Monthly Archives: December 2015

Low-Hanging Fruit

Wooden Cross on an Adobe Arch Taos Pueblo, New Mexico, 2011

Wooden Cross on an Adobe Arch
Taos Pueblo, New Mexico, 2011

I’ve read somewhere that as a photographer you should try to see past the images that are obvious, and that if you don’t spend a substantial amount of time working on your images after capture, it’s likely that you have not developed them to their full potential.  As a practical matter, I find these propositions generally to be true in my own photography, as most of the images I’ve made that I like tend to follow this pattern.

As with most things, however, I don’t find them to be inviolable rules.  This composition was pretty obvious to see in the field, at least to me, and I don’t believe I spent more than about five minutes working on it once I brought it into my computer.  Sometimes, the obvious choices are the best ones, and there’s no need to put in more work than the amount that is required.

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Moon, Low Branch Fort Collins, Colorado, 2015

Moon, Low Branch
Fort Collins, Colorado, 2015

Want to know the backstory behind this image?

It was 4 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon.  I was in my day job office getting caught up on some day job work.  I looked out the window, and happened to notice a nearly full moon rising perfectly behind some trees on the lawn of a government building across the street.  So, I went home to grab my camera (only a ten minute round trip, fortunately), spent about 45 minutes making the captures that ultimately resulted in this image, and returned to work to finish my tasks.

Lessons learned:

1.  Always be observant of what’s going on in your surroundings.

2.  Always have the tools of your trade at your disposal.

3.  Always be willing to invest the time it takes to capture the moment.

There’s beauty in the world, everywhere, all the time, if you’re open to seeing it.

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Breaking My Own Rules

Prophet Tree Windy Ridge, Near Alma, Colorado, 2015

Prophet Tree
Windy Ridge, Near Alma, Colorado, 2015

Not two weeks ago, I wrote a post describing how I generally prefer to use bland, non-creative titles for my images.

Well, just to prove myself a liar, here is an image I’m calling “Prophet Tree.”  I put it in the category of suggestive and creative titles because, of course, the tree is not literally a prophet – you have to use your imagination a little bit to make that connection.  But, I just couldn’t help myself.  When I was working on this image, I simply could not get the picture of the figure of a biblical or mythological prophet out of my mind.

Oh well.  If anyone is going to prove me a liar, I suppose it may as well be me.

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Seeing It is Feeling It

Denver Convention Center No. 1 Denver, Colorado 2013

Denver Convention Center No. 1
Denver, Colorado 2013

Do you like architectural photography?  I really do, so it came as a surprise to me the first time I realized that not everyone does.  I’ve wondered for a while why some people seem to really appreciate architectural subjects, and others, well, not so much.

One possibility may relate to what you see when you look at an architectural image.  Is it just a building to you?  A collection of steel, glass and concrete?  Basically just a photograph of an everyday, commonly observed subject?

If so, then I can see where architectural photography wouldn’t be anything special.

To me, however, good architectural photography is so much more than that.  It’s about power, dynamism, and movement.  The lines, shapes, and patterns of the architecture, when done well by the photographer, are visual building blocks that translate into weights, balances, and motions that impart an almost physical feeling that exists apart from the architecture itself.  Seeing images like this feels like shrinking yourself down to the size of the photograph and riding through it like a roller coaster.

It’s sort of like appreciating music.  If you listen to a song, and all you hear is a collection of arranged and organized sounds, then music may not really be your thing.  But if you listen to a song and hear not only the sounds, but get a deeper feeling from or about what you’re hearing, then you’re experiencing the music on a level that’s more than simply receiving and processing auditory information, like you would for a traffic report or a fire alarm.  The best music has the quality of grabbing you and bringing you along for a ride through the rhythms, harmonies, and melodies of the piece.

A good architectural photograph is like that for me.  It’s not just a matter of seeing it, but feeling it as well.

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