Sheer beauty…

in a fragile package.

dsc_7294…the endless repetition of an ordinary miracle.

Orhan Pamuk, Snow

Winter is fast approaching and it does bring its challenges but for me it is one of the most beautiful and picturesque times of year.

I love an opportunity to photograph nature as it appears, these tiny intimate landscapes that are so often overlooked. When you find something this transient that you’d like to photograph, get your shot because this type of subject matter doesn’t linger, but then move around and look at it from different angles. Simply changing your position can make a huge difference with the available light and composition.

In the eyes of those who only see snow as something to be endured perhaps take a moment next time it is falling and appreciate its fragility and uniqueness.

Vapor condensing onto dust particles in the atmosphere…a gift from nature.

 

One really big reason…

to follow your passion.

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To know ahead of time what you’re looking for means you’re then only photographing your own preconceptions, which is very limiting, and often false.

Dorothea Lange

This blog post is number one hundred which for me feels like I’m just hitting my stride. For almost two years now I have been taking the time to look and think about one image and the process has been an interesting one for me.

I write a lot about passion and creativity and how to keep that flowing when so much in life can act as a roadblock.

I don’t often feel the need to write about the technical aspects of photography; you can already find enough about that online to keep you reading for a lifetime. The question that I’m asked about most is how to build creativity. My own experience would tell me that if you’re bored with or stagnant in your medium it might not be the right one for you.

The challenge as I see it lies in developing a creative zone that extends far beyond the reach of a camera. It’s rather like shovelling the sidewalk during a winter storm; doing it once is not enough. Steady, continuous work is needed to keep that path open.

Just like muscle memory that is developed while practicing a sport, you can develop a rhythm with your camera that allows you to focus on the subject matter if you make it a part of your daily routine.

Developing a rhythm is the first step towards developing a style. Choosing subject matter that inspires you makes it easier to pick up that camera on a daily basis.

For example, on my canine shoots I will go in knowing the feel that I want for the images but I will try not to have any preconceived ideas on how I will get that. Structure to me is the death of creativity. I know that this approach works for me because the instant that I start moving around and shooting I am in the zone and it doesn’t really matter if I’m photographing a dog, piece of sky, or a snowflake.

All of this doesn’t just happen though, it takes practice and a first important step is being comfortable with your equipment so that you can focus on the creative aspect.

Today’s image is of subject matter near and dear to my heart…dogs. During the past few weeks I have had the absolute pleasure of photographing several groups of dogs, in various life stages. The energy, connections with their owners, and sheer joy these animals showed was incredible.

Will my style of shooting appeal to everyone? Nope, there are those that would prefer a backdrop and a stiff dog with every hair sharply in focus. I wouldn’t be happy and in my zone capturing that type of image but there’s room for all types.

Once you figure out the answer to this question “I like to shoot images that are…” it helps to define that creative zone and allows you to build on it.

If you’re completely stuck answering that question spend some time looking at all mediums; online, at museums or galleries, and see what you are drawn to. Think about how you can infuse that feeling into your medium of choice. I’m not talking about copying, I’m talking about putting yourself into the medium, there’s a big difference.

Love to hear your experiences on developing creativity. What has worked for you?

Thank you to all who follow this blog, I so appreciate it.

And thank you to Earl, how gorgeous is he?

The important thing was…

I got to vote.

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Tolerance is giving to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself.

Robert Green Ingersoll

I’m an optimist, it’s just how I roll.

It’s been a time of great passion where I’ve watched friendships crash and burn on social media and it’s been difficult to not get dragged into the fray.

Politics is a funny beast though and I have seldom, if ever, seen someone’s mind changed by these engagements. I hope for a time when campaigning isn’t done by tearing the opponent down but by focusing on important issues and how those will be addressed.

For me, the important thing is that I got to vote and I will continue to believe in America and democracy.

If this election has you reeling go out and find some beauty in the world, I promise you…it’s still there.

My day went to the dogs…

and was filled with great moments.

dsc_3039-2Life rarely presents fully finished photographs. An image evolves, often from a single strand of visual interest – a distant horizon, a moment of light, a held expression.

Sam Abell

Yesterday was one of those perfect photographic days that for me was so centering.

It started out with a photo shoot of one of my absolute favorite subjects…dogs. The energy was great, the dogs exuded canine joy, and there was even a little break in the constant rain that couldn’t have been better timed.

As the sun began to sink lower on the horizon, cirrus clouds appeared and I had another treat following my theme for the day…parhelia or sundogs.

Jumping in my Jeep I headed off to see what might develop as the hexagonal ice plates drifted high in the sky, nearly horizontal to the horizon.

As I watched, a circumzenithal arc appeared above the sundogs, lasting only for a brief moment. I shot from several different angles and in today’s shot thought that I’d throw out that you don’t always have to have a straight horizon, sometimes it’s fun to deliberately tilt the camera, Dutch tilt, more often used in cinematography.

Life is about moments and today was filled with them.

Where will you find yours this week-end?

Rain soaked…

and searching for moments.

dsc_2282-editIt is not enough to photograph the obviously picturesque.

Dorothea Lange

This quote really resonated with me. I think we are inundated with beautiful images and while I can appreciate that beauty, it takes far more than saturation to make me want to look twice or even remember that image.

We have had one of the rainiest months on record and it has taken some doing to watch for moments that isolate themselves from utter grayscapes.

Even the clouds have not been cooperative deigning only to show solid overcoats of smooth gray until this morning…

I am reminded of a book I’m reading whose main character is a photographer. She goes out to shoot a sunrise and takes 400 images. Unless you’re doing a startrail, timelapse, or shooting a burst for an action shot I can’t imagine why a person would want to take that many images of a single subject and then have to search through those later for the image that captures it. I would feel like I wasn’t really being present in that moment and looking beyond the obviously picturesque.

My question is just because it’s digital does that mean that we should be less thoughtful about the shots that we take? Would your photography improve if you treated it more like film?

Winter…

blues.

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The deeper the blue becomes, the more strongly it calls man towards the infinite, awakening in him a desire for the pure and, finally, for the supernatural… The brighter it becomes, the more it loses its sound, until it turns into silent stillness and becomes white.

Wassily Kandinsky

This week I felt the first brush of winter and it sent me rushing outside to attempt the first “frozen” of the season.

All around me I hear mutterings from people mourning the loss of summer but all I can think of is…soon.

This season brings with it a partnership with nature and I can’t wait to see what creations I can capture.

I’m ready…bring it!

Photography…

and the photographer’s vision.

dsc_9659The goal of abstract art is to communicate the intangible, that which eludes the photograph and normal seeing.

Curtis Verdun

Hmmm, but does it?

I think that photography is often underestimated and I have found it to be an incredibly complex and fluid medium.

I believe that you could line up a dozen photographers in any setting and come away with a dozen distinctly different images and that to me is one of its inherently beautiful traits.

I don’t know what you might see when you look at this image but for me it encapsulates the beauty of one river from its garnet sands to the play of light on the rippling currents.

My style of shooting begins with a focus on the larger picture and from those images I begin to focus down on the elements that to me speak the loudest.

Sure, I could have photographed the river, as a river, but for me it’s more about the feeling. I like to really pare things down until you simply cannot remove another element.

What thoughts go into your images? When do you feel like you’ve captured the image?