Noon and Midnight

Noon and Midnight are times when most photographers don’t shoot. Midnight is obvious–little light. Noon is avoided because the light is harsh.

However, I like to shoot at noon or near noon when water (ponds, rivers) are involved. The harsh light can sparkle the water and cast shadows that look like night time. Check it out.

Clicking on the images will make them larger.starsbw3smmoonlightwater1sm

Architecture of a Photograph

When it comes to the composition of a photograph, I’m not sure “architecture” is a commonly used word but I think some photographs can only be discussed as being composed of interesting building blocks.

This one, for example has a large block of shadow at the bottom. The stick creates another seeming building block that connects the figure with the shadow. The light on the top of the figure’s head adds interest. Everything seems to work to hold the image together and give it heft.

What do you think?

Doug Beasley Workshop in South Dakota

Just returned from a Doug Beasley workshop in South Dakota.

We took back roads through washouts and gumbo (mud that looks dry but will sink car up to floorboards). We stopped at sites sacred to local Lakota. We ate prime rib at a gas station—it’s the special on Saturday night in a place where the other dinner choice is awful pizza in a bar. Oh, and we also took photos of nudes in the environment. All of it was fun. Even the awful pizza had it’s charm. Boulder Colorado, where I live, is a foodie town. Sometimes I need to be reminded that not all food is “fresh and organic and uptight.”

I’m including a photo by Doug Beasley to show what I was aspiring to produce. My own efforts will follow. Check out Doug Beasley’s website. Check out Circle View Guest Ranch–where we stayed.

Learned a lot. Came home dirty. Had fun.

If you can take the class–offered once a year–do it. Doug Beasley is deep. He’ll inspire with poetry and presence. After taking a class that was mostly about critiques of my work, this one was pleasantly pleasant and just as helpful.

Here’s an example of Doug Beasley’s work:

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Shadows are Complicated–Have Own Image

We all know that depending on the angle of the sun, shadows can be elongated or shortened.

Sometimes shadows can multiply or fatten or become the focus. You have to look carefully to see that.

Check out these two images of evening shadows caught on a cloth interacting with the form behind. Nothing simple about them.

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In this one, the shadow seems to walk away from the actual person casting that shadow.

 

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In this one, the shadow seems to be holding the cloth rather than the other way around.

Keep your eyes open. Notice shadows!!!!

Put Model in a Sack—Lots of Fun

Sometimes shooting in a studio can begin to seem same-old, same-old. Change the lighting, change the pose but it’s still a studio shot. However, if you add a new element like a sack make of stretchy cloth—-fun begins to happen. I think this one looks like marble carved as an abstract. Too abstract? The point is to still have a figure in the photo. Love to hear your opinion.

 

Male Vs Female Models

I’m sometimes asked which I prefer–male models or female models. No preference. No difference in how I work with them. However, it’s almost impossible not to notice that my photographs feature female models much more often than male models. I’ve even been accused of using too many young women in my work. I actually use many models who are in their 30s and 40s. Susie shown here is in her late 50s. Here’s the problem: culturally we seem to be more comfortable with female nudity than male nudity. Full frontal in both cases is cause for many people to suddenly turn on their prude, but male full frontal is ten times more shocking somehow.

That said, I think these examples are equally interesting and serene. Both were shot same day, same pond.

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Mystical Photograph–Such a thing?

Photography balances somewhere between art and science. For a long time, people debated whether or not it was art. Photography was supposedly just the science of capturing images of the real world, it was argued. The art, of course, is in the composition of the photograph. In today’s digital world, the art is often in how the photograph is manipulated. Then this happens . . .

Notice that the reflection shows the face of a very old woman. It is not at all a true reflection of the model’s real face. Water distorts reflections. That’s why water is such an interesting element to add to a photograph, but . . .

I didn’t see this old woman image when I shot this photograph. When I saw it in the captured print, I was startled. How did that happen? I love happy accidents. In this case, it’s almost mythic, mystical. The image seems to ask if this Is a picture of reality or something more?

Our Lady of the Forest

Catching a reflection on the surface of a pond is fun. Capturing both the reflection and the complexity of the pond habitat is better. In fact seeing the depth and living dimensions of the pond in the reflection gives this photograph a mythic quality, I think. Seems like a goddess has paused for a moment amidst the forest world where she lives and rules. Again you have to look carefully to see that reflections can also be windows to what’s beneath the reflection itself.

I like this photo a lot because it does that.