Friday, December 31, 2010

The Beach in Black and White

Still doing a little processing from the beach run on Tuesday and wanted to share some Black and White conversions. The contrast of the bright sun, blue sky and snowy scenery really begged for some black and white processing. All the shots here were processed in Nik Silver Efex Pro. A super program for monochrome conversions. Wishing everyone a safe and Very Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Working with Digital Art

These images were all made using my Nikon. I enjoy the process of really putting my eye to the view finder! But I also enjoy taking images and converting them to some more painterly images using the SnapArt2 program that interfaces with Photoshop. All of the images here were processed using the Oil Paint option in SnapArt2.All but the first  image were multiple shot exposures (HDR) processed in Nik HDR Efex Pro first then run into SnapArt2 and Photoshop for tweaking.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Winter Beach Run

Processed in Nik HDR Efex Pro

Yesterday, Annette and I left Baltimore around 6:00 am in search of some winter scenes at the beach, which we both love so much, in lower Delaware. Traffic on I-95 had already begun to build for rush hour and we made it over the Bay Bridge in good time. We were tempted with many beautiful back river scenes we saw from the highway as daylight came on and decided to try and find some early morning shooting location on Kent Island. So we pulled off the highway, and we found a vantage point of the frozen shores and made some images there. We stopped for some breakfast and much needed coffee at the Ihop in Seaford, DE.
Single shot Photoshop only

Our journey continued on toward the shore and we commented how we could see the path of the recent storm as the snow became more apparent in the fields and some drifting snow over the roads. But I must say it was clear sailing all the way, with no travel issues. We decided to check out the beach from a vantage point near my beach house. We both put on our tall snow boots as we expected trudging through some drifts. My first sight of snow on the beach was beautiful by the dune fences between the beach houses and the actual beach. So we made some shots there. We proceeded on to the beach and I was surprised to see the ocean as calm as a quiet day in the summer. The ocean was not rough, the shore was flat and the snow was only accumulated around the dune and back areas. I guess the tide had washed away whatever snow actually fell on the beach. So we found some pretty cool drifts around the dune fences and made some shots there, which was great because as we were crouched down low to get the angles we wanted, the dune shielded the wind.
Single shot Photoshop only

By the time we finished working this area of the beach it was well past two and we decided since our light was going to run out at 4:30...we had a few choices to make. We both agreed that we wanted to see Prime Hook, with its marshy landscape in the snow so we headed north past Rehoboth and made it to Prime Hook in time to explore a few areas and make some shooting picks. So as the sun was heading down and the shooting day was ending we made some shots there. The ditch which normally houses tons of mosquitoes in the summer was transformed with icy edges and frozen textures. We had a great day and we were hungry for some dinner so we headed for Meding's in Milford, De. which is always a winner for some great seafood. We made it home by 9:30, tired but feeling like we achieved our mission, as much as we could in one day! All shots here were made with a Nikon D2X.
Processed with Nik HDR Efex pro

Friday, December 24, 2010

Grunge Seagrams Distillery

Yesterday a few local photographers and I explored the remains of the Seagram's Distillery. While I was learning how to use my iPhone to create images, (check out my new iPhone exclusive blog) I'll be adding to it as I continue to use the iPhone to create images: I was also making some HDR images. So these are a few of the bracketed shots I made there. All the images here were processed in Nik HDR Efex Pro.

This last image was processed in Snapart 2..and it is always a good idea to get your own camera bags out of the shot! I  left them in here as they looked like debris from afar, but if you zoom in you can see them. ; - ) a little more PShop work and they would be gone.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The last of the Ice Shots for now

I got a chuckle from a comment left on my blog, about being an Ice Princess; Too funny my friend JB. I think I saved the best for last. So here are a few more...of the absolutely amazing creations nature provides in our world if we take the time to look closely. All were shot with a 200 mm macro as close as I could get and still focus, about 19 inches from the ice.

Today was a bit different though...since I purchased an iPhone as a result of being convinced by the art I have been seeing produced by some terrific photographers...I wanted in on the fun too. I bought some photo apps.....studied them a little last night after making the purchase of the iPhone on Wednesday night.
A crash self taught course...then had a little guidance today while doing some shooting, from some iPhone photographers...I'll post those shots in another blog but it was fun and now I have another shopping list of iPhone photo apps, and accessories to buy....

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A few more Ice Pattern Mirriors.......

 After talking to a friend who has had a bad go of some back surgery, I headed out this morning to finish a few more Holiday errands. I dropped off a calendar to my service tech, Sylvia, at Valley Motors VW. She is always so nice. Then I stopped and picked up some wrapping paper from Stebbins Anderson an old Baltimore hardware/ gift store. I just value their current business model, service and merchandise assortment. I picked up exactly what I needed and more. They have these fun little "things" don't know what else to call them but they are hand painted indoor/outdoor tin decorations from The Round Top Collection. I have been collecting some each year since I discovered them. My daughter sent me a hand painted tin snow man years ago which I hang outside every year and that is what started the hand painted tin affliction. They really are cool and their designs are so much fun. So now all my packages are wrapped and I am looking forward to heading to Ashburn, Va. Saturday to be with family in the area. Hopefully the snow will not be a problem.
This afternoon I made some more mirror images from my ice shoot on Sunday. I am looking forward to doing some city shooting tomorrow with some friends.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mirror Mirror

Well maybe enough is enough, but I really don't get tired of seeing these beautiful designs appear as a result of this process. These images are ice, yes but different than the other ice shots. On Sunday when I was in the Susquehanna State Park, I saw a small spill over in one of the little streams and there was very translucent ice that had formed as the water spilled over the rocks. The water flowing under the clear ice had made what looked to me like curvy line drawings and the way the light was illuminating the cracked curvy areas made the surface very interesting. So I made several compositions. I really didn't know what I was going to do with the images until I tried some mirroring tonight and came up with these earthy designs. The subtle variations in colors are a result of the material under the ice, such as rocks, soil and mossy material. I was shooting with a 200mm macro lens from a couple feet away from the subject.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ice and Leaves in B&W

    Just taking a break from wrapping some gifts and I thought I would post some of the images I processed from yesterdays ice hunt. When it gets cold enough here to freeze water surfaces, the boggy areas  in the Susquehanna State Park, filled with drainage water off the hills, that sprout skunk cabbage in the spring,  glaze over with ice. The beech and maple trees drop leaves in layers in this area as it it thick with trees. I noticed it was frozen over enough for me to walk on the surface of this shallow bog, so I made some images there yesterday. The beech tree leaves, when decaying, become speckled with black pin dots, like pepper has been shaken on them. The ice that was covering this melange of layered leaves was rough due to the dusting of snow last week melting and refreezing.The overlapping of shapes, and textures under the ice dusted with snow, and filled with small bubbles, intrigued me and begged for some black and white conversions. I chose the square format to emphasize the intersection of the layers. All the shots were made with a 200 m macro lens and processed in Nik Silver Efex Pro.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

First Ice of the Season

It was pretty late last night when I received a call to go shoot some ice in the morning, and I wasn't sure I was going, but I did set my alarm for 5:30am. When the alarm went off I decided to head out. I met Annette and Don on the river road in Susquehanna State Park. We headed down to the usual ice site, and was happy to see the water was down and there were a few pools of ice. I made 19 shots there before the water in the river started rising rapidly and chased us away. So we headed to Deer Creek and found some nice ice around the little tributaries. We worked until 10:30 when we were all hungry and cold. I processed some images while watching the Ravens game. The opening image shown here is a mirror image and then mirrored again.  The next two images were shot on the banks of the Susquehanna River, where the skim ice forms such beautiful patterns and freezes over the river rocks like fried eggs. Sometimes looking at the ice patterns is like looking at clouds for images and one sees familiar shapes like in the Battling Dragons image where one might see a dragon defending his den, and then there are the classic frozen leaves. It was a fun morning and I am looking forward to going back after the holidays. All the images here were shot with a 200mm macro lens.

Friday, December 17, 2010

An artists struggle....a look inside.....

Putting together a presentation of a body of work, is giving me a challenge, but then I love a challenge.
So I looked up some thoughts on how a "Body of Work" is defined to help me begin to zero in on what I want to do. Here are three definitions I found:
  1. The entirety of the creative or academic output produced by a particular individual or unit
  2. The total output of a writer or artist (or a substantial part of it) 
  3. A collection of developed and assembled works (usually by one artist) that represents an investigation or study.
So I am thinking out a photographer.....I do not strike out with intent to create a body of work as defined in point 3....(although I guess in some way that could be argued) least not with an intent to develop a "collection of developed and assembled works that represents an investigation or study". I do however create images that  attempt to "represent" what "vibes" for me in a place, subject or person usually with natural or ambient light. Whether its color, atmosphere, people, interesting objects or some creative abstract idea of a scene. I try to communicate what I "love" about what I see. Developing the image then takes on a whole new vision of what was captured raw in the camera and defines more of what "vibes" for me in my minds eye of, that scene, object, person or place. As a result of this process I feel  much like a opposed to a specialist, thinking in terms of contrast and when I go into my "Body of Work" using the definition in point 1. I am all over the board, at least that's how I see it. Much like my professional life in retail, as a "General Manager" with no specific specialty, such as an engineer or accountant. So driving into a Narrow, more defined "Body of Work" as in point 3 from the overall is presenting a challenge. I know what my work is not: it is not a social documentary, it is not an ecological statement, it is not wildlife driven, it is not studio work, it is not portrait what is it? Of all my work what would you like to see in a cohesive presentation that is representative and thoughtful? How would you cull out a theme or collection from my work or what "investigation of a subject matter" might you like to challenge me with? Now there is the generalist speaking, how do you see it, tell me what you think, then I add all that up to form a decision. I always believed the best ideas come from many...even though the final decision is singular.

The images here represent my struggle: Two were shot at the Second Chance Architectural Reclamation Warehouse a week ago using bracketed images, processed in Nik HDR Efex Pro. The railings were then further enhanced in Snapart2 using the watercolor filter and then processed in OnOne Photoframe to add some texture and vignetting to achieve my final Vision....The old andiron shot was also a bracketed image and processed in Nik HDR Efex Pro, and then in OnOne for some texture.

The other two images here, shot the same day as the Second Chance images above, and were shot using the Lensbaby with a star aperture  insert. I did not intend to shoot this, but the scene presented....a young father and son were feeding pigeons and seagulls in Fells Point. I changed my position to try and capture that, but as I got closer the birds took off. So the father and son walked down the promenade to the end and stood together gazing out at the harbor. That's when I made several shots of them interacting. The day was bright overcast with lots of hazy atmosphere and I enjoyed the way the light was shining on the water behind them and creating shadows on the walk. I saw this as a black and white image in the field when I was shooting, and when I processed them I chose to use Nik's Silver Efex pro and add a sepia tone.

Now that's just how all over the board I shoot? Lots of experimenting....but no consistent look, well at least that I can see, but it is always harder to see inside than it is to see help me out! Your thoughts are valued! I have til May to get it please share you thoughts!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Second Chance

What a great name and how true the organization is to its mission. Second Chance is a 501c3 located in Baltimore, with a mission of Retrain, Reclaim and Renew. It builds up hope in individuals, reclaims our history and renews its purpose. I spent the morning there with Don Rosenberger, Steve Harman and Bill Gercken in the architectural reclamation area of their warehouse. I went with the idea of making some HDR images.
I enjoy looking at the old architectural items such as, tin moldings, spindles, columns, fireplace mantels, marble friezes and doors that have been reclaimed from old buildings.These are a few shots from today. All the shots here are bracketed images combined in either Nix HDR Pro or Photomatix, with the exception of the last image which is an image overlay combined in Photoshop of two separate single shots.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Little More Holiday Cheer

Today I met a great group of folks for a morning of practice with their cameras. It is always fun to help people learn more about using their gear and creating images. I did not get a chance to do any shooting until the last few minutes running out the door to lunch, when I grabbed a few shots of the trees. I had dropped the star  aperture insert into the Lensbaby and made some fun hand held shots. The star aperture insert created the star shaped lights in the images here. I then made some Mirror images in Photoshop to get the final image posts. I think I will make another trip back before the season ends to do some serious shooting.
While I was there quite a prominent group of photographer friends had gathered to do some holiday shooting....John Barclay, Tony Sweet, Teri Lou Dantzler, Sara Howell, George Brown and Harry Sandler, all busy capturing what I am sure will be stunning images.