"For the artist communication with nature remains the most essential condition. The artist is human, himself nature, part of nature within natural space." Paul Klee

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Secret Place

I found this scene while walking through some woods last month. It has a kind of an "Alice in Wonderland" feel. Instead of going down in a hole you climb up the ladder to the tree house. In this case it was just some sort of platform. Didn't we all do something like this when we were young? Some secret place hidden amongst thick brambles or back in the woods away from the big people. Or maybe just a big cardboard box that was a spaceship or submarine once you closed the flaps. Anyway...it was pretty thick back in there with bushes, tall grasses, and hanging vines and those little sticky things that get all over your pants and shoelaces.

Nikon D80, ISO 100, f7.1, 1/160th sec. 52mm DX/78mmFX, shot using a monopod.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Framed in Dealey Plaza

This is a shot of Dealey Plaza from under a portico across the street from the Texas Book Depository. (behind the American flag at left). The four smaller frames in the center reminded me of the Zapruder footage...frames on either side complete the effect of frames within a frame and of being framed.

Nikon D80 at 20mm ISO200, 1/180th @ f6.7 with -1.5 exposure compensation (which helped balance out the contrasts between under the portico and the bright (105 degree!) sun outside.
The inside wall was lightened in P/S.

Castle at Sundown

This is a picture of my son playing with his new Lego castle set right around sundown, as you can see. This was shot with the Canon Powershot SX100IS which is one of my favorite all time cameras. I've had it for about four years. 8MP. The Powershot series are great little cameras for the beginner photographer or a trusty backup for your DSLR. The newest Powershot is the SX130 which I highly recommend if you're going that way. Takes two AA batteries, I'd get two rechargeables. Less than 200 dollars online.

Shot in manual mode @ ISO200 at f8 for 1/15th of a second. Since the shutter speed was so slow, I braced the camera against a corner wall to insure fine focus.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Leaves on Pond

The leaves around my area turned their brightest colors near the end of November. This particular day the wind was blowing fairly strong thus covering a nearby pond with thousands of leaves. I had posted a couple of these leaf shots that were close ups last month - this wider view just pops when printed on a glossy surface.
This is a manual exposure of f5.6 at 1/60th with ISO 200, handheld - just looking down at the water's edge. Real leaves with an abstract twist.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Water Earth Sky

I took this at 9:30 this morning by a nearby reservoir. The wind was blowing the water and the blustery winter sky was on the move, too. When the clouds parted to my left the sun would just shoot through...and brush the trees with a yellow light.

Handheld in manual mode at ISO 200, f14 @ 1/100th with -0.7 exposure compensation.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Collagist

"The Collagist" Sounds like a great title for a movie! My pursuit for artists' portraits continues with Sue Gilliam. Sue let me spend some time with her this morning in her wonderful studio. The light was fantastic - lots of it. The room glowed with the southern light pouring in one side and sunrays streaming through the other side.
The collage is such a great art form...and Sue is a master of the technique of assemblage. It's very cool stuff. Everywhere I looked there was something splendid to look at. My sincere thanks to Sue for allowing me some time with her.
The technical data is not much...there was so much light. All I used was one AlienBee 800 for some fill set mostly at 1/2 power. With the Bee I alternated between a shoot through umbrella for the long shots and a soft silver for the closer ups. In a situation like this you just need to pay attention to your ambient to fill ratio and you're good. The ISO was set to 400 with most of the shots coming in around f10 at 1/100th of a second.
It was a real fun shoot...thanks Sue!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Rocks of Hill Country

I find these rock formations that you can find all through Texas hill country, eroded by millions of years of tumbling waters, very beautiful. As a natural phenomenon they're wonderful to just sit next to and ponder...but when the light is just right boy they sure sparkle!

I used the aperture priority set to f9, the camera chose 1/20th of a second. (glad I schlepped my tripod out), ISO500. Shot around 10am with the sun still behind a large hill to my left.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

First Shot of the Day

This was the first shot from yesterday's shoot. I wasn't totally happy with the locale and moved on to the area where most of the shooting took place. The sun wasn't up yet. I used ISO 400
and had the camera on a tripod...the shutter speed being .77 of a second @f3.8.
I like the fact that the wind was blowing enough to bend the grasses in that south easterly direction.

Fields of Early Morning Gold

Today I went out specifically with Impressionism on my mind. Last night I was looking at a collection of impressionistic paintings in a book...Monet, Sisley, Corot, among others.

So...up at the crack of dawn arriving at my hill of choice before the sun came up. Walking around in the dark watching the sun slowing make it's presence known I tried to get a feel of the rhythm of the landscape.

Here are three selects. The camera was set to ISO 400 and P mode. I let the camera record most of the data while I concentrated on placement. The time is roughly 7:30am.

I think I achieved what I pre-visualized in my mind...pretty much. I hope you enjoy the images.
Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Floating Rocks

Today I was checking out some past shots from Bee Caves Road. I noticed this shot which before today I didn't give much notice. I like the way the rocks are positioned around the composition and seemed to float or suspend themselves. The gravel foreground balances the foliage in the high background with a different texture and color.

My ISO was 200, f5.6 at 1/400th of a second. The focal length was 70mm DX thus 105mm in FX. Shot clean without a polarizer. If I had used a polarizer I would have lost the sky blueness reflected on the surface of the water.

I'm still working on my portrait project so there's more to come. Tada for today.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Colorful Artist

Hello to all. Hope everyone is in good spirits and your prepping for the holidays is going eggnogingly smooth. (is eggnogingly with 4 or 5 g's??)

I have been concentrating on portraits of late. I didn't want to do the standard - stool in front of a backdrop with a couple of studio umbrellas kind of thing. Been there, done that. I wanted to just work out things with the subject and see what would happen. In this case, I think something very nifty came about. (nifty is a word particular to my generation...also swell and peachy keen).

This particular session is with Eva Sim-Zabka, who is a very talented individual of many arts.
Her paintings are a celebration of color, forms, and emotions. Eva was gracious enough to allow me to spend a couple of hours with her in the studio, talk about art, and play with lights and angles. Here are three results.

The bottom horizontal shot is just a straight shot with an on camera flash. All shots set to ISO 800 and soft effect applied (in camera).
The studio is a little more complex. Read on if you're interested in techy stuff. The overall light is from a 3 foot paper china ball (camera right) with a 250W ECA bulb (calibrated at 3200Kelvin)this gave me my base light, on the left is an SB600 flash fired remotely. Flash is snooted with 1/2 CTO in order not to entirely kill the little blue spill from a window. And behind against the wall on the right is an ARRI 200W Pepper (also 3200K) adding a little kick. f8 handheld at 30th of a sec.

Hopefully more portraits to come. I love working with fascinating people - it really gets the juices flowing. And I hope some swell peachy keen pics are the results.
My sincere thanks to Eva and to you for stopping by...til next time.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Lone Tree

Looking at some recent shots I thought that this one was interesting. Coming up the side of a hill one morning this tree was just over the crest.

Shot it at 80mm with camera ISO 400, 1/400th sec @ f5.6 with a slight -.03 compensation and a graduated filter.

Not much outdoors lately, portrait project is keeping me off the streets...more to come. Thanks for stopping by.