MPJ: Ep.36 & 37

In this week’s episodes, I share my thoughts revisiting locations, and recap parts of my Zion trip.


8 Responses to “MPJ: Ep.36 & 37”

  1. Jim Becia Says:


    Met you in Zion a year or maybe two years ago. I shoot an Ebony RW8x10 also. A friend of mine told me about your video explaining your “broken” Ebony. This is a strange coincidence, but I had the same knob strip on me in Zion this fall. Not only did the same one strip, but also one of the locking knobs for the focusing within two days. Fortunately, I was able to find a wing nut in the hardware store in Springdale that actually worked quite well for the locking knob. As for the knob that controls the axis tilt, I just used base tilt on the front or back to work around the stripped knob. As for replacement knobs, you might want to contact Jeff at Badger Graphics in Wisconsin. He is an Ebony dealer. I just ordered my replacement knobs and just as a preventative measure, I ordered an extra of each. I am not going to let that happen again.

    I am surprised I did not run into you this fall. I was there for over two weeks, finally leaving on Nov. 10. Had a nice time, but was overwhelmed by the number of photo tours in the park. I try to avoid areas of people, so I am usually off the beaten path. I get my remaining 8×10 film back in a couple of days, but so far I have been pleased with my results, although the fall color did not seem that good while I was there.

    • Ben Horne Says:

      Great to hear from you Jim! That’s crazy about you having the same issue with the same knob on your camera while you were in Zion at the same time! I have another aspect to the story to add, and to go full circle. I contacted Ebony and asked the best way to get the knob, and they recommended I contact Badger. I’ve ordered film from them in the past, so I called them up and talked to Jeff. He said it would be no problem to order the knobs, and mentioned that he just ordered the same part for another photographer who has that happen as well. Gee, I wonder who that was. 🙂

      I was in Zion for about 10 days starting on the 24th, so we were definitely there at the same time. I think you and I both like getting off the beaten path so that might explain it a bit as well. I hope your shots turned out well. I have a few keepers in the midst this year, and look forward to returning next year as always.

  2. Matthew Saville Says:

    Congrats on the D750! Yes, the low-light performance combined with the noticeably lighter weight made me extremely happy to “downgrade”… I’m looking forward to my own astro-landscape adventures in Death Valley this winter…

    I very much agree about revisiting locations. I feel like, again to be cheesy, that they’re like old friends I only get to hang out with once or twice a year. There is something very relaxing and rewarding about seeing the same location again, and just enjoying the visual experience. 🙂


    • Ben Horne Says:

      The D750 did very well on the Zion trip. It’s quite the camera, and I’m glad to hear that you enjoy yours as well. With regard to revisiting locations, I really enjoy the process of both finding new subjects at familiar locations, but also returning to the site of photos I’ve already taken. It’s fun to look at the photos up close before visiting the location, the looking at in in person and seeing all those details come alive. Speaking of Death Valley — I’ll definitely be returning this year, but I don’t really have a set objective for shots to take. That’ll certainly make for an interesting trip. 🙂

  3. Matthew Saville Says:

    I think, regarding your 2nd video and the feeling of being present in a place, I’d like to hear you elaborate on why you might have felt this way. Was it because of the buzz kill of seeing an illegal workshop? I’d ask if it was because you felt you had been to the same place too many times, but the first video in this blog entry seems to clearly prove that could not be the case.

    Personally, I only ever feel that way about trips / locations if something is not right in my real life, outside of the trip. If I’m stressed out at work or just having that “rut” feeling about life / career in general, then sometimes a vacation of that size basically just feels like a weird dream, and when it’s over it goes straight to being a distant memory. When this happens, though, my best solution is to just treat myself to a good day off work, or even a good day AT work if that’s possible to accomplish mentally, maybe a good date with the wife….or, if necessary, a quick new overnight trip to somewhere nearby, just to clear my head and remind me about all the great adventures I get to go on. A trip to the local beach often does the trick…

    Good luck, either way!

    • Ben Horne Says:

      I hadn’t really thought of why I might have had that feeling about the trip until reading your post. After reading your message, I’m starting to understand it more. This is something that I’ve already worked into the voice over for day 1 of my trip, though I didn’t make the connection until now. I think it had to do with a lot of work my wife and I did to get a house ready to sell in the months, weeks, and even days before the trip. I was very much looking forward to the trip, but with all that work going down to the very last minute, it broke me from my routine of getting mentally prepared for the trip and that really threw me off. Luckily it had no impact on my shooting or the final images. Everything turned out great from that standpoint, but I just don’t remember even being there. Hopefully Death Valley will be different. 🙂 Thanks for the insightful comment as usual!

  4. Chris Kayler Says:

    Right on, man! Really enjoyed the first video. There is definitely something important about visiting a location many times over. I’ve definitely seen images of mine improve over the course of several years. They tend to get much more complex, creative, and just “deeper” … for lack of better terms. Question though – do you really feel that you can look at a scene and think “I’ve done it the best I can”? Maybe you were exaggerating a tad and I’m taking it too literally, but it’s so rare for me to think that I couldn’t improve upon something, or do something slightly different compositionally at the same area. Or take a photo from the same area and take in a completely new direction. Maybe I’m just a perfectionist who is constantly unhappy, haha!

    • Ben Horne Says:

      There are quite a few scenes that I’ve shot, then returned to and realized that I can’t do any better if I were to try again. This is definitely much different than believing that I’ve captured the ultimate photo of a given location, or that I’ve explored every possible solution. It’s more an awareness that if I were given the task of photographing a given location, I would likely use the exact same thought process, and come to the same conclusion. One exception to that is of course when the scene changes significantly — for good or bad. That might take away, or create new opportunities. I think some of this also comes from the mentality of shooting LF where it is difficult to experiment. Instead, people often stick with what works and I think that’s one of the things that builds consistency with ones work (though not always in a positive way).

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