I think all of us deal with our images in two different ways. Sometimes we create a picture, we like it and we finish our editing. Then we tuck it away in a folder until it is time to share it in one fashion or another. Other times we finish our edit and we analyze the photo. Several times. We pull it out of its folder, and we analyze it again and maybe again. I am an analyzer.
I analyze almost everything. I analyze society, people, nature, religion, politics, technology, ethics, crime and even my photos. Oh yes I also analyze photos from others that I find on the internet, magazines or anywhere else. On very rare occasions I do skip my analysis of my photos, but that is rare.
Today I am analyzing some of my images. I would call it a medium level analysis. My analysis for each image is simply what first occurred to me when I looked at it. Nothing more and nothing less.
Neither of the two sunrise/sunset images below have been shared before. No saturation or other software created colors or color intensity (or filters) has been added to either image. I have not even added any contrast to either scene. I did of course expose for the brighter areas of the scenes, in an effort to underexpose the image and keep the dark areas as silhouettes, and keep the color saturated.
Hush….you can hear the sunrise. I think half of making sunrise/sunset photos is about creating mood. Even with the color of fire, these images often are quiet and serene. The light, colors and silhouettes of sunrise need to be composed. With this picture the division between water and sky, and how the foliage enters into the scene, are not accidents. Color is not the only thing that makes the finished picture.
Sunset at Horicon Marsh. I have two favorite near-by locales for shooting sunrises, and the vast majority of all of my wildlife photography trips to Horicon Marsh NWR have begun with the sunrise. Every so often, they finish with a sunset. Such was the case below. I am grateful that I stayed.
More than anything the two pictures above are about being willing to get up early, or stay out a little longer.
Desert Storm in Monument Valley I have shared most of the images that I created on my single day visit to Monument Valley Utah/Arizona. A great mix of sunny blue sky images, sunset photos and storm shots. In some ways I think the storm images are the most powerful. There is something about being caught in a storm in the middle of a desert valley that is eerie. Admittedly we never even got wet, but it was still eerie. I think the first shot below carries a great mood to it. I like the way both the storm and the landforms are spread out. You are forced to look through the rain in order to see the land. The land itself remains somewhat dark and mysterious.
The second image is a very different picture. Firstly it is brighter, as the clouds in front of the sun had thinned out, Secondly it is more compressed. We have a desert plant only inches from the camera. This composition is good (my opinion) but it just doesn’t suggest that there will be a stormy ride through the valley. This despite the storm clouds. This image lacks the moody atmosphere of picture number one.
Follow The Girls. Hooded Mergansers Using the pano crop has opened up a new way of looking at wildlife imagery. I began my pano/ wildlife journey about 8 years ago with a raft of pelicans. Rafts of water birds and water birds playing follow the leader are the two simplest uses for this format. I notice that it is everywhere I look now. The pano format of Facebook’s cover photo, and the same requirement on blogs like this one, has pushed many wildlife photographers to give it a try.
This image would be far less compelling in a standard format. These mergansers would still be playing follow the leader but a lot of empty space would appear above their heads. Space that is boring and adds nothing to the picture.
Marshmallows…..or maybe mushrooms. Wild mushrooms and other fungi have been a subject of mine since the late 1970s. They tend to be a fall back subject for me but the designs that they produce are always worth the trouble. There is nothing like walking (crawling?) through a woodland and finding and photographing whatever you find interesting.
this is an edited image. The darkness in the rear of this picture is intentional. The lower background was totally distracting so I added contrast to let the whites pop, and the blacks die. I don’t do a lot of that sort of thing but I am not above it when the occasion really demands it.
Side View. Black and Yellow Argiope. I love playing with different comps with little critters like spiders. I employ that flower composition thought process, of a million ways to look at your subject. Too many photographers of small creatures make the same composition from the back, afraid not to show all of the identifying marks. Insect/spider comps can range from the straightforward to the abstract.
Feeding Frenzy. Barn Swallows I love watching Barn swallows and other swallows feeding their young. Most are communal feeders and sometimes the adults sit in a line waiting their turn to feed the babies. Usually they feed while they remain in flight. I have even seen “fly by” feedings where the adult never really stops.
How Shallow Can You Go? I have contended many times that flowers are the nature photographer’s most versatile subject. They lend themselves to more types of interpretation than any other subject. Where you place your focus, and how shallow or deep your depth of field is, along with composition can transform your image. I know many viewers of flower images hate these shallow depth of field pictures. Just like many birders do not like bird photos where the light alters the color of the bird. I don’t know about you but I am capable of viewing the world at f 64, or f 1.8. If I focus my eyes on one single part of a subject….the rest goes soft. If I look into a scene and mentally take it all in….every part is sharp all at once. The creative use of depth of field is not only a photographer’s prerogative, it is perfectly natural.
I made only a small portion of this tiny Dwarf Iris sharp. The part I wanted to of course.
When Is Fuzzy Okay?
When if ever, is it pleasing and/or artistic, to allow motion blur in wildlife action. I admit I am not a great fan of this, but when it works it works. I have seen John Shaw and Art Wolfe motion blurred wildlife action shots that I loved.
I have never showed these images before. They were blurred because the light conditions dictated a slow enough shutter speed that this fight between two Mallards could not be made sharp. Remember low (early morning and shade) light also means shallow depth of field. I knew when I made these images that they would not be sharp. I made them anyway because the photographer who never puts her/himself out there, will surely become boring.
These images are not cropped or anything else. This is “as shot”. There is equipment today that could have handled making sharp images of these ducks. That is good, but we still need to allow our creative juices to flow.
The back story to the Mallard images is interesting. I headed out my door, camera equipment in hand, headed to Bong State Rec. Area for a day of bird/mammal/turtle/frog/insect/flower/sunset photography. Just a normal day for me. There were four Mallards, three males and a female in my backyard. Two males were fighting viciously, while the female (the center of interest) and the more timid male watched. I set up my camera low to the ground and clicked to make my somewhat interpretive images. They started to settle down and I left. After I left, my sister let her two and my one dog outside. A commotion ensued. It seems that the two warriors and the female lifted off at the sight of the dogs, but poor Herman, the timid one was a bit too slow. One of the dogs caught Herman. My sister screamed at them and poor timid Herman was set free. At first he appeared to be injured as he hid under a bush instead of flying away. He showed no sign of physical injury and once he got his breath back he flew away. All’s well than ends well.
Go out and use your personal vision to create some images, and then share that vision with the world.
I hope you enjoyed today’s post and may God Bless, Wayne