Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Peaceful Surroundings

One thing I enjoy the most with my photography is the peaceful surroundings I find myself in.  The times that I am out solely for the purpose of photography are the most rewarding.  I am not distracted by other events of the day.  It takes time for me to adjust to a new surrounding and form a new mindset to fully see what is around me.  It is critical to apply some patience when scoping out a new area to photograph.  If you instantly start looking through the viewfinder and moving around with your camera you will overlook much of what is around you.  I try to first view my surroundings without the camera and just look.  It is a technique I used with my large format camera for many years.  Often times I will use a small rectangle viewing card that I hold up to my eye which allows me to move around without the camera and to evaluate the scene for the best composition.  I see many photographers snapping away as they walk around with their cameras.  It is a common mistake and leads to many unwanted images that will have be dealt with later.  It works best for me to first see and then photograph.  Ansel Adams once said, " Any photographer that creates twelve good photographs a year is doing exceeding well".  The key word in this quote is "good".  Practice slowing down and taking your time in order to really "see".  

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The image from within

I often think back to my early years of photography and what inspired me to pursue photography.  I first recall being captivated by a black and white photographic image because it revealed ordinary things in an abstract way.  Somehow the absence of color creates a kind of mystery about the image that holds my attention.  I knew early on that my work would be done in black and white and started learning all I could about the medium.  Studying the works of photographers Edward Weston and Ansel Adams helped me to understand the visual relationship between space and tonal values in an image.  I also learned, though their writings, about their thought process and approach to photography.  Two quotes have remained with me throughout my many years of photographing.  Edward Weston's  " To see the thing itself" and Ansel Adams's "I m interested in something which is built up from within, rather than extracted from without".  When I consider one of my images successful it usually fits within the thinking of these quotes.  Working in the digital realm today  is more important than ever for me to remain true to my roots, and not let the technology take control of the process.  It is becoming more difficult to get the equipment behind me and the creative approach to the image in front of me.  Technology is wonderful but also a distraction.  I see many images today that incorporate technology more than the creative spirit of the photographer.  No matter where future technology takes the photographic medium, it will be still left to the photographer to express the image from within to create the most compelling image.  The above image is of a palm frond with the use of intentional camera movement to create a surreal quality.