Showing posts with label Art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Art. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 16, 2019


 Things that beginning photographers could do better! 

Around here I see a lot of beginners. You know, the folks that just bought the camera or have had it for years and never really learned how to work with it. They go out to the woods expecting to return with something great and are disappointed with the results they obtain.
So, just to help you along, here are some of the common things that can go wrong when you are out with the camera.

1)  There is no plan! Don't just jump out of the car and start shooting. Walk around a bit, without the camera,  maybe the best image is four feet away. It seems that if you have a camera, you will take a photo without much thought. So, start without the camera and just LOOK at what is there. Begin to plan your image. Where are the darkest parts? What is the lightest thing in the image? How do these look in reference to each other?
What are the dominate shapes? The subordinate shapes? Do they help support each other? Make a plan for your image!

2) The colors clash! Now, sometimes clashing colors can be a good thing but mostly nature has harmonious colors.  Do your colors harmonize? Try shifting the image just enough to allow the colors to work together.

3)  The image is over-processed! The post-processing should be done very subtly and not be glaringly obvious. Most beginners go a bit wild with the post-processing software. Around here we work with the students a lot with Lightroom, Photoshop and On1 software and we do it very lightly. It should look very natural and not show that any processing was used.

4)  Out of focus backgrounds!  Utilizing the depth of field that you have available will give you a much more cohesive image, even in portraits. One or two wide-open shots are sufficient to establish the tight headshot of the subject. The rest should be more inclusive and show the surroundings, placing the subject in a space that emphasizes their connection to the location. We recommend using color, shape, and lighting to distance the subject from the background.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Round & Round

---Gears and Wheels---

It seems that discussions in the photo world just go round and round, never stopping. The arguments surrounding the use of digital cameras and Photoshop to create images is very reminiscent of the "sound and fury" that rose up over the use of film over glass plates, color over Black & White, or for that matter, the use of a camera over a brush & paints. 
How many of us today would want to go into our covered wagon and coat each frame before we exposed it?
I know that there are at least a few out there, since I know some of you personally.  
But, why all the fuss? The only constant thing in the universe is change. When we stop learning and growing, some one should close the lid of our coffin since we are no longer really living.

Some 40+ years ago, when I chose Photography as my life's work. I walked away from a career in business where I had my degree. Back to college for a degree in Arts/Photography and went into business for myself as a studio owner. In the course of my life as a professional photographer I have continuously attended classes and workshops in the latest methods and techniques. To fall behind was to lose ground to the competition and lose income as a result. 

I have gone from carrying flashbulbs and film holders as an apprentice wedding photographer. To a wet darkroom processing the black and white negatives and making prints. To a color darkroom doing the same thing except with no real light. To digital cameras, Photoshop, and large format printers. The cameras have changed. The processing has changed. The printing has changed.

Most importantly, the public perception of photography has changed. Almost everyone now has a camera and the ability to make a fair to middling print. It is no longer the arcane art of the dark and smelly room. But, that is for another post.

The point being, the march of progress is unrelenting.  So, get in the parade or be left behind. Embrace the challenge of the new methods. But remember, the art comes from the artist, not the tools.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wood Detail

These look every bit as sharp as film.
Total processing time = 15 min.
Total processing time with film = minimum 4 hours.

Wood detail is a cliché but the reason that things become cliched is that they work.
A good way to test sharpness, and bokeh , and the feeling of image depth. 

One More From The Road

Overcast, just a bit of directional light from the sky.
An old building, preserved for a while.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Road Trip Images

Just a few things from the get-a-way.
All done on film and scanned.
I will have to see how they print.


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Lighted Pathway

How can we tell if we are on the path?
Here are a few ways to tell.

1) Everyone thinks that you have "lost it".
    You no longer think like they do.
     You "see" things that no one else sees.

2) You wake up at around 4AM with new ideas.
     You cannot wait to implement these ideas.
     You may feel that these ideas were "brought" to you.

3) You would rather do art than anything else.
      Now your friends are sure that you have lost it.

4) Your family and friends try to convince you to "come back to reality".
       They "know" that you can never make a living as an artist.
       They may even think about having an intervention to "save" you.

5) You no longer care what your friends & family think.
      You are going to do art anyway.
6) You start talking about being surrounded by negative people.
      You start removing these negative influences from your life.

7) You are now convinced that you are going to make it as an artist.
       You no longer tolerate any negativity around you.
        You begin to surround yourself with like minded people.
        These are usually, but not always other artists.

8) You notice that your art is better.
      You do more art, get more ideas, produce better work.
       You now know that the 4AM wake up ideas are brought to you
9) People begin to notice your work.
     You get friends and family saying, " I knew you could do it."
     You do not care. You remember when they "knew" that you would fail.

10) You are recognized as an artist.
        You do not care about this either,
         You just want to work.

If you recognize yourself in at least 2 of these examples.....
    You are on the path.


Saturday, May 31, 2008

Art As Process

Art as life, or should that be, Life as art
Or maybe, Art is life or Life is art.......
Oh, the heck with it, there is no difference.

You see, art is a lifestyle,
a way of living, a process.

The lifestyle is one of constant seeing,
Of always being in touch with your surroundings, 
Of seeing not what a thing is, but what it could be.

This is what Robert Henri meant when he said:
" The goal is not making art. It is living a life.
   Those who live their lives will leave the stuff that is really art.
   Art is a result.
   It is a trace of those who have lived their lives."

Friday, May 30, 2008

Reflection Connection

Cabins in the mountains,
what were they like,
the people who lived here?

I wonder, did they ever see these reflections,
and perceive the dichotomy of their lives?
The beauty and the struggle.

Or maybe it is just how we see 
from our future time.

How will the future think of us,
our artifacts, our structures, our art,
the micro spaces of our environment?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Light Rays

I am back after two days of nothing but art.
 No problems, no worries, no concerns.

Just interaction with space and nature.
The energy of a place and how it affects us.

What is our response?
What in the place has affected us,
And in what way?

If we feel, we cannot remain neutral.
We must have a response to the energy.

To live is to create, to be inspired, to feel deeply, 
And to bring those feelings into manifestation. 

We call that art.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Good Light

It is time for a photo break.
I have been cooped up for too long..
Happy Holiday.
I wish you all Good Light.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


A place to sit
and watch the world go past.

A sheltered place
surrounded by beauty.

A place to rest, to contemplate,
to recharge the creative batteries.

We should all have such a place.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Teaching Tool

Light cascading down in a sparkling flow.
Surrounded by sodium lit trees.
A surreal landscape in the heart of downtown.

The students were enchanted by the scene.
Where would I normally stand?  Don't go there, look for a different view.
Lets see; over saturate, under expose, slow speed to allow the liquid to flow.
Remove background distractions, manually check focus.
Oh right, remember to take the photo.

This fountain is a great teaching tool.

Night Class

Last night was a success. A lot of "ah hah" moments for the students.
Even one or two for me. This is the first time that I have used a digital for night work.
I was just playing, well, more than playing.... I was doing a test to see whether digital would be workable for the type of work I do.

Results are mixed at this time. I used the camera on a tripod just like I would do normally.
So no great difference there. Except for the weight. Much lighter than my usual RB or view camera. This is even lighter than my old F1.
My shoulders do not hurt this morning from carrying a lot of scrap iron
 (expensive scrap iron) around half the night.

The results seemed a bit lower contrast than I am used to with film. I obviously need to tweak the system. The problem is correctable in my processing but I would like to see it better exposed in the camera. In film it would not be an exposure problem, it would be change in the development time or dilution  or both. However, since there is no film it would seem that the solution is hiding in the contrast parameters in the camera. More experiments are needed.

The students all enjoyed the outing and learned a lot. 
They have all signed up for the landscape class that I am teaching in July, so I must have done something right.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Resting Spears

A village of hunters perhaps
 home from the hunt.

Their spears at rest
for the moment at least.

We see things that never were...
Dream things that may have been...
And wonder why.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mountain Memories

How well we see from higher ground.
The mysteries of light and shadow,
spread before us in the breaking dawn.

If only our lives were this well seen,
this beautiful and this serene.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Drawn by the light...
Destination unknown...

We move down the pathway.
Our light, a guide for those who will come after.
Light from before, echoing down through time.

Whose light do we follow?
Who do we choose as a guide?
How long do we follow?

Those questions makes all the difference
in our art and in our life.

In the beginning, we follow, we emulate, sometimes we "steal from the best".
How did you mix that color?   What lens did you use?   Where is that scene?
Some folks stay at this point forever.
Imprisoned by the fear of moving forward.

By the old ideas that say, "You're not good enough" 
to do whatever it is that makes your heart sing.

By reluctance to leave our comfort zone:
"I am not happy being a failure, but at least I know what to expect."

By fear of the unknown: "I might fail"  
Of course you may succeed beyond your wildest dreams.

At some point, we need to step onto the path,
Out of the shadow of those we have followed.

Allow our own light to grow in intensity,
Until it eclipses all else around us,
Bathing our world in the radiance of artistic creation.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Twilight Time

As I wait for my wife who is working late tonight. I am reminded of the old song "Twilight Time".
We both have schedules that are full and finding time for each other is a challenge.
I spent part of today talking with some friends who are coming up on their 10th anniversary, at which time they are renewing their vows.
A very cool, romantic thing to do.

There is a saying: these things remain, faith, hope, and love, and of these love is the most important.   (sort of a quote)  (don't write me, I know where it comes from.)
Because, without love there can be no faith or hope, only depression and despair. 

OK, enough deep thoughts for the day.
I hope she hurries home so we can be,
together today at twilight time.

Making Art

A fellow artist, in talking about her blog, recently told me; "I rarely talk about actually making my artwork anymore."    Good Point.
I will try not to talk about cameras, lenses or filters excessively  in this blog. 
Because, after all:
Is there a magic filter or an enchanted paint brush?
Is there a special loom that will make fiber art that no one else can ever do?
Is there a special lens that will go out and create art all by itself?

Of course not.

Now, I know that many non artists, could we call them Muggles,  are fascinated by the magic of the creative process and that is a good thing, because it may help them become more creative. 
But should we artists pander to the magazine inspired idea that: "This new thing-a-ma-bob will make great photos or lyrical paintings"? I don't think so.

I believe that one of the many goals of art and the teaching of art is to inspire.
Not to inspire my students to become little "steve clones"
but to inspire them to reach deeper into themselves and pull out their own talent.
Not only to teach the mechanics of my art,
but to attempt to open their minds to their own greatness.

You see, art is created twice.
First in the mind of the artist as an idea or a vision,
Second in the manifestation of that idea into physical reality.
The first is the art, the second is just mechanics.

Any one can learn the mechanics,
the art is not so much learned as it is lived.
An inward journey, under taken only by a few.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Rock Bridge

 A bridge to cross....
 A trail to follow....
 Perhaps a gateway to a new realm.
 Creativity is here waiting,
 Like a cat ready to pounce.

 Do not disappoint her,
 For she has been waiting long years for you.
 For you to recognize her presence,
 And to embrace your true creative self.
 For you to cross the bridge to the future,
 That only you can create.


Stacked waterfalls in the mist...
Around here, only in the spring time...
We have what are called, "run-off" falls,
Which only show up after a rain storm.

Also true in life, wonderful things show up after a storm.
Beauty comes after destruction...
Love comes after doubt...
Progress comes after fear...