Firstly, today I would like to share with you three fine images from
three equally fine photographers.
This moody, inspiring image from Sally Douris is outstanding. I
believe she created this masterpiece in the state of Rhode Island. Now
come on, don’t you just want to walk into this photo and experience
this light and atmosphere first hand?
I have always had a passion for miniature ,landscapes. Those “little
scenes” which are not macros but not quite landscapes either.
This grouping of flowers growing among some conifer branches hit’s a
home run for me.Charles Harkins is the photographer who had the
vision to “see” what was in front of him, and the skill to capture and
Can it be any cuter than this? A Black Bear cub bellying up to the
table to have a look. Urusla Dubrick was where she needed to be when
she needed to be there. She also had the skill and compositional view
to make it extra special.
Photography 101, or the basics of making an image, is not just where
we begin our photographic journeys. Those basics will be melded into our more creative endeavors, for as long as we create images.
Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels are cute enough and curious enough to
make good and sometimes even willing photographic subjects. I don’t
remember how long this fellow remained standing straight up, looking
intermittently at me and/or passing cars, but I made about 30 images.
The obvious (and automatic) photography 101 here was to change my
camera position to vertical. I was physically close enough to the
squirrel that photographing in horizontal and cropping to vertical at
home, was out of the question. This is still a crop and I have created
some cropped images of this subject that are “so vertical” and narrow, that they
are essentially up and down, or north and south, panoramics. They are
somewhat interesting but ultimately they are uncomfortable to look at.
Photography 101 often wins out.
Working up close, with a medium length (195mm) telephoto and a wildlife
subject, in this case a female Snapping Turtle, means that very likely
when using enough shutter speed to arrest possible motion (only 1/6th
sec. on a tripod with this one), we will be using rather shallow depth
of field (f/13). That means that my point of focus has to be perfect,
and be concentrated on the most important part of my subject. In this
case as in many or most cases, the most important part will be the
eye. They are the windows that tell us about the subject. It’s what turns the subject into a living, thinking creature.
That is indeed photography 101.
I love photographing objects which are covered in morning dew. I guess
most of you already knew that.
With a subject like the dew covered Lupine leaf you see below,
crispness of the leaf and especially the dew, are pretty much
essential for future viewers of the photo to have a “pleasant
journey”. Even the composition here would be taught by any photo
instructor in a beginning photography class. This placement of the top
opening in the leaves, uses the common (101?) compositional idea of
power points and an extended version of the rule of thirds. Letting
the plant leaves flow down and towards our left, is a pleasing rather than
square and boring comp.
That together with those “in focus” and sharp dew drops, makes this a
photography 101 + 1 type of subject.
This picture of a dew dropped flower petal is a bit odd in its
compositional concept. This is a less “naturally easy” image to view
than the Lupine leaf. For the most part, the dew drops here remain
crisp, but the out of focus flowers in the background could produce
issues for some viewers.
You might say that this image is photography 101 + 1.1
As most of you know, sunrises/sunsets have always been one of my
favorite subjects. One only needs to get out early, or sometimes stay
out late, or both. For me, it was often both in the same day.
These first three photos are the same sunrise of the same subject, but
are different images.
The colors of this sunrise were deep and rich. I leaned towards
underexposure in order to keep it that way. I took my exposure
readings using 1% spot metering. I metered from what I reasoned
(guessed ?) was the second brightest part of the scene. That kept my
exposure low enough to keep the colors saturated, while leaving a
small light area, and a small featureless dark area on both sides of
those key colors. Pretty much 101.
This second image is not a crop of the first, although it was cropped
into a semi pano format during editing. I like it this way. It was my
intent all along, to create an image that could become “pano-sized” if you
will. I knew that the lower portion of the first image, where darkness
ensues, would be absent in this photo. The image seems a bit brighter
because of that. I actually stopped the lens down from f/8 to f/11.
With mainly the brighter area of the scene showing, I felt I needed to
stop down a bit to keep the richness.
This is yet one more view of the same scene. As is obvious, this time
it is more about the sky, and less about the reflections and the
silhouetted trees. I bumped up the shutter speed to absorb even less
light. I did this not because I wanted the scene to be darker, but
because it would become too light due to there being so much sky if I
did not compensate for that fact. The richness of the compositionally
dominating sky, would have been otherwise lost.
More photography 101+1
This next image was made a long, long time ago on film. It is a sunset
somewhere in New Mexico. It is unique for me because I can actually
tell it was made on Kodachrome rather than one of my usual E6 Kodak or
Fuji films. It was likely Kodachrome 25, but could have been 64. That
means an ISO of only 25. I actually have used that film to photograph
150mph race cars. Yes, it was more difficult back then.
The reason I see this as Kodachrome, is the inherently high contrast
that the film produced. I am assuming ( a former boss would say
assuming makes an ass out of you and me) that when I copied or scanned
(I have no idea which) this into digital, it was pretty much done in a
typical, straight forward way. I also (somewhat) remember making the
image and how amazing the experience was. In other words, it was a spectacular sight.
I cannot say how I made this image from technical standpoint, but from
an artistic point of view, it was created first and foremost to be a
mirror image. The extreme darkness at the top and the bottom are
likely a result of me using an exposure that would feature the sun
soaked clouds, and the high contrast qualities of the film. It is also
possible, that the reflected clouds at the bottom, were inherently
darker or duller than in the sky. Therefore, it is possible that a
graduated neutral density filter was used over the top half of the scene to even things out.
This is a unique and dramatic image but by and large, it was likely a
photo 101 shot.
Photograph 101, means that we have the knowledge and skill to capture
what we want, how we want. It does not mean a lack of artistic skills.
It only means that the vision in front of you is so special, that the
actual scene is what you want to share.
The great thing about the colorful light found during sunrise and
sunset, is that the silhouettes of great shapes that they can produce,
can easily be recreated with only a slight alteration in exposure, and
a “good eye” for featureless but photography friendly shapes.
In both cases below, the exposure was obtained by taking a reading
from the brightest area of the scene. I wanted both the leafy
branches, a the skeletal ones, to reveal their shapes without any
detail, and do so with a colorful, natural backdrop.
This is photography 101 with just a little extra in the “visions” that
we see in our all so important mind’s eye.
Without the basics of photography we are nothing. Some, I said some,
of the street photographers of the 1950s, cared nothing about the
disciplines of photography. Only their view of the subject. Their work
has mostly faded into oblivion. Those who mated 101 skills with
personal vision, remain great artistic icons.
What comes after 101+1? How about 102, then 102+1, then maybe
103+50! Who knows?
Since I published my Christmas blog, in which I suggested we keep Christ in Christmas, as has been the case before, the viewership of this blog has plummeted. In other words, those who share the blog with others, have stopped doing so.
Sometimes it is a sad, sad, world we live in. I will of course keep writing what I believe in both religiously and politically. I know no other way.