This or That

This particular post is meant to be one of those “this and that” type of illustrated articles that I enjoy doing.

If you are receiving this article in your email box, for the time being, it seems that I might have been forgiven for being free with my free speech. If so, thank you.

Photographers can get as caught up in being singular in the style and themes they use as is the case with any visual artist. Shoot the same subject the same way day in day out. That way we are sure of ourselves. When I taught photography, I was always worried that I would not have the time with a student, to express the joy of looking at any given type of subject in many different ways. Plural intent so to speak. Absorb ourselves in one style or type of imagery with a given subject, until we have a few “in the bank” so to speak, and then find another way of “seeing” the subject.

Dramatic light on the land, is a popular and obvious way to envision and then capture a landscape photo.  While planning and then waiting for that light to appear can take time and patience, the results are usually worth it.

This image of the Guadalupe Mountains of West Texas was created in the afternoon when the light was rich and warm.  The color and the contrasts of shadows which are born of the low angles of the sun which creates shadows, are more powerful (my opinion) than even ten minutes earlier.

This image of Monument Valley Arizona/Utah was created when the sun was even lower than in the Texas image.  Those rock forms jut into the sky just high enough capture the final rays of the day. Drama personified.

Most photographers seem to view wildlife photography quite differently. That’s understandable but never over look the idea that what makes the land powerful can do the same for wildlife.

Below, the warm light of sunrise bathes this baby wild Sandhill Crane by creating an inspiring, mood provoking appearance. 

What about the very edges of light and dark. That light is not made only for rock forms.

This Snowy Egret was dancing in and out of the shadows as it went about the chore of searching for breakfast.   This image has been highly successful in creative photography groups. Usually a wildlife image of a wading bird fishing, would only be admired in traditional wildlife groups. Light matters!!!

When it comes to wildlife, how close you are means a lot. As photographers we spend a lot of time, energy, patience and money (long lenses) on making wildlife images up close and personal.

An image that takes up a high percent of the picture frame, will always be a winner with future viewers of that photo.

This Common Loon is a desirable subject and the image is enough of a close-up for viewers to immerse themselves in the world of the loon.

True full body shots of a colorful bird like this American Kestrel are always popular and powerful in their presentation.

The closer the better?  Often times yes.

This even closer image of a wild adult Sandhill Crane not only shows in detail what the face and head of this species looks like, it is personal. We feel like we know this bird personally.

While close-ups are personal, they lack a “sense of place” and habitat belonging to our subject.

This female Elk with her half grown baby tells us a story of the animal in its habitat.  The trick was to wait for a moment when together, they struck a pose that “flattered the image“. It’s even more likely that I made  a lot of pictures of these two and this is one that I like best.

Sometimes a sense of habitat is more important than other times.

I felt that was the case with these Bighorn Sheep grazing in a area that was just outside of the rock forms in The Badlands National Park, South Dakota. You know exactly where these wild sheep live.

Close-up images of flowers is popular with a minority segment of nature photography. Not a small minority, but a minority. It was one of my personal favorites.

If you look at a flower compositionally, just like any other subject, you will find that macros of such lend themselves to the same sort of compositional decisions as any other subject.

Normally I favored photographing the type of flower you see below, using the same kind of rules (there are no absolute rules) as I would a landscape or even architecture. The rule of thirds, power points etc.  I used those rules below but this image has never been more than “so-so” for me. I never fully warmed up to it.

Light, color, detail and contrast. That’s what I’m talking about! Bringing several elements together in one image, can be done with a close-up of a flower, just as it can with the land in the high desert of Utah.

The dramatic side light in the image below, creates definition for the dew drops. It gives them a sort of texture. The composition is about giving credence to what is the closest to us, and slowly diminishing the rest into the darkness.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post. It feels soooooooo good to write about and illustrate photography again. It’s always nice to have “served your time”, so to speak, and move on to the next trouble that will be encountered.

God Bless,

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