Manmade

Greetings and salutations. I know it has been a little while since I last filled these pages with words and/or photos. I think I ran out of anything worthwhile to say or share. My metaphorical silence was never going to last. That’s why I have a blog. I guess I will keep doing this until my last breath.

Nature has always been my favorite subject for photography. From the microscopic, to the gigantic.  I have lived to put all of God’s handiwork on display. With that said, a photographer will create imagery of everything she/he finds, that might make a good image. The artistic vision and most of the techniques, transfer from any given subject to another.

Below we have photographer Chuck Bruton. This image of a rusty bathtub  nozzle and faucet, proves that anywhere you look, there are powerful photographic subjects. Like most great images, the composition may seem to be a “whatever” sort of thing, but it is actually quite inspired. The colors and the texture are especially visually stimulating.

Great job Chuck!!

With this next photo from Larry Knupp, the traditional compositional concepts used in nature photography, including leading lines, are used with a manmade subject.

Not only are the pier and lighthouse manmade, but those lights near the horizon are actually the lights of Chicago. This image was created in Michigan City, Indiana. Great work!!

These images belong to the Army Air Force, and were made after and during the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and Wheeler Field which is what you are looking at. I believe, that Wheeler Field was hit first.

My father was there at the time and he and his crew had the job of repairing any of the aircraft that were in fact, repairable. They did their job, at least those that survived, and our planes took off to meet the enemy in the air. No enemy planes made it back to their bases.

Photography like you see above, is oh so important. Recording history as it happens, and doing so as to remind us in the future, what mistakes we should not make, is of paramount importance.

The question is, did we learn?

I have never made any “signs of man” images such as those that you see above, but I have certainly made my share of other manmade subjects and done so in my own style. We can extrapolate nature photography to the photography of manmade subjects easy enough. The question is can you become as deeply involved with your subject as with nature? I think, that it has to become about the “visual” stimulation we receive as photographers. Angles, color, light and mood, can transfer very easy.

One of the easiest, yet most powerful ways to illustrate manmade objects is to reduce them to shapes. One of the simplest ways to do that, is to create silhouettes.

Lighthouses do make for easy silhouettes.  They often have an eastern or western shoreline to reside on, with a body of water in the background. That means that much of the time, the sun will either rise or set directly in back of them. Expose for the mid tones of the sky, and compose the lighthouse structure as if it were a living thing. Usually keeping the tower a bit off center, especially if you are creating a horizontal image will make the photo more engaging.

The same will work with any interesting form such as this viewing platform.

Of course lighthouses make for good fully lit images as well. Even then, the morning light with all of its warm tones makes a stimulating subject from a good one.

With this image, those dancing highlights (backlight) on the water helped to accent the shape of this small sailing craft. My exposure was likely of the one percent sort with my reading coming from the bright highlights. In other words, I wanted my exposure to be dark enough to capture those dancing highlights on the water, but bright enough to resist a pure silhouette.

Man’s creations, much like God’s, should be photographed from different angles and when possible, it is good to create images from both inside and out.

I often enjoyed making images in black and white when I was working with an old, or as in this case, a seemingly old subject.

I love old buildings with the secrets they hold, and the view into “what was” when it comes to their architectural appeal. Oh the stories they could tell as is the case with the San Xavier Mission in Arizona!

America’s southwest is the resting grounds for manmade structures of every sort. This old Spanish Mission was located in New Mexico and I loved the contrast between the warm brick and the cool sky, as well as how the smooth sky and textured rock gently conflicted with each other.

Once again, contrast is a visual aid whether the subject is nature or from man.

Manmade structures and nature such as in green fields and blue sky, can live in visual harmony. In this case, nature is the main course while a manmade building adds a form of reference.

Manmade does not have to mean low color. Here the colors of nature provide a striking contrast (that word again) with the colors that man chose to paint this barn.

Vivid red from man, and beautiful greens from nature, do not collide, but rather they harmonize in a reflective pond. I personally think that the composition, which does not divide the scene equally, is the most important aspect of this photo.

Manmade does not have to mean a barn or a foot bridge In a park.  This rustic old railroad bridge covers a portion of a tributary of the Mississippi River. I made the photo from a bluff. There are both colors and angles here that attracted me to the scene.

There are photos everywhere, we just need to be visually receptive to what we see, and when I say see, I mean really see!!

Photography can be anything from a way to accurately and literally register what we think we see, to a medium used to record and share how we feel about something we see. One thing is for sure, in this world, different people see the same things differently. Photography is an often harmless way to display those differences.

Be it from a message from God, or an interpretation from man, photography is still the best way we have to share with others what we see and how we feel.

God Bless,
Wayne

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