- How Do You Do It? With the
Power of Personal Experience
- Why Did I Make This Image? It’s
very Subtle yet Gently Intriguing
- Why Did I Make This Image? It’s
not Subtle or Intriguing
- Poetry Reading at the Gallery with
Harold Rhenisch Everyone is Invited
1. How Do You Do It? With the power
of personal experience
There are millions of photographs being taken every day,
however, there is little thought or creative energy going
into most of them. I have often been asked, "how do
you make so many quality images during a single outing, when
I consider myself lucky to get only one or two?"
My answer is: the power of personal experience.
© Chris Harris
Notes: Optimal settings for the above image
might look like, iso 100; f-16, and made with a tripod
at whatever speed the light of the day allowed me.
This, of course, is not possible in aerial photography.
When I now analyze the setting I did use, I see there
was room for improvement. F-8 was ok, but I did not
need to use a shutter speed of 1/2000 sec. I could
have lowered the iso to 200, reduced the noise and
still obtained a fast enough shutter speed of 1/500
sec. So far I do not feel I have enough aerial photography
experience to be continually changing setting when
landscapes are changing so quickly. Compromises are
often made. In this case, I don’t feel the digital
noise has ruined the image in any discernible way.
Nikon D700, iso 800; f-8; 1/2000 sec; 28-300mm
To be proficient at any craft requires years of practice,
whether you are a pianist, glass blower, or photographer. The
experience you gain comes into play more and more with every
passing year. On this particular flight, my client was hoping
for direct sunlight for some specific images in the Rainbow
volcano. Unfortunately (fortunately), clouds moved in providing
diffuse light and an overcast sky.
Based on years of image-making under a vast array of lighting
conditions, I looked at the above scene with an ‘immediate
recognition’ of the potential for a powerful image with a sense
of mood. I could visualize the final image in an instant.
Once I recognized that potential,
I felt the corresponding excitement. I then used my technical
knowledge (see "photographer’s notes above) to create
the desired result.
Usually I respond to saturated colours, strong lines, and
powerful shapes. So what drew me to making this image?
© Chris Harris
|Photographer’s Notes: Because
I am looking almost straight down, I do not need a greater
depth of field than the f-8 provides. For the same reason,
the shutter speed needs to be faster here than in the
distant landscape image above. Nikon D700, iso 800; f-8;
1/3000 sec; 28-300mm lens.
From a fast-moving plane it is more challenging
than ever to recognize a compelling composition, especially
when the elements of composition are subtle and indistinct.
In the above image it was the curving line of an old creek
bed that first grabbed my attention. With that line I made
the composition by balancing the two opposing triangular
shapes. Now, while looking at the resulting image on my
monitor, I have time to critique both the compositional
decisions I made and the image itself. This is how I learn
and gain in experience which I referred to in article 1
Basically, I am happy with the composition. I base
this on how my eyes move around the entire picture space
without getting stuck in any one area. The intrigue factor
also moves my eyes around as I try to decipher the subject
I know I am biased, but I love the delicacy of
this image. I can look at this image for a long time. How
do you respond?
© Chris Harris
Notes: Technically I have increased the
depth of focus in this image compared to the other
images in this newsletter (f-8 to f-13) so as to
insure the well-defined ridge in the immediate foreground
as well as the distant mountains are equally sharp.
EOS-1Ds Mk.III; iso 800; f-13; 1/1250 sec;
Compared to the image in article 2, there is
nothing subtle or intriguing about this image.
I am using the high contrast ridge line to lead my eye toward
the distant snow-capped peaks. The small patch of white snow
in the lower right has allowed me to keep the ridge line
further to the left than I would normally place it.
From a fine art
perspective, if this image and the alkali lake image above
were exhibited as large prints at a gallery, which would
you think would be the best seller, or at least garner more
My feeling is that people
would perceive the Cariboo Mountain print as just another
pretty photograph and pass on by. We have all seen so many
spectacular mountain images. The alkali lake image, on the
other hand, would draw people in, due to its ‘intrigue’ factor.
It also requires more study because of the very low tonal
and colour contrast. Because it asks more questions than
answers them, I feel it would be the best seller. That’s
my opinion! What’s yours?
Harold has been inspired anew by his re-location
to the Interior to write lyrically and passionately about
the magic of fruit and the metamorphosis of fermentation,
with which he is well acquainted and a master of creation,
and the history of the movement of apples and pear species
across British Columbia.
A Recipe for Perry is all about
the (almost) lost art of creating a pear orchard, and reaping
its rewards, from Europe to BC.
His major new work
is Spoken World; an honouring of his friend and one of this
country’s great poets, Robin Skelton.
with honesty and courage of the difficult passage into
poetry and the man who ‘guided me, out of my earth and my
deafness into poetry’.
Harold Rhenisch has not only
paid homage to a great poet, he has also given us an extended
ode to human generosity and artistic creation.
by Hagios Press, Regina, Saskatchewan
We are, as always, pleased
to host our friend and valued collaborator to the gallery
to present his new work; and these new offerings promise
to be his most fun, and perhaps most significant work.
Please join us here at the Chris Harris Gallery;
December 8, 7:30 p.m.
5577 Back Valley Road at the 105 Mile, just north of 100
RSVP. There is no ticket charge, but seating
is limited, so please contact us and let us know you plan
to attend. 250-791-6631.
Signed copies of this and of Harold’s
previous books will be available for purchase.
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