Friday’s Travel Photo

Red, green and blue!

Last year, I went to visit my mother for her birthday; of course, we took the opportunity to go see some of the old sights! Here’s one…

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Volendam Fishing Boats

Volendam is a picturesque town in the province of North Holland on the shore of the IJsselmeer, which used to be a sea, named the Zuiderzee.  It originally was the harbor for Edam (well-known for its cheese), but in 1357 the inhabitants of Edam dug a more direct canal route to the Zuiderzee, so the harbor’s dam was used as a starting point for filling in the land, on which the new town of Volendam was settled.

These days, the town of Volendam is popular with tourists, as the houses have their own, inimitable style and many locals dress in traditional clothing to give the feel of being transported into a past several centuries ago.

It’s a great place to visit and when I noticed these fishing boats lined up in this fashion I couldn’t resist getting a shot of the scene.

Technical Data

This was shot with a Canon EOS 5D MkIII, using the in-camera HDR option.  One fine day, I will actually catch up with image editing and processing and do a proper job, but, in the mean time, I still like this one.

Hope you do too!

Friday’s Mystery Slide

What kind of gas do we have here?

Today, I want to start something a little different: present you with a mystery.  Not a deep, dark mystery to be sure, but, rather, something from the past that may interest both young and old.

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Holy Gasbag! What do we have here?

This image is a scan from a slide, that was not taken by me; I came upon a collection of slides that my father-in-law was going to throw out (they were wrapped up neatly in a paper towel with tape marked trash on them).

Luckily, he was nice enough to check and see, if I wanted the containers that they were stored in, so I asked him, if I could have the slides too.  He kind of shrugged and said, “Sure”.

This was a couple of years ago and I promptly bought a slide scanner, but never touched them until this week.  After getting a new driver for the scanner from the manufacturer in Taiwan, I fired it up last night and let it scan the first 36 slides.

That is when I noticed this slide that I present to you as a mystery.  What do you make of it?  What is this location?  What is its purpose?

Hope you enjoy this little mystery.  If you do, I may bring out more slides from this collection.  I’m curious to see what all of you can bring to the light.

Wednesday Wonderment – pt 4

A strange kind of magic

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.

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Lake Mývatn

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!

Hope you enjoy this image!

TTT – Abstract Photography – Ep. 3

Driving force behind a project

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Gold and Green in Motion

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:

  • on-going discovery
  • emotional connectivity
  • re-examination
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.

Berries in Motion
Berries in Motion

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.

Mystery in Green
Mystery in Green

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.

Every leaf has a halo

Simple beauty on a cold day

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Leafy halo

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.

Technical Details

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).

Another Shot of Cold…

Snow on the beach

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Beachscape in Winter

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.

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Crashing Waves

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…

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Flotsam

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.

Valentine Sweets

Candy, candy everywhere

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Sweetness!

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!!

Technical Details

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.