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.