"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, November 28, 2012


Early this morning - 8:30 early - I took my annual hike down by the San Gabriel River just south of Georgetown. There are some great rocks that have just fallen from the sky (?) and plopped themselves on the river bed. One looks like a parked car. I call it "The Car".  There's really not a lot of water a couple of spots here and there only a few inches to maybe a foot or two deep. To get down to the river bed I had to negotiate a very steep embankment probably around 45 degrees - and it's nothing but a huge thicket of underbrush, uprooted trees, slippery rocks...recommended only if you have a good pair of hiking boots. Getting back up was another story - by the time I got back to the top I was sweatin' and it wasn't even 50 degrees outside!

Tech Info - Shot everything with a Nikon D80 using the 18-135mm lens. Since the sun hadn't come up over the embankment I was using ISO 400 and the camera set to f8 Aperture Priority. f8 seems to be the sweet spot for this particular lens. Even though I was getting shutter speeds between 300-400th I shot everything using a tripod (yeah, I was negotiating the embankment carrying a full blown tripod) and a circular polarizer. White balance was set to Auto.

Thanks for stopping by. Click image for slideshow.

All photographs copyright ©Andy deBruyn 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

Colorful Event

This past weekend we went to the City Wide Garage Sale at the Parmer Event Center. Over 160 vendors selling everything and anything your little heart could desire. Besides the usual stuff you see at any garage sale there were tables piled high with scarves, napkins, tablecloths, sheets, quilts, and remnants of velvet curtains. I was intrigued with all that color all mushed together helter skelter. The bead collector's tables were also ornamentally enhanced with colors and textures.    

The light inside the center is pretty darn ugly - I didn't want to use a flash so I upped the ISO to 800 and using the Nikkor 35mm f2 managed to get a decent shutter speed of 45 with an f stop of 3.5.
I juiced the color a bit in P/S to match what I thought I was seeing.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Shadows, Composition, and "Tilty"

My son and his fiancee were fostering a 6 week old kitten for the Austin Pets Alive (APA)program. Through APA you can temporarily adopt, feed and take care of an animal until it's stronger, a little older, and ready for adoption and a permanent home..at which time APA will post the availability.
Well, they went away for the weekend and "Tilty" stayed at our house from Friday night to Sunday evening . Right off the bat Tilty commanded the downstairs bathroom for the weekend. Sandbox, warm sox in a bedbox, bowls of vittles, the whole bit. Then I learned she had a propensity for sleeping on my shoulder whenever possible and finding great squares of warm sunlight.. She's a very sweet kitty so hopefully she'll go to a good home.
Here's a couple of pictures using only one light, afternoon sunlight pouring through the window. I would like to point out that even though these are "grab" shots whenever Tilty cooperated they still retain a sense of design. Especially the bottom wider shot which uses the strong shaft of sunlight,  heavy shadows supporting the frame, and the rule of thirds both horizontally and vertically. In my sketch you can see the design of the shot. Again, this was a grab shot while the cat was moving.  After many many years of paying attention to composition, balance, lights and darks, I managed to make an image that's nicely weighted all around. As I've often told my photo students, photography is like any other craft and requires practice...and more practice. Like a piano or guitar student who needs to learn their scales they also need to develop muscle memory, visual artists need to develop and hone their design muscle.
If you would like to foster (save!)  an animal check out: austinpetsalive.org.
Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, November 12, 2012

My Dad and My Son

My dad, who is 90 years old, (actually 90 years and 10 months!) has garnered hundreds of friends in his lifetime as he travelled the world while in  the U.S military.  Now he is contantly on the move visiting friends in Europe (mostly Italy) and many friends spread throughout the United States.

This weekend he stopped by after a stay in Dallas and before he heads to Washington state. I knew I wanted to photograph him with my son, Stefan, 12.

I didn't want the setup to be to very complicated and require a lot of direction. This setup is very simple.
Black backdrop, one soft-silver reflecting umbrella basically straight on overhead at a 45 degree angle, with the addition of 4x4 white foamcore on the right for fill and a 24"X36" white foam core bottom left pushing some light under my son's hat.
The lens was the nikkor 50 f1.8 (DX sensor which makes it effectively a 75mm, great for portraits). Strobe was a single AlienBee 800 set to 1/16th power!. ISO 200 - camera set manually  dialed into f6.7 at 1/180th of a second. The umbrella is about a foot away - remember, the closer the light source, the softer the light.

Enjoy the fall weather! Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, November 9, 2012


I am not a draftsman. My drawing skills are sketchy at most, stick figures at least. When I need to plan out a video set, table top still life, and sometimes even landscapes I am about to photograph, I can do a pretty good job of subject placement, size relationships, etc...at least I get the idea.

I like to paint occassionally and when I do - they're abstracts...again lack of precise drawing skills. But I can then concentrate on colors, contrasts, volume, movement, tone, and the overall design.

So when I get the chance to combine all of that in my camera, I'm a happy camper. (with a camera).

This image is from this morning's nature walk. Beautiful day, blue sky, puffy white clouds, nice breeze for some leaf movement, couldn't resist.

Camera specs: ISO 100, 1/90th of a second @ f5, lens with a polarizer, camera supported on a monopod.

Hope you like it - click on image for bigger.

Thanks for stopping by.
Image ©2012 Andy deBruyn