Monday, February 1, 2016

My Favorites of 2015

Clouds' Illusions 

Maybe this blog is less about good photographs than the soul of an artistic mind. I posted 365 photographs in 2015 as photographs of the day. To get those 365 I was out with a camera or in front of my computer post processing some portion of every day. I would daresay I took thousands of photographs. Some I posted on other platforms and for other reasons than the 365 Day Challenge. 

And there are always other reasons to take photos. Reasons people with iPhones take pictures; a great garden, a special flower, a new kitten, selfies, self portraits, great sunrise, WIP photos of art work or home projects. Occasionally those personal snaps make it into the 365 Day Challenge just because it is a reflection of who I am. And the same is true of these favorites in this blog. They were photo of day for one of the days of this year. But they are also the ones I remember most. And the are mostly those closest to home. The opening cloud formation is one of many which rises over the Sentinel Tree on the hill across from my house. There is something about the shape of the hill or the land behind it which creates currents that builds fantastic clouds.

And the two photographs below are from my garden. I don't paint flowers. I do not pretend to be Georgia O'Keeffe (besides I like her landscape work better), but I photograph flowers. It is a relatively new focus for me. My sister, Deborah Binford Baker, is the flower photographer. It is not as easy as it looks. So many variables to factor in not the least of which is breeze with large petal flowers like poppies. The one below owes a lot of its charm to the light, and using a very fast speed. My camera thinks flowers are sporting events.

First poppy

Poppies and hollyhocks grow like weeds. I am not a gardener of Prima Donnas. I will spend more effort on vegetables but flowers need to volunteer. I also do not spend a lot of time in capturing their digital images. The hollyhocks before were a quick snap of a stalk bent under the weight of an afternoon rain. Before I staked the stalk I took its picture.

My other favorites are experiments. Frequent followers of my blogs will know I love to do reflections. There are a whole bunch of rules on reflections oddly enough. When I began taking them I followed those rules. Now I am into breaking them. Number one rule is never flip a water reflection. Reflections look upside down. The one below I flipped. The trees are never right side up in a pond reflection. A little accentuation of the ripple effect using a filter and instant Monet.

It is wise to remember at this point that I am a painter first. Well, that is a matter of focus. Pun intended. Photography was a hobby and a support for my paintings. I do not like plein aire painting for myself. Outdoors is for movement. So I take pictures and take them back to my studio. The advent of digital cameras and post processing programs gave me the luxury of playing with my pictures before I played with my pictures. Lately this playing around has given me an itch to paint with oils. Now I just need a small business expansion loan.

Monet's Pond

Meanwhile I am turning some of my photographs into faux oil paintings. Yes, I could just print the photograph on canvas. And I have done that. And is that any different than doing the painting, taking the photograph of the painting, and then doing a giclee (just French for ink jet) print of the painting?

On the icy shore

Another of my learning curves has been in black and white images. Here again my sister is the master as it were. But I have been working at black and white post processing of some of my images for some time. And taking blacks and whites. Yes, my camera has a setting which would allow me to skip right around color. And yes, a photo is better in black and white if you have that intent. By intent I mean looking for certain elements of design which make a good strong black and white. Elements like noisy sky (or background) and strong light and shadows. The original digital image is in color but from the moment I aimed my camera my mind said black and white for the photograph below.

Meeting room at the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas, New Mexico

Another area of exploration has been the DSLR selfie, a self portrait without aid of tripod. I do not mean to be anti tripod. I own three. I just often find them more work than aid. And with the selfie they do not give you the deer in the headlights look of the iPhone. And unlike the iphone the DSLR selfie gives you the chance to include context. At the very least the "I am a photographer" element. I like the one below because it seems more like a painter's self portrait than a profile shot for a web page. Well, except for the DSLR.

Selfie with Camera

I don't take portraits. Used to do a lot of candid portrait work. Seemed to open me up for requests to do weddings. I don't do weddings. Or children. But I do fur kids. And I currently have a kitten, Thicke, who is a ham. He loves to pose in bowls, baskets, basins, and boxes.

Thicke in the Basin

So now in addition to my camera going in the car with me it goes around the house with me. 

To sum up these favorites of 2015 are very personal to me because of subject matter or as milestones on my path to being a better photographer. 

1 comment:

I appreciate all kind comments on my art and poetry.