Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The visual image is a kind of trip wire for the emotions

“The visual image is a kind of trip wire for the emotions” 
Diane Ackerman

I came across this great quote on twitter last week and while this is a fact I’ve always been aware of, the quote made me stop and really think.  I recently processed two images that fit this quote like a glove but on different ends of the emotional spectrum.

The first image I shot in the Elkmont area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In the years prior to the establishment of the park, influential Knoxville citizens built vacation cottages in this area; many are still there. Some of the best ones are located along Millionaires Row, a pet name given to the area, many years ago.  As I photographed several of these dilapidated cabins, I kept getting drawn to the details of the buildings, especially the old screen doors.  After returning home and processing some of the images, this one peculiar door image was speaking to me. Viewing the image transported me back to the mid-seventies and our house where I spent most of my childhood years. We had a wooden screen door on the “back door”; the door leading out to the back yard. As you can imagine, I used it often and, as a typical kid, I didn’t gently shut the screen door. I let her spring do the job! Looking at this image, I can hear the swish as it passes over the cement porch, the” BLAM” as it slammed shut and the vibrating squeak as it shook to a stop.  Just like it was yesterday.

The second image, the gate and walkway to the old home, is an image I shot about two years ago but just recently processed. During the initial edit, I passed over processing the image just because it wasn’t one of my favorites from the day’s shoot.  When I went back and processed the image, I let it just sit on my screen and looked into it. The image evoked at strong feeling of loneliness inside me.  My mind wandered past the old gate; does someone live here?  Is the owner older and unable to tidy up, as I look up the unkempt sidewalk?  The porch, outside the image,  appears lonely and longing for someone to come enjoy what it has to offer.  Over all, a lonesome scene.

Sometimes an image is more than just a photograph, it’s a tripwire to an emotion.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chattanooga River Front at Night

Monday night I met up with the "meet up" photography group, South East Photography Group for an evening shoot along the river front in Chattanooga. This was my first time joining them on a outing and I had a fun time and came back with some great images. We shot along the north shore of the river, looking across at downtown.  Here are some of my favorite images I shot that evening. 

The first image was shot with a Canon 70-200 at 200mm, ISO 400, white balance was set to the cloudy setting.
The second image was shot with a Canon 24-105 IS lens at close to 24mm and again my white balance was on the cloudy setting. I wanted to give the feel of walking along the bridge and looking at the light and the reflections on the water.
The third image is a panoramic comprised of 4 images taken with the Canon 24-105 at near the 70mm setting. This spot just screamed panoramic to me! When I shot this, there was still a lot of light in the sky, so I did a custom white balance and that made the colors pop more than any of the "auto" white balance settings. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tennessee Waterfalls on Google Maps

I know many of you really enjoy capturing images of waterfalls and winter is a great time for scouting locations, trails and angles. The map of this link shows waterfall locations in Tennessee. Drag your cursor over the blue pointer and the name of the falls will appear, click on the name and you'll get information on the waterfall.

Click Here -Waterfall Map

I hope you find this helpful in your photography.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Into the Woods

Into the woods I went today,
To refresh my mind and get away.

Thru the trees I walked alone,
On the breeze I could smell the loam.

A rich forest scent of leaves decayed,
Giving life to wildflowers that bloom in May.

I stopped to feel the old growth giant,
A large white pine with years of defiance.

The stream’s tumbling sang to my ears,
Her slow, deep pool beckoned me near.

I gazed at the brook’s  near glass-like perfection,
And was absorbed in the mesmerizing reflections.

I into the woods I went today,
And I returned with my troubles washed away.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

It Makes Me Happy

Several years ago a very successful photographer friend of mine imparted some advice on me; he said he almost never sells a sunrise or sunset image, so he almost never shoots them anymore.  I took his words of wisdom to heart, at least for a while.
 When I first got into photography, sunsets and sunrises were some of my very first subjects.  They are daily events in nature, there for us to see and enjoy and capture. They are all different, the colors are amazing and they spark a great emotion inside of me.  I respect my friend greatly and still take any advice he gives me and, I may never sell a sunset photo, however I will enjoy watching and photographing them and I’ll be richer for the experience. 

"Life is a succession of moments. To live each one is to succeed."
-- Coreta Kent

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Take Advantage of Your Neighborhood

I feel that many photographers don’t take enough advantage of the photographic possibilities around their home or neighborhood. I believe this comes from a two thought process. I feel many people search through the magazines and photo websites looking at beautiful images of far off places and focus only on getting to these locations to shoot that same scene. The other reason is people get so used to the things they see everyday that it becomes common place, they lose interest and excitement in the everyday; I would guess that this is extremely common.

If we open our minds up to the photographic possibilities in our homes, our yards, our neighborhoods and cities, we’ll start increasing our image files and sharpen our skills for when we do visit that far off destination. Make it a point on your drive to work or to the store to look for subjects, start a photographic essay of your neighborhood, set aside a day or a morning each week or month that you’re going to work on that essay. Once you start photographing the “common” scenes, I believe this will help to expand your vision and increase your skills as a photographer.

This cross is in a cemetery not far from my home, I pass it quiet often and from the road, the cemetery is very ordinary looking. A few weeks ago I decided to drive the gravel road that circles the property and I saw this cross on the top of the hill. I made a mental note that the setting sun should be directly behind the cross and that I should come back to photograph the scene. This whole detour took about five minutes. Saturday, as me and a friend were waiting on the full moon to rise, I decided this was a good time to visit the cross and try the image I had pre-visualized weeks before. I think it worked out fairly well.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Seek and Ye Shall Find..

“nature itself means nothing, says nothing except to the perceiving mind…..Beauty is where it is perceived…you surely will see…..if you are prepared to see it-if you look for it…”                                                                                        Henry David Thoreau

This was a quote I came across from Thoreau, I had never read it or heard of it before and to me it spoke volumes. Thoreau is well know for his unique insite into nature and his nature writing and I think, for me as a outdoor photographer, I will hold this quote close.  I hear many people ask what there is to photograph in any giving place and I've done the same thing myself.  As photographers, we need to perceive the beauty in everything, always be open, always be looking....natures beauty is everywhere.