I have for you today two fine images of star filled night time skies.
The images belong to two members of the Earth Images Flickr group.
I did precious little photography of this kind during all of my years
of outdoor image making, and none that was done at the edge of
spectacular western canyons.
Lauri Sten made this brilliant image in Deadhorse Canyon State Park in
Utah. I have been there, but never accomplished this. The highlights
in the rock and tree make this photo jump off the pages.
Thank you Lauri!
This next picture comes from Peter Warne and is called the Orange River Canyon.
I am not familiar with this location but if that canyon is smaller
than it seems, it is possible that the rock was lit by a flashlight or
such. Like Lauri’s image, the foreground light is perfectly balanced
in a way in which it sets off the scene, in a balanced composition.
Great work Peter!
As I have done before, I would like to mention that the images below
are from me, and were not in anyway selected to compete with the fine
art from Lauri and Peter that I’ve shared with you today. They were
selected at random, and doing so set the wheels turning as to what
they mean to me, and what you could possible take away from them.
I often viewed dissimilar subjects with in same way, or better said with the same
vision. For instance, I tended to look at mountains and manmade
buildings much the same when I photographed them.
A typical approach for me when I was fortunate enough to have a
mountain in front of me, was to photograph the whole mountain, and
then either by increasing my focal length, or by moving physically
closer, I would begin to “pick the mountain apart“, so to speak. In
other words, I would dissect the mountain into pieces, and photograph
it section by section.
I tend to do much the same, with buildings. It is often the bits of
the building, that fascinate me the most.
The historic Door County, Wisconsin light house you see in my first
two images below, interested me the most, for its texture and for its
colors as they contrasted against the smooth, blue sky above.
An old storage shed was a part of the property and while it held only
minor interest for me as an old storage shed, the old door handle
and the way the rest of the shed and its old boards, contrasted
(there’s that word again) in respect to the green plants along with
that small cluster of flowers, was something that tweaked my interest.
The picture below is that of another old light house and this time I
said goodbye (photographically speaking) to all details except its
shape. I eliminated the “pieces” of detail, in favor of the
building’s glorious shape, by exposing the image for the sunrise sky
and rendering the building black and featureless.
Wildlife photographers such as myself, are (were) always on the
lookout for wild animals such as this Bald Eagle, posing or better
yet, “acting out” physically, but doing so in the context of its
environment. What about the environment first (a minus eight degree
below zero river), with an active animal within it? In other words, the environment, in the context of what lives there.
There are many ways to tell a story.
There’s nothing sweeter than a clean and simple perch, and nice bird
such as this winter Goldfinch, and a single toned, blue sky.
Photographers spend thousands of hours of their lives, searching for
these elements to come together.
What if the background is cluttered and a bit of a minus to your
vision of an image? Of course the answer is to shoot it anyway. It
brings us back to the context of the environment again.
Dancing male (courtship) Sharp-tail Grouse, dance in somewhat flat and
uncluttered areas, but off to the side and in the back, Ma Nature will
present us with a lot of brush. There is always thick brush somewhere
near-by because the grouse can take flight from a diving hawk, and
quickly lose themselves in that brush.
Always make the picture. The next morning you may find the picture has
more validity and artistic merit than you realized. If not, you may
have captured a nice bit of behavior.
There’s nothing more fun than photographing birds in flight. If you
have gulls nearby, their ability to soar, and their plentiful numbers,
make them a great practice subject, and in fact, a good subject in and
If you are fortunate enough, to find a soaring gull lit by the
afternoon sun, and have a background comprised of an approaching
storm, well contrast will once again win the day.
One of the great things about still photography, is that when you get
your pictures home, you will often be amazed at what you actually
caught in action.
I set up with cameras on tripod one day, after deciding that a corn
field full of Canada Geese, munching on a lunch time snack, would make
a nice action subject as they flew away from the field in small
formations. What I did not realize at the time, was just how close
they were within that formation. Just think of how much trust or faith
they had in each other.
I have used the image below as a metaphor for things like teamwork or
trust many times. Wow, photography as a metaphor!
Have a great day and may God Bless,