"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

Monday, March 31, 2014


Kneel before the Mystery Fence ©2014 Andy deBruyn
OK, Monday morning after a heavy duty weekend of photographing on assignment. I went back to my images from Friday's walk and picked these two. I think that may be all from that

Light and shadow play through the glen.
Click for bigger.
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Friday, March 28, 2014


                                                              ©2013 Andy deBruyn
One more from yesterday's shoot. Working all weekend so new images will have to wait
until Monday.
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Went for a walk this morning...ho hum already...if anyone reads this blog regularly they must think, "he's always going on walks...!"  Hey, I like to walk. Fresh air and all that. With a camera, of course.
Anywho,  like I've told photo students in my classes, images aren't going to come up and knock on your door.

A wrural wreck. Kinda abstract in a way. 

A glass collar.

One of those Jean Batiste Corot/John Constable images I love to make.
All images taken between 8:30 and 10:30 at Brushy Creek Sports Park. Using a D7000 with just one prime lens...the Nikkor 50mm f1.8. All with aperture priority from f8 - f11.
Click images bigger and parade.
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

perception unfolds

This morning I went to The Blanton to check out the exhibit, "Converging Lines" works by Eva Hesse and Sol Lewitt. Some pretty cool stuff if you're into what was happening in the New York art scene during the sixties.
But what I found more fascinating was Deborah Hay's "perception unfolds"  dance/video installations pictured here.

If you're on a budget like I am you can get into the Blanton free on Thursdays and
all you have to pay is parking - and that's only four dollars when you get the ticket validated inside the museum.  I was only there for two and a half hours because I was on a schedule but that's a great bargain. Better than a matinee at the local multiplex listening to three different sound tracks.    

If you like choreography check out: scores.motionbank.org. 
For the images I used my D80 with the 28-80mm f3.3 lens at ISO 800.  The lens was only 99 dollars back in 2000 but I found mine on line for 30 slim ones!  The images are straight from camera - I just resized for the post.
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014


In a moment of narcisstic xtc, I fired off a couple of self-portraits. (L'autoritratto is Italian for same). The camera was on a tripod waiting for the poinsettia specimen, I was checking out the backlight, and in the corner were these stripey washes from the blinds which I thought looked pretty cool so I thunk what the heck.  Now if I can only line up my sight line to the blinds. I've been wanting to update my avatar (I think that's what you call those little thumbnails for the web) since my last one, seen below, is dated November of 2009. So these autoritratti don't come along too often.
A couple of double washes from Alien Skin to hide unwanted details and voila!

Out with the auld in with the gnu.

Trivia - there are 68 different known self portraits of Rembrandt in the world and those are the ones that survived or that he didn't throw in the shredder. So I've got some catching up to do. There were shredders back then, weren't there? I'm sure DaVinci had come up with something a hundred years earlier. And oh yeah  the man was hip with avatars, too.  I think Leonardo invented the web...or at least saw it coming.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014


                            ©2014 Andy deBruyn
Every year at the beginning of December, we purchase a number of poinsettias to place around the house for the holidays. The vibrant large leaves of snappy red always give a little pop here and there to the interior surroundings. They generally last for a couple of months.
Several weeks ago they were at end of their life cycle - I saved one and hung it upside down on the side of the house. This morning I took it's portrait. The leaves have now turned a mauvish violet.
The roots bounce the light around within itself giving it a eerie glow.
Specs: Nikon D7000 with the 50mm lens, ISO 400 1/4ss @f4, tungsten balance (using ARRI fresnels).    I used one ARRI to brush the roots and the other I aimed toward a golden reflector underneath. The flower was actually shot flipped the other way around so the roots were on top.
 I just gave it a 180. 

Music during the shoot was provided by George Crumb and Philip Glass.

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Monday, March 24, 2014


I was revisiting some images of past portrait work and found this image of Lisa that I never got around to post. Lisa was one of my favorite people to shoot. She was so gracious with her time, patience with my quirky instructions, but together we came up with some pretty interesting images.
We talked about Red Riding Hood imagery during this shoot but I said I didn't really want to strike a chord too close. So let's just say we were swimming in the ken of Red Riding Hood. I think the image has mulitiple layers of triggers.  

Shot with the Nikon D80, ISO 400, f10 @ 1/250th ss using the 18-135mm lens set at 95mm.

Thanks Lisa for your artistry.

and thank you for stopping by.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


It's the first day of spring. Yippie!! I've already started to make a list of my usual haunts. Over the next  six to eight weeks I will be visting them when time permits to create some new images. Even though I have visited these sites before they always present a new look depending on what's growing or not. It seems new species of plants are always popping up every year.
So if you haven't been shooting this past fall/winter because of the unpredictable weather, take out your gear and start brushing everything off..don't forget those polarizers.
BTW - for the above photo taken at a pond just off Hiway 71 in Bee Caves I used a 6MP Nikon D70 which is an ancient digital camera in the digital timeline. I believe it introduced in 2006 or 07.  
Honestly it's not how many pixels you have it's how you use them. Olympus published a report about three years ago saying that they thought for the given real estate of modern day sensors that 12 MP was optimum. That's probably why Nikon's biggest seller of all digital times for professional photographers was the D3, 12MP! - sold for 6 grand when new. You still have to pay between two to three thousand for a used one!

I guess what I'm saying is whatever camera you have is a good one so let's get out there this spring and smell the daisies. Allegies permitting. 

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Monday, March 17, 2014


I've always wanted to do a chocolate shot but was concerned that I would end up eating too much of the product. Usually when I do food shots I try and make a lunch of it - in this case I promised myself I would have just one little cube of chocolate. And I did. Just one.  

I wanted to use some shade of blue in the image so I took an 12by piece of tile and painted it a bluish green.

The lighting is; backlight coming from window, right side is a large white board, and on the left are two uncorrected ARRI fresnels, plus there's a silver strip in front right under the camera.
Camera - always on a tripod and tripped with a cable release. Lens Nikkor 50mm/75mmDX.
ISO 200, 1/50th ss @f 3.5 with exposure compensation set at -1 to keep the large salt crystals from

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Yesterday morning I went out early with tripod, camera, and a heavy
windbreaker to catch the morning sunrise. I actually prefer shootings sunrises rather than sunsets. Whereas sunset colors tend to be large, bold, and dramatic, sunrises tend to be more subtle, cooler, and have an opalescent or pearly quality.  The cloud coverage was too thick for the sun to shine through but it did give an impasto of color to the clouds and with blue skies sneaking in to the left of me reflecting in the water the scene was bathed in a eerie light.

This afternoon I wanted to capture the wind but since you can only capture the effect, I went with
the water instead of the usual trees. It must have consisted of a strange jerky push pull energy because the effect on the water was different every ten to fifteen feet.

I  used a tripod on the sunrise but the water was shot hand held as I was concerned about the wind knocking out my tripod.

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Monday, March 10, 2014


Last month I purchased a 4 inch Bromeliad from the garden section of the local super market. I have been carefully watering it according to the directions and using a combination of diffused and direct sunlight. In the past four weeks it has doubled in size. 
The red/orange coloring of the flower is quite wonderful to look at - and the way the light plays upon the leaves giving it form and texture is also visually pleasing.

I wanted to light it using just the window light and a spritz of front fill. So I placed it between
two corner windows (see diagram).  Other considerations were a long lens, I used the 18-135 extended all the way out. At ISO 400 I was able to get an f8 for the top shot and f11 for the bottom.
The camera was on a tripod and I set the shutter for mirror-up operation and tripped it with a cable release. The fill light was an 8x20 Rosco silver reflector in front and a small 8 inch mirror on the left side to push back in some of the window light. Both were hand held, my son helped out holding the Rosco while I "operated" the mirror. 
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Friday, March 7, 2014


This is pretty much a very simple ad shot. Shows the product and it's use. That's correct, no ice..I like mine neat. There's enough room in the upper right for copy. Or if there was an art director he/she could have directed a wider shot for additional copy placement.

It looks like an easy shot but there's more to it than meets the eye. First, let's look at acquisition.
The camera is a Nikon D7000DX with the 35mm making it a nifty fifty. The protective filter was removed to have one less air-to-glass issue. The ISO was 100, the lowest native on this camera. Aperture priority at f4. I probably would have went for 5.6 or 6.3 if this was for real but I was also testing the lens at f4.  In order to globally orange or warm up the image I set the white balance for a custom setting of 7140K. You may think but that's a cool K temp. Yes, it is but I'm using 3200K tungsten lighting so by "lying" to the camera it inverts the color temp and goes to the opposite warm side of the spectrum. Shutter speed was 1/5th of a second so a cable release and tripod were necessary. I used an exposure comp of -1.03 to kill the hot spots on the glass surfaces.
This is the setup. One 150W ARRI fresnel in the back pointing at the back of the bottle to light the juice. This was snooted. You have to use very controllable lights in this situation, umbrellas or softboxes aren't going to do. You are lighting a space that's about five inches across and eleven inches high. There's another 150W fresnel from the front with barn doors squared to light just the bottle label. Then there's an 8by mirror on the left (the blue thing) that sees theback light and pushes it toward the bottle for fill.   

This is the front fresnel, with black Cinefoil to flag off the top and bottom of the label light. 

This is the back ARRI with snoot.

This is called a "finger" from a set of light modifiers known as Dots and Fingers. Dots are round, fingers are long. They come in different sizes and strengths.This one is a 2x12 double. In the setup shot you can it just in front of the back light - I used it to flag the glass side of the shot. So the glass is getting half the light the bottle is.   
You can also see a couple of the fingers lying on the table. There was an additional 2x12 single that I hand held while taking the shot. That way I could place it exactly where I wanted it.
Then there is the pattern behind the JB bottle which are two etched wine glasses that I am using the break up the light so it wasn't so "straight". If you look at the set up shot you can see them behind the bottle just in front of the back light.

So...what looks like a fairly simple shot does require some kind of a thought process, planning, careful execution...and it also helps to have the right equipment.

Click images for bigger.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Today the boy in the picture is probably around 41 or 42 give or take. I took this portrait in 1975.
I don't remember the boy's name but I was a friend of his father, Jim. Jim was a lobsterman.
After the army, I lived in Kennebunkport, Maine for about six months. I met a number of fishermen, lobstermen, and boat enthusiasts. I thought about being a lobsterman for an insane bit but after a couple of early morning  (4am) excursions on rough water pulling very heavy traps I realized
I wasn't made from that kind of cloth. It's a very tough life.  
 Henry built his own sail boat and I went sailing with him a number of times up and down the bay of Maine. But I digress.
Jim had his lobster boat dry docked on the beach and was doing some maintenance on it. Don't know if my included foot was intentional. Probably was knowing me.     

But looking at some of my old black and white negatives sure puts the nostalgia in me. There's something about the click of the shutter on a film camera and the fact that one must wait to see how the picture came out...some kind of magic or whatever... I just get a different kind of feeling when I look at film prints. I guess if you've never taken film - perhaps grown up in this digital age it's kind of hard to imagine the feeling.

I think digital photography has taken some of that romance out of the process because of the instant feedback. On my digital cameras I've turned off the auto LCD playback. If I want to review the shot I have to push a button but many times do not.   With film the mental interaction/interplay with your subject is totally unique and very unlike digital capture.

Anyway, I wax nostalgic...again. I will look for some negs of Henry's boat and our sailing adventures to post.

The above picture (Danny maybe?)  was taken with a Pentax Spotmatic with the 50mm lens and Kodak Tri-X film. I processed both the film and the print. Negative was scanned on an HP C8180. The image still looks great after what...39 years!

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Dang the past couple of days sure have been cold...no frigid is more like it.
Late yesterday afternoon came a cold sleety downpour for all of 10 minutes but that's all it took for everything to get soppin' wet and then freeze during the night.

                       All of these were shot with aperture priority at f5.6 ISO 200, auto white balance.

35mm lens on DX format making it an effective 52mm.

A pure icey design
This was when the sun came out and back lit all the hanging ice. Almost has
a chandelier effect.
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Monday, March 3, 2014


A few more images from my trip to Southern California last month
The architecture of the LACMA

                                                        If the artists says it's art...it's art

A very odd soccer match - Sold Out!
Happy people being happy

This girl was praying by the waves. I had about 2 seconds to snap
the image before the boats were too far to the left for
my composition.
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If you love art you need to visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. That is, the next time you happen to go to southern California. There's a spectacular campus of seven buildings each with it's own theme and specialized exhibitions. Plan on a full day...at least.
One of the buildings from the plaza.

No this isn't a painting it's a view of the garden through a gauze curtain.

Sometimes the shadow knows more.

Reels of film - Strips of film hanging down in the Agnes Varda room

Getting ready for the next exhibition.
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