Monday, 29 June 2009

Another Abstract

Nothing special today. Just a recent image taken next to by back deck. This is the lattice work on the lower deck shot through some pink flowers. Another example of my ongoing 'I make more pictures at home than anywhere else' theme.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Peggy's Cove

It’s something of a cliché, but I don’t think you can do a photo workshop in Nova Scotia without visiting Peggy’s Cove. We made the trip, but didn’t shoot a lot as it was raining most of the time (and my rain coat was in the trunk of my car back in Halifax.). Didn’t get up to the lighthouse either, which is just as well since it was in desperate need of a paint job. Mostly hung around the wharves and shot away. It’s all been done before (what hasn’t?) but it was great just the same.

Impressionist Abstracts

Yes, I know that these are not the same thing. But follow along and you’ll see the connection. We did a lot of shooting impressionistic images by multiple exposures & camera movement, as well as abstract images in the workshop I attended recently. For example, the two images shown here. The first is from a wonderfully over mature and overgrown apple orchard. It was made by setting the camera to a small aperture/long shutter speed, and turning the camera. A fairly hit or miss proposition (I killed a lot of pixels to get this one) but can be quite impressive when it comes out right. The second was taken on the waterfront, and is of reflections in the gently moving water.

For a long time, I was a fairly straightforward nature and snapshot photographer. Nothing fancy, nothing the uninitiated couldn’t recognize. But I found it very hard to get a unique image. We all know what, for example, a mountain looks like. And have a good idea of what a ‘good’ photograph of a mountain should look like. And when photographing mountains, the tendency is to try to make the mountain look like it ‘should’. Which makes it hard to get an image that gives the impression of how ‘you’ see the mountain. To paraphrase a piece I once read, all pictures of Yosemite looks like those of Ansell Adams, because Ansell taught us how Yosemite looks like in photographs. Kind of circular reasoning, but illustrates the point.

So what’s the connection? With abstracts and impressions, it’s much easier to let oneself go photographically. There is less of a ‘template’ to follow, so I find it easier to relax and see whatever jumps out and grabs me. Which makes many of these images imminently satisfying to the photographic soul.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Yet Another Junkyard

Really, after years of photographing and never setting foot in a junkyard, what are the odds that I would spend two weekends in a row prowling around car wrecks with a camera. But that is what happened. I signed up for a photography workshop with Stephen Patterson and the first stop was another junkyard (there were other stops throughout the weekend; more on that in later posts). This was a good junkyard, acres of wrecks and lots of variety for abstracts and similar, like the two shots at the top of this post.

But the real find was a burned out mobile home. I don't know the story behind it or where it came from, but it was now tucked away in a corner of the yard. It was great visually, with strong graphic lines of charred wood, soft & diffuse colours from the layers of ash and soot, etc. And quite sad too, since all the former owner's possessions were still in the trailer. Clothes, kitchen dishes, a piece of mail somehow unscathed by the fire; it was all still there. I made what I think are some of my strongest images in a long time at the trailer. I'm not sure the exact reason I feel that way, whether it is the great visuals or the emotion.

Here's one of my favorites: