The summer is starting to slip away. The beach is too crowded. The theaters are too expensive and the lines are too long. And how many times can you see "Batman" anyway?
So you might want to consider a few photographic alternatives during August.
Rizzoli's International Bookstore and Gallery at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa is featuring the work of landscape photographer Robert Tracy of Irvine. This is Tracy's second major exhibit in Orange County. It is composed of 30 prints ranging in size from 16 by 20 inches to 11 by 14 inches. The images, double matted and framed, sell for $200 to $250. Finding this quality of work at this price is next to impossible.
Tracy's work might be good for someone looking to start a collection or decorate a home or office.
Tracy says he is more critical of his own work since his show in October.
"I burned up a lot of paper getting the results I've been looking for," he said. "I try to make the print I'm showing the finest thing I can produce.
"As a matter of fact, I'm printing one this morning that is being shown at the gallery right now because I just don't like the way it looks in the gallery. It's burned down too much. I'm reprinting it (the photograph of the Star of India) on a grade higher paper. And I think the image will show much better."
A departure from Tracy's usual work are urban landscape photographs of the graffiti under the freeway bridges in downtown Los Angeles. Some other work includes shots of San Diego, Utah, Irvine, New Mexico and Arizona.
His work will be on display until Aug. 29. For more information, call (714) 957-3331.
If you're looking for a sudden burst of motivation, consider a lecture and critique by Al Belson, owner of Al Belson Photographic Services in Costa Mesa.
"Basically, it's like a camera club without any dues," Belson said. "I figured it was a lot easier to get a group of interested photographers together once a month, rent a few chairs, make some coffee, rather than have a committee for this and that and nothing ever gets done. It gives the photographers a chance to listen to a few tall stories."
Belson believes photographers need motivation and can get it by seeing what other photographers are doing.
"If someone wants an opinion on equipment, material or technique, where do they go where they don't feel the advice is loaded down with some vested interest?" Belson said.
The evening is geared toward the serious amateur.
"I don't equate amateur with mediocre. I equate amateur with dedicated," Belson said. Topics may include the business side and how much to charge, composition, darkroom technique, and how to find a project to photograph. You are also encouraged to bring some examples of your work for a critique session.
For more information, call Belson at (714) 979-0315. The meetings are held on the second Friday of the month. The next meeting will be Aug. 11 at 7 p.m.
Shooting photographs of antique cars will be the subject of a mini-workshop taught by Carol Leigh on Aug. 12 at 1 p.m. at South Coast Village in Costa Mesa. The cost is $15. For more information, call Leigh at (714) 631-7728.
"15 Decades of Photography" will be on exhibit until Aug. 18 at the Brea Civic and Cultural Center. The show includes the work of Ansel Adams, George Hurrell, Arnold Genthe and Barbara Morgan. Admission is free. For more information, call (714) 990-7730.