One…

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Light is meaningful only in relation to darkness, and truth presupposes error. It is these mingled opposites which people our life, which make it pungent, intoxicating. We only exist in terms of this conflict, in the zone where black and white clash.

Louis Aragon

Spring is trying to make a comeback.

As temperatures drop at night, the battle between snowflake and raindrop ensues leaving behind a wintry mix.

A sure sign though that it’s winning is the lone goose.

Soon we will be seeing bright pops of green in photos as people embrace the new season.

I see spring in black and white…what does it look like to you?

 

Light…

and weather.
DSC_6191-3Nature is so powerful, so strong. Capturing its essence is not easy – your work becomes a dance with light and the weather. It takes you to a place within yourself.

Annie Leibovitz

The Cloud Appreciation Society believes that clouds are nature’s poetry and I would have to agree. I’ve embarked on a self guided study of them and the more I watch them the more disappointed I am to wake up to a “blue sky” day!

This day was filled with endless drama: rain, hail, wind, and the very occasional pop of light when the sun broke through.

If I hadn’t been sitting in my Jeep with the window rolled down and settings dialed in, I would have missed it. I’d been hoping for some lightning but that brief moment of sun worked to add the perfect highlight to my gray study of the lake.

Two things that were invaluable for my shooting set-up that I always have in my Jeep…a trash bag and a beanbag. The trash bag becomes a poor man’s raincoat for my camera and lens and the bean bag gets draped on my window ledge to hold my camera steady. Not always easy during stormy conditions.

Have a great week and remember: having your head in the clouds is a good thing!

Capturing artistry…

what does it take?

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Music, in performance, is a type of sculpture. The air in the performance is sculpted into something.

Frank Zappa

After many days of gray skies and rain I took to my archives in search of some light.

This image with musicians Nicholas Crosa and Pansy Chang of Pink Martini was taken at an outdoor concert in the early evening.

Their music is a joy to listen to and the visuals of them playing together is in itself like watching a ballet.

I rarely use a flash preferring instead to compose using whatever light is available; in this particular case the stage lighting was soft and dramatic and the slight noise added by using a higher ISO of 800 was negligible..

Minimal lighting creates lost and found edges that leaves so much more to the imagination than illuminating every detail would have.

Artistry for me goes beyond simply mastering a skill and takes it to that level where you no longer have to think about the technical details but can fully immerse yourself in capturing the moment.

Moments are not guaranteed to come on a daily basis and that is why one needs to shoot every day, under all conditions so that you’re ready and not fumbling with settings when you see something that moves you. Having your camera set on auto would not have captured this moment.

The duo of components that I am always looking for and that bring me the greatest joy when captured are movement and light; they are rather like a tango; intertwined and passionate.

Her arm, so gracefully extended, wrist slightly cocked; his smile, soft and gentle. The light just touching part of their faces…their duet pure artistry.

And the music?

Perfection…

On composition and snowboarding…

and how light affects them both.

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How the visual world appears is important to me. I’m always aware of the light. I’m always aware of what I would call the ‘deep composition.’ Photography in the field is a process of creation, of thought and technique. But ultimately, it’s an act of imaginatively seeing from within yourself.

Sam Abell

I’ve been thinking a lot about composition lately. I am going to use snowboarding here as an analogy to one of its components. Being winter in the Northwest I have encountered a lot of flat light which makes riding with your feet strapped onto a waxed board down a mountain just a little more challenging. Even when there is just a hint of light one can see the curves take shape and it becomes far easier to pick a line.

And so it is for photography; just that bit of light allows the eye to move through an image highlighting a curve here, marking a shadow there. When the light is not available composition takes on a different tone and I find myself relying more on a braille approach where I move around framing the shot using visual clues until it just feels right.

Years ago one of my mentors told me to learn the rules first, then break them. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me at first but it does get you into the habit of looking at the whole image instead of just whatever it is that you perceive to be the main subject.

Composition can be aided by so many factors: color, light, lines, vanishing points to name a few. It is an interesting process to look at other mediums in addition to photography and see what draws you in.

There is a lot of emphasis placed on finding your style and developing something that you become known for and I think that this spans across the different mediums, not just photography. Composition and how you see things can play a huge role in this.

January is a great time to look back on the year’s body of work and see what is working and what is not. Think back on those times when someone returns from a trip and you get invited to see the slide show or to look at the photographs and… there are hundreds of them. Nothing has been culled and more than likely, nothing has been edited. This for me is the quintessential difference in being a photographer and being someone who owns a camera.

It’s the start of a brand new year which makes it the perfect time to see where you are at and more importantly where you want to be.

One picture is worth a thousand words…is your voice being heard?