This week, we are travelling a bit to the north to touch the arctic circle. Last year, I had the pleasure to spend 4 days in Iceland, which were not nearly enough to take in its beauty, but gave me a taste for more.
For 3 of the 4 days, I stayed in Akureyri, which is on the northern coast of Iceland; it is the second largest population center in Iceland with around 18,000 people. Through AirBnB, I had found a lovely farm where I had a room overlooking a fjord, and wonderful hosts.
I did my exploring in the area around Akureyri and found some amazing sights, such as the Mývatn area, where I found this rather surreal landscape. Lesser known than the Blue Lagoon in southern Iceland, Lake Mývatn is also the beneficiary of a geothermal plant. The light blue hue is due to the rich mineral content of the silica sediment that settles on the bottom; think lots of sulphur!
Over the pass couple of weeks I have covered concepts and techniques, and I promised to do a bit of a deeper dive into what lies beneath the surface of the process of capturing these images.
In terms of photographic technique, the ideas are rather simple and mastered relatively quickly. Most of my personal photography projects tend not to last very long, as quickly I start looking for novel ways to capture and present material; at such a time, I usually put the project aside for at least a year or so, waiting for it to feel fresh again when I go for the next image in a series. This project has been different, in that I have been shooting in this genre for more than 4 years thus far, and it has not felt stale to me yet. As this surprised me somewhat, I started looking into the how and why this project is different.
There are several elements that I uncovered, which make the Kryptomorphaics project different from prior efforts:
I am certain that there are other elements that I may uncover, as I push forward in this project, but these appear to be the drivers at this time.
Discovery – photography is a journey of discovery for just about all of us, who have picked up a camera and started shooting in earnest. This project has afforded me continual discovery through opening up all senses and taking input from all of them in the process of capturing content that is not just visible to the eye. This deeper sense of uncovering this cryptic that lies hidden within the world around us has opened my mind’s eye to further explore these scenes in new directions. These include examination of the scene not only in its current juncture within the space-time continuum, but also past and future lines that may be occupied by the players on stage within the scene. This has opened up some connections that I had hitherto not observed, some of which demonstrate how universal forces flow through the quotidian.
Emotional Connectivity – as I deepened my exploration, part of which included opening up all senses to the environment in which I found myself, I started noticing a sense of emotional connection to what I found within the scene. In a manner, which can be likened to meditation, a more complete sense of the image, as it should be captured, is refined by opening up the senses to subtle emotional triggers. It can be described as opening oneself up to a feeling washing over the entire being and letting that guide the decision making process for how to capture the image. This feeling is more pronounced for certain images that others.
Re-Examination – upon capturing an image, the next thing I do is a taking stock of how it felt to capture the image. I take sensory stock of the image rather than examining it visually (I am not a big fan of chimping, but one could say that this is a sort of sensory chimping). Without looking at the image, I will then make a decision to either shoot the scene with some adjustment, which can be slight or radical, or if it feels just right, I then walk away from it.
I find that the success of the process depends more on my ability to quiet all my senses and open myself up to my surroundings; this is where the simile with mediation extends, as I will use meditation techniques to improve my feel for the environment. In this process, I do not over-analyze how I might be able to capture the feeling that lies before my lens; a couple of rough guesstimates guide my camera settings adjustments, as I let intuition be my guide.
This wraps up this 3-part series on abstract photography, but, fear not! From time to time, I will feature an image from my Kryptomorphaics collection to discuss it in more detail.
I sincerely hope you enjoyed this introduction and look forward to hearing what other topics might interest you.
During the same day that I captured the images in yesterday’s post, Another shot of cold, I grabbed the opportunity to catch these leaves backlit by the sun.
I had just finished shooting some shoreline details and was walking back along the water’s edge to climb up the embankment and trudge through the snow. The clouds were beginning to look more interesting, which caused me to look up and notice the small cluster of leaves still attached in this hard winter.
Positioning the leaves in front of the sun gave me exactly the look that spoke to me, with a bit of drama in the clouds and the structure of tree from above. The way it is presented here is without any touchup in postprocessing, as I like the little bit of warmth that flows forth in this mostly black&white image.
I captured this with a Canon EOS 5D MkIII using an EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II. The settings I used were a bit unusual, as I wanted a shallow depth of field, so I used f5.6 at 1/8000 second (probably the first time I’ve ever used that shutter speed).
In my earlier post, I talked a bit about finding a nice frozen waterfall to photograph, which was a blast. In case you thought that to be an isolated incident, let me set you straight with a couple of images from a tour of beaches on the Massachusetts Northshore and Southern New Hampshire.
These are from the end of January, 2015, on a day that was windy and raw, as you can see from the waves crashing on boulders at the beach. Luckily, I was dressed for this with warm boots, ski pants and sufficient layers to keep me comfortable.
Most of the day was pretty much overcast, which left the light rather flat…
But in the afternoon, the sun started showing itself a bit more, which provided wonderful opportunity to photograph some of the more interesting pieces on the beach.
I wholeheartedly recommend going out on cold days to explore places that most people only visit when it’s warm.
It’s upon us! The day that must be loved by dentists universally, as their consumer base is expanded! According to a 3-year old CNN article (Valentine’s Day Statistics) $1.6B is spent on candy for Valentine’s Day.
And what did I do to help this a couple of years ago? Photograph more candy, of course, just in case there wasn’t enough consumption yet! But no need to worry, as I didn’t eat the candy and brushed my teeth!
Have a very Happy Valentine’s Day, and remember to brush!!
I shot this in my studio, so camera settings are not really germane, but I will share that the lens I used for this is a Lensbaby Composer with a glass optic. If there’s interest, I’ll be happy to do a post on Lensbaby at some time this Spring.
Life is full of art, it creates it, becomes it, displays it, and, yes, it even imitates it.
Are we awaiting the young Sorcerer’s Apprentice to appear on the scene to create mayhem with the best of intentions? Will the broom get a life of its own? Can a dustpan moonwalk?
A little background
This image goes back about 5 or so years, when I was still very active in photography agility trials. Well before the action started on this fairground, I stopped by the bathroom, looked and saw this scene in front of me… The way the light came in through the door and backlit the broom and dustpan; the lines working together turned this ordinary scene into an interesting sight…
I left the bathroom to grab my tripod and camera, so that I could get the shot I wanted before anyone would disturb it, or the light would change. As I was setting up, a trial worker stopped by to hang up a sign; I got a bit of an odd look, but, as I was that weird photographer, no questions were asked.
Shot with a Canon 1D MkIII and a 24-70mm L lens. This was a series of of 5 shots, each 1 EV (exposure value) apart around the correct metered exposure. Processing was done with Photomatix Pro.
This image is one that I captured about 3-1/2 years ago during a walk through the gardens of Gillette Castle in East Haddam, CT, which is a great site to visit year round. My eye was caught by the multitudinousness of the water lilies; to a degree, I found the view of this pond slightly less than tranquil, which gave me the idea of creating this image, where the eye will never rest.
I am curious to find out how you perceive this image… let me know!
Shot with a Canon 5D MkII using a 24-105 L lens. I pushed the shutter speed to about 1/3 second to be able to get the zoom blur at this level. As the camera was handheld, the tricky part was to ensure that something would stay still.