Black and White Photography, New York, Photography

Blog Hop Around The World

Most of you will notice this is a lot different from my normal type of posts.  I actually have to write, which I am not accustomed to or very good at, but here goes anyway.

I feel a little silly like I didn’t get my homework handed in on time with this post. I was originally supposed to get three bloggers to participate in this “Blog Hop Around The World” but O’Brian’s∗ law went into effect (∗please see footnote below). This is also the main reason I stopped playing strip poker because it was always “OK Joe you lose, take your pants off” 🙂  Needless to say I didn’t get any volunteers, so here I am with my head held low, promising all of you this will never happen again.

This is what this blog post was supposed to look like – Boomdeeadda

So Boomdee was nice enough to let me off the hook if I answer the four questions asked of me.

1. How does my creative process work ?

It’s kind of difficult how to explain my creative process because unlike Boomdee I don’t start with raw materials and build anything like she does, although I wish I could be that creative.

I start with a scene and try to figure out how I would like to reproduce that scene based on available light, atmospheric condition such as haze, fog, rain or bright sun. I usually don’t decide about black and white or color until the post processing stage. If I am absolutely positive about black and white at the time I am taking the image I will use an orange, red or polarizing filter to accentuate the sky and make it a little more dramatic, like the photo above.

Most exposures are compromises of some sort so from the moment I put the camera up to my eye I am deciding whether I should expose the image so I have adequate shadow detail and forget about the highlights, or are the highlights too important to lose so should I sacrifice a little shadow detail to maintain them.

Fortunately there are ways to minimize these compromises by trying to avoid extreme lighting conditions. I usually will get my best shots by shooting the first hour after the sun comes up or the hour before the sun goes down and this time is known as “The Golden Hour”. Professional photographers will use this time of day to shoot models at the beach for the wonderful quality of light. I usually will never shoot any photos from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm (depending on the time of year) because the light is too harsh and directly overhead. If I do have to shoot in harsh lighting I will carry a small folding reflector to bounce some available light back into the shadows. I might even use a little bit of fill flash to fill in harsh shadows.

I am actually more comfortable shooting on overcast days or foggy days being the light is more evenly dispersed as demonstrated in the image below.

I use another little trick that most of you might laugh at. I buy blank plastic slide mounts and I always carry at least one or two in my camera bag. I use these to view my scene instead of raising the camera to my eye. These mounts are the same size as 35mm film 24x36mm and it corresponds to the full frame sensor on my current Nikon camera. It helps me crop the scene better and its a lot lighter than raising the camera up to my eye. Try this trick if you have an old slide lying around and you don’t mind scrapping the image. It really does help in choosing portrait or landscape orientation.

2. How does my work differ from others of it’s genre ?

I guess the biggest way my work differs from others is I don’t go out with the intention of photographing a masterpiece. I could wait my whole life for that and I might never get it. I tend to photograph everyday objects or scenes that I might have passed by a hundred times before but one day they will just shout out to me. Then I will feel compelled to grab an image of it.

3. What am I presently working on ?

My current project is called Monochromia and it is a collaborative photoblog featuring seven talented photographers, artists, photo fanatics and myself.  It is a black and white only photoblog and my intention for starting this blog was to bring together some fellow bloggers and friends I have made through my personal photoblog The Visual Chronicle.  The original idea was to have a different photo and photographers point of view on display each day.  I think it’s good thing for all of us participating to get out of our comfort zone and challenge ourselves to try to produce and post better images. It was not meant to be a competition against each other but a competition to ourselves.

Eventually I would like the project to evolve and include guest photographers posts in addition to the daily posts from the regulars.

4.  Why do I create what I do ?

This seems like the easiest question out of the four.  As Boomdee mentioned in her post I am also a fellow retiree.

My whole working life I had to work at a jobs that I didn’t really enjoy.  I would daydream about what I would like to do with my life after I retired, so not to get bored. I have always loved photography so the natural thing to do was to start taking photos. At the time I had no idea what I would do with all these photos.

Back in my early film years when I would get off work, I would go take photos, then on the weekends I would take more photos.  I actually got very comfortable taking photos everyday and seldom used the meter on the camera because it was like second nature I was so familiar with it.  Then I put the hobby down for about twenty years but when I did take occasional photos I would never be happy with the results.  After I retired I started taking photos everyday.  I look at it like that old saying “If you don’t use it you lose it”.  I am convinced to get better images you have to be very familiar with the equipment you use and actively shooting everyday.  This frees you from thinking about camera settings so you can concentrate on subject matter and composition .

This is going to sound kind of selfish but the reason I create what I do is for myself, so I am satisfied with the images I create.

One day my wife suggested that I should start a website for my images and my response was “who would want to look at my images ?”    She eventually convinced me to start a photoblog and I was very surprised at the response I received. Getting such positive comments really blew me away because I have always been very critical of my own images, thinking nobody would want to see them but I was wrong (I have been known to be wrong many times before).

So thats it and I hope I passed the audition, LOL. I would like to thank Boomdee for inviting me to participate in this “Blog Hop Around The World” even though I screwed it up royally 🙂   Here is one more image for the road.

O’Brian’s Law states that Murphy was an optimist – Murphy’s Law states if anything can go wrong it will.



39 thoughts on “Blog Hop Around The World

  1. Many of the things you wrote about are similar to my situation. After retiring as a Comptroller, or Number Man, or Bean Counter, I started taking pictures to kill time. Now I’m hooked to photography and enjoying every minute of it. My pictures are because I like them, not to get famous and rich. At this point in time, money is not all that important.

    Thank you for a wonderful blog post, for all your pictures and your useful tips. Best of luck on your future endeavors.


  2. Let’s give your wife an award for bringing your work to us! Joe, your artistry is just as appealing as your great attitude and friendly engagement with the blogging world. I’ve enjoyed seeing your personality revealed in comments and images. I also loved your tip about using an old slide frame, ha ha!


    • Thank you very much Crystal and I’m glad you liked that slide mount tip 🙂 It sure beats walking around making a rectangle with your hands like a movie director, LOL. My wife would want an award but she would say just for marrying me 🙂 Have a great day.


  3. This was great Joe-you should write more. I always enjoy looking at your photographs and it was interesting to get a bit of your backstory as well as your thoughts on your creative process and projects. It helps me a lot to hear what other photographers are doing and thinking as they go along their creative journeys. I hope you will consider doing more of this-I loved both images, but the bottom one in particular is spectacular!


  4. smackedpentax says:

    I loved reading this Joe – I have always been a fan of your work and it is nice to actually know a bit about you and how you put your photos together. 🙂


  5. Joe, you haven’t screwed up a thing. In fact, if it makes you feel better, I’ve been unsuccessful as well and may default to what you’ve done here. I’m sorry to hear you spent so much of your working life doing things you didn’t enjoy. I’ve had jobs I didn’t like, but I was lucky to have many jobs I did enjoy, and I’m happy with my current work as well. I’m glad your wife convinced you to start your blog. Some of the best photographs out there are of every day life…yours are no exception. We’re always our own worst critic, aren’t we?

    Keep doing what you do. I believe that if you create for yourself and do what you love, you can never go wrong. The moment you try to create to cater to others, you take yourself away from the essence of what you want to create and maybe even second-guess yourself.

    Great post.


    • Thank you very much Alys 🙂 I looked at the jobs as “they paid the bills”. I am lucky enough to be mortgage free and have no loans or credit card debt so the job did serve a purpose whether I liked it or not. You are so right when you say create for yourself and you can never go wrong, I am a believer of that philosophy. Thank you again and enjoy your evening 🙂


  6. Joe, what a great read this post is. I am going to bookmark it and show it to my daughter who is just starting out with her camera [she took the beach photos when I took puppy to the beach for the first time]. There is a wealth of information in here for a beginning photographer!

    Not having folk to pick up the baton is immaterial – fyi my northern hemisphere picks didn’t play either, must be all this fabulous summer weather you guys are enjoying!

    I just love your photos, you may feel uncomfortable with the written word, but you sure express yourself perfectly with a camera! That last shot is an absolute surprise – it just goes on and on – and is so sharp and clear, almost like I’m looking at the real thing through a very clean window. 🙂 I understand now why Laurie adores you! 🙂 Great getting to know you a little more Joe 🙂


    • Thank you so much Pauline I had thought for sure I would bore everyone with my post. I really is great getting to know you better also Pauline. Laurie is a sweetie, when ever she asks me a question she thinks she’s bothering me, LOL. I must be the great weather thats stopping people from playing 🙂
      Thank you again for your compliments on my photos. The last photo was taken with a small compact camera on one of my early morning walks and the fog was just about gone except for the little bit you see. It is the boardwalk to the Fire Island Lighthouse and the building to the left is part of the lighthouse. To eliminate the tower of the lighthouse and include the boardwalk was one of those compromises I talked about in my post, LOL. I will include a Google link. If you follow the boardwalk all the way back to Robert Moses field five that is a far as automobiles are allowed. You might have to enlarge the ink to see the boardwalk. Have a great day 🙂,-73.218632,726m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0xaf7ab2520d56bbf9


      • What a great boardwalk – it looks like it goes all around the lighthouse. I think I could see where the cars were parked, but I had zoomed in as much as GM*would allow. I love being able to get an idea of where places are and how they ‘work’. Compromises in our work is always an interesting challenge huh? I constantly have to scale back and simplify in my paintings – or else they have too much stuff, too many layers and overwhelm the viewer. Thanks for that link Joe.
        * Google Maps, not General Motors 🙂


        • Thank you Pauline now you know why I take so many pictures by the water, LOL. Compromises are part of everything but I always subscribed to the fact that simple is better anyway. You are quite welcome for the link 🙂


  7. Leilani says:

    I love your answer to the last question. How wonderful that you are keeping the creativity alive in your retirement! My spouse also encouraged me to start my blog so hurray for supportive loved ones. 🙂


    • Lets hear it for loved ones Hip Hip ….. 🙂 Thank you very much I was sure by the time someone got to the last question they would either be sleeping or there eyeballs would be glazed over with boredom 🙂 have a great evening.


  8. Copy on all the above comments Joe! Each of the photos are so good with their different moods and you write so well, naturally so, about your process, taking us with you along the way. You & Mrs G are a good team!


    • Thank you so much Patti that really means a lot coming from someone who writes as great as you do 🙂 Mrs. G. is a good egg, you will meet her when we come into Manhattan for a cold one or two. Have a great afternoon Patti 🙂


  9. Very enjoyable read my friend and thanks for sharing a glimpse into the inner workings of Joe the photographer. You haven’t screwed up silly, this was fantastic and I knew it would be. Somehow, I think we all discount ourselves to some degree. As you said, “who’d be interested in this”. On the contrary, what you do is special and we’re glad you came to WP to share your talent.

    I think, capturing life in motion and time, then expressing it in B&W photo’s is always interesting. Colour photo’s just don’t translate the nuances of the moment the same as B&W. Thirty, forty, even 50 years from now, it’ll be like looking thru a slideshow at ‘Life Magazine’. We’ll be thinking, “look at those cool eye-glasses and clothes”. Or maybe, “look at those cars, they don’t make ’em like they used to”. Good photo are like little time capsules that hold clues to a time and place that we can’t go anymore. Even if it was only yesterday or last week, nothing ever stays the same. What you’re doing is leaving a trail of breadcrumbs to the past and we relish each and everyone of them.

    I like the idea of framing the shot with an old slide, that’s interesting. If I ever get serious about using a camera, I’ll have that tip in my back pocket thanks to you. You’re last photo really surprised me and while I’ve not been to that exact spot, I been to a place almost identical (except for the roof line in the background). A friend at the lake, who lived in a bay, built a long winding pier thru the tall grass and marsh so he could keep a little tin outboard closer to home. He’d use a gas powered weed whipper to maintain the path. We called it Saigon Pier and would sit down there, in the tall grass and drink beers and talk for hours. I hadn’t thought about that in years, so thanks for the trip back and thanks for joining the Hop. It’s interesting that you found question 4 easiest to answer, Pauline thought that was the harder question and so did I. Cheers, Boomdee


    • WOW how can I reply to that ? First of all thank you very much 🙂 I agree we all discount ourselves to some degree but I truly was very surprised that people liked my images. I knew I didn’t totally screw up with the post but having one of those “silly sense of humor” minds like yourself I just had to inject some of it in the beginning to lighten the post up a little. Thank you again for your kind words and asking me to participate. Now “I’m off like a prom dress” to Pauline’s blog post, LOL 🙂 Have a great day Boomdee.


    • I forgot to mention the last photo in the post is the boardwalk to the Fire Island Lighthouse where no vehicles except for emergency are allowed. The building you see to the left is part of the lighthouse but I excluded the tower part for composition purposes 🙂


  10. Such a great post Joe, so interesting to read about your creative process when taking photos, and your thoughts on photography. I can relate and agree with so many things you’ve said here. 🙂 I think it is wonderful that you have now time and possibility to do something that you really enjoy, and it brings joy to others! Thank your wonderful wife for convincing you to start the blog! 🙂


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