you can just take a thousand photos and find the good ones or fix them in photoshop. This fallacy leads to a lot of terrible results.

With film photography, you don’t have the ability to shoot a thousand frames in a single shoot. The film photographers have to be more deliberate and conservative in the choices they make. While you can shoot a thousand frames with a digital camera, you shouldn’t.

There are a number of reasons why this is not a best practice. For one, it teaches you very little about the process of making photographs. At the end of a shoot, you should have a good idea of what shots are the best. If you take a thousand, there’s no chance you will know what the best ones are until you spend hours looking through the files.

This leads to the issue of time. Can you really afford to spend that much time sorting through randomly composed photos? Even if you have nothing but time, this will be a boring and potentially depressing process.

You want to make great photographs and spend more time with a camera making photos than at the computer editing them.

One way to make more deliberate photographs is to shoot with a tripod at night. This will force you to use longer exposures and to make more deliberate choices in framing your subject. If each photo takes 30 seconds of exposure, then you simply cannot take a thousand photos.


Last night I photographed the local theater in Ben Lomond. It’s a beautiful building, old by California standards. There was a certain charm I felt composing the frames. A functioning theater has a quiet buzz that emanates from the hopes of the dreamers like a power line in the fog. I decided that I want to work with the Mountain Community Theater to provide promotional photos and writing for their upcoming shows. I also am inquiring about previewing a play as a stage reading in August. Hoping to get the opportunity to be a part of this cool place.


One of the interesting things about how a plot functions is determined by the point of view and who the narrator views as the protagonist. In any situation where there is a conflict, it is possible to see things from both sides. Even if you think that one side is morally superior to the other, you can still imagine a story with the adversary as a protagonist. When we fail to do that, we lose some of the depth of the human experience.

Ironically, this has been done a lot in movies recently as stories are told from different points of view. Take for example the movie Maleficent. I haven’t seen it, but I am aware that it chronicles the life of the woman who becomes the evil fairy from the story Sleeping Beauty. This added dimension of story deepens our understanding of the overall story.

The capacity to reimagine stories from different points of view strengthens our understanding of how stories function like how a skilled debater can argue for both sides of an issue.


Active voice is an essential part of good writing. What is active voice? When you construct sentences where the subject is acting upon the object, you have achieved active voice. For example: To satisfy his hunger, the rabbit ate two whole carrots.

You could say the same thing but in passive voice. Two whole carrots were eaten by a hungry rabbit. In the meaning of the sentence, it is the rabbit who acts upon the carrots, eating them to satisfy his hunger. In the passive construction, however, the carrots are presented as though they were the subject of the sentence.

Passive voice can be used effectively for creative effects. Often however, people use passive voice unconsciously. Those sentences constructed with passive voice accidentally are likely to confuse or lose the reader.


Doing pushups has been an important part of my fitness plan for a long time. That is because they work lots of muscle groups and you can do them pretty much anywhere at any time. Pushups are a gift to people who lead busy lives and want to stay in shape. Now drop and give me twenty!


Last night, I went to a figure drawing class in Ben Lomond. It was a small group of dedicated artists in attendance to draw the model. She is a friend of mine, and it was great to see her. She is a very beautiful woman, and one of the most powerful things about her is her body awareness and pose selection. Beauty is both the quality of a person’s exterior and, it is also their cultivated skills and energy.


I recently was checking out the top posts for Ben Lomond on Instagram and to my surprise they were dominated by a gentleman who goes by the name of Denim Dork. He posts frequently and features himself wearing different western outfits. He is an over-40 male model who is something of a fashion icon for the work he’s been doing on social media. Not only has he improved the quality of his posts considerably, but he has grown his following and attracted the attention of brands. I never would have thought there would be such a person in Ben Lomond, but there he is, and it’s very impressive what he’s doing.


We are in for another atmospheric river starting tomorrow. It is going to warm up considerably, which is nice, but it is also going to be difficult for the saturated land to deal with another half dozen inches of precipitation. Still, it will be beautiful to hike Fall Creek and see the flow rise again one more time this season. Spring is only a couple of weeks away, and while there may be more rain, it is likely to be much less.

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