As I enjoy yet another blast of winter weather, I thought I would take a moment and stop in on my own blog. It seems like forever since I’ve posted but I’m still around, still trying to perform photography. I use “trying” in the loosest sense since I haven’t done any real shooting in quite some time. I know I shouldn’t use the weather as an excuse, but getting motivated to slosh around in the snow, ice, and cold has been tough this winter. I mean I have to do it all day long for my normal job and I’m pretty well done with it by the weekend and my only motivation is to sit around with my wife and enjoy a nice glass of wine or craft beer in a warm restaurant.
There have been a few glimpse of better weather and it does change your outlook and bring thoughts of “hey, this isn’t too bad, I feel like heading out to take some photos!”. But winter quickly rears its ugly head again and it’s back to hibernating. Now I know I have always said that if I lived in some beautiful place it would be easy to take beautiful photos but, seriously, even if I lived in the Rockies with grand vistas I think I would be tired of snow photos by now.
So, I’m still around and I will still be contributing to the blog as time marches on. The spring equinox is only a few weeks away, so there is hope! In the mean time I have been re-evaluating my gear, making some changes, and looking into having a dedicated website to better showcase my work.
In a blogging note, hello to all the recent followers that have come on board. I hope I can entertain you enough to stick around. Plus, I am going to try to get rid of those pesky ads. It sucks that it cost me money to stop them but that’s the way it goes, until I go somewhere else.
Winter is sticking around a bit too much this year and I’m feeling like I have cabin fever even though I get out of the house every day. Maybe it’s “camera” fever, where I am not being able to do any shooting. I thought about doing some indoor still life stuff but I don’t have the lights or props to do anything useful. But I did find a still life that I shot last year, around this same time of year actually, outdoors! What a difference a year makes.
These bottles were sitting outside an “antiques” store ( I use the term lightly because I would just call it junk) and I was able to take a few photos while onlookers probably wondered why I was twisting around on the sidewalk taking pictures of dusty old bottles. I totally forgot about this photo until tonight but now I want to hit the streets and start finding some more junk. If only that pesky ice, snow, and slush would go away.
As I continue to work on my “business” of photography (printing, matting, framing, submissions to competitions/galleries) and not actually going out to shoot, I find it harder and harder to come up with something to show here. I do actually press the shutter on occasion, as can be seen by todays photo, but I haven’t seriously set out to do any photography in quite a while. The ugly, bitterly cold winter doesn’t help any, of course.
I have just been lying low and getting things done that I normally don’t take the time to do. Throw in keeping busy at my day job, an old house, other hobbies (guitar) and the time for real photography dwindles - and by then it’s dark again. But as I have begun seeing an interest in my work lately, I am beginning to see the light that my labors have not gone unnoticed. One of my photos (the same one in Black and White Magazine, by the way) was recently chosen for the PhotoPlace Gallery Black and White Exhibition and will be on display at PhotoPlace Gallery In Middlebury, Vermont during the month of April. Being chosen for that and inquiries for other exhibitions and sales have fueled me to want to get back out there, knock my brain around and do some shooting as soon as I can.
Until then, Here’s a shot of a hot teapot. My wife had the pot on the stove and when I walked into the dark kitchen the first thing I saw was the red-hot glow of the boiling water and I immediately thought to grab my camera, which happened to be in the kitchen also. Just a fun shot, nothing more, but it brightens up a Winters day.
I was only going to photograph the snow against the sky (I do that when I can’t find anything else to shoot) and this little deer came running across the frame. I’m far from an “action” shooter so my reflexes aren’t too swift but I did manage to grab a shot before it ran out of view.
With the contrast of the snow, deer, and sky I immediately thought it would make a good black and white image. It does for the most part so I experimented with different contrast to keep it graphically simple. While processing I realized it worked best as a square composition, something I’m “freeing my mind” towards. When I had a black and white image that fit my vision, I thought I was done but for some reason wondered what I could do with it in color. That’s when I played around with some Nik software and came up with this. I ended up liking it more than I thought I would.
I know it’s a little “Instagrammy “, but that seems to be what’s all the rage!
I was thinking of doing a “Things That Are No Longer There” post of subjects that I have photographed over the years that are no longer around, such as old buildings that have been torn down. Instead, after taking this photo, I think I will start with a subject that is still around.
I took a similar photo of this glove over 3 years ago (without the snow) and I was driving by the area the other day and noticed it was still in the same spot, in the same position. The glove is sitting on some pipes by oil tanks behind a building in town, but it’s out in the open and easily seen by passersby. I don’t think the tanks are being used anymore, which may explain why nobody has tampered with the glove, or anything else in the vicinity for that matter. Considering it has been exposed to the elements all these years, it looks like the oil is working as a good preservative!
I try not to repeat myself too often in my photography subjects but it’s often hard to do. I have limited subject matter and limited times to shoot it, so repeats are bound to happen. I may try to improve upon a previous shot if I am able but usually the first time was the charm and my “improvements” end up being a waste of time that I should have used elsewhere on something new. Sometimes you can’t over think things.
I’ve recently have been entering my work in contests, mostly just for fun and feedback and to wile away the winter days. Most “contests”, or competitions, I have been entering have traditional judging, in the sense that a judge or judges choose what they think are the best images of the competition. Those are fine, I don’t have a problem with that method. Obviously the judges taste plays a big role and you do have to do your homework prior to entering and decide if your work can fit into their vision. That I can do.
But it’s the social media contests that irk me the most. The ones where whichever photo gets the most “likes” wins. A modern day popularity contest where the image doesn’t really matter, it’s simply based on how many friends and family members you can get to click the button. And it shows, because the work entered and the work that wins leaves a lot to be desired. I have entered a couple for kicks, yet made no attempt to campaign amongst my Facebook friends, just relying on those who are viewing the contest and supposedly judging. And, of course, I fail miserably. No like.
Feel free to “like” this post though!
How about some color for a change?
What to do during a sub-freezing weather spell? I, for one, carried about my regular work duties – to a point. Although I was out and about prior to the polar vortex plunge, I quickly decided that it wasn’t for me. When you can’t stand being out in the weather after 30 seconds, and you don’t really have to, you find alternative things to do. So I kept my outdoor work to a minimum and sought out alternative things to do. Like attend a nice indoor meeting. When you enjoy attending a meeting, you know it’s cold outside!
While I was out on Monday and after the slight warm-up today, I managed to take a few tree pictures. Nothing extraordinary, just some roadside pics, but it was too cold and I was too busy to put much effort into composition. That’s pretty lame, I know, and it’s not my preferred way of photography, but for now it will have to do.
I did like the brightness of the frosty West Virginia hillside and the almost natural black and white tonality. And the contrast of the whitish bark of the roadside trees against the coal-black road. They scenes were both obvious candidates for black and white photos.
It was a nice relaxing holiday season but it’s time to get back in the groove. As I mentioned at the tail end of 2013, I was thinking of bringing this blog to an end but decided to stick it out for one more year. So, lucky you, I’ll be around for a little longer. Actually I decided to reconfigure the site a little and maybe add some galleries to better showcase my work. You may find some different looks as you visit through the year until I find out what works for me.
I also mentioned previously that I was going to spend my down time enjoying the photography of others, and that I did. I have found a new appreciation for black and white and have seen some great and inspiring work out there. I plan on doing the majority of my work in the coming year in B&W to see how far I can go with it. I will still be doing color work, as the subject allows, but considering it’s not a very colorful time of year around here, I don’t think I’ll be doing too much, at least for the time being. Perhaps on summer holiday
I did get to visit some galleries to view how photography is displayed as I intend to go that route in the future. There has been some interest in my work but the whole process of printing, matting, framing, and marketing is somewhat foreign to me, so I need to get up to speed in that regard. I have had some silver gelatin prints made of some of my black and white images and they look pretty good hanging on the wall. My biggest problem has been working within standard print and framing ratios. A number of my images are in the 3:2 ration and can’t easily be cropped so that makes fitting in with standard sizes almost impossible, so I decide to do my own matting to allow for odd sizes and to save money from having custom work done. I’m not a “crafty” person so we’ll see how that goes.
Hope everyone has a great year!!
I know my contribution to this site has been a little lapse lately and for that I apologize. I know, I know, it’s really messing up your winter reading plans but the photo ops have been few and farther between lately and I have been at a loss for words. Plus, it’s really been an ugly dark winter so far, and it has barely gotten started!
Not all is a lost though. I have been taking up my time editing some long forgotten images, entering a few competitions to try to get my work out there a little more, reading up on other blogs and just seeking out some photography I like. And playing guitar because I really need the practice. I also have been doing lots of printing and evaluating how some images look on the screen compared to on a print. The print makes a world of difference, most images just look better when viewed on paper or, even better, in a publication!
So, I’ll probably kick back a little this holiday week and try to hopefully get back on track soon. Even if I do get some photography time in, I’ll probably wait at least until after Christmas to post anything new.
Thanks everybody for a great year! I was seriously thinking of bringing this blog to a close this year but decided to soldier on another round and see what happens. Hope to bring you even more great imagery in 2014.
My photo, “Curved Pipes”, was chosen to be included in Black and White magazine’s contest issue #101, available on newsstands now. It was placed in the category Pattern/Texture (pg. 231) and is also featured in the table of contents (pg. 11), which was a nice bonus.
I have to say though, among the 8 images I submitted, I didn’t think this one had a chance. I liked it but there were a couple of others that I liked better and this one was sort of a last-minute decision to include. But I wasn’t the judge, and after getting accepted and viewing it for a thousand times, I began to like it more and appreciate it for what it represents.
This years winning image, along with the image that won last year, have kind of solidified for me the type of work that I need to be focusing on. According to my wife, my focus on unique and often strange views of items in plain sight that would go unnoticed by many are what sets my work apart. My propensity to shoot anything and everything gets in the way of that at times and I need to start setting filters when I am out shooting. But not too much where I could miss out. It’s a fine line.