what happens when you find yourself mulling over the concept of photographers being "professional noticers", reading Kirk Tuck's blog and gardening all within a few hours? you finish pruning the old seed stalks from your aloe, and instead of throwing them in the compost as always, you notice that they're actually quite graceful. you then decide that maybe you could play with doing some portraits of them, which is something you've never really done before, but why not? grabbed some black foam core, my relatively new Contax/Phase digital back, put on some Radio Paradise, and headed out to the back deck. secured the background to the back of a chair, gathered my various clippings and had a blast. i tried some in full sun, playing with the shadow in relation to the stalk. then i setup at the edge of the shade created by the neighbor's trees. the breeze was variable, which was fantastic - i would position the setup and then wait for a light pattern i liked as the tree branches swayed, creating different shadows. i would move the setup around on the deck as the sun moved, which gave me tons of new opportunities. i found myself just standing there watching until the right breeze/pattern came along, just as i would wait for the right light/shadow combination if i were "in the field". at the end of two afternoon sessions, i had about 200 shots. this image caught my eye after a quick review. for some reason, i just got a kick out of the grace and at the same time, tension of the composition. yes, i re-took the shot with the base level, but you know what? i think it adds to the subtle tension of a balancing stalk. you? nice stretch.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
spent the day at point reyes with fellow photog Robert Hecht a couple of weeks ago, and as is typical of the california coast in summer, yep, it was foggy. i wound up shooting a number of fences - they were weathered and covered in lichens, etc., so were pretty interesting to me, and certainly reflected the essence of the place. but as i was reviewing the images from the day back home, this one struck me. i took it early in the day, and though i would spent the rest of the day noticing details, this represented a letting go - of sun, shadow, blue water, detail, sharpness - everything one typically, if not secretly, wants on a day in a beautiful place. this photo represents none of those things - in fact, when i was processing it, i found myself pushing levers here and there to try to get back some sharpness that was actually never there in the first place! my eye wandered in the foggy background searching for shapes that i could identify. finally i gave up, and began to enjoy the simple feeling of the fog in my face and the simple beauty of the place. nice.