I love attending the Farmer’s Market, in downtown Portland’s South Park Blocks, during the Fall harvest. Daytime temperatures, still pleasant and usually sunny, allows one the opportunity to really appreciate the artistic Autumn displays, by the vendors, while shopping.
The market covers three city park blocks or more,starting at Portland State University, every Saturday from March through December.
As I went about capturing images that caught my eye, I began to think of Thanks Giving, a full two months away. The colorful harvest colors and the aroma of fresh bagels, tasty jams, pungent cheeses and other foods being ready in food booths put me into the spirit of the up and coming holidays.Scent of lavender can still be appreciated though it is past its prime season.
Tasty Liquors and wine booths draws crowds even while the morning is still young.
Herbs, peppers, tomatoes, Bok Choi, Radicchio, leeks, broccoli, the list grows, are artfully displayed, their freshness clear.Vendors and patrons alike all in a festive mood, the experience memorable.
A wonderful start to the Autumn season! Cheers! Prints availiable for some of these images and many more at deebrowningphotography.com
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).
I am so fortunate to have such a wonderful friend/editor as Sonia. A thirty year age difference is not an issue, our mutual interests and philosophy provide a bridge. We are a lot alike in many ways which surprises others. Neither of us are very social, thus we come across as rather aloof.
Periodically I will take a road trip photographing asking her to join me. She assists me in taking notes of the images I capture and points out subjects that catch her eye, providing for me, a different perspective. I deal with a lot of distractions so when I blog, I always run my final draft past her keen eye. After correcting any errors, she will read it out loud, her English accent and clear voice adding flavor to my written words.
Last Friday I planned another road trip Sonia and I had talked about doing for some time. It had been years since I had been to the northern Washington Peninsula and the shores of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. As a teen, our family enjoyed camping and clamming in the Olympic National Park. One of our favorite locations, Lake Ozette, a place promoting solitude, where only a short hike through old growth forest led to ocean beaches adorned with seastacks. Seals romped in and out of the icy sea waters of the Pacific Ocean, always entertaining to watch. I plan to return to this place in the near future but for now our destination, Port Angeles, is where we had reservations for a two night stay. The weather forecast called for a wet and stormy weekend, which has never deterred us.
Leaving Portland fairly early, the low clouds prolonged the lighting of the day, we took I-5 to Tacoma where we would exit and cross the Narrows. The rain we had driven through on I-5 abated as the clouds broke up allowing blue skies, lit by the sun, to appear. Encouraged by this break in the weather we took a side trip to Port Townsend. Incorporated in 1851, well-known for its preserved Victorian architecture, rich in history, art and annual festivals. We arrived to witness them setting up for the weekend annual International Film Festival. It felt good to really stretch our legs as we joined the locals and tourists alike taking in the interesting sights.
The rain kept its distance till we were well on our way to Port Angeles.
The next morning we were again blessed with only partly cloudy skies and no rain. We drove to Hurricane Ridge, in the Olympic National Park, where Sonia wanted see the vast vista of the Olympic Mountain Range. This place held a special meaning for her. Just recently her dear friend Bob passed away, and his wife and fellow hikers brought his ashes, as per his request, and scattered them near here. Bob, an adventurous outdoors man, loved the Olympic National Park, his hiking boots were left somewhere up here under a tree marking his favorite spot. Seeing the view from Hurricane Ridge we understood and appreciated his last request.
Clouds began reclaiming the space of blue, a sign of rain, soon to follow. As we drove down Hurricane Ridge, the clouds followed obscuring most of the lush, majestic scenery. The rain began in earnest pelting the Subaru in a side ward direction pushed from the increasing winds. As with all of our other excursions, when bad weather is predicted, we felt fortunate for once again we experienced a nice dry and partial clearing of the skies while we enjoyed the view.
Seeing blue skies to the east upon entering Port Angeles, we decided to drive back to Port Townsend. Our hopes were to beat the rain’s arrival and again enjoy the little town built on the shores of a bay with the same name. Hopes fulfilled, we entered Fort Worden where I helped Sonia set up on the beach with a view of the lighthouse, and the sounds of the small rippling waves coming ashore. While she took a power nap, I with camera in hand, explored the shore. Having lost my tethered trigger release on my last hike, I replaced it with a remote trigger release. It had just arrived the day before and I hadn’t had much of a chance to work with it. Being told several times that I need to update my self-portraits, something I loath to do mainly because I am not good at it, upon finding a secluded spot alongside of a pier, I made an attempt. I do not recommend this unless you have a good sense of humor, especially when directed at yourself.
After Sonia’s power nap on the shores of Port Townsend Bay, we again visited the more crowded streets of the town enjoying the many sites and different street wear of the locals and tourists. Heading back to Port Angeles, the clouds again opened up and again we felt fortunate that we avoided the down pour. The rain soon dissipated when we entered Port Angeles, affording us a wonderful view of the sun setting reflecting off clouds and the waters of Strait of Juan de Fuca as we ate dinner in a local restaurant. Life is Good!
It seems I have little time for blog writing these days, as my summer is speeding by. Family health issues are the top of my priority list followed closely by shooting events, shows and jobs. Because of this I have found myself falling further behind on some of my projects that don’t have time limits, this blog included. So, for the time being, my blog writing will be sporadic.
A couple of weeks ago, my friend Sonia accompanied me on a day trip to Central Columbia Basin as I wanted to photograph the harvesting of the grain. Grain fields near The Dalles, Oregon, are vast and planted on rolling hills with Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams in the background, perfect for landscape photography. Some of the fields were already harvested and some had already been burned adding texture and contrast for photographing. My goal of capturing images of large combines working three or more abreast, cutting the grain, was not to be as the only combines I found were being worked on or parked unattended on the edge of a field.
Driving through the rolling agricultural hills I came upon an old abandoned farm house. My mind conjured up a story as to why this once beautiful home was abandoned. Was it bad well water, foreclosure due to bad times, or the death of the last family member? The whole scene was forlorn as the skeleton of a large tree added to the sadness of the abandoned property.
I love all landscapes from coastal to high desert as each has it’s own special geography of textures and colors. I find photographing landscapes the most relaxing thing to do besides visiting a spa!
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.
This last weekend…Whoops! That was two weekends ago! My busy schedule of other projects that I needed to complete, one being a fun shoot of a beautiful girl and her horse, interrupted my writing of this blog. These interruptions to my well laid plans happen often. I can honestly say I am never bored! Photographers have many projects! Priorities taken care of I now must re-write the beginning of my blog.
My husband and I along with our dear friend Sonia, spent Saturday, June 25th at Lincoln City enjoying their annual ‘Kite Flying Festival’. We have endured the first half of this year of unusually wet weather. Our bodies deprived of vitamin D began to re-energized at the lack of clouds in the sky. The exposed blue sky provided a wonderful background for the colorful kites that flew as an opening act above the assembling crowd of people staking out their individual piece of beach.
Chilly winds, which is typical of the Northern Oregon coast, kept most under cover by way of jackets, blankets and beach tents. A few, mostly the young, could be spotted in their more revealing attire, exposed skin red from sun and wind, as they strutted and swayed in the human way of attracting the opposite sex. I hoped at that age I wasn’t so obvious as these youthful beings, but I fear might have been. Those younger still, also scantily clothed, in the way of shunned jackets and bare feet, ran and hopped about, kicking up sand and squealing with delight at the kites overhead. Many with hand-made kites of their own ran with a hand-held high clutching a short string attached to their kite, that soared and dived erratically behind them, their youthful energy fueling the warmth they needed. Dogs of all shapes and sizes greeted each other in their doggy ways showing signs of excitement in being in this festive environment Nearer to the waves, leash free, they
played in the surf then sprayed a shower of salt water droplets freed from wet fur, on to those close by. I observed all this as we set-up our spot among the throng of fellow beings practicing the
‘Art of Being’. How invigorating!
After staking out our section of sand, I ready my gear consisting of two lens, a wide-angle, and small telephoto, both great for using in what I refer to as shooting from the hip. A tripod in such instances is not practical. To capture excitement and wonder involving an event such as this, I needed flexibility and quickness in my positioning. After taking a couple of test shots to satisfy myself of my basic camera settings and I wandered off to integrate my camera and I with those of my subjects and objects, leaving my husband and friend to enjoy the festivities from their camp chairs and warm blankets on our little piece of beach.
Children fascinate me for they are the true artists in the ‘Art Of Being’, for their minds have not been molded with constrictions of responsible thoughts that plague adults. As I watched their expressions of wonderment and excitement, though tempted, I avoid singling them out to photograph, as it makes most parents uneasy and rightly so. Instead I observed what captivated them and with their expression in mind I attempt to capture an image that will get the same reaction of wonder and excitement from those who view it.
Walking the outer edge of a ribbon-made fence, set-up to discourage the masses from entering the area where they anchored the big kites , one kite-man caught my attention as he held an instrument up over his head. I soon learned he was measuring the winds as he announced they were at 16 knots. He kept checking his anchor and the taut lines leading skyward to a tethered bright red octopus kite dancing in the winds, its tentacles break dancing in time to the frequent gusts. A large colorful blow-fish swam the air currents only a few feet from the sand, dwarfing all that ventured near for a closer look. I did envy those who had video cameras as I attempted to capture the synchronized flying of six kites handled by six people to surreal music. It was a
beautiful sight to see but difficult to capture. I finally relinquished this effort and settled myself on a nearby drift log to enjoy the show.
“I see you are another Nikon-er.” stated a voice interrupting my semi-meditative moment with the synchronized flying kites. That was when I became acquainted with D. Deane Ingram, a fellow photographer who started his profession shooting the Vietnam War. He told me of his job travels all over Europe. How he and his German wife, Ingrid, finally settled in Portland until his recent retirement to Lincoln City. Still photographing, he proudly shared with me some of his work that he carried with him in his gear bag. Our conversation veered toward the digital world of photography and the pros and cons of being a pro-photographer in that field. It felt good to share my love of photography with a fellow photographer.
I ambled back to our spot only to find two famished people who had patiently awaited my return to enjoy the food we had brought with us. I placed my camera in my bag and settled down to eat, all the while scanning for more picture-taking opportunities. Our picnic consumed, a need for a restroom trip delayed, as Sonia and I giggled like young girls over an incident we found ourselves in. Our chairs had sunk deeply into the sand making it extremely difficult to get up. As we tried to hoist ourselves out of our seats her chair tilted as it went deeper into the sand on one side, nearly dumping her into my lap. John was of no help as he found himself in the same predicament. Laughter is the best medicine except when you have to use the bathroom!
As the events of the day drew to a close, we loaded ourselves with our belongings and trudged back to our vehicle. As we walked, a scene had unfolded before us requiring that I again take out my camera. Now I fully understood, the vigilance, of attending to the anchored kites. A kite measuring eighty-one feet long had broken away from its anchor on the beach. It had entangled itself in a tree and power line that edged the beach-front road. Six frustrated men worked to gently untangle the $5,000.00 kite from the tree limbs, wires, and its own tethered ropes. I did not envy their work nor the loss of investment if they were not successful in their endeavor. My need to capture this unfortunate scene satisfied, I was not surprised to find our vehicle with my husband and friend inside driving towards me. They, already loaded-up, had come to pick me up.
The drive home was pleasant as Sonia and I noticed places of photographic interest. My husband focused only on his driving and our destination, could not bother with the scenery we passed, allowing Sonia and I to relax and enjoy the landscape, knowing our eyes and reflexes are not needed to assist him when he is behind the wheel.
With my other current priorities taken care of and my blog completed, a little later than I had planned, I can now return to reviewing and reminiscing that day on the beach at Lincoln City Annual Kite Festival.