Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Weather and me

This is Beavertail light, on the coast of Jamestown, here in RI...I can't count how many times this has been my shooting destination. However, the weather most of the time fails me when I get there: it is totally overcast with grey dreary skies without detail or clear, which for some reason, I don't like to photograph unless it is after dark and shooting the stars. The other day I was reading an article by Galen Rowell about photographing in less than favorable conditions; and he gave some good advice about taking the shot you envisioned anyway and throwing it away because the sky fails or the weather is bad. He said to change your state of mind and look for something that will work..the image above is an example of that: it was a horrible night, totally cloud covered without definition. Tried shooting in Newport, tried the Pell bridge area but all these spots had dead dreary skies...then drove to Jamestown and saw these stratus clouds below another cloud layer and they looked interesting...with only about fifteen minutes to spare before sunset, I took a couple of test shots and liked the movement of the clouds...I continued to shoot on the tripod and actually got a few images that I liked because I didn't give up... and I suppose I could have used my telephoto to get some rock and ocean images as a last resort.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Trees


I study trees a lot when I walk in the forest...these two images are a couple of trees after a brief snow storm before all the snow was blown off them. To me, trees are some of the most difficult subjects to photograph because of their unusual shapes, size and because, often, in groups they can appear chaotic.  It is worth practicing on them...you learn to organize from the chaos which can help with other types of compositions...they are pattern, texture, and difficulty all at once...the image below is one of my more successful attempts with trees.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Photograph what you love!

There is something important for you to know: you do not have forever, all you have is time.  Life is finite, do not waste it photographing things that don't appeal to you.  Of course, there will be times that you have to do that: at events, or family gatherings. But on the whole, if you are out photographing alone or on a tour or workshop, don't go crazy snapping shots of everything you see...wait until something moves you emotionally, those will be your best images.  It is important to practice and know your camera even in the dark; know the settings you will need to achieve your result...nothing is worse than messing around with settings while the light fades and disappears. I have a friend who shoots with me often; one night the sun was fading fast, we had gotten to our spot later than expected, but I had already set up my camera with 3 programmed settings and got the shots. He was struggling with his aperture, ISO and shutter speed, by the time he was ready, the sunset was over...this has happened numerous times to him.
Know what you need to get the shot, have your ND grads and polarizer ready if needed..if you don't have time, bracket your images...you can layer them in Photoshop...
The image today is one I took at a small brook nearby...I may have taken 50 different shots of the brook, but this was the only one that appealed to me when I was looking for compositions...I loved the translucence of the water as it rushed over the leaves...don't expect every image to be wonderful...I am happy if I get one great shot out of 100 or 200 exposures...

Friday, January 26, 2018

Aging and photography

   Recently I have aged beyond 70 years...it still is a shock to me;  sometimes it seems to me that I am still young but when I look in the mirror the reality hits really hard. My photography is still one of the most important things in my life: my creative outlet producing true moments of happiness, when I can focus on taking images of something that is beautiful or that is in some way moving emotionally. Last July there was a week aboard a steel sailboat in Disko Bay, Greenland.  It was absolutely amazing when our boat first sailed into Disko bay from Ilullisat harbor and those massive icebergs were all around us. It was night. The time to photograph icebergs in Greenland is in summer at night, during the time of the midnight sun: the light can be amazing and the color of the icebergs striking. The nights are cold when sailing from dusk to dawn, and the glacial winds are freezing...but it was all worth it. Here are a few images from that voyage; I hope you enjoy them. There are more on my website...keep photographing and don't lose your joy for life and photography ever...



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

After 12 years of using a digital camera

I first began using a digital camera in 2005: it was a 2 megapixel camera...I was psyched!  Wow...two megapixels.  Today that camera would be junk, but it was my introduction to digital photography and I still keep it as a memory to those early days. The Canon Mark III is my choice today, with a Sony a6000 backup...I did own the Canon Mark IV for almost a month before returning it for a refund..why?  Because the LCD, no matter what settings I used, never gave me the rich images I could see on my Mark III LCD..it may sound stupid and ridiculous, but I am a visual photographer; if the image on the LCD doesn't give me the tones and depth of color I need to give me an idea of how an image needs to be edited, I don't want that camera...sometimes, you have to realize, that technology and the latest model of camera aren't going to always be better for you personally...so my suggestion is:  if you love the camera in your hand, don't upgrade just to have the newest technology, sometimes a camera you are accustomed to using that is giving you what you want is all you need.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Personal Projects

This is for you and for me.  It is about the importance of finding interesting things to shoot during a normal day...not on a tour or a workshop, but at home or at work or out walking. Why is it important to have a personal project? Is it important or a waste of time?
Personal projects are one of the most important things you can do with a phone or point and shoot camera. You carry a phone around because it is small and relatively obscure; easily put in a pocket or pocketbook, but it is your link to better photography if you know how to think creatively. You will develop a better eye for composition if you use it regularly.
I often give myself little projects for the day or week when I am out walking my dog or driving around doing errands. Last week, even though I hate to compose with trees because they are so darn chaotic and difficult to make into a composition, the idea was to photograph trees for one week whenever I was out in the woods. Therefore, whenever I was walking the dog, I had my point and shoot or phone with me: looking, getting cranky, pulling ticks off, then looking for compositions again.
Attached are a few images from my week, they are not great shots that will win competitions, but who cares?
They are my practice images, forcing me to try harder to make sense of the forest and maybe learning a little more about graphic elements. You can photograph anything for a day or week..forks with different lighting, light bulbs, doorknobs, light fixtures; I have even stooped to photographing an old toilet discarded near a shed.
Don't be lazy; make the effort.