Category Archives: Cape Cod
Each year as I look back through my images, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the people I was able to share my passion with. To all who came on a workshop, a tour or attended a lecture, thank you! You have enriched my life. I am also reminded of the amazing places I was able to see. 2013 brought me to Cuba, Iceland, The Palouse, Charleston, New Hampshire, Death Valley, Cape Cod and Cape May! Wow what a year!
I’m looking forward to 2014 where in addition to the tours I do with Dan Sniffin, I will be co-leading a special workshop in Hawaii with with National Geographic photographer Jonathan Kingston and guest lecturers Dewitt Jones and Rikki Cooke . Look for our official announcement in January. The workshop will be in early December.
Here are some of my favorite images from the past year. You’ll notice I’m drawn to varied subject matter which includes the Palouse, my granddaughter Abby, the gentle waves of the dunes, the warm people of Cuba and the wonderful Experience Music Project building in Seattle.
Be the light. No really, be the light. Oft times we hear the masses exclaim, “its all about the light”, and they would be partly right. The quality of light is something we need to be keenly aware of. However, the light I’m speaking of is your own. The light we see is one thing, the light we bring to the act/process of image making is another thing. Ansel Adams said it this way, “You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, and the people you have loved.” Freeman Patterson says “The camera points both ways.” It sees what it sees but is also a reflection of you. Your light if you will. By the way, this includes the bad mood you’re in, feeling tired, feeling overwhelmed, the argument you just had with your spouse, etc, etc. The energy from this kind of light may or may not be a good thing. It depends on how you choose to use it and what type of images you are making. Just know that your light whatever that is, will become part of your images.
Fuji X-Pro1 – 55-200 lens.
My friend Steve Ellis was a participant at the workshop on the Cape. Steve knows Cape Cod, he and his family have either lived or vacationed there since he was born. He made a comment during the workshop about ”Cape light.” I would agree with Steve, there are a few places where there seems to be a quality to the light that is only found there. My tour partner Dan pointed this out in Ireland with regard to Connemara light. While at this location, we were treated to just a few minutes of “Cape Light.” Magical!
Marty, a frequent blog visitor sent me an email about my last post. He shared something I felt would add to the discussion. He said, “Creativity can be a filter… When someone is trying to be creative (obviously not in itself a bad thing), they are to some degree actively imposing some part of their consciousness/identity/spirit/(word choice TBD) into the process, stirring up their internal dialog.
Your comments on being quiet, mindful, aware, allow the whispers of images hiding in plain sight to be heard, “ Psst, why don’t you see me? I’m right in front of you.” These images (IMHO) don’t need creativity, they just need to be recognized simply for what they are, nothing more, nothing less. Idle does not have to be passive.”
I have been pondering Marty’s thoughts all day. I believe he is right on the money and specifically can’t get this quote out of my head. ”Being aware allows the whispers of images hiding in plain sight to be heard!” I LOVE THAT!!
I would add this, creativity does not need to be manufactured for the sake of being creative. Rather, we should strive to live a creative life which may not necessarily mean anything more than being idle and listening for those whispers. Other times it might mean, turning on the multiple exposures or moving your camera while making your exposure to create a swipe!
Fuji X-Pro1 18-55 lens f/8
I’ve been using social media much less. I still enjoy catching up with family and friends and find it to be a good “business” tool, however, the time I was investing was drawing me away from more important things. I also noticed that I was starting to feel competitive with regard to my photography where there is no place for competition. I was seeing others tremendous work and feeling pressure to produce equal or better quality. Feeling pressure to post yet another post showing I was still active, shooting, making worthwhile images. Then in some quiet time, I realized this is not who I want to be. Rather, I want to be able to trust. Trust in my ability to be a good photographer. I don’t want to feel the need for others accolades or approval. Don’t get me wrong, I’m human and kind words are alway welcome and feel good. I just don’t what to feel that I must receive them to validate what I’m doing. When I’m asked why I love photography, my answer is that it feeds my soul. I love the process of making photographs. I love how I feel when I’m out making images whether I get a “keeper” or not. I am finding I shoot much less now. I don’t shoot as many frames. I’m more in touch with what I’m being drawn to for subject matter. I’m more aware of the light. I’m more selective about what I want to photograph. I don’t sell much of my work, I don’t try very hard to do so either. Its just not that important to me. What is important? The experiences that I have been blessed with as a photographer. Photography has gifted me with many wonderful friends. Photography has blessed me with the opportunity to travel to places I never imagined I would. Photography has blessed me with being a teacher that I never knew I could be. This has allowed me to share my passion with others, nudging them to soar on their own wings, trusting themselves, believing they can create images that make their hearts sing! This gives me great joy and makes my heart sing.
As we approach the time of year when we are asked to make goals, might I suggest we forget about them? Yup, forget about them, at least with your photography life. Instead, I would encourage you to trust, to believe in yourself and in the creative process. Allow the creative process to happen on its own. And, know that trusting includes being okay with being idle. Nancy Rotenberg in her book, Photography and the Creative Life, has this to say about being idle. “Trusting the process also involves daring to be idle. We live in a culture that views idleness as something slovenly, lazy and non-production. It is only when you stop and reflect that you can be filled and recharged. What you photograph today could be the result of yesterday’s “idling”. The only way to know if awareness is entering your body is for you to slow down long enough to notice. Awareness gives you mindfulness. Mindfulness gives you insight.” Rather than feeling pressure to be creative, be okay with being idle, recognizing this idle time is good. Its okay to have times when you are not producing. I have written a number of songs. Oft times months pass before a new song would appear and even then, I would rewrite and change things over and over. Yet, my favorite songs seemed to come from out of nowhere and took just minutes to write. I believe they came out of inspiration, out of being idle and listening. They were not forced. Photography is much the same or at least it should be. This is really just an extension of what I’ve written about in previous posts with regard to chasing images. Be open to the creative process rather than chasing it. Trust your abilities and allow for creativity or images to present themselves. Don’t force it. For those who know me, being idle is not easy, however, as I try and practice it, I find I am more satisfied with the quality of my images.
I found this wonderful scene while leading a recent workshop on Cape Cod. The lead image is the one that I settled on as my favorite. I think the story of how I arrived at this image is worthy of sharing. I sent the image to my friend Dan who is my goto guy for feedback. He suggested the crop below as another possibility. Interesting, Dan tends to see in neat tidy compositions as he is prone to use his 70-200 with a 1.7x teleconverter. As such he will isolate and drill down. I like his crop!
Inspired by Dan’s thoughts, I decided to show Dan the original image I shot. Another right answer! (See below)
As you can see, my first shot and initial instinct was to include the water but then I zoomed in a bit and excluded the water. Hey, another right answer!
My hope is that this series of images drives home three important ideas. First, look for more than one right answer when you’re shooting. I could have made the first image and walked away, but I didn’t. I kept looking to see what else might be there. Second, work the composition both in the field and in post processing. There is nothing wrong with cropping your images! In fact, I think you’ll be surprised at how many other right answers you will find with the crop tool! And third, we all see differently. There is no one right answer, rather there are almost always more right answers and yours will be different than mine and that is just fine. So, stop thinking in terms of right and wrong and focus on what feels right and go with that!
Today, I have posted what I will be doing for my personal 2014 workshops. There is also a page for the TOURS I do with Dan Sniffin, I keep them separated. I’m particularly excited about the Cape Cod workshop in September with Betty Wiley. With the success of the last two Cape Cod workshops with with Jeff Lovinger based in Provincetown, I decided to move to the Lower-Cape for some different scenes. Take a look at Betty’s work you’ll understand why. Of course I’m heading back to Fonthill and will continue to do the Pocono’s in the fall. Take a look at the WORKSHOP page for more information. On another note, Tony Sweet and I will be taking another group to Cuba in January of 2015. If you are intereted in going, please send an email and I will add you to the list to be contacted.
This image is of the old abandoned pier in Provincetown. We were headed out for an afternoon shoot and never made it out of the parking lot. The sky was screaming to be photographed.
Last week was a very good week. On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to speak to a very receptive group at a well organized meet-up in Plymouth MA. Thank you Amy Davies and Betty Wiley for organized this and doing a great job.
Next, I went to Cape Cod to meet with Jeff Lovinger for our long weekend workshop. We had a bit of rain and lots of windy weather, however, this group was TOUGH and we had a grand time!
As usual, I managed to snap off a few keepers during the weekend. I just love these old day cottages and could not resist another shot at them. This time, I had my trusty Fuji X-E1 with me and placed it on the ground for a unique perspective. The stormy weather and blast of good light all made this moment work. Funny, but with the big Nikon, I would never have thought to do this…. but with the smaller Fuji I did. This is part of the draw of that little camera. For whatever reason, the smaller, lighter camera seems to liberate me. I find myself shooting a LOT more with it and trying things I might not normally try. A new perspective!
I’m on the Cape co-leading a workshop with a group of photographers willing to get up early and brave the elements, especially the windy weather! During my scouting time, I stumbled upon this late day scene. I had made the decision to call it a day and head back to my room for some much needed rest when this blast of gold light spotted the front of the building on the pier. And of course the sky was nice and then some birds flew into the scene! So much for rest! (Click the image to make it bigger)
Fuji X-Pro1 – 14mm Fuji