the art of seeing

Safer at Home: 1st day plus day 46

“The new coronavirus has … sickened thousands of America’s first responders and killed dozens more.

“But many have recovered, and they’re going back to work — back to the crime scene, back into the ambulance, back to the jail. Going back to this deadly pandemic’s front lines. 

“They go with a lingering cough and lost weight. They toss and turn at night, wondering if the claims of immunity are true. They fear that picking up extra overtime shifts may expose them, and their families, to additional risks. 

“And then they pull on their uniforms and go back to work.”

cited: Stefanie Dazio, Michael R. Sisak and Jake Bleiberg, After COVID-19: Anxious, wary first responders back on job Associated Press

Composing 180º rotated

In a recent email, Bruce Percy wrote, “I think I’m usually an observant composer,  but when I use a ground glass on [6X9 Ebony SW23] cameras my mind has to work harder at visualizing the final photograph as the image is flipped vertically and horizontally.

first composition

“I don’t use this camera very often so when I do use it, it usually takes me a few days to start to ‘see’ images the right way up in my mind’s eye.

180 degrees rotation
180 degrees rotation…crop adjustment

“After I’ve been doing that for a few days, it’s amazing to note how my mind’s eye adapts. I think there is a lot of usefuleness in working with images when they are rotated at 180º as they force your eye to go into areas of the picture that aren’t normally visited. You spot things in the composition that you normally wouldn’t.”

second composition

Composition elements used within the above image created using a Sony RX1003 f/2.8 1/125s 8.8mm 80 ISO.

While the first image brings my attention to how the spring’s morning sun highlights the autumn leaves, I found that the 180 degree rotation opened my eyes to how irritating the sun was in the upper left as well as invited me to explore using the horizon (rule of thirds).

Composition elements:

subject (leaves) sharpened by using a blurred background

rule of thirds

perspective

space

I would enjoy reading your thoughts about Bruce Percy’s discussion about 180 degree rotation and compositional elements.

dogwood photo challenge: inspiration

Week 24 Inspiration: Who inspires you (Inspiration comes from many places. Tell us about who inspires you.)

Sony NEX-5N f/13 1/800s 150mm 100 ISO

My introduction to Bruce Percy’s color landscape images invited me to study the amazing images of Michael Kenna and to visualize landscape photography through an eye towards minimalism and muted colors. “As I’ve grown older, I’ve found that I’m much more attracted to the wilderness and the people that live on the edges of it. Photography is a great way of getting closer to the land and the cultures that inhabit it.” ~Bruce Percy cited: Wotfoto.com

Ricoh GX100 f/3.5 1/620s 10.5mm 80 ISO

What I have found interesting in this exploration and study of various photographers, is that while I am inspired by Bruce Percy and Michael Kenna, I am also drawn to the street photographs created by Jasper Tejano who offers the viewer amazing colored images of life on the street, “… color street photography, to me, presents life with much more realism and dynamism. Especially with my work on silhouettes, the darkness of my subjects will just drown in the different shades of gray. I need color to make my subjects emerge from the frame.” ~Jasper Tejano

Images submitted in response to Dogwood Photography’s annual 52-week photography challenge.

2018 photography review, may

May is the month of my youngest sister’s birthday. Within memory, it is also the month of promised freedom…freedom from winter’s bone-chilling cold and freedom to escape the confines of home and school as jump ropes, marbles, chalk, and baseballs emerged from dark musty closets. Its promise was the promise of summer which held the yearning for freedom from school; and thus, the freedom to swim in the Yampa River, to ride the train to Steamboat Springs, to lose myself in a stack of library books, and to explore a backyard that had no fence barriers.

The photo study project during last May was inspired by my initial reading of Bruce Percy’s ebook, “The Art of Tonal Adjustment.” and Ted Forbes’ educational video in which he reviewed low angle photography.

What childhood memories does May awaken for you? Over the past year have you been inspired by a blogger, a photographer, a writer?

I am grateful for all of those who, in a role of teacher–intentional and unintentional, were an inspiration and within the listening and processing of their worldview a new window to my world opened. One window was opened this morning with this very interesting educational video about frames of reference which I will need to replay a number of times in order ease my mental fog.

2018 photography review, february

Today, I like the word Wintering (the act of staying at a place throughout the winter) as it has an underlying message of being at…rest, peace. A seasonal nap time.

Nikon D750 f/7.1 1/500 50

During this time of year in which nature slumbers, there is an invitation to sit beside the fireplace and study the amazing images of Michael Kenna and Bruce Percy.

February has within it whispers of spring, It also–like November–is a time of heavy snow storms and cabin fever. Last year I set out on a “frame within a frame” photo assignment.

What gifts did February, 2018 bring you this year?

a photo study: tone

toneweb
Nikon D750   f/4.5   1/320s   85mm   100 ISO

This week’s photo study is inspired by my initial reading of Bruce Percy’s ebook, “The Art of Tonal Adjustment.”  Thus far into this photo study project, the majority of discussions about composition generally concentrate on the basics of photography; such as, the rule-of-thirds, rule of odds, leading lines, the color red, and so on.  Tone, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be a popular subject and one that has a variance of definitions. For example:

Hue is the color. Saturation is the purity/intensity of the color. Tone is the degree of lightness and darkness.

blossom32web
Nikon D750     f/4.5    1/160   85mm   100 ISO

Tone is probably the most intangible element of composition. Tone may consist of shadings from white-to-gray-to-black, or it may consist of darks against lights with little or no grays. The use of dark areas against light areas is a common method of adding the feeling of a third dimension to a two-dimensional black-and-white picture. The interaction of light against dark shades in varying degrees helps to set the mood of a composition. 

blossom3desatweb
Nikon D750     f/4.5    1/160   85mm   100 ISO

A picture consisting of dark or somber shades conveys mystery, intrigue, or sadness. When the tones are mostly light and airy, the picture portrays lightness, joy, or airiness.

“Tonal range” is another way of saying what the difference is between the darkest and the lightest parts of a picture.

waterabstract-15webbnw
Nikon D750    f/4.5   1/4,000    85mm   800 ISO

“Tonal contrast” is created when light tones and dark tones lie alongside each other. In any photograph it is natural for the eye to go straight to the highlights and then move about the image, taking in the details. 

tone-1web
Nikon D750   f/4.5   1/320s   85mm   100 ISO

Tonal contrast is the basis of many successful black and white images. If you need help to see the tones in your color photos an easy way to do so is to reduce the color saturation to zero. It is easier to see tonal contrast in black and white images because there is no color to distract your eye from the brightness values within the photo. It is important to note that reducing the color saturation to zero is usually not the best way to convert a color image to monochrome.

tone-2web
Nikon D750   f/4.5   1/320s   85mm   100 ISO

Throughout my inital research, I found Bruce Percey’s articles about tone to be an invaluable read.  Hope you enjoy.  

https://www.brucepercy.co.uk/blog/?category=Tonal+Relationships

How do you understand and demonstrate tone within your photographs? 

a photo study: negative space

Photography, in a nut shell, is lines, shapes, colors, and feelings

In photography negative space is perhaps the most important element as it embraces the subject within your image — the element of interest — helping it stand out and inviting the viewer’s attention.  It is the aspect within a photograph that generally doesn’t attract much attention.  It is sometimes referred to as white space and has the potential to change what appears to be an average subject into an outstanding image.

shapes-24web

The simplest example of positive and negative are the words in this blog.  These words draw your attention while the background doesn’t.  The words are positive space, and the white background is negative space

Some images have high amounts of positive space creating what some identify as busy, cluttered, crowded creative works. These types of images generally reflect the busy nature of the scene being photographed.

studyofrhythumtone

The elements of positive and negative space are two elements of photography that are important because of the emotions they evoke. Images created with high amounts of positive space have the potential to evoke feelings of power, strength, action, chaos,  busyness, or…as in the image above…anticipation.

Negative space, in contrast, awakens feelings of peace, calm, quiet, loneliness, isolation. It is less about the subject within a photograph and more about awakening a feeling in the viewer.

shapesoddtrianglesweb

Negative space can create a sense of lightness, airiness…it can strengthen the positive emotions in a photography, emphasize the feelings of your subject, conveying whatever story you as a photographer wishes to evoke in your viewer.

duckswebNegative space provides “breathing room” giving the viewer’s eyes a place to rest and preventing an image from appearing too cluttered…creating a more engaging composition.

branchweb

Negative space generally mutes detail or color; yet, in some cases well-defined buildings and people can act as negative space as it conveys a story or evokes feelings.

rhythumweb

It is easy to focus our attention on the subject, on what we see as most important element of the photograph. Adding to or taking away negative space affects the subject within an image as they effectively become smaller or larger within the frame of your image.

negativespace-1web

At first, it seems that to set out to find empty space may be a difficult undertaking; yet, searching for elements that don’t stand out becomes more natural over time…try including the sky in your composition…it is expansive, everywhere, and often filled with negative space.

negativespace3web

Our mind formulates ideas about how objects in our world look and that is the reason an art instructor may invite her class to draw an object upside down. This engages the eye to see as opposed to allowing the mind to impose a preconceived idea into a drawing.

longexposurehorsetoothweb copy

Unfortunately these preconceptions distort the way we see a scene, and this can lead to photographs that we see as good, but not so in reality. My readings noted that a way to step out of the boundary of our minds is to ignore the objects in the scene altogether and instead concentrate on the gaps between and around them. This also aids in giving more attention to composition and seeing sizes and shapes in a more accurate manner.

Negative space, in the world of photography, may be more important especially if the photographer tends towards creating images that are simple; yet effective. Michael Kenna, Bruce Percy, and Masao Yamamoto are three artists known for their minimalistic images.

Examples of images that “focuses” on specific compositional tools are an invaluable learning tool. I hope you enjoy seeing these amazing images offered through Ted Forbes.

In closing, I’m deeply grateful for the exchange of ideas and images that I have experienced thus far in this photo study project and am looking forward to reading your thoughts and seeing your images.