Artsy, Black and White, Color, Fine Art Photography, flower photography, Flowers, Photography, Still Life

Sunflowers – Flower Photography

I have been including fine art flower photography in my photographic oeuvre almost since I first picked up a camera. There’s no real mystery to it. I have mentioned it before but flowers are a fantastic photographic subject because of their availability and infinite form. There are very few flowers that are not a worthy of photographic attention. Of course, like everyone else I have my favorites. I’m very partial to lilies (Peace and Stargazer, thank you), tulips, and now sunflowers.

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Yes, consider the humble sunflower. Okay, it’s a pretty popular flower. It’s an evocative flower. The color, the shape of the petals, the variety of different breeds. All of this is in aid of saying that I photographed a ton of sunflowers recently.

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As usual, my fine art prints are available at several portals including artspan, pixels.com, and redbubble. Additionally, I’m offering a limited discount on a 20″ by 16″ canvas of Sunflower #6 here (until September 13, 2017).

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These images have become some of my recent faves. I find there is something meditative about these particular images. There’s something about the shapes and textures of the sunflower. What do you think?

Artsy, Black and White, Photography, Portrait, things seen

The Sketch Artist

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If I could draw or paint to any acceptable degree I probably wouldn’t be a photographer.

I’ve spent probably close to a year coming to grips with my color photographic work. I began with black and white film (Kodak Plus-X and Fuji Acros being favorites) and for a time really struggled with color work. Especially digital. I finally got to the point where I was comfortable enough…but if you are engaged in a creative pursuit you know “comfortable enough”, never is.

So I would work at it. I now think my color work is as strong as my black and white work. Usually.

At any rate, you can judge because the next post is all about some recent fine art work and features color in equal amounts to monochrome.

Color, Photography, Street Photography, things seen

Scenes From A Public Market

Pike Place Market is one of the go-to destinations for visitors to Seattle, WA. Everything can be found within its stalls from fresh seafood, flowers of every variety, to hand-crafted jewelry and other art. It is one of the most popular spots in the city and on any given day about a quarter of the people there will be seen with a camera in hand. Because my sister made a short visit back home this weekend she was determined to pay the place a visit as she hadn’t been since she moved out of the state.

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The famous market sign
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There are many distractions to be found at the market
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The market is world-renowned for its seafood

I’ve photographed the market before, as I imagine many local photographers have. Still, it’s not difficult to find something new to catch the eye and inspire a photograph.

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Fresh produce is always available
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Flowers fill the market
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A pig. It’s a whole *thing*.

We did arrive later in the day (the market closes at 6 pm Monday – Saturday, and 5 pm on Sundays), and many of the stalls were in the process of shutting down. This actually worked for me. It’s often to see the market in full bustle, thronged with people purchasing fresh produce, heading to one of the cafes or restaurants on the several levels of the market, or buying records, or any number of other eclectic items.

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The market has multiple levels. There’s lots to explore.
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Lighting is dim outside of the storefronts. Kept my processing to reflect it realistically.
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Lots of interesting sights.
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A nice record and memorabilia store.

I brought along the Fujifilm X-Pro2 and the XF 35mm F2 and XF 56mm f1.2. Normally, I’d have stuck with using the 35mm all day long, but I was intrigued by other images I had seen using the 56mm for street and candid photography. Mosty it worked, and I really do like many of the images from the 56mm. There were one or two caveats, however.

  • Compared to the 35mm f2 and 23mm f2, the 56mm is much slower to focus.
  • With an equivalent focal length of an 84mm lens, things are a bit closer than my usual street photography style. This is not necessarily a bad thing, just took an adjustment.

Otherwise, it was a fantastic lens to use. Sharper than nanowire and with great color rendition.

If you ever get a chance the Pike Place Market is worth checking out for photographers even with the crowds. I usually come away with a few worthwhile images every time I visit.

Color, depth of field, Everyday Life, Photography, Portrait, things seen, vacation

Every Day In Every Way…

The French psychologist Émile Coué developed the Coué Method,  a tactic of self-suggestion characterized by a mantra, “Every day in every way, I’m getting better and better.”, to be repeated daily multiple times as a means to self-improvement.

Taking some inspiration from the idea without commentary on the efficacy of the method I would like to suggest that something similar can be attempted with photography. Personally, I try to apply my full powers to all my photography. I don’t differentiate between professional work and personal artistic work, or snapshots with my loved ones on vacation.

To my mind photography is something I do, every time I have the camera in my hand I should be trying to achieve the best image. My goal is to always be working with the ease that comes with long practice, applying what I have learned about photography almost subconsciously. Eventually, if I work at it long enough craft and art will become the same thing whether I’m following a client’s directive, or photographing my niece’s birthday party.

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There is no shame in making every moment a moment of artistry. There is no shame in finding the exceptional in the most commonplace moments and things. An overwhelming part of leading an enjoyable life is the vantage point you observe from. I choose to opt for a life that finds the art in the everyday.

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Artsy, Black and White, Color, Fine Art Photography, flower photography, Flowers, Photography

Tulips – Flower Photography

 

There are a few flowers I really enjoy photographing. Lilies, tulips, and rhododendrons are counted among that number. As a common photographic subject, flowers are appreciated for their variety of form, intricacy, and emotional connection. Few people don’t have some level of appreciation for flowers. It’s no wonder that flower photography is such a popular genre.

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Take these tulips. I went for a classical representation. A simple black background and a single light source positioned to reveal detail. My goal with these images was to give the viewer a chance to appreciate not just the obvious prettiness of the tulips, but also take a moment to consider the amount of detail provided by nature. The lines of the petals, the dusting of pollen that can be seen in some the images, little details that can provoke an inner dialogue.

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I especially like the cutaway image that reveals more of the inner flower. It is an uncommon viewpoint, and I think imparts a greater sense of character. The slightly warm tone added to this black and white image was a whim, but one I think works.

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Each of the images shown here are important for me to have created. Like with any creative act it was about expressing something for myself and then sharing it with the rest of the world.Each of the images shown here is available for purchase here.

The images shown here are available for purchase here.

Artsy, Color, depth of field, flower photography, Flowers, Macro, Nature, Photography

Sakura (2017)

The cherry blossom tree that I photograph every year made an early bloom. I was fortunately quick off the mark because it really didn’t last long.

What is it about cherry blossoms? They are not the biggest nor the most robust of blooms. I think it has something to do both with their delicacy and the arrangments of the blossoms that seems almost painterly.

This must be why I always seem to photograph them with a shallow depth-of-field and the sort of subdued color that is well-represented by Fujifilm’s Classic Chrome film emulation.

Shot on the Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR (usually a portrait lens, but it close-focuses well enough for this purpose).

Prints available here.

Sakura (2017)

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Abstract, Artsy, Black and White, Fine Art Photography, Photography

Hairdryer

As a photographer, part of the deal is developing the ability to see photographs essentially everywhere. Make no mistake that this is an ability, an affinity, that must be cultivated. How? Well, by slowing down and really looking at what’s around you, by never taking anything for granted, and by developing a visual vocabulary all your own.

There are plenty of rules and guidelines to photography, but those are mostly on the technical side. You have the law of reciprocity, the rule of thirds, the inverse square ratio…but these are all tools, means to and end. Never should you focus so much on the technical aspect of your photography that you forget to nurture your particular vision.

Because you have one. Everyone does, nascent or fully-formed. Find yours. For myself, I know that I am drawn to appreciate and make certain types of photographs. I love shadow, the appreciation of minute detail, a sense of narrative in portraiture. I can trace all of these back to the influences on my own visual vocabulary, my aesthetic. Growing up in the 1980’s as a lover of comic books I know that informs some of my ideas of storytelling, my appreciation of western paintings influenced my sense of storytelling in portraiture, an interest in Japanese art still has a heavy influence on my color palette in processing photographs. None of this even begins the address the influence of modern photographers like Ralph Gibson and Gordon Parks.

You can see some of these influences in the images posted today. I saw what I wanted to capture in the form of an antiquated hairdryer and the way the light from a window fell on it. The rest of my particular photographic habits informed these images as they inform all my images.

Fellow photographer, I hope you know your visual vocabulary. I hope you cultivate your aesthetic the way a gardener would cultivate orchids. I hope you find your way.

HAIRDRYER

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Black and White, Photography, Portrait

Black & White Portraits

The portrait is fairly central to the idea of photography itself. It didn’t take long for the early photographic pioneers to turn their lenses toward their fellow men and woman in an attempt to capture something of the essential nature of the human spirit.

In any portrait, the goal is to form a connection between the subject, removed as they are, and the viewer through the medium of the print. The photographer is the bridge between the two, spanning the gap through technical and artistic prowess. Or so it is hoped.

Black & White Portraits

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