As photographers, there is always something more to learn, to grow, to improve, to hone the craft of “drawing with light” – the original interpretation of the Greek words photos and graphé. This year, our Project 52 group of photographersrs is working through each of the 60 chapters in David duChemin’s The Visual Toolbox: 60 Lessons for Stronger Photographs. In the first lesson, he ends the assignment with:
Find your vision and learn to express it with the tool in your hands. That’s the beautiful task of the photographer, not merely using to learn to use the camera. Perfect photographs are overrated. The images that will always captivate others, and mean the most to you, are the ones made in that tension of learning to expression your vision.
Part of the fascination with this art form called photography is the ability to learn something new every time I pick up my camera. The Internet provides me instant access to training classes, tips, tricks, techniques – there is never an end to the learning. This in and of itself keeps me intrigued on a daily basis. Not only the photographing of the subject(s), but what to do with the image once it’s captured. Post-processing with tools like Lightroom and Photoshop allow me to enhance and embellish my images to match what I had in mind when I clicked the shutter.
I’ve been drawn to the works of many great photographers and artists – dark, moody images where the lighting is carefully controlled in a studio setting to those bright, vibrant, sun-filled images. I can’t say that I’ve settled on a single “style”, as I find myself morphing as I walk along this path. This past year, I was fortunate to spend time with two amazing mentors in addition to attending many classes, both in-person and online. I started with photographing cats and dogs, and found myself wanting to learn more about photographing people – including the art of posing people to create beautiful portraits of pets alongside their humans. My most favorite image to date – mood-wise – is one of a beautiful woman with her sweet mellow dog, Indy. I love working with natural light supplemented with a small amount of flash to create highlights and shadows that create drama in this image. My four-legged subject below was not terribly thrilled with her role as model, but relaxed for just an instant in order for me to capture her gorgeousness. I named this “Young Girl with Hesitant Feline”. Interesting that the facial expressions on each of them match so closely!I’m always experimenting – I’ll see an image posted in Instagram or on Facebook, and I’ll save it to my Inspiration folder or Pinterest board. I had the opportunity to work with dry ice – my first experience with this mysterious substance! – and rather than add the resulting “smoke” in post-processing, I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could capture it “in camera” I only made a few adjustments in my post-processing to increase the detail and contrast. We have all sorts of software to help us enhance and refine our images after the fact, but when everything comes together for the image just as it appears in your LCD screen on the back of your camera… THAT is the true magic! I’ll confess… no dogs or cats were used in the making of these images…. if my fellow pet ‘togs will forgive me this one moment…Next up in the webring – we have Carol Locey Photography in Cincinnati, Ohio. Remember to click all the way through the webring until you land back here with me!