A Closer Look

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!

Shawn

lilac3allignupcloseDesert Bloom

 

Down To The Ground

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!

SpookyTree

 

peeka BooWeb

 

Pizza, Pumpkins, and Pagels

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.

Taken at a pumpkin patch  west of Mt. Vernon Washington.
Taken at a pumpkin patch west of Mt. Vernon Washington.

Couldn’t resist this colorful still-life.

OctoberBounty

..and as always, some black and white conversions (see older post for tutorial)

Patch2

…and one more:

Plenty

Thanks for stopping by,

Shawn Pagels

(ArtSEEguy)

Adapting to all weather conditions

Like many other photographers, I often get that “itch” to head outside and capture something amazing. Many of us have family and other responsibilities, so often we can’t just rush out as soon as the light is just right or other atmospheric conditions that would make an absolutely AMAZING picture. I get out and shoot when I can, and when I do, I often take with me those ideas I had worked out from the previous day when I conceived the perfect shot. The only problem is, it’s cloudy and windy and it was perfectly sunny yesterday! There are niche photographers that focus on this or that and that is great, but for the rest of us who are always seeking to improve the craft of photography, being adaptive is crucial to exercising our creative minds and being productive. Here are a few “non-ideal” weather conditions and a few things you can do with them:

Cloudy and Overcast: 

Color! That’s right, color radiates in these conditions because there isn’t a harsh light source bouncing brightness around.

It’s anti-intuitive in a way, but bright sunlight washes color out of a lot of scenes. Longer exposures with a tripod is more effective in these conditions too!

devilInBlueLakeparadiseTrail

Bright Mid-day Sun:

Painters and photographers alike have always praised the early morning and evening light for the color and the wonderful drama it can create. But, what if you can’t get out at this time and when you do get out, the sun is beating down creating hard shadows everywhere?

Black and White! While these conditions might not be best suited for lush and colorful landscapes, they can be perfect for creating striking black and white images with lots of rhythm
and contrast.

mostThingsDon'tLastWebRemnants4

Windy, Rainy, Yucky:

Now might be a time to consider setting up a still life and doing an interior shot. There are many artists you can research online that have made careers out of doing incredible still lifes that are profoundly beautiful. Select items that either convey a theme with the objects themselves or share a color relationship. If you had your heart on going outside and facing the nasty weather anyway, make sure you have your camera protected and be mindful about all the things blowing around out there. Landscapes might be out of the question because trees, grass and other foliage will be moving around too much. This of course might also be a nice effect if there were a stationary object of interest nearby. City-scapes and architecture can be lovely in these conditions. Again, black and white photography could be a good choice for capturing moody street scenes. Try a faster exposure time to freeze a drop or two!

DSC_3519Complete(a painting I did recently, sorry couldn’t find a photoraphic still-life…but, you get the idea;))
Now, be adaptive and shoot!
-Shawn Pagels