Tag Archives: White Trees

My 5D Mark II and Me

White Trees, Series 2, No. 10.

Like most of the images on this website, the photograph in this post was taken with a Canon 5D Mark ii.  I bought my 5D Mark ii in late 2012, when it was the outgoing model being replaced by the Canon 5D Mark iii.  I’ve kept my 5D Mark ii through the reigns of the 5D Mark iii, 5D Mark iv, 5Dsr, and now the newly introduced 5R.  Since the Canon 5D Mark ii was first released in late 2008, as of this writing it is a 12-year-old camera, which is an eternity for a digital camera.  Why haven’t I upgraded it?

Well, truth to tell, I’ve been meaning to for awhile, but I’m surprised at how little urgency I feel to do so.  The new Canon 5R is the first Canon camera I’ve felt would be worth the upgrade.  For various reasons, none of the 5D Mark iii, 5D Mark iv, or 5Dsr really held my interest.  I’ll check out the 5R, and if it holds up like I think it will, I’ll probably get one.  Eventually.

In the meantime, I suppose I really like my 5D Mark ii.  It’s been getting the job done.  It makes inkjet prints 21 inches wide pretty much just fine, and I rarely find the need to print much larger than that.  Web pages and print publications have been no problem.  I have no doubt image quality is better from newer camera models, but I don’t feel the image quality produced from the 5D Mark ii is holding me back (indeed, I tend to like images that are a bit “rough around the edges” – I kind of wonder if I would find images from newer cameras to be too “clean” somehow).  Plus, I’ve been using my 5D Mark ii for so long, I’m really at home with it.

There’s a lesson in all this somewhere.  Maybe it’s the idea that you don’t need the latest equipment to produce artful images.  Maybe, in some cases, older equipment might even be better.  I’m sure I’ll get around to upgrading my camera at some point, probably sooner rather than later.  But it seems not be an urgent matter for me, so looks like it will be my 5D Mark ii and me, for at least a little while longer.

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Yin and Yang

Black Trees, Series 3, No. 1

Black Trees, Series 3, No. 1

If you’re reading this blog post, you may be familiar with my White Trees series of images.  I began that series back around 2012, when what had been a two-steps-forward, one-step-back interest in photography turned more serious.  The White Trees photographs began as part of a learning exercise designed to get me out into the landscape to photograph, and then to use the resulting captures in an interpretive and expressive process of image-making.  The basic concept behind the White Trees images are very white trees against relatively dark backgrounds.  I”m happy to report the White Trees project is ongoing, with new images continuously in development.

Over the years I’ve been working on the White Trees concept, I’ve produced a great many captures that, for one reason or another, are not suitable for the project.  Often, they end up making otherwise great images, and many of those images have become completed works in their own right that are now on this website.  After working with these “offshoots” of the White Trees project for awhile, I came to realize that a number of these images had their own hallmark characteristic – very dark trees against relatively lighter backgrounds.

And so, a new project has been born, the Black Trees project.  In truth, I already had been working with the Black Trees concept in other settings, and so a Black Trees Series 1 and a Black Trees Series 2 already exist.  However, I have not used the trees from the White Trees project as subjects for the Black Trees concept before, which makes a difference. So, I’m starting a new Black Trees Series 3.  I think it makes a nice complement to the White Trees project, kind of a yang to the White Trees’ yin.

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Series and Numbers

White Trees, Series 3, No. 1

White Trees, Series 3, No. 1

Sometimes, I’m asked why I don’t get more creative with the titles to my images.  For example, the title for the image in this post, “White Trees, Series 3, No. 1,” probably wouldn’t be considered as being particularly inspired or creative.

There’s a reason for that.  I’m a firm believer in the idea that the value of a photograph should come strictly from within the four corners of the image itself.  I generally feel that when you supply a photograph with supplementary information – such as a creative title, explanatory text, a bio of the photographer, etc. – that at best such information distracts from the impact of the image itself, and at worst it becomes a crutch to prop up an otherwise weak image.

Having a mundane title is like an informational dead end for the viewer.  There’s nothing there for the viewer to latch on to.  Attention is directed back to the photograph itself, and the image stands or fails on its own merits.

For those who are curious, I’ve divided the White Trees images into three (so far) series based on location.  Series 1 was photographed in Rocky Mountain National Park, Series 2 at the Mount Goliath Natural Area, and Series 3 at the Windy Ridge Bristlecone Pine Scenic Area, all in Colorado.  Within each series, photographs are numbered in the order I work on and finish them, not in the order they were captured.

But of course, to keep things interesting, even I break my own rules.  That’s why the Series 1 images indeed each do have a more descriptive title.  There just was something about the trees at the Rocky Mountain National Park location that made me see them as having human characteristics, and I named them accordingly.  You can see the names in the White Trees gallery on this website if you’re interested.

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