Photography and commentary by Paul Yarnall

Paying the Piper

It is incomprehensible to me how fast time rushes by these days but I now have some time to write as my wrist heals from carpal tunnel surgery. The irony is that driving a computer all day, either for work or for my photography, is what finally aggravated the symptoms enough for me to do something about it. Of course, it wasn’t just relentless computer use that did me in…. since the opposable thumb is what distinguishes us from most of the other inhabitants on the planet I have spent my entire life taking advantage of our ability to grip things. Countless hours on the motorcycle, or bicycle… wielding tools… you name it, I have, and continue, to do a lot of it.  And now I am paying the piper.

Recovery time for this relatively minor procedure is hard to predict but “months” are often mentioned. It has been a week so far and I am greatly encouraged by my progress. At the present rate I should be able to handle the lighter 5D and a smallish lens in another week or two

I sent this to a few of my friends just to prove that I am “benched” for a while….

So, since I can still use the computer without too much discomfort, I have gone through a lot of stacked up images the past week that have produced four new galleries.

Captured is a small collection of shots from visits to two of our regional zoos in Rochester and Buffalo, NY. I enjoy ‘shooting’ wildlife, but I have to say there isn’t much wild about captive animals. Certainly there are species that are fairly oblivious to their surroundings, but the higher order vertebrates are, well, depressing. They are basically prisoners put on display for our amusement.

May – July Odds and Ends is just that. A few shots from here and there, which includes the Chimney Bluffs on Lake Ontario, the Genesee River at the High Falls area in Rochester, NY, Some scenics, from the Old Forge area in the Adirondacks, and some shots of an old truck to mention a few. A large percentage of these images are the product of HDR (high dynamic range) processing where multiple exposures are combined in software to capture a wider dynamic range than could normally be viewed on a screen or print. HDR is the subject of a lot of debate in photographic circles these days. Amazing software, Photomatix Pro, for example, gives the user the freedom to create images that can be a startling “interpretation” of the original “reality”. I admit that I have exercised the creative side of HDR in some images and the risk is that some will be annoyed or object to them. That’s OK. This is like TV… if you don’t like what you see, change the channel, (or go on to the next image). However, in spite of the potential for abuse, HDR has also allowed me to create images that look “normal” when none of the individual images used to build the composite had any potential what so ever. You can be the judge.

Within the last month I was able to travel into the past, at least with a little added imagination, when I visited Gettysburg, PA for the 146th anniversary re-enactment of that great (and horrible) battle in the Cival War. The time and effort of many hundreds of participants dedicated to reliving that historical period is something to witness and provided great subject matter for my viewfinder.

I returned for my second visit to the Historical Air Group Airshow at Geneseo, NY earlier this month to document this years theme of Naval Aviation. In addition to the meticulously restored and maintained warbirds of the last century, I again stepped back in time as I walked through a 1941 Air Corps encampment. A ‘high point’ was circling around at 2500′ above the New York countryside in a Cessna “Bamboo Bomber” as three Navy warbirds formed up on our wing for our eager lenses.

I hope you enjoy some of these images…. as always, I am happy to hear your comments.