A Fresh Perspective
Photography is more than just a vehicle for capturing the world around me; it provides me with a palette and a set of brushes, with which I paint not only what I see, but also look to express the emotions that are evoked by the scene in front of me in that moment.
Growing up in the Netherlands exposed me to a wide cross-section of visual arts that laid the foundation of my photographic view of all that surrounds me. Early influences were the Dutch Masters of the 17th century, to whom I was introduced by my grandfather during museum explorations; favorites among them are the scenes of quotidian life depicted by Jan Steen and Frans Hals and the vivid landscapes of Jacob van Ruisdael.
My classical high school education was supplemented by the Boijmans Van Beuningen museum, where I spent many a lunch hour exploring its great collection. Here I was introduced to surrealism with a particular love for the approach taken by Salvador Dali; Dali also rekindled my appreciation for the work of Hieronymus Bosch, who often showed the folly of us mortals.
My approach to any photographic subject is to look for understanding first; in this I look to establish either a connection between the viewer and the subject or capture the connection of the subject with its surroundings. The captured image then aims to portray this connection from a perspective that is part of my personal interpretation.
This interpretation is often a form of externalized introspection, which may alternately display the connection of isolated beings and items with their environment or highlight the whimsy of the profound world, in which we find ourselves. The universe is full of connections, many of which are waiting to be discovered; part of my journey as a photographer is to document these connections.
Any assignment, be it an event, a product shoot or a portrait session is always approached through communication with the client; this is where the first connection is established. Ideas are exchanged and a collaborative plan of action forms, ultimately resulting in a set of images that aim to exceed the expectations of each client.
And, lest we forget, it is important to have fun while practicing the serious business of photography!
There are times in all of our lives, whether professional, personal or creative, that we need to find a new spark of inspiration to drive us to that next level.
I have been looking for a while to find a that source of ignition in my creative endeavors, as my photography was suffering from seeing the world around me in the same way that I have for a long time. One area of photography that has intrigued me for a while is that of Infrared photography, or, more accurately, filtering out a significant part of the visible spectrum.
As there was an upcoming Infrared photography workshop led by Lee Varis and Bobbi Lane (link) rather nearby to me, I took the plunge and had one of my DSLRs converted to a sensor that would filter all light wavelengths shorter than 590nm. As 590nm is in the yellow-orange part of the visible spectrum, the sensor will capture from there to the deep red and infrared bands.
Here is an image that I captured yesterday during this workshop…
The image is an allium flower backlit by the afternoon Sun. I was pleasantly surprised by the effect of a slight bit of lens flare within the body of the flower, as if provides the sense of hot gases escaping from a celestial body.
Part of what I enjoy thus far in IR photography is that what you see through the camera is not the image that you’ll create after processing. The Raw capture by the camera looks like this:
In this unprocessed image you can see the part of the spectrum that was capture. While I’m still learning more about the processing of 590nm IR images, the basic steps I follow are these:
– Convert RAW image to DNG for white balance adjustment – Select my 590nm white balance profile in Adobe Camera Raw – In Photoshop swap the Blue and Red channels in the image and make other edits
As I gain more experience with the processing, I will put together a post about it.
It’s been a busy week, and still a bunch of things to do around the house before a short work-trip this coming week, so nothing like the present time to play around a bit editing some more puffins to share with you.
After leaving the island in the afternoon, we toured a bit around the shoreline for several different views, which provided the opportunity to see these lovely birds floating on the calm sea. I’m still not sure, if they were just passing each other or they couldn’t agree on the direction to the next tasty morsel of fish.
Part of the fun was observing all the interactions among the puffins; these two atop the rock stood there for quite a while, as if to decide who was getting the best spot in the neighborhood; of course, the referee might be the only winner in this contest!
As this week comes to an end, or begins again, depending on your perspective, I thought I’d share another sunset from last year’s outing to Maine.
While enjoying some more spectacular weather, we spent time sauntering around the lovely downtown waterfront of Bar Harbor, anticipating the sunset. Near the end of this exploration, I was fortunate enough to be able to view this scene in front of me.
Part of what attracted me to this vista are the people who have ventured out onto the sandbank, as they provide a sense of scale. The gently gliding seagull made for a lovely bonus element.
This image was captured using a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 24-105mm F4/L lens; exposure was 1/1600s at f/9 and 125 ISO. These settings were chosen to purposely underexpose the image a bit with this much sunlight coming straight into the sensor. Post-processing focused on bringing a bit more detail into the water and darkening the sky to get more balance between the bright sun and its reflection in the water.
As I’m going through the images from last year’s photography trip to Acadia National Park and surroundings, it’s fun to see some of the moments that were captured away from the main events of the trip. Yes, there was lots of stunning scenery, cute animals and grand vistas, but that shouldn’t take away from those times when the eye catches a slightly different moment.
The moment shared here was from when we wandered around the docks of Bar Harbor in preparation of capturing the amazing sunset that presented itself there. Out of the corner of my left eye, I noticed this reflection of a boat that had lots of interesting light on it.
The first thing you may notice is that the image is not tack-sharp, which is what we often look for in our photography. That was my intent, as I wanted to soften the image in camera to get an effect of becoming an impressionist image. I shot this with the Canon EOS R5 using a Canon RF 24-105 F4L IS USM lens at 0.6s, F7.1 at 125 ISO; there was a lot of light there, which is why I dropped the ISO and the longer exposure allowed the rippling of the water to have this effect.
Processing was done in Luminar Neo to add a bit of warmth with the Instant Result preset and followed up by work in Photoshop to reduce the impact of the brighter white part of the reflection near the top of the image.
As I was editing some of the substantial backlog of my images (don’t ask how many), an idea came to mind. Often, during these editing sessions, I like to experiment with alternate looks to create for my images. It’s a way to check what mood comes through with a particular look.
So I thought it might be interesting to ask for feedback from all of you to find out how these alternatives resonate (or don’t) with your sensibilities. Here’s the first one in this series.
This images was taken a bit later in the morning of the A Very Early Sunrise in Maine post, as I had found a different location with a view of some of the Porcupine islands lined up and a sky that was rather pleasing.
The first treatment is the more sedate of the 2, as I made use of Aurora HDR’s ‘Rocks Sunset’ preset that is part of their Natural collection of presets. As I looked at this result, I felt that it didn’t really do the overall scene justice, as even a bit of brightening of the foreground didn’t produce a good sense of the beauty of the landscape on the mountain.
The second treatment is definitely more aggressive; it uses Aurora HDR’s ‘EggHDRugs on Brain’ preset that is part of their Trey Ratcliff Looks collection. It pops the foreground quite a bit and with a bit of darkening, the sky look came in as pretty dramatic.
Hope you enjoy these comparisons and I’m looking forward to hear from you about your preferences.
During the photography trip to Acadia National park in Maine, there were several key photo opportunities that were not to be missed; one of these is to photograph the very early sunrise atop Cadillac Mountain in the park.
During a large part of the year, Cadillac Mountain allows one to see the earliest sunrise in the United States, a fact that attracts a significant number of photographers to this location, despite the incredibly early hour. The following is one of the images that I captured during this morning session…
This was captured at 4:45 a.m. on June 8, 2021, as the Sun is just beginning to show a sliver of its orb above the horizon. The weather really cooperated on this day, as the clouds made for a great canvas for the Sun’s early rays to paint the rose-fingered dawn, as Homer might say.
This image was shot with a Canon EOS R5 using a Canon RF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM lens; aperture was at f/9 with an exposure of 1/250s at 800 ISO. Post processing was done using Luminar 4 by Skylum.
As 2021 enabled us to slowly, carefully head back toward travel and exploration of our world, I did manage to take a photography trip to Acadia National Park in the wonderful state of Maine.
Acadia is an exciting park to visit, as it presents a wealth of photography opportunities with excellent variety. During this trip, we photographed the sunrise at Cadillac Mountain, sunsets in Bar Harbor, lighthouses and nature in its many manifestations. It was a great way to unwind!
A side trip took us to Machias-Seal Island, which territory is disputed between Canada and the United States. The benefit of this dispute is that small groups are allowed to visit the island’s puffin colony, weather permitting. As our guide had reserved our tour’s spot well in advance (spots sell out in early January), and the weather cooperated, we had the pleasure of spending several hours photographing from blinds, as we were surrounded by puffins everywhere. Here’s one shot from that magical time.
There were hundreds, if not thousands of puffins around us. From time to time, some of them would even run across the top of our blind, giving us a pitter patter of little puffin feet as a sound track.
This image was shot using a Canon EOS R5 using the amazing Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM lens. This lens absolutely blew me away with the image quality that it was able to produce.
With some initial, cautious steps it is time to regain a sense of balance in life. It has not been easy to find creative energy outside the structure provided by a rather busy work schedule, as much of my energy is derived from direct, human interaction.
This year will be the year of our grand re-opening, as we’ve learned to deal with one challenge after another (and still more right now), and I have to say that I am looking forward to getting some real travel back into my schedule. Plans and reservations have been made for both a photography journey to Iceland in August and a Rhine river cruise in September. Exciting prospects!
One of my welcome outings of last year, was a trip to visit a great friend of mine and our going out to explore some areas with photo opportunities. This particular spot was the beach at Harkness State Park in Connecticut, where these pieces of driftwood caught my attention on a rather cold December day. The line they presented was just very inviting!
This image was captured with an iPhone 12 Pro Max and processed using Luminar AI; this software is produced by Skylum, headquartered in Kyiv, Ukraine.
As the insanity of war has invaded the country of Ukraine, I can’t help but think back to my visit to the city of Kharkiv less than 4 years ago. The warm welcome that I was extended by the people of SoftServe made this a truly special visit.
These very same people are in my thoughts, as I see images of barbaric attacks on this great city, where I walked along the banks of the river
The visit may have been a work trip, but the camaraderie was heartfelt and time was enjoyed in each other’s company. Now, I can only hope that all of these work friends are safe and that this needless violence is stopped immediately, so that they can rebuild and get their lives back to normal.
This image was created using 3 shots taken with my Fuji X-H1 and processing them with Aurora HDR, using an Ethereal Drama preset; secondary processing was done using Luminar Neo. Both of these products are from Skylum, a company founded in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Let’s all do our bit and help the people of Ukraine defend their democracy!
Welcome to week 216 of the Tuesday Photo Challenge! I’m catching up slowly and have started on last week’s round up; there were a lot of responses, which I will share with you later today.
As work on our bathroom just finished, I thought it might be appropriate to have that serve as inspiration for this week’s theme. My wife and I are both very happy with the end result and feel a sense of renewal and appreciation for what this shower brings us. The spacious walk-in and gentle rain shower renew every fiber of one’s body!
For this week, please share what brings renewal to you, whether it is the impending change of season or some other aspect in your life that brings a new sense of energy to you. I look forward to seeing what might renew each of you!
Here are two angles of the redone bathroom…
Imagine, if you will, that this space was a mid-1980s yellow tub with a yellow linoleum floor…it has been renewed and is transformed! Our design decision were influenced by our travels, looking for a bright space for the shower with lovely Ukrainian tile and a wood-like linoleum floor. The industrial element brought in by the door made for a perfect contrast to the organic components in the room. There are still some splashes of color to be added, but you get the idea!
The full rules of this challenge are in TPC Guidelines, but here’s the tl;dr:
Create a pingback link to this post, so that I can create a post showing all of the submissions over the week (note: pingbacks may not appear immediately, as my site is set up to require approval for linking to it; helps against previous bad experiences with spamming)
Have fun creating something new (or sharing something old)!!