Inspiration. We all need it. Photography is an art form that demands it. After years of making photos I sometimes struggle with do I want to do this anymore. I got this idea from someone trying to motivate others to create, which applies to life in general. Where does your motivation come from. What makes you get our of bed in the morning? Thinking photography it took only a second to answer that question. I find in photography I get energized by the beginner asking a million questions or a youngster trying something for the first time and trying to master it right away. It makes me think about the craft.
I take a lot of high school sports photos. In today times everyone wants a Facebook or cell phone photo to show everyone. I'll display something on the local pizza shop wall and watch the parents snap away with their phones. It's the new wallet photo. After spending years taking photos very few people want a print so why do I continue. A friend once told me that that someday a grandfather uncle or the person next door will tell the story about the photo you took many years ago. They may not remember who took it. Sometimes I'll do a portrait session with someone I know and the deal is they have to print something and hang it on the wall. Recently a friend gave me a list to print. It was such a long time that I was ordering some metal prints (my favorite), I went ahead and picked out one for her wall. It happened she didn't pick the one I already printed. The look on her face was worth it. I then asked her if I should print the one she asked for and she shook her head no.
We all leave a piece or impart things to someone else. I often catch myself using a phrase my family said when I was younger. I then here a younger family member saying it too. If you are lucky enough you'll actually get to experience that moment overhearing a conversation somewhere about that Photograph without them knowing you took it. I have and it is a great feeling.
Photography is all about the light. Watch an old movie and pay attention to the lighting they use. Soft, directional, harsh or no light. It all creates a mood or can change the mood of the scene. Photography whether still or motion is basically the same. You can direct where someone looks or feels about a subject. In abandoned places I think the photography should be dark and maybe creepy. Finding the right light or creating that light can take that documentary photo and create something special or unique. Of course making light can also mean light subtraction. Light subtraction can be done by using a high shutter speed to darken the area and then add light using a speed flash. Light painting with a flash light won't work. Light painting with a flashlight needs a slow shutter speed maybe 5 seconds or better to paint light where you want it. I carry a camera flash, flashlight and LED because I never know what I will see. Chairs make some nice photos because if a room is bright and airy look around and move it somewhere that has better light. Beams of light can often be found from a broken window, unhinged doorway or a hole in the roof. Look around. A cloudy day will throw soft light so you may have to go back to using your own light source. Shadows are as important as light. Shadows shape things and can add a moody look. Harsh light will create shadows because it is directional. The sun is a great example of harsh lighting as it puts a strong shadow on the opposite side of what it is lighting.
_4152668Abandoned manufacturing plant being reclaimed by nature a little at a time. We have all seen movies of after a life altering event and This is a close as I have come to see it in person. Closed over 43 years ago due to a natural disaster nature is returning the site slowly. Algae, moss and plant life finding its way where light touches the grounds.
Stairways are also a great subject to illustrate the going into the light. Movies use this method by having the soul walk upstairs with light cascading down the steps. An open door when you can't see what is on the other side. No matter what you are photographing light is everything and will enhance anything. Bad light is just bad. Learn to light paint or use a flash. A so so subject in good light will always beat a great subject in bad light every time. Watch the Seinfeld episode with the two face girl because that is one of the best illustration of how someone with the right light looks good and bad light someone else.
We traveled to Acadia NP last year and again in the spring of 2019 for a total of 6 weeks photographing the park and surrounding areas. One thing I noticed how courteous the drivers were. There is so much to look at that you drive under the speed limit and never had someone ride my bumper unless it was someone not from Maine. Lots to photograph but the fall made better photos than the spring or maybe I should have not gone back so quick. I wanted to go up to Mt Washington and the fall weather prevented me going up the mountain hence the return. The fall trip had more stormy seas and after all big crashing waves on the rocky coast line makes better photography in my opinion.
I do a lot of research on a place before I go however, one of the places I wanted to go to was described in another photographer's site and he described how to locate the area. I couldn't find it by parking where he said it was almost time to leave. I finally ask a ranger where boulder beach was and he said there wasn't one. The ranger said I might be talking about Monument Cove which is another name I read somewhere else. I was parking two parking lots farther than necessary. I did a recon and found the location and wanted to do a sunrise shot. To get there low tide was my choice and you can't always pick that for a sunrise. I finally made it not at the ideal time. I climbed down over the cliffs hence the low tide. I second guessed the tide time or so I thought based on the waves and decided I had better leave before I got trapped there. With the slippy rocks I decided to go the dry ones so I wouldn't fall and noticed what I thought was a cave. I was already there and when I got there it was a pathway complete with a rope to hold on to making the trip out a lot better than the rocks. Again I mention the research and leaving bad information or leaving out the path I wonder if they really don 't want you to go there.
Your photography skills come in handy when you are not in the best light. Shoot with filters to enable a slow shutter speed will smooth out water even when there are waves. The boulders are treacherous polished by thousands of years and they were wet from the sea. I ended up breaking some filters and fell a few times moving around to get better angles. I may have to go back just to get at sunrise. I was there in the beginning of October and it was not colored with the trees not turned. Leaving Acadia heading to New Hampshire I found the color I expected. It rained the entire time at Mt Washington which prevented the drive up the mountain. I did have a mission to photograph a water fall half way between Mt Washington and Bar Harbor. We were camping in a fifth wheel trailor and I didn't know if I could get there with the camper so I went to Mt Washington and drove back to the falls. The water fall was named Small's fall and I have it printed on metal.
ROCKVILLE BRIDGE MOON SET
i have been gone from the blog for too long and would like to thank another blogger Mark Maio who really takes what I am writing about to the next level. Getting out of the rut you are stuck in can be hard however, staying there isn't an option.
I am a newbe to the photography world but the passion moved me into hyper speed. Last check I had over 150,000 photo files and I have recently got in the groove revisiting long ago and letting folders of the first photos I shot go. Why I even entertained keeping them in the first place. Today i take few photos. Instead I do more looking and thinking about projects to do. I only keep photos that will be printed (someday), a possible presentation or I think someone would enjoy it. That being said my first prints were for a show at Wildwood Park in Harrisburg. Did the whole process of printing, framing and displaying. I had a lot of money in the project and didn't sell anything. That cooled my heals a little and thought I wouldn't like to do it again. The good thing is some of those photos are hanging in my house and I am still enjoying them. What did that experience teach me? I did get some exposure, ended up starting to do local talks about what I do and I got interviewed on a radio show about the display. After the radio show i got invited to do the artwork in some local establishments. Photography is personal for me. I don't want to give that up to make it business. Not saying I wouldn't sell something however, not going to market and so on. I do push myself to print things. I do a lot of photography that normal people wouldn't hang in their space. I love the abandoned places and trying to make it art. I have a brother that is in the Psychology field and the most interesting display was to hang a bunch of abandoned stuff in his office. It set of a reaction I never expected. Half of the people coming thru his office demanded they be taken down and the others loved the idea. The result was the display stayed up and those who didn't like it was asked to sit on the opposite side of the room. I found a new meaning of creating controversy good or bad. Since then I have been doing a display of some kind for a long time now. It is fun to go through the photos and come up with a display and of course it makes me print on paper or metal (metal being a favorite). I think you have to ask this question, Why take the photos to never see them again? I always like to read where someone finds a cache of old photos no one has seen before and they go viral. It would be a shame to have to die and never know the joy you may bring to others. If you feel you aren't good enough just surf all the Facebook or other social media sites and you will problably ask what were they thinking by posting. You can always improve your photography by going to a workshop (check out Mark Maio) or take a class from one of the available online places like one of my favorite creativelive. Not all classes or workshops are created equal but I will tell you the two mentioned here are some of the best.
Another version of Abandoned photography.
Took a trip to the old Philadelphia Naval Shipyards that closed in the 1990's. The place has been taken over by contractors with a small navy presence. I rode along with some friends who wanted to do some shooting there. I really went for the ride not so much to take photos because in my mind I had already thought there really wasn't anything to get the kind of photos I like to take. I was surprised at all the different vessels stock piled there. Different types battle ships cruisers and the above an aircraft carrier. The carrier USS John F Kennedy the only ship in its class was the last fossil fueled to be made and put into service Sept 1968. Impressive in size but small compared to the new ones. I was drawn to the lines of the ship, the rust and worn paint. This ended up my favorite photo of the day. This was the only time I came home from a shoot and printed the nest day I printed several from the day and now hung on an office wall. I'll be interested in the conversation since you can look at this many ways.
I was amazed on how the ships aligned almost perfectly square and plumb. I always wonder how they don't tip over. I also wondered what fate these ships are destined for. I'm glad I went and there was enough to shoot looking for an artistic look and not something from a vacation. Shooting tight was the key. Shooting tight I started with a 70 to 200 and quickly realized 70 mm is too much. These ships were huge. You need to look for details like lines and shapes or textures.
The bottom line.....When you think a photo shoot isn't for you go anyway and make it you.