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!
Happy Friday to everyone! For this week’s installment, I opted for one of the images from my recent trip to Valley of Fire state park in Nevada…
Even though I was predominantly shooting with my main camera on a tripod, I like using my iPhone to get a sense of the composition that I want, particularly to determine the height from which I want to capture the scene; it’s a lot easier to go low with your iPhone than adjust a tripod 5 times.
As the sun was getting very low behind us, the light became really saturated, so I actually reduced the overall saturation quite a bit in this shot.
I have to admit that it’s fun to go back through some of my older images! It’s really cool to see how my ‘eye’ has evolved over the years, and also interesting to see some images that I still really like after many years.
This is one of those images…
This image came about as I noticed the wind spinner that was sitting close to where I was photographing dog agility. It gave me the opportunity to play around a bit with exposure timing to get just the amount of blur that I was looking for.
Captured back in 2005 with a Canon EOS 1D MkII and an EF 70-200mm f/2.8L lens and 1.4x extender. Exposure time was 1/25s to get this effect.
We made it to the middle of the week! In celebration, I thought it would be nice to have something wonderful to share…
This corkscrew-shaped building is commonly referred to as The Wonderful Barn and sits on the edge of the Castletown House Estate; the barn is in the town of Leixlip. The barn was built in 1743 and has a bit of mystery associated with it, as its purpose is in debate.
One theory is that it was used as a dovecote where doves were kept, which were considered a delicacy during Georgian times.
Another hints that the structure was used for sport shooting or as a gamekeepers tower
A third theory states that this barn was used as a granary, which is supported by the fact that there is a hole in the center of each floor.
Of course, it could simply have been built as a folly, which was not unusual during those times.
What theory do you have for this interesting building?
I surmise that last week’s homage to a country on many of our minds in Travel Tuesday – Ep. 7 was rather challenging; this capture was from my trip to Ukraine in 2018 to the wonderful people and city of Kharkiv. The building is the Annunciation Cathedral (in Ukrainian: Свято-Благовіщенський кафедральний собор), which I found to be a stunning edifice.
This week, we’re going back to 2015 and a location that might be easier for many of you to figure out…
One of my favorite locations and waterfalls, so I expect that some of you may know where this is…
Part of my photographic explorations from the last year were in the area of Infrared photography. After some initial playing around, I bit the proverbial bullet and had my Canon EOS 5D MkII converted to filter at 590 nm (5900 Angstrom), which left me plenty of options on how I want to process the image.
Here’s one of the shots with this camera…
Seeing this beautiful red brick walkway in front of me, I couldn’t help but take this shot. As I know what the trees would do in IR, this lent itself for a B&W image that I still enjoy.
Welcome to the 2nd installment and follow up to the Develop an Image – part-2 post from a couple of weeks ago. As a reminder, we were working on the intriguing image of rock formation in Gold Butte National Monument and had completed processing in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR):
One quick note is that ACR can be invoked as a filter in Photoshop, which is an option that is fun to explore as there are some great presets in the Camera Raw Filter.
Next we take the 5 images and open them in Photoshop by clicking on the Open button. This opens the 5 files individually, so we’ll have to bring them into a single Photoshop file. I do this by going to using the first file that is open as the Background layer; then I go to the remaining files and select the image with a Command-A, copying it to the clipboard with a Command-C going to the background file tab and with a simple Command-V bringing the image in as a layer. That provides the following layers:
Select all 5 layers and in Photoshop’s Edit menu select Auto-Align Layers… and use the Auto option; this ensures that any slight shifts between the shots are fully aligned. Then select Auto-Blend Layers… from the Edit menu, and the following dialog pops up:
The choice here is to Stack Images; I use the smarts of Photoshop to let it ensure that Tones and Colors are blended seamlessly and I trust its Content Aware Fill algorithms (they are good!). After some compute cycles, your layer panel will look as follows:
The magic is in the masks that Photoshop generates for each of the layers, as it uses the focal distance of each shot and selects that which is the most precise focus to composite the resultant focus-stacked layer.
At this point, all we have left to do is make the final adjustments, which I will cover in the next installment. In part 3, I’ll introduce you to some of the other tools in my Photoshop arsenal to help unleash some of its power without having to master all the complexities.
Yes, that is an All-Terrain Armored Transport (ATAT) lumbering through the Colosseum! The gladiators of the Rebel Alliance have left their mark on this vehicle, but have not prevented it from taking center stage!
I enjoy collecting custom creations of this ilk, especially those from the fertile mind of Richard Page of umetoys. As I received this ATAT graffiti on Thursday, I immediately saw an opportunity to photograph it in my Lego Colosseum.
Do you have items that you collect and pose in unusual situations? It’s fun isn’t it? Have a great weekend!
Sometimes miracles happen, such as Wednesday’s result of the French Cup match between Olympique de Marseille and FC Annecy; it was a dramatic result that went to a penalty shootout win for Annecy! This touched me as I visited Annecy many years ago, from which I have a slide that I had scanned a couple of years back…
My guess is that this image is from 1984 or 1985, when I worked for Digital Equipment Corporation and went on a business trip to visit our site in Annecy. It is a beautifully situated town in the Haute Savoie. When I saw the underdogs emerge victorious over mighty Olympique, I couldn’t help but think back to this visit!
Last week’s visit to the land of giants in Travel Tuesday – Ep. 6 was pretty easy to guess for some of you. Madurodam in The Hague is a popular place to visit, especially with children, as they get to feel tall next to the buildings.
For this week’s installment, I’m opting for something a little more challenging from one of my trips in 2018…
I think the style of this cathedral will help determine which part of the world this could be in. Let’s see who might pin-point this one!