All images © Tim Keller unless otherwise noted.


August 8, 2018    Serious Cereus

Night blooming cereus

This night-blooming cereus blossom appeared in our sunroom one night last week when my wife was away. She usually monitors our two cereus plants and watches for their blooms. In my case, I went in to turn off the light before going to bed and noticed an intense scent that had to be a flower. This bloom hung just below our lamp. I first photographed it with my iPhone 7 and immediately posted that straight to Instragram. Luckily I thought, then, of photographing it again with my new Fujifilm X-T2 (see July 18 below). Among the advantages over the iPhone for this shot, the X-T2 produces big RAW images and allows me to determine depth of field--so I could make the bloom's center sharp but the outer edges fall away into soft focus. The RAW file allowed me to take it through my computer software (Lightroom, Photoshop, and I even took it through Nikon NX2 for a pair of filters that I like), producing a dramatically better photograph than what I originally posted from the iPhone.

I appreciate flowers as much as the next guy--I grow them each summer in our garden and enjoy having them in bouquets around the house--but I'm rarely interested in them as photographs. This one is so rich that I couldn't resist making it an exception. Unlike the iPhone image file, the X-T2 produced a file so big that I can easily print it huge--three feet by four feet wouldn't be a problem--if I ever decide to show this photograph, or if anyone ever requests a big framed print. Meantime, it's made me pretty happy with the X-T2: adding that to my arsenal was a good decision.




July 27, 2018    Swingtime!

Karyna Boyce Swing and husband Peter Swing at home on the Turquoise Trail south of Santa Fe, 2018

Every portrait photographer knows that some people simply freeze up whenever a camera comes near their face. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy: They don't like the pictures they've seen of themselves so they freeze up, which guarantees that they'll continue to never see a photo of themselves that they like. This has been the case with my sister-in-law Karyna--my wife Christina's sister--for the 31 years that I've known her. Especially for the last ten years that I've pursued photography professionally, I've tried many times to overcome this hurdle and get a great portrait of my sister.

Kayna Boyce Swing and her husband Peter Swing at home on the Turquoise Trail south of Santa Fe, 2018

This month, I finally succeeded: in these two portraits, Karyna looks relaxed, confident, and fabulous. She's with her husband and musical partner, Peter Swing, and we had just finished a photo shoot (see July 26, immediately below) for their band Polyphony Marimba ahead of the summer tour that's underway. Credit the band shoot, and my photo assistant Christina's suggestion that we try to take advantage of the moment to get some portraits of Karyna and Peter.

An indespensible portrait photography trick: Tell your subject that the session is successful and finished, but don't put the camera away yet. Your subject relaxes, happy to have finished. Right now is when you often get the best portraits, when your subject is suddenly unguarded and relaxed.

It worked here, a pair of great portraits of the Swings, and my first-ever great portraits of my sister Karyna. I couldn't be more thrilled. Thanks, Sis!




July 26, 2018    Polyphony Marimba

Polyphony Marimba, Santa Fe, Summer 2018, by Tim Keller

Earlier this month I again had the pleasure of photographing Polyphony Marimba at its headquarters along the Turquoise Trail south of Santa Fe before they set out on another national summer performance tour. With help from my wife and photo assistant, Christina, we laid down one ground rule at the outset: This had to be fun. That's a good rule in general, but here I knew that these promotional photos wouldn't look good if the musicians looked serious. They're young and dressed in bright colors, and there are nine of them, and they all play marimbas! To draw people to their shows, this had to look fun. So it had to be fun.

Polyphony Marimba, Summer 2018 - photo by Tim Keller

The band has been together in evolving incarnations and varying degrees since 2010, led by Karyna and Peter Swing, standing at the far left in the top photo. I did earlier photo shoots for the band in April 2011 and on the Santa Fe Plaza in July 2015. Besides Karyna and Peter, the only musician who's been in the band for all three sessions is Raven Swing, Peter's son, who's at the far left in the second photo, immediately above.

Polyphony Marimba, Santa Fe, Summer 2018, by Tim Keller PhotographyPolyphony Marimba, Santa Fe, Summer 2018, by Tim Keller Photography
Polyphony Marimba, Santa Fe, Summer 2018, by Tim Keller PhotographyPolyphony Marimba, Santa Fe, Summer 2018, by Tim Keller Photography

The Swings, and this month's photo location, are all most familiar for me. Kayna is Christina's sister, so I've known her well for 31 years, and the location is the Boyce family homestead on 20 acres about 20 miles south of the Santa Fe Plaza, so I know well every step of that property, too.

Polyphony Marimba, Santa Fe, Summer 2018, by Tim Keller Photography

Polyphony Marimba is now well along on its 2018 summer tour that started in Santa Fe and Albuquerque before taking off for Texas shows and then up through Missouri to Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky before swinging back westward to St. Louis, Minneapolis and Montana. On August 5 they play a concert in Spokane, Washington, then swing southward to Portland, Eugene, Monmouth, and Ashland, Oregon. (Coincidentally, Christina and I will be in Ashland not long after the band is there.) Their tour dates, and some of my photos, are posted at their website and their Facebook page, which they use more than their website. Traveling between shows, they often stop in a bustling area to busk--street singing for tips--which they did in downtown Chicago last night.

Polyphony Marimba, Summer 2018, by Tim Keller Photography

This is the band's fifth tour since 2011. At least one tour included several New York City dates along with others along the eastern seaboard. Each tour, they need good new photos to help promote their shows. That's where I've enjoyed stepping in. This month, Karyna and Peter chose the top photo above as their primary tour and poster photo, using it atop their website and Facebook page as well as tour posters. I agree with their choice, although I also like the playfulness of the second shot. As always, any of these photos can be enlarged here by simply clicking on it. Also, as I usually do for professional clients, I made a PDF proof sheet to assemble all of the resulting photos on a single document.

Big fun, Polyphony Marimba, and good road!




July 18, 2018    The Missing Link

Fujifilm X-T2 beside Nikon D5 and Domke bags

As I've backed away from regular professional work, I've increasingly found my big Nikon kits (D5, D4, and D300, each with an assortment of heavy lenses) and their image-processing regimens (Lightroom and Photoshop) too unwieldy, cumbersome, and time-consuming for quick, short-term daily use. I've gotten lazy. Most often I'm just snapping a few photos, so I've found myself using the impressive iPhone 7 camera instead of the Nikons. The iPhone is always in my pocket, and its images are quick and easy to save in my phone or post to Instagram.

Tim Keller and daughter Darcy Day Keller, Austin, 2018

Last month in Austin, my son-in-law Jarrett took lots of great pictures--of Christina and me and my daughter Darcy Day Keller (right), and our new granddaughter Joni--with a small Fujifilm X-Pro2 mirrorless camera. Within minutes he'd processed his photos in-camera, exported them to his iPhone and used Apple AirDrop to wirelessly transfer them into the rest of our iPhones. Voila! Quick and easy, yet with an interchangeable lens and the ability to control depth of field and focus point, among other SLR capabilities not available in the iPhone.

Fujifilm X-T2 with 35mm lens, beside Nikon D5

I don't keep up with technology the way Jarrett does. I thought his camera might provide the perfect link, a middle ground, between my Nikons and my iPhone. I dug into online research, reading many reviews, and shopping the options at B&H, my go-to source for all camera gear. I decided that Fujifilm's X-T2 better suits me than it's cousin X-Pro2. I bought the X-T2 with the same 35mm lens as Jarrett's, and got a small Domke bag to carry it. At the top, you can see the new brown bag next to the big black Domke that carries my Nikon D5 and D4. (I now have four Domke bags.) The X-T2 is half the size and a quarter the weight of my big Nikon D5 with its 24-70mm lens. I've added the X-T2's vertical grip that holds a pair of extra batteries; when I detach the grip, at left, the X-T2 gets much smaller. That compactness attracted me as the X-Pro2 hung around Jarrett's neck: I'll remove the grip when I want to really blend in and not attract attention as a photographer. It looks like a tourist's camera then, a little point-and-shoot, though it's actually so much more.

Django - border collie

Deer in yard, Raton NM

Here above are a couple of the first pictures I've taken with my new Fujifilm X-T2. That's my eight-year-old border collie Django tucked into his favorite spot between the couch and wall when I'm watching the Dodgers play baseball on TV. The second photo shows a pair of deer grazing on fallen apples in our side yard, as photographed from our front sunroom window. This shows the limitation of having only the one 35mm prime lens on the X-T2. I could add a zoom lens, or a whole bag of lenses, but much of the attraction for me has been to have a camera that's small, simple, and unobtrusive. If I want a long lens, I can go for the Nikon.

Christina Boyce on hammock, Raton NM

This lovely photo of my wife Christina wouldn't have happened without the compact portability of the X-T2. I might have taken it with my iPhone, but here the X-T2 was small enough to grab and walk out to visit with Christina and take her picture. I took only the one shot, whereas I rarely take out the heavy Nikons for just a few shots.

I like the diagonal lines of the hammock and Christina's complete relaxation on this languid summer day. The photo evokes paradise: It's truly been an idyllic summer around here and the photo suggests that. I've been hiking and gardening and cooking and reading book after book on the sunroom couch and the hammock, which this summer has a solar fountain just a few feet away. I've been taking fewer photographs, but the cool little X-T2 is already changing that. It combines the portability and easy digital transfers of the iPhone with the important SLR controls of the big Nikon pro cameras--a (previously) missing link in my arsenal. I'm excited to put this new little camera into regular use.




July 12, 2018    An Elevated Point of View

Raton, New Mexico, aerial photo from balloon by Tim Keller Photography

One of the big framed works that I have available (see July 8 below) is this aerial view of downtown Raton, shot with a long lens from a hot-air balloon that steered me around town to get photos to promote the town's annual July balloon festival. (Type "balloon" into the Search window to find all of my photos and magazine and newspaper features.)

Raton skyview by Tim Keller

This second shot, from much higher, had escaped my notice and recently caught my eye. I love how it rises higher and shows Raton in the context of the mesas to its north. The Rocky Mountains come right down into the west town limits on the left, and the Raton-Clayton Volcano Field stretches east for 80 miles to the right. Trinidad, Colorado, is just north, 22 miles, over those mesas via Raton Pass. (Click either photo to see it enlarged.) In the top photo, you can't even see the mesas because the near mountains are too high and block the view. Our house is under big trees on Raton's north side, right at the base of those mountains and mesas, at right center in both photos. I've lived in two parts of California (north and south), two parts of Texas (Dallas and the Texas Hill Country), West Virginia, and several parts of New Mexico (Santa Fe, Cañoncito at Apache Canyon, Des Moines, and now Raton). That place you see in the pictures above: I finally found my home.




July 8, 2018    Framed Artworks -- A Catalog

Ranchos Church, Christmas - photo by Tim Keller

Since I first started having my photography professionally matted and framed ten years ago, I've framed more than 80 pieces and sold 30 of those, mostly in shows and galleries around New Mexico and into Colorado. Five are on permanent display around New Mexico, purchased by New Mexico Arts' innovative Art in Public Places program. That leaves what turns out to be 52 framed pieces that I still have, with many on display around our house and others stored in my wife/manager Christina's basement studio. (Dozens more have been printed for buyers who had their own framing done.)

"History" - photo by Tim Keller

At best, I've broken even creating these framed pieces. I always have them made to "museum standard," which is expensive, using the best acid-free papers, UV-protected glass, and high-quality wood frames, all custom printed and framed by Orion Studios and Frontier Frames in Santa Fe, and sometimes by Frank Images in Trinidad, Colorado. Especially when a gallery commission is added, the resulting prices are appropriate for rich art markets like Santa Fe but too high for brisk sales in the rural area where I live and display my work. Instead, I found newspaper and magazine work to be both creative and lucrative, so I focused on that over the years. I rarely frame my photographs anymore.

The Long Gaze West - Photo by Tim Keller

I also haven't been out looking for shows, but occasionally we're asked to show and sell my work. When that happened last month, we sold two pieces and I ended up organizing and cataloging all the framed works that I still have, so it'll be easier next time. Christina represents my work so I made a catalog/list for her, titled Framed Artworks, and an accompanying proof sheet showing the images themselves. They range from very large (frames 48" long) to quite small (frames about 17" long), and some images are framed in both large and small editions. The three images displayed above--"Ranchos Church, Christmas," "History," and "The Long Gaze West"-- are all large, and all among the ones on our own walls here at home. Most of the 52 remaining framed images are among those displayed here in the TKP Photo Galleries.

It's easy to contact me if anyone's interested in considering these framed pieces. We're happy to show them off and find them good homes where they'll be as loved as the framed images we have all around our own home here.