I am, in every practical way, an adult. As a creative, however, I indulge my inner child more than the average responsible grown person. There is a healthy balance there somewhere, I am sure. I am also certain that I have not achieved such equanimity yet, but I am still (kind of) young. I have learned, in my 47 years, that there needs to be an acceptance, at some level, of ones strengths and weaknesses. I am never going to have a well organized checkbook. Grown-up small talk still bores me to tears, and time, yes actual hours and minutes, still seems less a priority to me than most my age. I am still baffled at how we are so ruled by set points in the day. But, that’s probably a post for another time.
For all the things I don’t bring to the “adult” table, there are many things I supply with abundance. I have a passion for all things silly. Humor has always been an ally of mine. It aids in recalibrating my mood when the dark days appear, and if nothing else, provides a means for acceptance. There is, however, only so much acceptance the average artist can stomach. That is why the creative spark is such a life saver for me. For us artists, that is our super power; The area where all our supposed child-like qualities converge with our intellect, imagination and passion and are focused on our work.
The following photographs where little reminders to myself to play and have fun. I hope my puddle pictures provide you with inspiration.
Thanks for stopping by!
You know you’ve become pretty good friends with someone when they’re willing to get their portrait taken on a whim. As an artist and stay-at-home dad for the past seventeen years, it has been absolutely necessary for me to find time to occasionally get out of the house and talk to other sentient beings. (My labradoodles listen pretty well, but they don’t quite offer the same level of intellectual support as my human friends do) This usually means meeting for coffee in the morning with friends. By now, most of them are pretty comfortable having their mugs of caffeine sharing table space with my camera. It helps too that most of my friends are creatives. In exchange for modeling, my friends receive an updated portrait for their website or social media pages. Win win!
Luckily for me, there are also interesting places nearby the coffee and breakfast stops, and I get a bonus session at the seasonal produce stand or the many nearby inter urban trails!
Here are some shots from this mornings coffee time. Enjoy, and see more on my INSTAGRAM : Big_Wide_Lens
Thanks, and happy shooting!
Okay, as I was scanning recent photographs, it didn’t take me long to come up with an idea for a new photography tip blog entry. Yay! I forgot how much I like to share this kind of stuff. Really fun!
After reviewing images from an outing last Spring, I realized many of my photos were all shot with a single wide-angle prime lens. I was following my own advice and limited my focal range for a single outing. Now it’s fairly common for one to use a wide-angle lens for such things as landscape, seascape, and cityscape photography, but shooting wide can also create fantastic spacial effects and transform the mundane into magic. Objects shot at close range with a wide angle lens (see your lens’s minimum focal distance) can make objects that would otherwise seem relatively near to your main subject, appear quite distant. The perspective of your subject will also appear greatly exaggerated.
Please enjoy the following images I took with a 20mm lens on a full frame equivalent sensor camera.
Note the exaggerated distance in the first image of my two dogs (Danny and Sandy) and then the exaggerated perspective of the bench and the taco truck images.
Thanks so much for stopping by! Be my bud on instagram: Big_Wide_Lens
If there are other things you would like to see, please please let me know!
Its been over a year since I’ve posted new content here. I am an active artist and stay-at-home parent, so please forgive my lack of content recently. Visit my art page here–>Painting to see what else I do!
I have really LOVED shooting macro this past Spring and Summer. I will include a few shots in this post, and then I promise I will add more how-too’s and what-nots soon!
Thanks as always for looking and commenting!
It has been a long and gradual journey for me from casual to serious photographer. I first picked up a SLR back in community college, when I was being instructed how to shoot slides of my artwork. At the time (and for most things today) tools involving numbers or precision did not appeal to me in the least. For some reason, this tool with its focus ring, light meters and shutter speeds, really spoke to me and it wasn’t long until I spent a hefty chunk of my student-job paycheck on the cheapest 35mm SLR I could find. At first, I went fully automatic on all the settings, but I eventually came to a point where I could work fully manual. Back then, success to me meant creating photographs that were in focus and exposed well. My compositions were just so-s0, and none of my images were of a quality I would consider very artistic. That was frustrating. I was a decent artist that could draw and paint well. I understood perspective, lighting, color, tonality and line, but all my images just looked like snapshots…and I wanted them to look like Ansel Adams. Turns out, composition is HUGE in photography, and it would take me many more years of study for that to really sink in. With painting, if something doesn’t work, you can change it. In photography, you work with what you get! What a challenge. I had to learn P A T I E N C E.
Dang it! Patience. Waiting. Slowing down. Acceptance vs. anxiety. Going with the flow. All that stuff you see in the inexhaustible stream of Memes on social media today. Patience; the word that all of my instructors at one time directed towards my stubborn ears until the one day I finally embraced another concept and patience finally penetrated my young thick skull. I became humble. I realized I could actually get help from people and it was okay. I became a better student and my art and photography began to improve.
Twenty years later and I am still learning the rewards of patience. Learning that some days are going to yield amazing photographs, while others might only provide a single cup of good coffee, is an ongoing lesson for me.
Last week, I was in one of my favorite parks I use to prime my creative juices. I wasn’t really expecting much, but I was hopeful. There are a lot of places to shoot water, but the sun was already high and I wasn’t going to be able to take very long exposures. I decided I would just shoot trees and plants. Since it is a heavily wooded area, I could catch splashes of light hitting random sections of limbs and trunks of the cedar and firs. I wasn’t getting anything spectacular, but I was in acceptance of my situation and allowed myself to enjoy the smells of the park and the coolness of the air coming of the stream. After gathering up my gear, I headed towards a walk bridge and spotted something sitting on a tree limb. Almost immediately after I spotted it, a patch of light hit the object and I saw that it was a Barred Owl!
After a minute or so of admiring this beautiful bird, I suddenly thought, “camera!” I desperately dug out my camera from my bag and fitted my longer zoom and began shooting. To get it’s attention, I began making “hoot” sounds and knocking on the hand- rail of the bridge. It would slowly rotate its head long enough for me to get a few shots before returning back to whatever it was gazing on before. To push my luck, I decided to slowly walk around the owl on a trail that would get me another angle. After snapping some photos from the new angle, I looked over in the direction it was gazing and noticed a mother duck and its ducklings. Bonus! I was too far away to get a tight shot of the duck, but the lighting and the greenery in the foreground made for a nice composition.
It was a great nature photography day for sure. In the past, I would of looked at the harsh lighting and not pursued picture taking on a day like that. Experience has taught me that you can make just about any lighting situation work, and with enough patience and the right mind set, even your worst photo outings will be rewarding.
Thanks for stopping by! If there is a photography topic you would like to read, whether it be technical or artistic, let me know. I am happy to share all I know-Shawn Pagels
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
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
When other compositional ideas are not working, find a way to direct the eye by including a path in your photograph.
Here is a shot I took on a neighborhood trail. A clear path takes the viewer up through the image and through the natural tunnel. O f course, you will not always have such a clear path to incorporate in your photograph.
Sometimes, you have to really hun for these paths. In the case of this next picture I took on the Oregon coast, I found the water path first and then moved around to direct it somewhere interesting in my image.
Here is a similar example I took on a snowy day. In on otherwise colorless and white-washed photo-shoot, I found a few of these breaks in the snow that created compositional tools in my pictures.
When you are struggling to come up with a pleasant composition, try making a path in your picture. Lead the eye to just about anything and your pictures will come alive. I believe a great photograph can make the mundane, magnificent.