Category Archives: Color

Cades Cove Does Color Too – Perfectly Clear 50% off Mothers Day Sale

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The other day, a blog reader asked that I show the color version when I post a b&w image so she could compare. I posted a different version of this scene the other day in b&w. For the color version here, I’ve added the gravel road and trees on the right to my composition. 

The last thing I used for my processing of this image was Perfectly Clear from Athentech. If you are interested in this great piece of software, twice a year they offer it at 1/2 price.  Starting this Friday the 9th and ending on the morning of Monday the 12th, simply click this link and you’ll be sent to a page where you’ll be able to pick up your preferred version for 1/2 off.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how good this program is. A “no-brainer” at half price.

Color Versus B&W

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I love this picture in color, AND, I love it in B&W.

 

 

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I asked my wife which she liked best, she said, “I like them both, however, they each evoke a different emotion. They create two very different moods. The color is full of life and happiness making me want to go there. The B&W is full of mystery, drama  and wonder.  What lies beyond the fog?” I am frequently suggesting that B&W is a choice, and should be used with purpose. I believe the two versions here illustrate my point well.  Neither is better than the other, however, each creates a very different response from the viewer.  That is of course unless you’re Cole Thompson to which color is noise or Chuck Kimmerle who sees color as the anti-christ.  Which do you respond to?

A note for the Fuji fans out there.  I shot the entire trip to the Smokies with the X-E2. To say I am happy is an understatement.  I wanted to shoot the new X-T1, however, the Really Right Stuff “L” bracket did not arrive in time. The good news is they started shipping this week. This was shot with the 10-24mm zoom at 10mm which is effectively 15mm in the full frame world.  Very happy with this wide angle zoom from Fuji.

Zabriskie Point – Death Valley

When we were in Death Valley, our focus was the dunes, however, we decided to take one run at Zabriskie for sunrise.  It is an iconic spot not to be missed.  We picked the right day as we were treated to a great moment.  By far the best sunrise light and clouds I’ve seen there.  I’ve included a color and B&W version.

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Dreaming of Spring

With the threat of another snow storm in the air, I decided to immerse myself in some images from Longwood Gardens taken a few years ago.  I can’t wait to spend a day there next month when the tulips are placed along the fabulous garden walk.  Its been a tough winter here in the northeast. We are ready for some warm weather!

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For the bottom picture, I used Alien Skin Snap Art to give it the painterly feel.  Snap Art ROCKS!

A breath of color

My friend Stan had the great idea of going to Longwood Gardens to stimulate our senses with a breath of color having endured this winter of endless cold and snow.  So, here is a splash of color to compliment my recent series of B&W images.  Don’t worry, I have more B&W images to come. I even have one from Longwood!

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Fuji X-E2 – Fuji 60mm Macro at f/22

Processing inspired by Kathleen Clemons.  Nik Color Efex Pro, Glamor Glow, Soft Focus, Darken Lighten Center, and Viveza

More on Photo Celibacy

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Recently I featured a terrific post written by my tour partner Dan Sniffin about his ideas with regard to photo celibacy which Cole Thompson tries to live by.  Dan’s article was written before we spent the week with Cole and the group.  The tour started with a wonderful lecture by Cole titled “Why B&W.”  In it he spoke not only about B&W but also more about his ideas on photo celibacy.  But what happened after the talk was quite powerful. I asked the group to respond to Cole’s ideas specifically about celibacy. What did they think? It was one of the most stimulating discussions I’ve been part of.  Some agreed, others challenged Cole with good honest questions. Some spoke about the need for a basic understanding of technique. We spoke about technique versus vision.  We spoke about the value of others opinions.  We spoke about rules and guidelines and much more. It was a stimulating hour of discussion!  I’m not sure we resolved anything but we carried the spirit of the discussion with us throughout the week. In fact, I am still pondering on the matter and would like to continue the discussion here.  

I am reading a book suggested by Chuck Kimmerle titled “Why People Photograph” by Robert Adams.  These quotes resonated in lieu of our discussion.

“I really didn’t have much to teach. I didn’t even believe in it. I felt so strongly that everybody had to find their own way. And nobody can teach you your own way…. in terms of art, the only real answer that I know of is to do it.  If you don’t’ do it you don’t know what might happen”  Harry Callahan,1991

“Can photography be taught?  If this mean the history and techniques of the medium, I think it can….. If, however, teaching photography means bringing students to find their own individual photographic visions, I think it is impossible. We would be pretending to offer the students, in Wililam Stafford’s phrase, “a wilderness with a map.”  We can give beginners directions about how to use a compass, we can tell them stories about our exploration of different but possibly analogous geographies, and we can bless them with our caring, but we cannot know the unknown and thus make sure a path to real discovery.” Robert Adams
 
“Even now I don’t like to discuss work that isn’t finished, because until it is revised over the span of a year or several years there are crucial parts that are present only in my minds eye, pieces intended but not yet realized……  “Art is made by the alone for the alone.”” Robert Adams with inserted quote by Luis Barragan.
 
“I knew I didn’t want to study at length contemporaries’ pictures, fearing that their work might come close to mine and blur my vision.”  Robert Adams
What do you think?  Are vision and technique connected?  Can you achieve your vision without some guidelines about good composition?  Can vision be taught?  Does looking at others work influence yours?  

With regard to the blog image from the Alabama Hills. Yes, the recent tour was focused on B&W and my folder of images is 99% B&W, however, that did not stop me from processing this one in color!  Why color versus B&W?  I wish I had a good answer, sometimes color just makes more sense and I run with my gut feeling.  In the dunes, I can’t imagine anything but B&W yet I’ve seen some wonderful images that are color.  So color or B&W becomes a creative choice, there is no right or wrong.  

Favorites for 2013

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.

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Be the Light

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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.

 

Cape Light

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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! 

On trust, being Idle and the creative process.

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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.