Tuesday, December 23, 2008

An Autumn Walk

I love water. I need to live close to it. The larger the body of water the better. The Susquehanna River is no slouch in full filling my needs here. Though it ain't the ocean!! But I can deal. Walking along a body of water is very therapeutic for me, I try to do it often. Though it does not happen as much as I would like in the coldest of the winter months.

Here are a few shots from one of my October jaunts along this water way. Vibrant colors, movement and tree species juxtapositions all make for very cool compositions.

When shooting color I like to stay away from ultra contrasty, saturated colors. If these appear naturally well then, no problem. But my passion has always been, and remains to be BxW. When it comes to BxW I like to mold and shape the tonality of the image. My goal being to create great tonal relationships. With color images I feel a responsibility to the integrity of the image, so colors matter. If they are unnatural than the scene as I saw it is not truthfully represented. Don't get me wrong, I do fine tune color images so that I get the very best colors and tonal quality from them. I just try to stay away from fantasy. My first photography instructor made an impact on me with the following statement: A photographers job is to show the world to their viewers in ways that they have never seen it before. I always took this to mean showing the viewer what they are missing all around them- to accentuate the ordinary or show them a place/person/event they have not seen with their eyes, not to create something new for them to see.

When it comes to BxW as long as the tonal relationships make sense I may shift them around more freely to make the image have more impact. Shades of gray instead of color reduce the world in the image to relationships of the elements with in the scene. This allows the viewer to more easily see what the photograph is trying to say. Since the colors are removed the viewer is placed in a position of voyeur instead of participator. After all we don't see in shades of gray. Where as with color images the viewer can feel the reality of the scene, these images are literal representations.

I Love to print BxW images. For the longest time after moving to digital I missed my darkroom. I sold it all in early 2003 when I bought my D30. But in the last few years I have come to appreciate my current tools. I print my BxW with an Epson 2200. This printer uses archival inks and has a great reputation. Although it is now about 3 (or is it 4) generations behind Epson's current printer in this model line, it still gets the job done. I like to print on Ilofrd papers they make some lovely surfaces that remind me of my days printing under the dim glow of a safe light and the smell of fixer hanging in the air.

To see more images from this collection please click HERE.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Wednesday, December 10th, witnessed the perfect conditions to produce delicate clouds that blanketed Harrisburg. Fog. I love fog. I love to walk through it, smell it, watch it and use it as a compositional element in photographs. A mist that undulates, hiding and revealing elements of a scene. Isolating beautiful forms from distracting backgrounds. And softening the color pallet just enough to produce romantic monochromatic color images or soft Black and Whites.

As I crossed the Susquehanna River, on the way to an appointment, I saw the fog consuming it. I nearly crashed as my jaw dropped upon observing the perfect scene that I was missing. I got to my appointment, ran my errands and made my way back home, which is 2 blocks from the river front. I changed into some boots, grabbed my G9 and was out the door. As I approached the river I could tell the scene had changed, it was no longer as mystical as it had been 2 hours earlier. But there was still fog, not all hope was lost.

So I started shooting. Nothing was happening. I wasn't seeing the image. I thought it was mostly due to the diminishing water vapor. So I started walking, my goal was to walk across the Harvey Taylor bridge and shoot over the islands in the middle of the river. This would help eliminate the distracting view of buildings on the West shore. But as I went along I decided to try going to the lower walk way that sits right next to the waters edge. I descended the steps from the lower sidewalk right up to the water. This provided the needed change in perspective I was looking for.

It got me closer to the fog and changed my vantage point just enough to allow the remaining fog to isolate the islands, and their barren trees, from the man made structures on the other side. Cool. Very Cool! I shot for about 1/2 an hour until I decided that I had really covered this location. That was all the time I could allow anyhow, I needed to get back to my office and work.

I like shooting this type of subject with my Canon G9. I can shoot with iso's from 80-400 and get a very nice film like grain. Really reminds me of my days shooting Tri-x. I am always astounded when I view the images later, this little camera's 12 megapixels and great lens really resolve fine detail! One of the keys to using this camera, I have found, is to shoot as if you were shooting chromes, expose for the high lites- and nail the exposure. There is just enough latitude in the shadows that I can pull out a bit more usable detail than one might think. I can make very fine looking 12x18" prints.

Please follow this LINK to view a couple of other images from that afternoon.

While there you will get a glimpse of the changes that are coming to my website. Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Show me the Money!

So here we are. Living the dream. Riding the wave of capitalism. So it goes, we see up years and we see down years. The price we pay for the freedoms and opportunities we have. Smart spending and saving is the way to ride it out, at least the way I am going to ride it out.

Perhaps if we all think of our neighbors right now we will have a less stressful time as we wait for the next upturn. Well, that is what brings me to the topic of this new post: Talking about money. What my services cost, how I arrive at those prices, and what I will be phasing in for the short term to help my customers out.

I have decided to implement some creative incentives that will hopefully help your bottom line. Please watch this space for more info in the near future.