Much of Guy Tal’s work is about beams of light, and isolation.
Abstracting images by carefully selecting lit areas within a picture
frame and visually separating them from the rest of the image, is a
form of “high art”. Guy Tal is sort of a form of high art himself.
I’ve never shared the imagery of Myer Bornstein before and I have been
derelict in my duty. This powerful image was created along the Rhode
Island Atlantic coast. Myer does something here that you rarely see.
He utilized a fast shutter speed rather than slow on a moving water
picture. This leaves us with an entirely different impression of the
location than a slow, dreamy image would. You feel almost like you
could cut yourself on the rocks, or even the water.
This is a unique and beautiful image.
Greg Downing is one of America’s preeminent bird photographers. I
believe that this hauntingly beautiful image of a Barn Owl with a
mouse was created from a setup during a workshop he was teaching.
Obviously there is much to learn from someone like Greg.
It used to be that I looked forward to mixing my own imagery on these
pages with that of the world’s top photographers. As equipment,
techniques, software and the art of image making become more evolved,
it has become less of a thrill to add my own old photos, but here we
As is the norm with me, my own pictures for today were selected by
metaphorically throwing darts against the wall. Whatever gets hit,
As most of you know, I love using shadows in my images. That is
especially true with nature landscapes and architectural images. It
is not a new phenomenon with me.
Each of the three images below employ shadows in their makeup. They
also have in common the fact that they began their lives a long time
ago on film. They were all made with a medium format film camera and
color transparency film.
This first photo was made in 1986. I was traveling in Colorado one
morning in the San Juan region of the Rockies. As the sun began to
illuminate some mountain tops I loved the effect it produced. Shadows
not only create drama in an image, they also produce contrast which
make the resulting photos “pop”.
This next picture began its life in 1992 in Arches N.P. in Utah.
A few years ago after copying my film image into the digital format I
elected to alter the image into black & white.
As much as I love red rocks in the morning sun, I felt that this
picture had more character without the aid of color. Sometimes
reducing a color image to b&w will eliminate distractions and make the
image more primeval.
This photo of the Quari Ruins in New Mexico was created round about
1998 in Mew Mexico.
With this image color, and the inherent contrasts produced by the
cool, blue sky and the warm stone, added both the contrast and the
drama I sought after.
Sunrise/sunset is often enhanced by crisp, well-defined shapes in the
form of a silhouette. When there are few or none of those shapes to be
had, it is the horizon line that produces the balance which creates a
sense of order within the picture frame.
The first photo was made along the shores of Lake Michigan, and the
second at the shoreline of the much smaller Wolf Lake. When I was
around home here in southeastern Wisconsin, those were two of my “go
to” locations for sunrises.
Both images border on the abstract, but do so without slipping over
the line we call reality.
Close-up photography lends itself to patterns and details, as well as
Morning dew on a plant leaf, is all any photographer needs for a
worthwhile subject. A clean unobtrusive background is all I needed to
promote not only the droplets of dew left behind by the damp
nighttime, but to also give credence to the sweeping lower left to
upper right journey (composition) taken by the leaf.
The question has been asked of me, when I was out in the field
creating images, did all of these descriptive phrases and metaphors
occur to me, or are they just a byproduct of writing the article?
In most cases, all of the compositional and artistic thoughts
occurred to me while in the field, but the creative wording is a
result of all of these years of writing. Writing about photography, is
both about photography, and writing.
Wildlife is a different animal, pun intended.
Wildlife can be just is much about composition or other creative
decisions as any other form of photography, however it often is just
as much about getting the shot of a new (to your files) or unusual
The Northern Cardinal is a plentiful species in my part of the world.
That doesn’t mean that I did not photograph them at every chance.
If you feed birds, or if you have access to bird feeders, you
automatically have access to birds like this male Cardinal. I know
lots of bird photographers would reject pictures at feeding stations.
I always made them wherever and whenever I could get them.
As popular as bird photography is, human beings always relate to
mammals the best. When the mammal at hand is a relative, albeit
somewhat distant, to your pet pooch they will go crazy over them.
Many of the most enjoyable days of my life were spent photographing
Red Foxes such as this young kit. This youngster would repeatable lay
down so close to me that I could touch him. Of course I did no such
From shadows to plant detail, and on to foxes, there is no better
hobby or business than photography.