So here's my question… Adjectives modify, right? Well in that sign up there over the windows, "Elegant" is the adjective but… but… which of the other words does it modify? Huh? Huh? And for that matter, is the gift a "What" or a "Who"?
Only three words yet… Life is so confusing…
The shop's in St. Augustine, Fla. and I caught it with my Canon 7D through my normal Canon EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6) zoom. Post was done in PS4 with an assist from Alien Skin's Exposure 5 where Ektachrome looked right to capture that old-time-shoppe thing after I'd customized it a tad. Look closely at the left window where they've posted a sign that reads, "20% off all swimwear". Hmmmm…. given the, er, elegant window stuff, wuddaya thinks left of their swimwear after they lop off another 20%? I shoulda gone in to find out, huh?
Surely you've noticed the space around a gowned
monkey distorts? My Canon 7D did through its Canon
EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6) when I stood him in front of stacked - and
filled - Dublin coffins. Then in PS4, I worked the feelings through AlienSkin's SnapArt4 so that the scene dangled like the string on a surreal
party popper - that no one dared pop.
Caught with my Canon 20D through a Cannon EFS 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens then massaged in PS4 employing AlienSkin: Adjust 5 to evoke my own custom modification of Fuji Velvia 50. I know, this slow slide film was usually avoided by portrait photographers, but I loved it for its spooky brown/yellow shifts that created a dreamy antique patina in naturally lit night shots. Of course this wasn't one of those, well not before its PS4 massaging.
Recently I grabbed this snapshot through my Canon 7D's EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6) at a tag sale in Adamstown. His tie and hat snagged my eye. I'm guessing this lead toy's from what? The 1920s? 30s? Colors in the group were still so vivid. Then look at how manic I got. See how I augmented the image to hijack your attention with all the subtlety of a performance by Mylie Cyrus to make you stare at one thing. No… no… not a tongue :-)
See all those vector lines? See how they highlight streaks that both end and grow brighter around the circle of the rider's head? Vector A in particular uses the price tag's string to start the effect. See how the depth of field's been dickered with as in Circle B to leave just the rider tack sharp? See how the outer edges are all vignetted so that the brightest dynamics all pop along the power point described by the red - Rule Of Thirds grid - I've overlaid?
YIPES! This is craft gone carcinogenic. Couldn't stop myself. Even the palette's been created to become most vivid around that northwestern power point on the red grid. Hot reds and greens explode both along that western vertical grid line and at the power point, meantime the setting fades into a warmer stew of yellows.
I felt driven to tell the story that this guy told me, about a time before bike riders were baaaaaad!
Now isn't that pretty? Just, well, perfect? Look… look how the glow streams from the northwest, streaking through the leaves. Look how it startles and ignites the crisp blades down there on the southeastern corner. And see… see the lines in the farmhouse sharp enough to shave a starlet's legs? The hues range from coal black through platinum.
And look how there's absolutely NO MEANING, NO FEELING! There's neither passion nor thought.
When I saw this place I felt its age. Felt an almost spooky aura that built up over maybe a couple of centuries? Felt the way those silos in the west balanced the prosperous size of what may have once been something close to a middle-class mansion. Here was a fruit of the farm.
But… but… the image shows none of that. Instead it's an absolutely perfectly assembled piece of craft. And you know my feeling about that? "Art without wonder," I've written, "is merely craft." Damn… I have the skills to do this and no more… With this thing at least, here's what skill without talent looks like. It's pretty. It's perfect. It glows, it ignites crisp blades… but not ideas or feeling.
It's been so long since I've even considered doing B&W that stripping away color is like… like Joan Rivers' humor stripping away sex. It seems wrong to surgically remove zillions of hues. From roughly 1957 through 2003, my work was overwhelmingly done in wet, monochrome darkrooms. Digital liberated me from those rooms and the prison of two color imaging. Yesterday I bought Topaz B&W Effects 2. It's a delight to use. You can see its power up there, right on that picture I grabbed with my Canon G11 on a recent bike ride. The thing is, that stripping out the color seems to strip away something else: Wonder.
Out on my bike. Grabbed the background road to nowhere. Idledf my 1936 Cord 210 in front. Thought about a pulp comic book. You know… Meaty hardboiled Dick in a battered fedora on top, a Smith and Wesson .38 underarm, and in between… shoulders done by the same firm that designed Stonehenge.
I'm imagining he's off hunting a corpse on the other side of that striped barrier. Wuddaya think? Can you hear the purr of that motor?
Hey, if this is a turkey… well… Happy Thanksgiving…
Oh… this is a test of a new tool I bought last night..The Topaz B&W Effects 2. Uh-huh…. a device to make monochromes sing. But oddly, it allowed me to layer in this effect over my image idea. I like it. You'll see more. And another "Oh"… The image is from my Canon G11. You know the Canon G series? They're probably up to G-14 or G-15 by now. Still this pocket classic of mine is sooooo powerful, produces full-range RAW images, and it has an optical viewfinder so there's no need to depend on one of those external dorky LCD screens that get wiped out whenever the sun's behind you. And since you almost always want the sun behind you… It's probably the only compact camera line that's useful in daylight. If you can find a good used G11 online… leap on it. They are magical.
There's a problem with this internet thing. Technical really. We have the power now to imagine and then make burley panoramic images. But we don't have the power to display them on these tiny monitors. I've imagined here a massive fall pastoral… over six feet on the horizontal edge… A massive piece of nature plucked from the card of a tiny Canon G10. But… how to display it?
In details. Uh-huh… detailed repetition allows the pano to condense accessibly so that it's no longer a tiny-thin long… long… strip. Instead we can appreciate it while examining its parts. Of course I guess I could buy a six foot by three foot monitor. Um, well if I could buy a monitor like that, I guess I could also easily purchase a Bugatti Veyron. And if I could afford one those.. Hell, where'd I find time to fiddle around with a camera? I mean, I'd be private jetting between yacht ports… sigh.
Meantime, I biked around the rolling hills around Lancaster last weekend, grabbed this six frame pano, stitched it together in PS4 and sprinkled AlienSkin SnapArt4 magic all over it. Then I grabbed details to turn a horizontal into a monitor-filling rectangle.
And you know what? The result feels as if the technical's overwhelmed the romantic power of the season and the moment. I'm thinking that form's conquering function.. and craft's overwhelming wonder. And art without wonder's merely craft. Grumble…
And all of this is only a few auto hours from NYC, Philly, Baltimore, and DC. In fact workers commute to each of those places by Amtrak. Yep... not too shabby, huh?
Caught these two just off of Columbia Avenue with my Canon G10. Stitched the panos together in PS4 then, after carefully adjusting their dynamics, I layered-in multiple iterations of AlienSkin's new SnapArt 4 Watercolor adjusting the brushstrokes, paint brushes, and stroke lengths as needed. That panorama up there is designed to print at about six feet on its horizontal edge!
My friends at TMElive.COM announced a challenge to invite submissions that visually expressed the meaning of community. I was blank... no bullets in the gun. I may even have missed the deadline. I went through all sorts of complexities... y'know... churches, throngs, playgrounds... And then... then... it occurred to me that maybe I do simple better? Maybe one man... elegantly alone... silently beside a screaming sign before the symbol that represents what so many of his dearest friends deeply believe... Maybe this is the achingly poignant expression of what community means...
Before the flag
I saw him
Those around him
To speak what
Canon 40D, Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens, PP in PS4
Got my hands on a beta version of AlienSkin's upcoming SnapArt4 release. It's totally impressive. Went out on my bike last weekend in the vilest light possible. Searing summer high noon glare. Had my Cannon G10 along. Stopped by a traffic light in Columbia, PA a beaten up 30s gangster car caught my eye. It was parked in front of a seedy Tattoo parlor. Here's the reference shot pulled from the flash card....
Now this entire scene could have been cut from the early Depression years intact. There's virtually nothing in it... except for some parked cars there on the right, and that air conditioner in the upper window that would not have found its way into a Daschell Hammit hard-boiled detective mystery, right? But that lighting .... AAARGH! And the busyness of the scene... no focal point. Well, here's a job for AlienSkin's SnapArt filter that allows the photographer powerful control over any number of media options. I tried a number and frankly, liked a bunch. Still, I wanted the viewer to feel the 30s AND the heat of the day at a time before air conditioning offset summer's worst bite.
Moreover, I wanted the feeling of a street sketch. You know, when an artist grabs at his hip-pocket notebook and scribbles out a scene with fast strokes revealing no more than the essential feeling of the moment. Of course I cropped it tight to cement attention upon the twin objects of imagination... the car and those signs... Here's the result...
Given my objectives, the filter let me nail it. Oh, of course I later added in the sepia tone and worked particularly hard on the signage to erase all ambiguity about their promises. I finished the work with a frame and a vignette to create a nostalgic light-box of depth. Whuddaya think?
The Mindful Eye is a forum which can be found here. It's a comfortable group of photographers of varying experience that was formed years ago by the gifted Craig Tanner and friends to develop technical and aesthetic talent nascent among its members. It's since developed into a community of supportive people who will criticize and comment. Recently they asked me to lead a community member challenge. Flattered I agreed and challenged them to create images which communicated the passing of time. The only restriction was that they could not use any device in their images which specifically measured time, such as clocks, sundials, hourglasses... like that. I posted a reference picture of mine as an example of what I meant....
A number of the members took my challenge which ended last Saturday. I promised to provide comments on their submissions by tomorrow night (9/23/13) on TME. Here, for your review and comment are their submissions. Enjoy...
• EpicEdits - The popular international community has listed me sixth on a list of the world's Undiscovered Photographers which you can visit by reading the details here! Or
• EarthMonster Illustrated, the increasingly influential fine art photography ezine named me FEATURED ARTIST in their June issue! There's an entire illustrated story which you can locate and read about if you click here. This is quite an honor, thanks Matt and everyone at EarthMonster Illustrated.
• ZOWIE! I've just been informed in late July that seven... SEVEN... of my images will be published by Canon POTN in their best of 2007 collection in the Fall of 2008! As book publication nears, I'll post the images of mine which have been selected from among worldwide submissions by a combination of a group of distinguished judges and the votes of thousands of members of POTN. This his huge! I'm snowed....
• The Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County presented a show of my work on First Friday, September 7, 2007 in The Sehner-Ellicott-von Hess House circa 1787. Click here to see the details.
If turnout is a criterion of success, It was terrific. Hundreds filled the four rooms and two hallways where I showed about forty prints of Lancaster City and County.
*** • Canon POTN has announced that three of my images have appeared in their published in the Fall of 2007. The images were accepted under: Transportation, Scenic-Travel, and Sports photography sections. Images were first judged by peer panels in each category, then submitted to the voting review of thousands of photographic artists from around the world. It is astonishingly flattering that they chose to accept three of my images. Can't wait to see the book.