California is blessed with two species of redwoods, the Giant Sequoia (Sequoia giganteum) of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Coastal Redwoods (Sequoia semperverins) along the California coast from the Oregon border to 150 miles south of San Francisco. These awe-inspiring trees are both a joy and a challenge to photograph. I recently spent a week in Crescent City in Northern California photographing the Coastal Redwoods and leading a photography workshop there. I’d like to pass along some of the techniques we employed to capture photographs that do these majestic trees justice in breathtaking but often very difficult light.
Continue reading “How to Photograph the Coastal Redwoods” »
Tags: California, coastal redwoods, contrast, creative vocabulary, crepuscular rays, expose to the right, exposure, fantastic, fog, giant sequoia, god rays, HDR, High Dynamic Range, light, Lightroom, mist, optimum, photo workshops. Northern California, photography workshop, PhotoMatix, PhotoShop, sunlight
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“Did you manipulate your photograph?” “Did you use a filter?” “Do you use a Mac?” “Do you crop your images?” “I’ll have a nicer day than you; I’m not shooting a Canon.” Yes, someone actually said that to me at Bridal Vale Falls in the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon in response to my cheery, “Have a nice day.” I guess when you take the entire population of photographers you will always find those that are prejudiced and closed minded just like any other population. They think they are right and anyone that disagrees with them is wrong. It’s that simple.
The current issue of Lenswork magazine, the premier journal for black and white photography, has an article by guest contributor Jim Kasson titled “Previsualization in the Digital Age.” I couldn’t wait to read it. In my workshops and lectures I’ve always advocated that an artist interprets reality and communicates that interpretation through her or his art. In landscape photography I’ve encouraged our workshop attendees to leave their camera gear in the car until they connect with a location and only then set up their cameras to try to capture what is is they are experiencing. Previsualization, the anticipation of what the finished work will look like, is a big part of communicating what you are feeling.
Continue reading “Taking Your Photography to the Next Level” »
Tags: Ansel Adams, anticipation, artists, California, Canon, Carmel, communication, constraining, crazy, creative vocabulary, Darkroom, decisive moment, delightful, experience, Filter, grow, Half Dome, Henry Cartier-Bresson, impressionistic, inspirational, interpretation, Jim Kasson, journey, lecture, Lenswork, Lightroom, Mac, moving, Nikon, open minded, PC, personal style, photogrpahy, PhotoShop, playfulness, possibilities, previsualization, reality, self-discovery, skills, spontaniety, stifling, unpredictability, view camera, William Neill, workshop, Yosemite, Zone System
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In the previous post in this series I presented the idea that calendar art is a worthy first goal for serious photographers. (Read Taking Your Photography to the Next Level.) And aside from the fact that the subject matter of calendar art may be fairly run of the mill, the technical and aesthetic qualities are generally excellent.
In that post I ended with this thought:
Calendar art is about the subject of the photograph. The photographer is transparent. In fine art photography the influence of the artist becomes more apparent.
Continue reading “Taking Your Photography to the Next Level – Fine Art” »
Tags: art, artist, communication, creative vocabulary, fine art, interpretation, personal style, photography, Workshops
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I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.
Tags: artist, creative vocabulary, fine art, photography
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We all communicate with each other. In our every day dealings we use our verbal vocabulary. But as artists we also communicate, this time through our medium. And for this we have another vocabulary, our Creative Vocabulary.
Let’s take a closer look.
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Tags: art, artist, creative vocabulary, photograher, photography
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Cliché, to many photographers this is a dirty word. Photographs of Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View, the Tetons from Ox Bow Bend, the Watchman in Zion from the bridge, Delicate Arch – all are considered by many to be clichés.
What exactly is a cliché? Something that has lost its originality, ingenuity, impact from long overuse. In other words, it’s been done before – and many times. Some have gone so far as to suggest that there are no photographs left in Yosemite Valley that are not clichés.
Not all of us agree.
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Tags: creative vocabulary, fine art, photography, workshop
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Last week I published a post in which I presented a photographic situation and solicited input on what decisions might go into getting the shot. The situation was to photograph the interior of the beautiful Cologne Cathedral in Germany. Here’s a link to the post.
Getting the Shot – Cologne Cathedral
In this post I’d like to share what was going through my mind as I prepared to push the shutter. For starters, here’s the final photograph (click the photograph to enlarge it).
You may recall from the original post that I spoke of two things that go into every work of art – the artists Creative Vocabulary and the Interpretive Decisions he or she makes.
In this instance, which focused on the technical aspects of getting the shot, the Creative Vocabulary consists of the capabilities of the camera and the knowledge to use them. The Interpretive Decisions are those decisions made in the moments that lead up to the instant the shutter is pressed. So let’s step through what was going through my mind as I prepared to capture this image.
Continue reading “Photography Tutorial – Getting the Shot” »
Tags: creative vocabulary, photography, Ralph Nordstrom, tutorial
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The Photographer as Artist – Creative Vocabulary
In this third article we continue our exploration of photography from the perspective of other artistic disciplines. The first article was The Photographer as Artist – Introduction. We introduced the idea that art stands on the Tripod of Artistry, three principles that are common to all arts. The first leg of the tripod, the expressive capabilities of the medium, were explored in The Photographer as Artist – Expressive Spectrum. In this article we will look at the second leg – the Creative Vocabulary.
We all know that to be an effective writer it helps to have a large vocabulary. It just stands to reason that the larger the writer’s vocabulary, the more effectively he or she can communicate. Poets probably have the greatest mastery of the language as that is the most condensed form of communication. This reaches its absolute zenith in haiku, that wonderful form of Japanese poetry that paints the most beautiful images in three lines of 5-7-5 syllables. Probably the most famous is this exquisite poem from the haiku master, Basho (1644 – 1694).
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Tags: creative vocabulary, expressive spectrum, fine art, haiku, music, painting, photography, poetry
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