It’s starting to feel as though Winter is finally receeding in my neck of the woods. I still have snow in the garden but it’s less and less every day. How about you?
I feel as though I ought to have been out to photograph while we had all the snow and certainly now that the weather is getting better I should be getting out but I’m not. It’s all too easy to stay in bed for an extra hour or to have dinner with the family rather than making the extra effort to get out with the camera. Getting back into the routine of taking time one morning a week to get out with the camera when I’m at home is taking some doing. I’m trying though.
I’ve had my eye on this little stream for a while now with the idea that I would photograph it when there was more water in it. With the recent snow melt the water flow has gone from a trickle to a torrent in a very short space of time. Increasingly I felt that if I didn’t photograph it now I would have a long wait and so I got out with the camera at the end of last week and had a fun hour or two poking around.
Originally I had thought that I would like the reds in the weeds at the top of the image but when I got the image into lightroom didn’t really love it (the color version is below) and so made the switch to black and white. This is still a work in progress, the first stopping point before I reevaluate and decide where to take it next.
As always, thoughts and comments more than welcome.
It certainly feels like Winter is upon us here in the New England. Even though we didn’t get thoroughly dumped on by the recent Nor’Easter as some parts of the region did there was still enough snow to get out and play a little.
I was pleased to find out recently that the image above ‘After the Storm’ was selected to be included in the on-line annex portion of the Black and White: 2014 exhibition at the Black Box Gallery in Portland. The show opens Friday Sept 5, but images are up on the web now.
This is one of those images that almost never was. There are times when I ‘see’ images that I have to make even though they don’t fit follow the ‘rules’ of photography. In fact, depending on how quick or slow I am there is an internal battle that happens prior to taking the photograph that argues whether this image is interesting and why and whether I should even bother. If I’m fast enough I just take the shot and move on. If I’m too slow, fiddling around with a tripod, getting the right lens etc. there’s time for the doubts to start to take hold. With time, I’ve learned to listen to the doubts, acknowledge them and then take the shot anyway.
In writing about getting ready to photograph on the road I realized that I don’t bring that level of rigor to shooting close to home and I should. Home for me is Boston’s South Shore, a region that many people, perhaps most people, zip through on their way to Cape Cod, or Martha’s Vineyard and yet there are lots of great places Hingham, Cohasset, and Scituate among them.
In looking for local photographers that fueled the fire for me I realized that the south shore is underserved by the kind of photographers and photography that I like. The Focus Gallery does a great job of highlighting Boston area photographers with perhaps Cindy Vallino and Mike Sleeper being the most local of the locals.
I do have one book on my shelves that has been good for getting ideas about potential locations – Boston’s South Shore and a quick search on amazon shows another couple of books that I ought to have on my shelves. My major tool for researching potential locations has been a combination of the satellite view tool in google maps, the photographers ephemeris and of course doing the leg work of driving to check places out. I’ve written about this kind of virtual scouting before and you can see the process that I use by clicking here.
If you do live in a location like I do, where there is relatively little in the way of resources to draw on you’re in a great position to explore the area both virtually and in person and find unique locations that few others are photographing. Go for it!
I can’t say that I’d ever come across Alan Shapiro before watching his google talk ‘A Plea to Photographers: Use Your Words’ that I’m sharing here. His talk touched something of a raw nerve for me – the importance and power of telling stories with your photography and how that story can be amplified by the combination with words.
Check out Alan’s talk below and more from Photographers@Google by clicking here.
Unless my skills with the google are failing me, there are surprisingly few interviews (I couldn’t find any!) with British photographer Martin Henson. Spend some time reviewing his galleries by clicking on the link here and you, like me, will wonder how that can be.
Martin is based in Leeds in the North of England and, from what I can tell, much of his photography is essentially local. Excursions to the nearby coast and the Yorkshire dales – places that I’m reasonably familiar with – result in photographs that really do give a sense of what raw and wild these places can be.
I hope that you enjoy exploring the work of Martin Henson and I’ll leave you with another favorite of his images below.
I am continually pulled by the latest and greatest piece of gear. Recently I was taken with the absolute need for one of the fancy point and shoot cameras to make sure that I always have a camera with me.
I generally do have my DSLR with me but the 24-105 lens that is often attached makes it bulky and less than discrete. I was looking for something a little more subtle. What I ended up doing was putting on my 50 mm and shooting with that for a week. I hadn’t used the 50 mm in a long time and was pleased with the results.
My 50 mm is f1.4, not the fastest 50 but fast, and certainly faster than most of my other lenses that top out at f4. Playing with the lens wide open had been fun. The background blur in portraits has, for want of a better term, a creamy smoothness to it. Much different to what I’m used to with the 24-105. It also has a very shallow depth of field which gives rise to interesting effects such as in the image above.
What pieces of gear do you have that’s languishing at the bottom of your bag? Dig it out and have some fun. You never know where it might lead.
Pete McBride is an award winning photographer whose commercial and editorial work has taken him to 60 countries. His most powerful work, for me at least, started with a simple question ‘How long would it take the water in the local creek to reach the sea?’. That simple question led him on a 3 year, 1500 mile quest to document the colorado river from source to sea resulting in the book The Colorado River: Flowing Through Conflict and the award winning short film Chasing Water.
For a number of reasons I’ve been relatively house bound for the last couple of weeks. Finally last weekend I took some of the flowers that had been sent to the house. I don’t normally gravitate towards photographing flowers but I was getting slightly stir crazy. While our house is relatively dark, the garage gets a really nice light in the afternoon. So I took the flowers out into the garage, set up the camera and flowers in the entrance of the garage and spent a happy hour photographing the flower arrangement. Of the many images I captured this was the one that I like the most. As usual, I’d be happy to hear your thoughts.
I think everyone must experience the same thing. When you go to a place for the first time there are the obvious photographs that you have to take. With time however, either in the span of a single shoot or several shoots digging deeper to find the images that are truly a unique expression of our voice is surely what we should be striving for.
I have photographed intensively at the same location for at least a year now. I keep surprising myself in that I can generate new images when I give myself the chance. Returning to the same place in different weather, different times of day, different times of year more or less guarantees that you’ll have photographs that are different from one another even if they contain the same recognizable elements.
What I’m finding is that returning to the same place time and time again, I have to get out of the way to make new photographs. I have to drop the preconceived notions of what I’m going to find and of what I’m going to shoot. When I let these all go and be open to what’s there and what catches my interest then I’m able to make something different to the time before and the time before that.
For me being open and receptive can be touch to attain some days others I’m there almost immediately. It means slowing down. It means take time to wander around and look to get a sense of the place before getting out the camera. And then spending time with the camera off the tripod exploring options before locking into any one thing.
I suspect that the process will be different for everyone but the goal should be to slow down sufficiently so that you really see the options available. I’d be interested in hearing how you go beyond the obvious.