Below are a series of photos exploring a field of Spreading Dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium). These are all taken from the same place, at the same time of day. As I’m taking photos, I often move from the literal – capturing a scene as one would usually see it (hopefully with a pleasing composition) and move towards the abstract. Often what I’m after is the abstract photo, but sometimes the original, more traditional landscape is the one that wins out when I’m evaluating them afterwards. It often takes me months to discover if I’m happy with a photo or not. And blogging them is part of this process. I blog photos that I initially think are pretty good, and the ones I’m still happy with in a couple months will likely go in my portfolio.
Returning to what seems to be my favorite subject. There are always hard decisions to be made when capturing any scene, and with this one it was shutter speed. There are things I like about both of these – I like the flow of the first, but in the second I like where the smooth water meets the ripples. I think the second is a little more unusual. Which do you like best?
Water near the weir at Beaverhill Lake. I had to slog through a swamp for quite a long way to get here. On the way back I found out that by going around to the north I could have avoided most of the water.
I’ve enjoyed posting a lot of photos lately, but I’m starting to think the quality is suffering. The nature of every-day posting is that it removes the process of carefully thinking about the photo, the mental processing.
I will continue to post photos, but on a more leisurely schedule. I hope this will make the experience of coming here better for everyone!
Which do YOU like better? I’ve been going back to some of my older photos and trying this blowing-out-the-highlights thing. It’s a little different, and I’m still not completely sure what I think about it. So today I’m going to post two photos—from the same place, same time, and slightly different compositions.
Here’s the new one that I’m still getting used to:
Here’s the old one—this is the way things are usually done for landscape photography. I actually put my camera on my tripod, fully extended the tripod, and held it up as high as I could to get some perspective in this shot.
What do you think?
Often in landscapes I try to get all the details visible – lots of contrast, but with the blacks never going totally black and the whites never getting so bright they lose detail. Sometimes though, it pays to blow out the highlights. This is one of those things that’s irreversible in an image, and can look bad, so you have to be sure about it. But when it works it can add a mood to a photo that won’t be there otherwise. This is something I’ve seen done in lomo photography, wedding photography and some fashion photography for a long time, but I’ve never really tried it for landscapes. Curtis Round, another photographer who I’ve often had the pleasure of shooting with, has inspired me over the last few years. He often does this kind of thing in his wedding and engagement shoots, and it looks great.
Some people feel really strongly about this, so here it is – this is photo art (as opposed to a photograph). I don’t normally do a lot of processing on my photos (except in previously mentioned dust nightmares). This one felt like it needed a little more to take it a little further from reality. Because really who wants to look at slimy seaweed? So I played with the colors a bit. Honestly this is still less processing than you see in any fashion shoot, magazine cover, etc.
My goal (and the goal of most artists) is to create beauty, not to use any one process, be it film, photoshop, or paint.
In the interests of geographical diversity, today’s photo is from Morden, MB. I went for a great hike with my family around Lake Minnewasta this past summer. For those who have not been here, the park is very nice for people who like the resorty villages, but the trail is absolutely beautiful. These are harebells (Campanula rotundifolia — as opposed to the hairy flowers like this which are bluebells) against a lichen covered tree trunk.
As I was getting this photo ready for the post today I kept having problems. I like the photo – the complimentary purple and orange, the contrasting textures, the brightness of the flowers. But something didn’t feel quite right. I kept on going back and trying to edit it differently. I think I finally figured out my problem with it, which can’t be fixed with processing – there’s no clear focal point. The eye has so many places to go, but there’s no clear line to follow, no one point to rest at. I was going to scrap the whole post and start again, but I thought you might be interested in my thoughts and processes on how I reject photos I’ve taken.
And now, in the interests of posting a photo I’m actually happy with, here’s one from the same hike.