Thursday, May 31, 2012

Alone in the Forest

I’m a photographer first,  that much is certain.  When I finished processing this picture I then starting writing this blog.  From the start I was not even sure I would end up with a picture worth sharing, yet as soon as I finished processing the picture I knew what I wanted to say.  As photographers I think we strive to tell a story with our images.  Some images immediately tell a story but those are usually rare and infrequent, and  I would suggest these image are also quite powerful.  It is what we strive to do and most of the time fail to achieve.  

The story is not quite obvious with other images.   In this case the story I’m telling is a stop along my journey as a night photographer.   While I’m pretty happy with my skill set when it comes to taking images at night,  I’m always looking to improve or take my pictures to the next level.  On this night I was using a new light and obtaining a good white balance with this light is was turning out to be quite a challenge.  The benefit of this light is that it will run for an hour with a single charge, something my other high power lights will not do.  But the tradeoff is a very cold light (in terms of color temperature).   

Recently I have been integrating light orbs into some of my night and UrbanEx photography.  There are some who have decided to spend their entire photographic pursuit just shooting these orbs.  Well not me!  I like them, but I will be the first to tell you that I don’t think they are the pinnacle of night photography.   I view them as another technique and not at all essential.  Perhaps this take it or leave it attitude will prevent me from achieving greatness with the orbs but I can live with that. 

As with much night photography you need to pre-visualize the scene.   I originally thought I would shoot the scene vertically and I did, but you will never see that photo because it just did not work.  Luckily I also shot the scene horizontally and I think this works a bit better.    Without the orb this is just a tree lined road and not sufficient to make an interesting picture.  I think the orb adds another dimension to the shot and in this case makes it complete.   Photography is a  journey and you need to work through shots like this in order to work toward the next level. 

In the photo above I was in the Rapidan Wildlife Management area of Shenandoah National Park.  I’m several miles from the nearest real road without cell phone service and thus “Alone in the Forest”.

Friday, May 25, 2012

One More

I just finished my first edit of the field of flowers I wrote about in the previous post and wanted to share one more.   I just love how the edges fold together and the image becomes more about shape and color. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Explosion of Color

It seems that each year I do some flower photography but never quite as much as I wish.  A couple weeks ago I was driving on a highway exit ramp and noticed a beautiful field of poppies in between the highway and the ramp.  I did what I absolutely hate to do and got up before sunrise to shoot the flowers.  I was on site for at least an hour before the light got too harsh.  In addition to using my Lensbaby for most of my shots, I also had fun shooting with my iPhone.  One of the (many) great things about shooting with the iPhone is that I can edit the pictures and post to Facebook and Twitter before I get home.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

Dodge Truck

I shot this old Dodge truck about a year ago.   At the time it was my intention to blog about the shot, but I had a pending invitation to speak about Night Photography and Light Painting at the Loudoun Camera Club and decided to keep the image and several others off the blog until after my lecture.   I did put the picture up on my website, but these days most people spend their time on Facebook and Twitter and I think as a result don’t spend as much time visiting photo websites.  

Back to the picture.  As with most of my light painting the shot is a composite of multiple images.  I keep the tripod stable and move around the scene lighting the truck, and background from different angles.  I find that shooting multiples allows me much more flexibility when it comes to creating the final product.   I had another photographer with me when I shot this scene and sent him the final composite, his reply was something along the line of “I never envisioned that”.  The other part of shooting composites is you really need a vision before you start shooting.  Then you spend your time working to create that vision!  

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Beautiful Day?

I think nearly everyone would agree that the shot above would be considered a beautiful morning and truly it was a beautiful morning, but not for photography!  I have shot this scene on Sparks Lane in Cades Cove several times and each time I’m denied what I really seek.   While I’m certainly happy with the above panorama, I would really be happy if I had a nice layer of fog that hugged the ground with the sun breaking through.   I have no idea how often this occurs in Cades Cove, but I’m under the impression that it happens often enough that many other photographers have gotten the shot. 

The Smoky Mountains National Park is such a wonderful place that it is nearly impossible to have a bad day and fog or not, there are not many other places I would rather be, given the choice.