Monday, December 30, 2013

"Diamonds in your own backyard" is a refrain from a kind of parable my father taught me when I was very young.  If you care to look deeply, there will always be something close to home that can fascinate you and motivate you to make a photograph.  I have an entire portfolio of photographs I made of the view behind our house in New  York.  I am trying to learn the different language of the view behind the house in Florida.  I have watched this errant branch for months, but decided to make a photograph of it when it had turned color and was a significantly different value than it had been up till then. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

After a long drive on secondary roads from Atlanta, Georgia, to Jacksonville, Florida, I decided to go a little further to the coast while in Georgia.  Cumberland and Jekyl Islands are barrier islands that are tourist meccas.  They're beautiful, and the beaches are pristine.  But, I was tired and realized how similar they were to those near Amelia Island which is close to where I live, so I didn't visit this time.  I did cross this bridge, though, but stopped before I did to make this photograph.  It's a very graceful and elegant structure that has visual elements of gossamer filigree despite its solid design and engineering.  

Friday, December 20, 2013

While I have to wait to build a new darkroom here, I've been having fun scanning negatives and 'playing' with them in Photoshop Elements 11.  That play always directly emulates what I can do chemically and with light.  Photoshop makes things convenient, comparatively easy and immediate, but not unique.  It's not that Photoshop is limited, it's that I choose to impose limits on it to do only what will translate directly to darkroom possibilities.  For this image I would use a higher grade filter...maybe even a 4, and give the paper a very minimal pre-exposure (called flashing) to not let highlights burn out.  There would be considerable dodging and burning, but also bleaching.  That's a technique I learned from reading Bruce Barnbaum's book, and have learned to do well.  Using a Q-Tip soaked in potassium ferricyanide and fixer, I can brighten areas that are rather sketchy to dodge.  Then I'd tone with thiocarbamide after a very light over all bleach in pot ferri, and, after a half hour's rinse, further tone in selenium 1:4 for three minutes or so.  It's surprising how similar to this PS'd scan the print would look, and I get to rehearse what to do sitting at a desk with my laptop.  Fun!

Monday, December 16, 2013

In a break from my recent ocean images, I thought I'd present something very close to home...behind the house, in fact!  The flare is very deliberate, and is one of the reasons I made the photograph in the first place.  "The Rules" mitigate against this, but sometimes breaking them is worth it.  And, I'm really pleased the lens handled this situation as well as it did. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Unlike almost any other place on earth, the seashore renews itself every twelve hours or so.  Within the grasp of tidal cleansing or adding, footprints, sand castles, toys, dead fish and shells are beached or washed away.  Shore birds rely on finely tuned senses to snatch a tiny meal wherever they can find one.  Some scavenge, some hunt, and some do both, but their energy in pursuit of breakfast, lunch, and dinner is amazing...perhaps a zero sum game, yet always interesting to observe.  Here are six, or really on reflection, twelve!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

I 'captured' this image last evening as it was running away into the night.  I aimed my photon retractor at it, forced it to stop mid-retreat, and be stuffed into the sealed box I had mounted on my tripod.  I could sense its analog anxiety as I rewound it's prison medium and brought it to the waiting chemical baths that would disclose its secrets.  Beyond resistance, though, it docilely succumbed to the temperate 70 degree liquids that passed over it.  Perhaps grudgingly, who can know, it revealed the latent negative image that I had not been certain of until it emerged from the final wash.  But, dried and separated from its fellow negatives, it now underwent transformation!  The scanner's photons made their peaceful passage that made positive pixels prevail. The image felt a quiver of pleasure as its newborn pixels were massaged just a little bit in photoshop.  So, this is the result of its capture, the middle passage, and ultimate residence here.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

With all the time I've spent at the beach, almost none has been in the evening.  I took my stepson to his late afternoon lacrosse practice, and took myself to this nearby fishing pier that is the only one on this part of the coast that I know of.  Lacrosse practice or not, I'll be returning more often.  The pastels of evening are too gorgeous to miss, and offer a rare argument to me in favor of making a color photograph.  I despise saturated, hyper-chromatic, high dynamic range imagery, but the gentle, muted, sweet colors of evening suggest a very different mood.  Sadly, I am not gifted with normal color perception, so I rarely try to do work in that medium.  What's presented here is the next best thing I can offer.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

It's been a challenge to adapt to this new environment, but I'm developing a bond with certain areas that are visually very exciting a good deal of the time.  As I've written in recent posts, the ocean and ocean side are constantly changing subjects that I'm drawn to almost every day.  I visited this place (Little Talbot Island SP) for the first time on Monday, December 2nd.  The tide was fully out, and the expanse of beach was enormous.  This photograph records afternoon sun on the still retreating water that carved these extraordinary sand ripples.  Several hours later, there would  be no trace of them.