photography from the ground up

Archive for November, 2012

Mud, Stones, and Wood

There is no shortage of adobe ruins in the American southwest and there is also no shortage of photographs of those ruins. This poses a dilemma for photographers who want to find fresh ways of capturing an image.

So, how many ways are there to photograph ruins? I decided to share some of my techniques for making eye catching images of an often photographed theme. In the first image, I asked myself: “What drew your attention to this scene in the first place?” The answer: the corrugated tin roof and the color and grain of the door. So, I made a selection of those elements, inverted the selection, converted it to B&W, and added a sepia tint.

I made the second image in the ghost town of Guadalupe, New Mexico in the Rio Puerco Valley. I had photographed the two storey ruin many times, but this time I was looking for something different. I was walking around the small village, in and out of various ruined buildings when I saw this image just waiting for me. By framing the larger building in the doorway, I managed to say more about the entire village while still making a fresh image of the subject.

Here is a more intimate scene. By de-saturating the adobe walls and warming the remaining color, I was able to create the effect of a glow from the inside of this old ruin.

This last image was taken from an overlook several hundred feet above and about an eighth of a mile from the Mummy Cave Ruin in Canyon del Muerto, a side canyon of Canyon de Chelly. I used my 80-200 f2.8 Nikkor lens at 200mm. I thought about putting on my 400mm lens to get a tighter shot, but then realized that this magnification was perfect: it allowed me to show the subject in context; including the towering rock face above the ruin says much more about it than if I would have zoomed in for a tighter crop.


The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

I would like to thank Patricia Drury: http://patriciaddrury.com/about/ for nominating me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

One of the requirements of this award is to list seven things about myself, so here they are:

  1. I am a part time hermit
  2. I love life
  3. I am a full time photographer.
  4. I have a cat.
  5. I am a desert rat.
  6. I find solace in nature.
  7. I still have my first SLR camera, and it still works.

Now, here is my list of nominees for the award:

  1. joshidaniel.com
  2. insearchofstyle.wordpress.com
  3. cornwallphotographic.com
  4. astrawally.wordpress.com
  5. islandmomma.wordpress.com
  6. smackedpentax.wordpress.com
  7. natureofphotography.wordpress.com
  8. satnavandcider.wordpress.com
  9. appropriatelyfrayed.wordpress.com
  10. jodiambroseblog.com
  11. chuckastetson.com
  12. morganwiltshireblog.com
  13. insearchoflostpictures.wordpress.com
  14. briangaynorphotography.com

Award Rules:

1-    Display the award logo on your blog

2-    Link back to the person who nominated you.

3-    State seven things about yourself.

4-    Nominate fifteen other bloggers for this award and link to them.

5-    Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.


A Metamorphic Paradigm

There are places and scenes that I have photographed so extensively that I often think I shouldn’t bother to make yet another exposure. After all, if you’ve photographed something once, there’s no need to waste time doing it again. Right?

Some of these places have a kind of power over me. It seems I can’t go near without setting up my gear and making an image. That’s as it should be; it’s wrong to think that there is only one image waiting for you in any given location or subject. There is no end to the ways something can be photographed if you dig deep into your bag of creative tricks. The Bisti Arch in the Bisti Wilderness is one of the places that always draws me to it.

I have been to the arch many times. Every time I lead a Photo Tour to the Bisti, I take my clients there, and every time I go on one of my own outings, I find myself there. I could try to take a “been there, done that” attitude, but then that little voice starts haranguing me and I’m soon happily engaged in the process of composing and making photographs.

The result is a rather large collection of images of this formation (and others that I am drawn to in the same way). But, I try to give each version its own voice; whether I change the point of view or the focal length of the lens, or process the image differently, each of the resulting photographs portrays the subject in a unique way.

Sometimes, as in the above image, I give the feature a bit part, making it part of the background with other elements leading the eye to it. And sometimes I change the point of view dramatically

so the viewer may not even realize that it is the same place. The point I’m trying to make here is that making images of places or subjects that you have photographed numerous times need not be a repetitive chore. If you study the place and its environment, there are many ways you can come up with a fresh perspective and a new way of presenting your subject.