Memory of my first Texas sunrise

Ocotillo plant at sunrise in Big Bend

Big Bend Ocotillo at Sunrise


Sometimes I explore my memories and try to think about what led me to find inspiration in the landscape. I came across a memory from when I was perhaps 10 or 11 . My parents would often take my sister and I on road trips to the western states. One time I remember we left Oklahoma early morning. It must have been 4 am, maybe earlier. When I woke up in our van after several hours on the road, we were somewhere in the Texas panhandle and the sun was just rising. Dad was driving while my mom and sister slept. The only sound was the wind coming through dad’s open window.

It was a peaceful moment. It was the first Texas sunrise I had ever seen. I was amazed at how flat Texas was and completely devoid of trees. I could see for miles. I also remember the beautiful orange light making the short desert shrubs glisten as we drove past them. I surmise that this memory had some influence on my enjoyment of the landscape.

The photograph above, Big Bend Ocotillo, was a morning that reminded me of that morning waking up in the van. The sun was just coming over the horizon sending a beautiful mix of oranges and magentas raking across the desert. The air was calm; peaceful.

Nozzle Check: Keep your yellow from giving you the blues!

My Epson 4900 has recently passed away. It started out as a simple intermittent clog in the yellow head, and ended with total head failure after some gradually more powerful and intrusive cleaning techniques. But it all started when I printed the nozzle check before each print run and I couldn’t see the individual lines of yellow to determine if there were missing areas. There is very little contrast between white paper and yellow ink. Although I learned my lesson the hard way, I will pass on two tricks that I discovered that will allow you to easily see those yellow lines!

Method #1 (easiest)

Blue Filter over Yellow nozzle pattern

Blue Filter over Yellow nozzle pattern

Get a blue gel, or a blue colored film. I have CTB gel that I use on my off-camera flashes. This works great. Simply use this as a filter over the yellow portion of the nozzle check pattern and view under a bright light. The yellow lines will appear white, and the white area will turn blue!

Method #2 (more time consuming, but most effective)

Photo of clogged nozzle pattern converted to black & white.

Photo of clogged nozzle pattern converted to black & white.

Take a color digital photo of the yellow are of the nozzle check pattern. This is easiest with a macro lens, but not required. Open the file in Photoshop and apply a black & white conversion layer. Drag the yellow channel all the way down to zero. This will make the yellow lines black, and the rest will be white.