Category Archives: B&W

Honor Your Vision


 

Recently, on Facebook, I tried an experiment.  I posted a picture and asked for feedback.  I don’t normally ask for feedback.  In addition, I shared my thoughts on the image.  I said, “So much here that I normally would not include.  The bush, the background and going vertical in the dunes.”  So, in effect I was saying to my audience, I know this COULD be flawed.  What happened?  Some loved it, but many did not.

I’d like to make some observations in hopes that we could learn together. As soon as I gave permission by asking, “I think it works, you?” I knew I was going to get feedback.  Now what? My friend Cole Thompson asks in his excellent lecture, “Why would you ask others opinion about your vision?”  I believe this to be a fair question.  Who knows more about my vision than me?  Why would I give someone else permission to tell me how I should see or interpret a particular scene? More importantly, what happens when I get feedback, especially feedback that goes against my choices or my vision?  If you are “normal” you may feel a little knot in your stomach, or, you might even wince. You might feel dissapointment. My guess is, the next thing you will do, is question your choices, or, your vision.  Hum, maybe they are right? Maybe it is too centered, has too much processing, is not balanced, should be a square, etc, etc.  These are the dangerous waters of which we need to be careful.  Again I ask, who knows more about your vision than you? I fully understand the need for feedback as we are learning our craft, however, at some point, I believe we need to stop asking for it and learn to trust in our vision.

 

My dear friend Nancy used to say “fight for your vision.”  I choose to word it differently, suggesting you honor your vision. Nancy would say the following during a “critique” session on her workshops. “If I give feedback that you don’t agree with, fight for your vision!” Essentially she was saying, her opinion is just that, her opinion and could be wrong. And furthermore, she wanted you stand up for (honor) your vision.  

After a discussion with Dewitt Jones about the idea of critique sessions, I no longer do them.  Rather, I choose to do image celebrations!!  In these, I am happy to share everything I adore about the presented images, however, I try my best to steer away from telling the image maker what they should or should not do to make it better. I feel doing so is imposing my vision on theirs. If I feel compelled to offer a suggestion, I will typically start by saying, might you consider…  I find this to be a much softer approach and is my attempt to honor their vision.

While I understand the desire for feedback, especially as you are learning your craft, I would encourage you to trust that you know what your vision is, what you like, and how you want to present your images. Try to ween yourself from needing the feedback or approval of others. Rather, honor your vision.

Also posted in Inspiration Tagged , , |

Death Valley #3

Another group of images from Death Valley and The Alabama Hills.  The first image is unique, in that it includes vegetation that normally try to avoid.


The next image, as pointed out by a viewer on Facebook, has a finger in the right side of the sky.  As I was making this image, I was feeling the presence of my friend Cindy who has passed away on this day. Now I see Cindy in this image telling me, all is well. This image is very outside of my comfort zone. I was shooting directly into the sun. But, I had to go with with I was feeling and ended up with a number of images that I like.  This is just one. 

 

The image below has become another favorite.  Love the bright shape at the top right.  Love the hint of light and details to the left of that…

Another with lots of tones which I am very much drawn to.

Also posted in Abstract, Cole Thompson, Death Valley Tagged , , , , |

Death Valley #2

Below you will find more images from my recent trip to Death Valley.  Enjoy!  Oh and remember to see the images bigger, click on them

The first image is from The Alabama Hills in Lone Pine CA.  I was drawn to the texture on the background rock in shadow and then the gentle curve of the lighter rock in the foreground.

The next image is a result of the foreground and background being in deep shadow due to the clouds.  The sun was lighting up the middle ground.  This composition screamed to be photographed!

The Image below was made in the Salt Basin in Death Valley.  It is the rain water seeping onto the valley floor.  We could see it growing inch by inch…. very slowly.

 

Also posted in Abstract, Cole Thompson, Death Valley, Workshop Tagged , , , , |

Death Valley with Cole Thompson – Gear for Sale

I am just back from co-leading two workshops in Death Valley and The Alabama Hills with the great Cole Thompson. We had two tremendous groups with lots of opportunities to create images that made our hearts sing! To be with Cole was a rare treat as he does not typically shoot with others let alone help on a workshop!  

Below are a few of my favorites so far.  Many more to process, so stay tuned for part 2!

On another subject, I am helping a friend sell some lightly used Nikon and Olympus gear.  See the list below.

One last thing, I have room if you’d like to join me in the Smokies this spring!  Mid April is the perfect time and it is a great way to wipe away the winter blues!  And, I just had a late cancellation for my Charleston SC workshop in a couple of weeks leaving a spot available.

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List of Gear for sale.

Nikon  PRICE
D700 with Grip & RRS L Plate 800
D700 with Grip 800
D800 with Grip & RRS L Bracket 1499
85mm 1.4D 700
16-35 f4 800
18-200 3.5-5.6 mssing hood. 450
24-70 2.8 1300
SB-900 Flash 200
Tamron 180 Macro 550
Lensababy Composer Pro 200
Olympus
OM-D E-M1 700
Pen Lite E-PL5 with 14-42 EZ 300
Lumix 35-100 HD 2.8 Polwer OIS 700
Lumix 7-14 f/4 Vario 600
Lumix 100-300 4-5.6 400
Olympus 40-150 2.8 1000
Olympus 1.4x Teleconverter 250
Olympus 14-42 3.5-5.6 EZ 200
Olympus 14-42 3.5-5,6IIR 200
Olympus 12 2.0 Silver 500
Lumix 45mm 2.8 Leica 550
Lensabay Velvet 56mm for Olympus 400
Really Right Stuff Tripod TVC 24l with BH-40 Ball Head 950
Metabones adaptor for Nikon F to Olympus 4/3 335
Tiffin 72mm Polorizer 25
Nikon 77mm Polorizer 50
Hoya 77mm Polorizer 25
Tiffin 77mm Polorizer 25
Hoodman Loupe 25
Tiffin 58mm Vari ND 50
Singh Ray ND 3G SS Galen Rowel 50
Singh Ray ND 2G-SS Galen Rowel 50
Singh Ray ND 2G-HS Galen Rowel 50
Singh Ray ND 3G-HS Galen Rowell 50
Also posted in Cole Thompson, Death Valley, Workshop Tagged , , , , |

Cape May – B&W

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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Also posted in Topaz Software Tagged , , , , , |

FUD or Fears Uncertainties and Doubts

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In one of my lectures, I speak about FUD which stands for fears, uncertainties and doubts. I first learned about the concept of FUD in a sales seminar 30 years ago. In that context, FUD applied to what a potential customer might be feeling about making buying decision. About four years ago, when I was developing a new lecture, it dawned on me that FUD applied to me as a photographer. I don’t know about you, but, I have FUD a lot! I remember a specific time when a friend invited me to photograph the Klotz Silk Mill in Lonaconing MD. That first trip years ago was in January. It was cold, dark inside and it smelled moldy and musty. I was paralyzed. Where do I start? What on earth do I take a picture of? I have no idea what makes a good picture in this type of environment. What lens do I choose? Do I shoot wide or details? Am I smart enough to find good pictures here? Rather than pull out a camera, I wandered around aimlessly and uninspired. I had no idea what to do. I finally put on a wide angle lens as it is what I am most comfortable with, and began to try and find something worthy to photograph. For the first hour or so, I made a lot of terrible pictures. It was not until I reached the 3rd floor where there was a bit more light, it was warmer, and it did not stink quite as much, that I began to find my rhythm. A key moment to finding that rhythm, was finding a calendar that was left behind from 1957 hanging above a desk. This created a connection, as I was born in 1957. I made a photograph of that scene and it made my heart sing. With a bit more confidence, I was able to find more worthy images and even developed a desire to return. I have now returned six times, including a recent visit with some friends.

I would be interested in hearing about your experience with FUD and how you overcome it.

The blog image was inspired by a friend who was shooting this scene. B&W oft times seems to be the right answer at the Silk Mill. Shallow DOF was also a purposeful choice for this image. Remember you may click on the image to make it bigger.

John Barclay Photography, Images that make your heart sing.

Also posted in Silk Mill Tagged , , , , , , , |

Smoke in the Smokies

One of my favorite places in The Great Smoky Mountains is the Foothills Parkway for sunrise. When our group arrived early at “the” spot we were greeted by 65 others who love this spot too! Unfortunately the fog was too thick this day. After a long wait, folks were itchy for breakfast, so most left without getting much. After breakfast, a few of us wandered back to see what might be there and were given a gift. I love the subtle crepuscular rays, the strong white fog near the hill tops and light on the land.

 

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Barclay Photography – Encouraging you to make images that make your heart sing.

Also posted in Smoky Mountains, Tour, Workshop Tagged , , , , |

A few more from the Disney Concert Hall

Just a few more from the 2010 shoot at the Disney Concert Hall. So glad I went back with a fresh perspective to look at these files. One technical note, I did notice the ability to process the older Canon 5D files was not nearly as good as my current Fuji files. And yes, sometimes a black sky is still best. 


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Also posted in Abstract Tagged , , , , , , |

Out with the new and in with the old

What?  Out with the new and in with the old? What is he talking about? Is he sick? Is he delusional? Chuck Kimmerle that is not an invitation for comment….. You too Sniffin. Well, yes, I have been battling a lousy cold for a few weeks. You know the kind. The kind that keeps you feeling blah. Not real bad, but, just drags you down. Its been a struggle to create anything, never mind write a blog post.  And then yesterday, I was looking through my archived files for one specific image and ended up having a blast. I stumbled upon a number of images I never thought to process. Images I had completely forgotten about.  Once again, I was reminded why you don’t throw away images. I can take my new processing knowledge and tools and unearth worthy, even great images. And our knowledge of what is good or bad changes as we mature as a photographer. These images are great examples that make my point. Up until recently, I was committed to and convinced that a sky in a black and white image must be dark or close to black. I just did not see the potential of a white sky. And then I processed this image from L.A. and fell in love with a white sky. And then I found the composition from the Disney Gehry building below. Paradigm shift…..  Gotta run now, I’ve got OLD images to process. 

Also posted in Abstract, Gehry Building Tagged , , , , |

Waves work in B&W

I was challenged to post a wave in B&W. An easy challenge as I had already made a conversion and loved it. Here ya go!

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Also posted in Hawaii Tagged , , |