The photographic explorations of a former film student.

Posts tagged “outside

Early Spring

After months of waiting in the snow, Spring is finally coming over us. Though the leaves are not yet on the trees, I started to think about going for a long walk with my camera. Seriously thinking about it that is, it’s been in my mind all winter. Just yesterday, I mentioned my thoughts to my father, who as fate would have it, also wanted to go out. I loaded up my DSLR and tripod, and he loaded up his 4″X5″ and tripod. There we were, hauling our gear around a forest preserve practicing two very different styles of photography. I shot what interested me while he patiently hiked around the park looking for one thing to shoot that day (he only had two sheets of film left.) It was a great day to be out. The small stream in the forest was thawed and running with melt off.

Throughout the forest, we saw evidence of tree trimming along the path and what looked like some sort of controlled burn. Must be maintenance time for the trails.

Eventually, we ended up back where we started. I was drawn to an old dead tree covered in lichen. It had a combination of shape and texture I had to check out.

Dad was drawn to a still-standing old oak tree he’d spotted when we first arrived. Eventually, I came over to see what was going on in his photographic genius mind and practice being an assistant. Watching him, I couldn’t help but think I should revisit his kind of photography. The discipline and precision of old-fashioned 4″x5″ view camera photography mandates careful thought, an exercise I could use to keep me from getting lazy. I’d have to scan it for the blog, but it may be worth it.

Next Week: The Log Monsters

Due to my unusual schedule this week, I’m going to do a part two of sorts for next week. While out in the woods, I found some logs that looked like unfriendly animals. Since the log monsters wouldn’t really go with the tone of this post, I decided to save them for next week. I know, I was just talking about being lazy, but trust me, there are extenuating circumstances.

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Something Different . . . and Kitty

Last week, I set out to do something different from I’ve been posting for the past month. I turned my attention to some solitary details within the house and then outside to the bitter cold snow with thoughts of monochrome and split toning. One of the first objects to interest me was actually one of the last I shot. I wasn’t sure how to approach it. Finally, I decided I wanted to make this plain old everyday object look a tad creepy, hence the odd angle from below. I used the duotone color space option in Photoshop. It’s not like split toning in Lightroom at all. Duotone (also tritone and so on)  mode is based on printing, so the more different colors you add, the more ink you would have in printing, and the darker the thing is. Fussing with the curves for individual inks finally gave me what I wanted.

Venturing out into the frozen tundra beyond my door, I spotted a lilac bush in its winter state. The remaining buds reminded me of hearts, and, as fate would have it, it’s Valentine’s day and I’m fussing with monochrome and toning.

Spying some interesting snow drifts from the blizzard, I trudged back to the edge of the yard. The wind back there is often quite strong and moves in unusual ways. In the last storm, it drove the snow away from the bases of the trees. Snowy frames encircled every trunk. I cheated a bit on my monochrome and toning theme for this shot.

However, there were a few spots where the snow did find its way up against the trees just a little bit. This spot worked well in an unrealistic blue as well.

Back inside, I found my kitty. Curled up all warm and cozy in her favorite chair, she probably wonders why on earth her crazy humans go out at all in this weather. Crazy humans get other weird ideas, like doing a photo study of cat paws. Yes, I’ve often wanted to do that, but it would take more than a week, not to mention the alignment of forces out of my control (the moods of two cats). Nevertheless, with that idea in mind, I composed this photo of my cat’s little white paw. I think JenJen would be pleased. She is very proud of her paws.

Next Week: Flower-Like

The days are getting longer and spring is just around the bend. To celebrate, I’m photographing flowers and things that look like plant life next week.