Trying out new settings

Don’t get in a rut, we told ourselves, but it was too late. It’s been almost 2 years since we got our camera and the setting rarely has moved from manual. So, Beth moved the switch off manual, and we headed out with new friends, Marlee and Kenton, to photograph outdoor sculpture.

Marlee and Joe seem oblivious to the giant tortoise “roaming” in the desert nearby.

Marlee and Joe seem oblivious to the giant tortoise “roaming” in the desert nearby.

Some of the animals, like this Merriam's tapir, were placed in natural settings, and from a distance appeared ready to spring into life, even though this long-ago extinct tapir lived in North America during the Pleistocene era.

Some of the animals, like this Merriam’s tapir, were placed in natural settings, and from a distance appeared ready to spring into life, even though this long-ago, extinct tapir lived in North America during the Pleistocene era.

What is real and what isn’t? How about the cactus in the middle of the photo?

What is real and what isn’t? How about the cactus in the middle of the photo?

Over 100 sculptures were placed in the desert at Borrego Springs, CA – a small, “island” town surrounded by Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The philanthropist, Dennis Avery and his wife, Sally Tsui Wong-Avery, lived in Borrego Springs for years. He bought property when land prices dropped in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

As heir to the Avery label fortune and a noted philanthropist, Dennis Avery commissioned metal sculptures by Ricardo Breceda to be placed on the undeveloped land and called it “Sky Art.”

As heir to the Avery label fortune and a noted philanthropist, Dennis Avery commissioned metal sculptures by Ricardo Breceda to be placed on the undeveloped land and called it “Sky Art.”

We’d never heard of the sculptor, Ricardo Breceda. He started as a cowboy boot salesman, and, when his young daughter requested a dinsoaur after seeing “Jurassic Park III,” he welded one for her. His first sculpture, it was 45-ft long (14 meters). Only seven years later, he received his commission from Dennis Avery.

The vast desert expanse was the perfect setting for a sea serpent. Kenton provided human scale for the enormous head rising up from the desert floor. Parts of the body snaked back across the road for 350’.

The vast desert expanse was the perfect setting for a sea serpent. Kenton provided human scale for the enormous head rising up from the desert floor. Parts of the body snaked back across the road for 350’ (107 meters).

Joe posed by one section of the sea serpent’s body.

Joe posed by one section of the sea serpent’s body.

During the photo shoot Beth resisted the temptation to switch back to manual focus even though she could see there was an unusual look to the photos. When we returned and uploaded all the photos, she realized that she’d accidentally left the setting at “toy camera” effect. The manual says this creates “a soft image with shaded corners and reduced sharpness.”

The photo of Marlee illustrated the effect of the “toy camera” setting in the desert landscape. It was definitely a soft, hazy look.

The photo of Marlee illustrated the effect of the “toy camera” setting in the desert landscape. It was definitely a soft, hazy look.

For us – the accidental setting on the camera couldn’t have been better. It gave our photos that day an old-time look with slightly muted colorization. The glare on the desert floor from the sun is still there, as well as the blue sky. What better way to photograph giant creatures in the desert?

Changing camera settings and changing our setting to the desert for viewing giant welded animals lifted us right out of a winter rut.

 

February 2017

 

 

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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6 Responses to Trying out new settings

  1. Love your photos and these sculptures…the camera setting was perfect for these shots! What a wonderful way to get out of a winter rut!

  2. NurSerial says:

    Is this Borrego? Beautiful!

  3. What a happy accident. The toy setting is perfect for these photos. I love the sea serpent. Imagine the joy of having the space to be able to create and place that sculpture so beautifully.

  4. It is good to experiment. I have been trying more monochrome where. olour seems to fail to capture the ‘essence’ of the image. Still have a bit of work to do though. We stayed with a scupture artist friend while in Dunedin. He is 81 now so had a life tine of work to share with us. Most of them were huge and significant engineering feats, it also made for a significant change of our travel settings.

  5. plaidcamper says:

    A fun day out in the desert! Love the sculptures, and the way the camera setting caught them in the desert light. I think our camera has that “toy setting” and I’m intrigued by the possibilities…

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