Monday, September 30, 2013

Making vs Taking Pictures

I rarely setup or stage a photograph but recently I found it fun to experiment. There is a unique  opportunity with photography to create images that don't exist in our real time world just by controlling the light and the amount of time during an exposure. These images were made on the beach in the moonlight. I exposed the scene for about a two minute exposure to get some detail in the sky to show the clouds. I used a couple of small LED flashlights tied to a cord to swing to around for 30 seconds to create the abstract light objects in the scene. I consider this making pictures rather than taking pictures.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Rising Plume

We are camped on Lake Wiley in South Carolina for a few weeks as we help our son and family make their move to Italy. We have spent considerable time in the Carolinas the past couple of years and have enjoyed the friendly people we have met in this part of the country. We have come to appreciate southern hospitality.  A few days ago I make this photograph of this cloud plume rising up over the lake. I was intrigued by the way the plume raised up from the small island near the far shore. I must admit the mystery of this plume is a nuclear power plant on the other side of the lake. In making this image I chose to do a long exposure to create movement to the rising cloud of steam.  I used a -10 ND filter along with a polarizing filter to obtain a total  -13 stop light reduction. This enabled me to make a two minute exposure in mid day on a sunny afternoon. I never know when or how my next photograph is going to come about. I was busy doing something else at the time I saw this plume of steam being released from the generating plant, but instantly knew there was a potential photograph to be made. Sometimes I plan trips to photograph and come back disappointed with little results, while other times a magical scene will appear right before me. If you enjoy photography it is important not to become discouraged if new and exciting images do not happen as planned. The important thing is to be always aware of what is going on around you and to be prepared if something magical happens.

Friday, September 6, 2013

I never get "The Shot"

Photographers over the years have developed a bad habit of referring to their work as "Shots" or using phrases such as, "Going out to do some Shooting".  I am certain that most photographers are unaware of how this slang has taken over the way we describe our photography or the act of making a photograph. When you think about it, we get a "Shot" from a doctor and we "Go out Shooting" with a gun.  The newest way we describe photography is,"digital capture".  How this terminology came about to describe photography is unknown, but it wasn't always used. I am sure if you stood in front of Ansel Adams print, "Moonrise over Hernandez" you wouldn't describe it as a, "really great shot".  As photographers we do ourselves a disservice, and it is my belief, that we should avoid using slang to describe the work we create. It diminishes the act of the creative process and cheapens the overall value of photography in the art world. I prefer to speak of my work as, " Images" or "I am going out to make some new exposures", because in reality these are truer photography terms. Unfortunately the slang will always be with us and we will have to choose how we desire to describe our work. If we care about the creative process and the hard work to achieve the expressive print, then we will give more thought as to how we describe our photography. I am not a shooter, but a photographer.

The above image of the corn lily was made on TMAX film, with an exposure of five minutes. The finished print was scanned to create a digital image for posting on the web. There is a slight softness to the image that comes with the scanning process and lacks the quality of the actual print.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Crossing the Threshold

This is an image I struggled with weather I should post or not. Coming from the tradition of using film and working with a large format camera for most of my life, I have always considered myself a straight photographer. The years of discipline with making black and white prints in the darkroom formed a distinct style and look to my work. Now working with digital files I have much more freedom to create and take my images further, but yet I struggle with the thought of corrupting my style of photography. The use of digital manipulation can be easily over done and the look can take on a gaudy look. While I will always prefer the look of the straight black and white fine art print, I feel it is important to explore new avenues of creativity with my photography to see what new and interesting images are in my future. This image was taken in a small chapel on Buff Point overlooking Keuka Lake in upstate N.Y.  I made six different exposures and produced an HDR image to get full detail in the very dark interior of the chapel. I decided to convert some of the image to black and white to add a sense of mystery to the image.