Tag Archives: HDR

Humility and Accolades

“We are our own worst enemy…”

My whole life I have struggled with the idea of self-worth. That struggle of course came out of being raised in the extremely dysfunctional home from which I came. For far too long I embraced the consistent, negative message that had been hammered into me from early childhood that I was “not good enough” and definitely “not deserving.”

Though there have been many times in my past where I received awards or honors for accomplishments, those instances always felt so incredibly surreal and I would not allow myself to become emotionally invested in the moment. Instead I would shrug my shoulders and chalk it up to “luck.” While those around me were celebrating for me, I would fall back into that negative self-talk that surmised I could have done it much better than I did.

Perfectionism… What a highly overrated, most definitely subjective, unnecessary waste of time and energy.

Fortunately, I have been able to face the self-worth issues head on during my “later” adult years and have finally begun to slay that dragon so to speak. The negative self-talk does continue to creep in on occasion, however now I am able to flush it out of my mind the minute it threatens by replacing it with positive words of self-love.

The past few weeks have been an incredible test of this journey for me. My photograph “Tower Bridge Sunrise” was gifted to Nippon Shokken by the Mayor of our city and made its way onto the pages of several local newspapers.

Photo courtesy: City of West Sacramento. Mayor Christopher Cabaldon presents "Tower Bridge Sunrise" to the Chairman of Nippon Shokken.

My series “View of Farmlands,” which I created after winning a public art commission supported by the Yolo County Arts Council and the James Irvine Foundation, is heading out on tour with a March 2nd launch at Gallery 1075.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. "Farm Labor" - Riverdog Farm, Guinda, CA. One from a series six from my "View of Farmlands" series.

My “Occupy Oakland” series is being featured on SocialDocumentary.net.

My series "Occupy Oakland" featured on SocialDocumentary.net

On Tuesday of this week, I was honored to meet and film an interview with Rocco Landesman, the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts where he told me my “View of Farmlands” series was incredible and that I am a very talented photographer.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. Dani Thomas, Executive Director for YoloArts and Rocco Landesman, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Then Saturday morning, I received notice that I was chosen to be iPhone Photographer of the Day (out of thousands of artists) on iPhoneArt.com.

My iPhone art featured on the home page of iPhoneArt.com for Artist of the Day.

Today I am smiling widely and have a funny butterfly-like feeling in my belly. This tells me I am finally emotionally vested in these most recent accolades. So I am writing this post with what should have been the giddiness of a shy second grade girl who just received her first Brownie badge; the beaming smile of the 8th grade graduate who did so with honors; the overwhelming pride of the track athlete who just obliterated her half-mile league record; the beaming high school graduate who was the recipient of the largest college scholarship given out that night; and the excited college graduate who just earned her third degree.

This contented photographer and writer proudly embraces the quiet accomplishments of my past that I once so hastily dismissed, and is over the moon excited about my most recent accomplishments and accolades.

“I do deserve this!”… May the positive self-talk continue forever.

UFO Watchtower…Really

UFO Watchtower in Moffat, Colorado

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2010. All rights reserved.

Photo: UFO Watchtower, Hooper, Colorado.

There certainly are a lot of mysteries in this world.  Things beyond human comprehension that do not seem to fall into the realm of logic.  Some of us toy with the possibility of a spiritual realm, using strange tools like EVP’s, IR illuminators and thermal imaging to try to capture evidence of the ethereal.  For centuries now, humans have been praying blindly by faith without any concrete evidence whatsoever, that something greater than themselves actually hears their pleadings.  If Christians can believe in a Holy Spirit and the resurrection, then why not believe in the existence of ghosts?  Alternately, there are those on this earth who doubt the possibility of anything beyond the concrete and the physical.  They choose to place all their faith in that institution called “science” to prove or disprove reality.  So if one’s faith is in science, then what of Quantum Physics with its invisible units of energy?  Our own planet is but a tiny grain of sand surrounded by a universe that stretches into infinity.  How is it that we as human beings became so egocentric that we believe we are the only planet with any form of intelligent life?

Whether you believe in the possibility of little green men with advanced technology traveling from afar to visit our world or you guffaw at the notion that there is any entity out there with an intelligence far greater than yours, all must pay a visit to the UFO Watchtower in Hooper, Colorado at least once in their lifetime.  Peruse the alien abduction books in the bookstore.  Pick up a glow-in-the-dark Alien Frisbee for the kiddies, then stroll through the Healing Garden and leave your own quirky offering at the alien shrine.  Before you leave you must stand for a while on the metal platform to soak up the breathtaking view of the Sangre de Cristo’s in the distance.  Take a few moments to look towards the Heavens, and maybe if you are lucky, you might spy something otherworldly in the sky.


Abandoned stone house

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2010.

Photo: Abandoned stone house in San Luis Valley, Colorado.

While driving through the San Luis Valley in Colorado last summer this little stone house spoke to me on many levels.  It was beautiful, yet broken.  The external structure was solid; created with care by fitting stone against stone with an array of well-placed colors and sizes.  It spoke of pride of craftmanship and the love of detail.  This was a house that was at one time loved by someone and filled full with life.  Sitting on several acres, it had unobstructed views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains and the white-capped peaks of the Blanca Massif in the distance.  The beautiful Rio Grande River twisted and turned through the deep canyon walls a few miles to the West and the New Mexico border was within walking distance of its doors to the South.  Shattered windows had once served as protection from the driving winter winds and the bitter cold.  I imagined children standing there, looking out at the snow-covered acres while sipping hot chocolate and warming themselves by a blazing fire.  I imagined Christmas celebrations, birthday parties, summer picnics, singing voices and babies crying.  And now it sat, abandoned; filled with shattered glass, bullet-ridden walls and a crumbling roof.  It looked so sad and all alone.

There in the San Luis Valley it still remains in lonely dignity, as it weathers slowly over time.  I may never know the truths of its past for certain, yet its essence in that moment when I stood before it has a place forever inside my mind.  This same house now sits proudly before me in a photograph and continues to whisper the secrets of its past.  Every now and then I make a point to stop and listen.  And sometimes I begin to hear the warmth and laughter of a better time.  A time when this now shattered structure was once a happy home.

Rusty Pier

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2010.

Photo: Rusty Pier, Port Townsend, Washington.

One of my favorite places to visit in the Pacific Northwest is the little town of Port Townsend, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula.  A true Victorian-era seaport, it’s just a short, enjoyable ferry ride across the straits from Seattle.  For the past 33 years, the town has been host to the Wooden Boat Festival in September and I have been fortunate enough to attend two of those years.  More than 300 beautifully crafted wooden vessels sail and motor into the Point Hudson Marina for the event which draws visitors from all over the world and is graced by some of the top wooden boat experts in the nation.  There’s just something about strolling through that quaint little town, viewing all the refurbished vessels of yore, feeling the cool ocean air caress my skin and tasting that salty air on my lips that gets me dreaming.  Dreaming of a life way out at sea with the waves lashing across the bow and the winds filling the sails to take me to distant shores…I think it’s past time to pay Port Townsend another visit.

You can purchase this photo here.

Lonesome Oak

Lone Oak

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2010.

Photo: A lone oak outside Plymouth, CA. 2010

There are times when something catches my eye in a certain moment in time when I know that I just have to shoot it. The oak tree in this photo was one of those moments.  We were driving through the gold country shooting pioneer cemeteries for an upcoming book project when our sunny day turned with an approaching storm.  We passed hundreds of wild oaks on our way to Fiddletown and suddenly I saw this lone oak atop a hill that had this amazing essence about it and knew we would have to stop on our way back after shooting Fiddletown when the light was better.  We finally reached the tree around 4:00pm when the sun was lower on the horizon and a wonderful cloud cover had formed in the background.  I decided to take multiple exposures of this scene and later merged them all into an HDR (High Dynamic Range) photo to enhance the amazing light and shadows that existed in reality.

You can purchase this photo here.