Winslow Homer. There was an exhibition of his interaction with photography in the mid 1800’s. Mathew Brady took a picture, yes with a real camera and film, of Abraham Lincoln. And Homer adapted the image in his illustration of Lincoln. He embellished – he added a presidential background. And he did cosmetic surgery worthy of any Photoshop tech today. Homer filled in the hollow cheeks and sized Lincoln’s ears downward. It made for a much better illustration. It was circulated around the time of Lincoln’s inauguration. Did Lincoln mind? We have other presidents who are vain. I can think of one off the top of my head.
From the very first expensive lens I owned, there has always been a protective lens filter. Insurance. Precaution. Caution. In the normal course of business I never needed it…
I have never had this happen. I treat my cameras pretty carefully. But I do not baby them. They are all in use. There is exposure to dust and rain involved. And I suppose some rough handling. When I was diving there was the threat of ocean salt water. I have/am guilty of frying more than one camera underwater. This was a new one (mishap) for me. The camera slipped from my shoulder and the front of the lens hit a folding chair. As you can see there is a consequence to a forceful meeting. Luckily it only cooked the skylight filter and not the front element of my very expensive spiffy lens. I’ll replace the filter and thank my stars that for the first time – a filter actually did what I bought it to do – protect my lens. Praise Jesus, pass the alcohol.
This would be my “Nellie” pose. I took a lot of pictures of my dog Nellie, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel. Yup, I still miss her. Of all the poses I got, the quintessential one was with her head close to the floor and my camera at eye level. The picture is in the eyes. Spice was kind enough to cooperate.
I don’t usually get to pose my cats. And when they see me with a camera they are usually on the move. So, a bit of stealth is necessary. That often means that I don’t get to move the props around. You take what they allow. My mission is get a group shot. Ha ha. A pair is about the best I have done.
These eastern clouds were being lit by setting sun in the west. It had been storming earlier in the day. I shot out the car window as we traveled down the highway south. South is always down, right? We’d been using a map that day. My companion folds hers. It doesn’t help. Two GPS devices, two iPhones, one map later and we still have a frantic scramble at the next turn. Kidding!
There is something to be said for cropping. I never considered panoramas until Dave showed me his iPhone shots. Easy!…on an iPhone. Pretty easy in Lightroom too. You have to have a good substrate with which to work. Then, it’s effective. Right image – right tool. Nice trick.
Hey! Look at this! It wasn’t easy to do this. Well, it was. I got it without too much trouble. Really? The technical challenge was getting the camera to focus. The dragonfly flitted and finally landed. It stayed in place long enough for me to get my camera. Then it was hard to focus. The camera looks for sharp contrast and focuses upon the whole scene. It wanted to focus on the leaves in the background way more. The dragonfly was a thin sliver. I had to fool the camera into focusing upon the leaf and then moving the camera to shoot my dragonfly. It’s good that digital allows me multiple tries. I got a good one. I feel good that things came together for me to get this shot. Another day another dragon fly.
I’ve got this plant that produced two flowers. Yes, I could count ‘em. The first fell off. It just broke off its stem and fell to the driveway below. The second survived to bloom more than two weeks. That’s nice. It sat a bit beneath another container. The stem was so long the blossom crowded against the container above. Got the picture? You could congratulate me for staging a spectacular image of this flower. Thank you in advance. However, it was a serendipitous shot. The shadow from the container above darkened the background while the low morning sun from the east provided the rim lighting. And, with everything else digital these days, I shot multiples of this flower. This was the shot that you see. In the days of “slides” I would have surely missed this one. As with everything else lately, I was redundant in order to capture the moment. I shoot till I’m satisfied except that sometimes I don’t know what I’ve got till I edit. It makes me an amateur. But sometimes even a blind squirrel gets a nut.
Digital frame #0016. It’s an inauspicious start to digital photography. It’s not the very first image out of the camera. Number 0001 was discarded. Ha! And, number 0002 was blurred out of focus. I must have arrived home late after work to open and play with the new digital D70. It was a Tuesday after my office hours. One would not expect my family to be up on a weeknight school/work night.
It might be of interest how/when I began (photography). It started from a need to preserve family history? I was photographically naïve until 8th grade in West Virginia. I took Mom’s Argus C3 (the “Brick”) to Charleston and the Golden Horseshoe Award ceremony. I was dismal. Not an image came out. I had no lesson and no clue about exposure. A year later (1966, 9th grade) we moved to New York City and I got my first Kodak Instamatic 100. My first real SLR camera was an Exakta in 1970 (college freshman). I was now doing black and white. I loaded my own film from 100 ft bulk rolls. I developed my own film. After that the history of my serial documentation begins in 1975. That was the year I began to keep my slides. The collection began in storage boxes in the closet and progressed to custom made drawers. Along the way I became a furniture maker too. My frugality prevents me from upgrading infinitely. It’s all about value for your effort. In a way it’s good to lust for betterment (skill and equipment). I try to be critically aware of my failures.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Santayana
I got a lot to remember.
History? History – looking back. This was among my first efforts at Photoshop experimentation. There are experts who are light years beyond my expertise. I simply removed the bars of the fence. It’s not too good. But it is enough to fool the viewer (mostly). I’m lazy. These days I don’t do too much image manipulation. Mostly, what comes out of the camera is what I use and post. I have gotten a bit better at preprocessing my image. But, one must know what can be done. It’s part of the toolbox. It’s way better to point and shoot. My laziness comes from my dread of time spent processing in Photoshop. Lightroom? I will ‘develop’ as long as it takes for my attention to wane… not long at all. But then again… everyone has to edit and cull.
How did I know this image would work? It was Paris and the Eiffel Tower at night. Night shots are devilishly hard. They are surprisingly easy. Lighting is tungsten (mostly). Film is balanced for daylight. Light bulbs throw off enough light that they mimic daylight levels of light. The lighting difference from foreground to background is tough to compensate and balance. It’s still slide film at this point. Digital can handle the situation much more easily. My archive? I was able to locate the original slide I posted before without too much pain. Gee! It’s good/lucky to be organized (somewhat). For most the eye/brain is fooled and compensates for daylight and tungsten differences. But the reality of print leaves a distinct discernible difference. Did any of this make sense? Someone I know keeps asking me this. And… I get it.
I know this now. But then? Detail. Zoom in more than you think you might. The image has more impact. I do this now. Then? Not so much. Here’s an example. I was more frugal. Film costs. Digital doesn’t. So, experiment. Get in close and go big. iPhone. Too many times the angle is bad and so is the image. I notice a lot of people shoot vertical with the iPhone. It’s because that’s the easiest way to hold it? I shoot 99% horizontal with digital these days. It’s because my computer screen is panoramic horizontal. Ha! All the blank (vertical) space on the side is boring. Back then? I would say that 30-50% of my images were vertical. You can make it work. I still shoot horizontal most of the time. But now? I put my main subject off center. It works. Change. Evolve.