It’s been a while since my last photography outing. I decided to get out of the house today and soak up some sun while taking a few happy snappys. It was a beautiful morning, but the sun was already rising and the light was becoming harsh. Luckily, there is a fantastic park nearby that is heavily wooded. Splashes of light here and there aided in these two shots captured with a 35mm prime lens. I enjoyed getting my bones warmed up today, but I will be looking forward to that next overcast day when I can capture all that April color.
I find that one of my new tricks is seeing what kind of intriguing shape I can put into the foreground using my wide-angle lens. The nature made holes in this slab of rock were too irresistible to pass over. The shape of the projecting rock formation is irregular so I chose to make it a dominating feature of this image. Not unlike my previous post about seeing abstractly, this piece came together because I was treating my landscape as if it were an abstract painting. Looking for shape, color, tonality, and texture, and arranging these elements with an emphasis on composition rather than reality.
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to visit my new Art Blog here—->art blog
Picture making, whether it be drawing, painting or photography, is ultimately about filling your picture plane with something interesting and intriguing. We orchestrate several elements, shape, texture, color and tonality, until we arrive at a pleasing arrangement. In photography, our subject matter, whether it be a single object or multiple ones, is often the goal. Being careful as to the placement of our subject(s), as well as lighting and focus, are key for creating balance in our image.
In my latest shot, I decided to ignore particular subject matter, and look purely at the formal qualities of my surroundings. I looked for tonal variety, interesting shapes, and movement. In essence, I approached my photo session like an abstract painter. This isn’t to say the elements I used in my photographs can not be identified. You can clearly see that I used rock and water. However, by thinking only in terms of abstraction, I was able to take the emphasis off subject, and work primarily on decorating the image plane. Thanks for stopping by. Oh yes, I now have my painting website up. Please visit my painting site for some abstract inspiration.; ) click–> my art
Here’s an example of how simply cropping your photograph gives you a better composition. I spent a great bit of time setting the long exposure for the water, and positioning my tripod to achieve what I thought was going to be a great shot. In this image, I had too many things both to the left and right of the focal point (in this case the waterfall.) I also noticed that the focal point was rather diminutive and by simply cropping I would solve both problems. I found a square format worked nicely! (Oh, and color worked better than b&w this time.) Thanks for stopping by, and happy shooting!
This image was originally tucked away in a folder, because when I was editing it, I was attempting to recreate the same levels of contrast and darkness as other photographs I was working on. At the time, I was very much looking for a certain criteria, and as a result, I didn’t see the qualities in this image. When I came back to this one weeks later, the calming, understated nature of this beach scene really appealed to me. I wonder how many other good photographs I pushed aside because they didn’t look like I thought they should at the time. Anyone else find a gem after they first dismissed it? Let me know! Thanks for stopping by. –Shawn K. Pagels
As with most things in life, changing your perspective can make all the difference. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, as the proverbial advice suggests, broadens our understanding of the world around us. In photography, changing perspective is a powerful tool we can rely on to strengthen our artistic muscles.
After years of shooting pictures and art making, I still sometimes find myself walking around expecting pictures to make their way into my lens at my convenient, eye level, legs straight, non-tripod mounted, lazy way of shooting pictures. Many times, simply pointing and shooting will suffice. Often times, you have no choice in the matter. You have to shoot when something presents itself. What I am referring to are those moments when the subject matter is fantastic, but for some reason you can not capture it’s essence. Those spectacular round river rock are white flecked, the water is hitting them midway, and you know it’s a lovely sight, but your pictures are dull and uninspiring. Or, there’s is a wonderful repetition in the way some boulders are placed in a pond, but for some reason the pictures you take are boring. My advice? Get down low.
Shooting from a lower perspective adds overlap , an important visual cue, to more elements in your photograph that you wouldn’t get otherwise. It also gives your images drama by placing more objects in the foreground, strengthening the depth of the image. It also allows for more compositional possibilities, and for me this really gets my creative juices flowing. Suddenly, I tiny leaf becomes a focal point and a major compositional anchor. A tiny piece of root directs the eye towards the focal point. A leafy twig springs up in the foreground providing a strong sense of space in your photograph.
Here are some examples of how I positioned my camera real low, sometimes a few inches, to the ground in order to capture the essence of my environment. Thanks for reading and keep in touch!
I came across this shot I took at Clark’s Point last year. I never published it or had it printed because there was always something I didn’t like about it. Today I made it a square format picture, converted it to black and white, did a little dodge and burning, and I am pleased! I am currently working on an online shop to sell some of my photographs…and I think this one wil be included. Thanks for stopping by, happy shooting! -Shawn Pagels (artSEEguy)
One of my favorite places to vacation is the Oregon Coast. Since the coast of Oregon is entirely park, there are a lot of great spots to visit and explore, and for artists, there is an endless amount of inspiration. I found this shot on file from the summer of 2013. A silvery kind of picture with lots of mid-tones, this misty shot is one of the reasons I love the coast so much. Depth can be conveyed so easily. You can really bring something out in your foreground when just 50 fifty feet away, objects become slightly obscured by the atmospheric conditions of places like this.
On one of the most beautiful October days in memory, my family and I made our way down to Gordon Skagit Farms. They had everything you would want in a pumpkin patch. They had a corn maze, fresh apple cider, plenty of pre-picked gourds in all shapes and sizes, and of course a great big field of pumpkins. I was originally hoping for a nice overcast day to capture the color of the fields, but It was so gorgeous I really didn’t mind.
Couldn’t resist this colorful still-life.
..and as always, some black and white conversions (see older post for tutorial)