I decided to shake it up a bit, from my normal photography venue, by photographing street performers. This involved stepping out of my comfort zone of capturing serene images where I give a lot of thought and time, processing my composition, before pressing the shutter release button. I tried being inconspicuous as I mingle with the crowd of sightseers, vendors, shoppers, and performers, not an easy task for attached to my camera is my portrait telephoto lens.
People fascinate me. I would love to shoot more, but my shyness holds me back. Being behind the lens helps me in that area. My decision to capture Street Performers is because they do so in a very public venue.
I use my portrait lens as I can zoom in without invading their space which would detract from their performance.
Variety is well-observed as one strolls by. Lets not leave out ever-present Clown one can find in such surroundings…..
nor those other unusual intriguing sites…..
that makes life so fun and interesting! This is what I refer to as overindulging in the “Art Of Being”
This is a term I hear from time to time in regards to my work and others as photographers. I don’t know why anyone would say this in terms of degrading our work except that they have no knowledge behind their statement. You either like our individual work as photographers or you don’t. The same with any artist’s work. How we produce that work is really irrelevant, though it is important that we know how to use our tools and do so correctly. Because of this I have decided to write a blog on this subject. Not my normal blogging, as I prefer writing about being immersed in the moment of a shoot when I express what I saw and felt, so others can see and feel what I experienced, when looking at the results of my work.
Most people have heard of Ansel Adams and have seen his beautiful images of our nation’s National Parks. A well-known photographer, first known to heavily manipulate his images in the dark room. His famous statement, “The negative is comparable to the composer’s score and print to its performance”. In the digital world, the negative is the RAW/DNG file. This file is full of information captured by the photographer in full control of the camera. Just as in the darkroom of Ansel Adams, that file has to be processed in the digital darkroom to perform. A digital darkroom consists of color calibrated monitors and programs such as Lightroom, Photoshop and others.
There are three groups of digital cameras; the point and shoot fixed lens camera, the dSLR with less than a full sensor, and the Pro-dSLR with a larger full frame sensor. Both allow the photographer more control and artistic flexibility, the ability to shoot in low light without a flash and both RAW and JPEG images. A Pro- dSLR, which I use, allows me, the photographer, an even greater ability and flexibility, such as capturing more light in a dark situation without a flash than that of the smaller sensor dSLR and has more control options. It is more durable and has a higher price tag.
I shoot in RAW almost exclusively, which allows me to keep all the recorded data from the sensor giving me the highest quality files to work with. With a much wider dynamic range and a larger color space, I can push the image further bringing out hidden details in the darkest shadows and/or brightest highlights, without blowing them out and boosting color without oversaturating, which can affect the quality of print. This is Artistic Flexibility! In JPEG files this type of detail often gets tossed away and lost forever by the camera’s JPEG conversion process.
Point and shoot cameras use JPEG exclusively and the camera does the processing. Most times these look great, for the camera makes all the adjustments for you. It is like sending a roll of film to the photo lab to develop your images for you. With JPEG images, you can edit and retouch afterwards, but you will be working with an image that has already been processed with permanent changes, and further changes you make will only degrade it. This is why you always work with a copy of a JPEG file so that the original stays in good shape.
When comparing a RAW file and that of a JPEG file of the same image, the JPEG will always look better. Why? Because it has been processed by the camera. The RAW file appears dull in comparison for it has not been processed. RAW files take up a lot more space on your disc as it is such a huge file packed with information. When closely looked at, the JPEG image may not show the detail in shadows that you wanted to show, because the camera made adjustments by darkening the overall image to compensate for an overly bright sky. Those shadowed details are gone, tossed out by the processing. When processing the same image in the RAW format, one can bring out the details in the shadows and tone down the light in the sky without losing detail in either, if exposure is captured correctly, because nothing was tossed.
To further explain digital processing, one must know before they shoot an image how they want the final output to look. So time is taken to set the camera’s aperture, shutter speed, ISO and white balance, along with numerous other settings required to capture a well-balanced RAW file with tons of data to process later in the digital darkroom. Ansel Adams did this well. A person who does not know how to do this will not be able to produce the image they are after, for they will lack the necessary data required to do so.
Many photographers will shoot portraits and weddings in both JPEG and RAW. The RAW file is so very important for the photographer to use, if need be, to tone down an overly bright cheek, chin or forehead, remove a blemish or anything else that would otherwise make a less than perfect picture to cherish forever without degrading the image. I have had to remove blemishes, spots on clothing, and sometimes those spots that show up from lint or dust on the lens. One thing I do not do is alter one’s appearance. When I work with a person, I will shoot from many different angles, pose them in many different positions and place them in good lighting to capture them at their present best. Teenagers worry about breakouts and since those are not permanent I will “Photoshop” them out as any professional will. If you have wrinkles, they stay but I will position you where they are not so prominent. I strive to capture the best of a person in their true form, including those awful ones of myself. LOL! Like most people I do not like pictures of me, so I let my husband decide which ones to show others.
When shooting real property, RAW is so important in capturing an indoor image of a home that leads to an inviting outdoors. The interior lighting and outdoor lighting comes from different sources. Having a full frame sensor is imperative as it captures more information. Having the knowledge how to process these files correctly is also important for it must represent the true property being captured.
So yes, I “Photoshop”. In reality I use Lightroom and Adobe CS6 Photoshop. When someone uses the word “Photoshop” in a derogatory way, we professionals know they are far from being knowledgeable in the profession of a photographer. So… when you look at a photographer’s work and you think “Wow that is a nice picture!” Appreciate it! Be inspired by it! And by all means BUY IT! LOL! We are artists too and how we use our tools to achieve what we see and interpret, is no different than that of an artist with a brush or other various tools. Unless you have the original file to compare it to, there is no way of knowing how much manipulation was applied beyond the normal process.
Dee Browning, photographer/artist www.deebrowningphotography.com
AMBIENT LIGHT IN PHOTOGRAPHY: available light or ambient light refers to any source of light that is not explicitly supplied by the photographer for the purpose of taking photos. The term usually refers to sources of light that are already available naturally (e.g. the sun, moon, lightning) or artificial light already being used (e.g. to light a room).
On a recent balmy, damp Saturday morning Sonia and I boarded the train to Seattle at Union Station in Portland. The predicted downpour for the day had thankfully arrived early the night before leaving only puddles of water and low hanging clouds. A little disappointed that our train was not the new European style one, recently purchased by Amtrak, but pleased to find it clean and comfortable for I had heard since my last train ride that Amtrak had fallen behind in the upkeep of their trains’ interiors.
Settled in our seats we looked out the picture window, the sky growing lighter with the lifting of the low ceiling clouds allowing a nice view of the scenery passing by. As the train moved northward we noticed periodically leaves, from seemingly nowhere. were flying past our window leaving us to pondering their source. As we passed by the south end of the Puget Sound, we watched the choppy waves rolling across its vast expanse. It was then we realized how hard the wind was blowing and its strength is what carried the fall leaves from their unseen source.
As we drew nearer to Seattle, we began discussing one of our favorite artists, glass sculptor, Dale Chihuly, whose ‘Garden and Glass House’ exhibit we had come to see. Upon our arrival at King Street Train Station, again the wind made us aware of it’s strength as we ventured outside. Whirlwinds of fall leaves flew in our faces as they pushed past us and into open doors of shops as we walked, or rather pushed past. The next day, we learned due to the high winds, the floating bridge crossing Lake Washington closed, leaving cars abandoned as people walked off the bridge to safety.
We had on a previous occasion, a couple of years ago, visited Dale Chihuly’s Museum of Glass in his native home town of Tacoma, Washington. Enchanted with the Bridge of Glass, a 500 foot long pedestrian overpass that links the Museum in Tacoma to the downtown section of the city, a delightful walk with walls and ceilings showcasing his work.
Our first sight within the Garden and Glass House exhibit, in Seattle’s Center, brought a sense of calm as we paused to admire the Chihuly’s ‘Glass Forest’. I love light and its effect on a subject whether it be natural or created by man. Chihuly truly understands its importance as it illuminates and reflects off his sculptured pieces. A real treat to one’s eye and mind. Allowed to photograph his work, I captured a few of my favorites. These are very large displays set on a stage, its floor covered with reflecting mirrors producing an impact.
We moved on to the ‘Northwest Room’, a gallery of his glass sculptured Indian Baskets. Magnificently done, with Indian designs painted on the blown glass. His success revealed in his sculpturing the glass to the likeness of ancient Indian baskets with their slump and saggy forms.
Another gallery ‘Macchia Forest’, intrigued me as the shape of the glass sculptures captured and reflected the light directed upon it. Below I captured a section that really caught my eye. Subtle yet bold!
Further into the exhibit we came to ‘Ikebana and Float Boat’. The ‘Float Boat’ literally took my breath away. Full of glass blown floats the boat drifted upon an illusion of water created with mirrors. Other floats appeared to have fallen from the craft and been set adrift. I shot two different angles. This is a life-size boat.
The other side of this display is another watercraft filled with Dale Chihuly’s interpretation of Ikebana, a traditional Japanese art of flower arrangement.
As we moved slowly through the rooms, contemplating this man’s magical work, one enjoys the many themes displayed here besides those shown above. The ‘Sea life Room’, filled with sea plants, starfish, anemones, octopuses, fish, all intertwined, appearing as if moved by the sea’s current.
To our delight, we came to another ceiling gallery, ‘Persian Ceiling’, for we so enjoyed the one displayed at the Tacoma Pedestrian Bridge. ‘Mille Fiori’ another gallery, at the Glass House and Garden, is fifty-six feet in length and twelve feet wide, a garden of sculptured glass. Very colorful as most gardens are.
When we finally reached the ‘Glass House’. which sits at the base of the Space Needle, we marveled at the size of this sculpture. This piece has two thousand individual Persian glass forms fused together.
Below a closer view of the Persian glass sculpture in the Glass House.
We exited the glass house to stroll in the garden. At the base of the Space Needle ‘The Sun’, a sixteen foot in diameter sculpture in bright yellow, sits center stage above a platform of sculptured plants.
My favorite piece in the garden, as shown below, I see dolphins riding the surf. The garden, a fun enchanting place, is filled with Chihuly’s glass sculptures.
After our stroll in the garden we went to the Collectables Café . A cute little café with tables inlaid with shadow boxes, displaying items from Dale Chihuly’s personal collections. To our surprise the foods presentation at other tables evoked our reason for eating here,. We were not disappointed, it delighted our palates. I highly recommend it.
Though invigorating, we had fought the wind and mini-tornadoes of autumn leaves coming to this exhibit by way of city busses. With our time running short to catch the train back to Portland, we decided to take a cab. At the station as we departed our cab, the wind ushered us into King Street Station, along with dry crackling leaves,
With a little time on our hands we took in the architectural beauty of the building. Sonia commented that it looked freshly painted. I took pictures of some of the architectural design and when I got home I looked up the building’s history. Built between 1904 and 1906, over the years it endured many remodels, one that resulted in a lowered ceiling, leaving much of the original ornate interior hidden, till now. The restoration completed just this year reveals a very stately structure of classic architectural design.
Darkness descended as we traveled south. Without the views to distract us we made acquaintance with some of our fellow passengers. One small group told us about eating at Ivan’s that afternoon, a well-known restaurant on one of the many piers along Seattle’s waterfront. This restaurant is a newer version of it’s former self, destroyed by fire. As they ate, the strong winds drove waves crashing over the piers. The rolling white-capped seawater, in clear view of Ivan’s vast picture windows, left one in their party feeling a little queasy as he tried to finish his meal.
We arrived on time back in Portland, though we didn’t get the opportunity to ride the new train, the comfort and cleanliness of the ones we rode in left us in good form. An enjoyable day, windy but no rain!
Recently my living environment changed as planned. The moving and downsizing transition went fairly smoothly due to careful planning, but still left me feeling slightly fragmented mainly because of time lost in regards to my work. For about two months, while this transition took place, my work as a photographer/artist took a back seat. No amount of yoga or meditation could ease the stress created by the empty void of productivity in my creative work. To add to the stress, my work PC crashed, thus slowing my progress of getting back to work. Normally I would take this in stride as my, yoga and meditation keeps me realistically grounded. Being absent from not only my creativity side, but the near daily postings to all my business links, keeps my business fresh. This has weighed heavily on my mental state.
As I finally have become settled, I have learned to appreciate simple living even more. I have always striven to live simply, as I like order. I believe that is why I am more drawn to the Asian culture. I have learned a really important lesson in this latest downsizing. Over the years, I have accumulated things given to me and me keeping those I felt of importance. This took a lot of room and some stress, on my part, for their care, especially in storing such items. When we made the move to downsize, I contacted family and friends to tell them I no longer could store, nor had room to display, these items in our new home. To my surprise, most did not want them, nor did they care what I did with them. At first I was sad, thinking of my own works of art and taste in material things, possibly being tossed aside. I then realized beauty, importance, and tastes, differ from person to person. Thus keeping life interesting. So the sadness lifted and these items became a donation to a worthy cause. I felt this best represented the people who created and/or appreciated them at one time and passed them on to me. I will remember this learned experience in our last downsize/move when it is time to retire, for it will serve my mental state well.
Back to my current situation of getting back into my work, purchasing a new PC, uploading and updating programs. Setting up a painting area for my work in acrylics and watercolors is nearly completed. I am now working on refreshing my business links and postings. I have tentatively joined a new photography group located near my new home, and am looking into joining an art group. This will offer challenge and inspiration in seeing their works. With having more time to do this is encouraging.
Experiencing Simplicity in Life is Most Rewarding.
Oh my! Fourth of July was over a week ago, and I had so planned to upload a couple images of the fireworks seen from our front deck. Our home is situated on a hill providing a view, though distant, of the firework displays of those downtown Portland and at Oaks Park, and of those in our area. As usual this blog writing was put on the back burner as more projects developed and awaited my attention, one being Hughes Water Gardens Annual Water Lily and Art Show.
My first encounter with Hughes Water Garden began after we had purchased our home here in the Portland area after relocating from southern Oregon. Having had a Koi pond at our previous home, I wanted to check out water garden nurseries in the area. Hughes Water Gardens and Nursery owned by Eamonn Hughes, a renowned water feature designer, so enchanted me that I asked and was granted permission to photograph elements of the gardens. I spent a few hours photographing and enjoying myself in the tranquil setting. I don’t remember how it came about, but I was invited to display my work at their annual Art Show! I have taken part in this show ever since. It has grown to include over 30 regional artists featuring art of different mediums, many inspired by the gardens.
I have restricted my involvement in many shows due to my busy schedule and the lack of purchasers due to the current economy. Hughes Water Garden was my first ever showing so I feel I must continue participating in this annual event for it is in my blood now and is good for showing my more recent work, not to mention being able to mingle and be inspired by other artist including landscape designers. Anyone in the Portland Metro area reading this who loves art and tranquil settings, I encourage you to attend the ‘Gala In The Garden – Opening Reception’ Friday evening July 22nd 6:30 – 8:30pm. Art will be displayed throughout the nursery, and artists will be giving plein air demonstrations. Appetizers, music and wine-tasting enhances the overall experience, so give yourself a mental retreat and join in the festivities at Hughes Annual Art Festival ‘Gala In the Garden’. If you are unable to go that evening there are two weekend events following the open reception, ‘Weekend In The Garden’, July 23rd and 24th and July 30th and 31st. All events are free and open to the public. They do suggest that you bring a two can donation for the Oregon Food Bank Food Drive. Looking forward to seeing you there.
Here are a sampling of what you will see there of my work in photography plus some watercolors I have done.