Changing Times…..Changing Weather

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I have seldom, if ever, done a statement piece. For the most part my images are interpretations of a scene I have witnessed, or interpretations of thoughts that I have had. In effect, they are just nice pictures that I love to share. Let me take just a moment of your time to briefly tell you about the image that accompanies this post. It started out innocently enough as an interpretation of a comment that someone made to me. “Don’t you wish you could just turn the page on this weather?” That comment started thoughts running through my head for a new and different image.  The seed had been planted.

I thought about the idea of turning the page on the weather and how I could convey that through a photograph. I chose to use a panorama of Atlantic City and that’s where things started to snowball. As I progressed through the creation of the image, I started to notice a bit of a correlation to the plight of the nearby resort of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Those in this area are well familiar with the history, and status of this resort town. The good times, the boom times, the bad times, and the ugly times are well documented. Recent efforts to revive and transform the city may, or may not, pay dividends. Only time will tell.

So this brings me to the image itself. As stated, I started out wanting to show the idea of turning the page on the weather. Turning the page, and peeling back the stormy past and present to show a new dawn with soft calming pastel color, and the hope that a new day brings. This was my goal. I will let the resulting image will speak for itself.

Will Atlantic City also turn the page to see a new dawn? I can’t answer that. I hope so. I hope you also see the correlation between the image and the city. Or, at the very least just enjoy it as another nice picture. I know it was much easier for me to accomplish this digitally than it will be for Atlantic City to accomplish in real life.

Please feel free to leave a comment (there is a link in the post info below to do that). Also please share the post if you feel the urge. You can follow my ramblings by using the “Follow via email” link in the right column. You can follow my photography page on Facebook at this LINK.

   OK, now all the commercials and shameless self promotion are taken care of. I wish you well. Take care and till next time I’ll encourage you to be creative.

Dave

Visit my web galleries at www.dwphotoworks.com

A Floral Texture Overlay

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I haven’t done a straight floral image with texture overlay for quite some time. I was first introduced to, and learned, the process many years back by creative photographer Denise Ippolito. Denise travels the world leading photo workshops and creative processing seminars. She also has numerous DVD’s that are available on creative techniques. Needless to say she has had a strong influence on the direction of my images. Look her up online or on social media. It’ll be worth your time. I have been fortunate to go on to teaching several classes on the texture overlay process myself, and it’s always rewarding to see what the classes will come up with.

As I said though, I haven’t done one of these for quite some time. While preparing some flower files recently , one orchid image got me to thinking of doing an overlay. Now, the general, process usually goes something like this. I have an image and I see, in my mind, a finished textured image. I’ll then begin the processing steps to bring that mental image to life, prepping the original image, choosing a texture overlay, masking, and tweaking as I go. Sometimes though, as I go through those steps, the processing itself will start to tell me where it wants to go. Such was the case with this image.

I had this image of a pastel pink orchid that I saw in my mind with a soft flowing pastel overlay. As I tried several textures that seemed soft and pleasing, I just couldn’t come up with a color combination, or feel that pleased me, let alone fit the end result I wanted. One texture had a vein of grayish monotone flowing through it. As I looked at the image with that overlay, that’s when the processing started talking to me. It was calling for black and white texture.

I searched my texture library and found one that resembled a black and white rubbing. I laid it over the orchid and did a bunch of adjusting. I liked the feel, but the pink orchid, and black and white texture just weren’t quite right together for this presentation. The processing had told me that I needed to go with little to no color for a texture, so I felt I needed to take the next step and go all gray tones. I converted the original orchid file to black and white and applied the new black and white rubbing texture. The image began to come alive.

After much adjusting and masking, along with generous dodging and burning, I arrived at the image you see above. You will need to decide for yourself whether you like it or not. It does seem to me though that this is where the processing wanted me to go. It just felt right.

So my message today would be don’t be afraid to let the processing, or image itself, talk to you and tell you where it wants to go. Don’t be so driven in your thoughts as to not hear what may be a viable alternative. It’s at least worth a look. Don’t ya think?

Please share this post with others to help get more thoughts and possibly some discussion. It’s always obvious that tastes in images vary wildly and that’s a great thing. It’s always fun to also share with you what I’m up to. Till next time, take care and as Denise always told me, be creative.

 

Dave

My web galleries can be seen at www.dwphotoworks.com

Self Assignments……

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“Floral Study”

Self assignments can serve many, many purposes. They can serve as a path out of a funk, or creativity block. They can spur learning, and growth, in a new style or technique. They can open your eyes to a different approach to your photography. Whatever the end goal is, a self assignment can be fun, challenging, enlightening, and most of all, rewarding.

One of the secrets to a successful self assignment is to be honest with yourself. I would encourage you to give careful thought when creating the assignment. Don’t make it so easy as to make the effort just an extension of your current skill set, or the results may be meaningless. Choose a challenge that will provide a positive result, or stretch your abilities. Possibly, it could move you in a whole new direction.   These self assignments can be effective whatever your medium is. Be it photography, watercolor, sketch, sculpture, oils, or any other medium, challenging yourself with a good self assignment can be a natural growth enabler.

I am currently putting together ideas for a couple of gallery shows that I will be involved in this fall. This would be a perfect opportunity for an assignment that might allow me to offer something different for those shows.

The image that accompanies this post is an example of a self assignment. I had read an article a while back that addressed using shadows as an integral part of the composition. We’re not talking just light and dark, but using the recognizable shadow of a specific article, or element, as a major component of the composition. In this case, a flower bloom and its shadow. So we have our assignment.

Could I develop a composition that would prominently feature the shadow of a specific object in the scene (the bloom) and have it fit and be coherent with the feel and flow of the image? In other words, would it make sense. I’m happy with what I achieved. You will have to decide for yourself whether you feel I was successful in the assignment and whether or not I achieved my goal. Either way, the assignment got me shooting in the studio, and after the capture, spurred some real thought on processing. The composition called for the use of some previously untried processing techniques.

All in all the assignment ended up being fun and has me looking at other similar opportunities for created images. Perhaps I could explore a series of shadow images.

Thanks, as always, for reading my ramblings. I certainly hope they will, at the very least, cause some thought or instigate an assignment of your own. I’m pretty sure you will enjoy the process. Don’t forget to visit my web galleries at www.dwphotoworks.com and also don’t be afraid to share this blog post with others.

Take care and as always be creative

Dave

Lancaster County PA. (A joy for photographers)

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Lancaster County Pennsylvania, what a place. The Amish folks and their, so different, lifestyle. The small communities with peaceful, pleasant names like Bird in Hand. The horse-drawn buggies mixed in with modern autos, the stone mills, the lush rolling countryside, and farmlands, are all inspirational subjects. A ride on the Strasburg steam train, and the chance to hear the whistle of the ghost train echoing across the valley, is a thrill.

A few days in this environment will inspire any photographer to kill off a multitude of innocent, unsuspecting pixels. The big draw for many is the dozens and dozens of covered bridges dotting the landscape throughout the region. Some are easy to find, while others offer the thrill of the hunt. There are actually maps that you can find at various tourist stops the show the location of many of these statements of a time gone by. Many are still in daily use.

I chose this file, from inside a covered bridge, to be the base for my interpretation of the mood and feel of our trip. I felt a watercolor look with minimal detail would convey my vision nicely and set out on my processing journey. After much trial and error, and refining my feelings on the look and feel, I have arrived at this presentation. You may like it or maybe not so much. That’s fine, you will certainly have your own feel for the mood of the area.

I wish I had completed this early enough to include in a gallery exhibit that I am currently involved in at the Riverfront Renaissance Center for the Arts in Millville, NJ. It would have fit in nicely.  I may consider it for a show later this year.

I hope that you might be able to share in the experience of Lancaster and the Amish area of Pennsylvania some day. You certainly will remember it for a lifetime.

I’ll also invite you to follow this blog by using that feature in the right column of this page. The more we have here, the better. Thanks for reading and as always, be creative.

Dave

See my galleries at www.dwphotoworks.com

Am I A Frustrated Painter At Heart?

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Photography has been good to me. I became involved in photography early in my life, and it has allowed me to see things that have truly amazed me. It has allowed me to meet people I have admired, and also allowed me to express myself in ways that I never dreamed I could.

So why do I ask if I’m a frustrated painter at heart? I have always admired painters for the skills they possess in creating their art. Whether it is abstract, hyper realistic, or any other style, the ability to control those brush strokes and create a vision purely from the mind is just most impressive to me. I have never managed to personally develop those skills.

As I look over my image catalogue I find many instances where my images mimic the look of painted images. This style shows up mostly after my entry into the digital age. I certainly won’t make any apologies for being a photographer. I love the medium.  Maybe the tools that we photographers now have access to give us more freedom of expression than I had previously imagined. Are the mediums more closely related than we care to admit? Are more galleries accepting photography as “fine art”?

Certainly, just as in painting, there is good and not so good. At the same time, at what point is a photo lifted from snapshot to fine art? So many questions.

Photography has been good to me. At the same time, I will happily thank all of those painters who have inspired me to search for that painterly feel to some of my images. They have created a drive in me to express my own vision in the images I create. You can decide for yourself whether it is art or just a pretty picture. I’m just happy to have created it.

Take Care

Dave

www.dwphotoworks.com

I still love black& white….

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Yes, it’s true. There’s still something about a good black and white that gets me a bit excited. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a well composed and processed color image. The varying hues of red, blue, green, and yellow can be very dramatic in telling the story in many cases. Whether I shoot an image with a black and white presentation in mind, or I convert a color image to a monotone presentation, there’s just something about reducing that image to nothing but a single tone that gets to me.

A black and white image strips away all those varying color tones that can compete with, and steal away from, the essence of the subject itself.  Here’s a quote that might explain my feelings a bit better.

“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!”
Ted Grant

I think this can hold true for any subject.

We all know of Ansel Adams’ mastery of black and white darkroom techniques, and his skills with composition. I’m also very fond of Edward Weston and his pioneering vision.

I won’t profess to be any sort of famous black and white shooter, but I will share a link that might give some insight into a few of the greats, and inspire you to experiment with some monotone images.

Here is the link that will give you a little insight into some of the great black and white photographers of our time.

http://www.bwvision.com/top-10-photographers/

Of course the best presentation of a black and white, or any image for that matter, is the print itself. Sadly in today’s digital instant access world, the print is a disappearing art. That’s got to be a subject for a future post.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my ramblings. I’d love for you to share this post. I’d love it even more if you felt moved to follow this blog via email using the follow feature in the right column.

As always, take care and be creative

Dave

My web galleries

www.dwphotoworks.com

 

When is an image finished?

I’m always talking about sharing your vision in your images, making your statement, being creative. But, at what point is that vision, or statement complete? Once you process an image and say “Yeah, that’s it”  are you done with that file forever? Can your vision or thought process change? Let’s explore just a bit.

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Tern #1

The image above is the base file for our experiment. I had shot and shared this a few years back, just the way you see it here. That was my vision for the image at the time. A product of my mindset and skills at that time.

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Tern #2

Fast forward a year or so and my thought processes and skills have changed a bit. My vision for this image file has also changed. So, is this image now finished? Not so fast there bunky…..

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Tern #3

Fast forward a bit again. I’m going through old files and staring at this image once again. I now see this in my mind with subtle color to break up the monotone nature of the shot. This is definitely my finished vision and interpretation of Mr. Tern. It has to be finished at this point, right?

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Tern#4

Well so much for this image ever being finished. My point for this post is that we as people change constantly. Our tastes change, our skill sets change, the environment around us changes. I’m not sure that any image is ever completely finished, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. With today’s digital tools and techniques, we are blessed to have the opportunity to easily take a file in a whole new direction. Not every medium has that luxury.

I won’t be afraid to re-visit an image file to see what new direction I can take it. As always, I’ll encourage you to always be creative and make your statement with a file, and then when your vision changes, so will your interpretation of that image.

I’ll invite you to visit my online galleries at the link provided below. As you look at the images, I can almost guarantee you that now you will say to yourself “Hhhmmm, I wonder what version this one is”😉

Feel free to share this post, or invite your friends to read it. The more the merrier.

Till my next post, take care, be creative, and kill of a few pixels just for me.

Dave

My online galleries are at:

www.dwphotoworks.com