I have the honor of being featured in the current issue of Extraordinary Vision Magazine. My submission is titled, “Photograph What Makes Your Heart Sing”. If you don’t already subscribe, you can get the issue free, along with the next 2 and 10 back issues with their 30 day trial. It is a tremendous mobile digital magazine. In fact this issue also includes a great piece by one of my favorite photographers, Guy Tal. Follow this link https://extraordinary-vision.com/free-issues to get your free trial. I’d love to get your feedback on the article too!
A participant on a previous tour made a wonderful image of this great white fence (below). With nice clouds in the sky, I decided to stop and create my version on my recent trip. Then some horses decided to come and say hello adding a bit of interest.
I have already filled my 2017 late May workshop to the Palouse. Thank you for your interest! For those who still want to join me in the Palouse, I am joining Rad Drew for his dates of May 18-23. More information can be found on Rad’s site here. We would love for you to join us on this unique offering where we will focus on iPhoneography as well as “traditional DSLR” photography.
I was thinking about one of my favorite b&w photographers and friend, Chuck Kimmerle the other day. How his eyes must be in pain from all of the oversaturated color in my last few posts. I hope his monitor is okay after he threw his mouse at it. I decided, I must get my monochrome on. So, here ya go Chuck.
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My next Topaz Webinar has been moved up to August 16th. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Today’s image was from the night before the last two posts. A few of us went to “sunset cove” to see what we might find. A club member was kind enough to put me up at her home which was about 3 blocks from the cove. I went with no expectations, especially after a long day and drive down to Cape May. I was going, hoping to be taken by something. As we approached the cove, this scene called to me. What caught my attention was the way the mist was creating separation and layers. Then I saw the silhouetted umbrella and people. I set up and waited until the people got into positions that would make for a nice composition.
I am shooting directly into the sun and was pleasantly surprised at the lack of flare on my new Fuji 100-400 lens. What a great lens for this type of scene. I really am enjoying this much reach. I’ve never had this much focal length with any system I’ve owned.
I am adding a second version below and am curious which you like better and why. Again, by clicking on the images, you will be able to view them MUCH bigger.
We just had a cancellation for our previously sold out Smoky Mountain Fall Foliage workshop in October. Email if you’re interested.
There is more to the Cape May Point story I shared in my last post. It is uncommon for me to shoot directly into a sunset. I am usually drawn more to what I refer to as the backside sunset. Essentially looking 180 degrees from the sun. I love the softer more pastel painterly tones usually found in this direction. On this night I was not disappointed! Once again, after recovering from having my breath taken away, I made about three compositions of what I saw and felt. Isn’t it wonderful how different the colors are in the very same sky at one time! My head was on a swivel looking back and forth as I exclaimed out loud, can you believe this?!?!
On Monday, I gave a lecture and then did an image processing seminar for The Photography Club of Cape May. What a wonderful group.Thank you for the warm welcome. After the presentations, ten of us went to dinner together. While we ate, a huge storm moved in dumping buckets of rain. As we exited the restaurant it was raining lightly, but, when we looked to the west, we saw the sky brightening. My head said, I have a two plus hour drive home, I should head home, but, my heart said, I must go, it looks so promising! I followed my heart. Three of us raced to Cape May Point to see what we might catch. Off to the south east, the the sky was pitch black, filled with visible strikes of lightning. However, off to the west there was an opening at the horizon. As the sun sank below it, the sky lit up casting an orange glow on the faces of those partaking of this magical moment. After I caught my breath, I managed to pull out a Sing-Ray 5 stop filter and get this long exposure image as a memory of the special experience. It is after all about the experience right? The images are just icing on the cake. Please click on the image to make it bigger to see the details. If you like long exposure images, I highly recommend the Singh-Ray Mor Slo series of neutral density filters. Use the code Barclay10 for a 10% discount when you order.
I took this image with my iPhone which got me thinking about the idea of practicing photography. After all, I was just practicing with this shot. It is not a shot I will do anything with but I felt good about it because I SAW it!
How do I practice? How do I approach practicing emotionally, spiritually, physically, mentally. If we think about the music we love, we can easily imagine our favorite musician and the time they put into becoming as good as they are. The same for our favorite dancer, singer or athlete. My sense, however, is that many don’t see photography as an art form that requires the same kind of practice. I was listening to an interview of a prominent photographer recently. He was speaking about being frustrated with his current job and thought, I’ll become a photographer, it can’t be that hard right? Of course he said it with a chuckle in the interview, fully realizing now, how hard it is. In my lectures, I speak about wanting to learn to play guitar. So you go out, make the purchase and commit to practicing at least an hour a month. Everyone laughs and then I add, why is it with photography many do just this? They spend a lot of money on equipment and essentially practice a few times a year and wonder why they don’t get better?
My thinking shifted to that of developing vision and craft. How do we do this without lots of practice? This is a lifelong pursuit and there is no arrival point.
In my minds eye, I can see Dewitt Jones standing in front of a thistle in the Palouse a few years ago. He stood there for about two hours working to get it just right. Most of his practicing that night, was with his digital sketch pad, the iPhone.
I remember with a bit of embarrassment, visiting my mentor Nancy Rotenberg at her home. It was the first time I had been invited into her office. There I found a large custom built light table, full of slides. I asked if I could turn it on and take a look. I was shocked to see so many, dare I say, average images. Then, I noticed next to her table was a wastebasket full of slides. I asked very seriously, “you take bad pictures?” I honestly thought she only made “keepers” and had mastered her craft so well, every shot was great! The look of shock on her face was memorable! She then explained photography was a process. Essentially Nancy was saying she needed to practice and for her, practicing was to take a lot of pictures which helped her refine her composition and ultimately achieve her vision.
Don’t think that practice is all about photographic technique. Oh no, it is also practicing being still and quiet and practicing being a better person. Jay Maisel when asked, “How do I make more interesting photographs?” responded by saying, “Become a more interesting person!” We also need to practice our post processing skills so we can better translate our vision to the final image/print.
If you’re like me, you go through times of self doubt and wonder if you have “it.” I believe sometimes we are just not going to produce a “winner” and that is okay. Ask any songwriter and they will tell you of the difficult times where they can’t write a thing! The same for a writer who gets “writers block.” Why would it be any different for a photographer? For me, during times of “block” I have learned to be okay with it. I can’t force good images to happen. But, what I can do is practice more. I have learned to lower my expectations, to stop chasing the perfect photograph and be well with where I am right now.
As always, I’m interested in your thoughts. How do you practice your photography?
I’m excited to present another installment of “Through Their Eyes.” This time from the Palouse! If you would like to join me next June in the Palouse, I am taking deposits now. Check out my WORKSHOP page!
Anna Jo –
Far out to the horizon supported by sensuous green
A distant tree shrouded farmhouse can be barely seen
Haze or blue or cloudy…shadows on the land
Sunlight playing dodge ball beyond where I stand
Clouds of dust fill the air as the truck goes by
Covering my camera I look up to the sky
I see the mythic vision of mystery and light
Photographing the Palouse requires my mystic sight
I review my images…they speak not of that time
Emotions seem to be missing
Prompting my writing this rhyme
Where did the feelings travel?
Did they come back with me?
Hiding within my heart space,
Begging me to see?
Carla – The trip to the Palouse was one of my VERY favorites of the John Barclay/Dan Sniffin photo tours I have had the privilege to be part of. The task of choosing an image was very difficult because there were so many stunning scenes. I selected this one to show the colors, shapes and patterns that make this area a photographer’s paradise.
Judy – The Palouse was such a visual treat to photograph. I took this as we were leaving Colfax the last day. Many of my images include a windmill and this one was perfectly placed on the canola field just coming into bloom.
Midge – We travel to one of the most unique areas of the US to photograph and my most favorite image from the trip has nothing to do with the landscape. Go figure. But I’ll bet no one else submits an image like mine. I was in heaven when we stopped at Dave’s Old Truck Rescue in Sprague. I LOVE old stuff.
Beth – I had a few favorites but settled on this one because I was drawn to this row of trees; every time we drove by them, I wanted to stop but couldn’t so I shot this from the car.
Danielle – At twilight on Steptoe Butte, admiring the local farmer’s artistic crop design. I loved the sinewy line leading to the lone tree and the velvety texture of the fields.
Greg – With hundreds of great images of the rolling hills, old cars, old towns, trains, grain bins and more, the Palouse is just so darn target rich for a place with nothing in it! Though simple, I’ve liked the story this image tells and it’s composition since I first saw it, and one reason it’s a favorite is that I framed it this way in camera – there is absolutely no cropping here.
Once again the amazing Palouse offering up the gift of clouds and shadows. I have officially added three 2017 workshops and am now taking deposits for Charleston, The Smoky Mountains and The Palouse. Click this link and scroll down on the page. I will be adding information for the workshops later in 2017 in the next couple of months as I lock in rooms etc.
I remember thinking how ugly power poles were in a pristine landscape. Then I realized they are part of the landscape and can add interest to the scene or in this case lead the eye into and through the frame. Once again, for me the clouds and cloud shadows are what makes this work. The tractor lines are a nice bonus as well.