About the site
I'm still not sure of all this site is about. It is a gathering into one location my photos and writings. The name and URL, josephvhigbee.com isn't out of vanity, but simply to make it easy to remember for my many (choke) readers.
As of June 15, 2014 the Photos and Musings have been discontinued. Volumes one, two and three have been archived and a link to those is in the menu at the top of the main pages. The link to Pbase Galleries take you to over 4000 of my photographs and the Flickr Photostream link takes you to my current photos. Short Subjects contains articles or stories I have written apart from the musings and will be added to as I feel the need.
I know the reason this site came about was because of search limitations on my Comcast pages. Apparently search engines are severely limited in discovering material there. As a consequence, someone searching for my photos and or musings couldn't locate them, sometimes even if they searched very specifically. I did figure out how to change that to a degree but not fully. Besides, by that time I had acquired this web space. So, after fiddling around for about a year, and a couple false starts, I transferred the Photos and Musings in their entirety to this site. It has changed over time to what it is now but I try to keep the sitemap up to date for search engines so as to make my pages easily discovered when they, or their subject matter, is searched for.
On the main pages of this site, there will be a link on the header or in the menu, as you see on this page, to return to the home page. When I start a new volume it will also have a link and will open in the same tab. However, for now at least, the links to Pbase Galleries and Flickr Photostream will open the pages in a new tab, leaving the 'linked from page' open also. The small photos on any page are also links to bigger versions that will open in an overlay window.
This is a hard task. How to put into words ones greatness while still maintaining ones humility. It's kind of like blowing a horn without making much noise, very hard to do. I'll try to keep it simple.
I was born, grew up. got married and had children in a time that is so different from today that, to most people, even myself, it seems like ancient history. I grew up in a time when discrimination was a good thing (prejudice never was) and immoral behavior was still recognized as such.
Since I retired I have become an amateur photographer and a frequent muser. Before that I was a carpenter and, for a while, a motor route newscarrier. As you can see, this makes me unusually qualified to comment on all kinds of highly complex or technical issues. Or not.
For that reason, when you look at my photos, expect only what you see. If you like it, I've accomplished something. If you don't, I tried. And I've enjoyed doing it, either way. Kind of the same with my musings. I'm not running for anything. I just find it satisfying to write down some of the things I think about. Sometimes I like to just think and ponder over the wonder and nature of the things I see and photograph. Volume One is mostly like that.
Other times I see that wonder and nature being assaulted and can't help but ponder why it happens, what does it mean, and where and when will it end. I have studied these question quite a bit and think I may even have a pretty good idea of some of the answers. But I only know of one carpenter that seemed to have a full understanding of these things. It ain't me.
At times I write about things that I have pretty strong convictions about. When I do, I try real hard not to impose my conviction upon a reader, as I feel some writers do. What I would hope for is to cause someone to think deeply enough as to have a firm basis for their convictions. If they disagree with what I think I don't feel bad (I have been wrong). If they agree with me I feel much more not bad, of course.
In updating this page, I realize I've gotten older but otherwise haven't changed much. Back to top of page
About the photographs
The photographs are really where all this started. After I retired they gave a reason to go places, something to do when I was there and a reason to use the computer when I was home. Over the few years since then, I have taken thousands of pictures. If you look at the earlier ones in Volume One and then the ones in my latest musings, you can see a bit of improvement. Some of that is due to advances in equipment and, I hope, some because of what I've learned and experienced.
Every photographer that is serious about his work seems to have a mantra about what makes a good or bad photo. Mine is simple, if I like it, it's good. If I don't like it, it's bad. If I used to like it and don't now, I've improved but the picture was never good. If I didn't like it and now I do, I may be 'losing it'. If it doesn't seem as good as it did, it's probably over two years old.
Most of the photos are of birds, and for good reason. Birds are everywhere, they are varied in many ways so the challenge of one kind may be totally different than another. You tend to learn your craft quicker because they don't always give you time to over-think what you do.
I have been working to do landscape but have trouble 'seeing' the photo in what I'm looking at. I tend to like empty spaces but they make empty photographs. I've got a few years left, I hope. Maybe I can improve. Back to top of page
About the musings
In updating this page I read this part and even though I have discontinued the musings they are still within me and will be bound to crop up from time to time. This sub-heading needs to be left here as an explanation and a reminder why that is so.
Here and there, including within some of the musings, I have talked about the act of musing itself. What I will try to do here is organize those thoughts, along with some others, into a coherent summary.
Several words are closely related to musing and I use many of them in trying to convey my thoughts. 'Thought' is at the root of all of them. After all, musing, pondering, wondering, reflecting and others, are just different types of thought. I try to stay away from analysing, reasoning and concluding in my writing but they do slip in.
I've always been somewhat of a daydreamer. Given a job to do, I might very well be found sitting and thinking about it. In time, I learned this wasn't too well accepted, so I learned to muse as I was working, or doing other things. When I retired and began travelling around and then spent much time waiting for the 'moment', I found I could just daydream, muse, ponder and think to my heart's content. Then when I came home and viewed the photos I would start all over again as they reminded me of when I took them. Volume One is made up of mostly those kind of musings. I still enjoy going through it and remembering, and even reliving, some of those photos and thoughts.
Even as I have changed in my photography since I started, the same is true in my musing. Even as I have enjoyed so much of the beauty and wonder around me in so many places, I began to notice that not everything is as it should be. My purpose was to observe and take pictures of wildlife and scenery, but I was being distracted by the changes effecting those very things. It reminds me of a phrase of a while back; "The objective is..... However, when you are up to your ass in alligators, it is difficult to remember that your initial objective was to drain the swamp."
Because of this distraction, my musings began to be of a more serious nature as you see in Volume Two. I'm a daydreamer but I haven't lost touch with reality. And I don't think it is realistic to ignore the obvious and hope it just goes away. What is, is. To refuse to think or muse or wonder about it isn't, for me, a possibility.
So, in writing about these more serious musings, mostly in Volume Two, I'm not trying to convince anybody of anything. I'm not trying to save the world, that's not for me to do. But, if by writing these musings down, it causes someone to think more deeply or recognize some significance about what is happening, I would feel, even as when someone likes a photo, that I've accomplished something.
In January, 2010 I started Volume Three. It continues my earlier inclination to write about things more closely related to photography. I still desire to write about more serious things at times and hope to continue Volume Two in that vein.
Comment: The musings are retired but the Short Subjects remain in case I should have something to say. I probably will. Back to top of page
About my equipment
It has cost more than I ever intended to spend. Even so, it is worth it. A good craftsman can produce an acceptable job with the elementary, and sometimes less expensive, tools of his trade. Yet, almost without exception, a better and more satisfying result will be had from using quality, and therefore more expensive, tools. I have tried a variety of set-ups and have now settled on a few that minimize my equipment list and still allow me to cover everything reasonably well.
Well, that last sentence was short-sighted to say the least. I did use mostly the same Canon equipment until January of 2011 when I added a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 Micro 4/3rd system camera and Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F/4.0-5.6 and Lumix G Vario HD 14-140mm F/4.0-5.6 lenses. Then, by June 1, 2011, I had sold all of the Canon equipment. By July 16, 2011 I had sold all the Panasonic and bought some new Canon stuff.
By October 4, 2011, I had made most of the changes I expected to make for a while. I was very satisfied with my list then, with the exception of the lack of a long lens. I said I would buy one of the newest generation if I could afford it but will not go back to using a 500mm such as I had previous.
I decided in June, 2012 I could afford it so the 300mm has been added and I love it. In 2014 I decided to get a full frame body, the 6D. I begin to realize I will probably never be content with 'what is' when 'what else' is out there!
It is now September of 2015 and time to, once again, update this section. I have sold the EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II lens and purchased a new version 100-400mm. The 300mm will be missed but most of what I do now is in the yard and versatility of the 100-400mm makes it the 'goto' lens.
So the following list is what I am using at this time:
- Canon EOS 7D Mk II DSLR
- Canon EOS 7D DSLR
- Canon EOS 6D DSLR
- Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens
- Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens
- Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens
- Canon 1.4x EF Extender II (Teleconverter)
- Canon 1.4x EF Extender III (Teleconverter)
- Canon 2x EF Extender III (Teleconverter)
- Canon Deluxe Backpack 200 EG
- Black Rapid RS-2 Sport 2 Camera Strap
- Gitzo GT2541LVL Leveling 6X Carbon Fiber Tripod
- Gitzo GH2720QR Series 2 Birdwatching Video/Photo Two-Way Fluid Head
- Acratech Long Lens Head
- Mongoose M-3.6 Gimbal Tripod Head
- Misc. Kenko Extenders
- Misc. accessory items
There is always something new and improved coming and I am vulnerable to those desires so who knows what the future will bring. (Boy, has this proven true!)
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