The second image I had chosen is this image of my waterlilies in my back pond. This was the template I had used in my head for the Yucca plants. The success of the direct sun and the dark shadows grabbed me. It reminds me of a film noir as far as the scale of gray tones from the dark shadows to the bright whites. This is probably the more successful tonal range in a black and white that I had accomplished.
Why I chose it.
Light, I chose to photograph this subject because the layering of light brings out and the details throughout this image that holds my interest. My eye is drawn first to the flower itself, bright, detailed and textured in the grayscale of the darker peddles. The lighter peddles has a look of collar, reflecting the light on to the subject of the darker and a separator from the leaves around it. Though the flowers are in the spotlight my eye doesn’t stop there but move to the right and down following a circular motion of the leaves. Each pad having just enough light falling on it to give detail and motion from front and moving to the back into the shadows. With the light and softening of focus I can’t help feeling that there is depth to the composition that compels me to explore.
I find beauty in compositions that have depth and motion pleasing to the eye and emotionally gratifying. I did not get the same feeling from the color version of this photograph, in fact I felt conflicted by the red of the flower and the lighting of the subject. I could not get past the red to explore the rest of the image. The red of the flower essentially flatten the composition and stalling the motion of the image. By switching it to black and white the image came alive, more interesting leaving me wanting to look from the bright whites of the flowers to what was hidden in the shadows. Like a good story, this image has layers that moves us through the image, to leave and return to discover more.
I know they are only flowers and the depth I see maybe self-serving but I do think this image has a story and moves the view not only to search the image but upon returning, find new details missed from before. To me that is what I am hoping for, an image that is not only pleasing but one that makes you want to look at more than a few times. This is why I feel it would be a good image to donate to the hospital.
What do you think? Am I reading too much into it? Is this a good image for the hospital or not? I’d like to hear from you, good or bad. Leave a comment or email me what you think so far and you could be picked to win a matted and signed copy of your favorite image.
Thanks again and feel free to share this or any other post.
This is the first year I got out and photographed the Yucca Plant in Bloom and I am glad I did. Last year I did not take the time and create a group of proper photographs of the blooms as they should have been. The difference from this year to last, I think is the fact I took the time and had the vision of light I wanted. Of course, when the Yucca plant bloomed the light I was seeking wasn’t there and instead I got this spectacular light instead. Happy accidents are sometimes the best.
This is the first of tree images I have chosen to donate to the hospital and here’s is why.
First thing that I am drawn to is the quality of light. Soft, delicate light that wraps around the peddles of the flowers, pods and branch of the plant. The light’s ability to show the detail in the highlights, the ridges and lines of the blooms show up so well against the black background. This quality not only shows up in the whites of the blooms but the pods. The rich texture of the pod is captured so well in both the highlights and shadows of the image.
The subject matter is simple in composition which give a minimalist feel to it. As a viewer, I am not overwhelmed with what to look at. I can take my time and discover new details of the photograph without feeling the need to take it in all at once. I find it pleasing to start with the highlights of the blooms and move my way through the that detail then to the mid-tones and finally to details in the shadows. I also find the tonal range pleasing. The lack of great contrast between the background and subject matter give a since of peace, relaxed feeling when I view this image. Had I gone with a harder contrast I would have had a feeling of tension with this piece.
Finally, the composition; a soft diagonal line in a square format. The downward line of the main branch is not steep. This is repeated in the line of the bottom tips of the blooms as well as their positions and size on the branch. For me this shallow line does not add tension to the image but helps the viewer slowly move through the photograph. Had it been steep I know it would have given an unintentional speed in which the eye would have traveled form the top to the bottom corner, while missing details.
Over all I find this image peaceful and would fit very well with what the hospital is trying to do. Beautify and give an emotionally pleasing image to help lift the spirits of their patients as well as visitors. I hope if this or one of the others are chosen that the views find it as pleasing as I do
I would like to hear from you. Help me choose one out of the three images and you could win your choice in a 8x12 (or 12x12) matted and signed. Just leave a comment or email me your choice and on Aug 12 I will announce the winner. Thank you for your help.
A few days ago, I created this image of a barren branch of a Yucca plan. With the peddles of the blooms all but gone I felt that this image was a statement on three levels about life. First is our need for everything to its perfection. Second is the fact that things in our personal life changes and the blinders we put on to the world around us in order to deal with it. And third, the beauty in death and the life that flourishes around it. I see these things more so now than I had before and it comes from the stage of my life that I find myself in. And because I see it in nature I feel I can draw comfort from it when it gets hard to press on. So here is what I see when I look at this image.
Perfection, or the lack of it. Normally when most photographers create an image they take in account the light, time of year, the state of the subject and the final image. If most of the criteria have been met then the image is created with the knowledge that any flaws found will be corrected in the editing stage. But I find that even in this stage of defoliation still to be a perfect image because it embraces the flaws as well as the beauty that surrounds. In society of today, we are so obsessed with perfection that we can’t tolerate the flaws in our lives. This is displayed so overtly in the way we present ourselves in public and on our social media pages. Anyone who doesn’t fall into our box of perfection is often shunned and relegated to the fringed where “those people” belong. We don’t even tolerate failure. Failure is the way we move forward and learn but to fail in our society risks a negative stigma therefore it is tucked away in a dark place. I have failed and I celebrate this not because I have, but because I learn and move on to succeed. If we just would open up and let people know that it is okay to fail and not to be perfect we may not have so many people to move forward in their lives.
This image conveys to me about personal change, and how we may feel isolated and things have stopped, but it doesn’t stop. If we just look beyond our bubble we can see the beauty around us and with that draw courage and comfort to move on. In my life, there has been a lot of change that I have been processing, some of it well and some of it I choose to ignore. My first bit of change is the fact that my Son has grown and move out, which you would think I would celebrate and I am in ways. The part I find sad is that the time we had with him as a child is gone and as long as his childhood seemed, it wasn’t. Sometimes I think about in a few years we maybe involved in a wedding and then grandkids. On the surface that seems cool but it is just a reminder of my own mortality and that that my time is growing short with so much yet to accomplish.
I also feel that this image is analogous to the beauty in the changes of life. Even in death, life around this barren branch flourishes and continues. Despite this branch looking dried and brittle, in a few weeks seed pods should be sprouting from them to begin life’s cycle again. This brings me to my thoughts of my parents who are in their 90’s. A part of me had always thought that my parents would be there for me, to be the solid foundation that keeps life stable. The subtle changes of aging are often missed as a child and sometimes a young adult. It is when you are not constantly around them you see the toll of years drawn upon them. Still we ignore the inevitable as way not to be paralyzed by their impending end, but a way we can celebrate the life together. I believe that is why a sudden death of a loved one or even an acquaintance hits us harder than someone who is suffering a terminal illness. With someone terminally ill we can prepare for the passing of them. Where is a sudden death we are still in the stage of denial that it will happen.
I know this is a lot to read into an image that is just a dead branch in soft lighting surrounded by green leaves, but that is what I see. I plan to do a series of these life and death moments throughout the summer and fall. Who knows I may put them together and build a book or hang them on the wall for a show. I guess we’ll see as the time comes.
Well I have picked up my print and I am meh about it. The printers did a fine job and printed exactly to the proof but I think where I feel it to be a loss is in the punch of the image. I think where I went wrong is not understanding the medium I was printing on. I was hoping that I would have a lot of the qualities of a photograph on the paper when it was never going to happen. But all is not lost
This is what the image has going for it; it is sharp throughout the image. There are no blown out whites or funny digital hiccups that detract from the image. The greyscale is exactly as I had created it and the dark are full. There is not a flaw in the print anywhere in this print. The only thing I don’t like is the lack of a punch in contrast that you get from a photographic paper. With that said, I am not going to trash it but stare at the print for a while and figure out what to do with it. I may just matte and sell it and let buyer frame it themselves. I am, however, going make a large print of the same image on photographic paper.
But to counter that small disappointment I created some images of my Yucca plant that is blooming in the backyard. This is the second year in a row that both plants have bloomed and so I took advantage of my day off and defused sunlight to make these images. Two of these images are shot in front of the vine plant growing next to it. I find that the green textured leaves of the vine plant make a great modeled background when it’s blurred out. The last one is done with black side of my reflector to hide what was behind the flower.
I really liked the soft defused light in the images I created and feel that it is the key that makes the photograph despite what I had originally planned. I was looking for the sunlight streaming through the tree to create drama of highlights and shadows that are in my water lily photographs. Instead I kept battling the high think clouds of the morning so I just went with it and ending up loving them more then what I had planned. Funny how that works.
If you love these or any images on my site feel free to contact me for a price quote on any size of print you want, as well as any questions you might have. I would love to talk to you. And if you have enjoyed this post or the images I have created, feel free to share I would appreciate it.
Most of my photographic life I have been told, “if you want to be shown choose any subject other than pets and flowers.” It seems that you are not taken seriously as an artist if you create images of flowers or pets. I don’t believe that to be true for the most part. Take, for instance, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, Bouquet of Sunflowers by Claude Monet or Tuft of Cowslips by Albrecht Durer. A small portion of larger number of artist that at one time or another had flowers as a subject in their portfolio. “That’s paintings, what about photographs by famous photographers?” you might say. That one was a little tougher but here is what I found. Ansel Adams Rose on Driftwood, Imogen Cunningham Callla Lilly and Edward Weston Succulent. Three of the many photographers who had flowers as a subject matter. Some of these prints are still sought after by collectors today. So why are flowers as subjects of images so frowned upon? I think it is because it is so hard to create an image that, done well, is art whereas it’s very easy to create an image that can be labeled as trite.
If you look at what someone like Edward, or Imogen did you would see it, the flower, is a study of form and shape as well as how light defines that image. The drama of the greyscale and details the or comparison to a relating subject. It is study, an investigation of the subject to get a better understanding of how we feel or how it relates to us and our world. Now most of what I had seen for these three artists have been in black and white, not color. Color, for me, of a flower is a given is part of the subject that we all see form the start. Viewing the subject in black and white forces you to deal with the subject on a light and dark, shape and texture without the bias of the emotion of color. Take color out of the equation of any photograph and if you still have an image that grabs you then you a sound photograph.
Where flowers become trite is when the subject is treated as a sunset, all color with no real thought about form, shape, light or composition. A snapshot an afterthought that caught the photographers eye so they decided to take it. Then after a quick post processing show around to friends and say “ Look how pretty the colors are.” This, I believe, is why the flower as a subject gets such a bad rap. The total disregard of the subject by so many people that the subject of a flower is tarnished for many people.
With that said I have a study of my waterlilies that I created over a summer season. These were in my pod that received shading from a large tree which created interesting patterns of light. I studied the light and how the shadows would fall on the flowers and when I found an interesting pattern I began to shoot. As spectacular as the color of the flower is, I found the images worked so well in black and white because of how the light played on the flower, leaves and pond.
I will be working on the rest of the photos taking them form color to black and white. I will have a set or a subset of color images only. I will also add more to this group as the season begins.
If you like these my images feel free to explore the rest of my webpage or check out my blog post on the side. Feel free to send me any comment or question you have or share my work with a friend that you’d believe would enjoy it. Thanks.
This image is a great example of how lines both direct and indirect can move one’s eye through a composition.Read More