I think I snapped the shutter on my camera twice this past week. I can’t even remember what for and I haven’t even bothered to look. I know it wasn’t anything worth shooting. It was probably just so I wouldn’t forget how to use my camera.
The upcoming holiday season seems to be the only bright spot this time of year. If you ignore all of the commercial BS, it is a time of year when people seem to pause and reflect. I’m not much of a reflector but I do like to pause on occasion and recharge my mental state. Although I seem to be busier than ever at work right now, I am still not putting in the hours that I used to in the past. And for that I am grateful.
So, if I haven’t been shooting, what have I been doing? Well, I have been playing my guitar more, I have been reading up on things I need to know (both professionally and artistically), and, of course, looking at the photography of others. I am finding that I like about half of the photography I see out there. Of that half, about a third is actually artistically good, another third is technically very good, and the other third has a combination of both, which makes for a good, interesting, and lasting image in my opinion. That means roughly about 16% of the photography I view, I find interesting. Sure beats my own work which I find to be good 10% of the time and interesting 5% of the time.
So I still have work to do!
Here’s one of my favorites from a few years back. It has always been a color photo but I wondered how it would look in black and white.
This has to be longest dry spell I have had for a while towards photography. I’m just not finding anything that interests me. No lights, no shadows, no textures, no nothing. Granted it’s the crappy time of year around here and the days the last week have been, up until today, bright and sunny, which creates a harsh light that doesn’t work well with the dull surroundings. I prefer cloudy days this time of year. The gloomier the better to add to the mood. It’s the time of year where I actually want it to snow.
That leaves me to dig into my archives to see what I can find. I found this horse picture which kind of intrigued me. It’s one of my many roadside shoots as I wander the rural countryside. This particular shot was taken last November and I actually remember taking it. I wanted the horse to raise its head a little above the other horse but it wouldn’t cooperate so I took a shot anyway. In the end, it was probably better that way. And maybe that’s my problem right now – I’M not cooperating!
Speaking of small cars, the most iconic of all time is probably the VW Beetle. At least I think so.
This photo is no where near what I wanted to shoot at this VW graveyard. My boss spotted it when we were traveling one day and I thought it was a cool enough place to return for some photography, since I am a fan of old rotten things. The colors of the old Bugs in the tall grass was quite the site and I immediately imagined what type of photos I could shoot. So, since I was on vacation this week, I talked my wife into traveling 1.5 hours to visit the site.
The “junkyard” can easily be seen from the interstate highway and a nearby road but I wanted to get closer and went the safe and, I guess, legal route by trying to find the proprietor and asking permission to photograph out in the yard. His VW repair shop looked deserted as I pulled in, with a scattering of rusted out Vanagons and Kammbacks around the entrance. I couldn’t figure out where to enter so I took a chance and called a number I found on the web. The gentleman answered after a few rings and asked if I was the fellow outside. I guess he saw me coming. He invited me in to his shop.
Inside looked like a typical garage, albeit a bit crowded, and it seemed like he was the only one who worked there. I asked if I could photograph the old cars and he turned me down, saying there are snakes and other hazards out there and he doesn’t want to be liable. My emphasis on taking photos purely for artistic purposes didn’t seem to help. I don’t think he believed me. Fair enough.
I was going to ask to take some photos around the shop but I decided it was best I left him alone and went on my way. I imagine he gets bugged (no pun intended) by VW fans all of the time. So, for at least a consolation, I stopped along the highway for a shot before heading home. I took my wife to lunch on the way back for putting up with my excursion.
Single small cars in the city. When they are by themselves among the urban environment they just seem to demand attention. Well they got my attention at least. Of course it helped that I couldn’t find anything else to shoot this particular day :-) But I find that happens quite often. You go out to shoot something you had in mind, the shoot never materializes, and out of frustration you look around and begrudgingly think, “well that looks somewhat interesting”, and you end up liking the shots that you never intended.
These are probably going to be last of the Autumn themed photos for this year. I know, I know, it’s been lots of fun but I have to work with what I’m given. And given that it is heading into the dreaded “ugly time of year”….winter (around here at least), I need to focus on other things besides nature.
Fluffy, pretty snow is somewhat of a rarity to make winter enjoyable, at least in the urban areas I normally travel for pleasure. The rural areas I travel more for my day job and if it’s a snowy winters day I have other things on my mind, like getting home safely. And unlike someone who lives in more Winter Wonderland areas, getting around on the rural roads in Pennsylvania is no fun because of the hills and way too much traffic for what the original roads were designed for. Assuming, of course, if they were ever designed in the first place. I believe the southwestern Pennsylvania area just happened a couple hundred years ago and has stayed that way ever since, including the roads.
With that, I will be leaning towards black and white photography again in the coming months (along with a special announcement). It seems to work better on the dreary days. But for a last blast of at least some color, todays photos are a couple of in-camera multiple exposure shots of autumn leaves. It was extremely windy the other day and with no tripod handy I was forced to go wild. Successful?
While I get in a creative lull, such as I have been lately, I like to look back on photos I shot over the years. I find it fun and relaxing. I come across some favorite photos and I remember how the photo came about or what I was doing that day. I also come across a lot of photos just wasting space on my hard drive. Experiments gone bad, so to speak.
Every once in a while I discover a hidden gem. One that I passed by, presumably on my way to greater glory. This particular shot was taken 2 years ago on November 4th. I remember where I was that day, I was working on a construction project in West Virginia, but not much else. By the looks of some other photos I took that day, It was a nice sunny Autumn day. I was in an experimental period, playing around with multiple exposures mixed with defocusing (Orton effect) and zooming. This looks sort of like a combination but I think the defocusing created a zoom-like effect.
With that, I noticed that I have taken on a number of followers in recent months. I thank each and every one of you for taking interest in my work. If you are new I urge you, if you haven’t already, to take the time and peruse some past posts. Believe me there is some much better photography to be found then what you have been seeing here lately. I hope to add a gallery page next year to make it easier for you.
It’s not so much that I am in a creative slump right now but I think I am in an environmental slump. I don’t exactly live in the most photogenic part of the USA, so it takes a dedicated effort to find subjects of interest. I try hard not to bore you or myself by hitting the same subjects, but there is only so much out there. It takes me some time to look at a normal subject like a tree, as in todays photo, and look at it a different way and ask myself what can I do here. But having a day job that time is limited to a precious few hours a week at best. Domestic duties have to prevail.
What to do when the Autumn color just isn’t very spectacular and straight black and white isn’t working? Monochrome of a different color!
I visited the local park to see if there was any fall color remaining to at least capture something before the dreaded six months of colorless landscape occurs. Although the park looked “autumny” I really didn’t see any “big picture” type fall scenes and I didn’t want to resort to leaf details again. As my mind swirled with bright ideas followed by reality of those ideas not working I noticed the strong afternoon sunlight highlighting parts of the hills and backlighting the trees. I knew the color wasn’t very strong but I thought the scene may work good in black and white.
Later on, while reviewing the shots in my camera, I did a quick in-camera RAW conversion to black and white to see how it would look. I thought it looked okay but I decided to play around with some filters, adding an infra-red look and then some color to take into another realm. I think the purple color worked best as it was the most unnatural.
Autumn color is not overly abundant this year so, out of curiosity, I looked in my files from last year to compare the seasons. I found that I had a number of colorful fall shots last year. It may have just been the timing of when I was out last year since I haven’t been able to make the time this year and when I recently started looking around it seems like the season is over, photographically speaking.
Most of the photos I took last year didn’t get any further than my hard drive. I shoot and experiment a lot and most times I find a photo from a shoot that intrigues me and I run with it. The others seem to get forgotten as I quickly move on to the next batch.
However I did find this multi-exposure image rather interesting. I was experimenting with abstract expressionism, which resulted in a LOT of failed attempts. This particular image was a work in progress. I actually processed the photo but I never did anything with it beyond that. Most likely I found another image more interesting at the time or thought this wasn’t that strong of an image. Maybe it isn’t, I don’t know, but I do think it is at least worth sharing.
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