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Posts from the ‘b/w photography’ Category

Architectural perspectives…

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Has this ever happened to you? You are walking around with a camera, playing the role of tourist in a major city such as Philadelphia like thousands that have before you and will surely come after you, and you think to yourself: What can I do, to capture this place that is in any way unique and creative? Sure, you can take the “memory shot” that says “I was here!” Yippee! And of course, we all do that. But beyond that, as a photographer, you have to challenge yourself, or you don’t grown and experience all that your visual eye has to offer. This is a view of the magnificent Greek Revival columns that uphold the Second Bank of the United States/Portrait Gallery in Philly. Their grace, size, and majesty are truly astounding, and the building, built by none other than William Strickland, is modeled after the Greek Parthenon. This is view I will remember of those columns–so cool, looking up at their aged and marbled towers–holding court next to Independence Hall since 1818. Hope you enjoy…

Life among the ruins…

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I’ve been overwhelmed in recent months with a variety of photographic pursuits–all of them interesting, exciting, and some involving new skills and adventures–so my blog has been a tad quiet, comparatively speaking. But with the new year upon us now, I am refreshed and ready to get back on track. To inaugurate 2014, I have been dipped back into a wealth of images that I created earlier this year during a visit to Philadelphia.

For many people, both in the U.S. and worldwide, Philly conjures up such things as the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and other iconic Americana. And yes, that’s all there. But artistically speaking, there is so much more. This image is one of my favorites from a series shot at Eastern State Penitentiary. Yes, an abandoned federal prison, with a history as rich with stories and flavor as any you’ll find in the U.S. criminal justice system. Al Capone made his residence here, along with a thousands of others from its inception as a model prison in 1829 to the day it’s doors were finally closed in 1971. It’s an eerie place, to be sure–all cells have sat untouched for the last four decades, the ghosts of those inhabitants somehow still inside. This photo is taken inside the front central wall of the prison yard and to me, is a testament of the idea that life goes on; this small tree, somehow rooting and taking a foothold at the very top of the wall, where it can breathe in life on the other side.

The photograph below, shows the same wall from a slightly different perspective. In color, one can truly see the vestiges of life, moss, weeds, and the little tree, ekeing out existence among the ruins. One can only hope a few of the previous residents at Eastern State, were as lucky. Hope you enjoy…

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The ongoing quest…

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I love the exercise of finding something beautiful among the seemingly mundane. It’s a great way to keep my photographer’s eye in shape–continually training it to see the forms, colors, and textures that come together to form an artistic composition. You’ll notice I use the word “training” and “exercise.” The quest to better my photography in this way is never-ending. Which is just fine with me. It’s a journey, and as a photographer, I enjoy every step along the way.

Waiting…

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Here is another, quieter view of one of the world’s busiest places, Grand Central Station, New York. If you look long enough, you also see the quiet, among the chaos. Hope you enjoy…

 

 

Rocks of ages…

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Traveling the world offers unlimited sources for wonderment and revelation, and, with camera in hand, an infinite source of inspiration. Several months ago, my family and I traveled to Costa Maya and explored the Mayan ruins at Chacchoben. It’s mind-blowing to imagine how early natives built these gargantuan structures stone by stone as early as 300 AD, and the fact that they have remained largely intact is nothing short of miraculous. The beauty of the stones is evident when you examine them from an angle such as this one, which shows that no compromise was taken in the art or engineering of their graceful form. If these walls could talk, one can only imagine the secrets of the ages they could tell. Hope you enjoy…

Life as Art….

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One of my favorite themes as a photographer is to try to create images that capture the artistic essence in the natural world. Art, as they say, truly is in the eye of the beholder, so  what resonates with me is completely subjective. Like any artist, I accept that premise and, while it’s a pleasure when I can strike a  chord with those who view or follow my work, it is not acceptance that drives me. Photography for me is an inner passion, an outward expression of thoughts, feelings, and emotions as I find them reflected in a subject or composition.  High minded? Perhaps. Is this image a picture of a cactus, or does it represent a beautiful symmetry of purpose, each geometric row of needles aligned in a perfect tactical position to defiantly defend this succulent life form against harm? The answer is, it is both, it’s more, and it’s whatever you see in it, as well. This is why I love  photography; this is what moves me to create. Hope you enjoy…

How less can be more…

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Sometimes as photographers, we are caught up in the pixel race… the charge to fill every available micro-pixel with information so our pictures have that WOW effect, as if maximizing pixel data somehow relates to photographic  quality. But creatively speaking… sometimes less is more. In this shot, taken at the Pacific Coast near Malibu, I took a break from shooting the gorgeous rocky blue coastline to turn and see the sun just peaking over the hillside before sunset. Ordinarily, shooting directly into the sun is a no-no…. with crazy lens flare and volatile metering making a quality exposure near impossible. However,  in previsualizing this shot, I realized it  had the makings of a nice silhouette. I snapped off a few frames, and later, with a bit of post processing, was rewarded with this final shot. Am bothered by the vast amount of negative space? Not really… in fact, all the black just help train the eye straight up to the top of the peak, where the bright rays shooting through the trees capture that fleeting penultimate moment, just before the sun disappears for the day. Hope you enjoy…

Decisions, decisions…

 

Today is decision day for the United States, so I guess it seemed an apt metaphor for my post this morning. By the time we all go to bed tonight, we’ll have the outcome  to what seems the longest running campaign in history, and most people I talk to simply say they’ll be happy when it’s over, already! So, speaking of decisions, my image today is another one I captured on the Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk a couple of weeks ago, and I am actually very pleased with the end result, based upon a lot of decisions I made on how to develop it.

This was a situation where I definitely previsualized a dramatic black and white image from what I saw as strong graphic lines with this bird in silhouette.  As I moved the image in various phases of post processing, I got closer and closer to something that felt dramatic and striking. I could have gone with an absolute white/black graphic design, but instead, the deep silvery gray lent a moodiness to the work that just seemed “right.” All these post-processing decisions are part of what makes a photographer’s work unique and a statement of art–which is why, as a form of expression, it never gets old to me.  This image started out as  a simple bird on a ledge, but ended up as something much more. Hope you enjoy…

Cafe Noir…

 

Been away a while… traveling, catching up with family, caught up with work commitments. But like a siren song, my passion always brings me back here.  And a week ago, my passion led me to participate in the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk–a great experience that led to new friends and more importantly, forced me to challenge myself in new ways by “shooting on my feet” so to speak.  The idea is to walk around your designated city for two hours and shoot what you see. Sounds easy… but the challenge is finding really interesting compositions right in your own backyard. As it turns out, I found quite a few, once I began to look beyond the obvious, and really look with my photographer’s eye. This was one of my favorites… found while spying through a local cafe from the open door in the alleyway. To me, it evokes a scene straight out of an old film noir…. the lonely patron, the darkened corners, the sense of waiting… feels like Cary Grant might stroll in, any moment. Hope you enjoy…

 

As the world turns…

A change of pace is always good, so today’s post is a departure from that last few landscapes I have been focusing on of late. This image of a Foucault Pendulum was shot at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles earlier this year. These pendulums, named after the French physicist Leon Foucault, first appeared in the mid 1800s and are designed to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth on its axis. They are, to say the least, mesmerizing. Photographically, I was inspired by the beautiful lines and curves in this particular Foucault, which resembled a huge clock face, conjuring ideas about the relation of time and space. In addition, this was shot at night, so the perimeter was lit from underneath and provided additional  graphic drama to the scene. Hope you enjoy…