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Posts from the ‘Art of photography’ Category

Peace in the valley…

 

There is a Canadian photographer whose posts I read religiously. He is not a name that people will know by the best-selling books he’s authored, or the classes he teaches, or by the covers of Nat Geo he’s  graced. But there is a soulfulness to his work and a sense of inner poetry that draws me in every time one of his posts hits my inbox. In this day and age, with hundreds of emails, tweets, posts, etc that bombard me every day, the fact that his work makes me stop what I am doing and thoughtfully enjoy it for 5- 10 minutes, really says something. In fact, if I could do that for anyone else, with either my words or photography, that would be a rare honor, indeed. The reason I am mentioning this is because one of the tenets of this photographers’ work is to learn to find art and beauty around you, wherever you are… rather than feeling like you have to travel somewhere far away — to the “beautiful places.” I agree 100%–there is artful, miraculous beauty all around us.

Case in point. I went out last Friday night to shoot a dazzling sunset. It was a crisp early fall evening, clear, but with just enough clouds that I was hopeful they would make a dramatic evening sky composition. I had scouted several areas earlier that day and had settled on one overlook spot I felt had potential. So I got there at the proverbial hour, set up the tripod and shot, shot, shot. I captured some OK scenes, but all in all, nothing spectacular. Just when I thought perhaps I had exhausted my possibilities, I decided to walk just a little further, look beyond another patch of trees, and try one more lookout point. Lo and behold… I realized I had “the shot” in front of me. The light gleaming off this spire, as an anchor to the dazzling fire sky truly made the image work.

Later, once I began editing my collection from the evening, I realized that this was indeed the shot I had been after when I had set out. It’s a wonderful feeling, to look at an image and feel as if you’ve been given a gift. No one else has to love it… I don’t necessarily shoot for “likes” and “thumbs up” — this is just for me, and that passion–combined with execution–makes me feel like a real photographer. Peace, in the valley, indeed. Hope you enjoy…

Green symmetry and sunlight…

 

I recently completed a WordPress survey that asked the question: Do you ever have trouble coming up with something to write about. I answered truthfully, “never.” Maybe that is because I don’t put any pressure on myself to post daily, or on any regimented schedule, so I write when the spirit moves. But I think it has more to do with the fact that when I view the images I’ve created, the words simply flow. That to me is the heart of photography–not simply looking at a pretty picture–but the fact that the image “says” something to me.  I never fail to be inspired for a post, because I am communicating here the feelings and thoughts I had when I originally composed the shot. Sometimes with time, I even see more than I thought was there, which makes it doubly interesting to write about. But no matter what, there is always a message–an inspiration–in every photograph I post.

This photo was taken in Seagrove Beach this summer. An ordinary palm branch, right outside the condo where we stayed. I was struck each morning, by the beauty and symmetry of the leaves as they spread out from the center, and the gorgeous golden light that illuminated its natural, yet graphic design. On the last morning there, I decided to capture it. Today, it makes me smile each time it pops up in my gallery viewer. I hope you enjoy it, as well…

Boom!

Fireworks never fail to move me. Every year, as the celebration gets started I look wondrously up at the bursts of color and just when I feel I have seen it all before, a display comes along that literally makes me gasp, then break out in a smile. It’s fun to feel like a kid again, every fourth of July, even if it’s for just a few minutes. Hope you enjoy…

 

Petunias bedazzled…

I recently read another photo blog that was discussing the art of shooting ordinary objects and through the photographer’s eye, creating something extraordinary. This theme really resonates with me; I often find myself yearning to act on my creative impulses photographically, but finding myself “limited” to house and home. I say “limited” in quotations because I am using that term in an ironic sense. There really is nothing limiting about photographing your everyday environs. In fact, as I have said here before, it’s perhaps the highest form of challenge to seek and find creative subject matter right under your nose, as compared to iconic national park scenes or exotic wildlife on safari. (Not that I’d turn down a chance to shoot either!) My subject for today is my very non-exotic petunia pots on my front porch. They’ve been bedazzled with a soft misting bottle to create a little sparkle and drama. I also experimented with some depth-of-field layering, and while I have a lot more to learn about that technique (this is my first attempt), I think it holds some real creative possibilities especially for macro photography. It’s always exciting when you teach yourself something new. So to get back to my original point, as a photographer, whether you are born with a photographer’s eye, or you develop one over time, take that eye, and make sure you really “see” the world. It’s right in front of you. Hope you enjoy…

Nature’s canvas…

If Jackson Pollack worked in pine needles (haha)… hope you enjoy.

Beckoning…

The title of this post holds a couple of meanings for me. The primary one is purely emotional; the sea and the beautiful windwashed tree create an inner pull that makes me yearn to be standing at this spot once again, on the outermost edge where California meets the vast Pacific–a stepping off point from land to sea. There are few places that hold such beauty as the wild Pacific coast. The second meaning of the title relates more to me as a photographer. This image, no matter how pleasing, doesn’t begin to truly capture the scene as I recall it–it’s a mere snippet of the view I experienced. Perhaps the ocean will always be a challenge… its vastness, its smell, the roar, the feeling of moist, blustery sea spray… How can one photograph capture all that? Perhaps it can’t, and yet, as any photographer can attest, we continue to push the limits of our technology to bring a little piece of such landscapes home with us. And so, the Pacific Coast beckons me as a photographer to return, to try again, to stay longer and to try harder to illustrate this immense beauty in my own art.

A mighty span…

The Golden Gate is such a romantic bridge, and I’d daresay, one of the most photographed in the world. It’s unique color, and the beauty of the landscape it spans, makes it truly a magnificent subject. This view was taken from an aerial tour of the San Francisco Bay and the city; We had just made the incredible loop-de-loop over the top of the bridge and were ready to fly back under when I captured this shot. I’m proud of this one, as it portrays the length and breadth of this beautiful structure just as felt it at the time. For me, bringing a sense of both inherent truth and beauty to an image, via the photographic medium, is really what it’s all about. Hope you enjoy…

Leading lines …

No matter how many times I visit the city, especially midtown Manhattan, I never tire of the visual wonderment offered by those sweeping big buildings. Yes, I know I risk looking like a hack tourist, but … who cares? They are truly awe inspiring and I am not afraid to just stand there and take it in. The experience doesn’t quite match to the near spiritual state of drinking in a natural wonder (think Niagara, Grand Canyon, or even a beautiful tree at sunset) but staring up at skyscrapers is facinating, all the same. In this image, I was struck by the convergence of leading lines… which were apparent in the original color version, but which I pulled out to an extreme degree in post processing. I like the effect, as it seems to draw the eye straight up to the clouds above. I am pretty sure, it’s exactly what the building architects had in mind all along. Hope you enjoy…

Sky candy…

I admit it. I am a sucker for gorgeous skies. Sunrises and sunsets are kind of like the golden retriever puppy of photographic images–things just look more beautiful, more poignant, when they are framed by a deeply striking sky. But while they are alluring, that is not to say the sky should do all the compositional heavy lifting. The sky may be the star of the show, but its supporting cast–that is the rest of the composition–must be strong as well, in order for the image to really work. This photo, for example, was the result of an early morning trek outside my hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona a couple of winters ago. I knew I wanted to capture the deep orange glow of the morning( and Mother Nature did not disappoint) but it took a while to settle on the balance between earthly and ethereal delights. This rock was actually a small, faraway hill, the palm branches on the resort property where I stayed deceivingly make it look as if everything in silhouette are relatively close. I loved the jagged edges and curves of the rock, as they carved a sharp line against the crayola morning sky. In the end, this is the frame that spoke to me. Hope you enjoy…

f/5.0, 1/60th sec, ISO 100, 85 mm

New York noir…

 

Sometimes you work with a seemingly ordinary image for a while and, though it’s hard to put into words, it slowly takes on new layers of meaning, and starts to communicate something  you can’t necessarily articulate. This is one of those examples. It may not appeal to everyone, but once I began playing with the shadows and the framing, the play of dark against light, all of a sudden it began to convey an essence of film noir, harkening back to the gilded age, the New York of old; one in which art deco was prolific, jazz was cool (it still is), and metropolitan shoppers flocked to Macy’s as the end-all be-all.

Just for fun, I am including a second image below, to give a better sense of scale to the scene. But I keep returning to the scene above, where dark, moody branches outline a Gothamesque landscape,  evoking the New York of days gone by. Hope you enjoy…