Category Archives: B&W
The Palouse tour is over. Once again we leave behind a wonderful group of friends, some longtime and some new. I am always amazed how spending a week together doing what we are passionate about can bring a group of strangers together leaving them friends. I love photography, it feeds my soul, however, I am grateful for and cherish the friends I have made along the way.
Today, I am sitting in the Towery’s home on Bainbridge Island enjoying the amazing view out of their home. Today’s image was taken from the Ferry as we made our way over last night. Dan and I decided to spend two extra days, primarily to shoot Gehry’s “Experience Music Project” building in Seattle. They Towerys were kind enough to invite us to stay with then and help us do that. Thanks Bob and Deb!
I know, I know… I said in my previous post that I it was my last Dune image. Well, I found one more and I’ve added a Death Valley Folio. I had such a great time shooting there this past year, I’ve decided to make it a project as I know I’ll go back a few more times. These images represent a start to that project. Thank you for your kind and constructive feedback on these images. A big thank you to Chuck Kimmerle for sharing his vision and knowledge with our tour group this past January. I continue to be inspired by his amazing work.
There is an abandoned home in the Eureka Mine area of Death Valley. This little scene was inside one of the remaining buildings. Using some of the techniques that Chuck Kimmerle shared in his processing tips session of our workshop, I’ve crafted this black & white version. I can’t imagine living for years in such a remote HOT area. Living like this in the past would not have agreed with me. Taking pictures of it today. That works!
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I wanted to share another image from the Ravenel Bridge, however, this time I wanted to feature one from my tour partner Dan Sniffin. I credit Dan for helping me to see this type of image many years ago. Thanks for the inspiration and help Dan!
Dan and I arrived in Charleston Thursday night ready to begin our scouting for the upcoming tour. One of the key landmarks is the relatively new Ravenel Bridge. Being in a b&w state of mind, we could not resist a trip to it last night to work on some graphic design images. Pretty happy with this one. Not much time to post as we will be very busy preparing for the gang on Monday.
Image captured with the Fuji X-E1.
This image was created on the last morning of our workshop. We went to a different part of the dunes, a part that I am not as attracted to. While out there, I was fighting old familiar feelings of self doubt. You know, I’m not seeing anything out here, this is not as good as the other side, I’m not feeling inspired out here today, etc, etc… Then I stopped, I mean literally stopped and just stood still for about five minutes. Then I thought, why am I chasing images that are not here? Why am I chasing images that are like the other side of the dunes when that is not what is here? At that moment, I realized I was indeed trying to find more of the same in an area that did not offer the same. I remembered that I needed to stop chasing and start letting images come to me! Then as the sun crested the horizon, I began to see shapes forming around the ridges of the dunes and this image offered itself up. A much different image than the other dune images I’ve been posting, however, a worthy image non the less.
So, stop chasing and start allowing images to reveal themselves to you. Much like the last line in the movie August Rush where the young boy says, “the music is all around us, all you have to do is listen.” I say, the images are all around us, all you have to do is see.
Driving in Death Valley can be well, HOT! We were there in February when it’s nice, but alas our car succumbed to the heat and we had to leave her behind… As I turned around, I took one last shot….
A reminder, if you like the content on this blog and want to share (and I hope you do) please open the blog post by clicking on its title. Now you’ll be able to see the sharing icons at the bottom of the blog post. This makes it easy to share content on your favorite social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more.
I wanted to pass along a very good read. A tremendous landscape photographer, Ian Plant has published a very good eBook titled, VISUAL FLOW about composition. I have found it to be as good or better than most books about this subject. Its filled with good examples and wonderful images. A bit pricy for an eBook but worth the money and it looks great on my iPad! Highly recommended.
I Didn’t See That
Text and Images – Chuck Kimmerle
There is a myth regarding landscape photography. This myth, routinely propagated in online photo forums - and reinforced by lazy and inept photographers whose only desire is to mimic postcards they had seen in a National Park gift shop – states that, because we do not have physical control over the landscape, our genre cannot be considered art. That we, as photographers, play a subservient role in the creation of the image. In other words, the scene dictates the image, and we simply, and obediently, comply. Of course, the implication is that all of our photos will, and do, look alike. No creativity necessary.
Of course, those of us who are serious about landscape photography as an art form, who are driven, inspired, passionate and talented, and who have something personal and worthwhile to share, know this is simply not true. We are individuals, not clones. We are the driving force in the creative equation, each with our own unique stories, our own experiences, and our own emotions, all which combine to shape our respective, unique visions.
This was reinforced to me a couple weeks ago during a photo workshop in Death Valley. On no fewer than four occasions, participants said to me, “I didn’t see that” while viewing images I had made during group outings. Images shot very close to where they were standing. When I viewed their own work, I often had the same response…I didn’t see that. How, if we were standing in proximity, if we were but simple, subservient photographic clones did we see, and create, images which were so different? And how, if we were not artists, did we present these images in such vastly different ways?
I can take that one stop further. Not only would I view a particular scene differently than my comrades, I may very well see it differently than….myself. For example, on two successive mornings I was photographing with students on the dunes. On the second morning, I excitedly photographed a developing dune-scape, exploring the curves and dimensionality of this subject as the light changed, satisfied that I had found a new and worthwhile scene. However, when the light had evolved past the point of usefulness, as I was packing my gear, I discovered that it was the exact scene I had shot the day before. The same divots, the same curves, the same basic shadows. I had, on that morning, seen it differently than I had the day before. The resulting images, despite the same physical characteristics of the scene, were quite different. In each case, I saw the scene, and visualized the final images, a bit differently.
So, while landscape photographers may not have direct physical control over the elements which comprise a landscape, we are far from mere pawns. Through the filters of our respective backgrounds, biases, personalities, feelings, visions, intentions, etc, we can each see and create as individuals. It is only after the photography is done, while sharing our images with colleagues, that we are exactly alike, each, in turn, repeating…I didn’t see that.
In the film days there was a rule that you had to show exactly what you shot. In the digital age, things have changed a bit. THANK GOODNESS! Don’t get me wrong, I still think its a good idea to be careful about your composition in camera. Its also a good idea to make the proper exposure and even use filters where you can. Getting it right in camera is still a good concept! That said, I have been liberated by the digital world. While in the field, I find myself thinking about cropping the frame in post processing. Lets face it, sometimes the 2×3 format gets in the way. Oh and by the way, isn’t the format of the camera a crop? Moving on…. This is when I consciously decide to include more on one side and commit to cropping out the unwanted when I process. Or sometimes I include more knowing I’ll need to fix a perspective issue. Or, sometimes I am frustrated that I don’t have enough reach with my longest lens and remember I have 24 megapixels in my D3x and I’ll be able to crop to the image I’m seeing.
With this image, I saw a square. Below is the full frame and an alternate crop. Always interested in your thoughts on which composition you prefer.