Hawkins Photo Alchemy

Photography by Joseph B Hawkins, Jr.

"Alchemy" - A Power or Process of Transforming Something Common Into Something Special

Ahwahnee Meadow Milky Way Rising - Finished Phaoto


Is Photography Art?

Visiting Yosemite often has allowed me to explore many spots at different times of the year. With my recent interest in Astrolandscape photography i explored locations for possible night images. The location in Ahwahnee meadow seemed positioned for early season milky way. I had visited this site in 2021 but was unhappy with the results. Though no final images which i am happy to share resulted – i  did learn about the location access and position. This year (2022) i again planned a return trip in late April 2022.

 The final image was the result of planning and execution.  I starting with scouting the location prior to sunset and sepup for a blue hour shot which i would use for the foreground. Since the milky way was not expected to rise until after 1 am I went to my room in El Portal and took a nap prior to returning to the previously scouted location to the nigh sky images.  I set up and dialed in my composition and image settings and let the camera shoot multiple images. From the image collection i selected 30 for stacking the sky used in the final image.  I then also created a time lapse of the Milky Way rising.

What is art?

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines art as: “the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects.” The dictionary also defines a work of art as something that is “produced as an artistic effort or for decorative purposes.”




Happy Trails  – The Photo Alchemist

Joseph Hawkins

Raw Image Capture

Developed Image

Raw Image
Ahwahnee Meadow Milky Way Rising - Finished Phaoto

 The age of digital photography started for me in 2003 with my first Digital Interchangeable lens camera the Canon 10D and took its first great leap in 2006 with my first copy of Photoshop. I had had film cameras dating back to the 197-‘s but never learned to develop the film from my cameras. With the acquisition of a digital camera and software to develop my own photos, much like other world famous photographers worked in the darkroom.  When i show my work to others if often get the question i Did you “PHOTOSHOP” that? Of course if did!  Just as one would develop film out of a camera one must “Process” a digital image to get the final product.

Astro-Landscape photography required capture planning including the time of the day. the moon phase in addition to the composition in order to capture the necessary information for the final product. Just as the film photographer must make artistic decisions in the dark room a digital photographyer much make adjustments and decisions in the digital darkroom. Here the final product for your enjoyment is ment to be a piece of art (The Developed Raw Image)  – not  a journallistic representation of what may be seen by the naked eye ( the raw capture ).

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