A New Series – How Does This Happen?

180 ~ I

Photographing with the intent of images being part of a series is an approach to Photography that I periodically enjoy. Most often, I’m out in Nature and the image making process is more of a discovery and not anything predetermined. That is a discussion for a different time and for now I’ll share a few thoughts about shooting for a specific series of images.

The first place to start with this approach is an idea of a series. It may seem obvious but where does this idea come from? You can’t shoot for a particular collection or theme if you don’t have an idea already, can you? My answer: Sort of. To expand on this idea, I’m sharing 2 images from a new series I’m slowly working on. In this collection of images, 2 exposures are made in camera, each looking 180 degrees from each other and not physically moving.

This idea came to me from being in a particular place where in one direction a bare cottonwood tree was enjoying some nice evening light and in the other direction, the same light was backlighting some grass in a golden glow. The idea was nearly immediate in my mind. The 2 subjects seemed to compliment each other and reminded me of the golden leaves that once filled this now barren cottonwood. 2 clicks of the shutter without moving and that memory, that vision, came to be on the back of the camera. Some time later, this 2nd image came to be from also being out in Nature. I wasn’t specifically seeking this image yet the idea for this series was engrained in my mind and I knew it could work for this series. Click-click, without moving.

Another approach to shooting for a series is to go out and specifically seek and look for images fitting of the series. I think this works for some subjects better than others and possibly for some people more than others. I personally find this approach difficult because doing so also can put blinders on to the rest of the world, especially in Nature. It’s difficult but at the same time the challenge of it also allows more attention and focus on the desired images and subject. An example of this in Nature an ongoing series of images I’m working on and collecting of Aspens & Pines, the way the 2 trees interact in Nature. If I went to the mountains and only sought after these images, I feel I’d miss so much else. A different example in Nature is another ongoing series where I’m exploring the Edge of Light in Nature. I go out with the strict intention of looking and shooting this edge of light and shadow, nearly ignoring everything else. Having this focus on an element of Nature allows for the distractions of “everything else” to go away and I find myself more attentive and receptive to this interaction of light and shadow.

Getting back to this particular series of “180 Degrees”, I’ll continue to let the images come to me while out in Nature and not intentionally seek them. Sometime down the road I’ll have enough images in this series to share the full collection but until then, it’s an idea born from experiences in Nature and will continue to be inspired from experiences in Nature.

Thanks for reading, EE

180 ~ II

Frozen Beauty II

Another image from an unexpected area near my previous image. I wanted to bring up a few quick thoughts I often consider. An image like this was created with a single frame, single exposure and I’m well aware of the technique of focus stacking. I’ll summarize my opinion on focus stacking: I don’t like it.

Focus stacking allows multiple frames to be combined to create a sharp image front to back, corner to corner. It’s a technique some people enjoy and it can have nice effects when used right. For myself, I prefer images with depth of field created by focal planes and optics. It just feel it’s more natural to the eye and can actually help a composition by using focus, along with many other compositional elements to guide the viewer’s eye.

To me, images artificially focused lose this impact of natural depth and look bizarre. This is just my opinion but felt it was worth bringing up. I guess I just prefer the simplicity of Photography more than the technical side of it.

One last point with this image is the areas which aren’t “tack sharp”. There’s nothing of interest in those areas of the frame so the artificial focus would actually detract from the composition and my intent, not help it. Whichever approach works for you and your style, go with it.

What are your thoughts on focus stacking? Curious to hear and I’m definitely not opposed to changing my mind.

Thanks for reading, EE

Frozen Beauty II // 2020 // Single Exposure

Frozen Beauty I

Frozen Beauty: I

Winter can be a wonderful time to photograph Nature’s beauty which comes with the season. This particular morning was an icy 14°F along the river and my fingers definitely felt it! I wasn’t planning on being out for long so I didn’t bring gloves or hand warmers on this short walk. Whoops! I’d already taken a few shots of a particular landscape I was shooting and on my way back to the car, this particular frozen puddle stopped me in my tracks.

I circled the ice and discovered a few more images from this scene I’d walked past earlier (I’ll share more from here in future posts). By now my hands were getting pretty cold after staying here for I don’t know how long. Time gets pushed to the back of my mind often times while shooting. Maybe I was there 5 minutes, maybe a half hour, I really have no idea.

After exploring this small area and framing up a few compositions, the morning light had completely illuminated this area so my time was done here. I headed back with frozen fingers and a reminder from Nature to always keep your eyes open. A few hours later this all melted, only to do it again the next day with a new surprise.

Thanks for reading, EE

A Few Days in a New Landscape

Happy New Year to all and best wishes for the upcoming year. 2020 ended with a visit to an area I’d noticed before yet had never spent time with. So to end the year, I did exactly this and spent a few days in a landscape which had hinted to me previously.

Moonrising

I was intending on going to Death Valley for a few days but I started not feeling well and didn’t want to risk feeling worse or exposing anyone else. So the several day camping trip to Death Valley turned into several days in a random place in an area I’ve always found interesting.

The Desert SW is more known for sun than it is for storms outside of the monsoon season. So any opportunity to experience rain, clouds and shifting light in this landscape is a treat. My agenda for photography was simple. I didn’t go anywhere except for a few short walks nearby and instead of chasing any light or conditions, I waited and watched as the landscape around me changed through the passing storm and varying conditions.

Stormbreak

This approach to Photography is calming and often instructive. Here, there is no destination and there’s no specific feature. Instead, it’s an area with subtle variations in topography and microhabitats, all among a vast landscape seemingly boring when viewed in passing.

Through the course of a few days of casual exploring, resting and enjoying the space, a few elements of the landscape were discovered and captured. Many more were seen and experienced yet not photographed. These moments of simply experiencing a place are equally as rewarding and fulfilling as capturing such moments. However, actively creating images, meaning exploring and observing and composing, can lead to new ideas and discoveries which weren’t possible without Photography.

Creosote Dreamland
Skeletons

Over the course of a few slow days, I was fortunate to experience more of this area which I’d previously wondered about. Images here seem to come to you versus seeking them out. One such example is the image below, of this microhabitat and clearing sky. I had noticed in the distance that there was an area of joshua trees yet most of the landscape around didn’t have them. There were also areas of barrel cactus, yet other areas had none. Upon exploring this area of joshua trees, I also discovered these barrel cactus and the scene just presented itself as a nice harmony and microhabitat of the overall vast landscape. The skies clearing and in balance wasn’t expected, I didn’t wait for it or anticipate it. Nature has a serendipitous way of revealing herself sometimes.

Microhabiat

It wasn’t the trip I envisioned but as the case in Nature, so many experiences aren’t envisioned. They’re always a little unknown, a little luck, a little mystery and a little serendipity. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the year than discovering new beauty in a random landscape. Cheers to more of this in 2021!

Thanks for reading, EE

New Horizons

It’s Been A While…

It’s been a long time since I sat down to write here, to share images thoughts, to read through blogs I follow and to basically just be here. I won’t make this post too long but I do intend to focus more on sharing here. Photography and Social Media is and has been an interesting evolution over the past several years with many options for people to share and consume photography. From the creative side, I often feel lost as where to share anything. I decided to resume posting and sharing here though because throughout my photography journey, this space has remained my comfort zone.

I’ve recently been sharing much of my thoughts and images on Instagram but a recent change in policies with IG has forced me to seriously consider leaving that platform. This is on top of the way IG has morphed into a platform which offers shopping, messages, video chats, filters, chat rooms, and so much more completely unrelated to image sharing and engagement. It’s gone the way of being the most distracting and chaotic platform for photography. But what is the alternative? Flickr..seems dead. 500px..seems dead. Facebook..get hacked. Snapchat..yeah, no. Twitter..worse than IG. For me, WordPress and the blogging platform and community is a place I feel and have always felt comfortable. To be honest I fell into the trap of convenience of sharing on a phone and the quick and easy capabilities of that platform.

So here I am and in a way I feel like I’m starting over. I don’t know how many people are actually out there and if you’re still following along and reading, I genuinely appreciate it. I’ll be getting back into the flow of sharing here and I hope to keep it interesting and engaging as this journey through photography continues. For now, I have no idea where to begin so I’ll simply start with this. It’s been too long…

Thanks for reading,

EE

Zion National Park // 2020 // Stitched Panoramic
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