UCM Photo Program

Winter Wonder Land: Yellowstone

Going to Yellowstone National Park during the winter is one of those “bucket list” items everyone should experience. I had my opportunity earlier this month when Dr. Charles “Chuck” Peterson, a biologist at Idaho State University, coordinated a private snow coach trip. We had a 1950s era Bombardier tracked machine that looked like it should be on the battlefield! Fun! In total, there were eight of us, plus the guide; four biologists and four photography professors. Days were cold, near 0oF (-18oC) and nights were even colder!

Three life-long friends from the Kansas City area and former faculty colleagues at the University of Central Missouri, flew up for the adventure. Unknown to Wilson Hurst that Tom Mitchell and Robert Breshears were going to be there, it came as quite the surprise when he finally met them during our rendezvous!

Here’s a number of my favorite shots from the trip. I used a variety of gear, including Nikon D800, Fujifilm X20, and my iPhone 7 through a spotting scope. Enjoy!

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Photo Roadtripping in YNP & GTP

Last week I had the opportunity to take some ISU (Idaho State University) photo and video students to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks for a photography roadtrip. And, by design, two of my close friends (Robert Breshears and Tom Mitchell) from the photography department at the University of Central Missouri, were there at the same time with several of their students. It was a great rendezvous of kindred photographic spirits!  Our combined students had an opportunity to exchange ideas, photograph together, and for some, enjoy bison and elk burgers in Gardiner, Montana at “The Corral“. For our group, we stayed at the Yellowstone Studies Center, which is part of the West Yellowstone Economic Council and is located in West Yellowstone, Montana. This is a great resource for universities when they bring students to Yellowstone National Park for their research and creative activities. Here’s some shots from our week at YNP and GTP!

Road Tripping in the Western States: Astro-Landscapes, Wall Drug, & Giant Prairie Dogs

Recently, after months of planning with colleagues (Dr. Tom Mitchell and Mr. Robert Breshears) from the photography program at the University of Central Missouri, myself and Idaho State University student John Lowry rendezvoused with our counter-parts at the Badlands National Park in South Dakota. Our primary objective was astro-landscape photography, which involves daytime images of the landscape that transition into night versions with star movement. All total we had seven faculty and students from both institutions.

During the last few days of May, we watched temps at the Badlands soar into the upper 90s, with nights dropping into the 50s. The temperature swings made camping an interesting adventure. Besides typical camp life and cold showers, we made numerous trips throughout the Badland region for making traditional photographs (with a mix of vernacular snapshots) of ubiquitous bison and prairie dogs. One afternoon included a trip to the infamous Wall Drug, where snapshots were made of tourists riding the giant jackalope!

After three days in the Badlands, we broke camp and struck out for the Black Hills, with stops at Keystone and Mount Rushmore. I found Rushmore disturbing with its extensive commercialization and grand architecture…hmm a potential critical theory paper in the making! Nothing like I experienced back in the 1970s and 1960s. Everything changes with time.

The last stop on our photo road trip was Devils Tower, Wyoming. Here I managed to craft an excellent astro-landscape photograph, which transitions from daylight into night with star trails above the Tower. The following day my Missouri compatriots departed to return to the Midwest, while John and I pushed westward. Photo opportunities presented themselves throughout Wyoming, including detailed shooting at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center (Japanese concentration camp) and Yellowstone/Grand Teton National Parks.

Independence in Black and White

Earlier this summer I went on a photo shooting trip to Independence, Missouri with Dr. Tom Mitchell’s editorial photo class. Every time I visit the town square, I feel as though I’m in time warp back to the 1950s. And, it always feels like Black and White! Here’s a few B&Ws from that outing that visually express the nostalgia I feel for that locale.

© 2012 Terry Ownby

© 2012 Terry Ownby

© 2012 Terry Ownby

© 2012 Terry Ownby

West Kansas Geology and Astronomical Events

This past week I made my annual photo trek to Kansas with Wilson Hurst and had interesting adventures. Typically, we roam around the Flint Hills and photograph on the prairie, but this summer we decided to explore new terrain further west…as in almost to the Colorado border! Being out on the west side of the state was like being in a completely alien environment when compared to the calming prairie. The western side of the state is raw and harsh. High temperatures, gale-force winds, and limited visibility from blowing sand marked our three-day sojourn.

Home base was Oakley, where we stayed at a local motel run by a pleasant Indian family, complete with their Hindu alter on the check-in desk. Although, I had tried to get us a room at the Annie Oakley Motel, but unfortunately it was booked solid for a family reunion. But, our base of operations worked fine after Wilson figured out I didn’t know how to properly run our air conditioner!

Landmarks photographed during this expedition included Castle Rock Badlands, which is about 30 miles south of Quinter and only accessible by gravel roads. Our favorite place where we shot star-trails two nights in a row was the well-known Monument Rocks, or the Pyramids, as the locals call them. At a distance Monument Rocks gives the impression of Stonehenge, except magnified. The exposed gypsum columns rise 70 feet (21 meters) in the air, making them rather impressive! During the long hours of photographing star-trails, we saw several meteorites, satellites, and a US Air Force KC-10 refueling a C-17 cargo jet. The moonless nights provided an inky backdrop for the stars, which were incredibly bright and the skies remarkably clear, considering the violent winds that would not abate.

Below are a few shots from that trip. Enjoy!

Star trails looking north at Monument Rocks in western Kansas. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Camera setup for shooting startrails at Monument Rocks, about 25 miles south of Oakley, Kansas. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Yucca and sage brush dot the landscape near Castle Rocks in west Kansas. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Panorama of Castle Rock Badlands, located south of Quinter, Kansas. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Monument Rocks at sunset. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Entrance to Larry Farmer’s Prairie Dog Town, Oakley, Kansas. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Queen size beds at the Annie Oakley Motel located in Oakley, Kansas. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Additional views of Haghia Sophia and the Blue Mosque

Situated in the beautiful Sultanahmet Square (Sultanahmet Meydani) about 300 meters apart the Haghia Sophia and the Blue Mosque face each other. Both structures are historical-cultural gems within Istanbul. The Blue Mosque dates back to the 17th century, while the Haghia Sophia has its first construction date during the 5th century. Adjacent to these architectural  wonders is the remnants of the Hippodrome, which was once a huge stadium in the heart of the Constantinople. This was originally built during the 3rd century and after Emperor Constantine enlarged it, the stadium was reported to hold up 100,000 spectators.

Here are a few more photos depicting various views of the Haghia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

Interior view of the nave looking up towards central dome. Included are mosaics of seraphims and Islamic calligraphic roundels. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Looking up at the central dome of the Haghia Sophia (Church of Divine Wisdom). In addition to beautiful tile-work, frescoes of the “seraphim” angels can be seen along with gold Islamic calligraphy in dome center after conversion by Ottomans during 15th century. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Mosaic of the Virgin and Child with gold gilting in dome above the mihrab ( a niche that faces Mecca). © 2012 Terry Ownby.

This is a detailed view of the dome above the mihrab, which has the image of the Virgin Mary and Christ Child. This is either a fresco or a mosaic (it appears to be made of small tiles, suggesting a mosaic). © 2012 Terry Ownby.

This view was taken from the first upper level and shows intricate tile-work in the domes, along with a mosaic of an angel in the distance. © 2012 Terry Ownby

Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahment Camii) with Turkish pennants in Istanbul, Turkey. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Blue Mosque courtyard with visitors qued for tour, Istanbul, Turkey. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Interior view of Blue Mosque showing Iznik Turkish tilework, Istanbul, Turkey. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Blue Mosque interior view with chandelier and Iznik blue tiles. Istanbul, Turkey. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Brooklyn in B&W

While on our recent trip to New York over spring break, I had an opportunity to spend a morning in Brooklyn. Specifically, I was in the DUMBO area (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). During the late 19th century, this area was a manufacturing district and housed numerous warehouses and factories. The whole area reminded of the work by documentary photographer and sociologist, Lewis W. Hine. I could easily imagine him photographing children laboring within these massive structures a hundred years ago. I think it was that feeling of his documentary work that helped me pre-visual my images as black and white. After wondering some of the narrow cobble-stone streets between towering warehouses, I ventured down to the waterfront along the East River, to the Brooklyn Bridge Park. This park lies between the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge. Here I happened upon Jane’s Carousel, which I had previously learned about on CBS Sunday Morning. Housed in an all-glass pavilion is a 90-year old carousel that has been painstakingly restored to its original look, after being rescued from Youngstown, Ohio. While photographing the carousel, a lady standing next to me told me her story of riding that carousel as a child and she was visiting it with her sister so their children could ride it as well. Neat story. Enjoy my B&Ws!

The Manhattan Bridge with Empire State Building in background.
© 2012 Terry Ownby

Support stanchion on the Brooklyn Bridge.
© 2012 Terry Ownby

Manhattan Bridge viewed from Brooklyn's DUMBO district.
© 2012 Terry Ownby

Jane's Carousel beneath the Brooklyn Bridge.
© 2012 Terry Ownby

Detail shot of Jane's Carousel with Brooklyn Bridge viewed through glass pavilion.
© 2012 Terry Ownby

Close-up view of carousel horse figure after restoration.
© 2012 Terry Ownby

Carousel in motion with Manhattan Bridge in background.
© 2012 Terry Ownby

Storefront for Grimaldi's pizzeria in Brooklyn.
© 2012 Terry Ownby

Brooklyn Bridge

Last Friday morning we spent time walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. Afterwards, we made our way around the Brooklyn Bridge Park, where I shot this panorama. The Brooklyn Bridge is to the left, while to the right is the Manhattan Bridge. Once we finished photographing along the waterfront, we went over a couple of blocks and had an incredible New York style pizza at Grimaldi’s, which is famous for their pizzas.

The waterfront between the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge.

New York City: Spring Break

For a number of years, a colleague from the Art Department has encouraged me to join him with some of our photography students on his annual trip to New York City during our spring break. This year I finally had time to take him up on his offer. We started recruiting students during the fall semester and when our trip began, we had 14 students (9 were photography majors). It was a five day/four night trip and we were based in mid-town Manhattan, just a couple of blocks south of Central Park.

Using the subway system allowed us to easily navigate from the Upper West Side to Brooklyn. Times Square was visited a few times in the evening for great photo ops. We also did the typical tourist activities, such as going up the Empire State Building, standing in the center of the Grand Central Terminal, visiting the 911 Memorial, and dining in Chinatown and Little Italy. Since I’m a food photographer (and foodie!), sampling international fare was on my list of quests. I managed to sample Irish, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, and Turkish cuisine that would be impossible to find locally. The Spanish tapas and seafood paella in Greenwich Village at the Spain Restaurant and Bar were by far my favorite indulgence!

From a photographic standpoint, we saw lots of great images, both historical and contemporary at venues such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art, the NYC Public Library, and the International Center for Photography.  Names such as Frith, Baldus, and Atget were some of the more historical work viewed, while Weegee and Grey Villet helped transition to more contemporary imagery, which included Cindy Sherman, Greg Girard, and Francesca Woodman.

Below are a few of my favorites from the trip, enjoy!

Lower Manhattan in the fog.

Some of my students outside the Met.

Shopkeeper and his market in Chinatown.

"Christmas Story" relived!

Fog moving in on the Empire State Building.

Midtown Manhattan with the Hudson River.

Lower Manhattan at sunset.

A quiet moment at the NYC Public Library.

The 911 Memorial fountains at dusk.

Early Mornings

I’ve been thinking about early morning hikes on the Tall Grass Prairie so I thought I’d share another image from this past fall’s outing with friends and UCM students.