Newsletter #153: March, 2018
© Chris Harris. All rights reserved.
As I ween myself off social media, I will continue to share monthly Newsletters, and also, place a greater emphasis on weekly blog posts. Newsletters will emphasis photographic adventures, while blog posts will concentrate on the photographic attributes of one or two images. Stories behind the images, along with photographic tips and ideas will be a part of both platforms.
If you wish to receive blog post notifications, please subscribe to my Blog. I hope you will join me.
This month’s visual adventures:
A Drive to the Dentist: the long route!
The Ford Dealership: where accidents unhappen!
A Drive to the Dentist: the long route!
My dentist, Dr. Wassenaar, practices in Williams Lake, about an hour north of where I live. Previous appointments have always been in the morning, but this time it was scheduled for the late afternoon. Over morning coffee, I decided on a new plan for my day; I would bring my camera gear and drive to my dentist via Farwell Canyon! It would definitely be a longer route but, I hoped, worth the effort.
How many times have I driven past these fences and telephone poles without ever noticing the beauty of how these oblique lines lead ones eyes and attention to the horizon, and the heavens beyond? I pulled over to the shoulder, backed up a bit, and then made this image. It was a great start to my day.
Fences awaiting round-up
Once again, I have passed these fences many times, but on this particular day, I saw them differently. After making this documentary image, I studied the fence lines and decided to render them in abstract. By setting my ISO to 100, and my aperture to f-32, I was able to stop down my shutter speed to 1/20 sec. Then, after carefully choosing my fence line composition, I panned horizontally to make the image below. By de-emphasizing the fence details, I was able to place a greater emphasis on the elements of line, tone and colour. The resulting shapes of white snow are equally important to the final composition.
More about visual design than fences for cows: abstract
As the sun popped out from behind the clouds, tonal contrast increased, providing very different photographic opportunities.
Emotional responses change dramatically with direct sunlight
The playful dance of shadow and light
When strong direct light reflected off the slopping snow-covered grasslands, almost blinding me, I thought in terms of black and white. I later processed these next two images as such.
Feeling a powerful response to the tones, textures, and shapes around me, I made several compositions while looking into the light.
Silhouetted aspen copse
In winter landscapes, the elements of line, shape and tonal contrast are enhanced and powerfully emphasized. I can’t help but be visually drawn to them. In the next two images, I returned to the technique of panning my camera at slow shutter speeds to soften the lines which defined these elements.
The road to Farwell Canyon: absract
The softening of lines adds expression to the various shapes: abstract
Artists of different mediums; composers, potters, or writers, for example, all use their chosen tools in ways to communicate emotion. As a photographer, I chose the techniques mentioned above to communicate my own response, and inspire the response of the viewer.
To end this three-hour detour to the dentist, I leave you with an overview of Farwell Canyon itself, and the Chilcotin River which winds through it.
To conclude, the visit to my dentist was not as painful after a morning drive filled with creative thought and spectacular scenery!
2. The Ford Dealership: where accidents unhappen!
Earlier this week, I had to go to the Ford Dealership in 100 Mile House to fix a problem with my truck. I knew it would take at least an hour, so instead of wasting that time in a chair in front of a television, I decided to challenge myself photographically. I brought one camera body with a 100-400mm lens attached.
I went out into the car lot and started to explore. The results were a disaster! I didn’t make a single image I was anywhere close to being happy with. I returned to the waiting room feeling frustrated. I played a game of solitaire on my phone and then said to myself, ‘this is ridiculous’. I went back outside more determined than ever!
The following images describe what happened.
Around the side of the dealership was a smorgasbord of colour, line, shape, and contrast. ‘Surely’, I thought to myself! Note the words “where accidents unhappen” above one of the doors.
Well, my exploratory beginnings definitely took on the appearance of an accident!
With further experimentation, order began to emerge from the chaos.
As I continued to search and experiment, it started to get exciting
Now it was really getting exciting!
I continued to push for simpler compositions. Strength and clarity through visual design became my goal
Then, on top of the building I noticed another design feature. I went to work.
I was now totally ‘pumped’; truly excited!
In my mind, I was an architect, an abstract painter, a wild creative photographer! I was on cloud 900!
Then I noticed a few trees behind the dealership. Why not, I thought to myself. Everything was possible now!
It was then that my cell phone rang. My truck was ready but they couldn’t find me! When they did, they couldn’t figure out why I was so excited. Paying the bill took a little of that euphoria out of me, but not all. I was soon hurrying home to process my new images. I couldn’t wait!
I could write another entire newsletter on what I learned from this experience, and why I shared it with you. Who knew that a trip to the repair shop could be so much fun.
For photographers; these images were made ‘in camera’ using the multiple exposure feature. Most of the above images were made with either 2 or 9 exposures. My post processing was minimal, quick and simple. I hit the ‘auto process’ button and then added some contrast to turn the dark grey concrete to black. They were done in less that 30 seconds each. I hope you enjoy adventure!