I took this image of a purple tulip at Meijer Gardens in April. I received a lot of feedback, so I thought I would point out what technique I used to create it.
First, I chose an interesting flower with few imperfections that was lighted well. That became the flower I focused on. Next, I chose a wide open aperature setting (5.0) to put the background out of focus so it would not compete with the sharpness of the central tulip. Next, I moved around such that most of the background had some of the colors of the other tulips, and took care so that very little of the background was not filled with the tulips. Finally, I worked to bring out the detail of the main subject in post process using NIKs Color Effects Pro software.
All in all, I think the image turned out quite well.
I’ve never been real big on poetry. But I think I’m starting to get it, and visual learner that I am–I think I have been doing it all along. My favorite type of images to make are those that incorporate identifiable items, and putting them in a context that asks the viewer to take a second look. I like to infuse my images with visuals that invite an emotional response at some level. I am reading a book called “Anatomy of the Soul” by Curt Thompson. The book explores the integration of neuroscience and attachment with Christian Spirituality. He makes a case of how you can “rewire” your brain such that you can experience God in a more real way. Yes, it is left brain and right brain stuff, and it is a fascinating read. I just read a section about how poetry can help integrate the brain. It made a lot of sense to me, and I can relate to it in terms of how I like to approach photography.
Poetry is another powerful literary tool. It has several distinct features:
- By activating our sense of rhythm, poetry accesses our right-mode operations and systems.
- Reading poetry has the effect of catching us off guard. Our imaginations are invigorated when out usual linear expectations of prose (that one word will follow obediently behind another on the way to a predictable end) don’t apply. This can stimulate buried emotional states and layers of memory.
- Finally, poetry not only appeals to right-mode processing, but to left mode as well, given its use of language. This makes it a powerful imaginative tool.” Anatomy of the Soul, p. 150
What intrigued me is the incorporation of the expected and the unexpected. The photos in this post all have recognizable elements to it, be it patterns, lines, shapes, colors…or just the subject matter itself. But my intent is to catch the viewer off guard in the way the items are juxtaposed, layered, or framed in an unexpected way.
The description above provides a good understanding of what poetry can do, and it quite perfectly describes what I like to do with my images. It is all about engaging the viewers imagination and evoking an emotion or response from both sides of the brain.
man and nature
I guess we can call that “visual poetry.”
Winter photography is often boiled down to just lines and shape. Much of the landscape is coated with white, and the gray skies can soak the color out of the surroundings. even so, this is a good time to sharpen some photographic composition skills. Often the brilliant color of the other three seasons can overwhelm the mind and result in less thought out images. I was able to capture some winter images I wanted to share here:
I try to set some goals for my photography each year. It may be to make images of a certain type of subject such as still life objects or macro images. It may be to try out some new techniques such as fill-in flash or “dragging the shutter” to create a sense of motion in a photo. It could be to visit new locations to discover what possibilities it would hold for new and interesting subjects.
This year my goal was to visit new nature areas and local parks. It all started with seeing a newspaper article about two Grand Rapids, Michigan, area women who decided to share their love of wildflowers, walking, and local parks. Barb Beck and Judy Bergma created a Facebook page called Michigan Wildflowers. They published a small booklet showing a variety of spring wildflowers and which parks we were likely to find them in. The booklet and the Facebook page were the venue for a “Spring Wildflower Scavenger Hunt.” They encouraged readers to post photos of their findings on their Facebook page and tell us what park they were found it. In many cases readers called on Barb and Judy to help identify a wildflower they had photographed and posted.
In my estimation their venture was wildly successful. While on the prowl for wildflowers, I saw many families walking through the parks, booklets in hand, trying to find and identify the 30 spring flowers in the scavenger hunt booklet. Kids were excited to go on a treasure hunt, and parents were thrilled to see their kids interested in the outdoors. As a photographer, there was another huge benefit. I was able to get daily feedback on what flowers were blooming in a particular park on a given day or week. Many times I changed my weekend plans to visit a particular park based on what other flower hunters reported on the Facebook page.
There is a lot that can be said about how social networking can bring us together as fellow humans. In this example, social media was the impetus towards getting hundreds of people to venture out into nature–perhaps the antithesis of being behind a computer.
Following are some photos from various new parks I had not visited before this year–and a couple places I visit regularly. There are some from Spring, Summer and Fall. Enjoy!
My photo blog was featured in the October 2011 issue of SHUTTERBUG Magazine. You can see it here at Shutterbug’s website.
SHUTTERBUG WEB PROFILES: by Joe Farace
The Blog-of-the-Month is Bill Vriesema’s Selective Focus. It’s a photoblog in the classic sense, featuring lots of big photographs along with some narrative. The site uses a WordPress template from Photocrati (www.photocrati.com) that is clean, easy to read, and places the emphasis exactly where it belongs—on the photographs. He even has a Galleries section featuring eight collections of images. As a longtime fan of lighthouse photographs, I jumped into Michigan Lighthouses first and was rewarded with a terrific collection of images displayed really BIG, so you can appreciate them. What’s great about these photographs, aside from Vriesema’s overall sense of color and design, is the drama of these images. There are lots of white caps and breaking waves; not at all like the placid lighthouse photographs I’ve seen—and loved—in the past.
Closer to home (my home anyway) is Arizona Scenes that offers up landscape as well as flora and fauna photos captured using that same punchy color Vriesema employs elsewhere. Changing gears, he moves to the quiet and solitude of his Woods and Water collection, featuring close-ups of nature as well as some woodland landscape images that feature the unmistakable Vriesema touch. There’s more here, so be sure to visit all the rest of his collections. In About, Vriesema says, “Photography gives me a way to share myself.” He does just that by offering “Categories” of posts, including lessons and my favorite, “Visual Metaphors” which contains a sensitive selection of images along with his thoughts on them that are well worth reading.
My favorite time to photograph is the Fall. The cool crisp air and abundance of color are refreshing. One of the ways I like to photography fall color is by capturing the color indirectly through refelctions. Here are some samples from this fall’s “harvest.”
These photos are combining fall color with car hoods or windows:
And these photos are combining fall color with water: