One more from Cape May

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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.

 

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Cape May Point – Turn Around

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?!?!

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Posted in Color, Landscape Tagged , , , , , , |

Cape May Point

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.

 

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Practice

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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Posted in Inspiration Tagged , , |

Palouse Through Their Eyes

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 –

My favorite image from the Palouse happens to be the first image I shot. It was difficult to choose just one image as my favorite because they are all my favorites.
John and Dan went above and beyond to find us the perfect locales to shoot which made this experience one I will treasure forever.
 
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Carol – To me, this blur captures the essence of my Palouse experience… dreamlike visions of soft patterns.  What I love about the this area is how the light plays on the rolling hills, emphasizing sensuous curves in the landscape and creating varied shades of green.  Driving in the Palouse landscape was a delight for the senses that made me smile and my heart sing.  This was my first trip to the Palouse… thank you John and Dan for a terrific time!
 
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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?

Ann Lyssenko Palouse
 

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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Posted in Palouse, Through Their Eyes Tagged , , , |

Clouds & Shadows – 2017 Workshops open for deposits.

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.

 

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Palouse #3

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.

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Posted in Fuji, Palouse Tagged , , |

Palouse Shadows

For me, rolling cloud shadows are what makes the Palouse exciting.  I mean, the whole of the Palouse is tremendous, but, when there is a blue sky,white puffy clouds and a bit of wind to move those clouds along, well, that gets my heart racing!  

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The Palouse

This is a tree that is part of an iconic shot from Steptoe Butte.  The clouds were calling me and I obliged.  I love the Palouse and look forward to leading another group next spring.  If you’re interested, I’ll be taking deposits shortly.  Remember click on the image to make it bigger.

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The Great Smoky Mountains Through Their Eyes

Yes, time for yet another “through their eyes” post. This time from the Smoky Mountains Tour. 

 

Janice – I chose this photo because it feels like an unfinished quest of any Smokies tour; trying for the most moving shot of mossy rocks, gently  cascading waters and arching trees. I’m not there yet, but with the help of the magical eyes of Dan Sniffin, who pointed this out to me, I was able to move another step closer to my goal. Super fun tour Dan and John!  Great people! Thank you so much!

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Susan – The week we were in the Smokies, there were dogwoods everywhere. This is my favorite.

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Debbie – I would call this good timing with the sun. We had just gotten to a place on River Road and the sun came out and lit the trees up with reflections down stream. I’m also including another picture when I blew it up to see if the focus was good. To my surprised there were several water moccasins sunning on a rock. This is a reminder for me to be careful in the spring because the snakes are out.

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Carla – “The Smokies were magnificent in the Spring; the breathtaking colors filled my soul with joy and peace. My favorite images were of the tree lined lanes. No matter in which direction I faced, there was a beautiful image.”

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Susan –  I got to Spark’s Lane early in the morning before sunrise. I love morning light and I was not disappointed with it’s appearance on this day.

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Joyce –  Being able to photograph beautiful flowers is the “icing on the cake” and makes for a superb photographic adventure.

Image by Scott

Image by Scott

Scott  – Trying to pick a favorite from the Smokys is pretty darn near impossible. So I migrated to what has become my favorite subject…water! This was taken on the Middle Prong of the Little River. It was shot at 1/5 @ f14, native ISO of 200 using the Fuji X-T1. Thanks to Dan and John for another wonderful week of excellent photography opportunities.

 

Image by Scott

Image by Scott

 

Elaine – I had so many favorite images from the Smokies. It was really hard to pick. Ken and I had just been shooting for several hours. I wanted to head back to the room. Ken said “Let’s go back to Cades Cove. I think the light is going to be good.” With me whining the whole way, we entered the park. The light was glorious for the next two hours. We could not tear ourselves away. I think some very wise person once said, “you have to show up!” I especially love the leading lines and the diagonal that gets repeated through out the image.

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Barb – The horses showed themselves in so many good light opportunities.

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Posted in Smoky Mountains, Through Their Eyes