After nearly two months, I missed a lot – this blog and the great WP community of photo blogger peers – that’s all of you my friends! My apologies, I’ve been bogged down by online work. But my deepest thanks to all who commented, liked and visited during my absence. I’ll try my best to go around and visit your blogs during my free time. Keep on clicking everyone!
A noted photographer once said that a good color image is a a good black and white image. I agree. But this needs some decision-making. The picture below has all the necessary elements for a good black and white image – the patterns and lines of the tree’s bare branches is enough to carry the picture. I could have easily converted it to monochrome. I did not. Why?
The colored backdrop of a late afternoon sky, that’s why. In black and white, the picture above would not be missing anything, except of course color. The subject itself which is the tree is already colorless, and it’s just a matter of converting the sky into shades of gray. Here’s where it becomes a personal thing. A picture will always be a matter of how the photographer sees it, defines it and presents it. He could color the tree yellow, green or blue, and that’s his art and imagination, though that doesn’t count as factual photography. I opted for what’s real and presented it the way I saw and captured it that late afternoon – a bare colorless tree reaching out into patches of orange sky. I decided on that realism. Photography is not only the art of seeing but also the process of thinking how an image is best presented. That relies on a photographer’s judgment. It’s a personal thing. A photographer knowledgeable and trained in the art will always know what’s best, both for himself and for his viewers.
Book Excerpt: “Just as light has color, things have color. When light strikes a subject, some of the wavelengths are absorbed and some are reflected. The reflected wavelengths bouncing off the subject produce the colors we see. What’s unique about this quality of light is that it’s subjective. Each of us, and each species of animal, sees color differently. Fortunately, most humans agree on the general hues of common colors. In photography, red, blue, and green are the primary colors; yellow, magenta, and cyan are the secondary colors. How you use these colors, how you mix them in your photographs, can mean the difference between a boring image and a contest winner.”~Ralph A. Clevenger from his book Photographing Nature: A photo workshop from Brooks Institute’s top nature photography instructor
In two previous posts I used (with permission) the poem of Kelly Hartland, and another poem by Lila, then paired each with an image from my collection to come up with a poetry/photography piece. Above is another combination work, this time reflecting the poet in me. Yes, I dabbled in poetry way back, and just yesterday I was able to dug up an old notebook (with already yellowish pages) containing several dozens of my poems composed many years ago. That is the wonder of creative pieces such as poems and photos – they remain timeless.
The truly creative photographer learns to quickly shift gears to take advantage of unexpected but wonderful things that come up along the way.~Harold Davis
Life is like a landscape. You live in the midst of it but can describe it only from the vantage point of distance.~Charles Lindbergh (Photo location: Chocolate Hills, Bohol province)
Interview Excerpt: “The first thing to do is carry a notebook and during quiet times or as the thought occurs to you, compile a list of anything that really interests you. In other words, write a list of subjects which fascinate you without regard to photography. What could inflame your passion and curiosity over a long period of time? At that stage, make the list without any regard for photography. Be as specific as possible. After you have exhausted the list, you begin to cut it down by asking yourself these questions: Is it visual?…Is it practical?…Is it a subject about which I know enough?…Is it interesting to others?”~David Hurn on Selecting A Subject
I had a laugh while reading this article 10 Differences Between Tourists and Travelers because more or less they are so true. Though I can’t validate item #9 on the list, I have to say I also drink but not to get drunk; it’s just to get a taste of the local beverage. Like when I was in Vietnam, I had to savor the local beer such as 333, Bia Saigon and Tiger Beer. Got to compare them with the Philippine’s very own San Miguel Beer. I’m biased but I’d still go for the distinctive taste of San Miguel. Anyway, back to our topic. Items # 2 and 4 in the list are photography related and I’d like to explore them further. Item #2 says a “tourist wants to see all the sights while a traveler wants to see some, but also to find something interesting that isn’t in the guidebook.” It’s the common complaint of people I’m with when I’m on travel – I wander off from the group, I go solo, astray and stroll along. That’s the instinct of photographers, they go the unbeaten path. If tourists flock on a certain area or follow a certain trail to take a shot of a scenery, a traveler photographer goes the other way. He finds vantage points, other angles, an unusual perspective. He is constantly on the lookout for something fresh, unique and interesting, outside and away from the normal point of view. Item #4 in the list says “a tourist takes photos of all the famous stuff. A traveler takes pictures of ordinary people and things and is rewarded by the locals with gratitude or puzzlement.” True again, and related to what I just mentioned. Photographers will shoot any ordinary, everyday subjects but will find ways to do it differently, far from the normal shot. I recall the words of a legendary photographer who said something like if he were with a group of photographers who were all huddled at one area taking a picture of a subject, that he would go to the other side. The bottomline: you can spot a tourist from a traveler by how he shoots. A tourist will take pictures casually, and just probably snap on. A traveler will stoop, crouch low, look around, eye the scene, scout the place, look up to see where the sun is and where the light falls. He is thinking, envisioning, establishing his shot. They may have the same DSLR or point and shoot cam, but they will have contrasting ways to take a shot. It’s easy to tell one from the other. (Photo location: Bird’s Beak Island in the middle of Tri An Lake, Vietnam)
If your job takes you to different places or you are enjoying your retirement by having frequent vacations in exotic locations, then good for you. You deserve the perks of your work and the rewards of your long years of employment. And if you happen to be a photography hobbyist or enthusiast (let’s leave out the professionals on this one, they’re probably on field assignment right now), then you got every opportunity to indulge in your favorite activity – capturing the world. But what about others who don’t get to travel or go on vacation that much? I’ve talked about it in my previous post Stuck In The City, of people confined in their every day jobs in the metropolitan jungle who don’t have the rarest chance to sneak out into the natural world. I said in that post that the city itself and everything in it is one big photographic subject. How about those who work at home, or the moms who take care of the kids and the family? We need not go far. This article Finding Good Photographic Subjects In Your Own “Backyard” by writer-photographer Steve Russell deals exactly with that. In the article I like the advice given to Steve by his photo instructor: “In photography you have to work with what you’re given.” This is along the line of a post I made on a book excerpt from George Barr who said that something interesting should take precedence over something photographable. In other words, we need not go on a photo safari, photo excursion or photo cruise (but if you have the luxury of time and the abundance of cash, oh go ahead) in order to create great images. Our backyard, our home and the city we are stuck in has lots of interesting subjects and it’s just a matter of activating our eye for “seeing” what otherwise went unnoticed. You’ve probably seen in my very recent post the picture of colorful clips hanging on a clothesline. Well, that was in our backyard. We photograph what is readily available, with what is already there, with what is around us in our immediate environment. See subjects in a new light, in a different perspective and capture them in a different way. Your backyard is waiting for you. (Photo location: not exactly my backyard but its just 10 minutes from my place)
Book Excerpt: “Light is the most positive energy we know. It reveals truth. Most of the energy that light emits strikes a surface, bounces off , and then goes elsewhere. Light is so essential that we cannot exist without it. Our lives depend on light as much as they do upon water. Through photography, we capture for ourselves and share with others the glory of that positive, critical energy. Just like life, light brings us great joy. Light comes in many colors. As photographers, we are communicators of light. The images that we create enter the body through the eyes and travel to the brain, evoking a response. Love the light, the energy, the joy, the color: communicate positively for the rest of your life. Celebrate and share every visual exploration.”~Brian & Janet Stoppee, Guide to Photography and Light
…through this photographic eye you will be able to look out on a new light-world, a world for the most part uncharted and unexplored, a world that lies waiting to be discovered and revealed. ~Edward Weston (Photo location: Surigao del Norte)
First and foremost, make it an obvious picture of color! Rather than looking for rocks, leaves, trees, waterfalls, birds, flowers, fire hydrants, starfish, boats, orchards, or bridges, focus your energy and vision on red, blue, yellow, orange, green, or violet. Color first, content second!~Bryan Peterson
Textures are everywhere – walls, barks, leaves, sand, clothes, skin, carpets and on a whole lot of things and objects. You can even create one yourself (crumple a piece of paper, find good lighting and snap away). Yet, creating a good texture image requires some visual elements like colors, patterns, proper lighting and composition. Photographer and digital artist Rachael Towne gives us a rundown in her article How to Photograph Textures. As a note, texture images are most sought after in stock photo sites. They are used by designers and visual artists as backgrounds and design elements for websites, magazines, publications and advertising. Many times we’ve come across statements that say there are no rules in photography. Each to his own style and concept. But there will always be guideposts to help us come up with interesting and appealing images, and consequently improve our photography.
Seeing is not enough; you have to feel what you photograph.~Andre Kertesz (Photo location: Man-made forest, Bilar town, Bohol province)
This is a subject which you can approach any way you want, use any type of camera or lens, capture any time of day (even night), shoot solo or collectively, in color or black and white, blooming or in decay, in whole or in parts (leaves, branches, roots), and in all kinds of seasons. They’re one of the most universal subjects around, simply because we find them everywhere. So where’s the challenge? That is for you, the photographer, to discover. You have many options at hand: use perspective, go panoramic, take advantage of light, zoom in, go wide, find water reflections and many more. Wildlife photographer Heather Angel shares an enlightening guide where she lists some 15 Ways To Shoot Trees. As always, the bottomline is to find something unique and interesting. Care for our trees and respect Mother Nature. (Photo location: the hills of Ambulong, Batangas City)