Category Archives: Color
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
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.
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!
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.
For sunris, we took the gang from Johnstown up to a Hawk Watch overlook and were greeted with color in the sky and fog in the valley! Hard to imagine it getting much better than this! Fuji X-E1 with 55-200mm.
I’ve been invited to present my Dream – Believe – Create lecture for a meet-up group in Plymouth MA on November 5th. I hope to see many of my New England friends there! Click this link for more information and to sign up.
Why do we make numerous runs to favorite locations? Well, because the light is different each time. Take the case of Steptoe Butte from which this scene was shot. Each time on this trip the atmospheric conditions were different. On this particular night the air was much cleaner and thus clearer, making for what you might call “cherry” light.
This shot is a bit out of the norm for me. I’m typically more drawn to the the simple graphic patterns from the Butte. Maybe it was the light that caused me to include the farm and more trees than normal? I’m not sure, but what I do know is that I loved the golden quality of the light! When the light is good, its great!
While visiting the Towery’s to shoot the EMP building, we took a bit of time to shoot the shipyard in Seattle where I stumbled upon this scene. Isn’t nature amazing? What was once a pristine newly painted boat has now been turned into a work of art, primarily due to nature doing her work over time. I’ve always been a fan of abstract photography and feel this is a worthy addition to my portfolio.