There was a period when I stopped playing guitar for a while. I just got caught up with a number of things and was working a gazillion hours a week with little to no free time. When I finally got around to playing again, I knew what I was doing but I could immediately tell I was horribly out of practice. I played the right notes but they’re just weren’t clear. Even more telling, my phrasing and rhythm were just plain bad. I needed to woodshed and I knew it.
Getting back into practicing photography after what seemed like an endless deep freeze of winter feels the same to me right now. I just wasn’t into going out and shooting during the lousy winter months, fighting the cold winds and awful roads. Besides, winters around here aren’t very pretty, more mud and frozen rain than beautiful snow draped mountain scenery. The city streets aren’t much better. Plowed snow ends up taking away valuable parking spaces up until the spring thaw. So I thought I would wait until I was good and ready.
I’m ready now, but I feel that I’m not very good at the moment. All of that time away from a viewfinder has made me a little rusty. I always sort of took pictures in my mind as I was driving around. Just visualizing how I would take a photo of something, if I was taking a photo of something, even though I was just driving by. Kind of keeping the mind working at least. But the actual physical process of finding a subject and taking the photo takes a little time for me to “get in the groove’.
For a first outing, I came across some antique stores a little late over the weekend, just as they were closing. So I was forced to shoot into windows from the street. That’s something I like to do anyhow but the bright sunlight, although a welcome sight, made for some contrasty light. I just had to shoot with a wide-angle lens right up against the glass to eliminate reflections but that also limited what I could shoot and compose. As usual I worked with what I had, in subject matter, light, and camera gear and hope for the best.
I hope to start practicing on the art a little more in the next few months and break down those creative cobwebs.
And I’m sure he would have the blues if he was in this tub.
Just another one of the many old bathtubs found throughout rural areas. This particular one has a spring emptying into it, most likely used for cattle at some point.
I can’t show this photo without some Little Feat
Enough haiku silliness, time to get back to normal photography.
I’m starting off spring with a nice texturally image of old wood and black rubber. I was drawn to this scene because of the old tire that the tree grew around. Although you can’t see it in this photo that is a real 15′ tree, with branches and everything, that the tire is hugging. Judging by that nice wide whitewall it looks like the tire has been around for a while.
This wasn’t an overly colorful scene and I immediately knew it would make a good black and white image because of the textures in the scene and the contrast of the black and white tire. The angled broken barn door only enhanced an already nice rural setting.
I have been looking at a lot of photography lately. And I mean a LOT! It is my season to enter competitions and, in turn, reviewing the results of past competitions. The one thing I noticed is that judges really like photos with a human element. That’s really great considering I rarely have any people in my photographs. Probably because I don’t photograph around people very often. When I’m in a city environment there’s usually too many people and in order to avoid “crowd” shots, I tend to focus more on details and architecture. When I’m in rural environments I look for just about anything to photograph but people are often few and far between.
Don’t get me wrong though, I do like some people shots. I like street photography only when they are well composed and show the interaction of the person with the environment. I do not like the random “camera at the hip” shots of folks walking on the sidewalk. I just don’t get those. I also don’t care for straight on portraits too often. I do like portraits that show a little bit of the environment, especially if it’s an “exotic” person and environment (for Americans that’s just about anyone from and in another country). The close-up of the craggily face just doesn’t do it for me, although I have done that kind of shot in the past.
With that, I am going to make an attempt to add some humans to my photography this year. I’m not doing it to win any contests, I’m doing it as a self challenge to broaden my scope. How I am going to go about it I don’t know. I am not going to copy any kind of style, I’ll just wing it as usual but I kind of know what I want. I actually “saw” a few good photos the past year that would have included people but I never followed through on them. In my head I’m already there.
So, here’s looking at you (maybe).
Just like the cattle this blog needs constantly fed, and I’m doing a poor job of that lately. My apologies for the lack of new content the past month.
This time of winter is my slow time for photography. A slow time for going out and shooting, even though it can be an incredible time for beautiful images, but a good time to organize my work and placing submissions for competitions. Organizing my work seems to get more daunting as each year passes. I need to find a better way of doing it throughout the year. I’m still coming across older images that I totally forgot about. My files are the equivalent of that messy desk that guy in the office has.
But that’s what a 6°F day is good for.
I ran across this tree-like crack in the ice of a very small pond and was drawn to how it was emanating from the small rock at the edge. I think I shot about a dozen different perspectives, some with the rock more prominent, but in the end I liked this “shot from above” look the best.
Processing was another story. I spent a lot of time on this simple shot trying to get the ice bright enough and the contrast levels just right to emphasize the crack. I’m still unsure of the final product, maybe it’s a bit too contrasty, but I had to stop somewhere.
I honestly thought I would be posting a lot more this year than I have so far. I had all intentions to focus on keeping this blog fresh and exciting but after the holidays I seemed to have gotten extremely busy at my day job getting caught up from the time off and the photography has sort of been almost non-existent. Throw in the spell of extremely cold weather and my camera has seen little action for a couple of months – although it seems like an eternity.
With no “new” photos in the works I remembered that I was supposed to show more of the seed pod that I featured a couple posts back. If you recall from the previous post I found this little pod very fascinating in its look and structure and spent some time playing around with various macro shots of it. It’s these details in nature that I like to find and explore more and more. As I looked over the numerous shots I came across this simple composition and wondered how a texture treatment would look, thinking it would add a nice element. At first I stayed fairly conservative, keeping with the warm, subtle tones of the original but as I experimented I found that I kind of liked a little boost in the color and ended up with this almost split-tone image, which makes the pod jump out a little more.
It’s a simple photo of a small thing but the way things look around here in the winter the smaller the area the better.