Tag Archives: abstract

New subject – new learning

On the way back on a recent trip, I stopped by the Grand Canyon. Since it was still February, it was my hope that I could drive the road to Hermits rest with my car instead of the shuttle bus. But the two days before my arrival, they had a blizzard with 14″ of new snow. Therefore that road was closed for snow removal. Somewhat disappointed, I ventured to 2 of my favorite spots: Mather Point and Yaqui Point. At least I had some snow along the rim, so there was the possibility to take new images.

Walking along the rim looking for compositions, I decided to try my new technique too. Since this was a new subject, I took a regular shot as a reference. This is now proving to be very helpful. There were some incredible surprises and also a good many duds. At least I can look at the images (regular shot – mandala) side by side and learn what the reasons might be for both success and failure.

I spent the night in the campground and then left early to get some sunrise images at Lipan Point. Before I could leave, though, I had to clear the windshield, but from the inside. With 16 degrees, the moisture in my breath created a layer of soft ice. I sure was glad that their bathrooms were somewhat heated 🙂

Enjoy the images. As always, let me know your thoughts.

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Branching out

I am beginning to add other ‘subjects’ to my cloud / sky / mountain ridges collection of photographic mandalas. For the past week, I have been working with trees. I found that my current knowledge transfers only partially to trees. It seems that they have their own, unique “needs”. Not only as a subject in general, but also as individual species. Shooting an aspen mandala is quite different from a juniper or pinyon. Also the energy of these images is quite different from the others. I am excited about learning more to create beautiful tree mandalas and am looking forward to Spring. I imagine that the first touches of Spring green will give those photographic mandalas a different touch. Fall colors might be interesting too, especially later in the season when there are only some colorful leaves left.

Here is a sample of my new images. Enjoy! … and as always, I would love to hear your impressions.

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… and the journey continues

A few days ago, we had an incredible sunset. The undersides of the clouds lit orange-red and their recessed part a beautiful, rich grey. Inspiration asked again: How would this look as a mandala?

Because of my intense analysis of the photographic mandalas and the single image I often take before, I am now beginning to be able to ‘create’ the central aspect through choice of center and composition.

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While sorting and editing, I tend to mark those images that I like best. Interestingly, within the photographic mandalas, there are only 2 images that have stayed. I am wondering if it has to do with the fact that, at this time of the year, I am not able to find flowers or colorful aspen leaves or with sentimentality. I am keenly aware how emotionally close I am to many, if not all. For this reason, I am currently taking an online class with William Neill to get his feedback. He is a photographer I highly respect and trust. My hope is to get enough distance to make solid judgements in regards to the quality of a mandala, which is becoming very necessary with havin over 50 in my collection now.

When I see images like the above and remember the excitement and pure joy I felt while taking them, I muse: Who is really taking these pictures? Is it me or am I just the one “pressingthe button”. It reminds me of how I felt when I was drawing mandalas and was aware that “I” had stepped aside and allowed something to flow through me.

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2010 in review

With the New Year approaching, I have been looking over my photographic journey during the past 12 – 18 months. So much has been happening.

In September 2009 I published my web site after having learned enough of Dreamweaver to put together a simple one. I started this blog, which was a daunting idea for me being a very private person. Therefore I took a suggestion to offer something to the reader very literally and shared what little knowledge I have. Eventually, though, it swung to the other side with being just about my images. For the coming year, I want to find a good middle ground.

This past summer, a year with my mentor Eddie Soloway came to a close. It was a year of incredible excitement and frustration. I have been contemplating that journey and the pearls Eddie shared. The first one that came to mind was the “postcard”. Initially, I was disappointed that he labeled an image I really loved and was proud of because of its simplicity and yet classic look a postcard. Eventually, I came to not only understand, but also to appreciate what he was saying with this term. Postcards are classic images, views of places, that everybody takes. Eddie was challenging me to find my own interpretation of it. Throughout the year, he helped me see which of my images were unique, were representing my way of seeing.

I feel the other big gift he gave me was the suggestion to become a master at multiple exposures. In one session, he introduced me to Freeman Patterson. As a result I spent time looking at his multiple exposure images and, one day, I attempted to create something similar to images that had intrigued me. Frustrated with what I came up with, I had the thought: What would happen if I choose a flower as a center point around which I turn my camera.

Thus a journey had begun. After weeks of learning about what to watch out for and developing an eye for the ‘arrangement” I need to look for, I progressed to this:

As Fall came, I applied the knowledge gained to the colorful aspen leaves on the ground:

Continuing the delight of creating what I began to call Photographic Mandalas, I had a ‘happy accident’ as Freman Patterson calls it. Instead of having just the clouds at sunset in the composition, I had had a horizon line too. The image that resulted totally stunned me and, as time progressed that day, the effect of the fading light.

There was a new learning curve now where I needed to explore the correlation of composition and light distribution and their impact on the resulting image.

Persuing the creation of these Photographic Mandalas is giving me a deeper understanding of light and multiple exposures. Mine are all done in-camera, utilizing the multiple exposure function of my Nikon 700. There is no use of Photoshop. Every once in a while, I can now anticipate the final image. My goal is to be able to this most of the time.

Reading books by Freeman Patterson, for the past few days, I have been sitting with the question: What is it that I am doing here? One can define photography as taking an image of a moment in time as interpreted by me. An abstract image is often stripped down to the essential components. So what are these Photographic Mandalas? I guess, one could call it definitely Photographic Art – denoting it is done in cameras vs Digital Art, which is using Photoshop. It is a different look at ‘reality’.I talked about it with a friend. Eventually, we came up with an answer: In general, my images are my emotional response to the beauty I see around me. The Photographic Mandalas are showing how my camera and I “dance” to the diverse harmonies of Nature.

While visiting my family in Germany, I took images together with my father, who, at age 84 bought himself a digital camera. Looking at these images, I can see the influence of my year with Eddie Soloway: the use of a wide angle lense and otherwise, I was only working with reflections, which is representative of my moving more into the abstract.

There is also some influence of William Neill, a photographer I greatly admire for his abstractions. I got 2 of his e-books to give myself inspiration when I get bogged down. I enjoy the use of panning to create impressionistic images, besides the ‘straight’ multiple exposures.

Overall, this year has been an exciting one for me and makes me look forward to the coming year: Where will my photographic journey take me?

Where will your journeys take you?  The best wishes to you for the New Year and much success in your photography!

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Fall Mandalas

With all the colorful aspen leaves around, I could not resist to take some more Mandala pictures. This time it was more difficult because I had to deal with all the little stems of the leaves. Let me know which one you prefer.

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Learning

Last week, I participated in a workshop taught by Eddie Soloway at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. It was an incredibly intense week with early starts (get up at 3am to be at a location for sunrise) and late nights. On the last evening, we got to see images from all 6 workshops that were going on that week and I was highly impressed with the quality of the images.

Out of all the possibilities, I chose to train myself in using only manual metering. I have to say, it will probably pay off very quickly since I need to do so much less editing in front of the computer. Then, there are all those ideas of how to take images, that I feel will take me a while to integrate. My plan of action is to go out and work with one of them , the next time with another. So over time, I hope to eventually have them all in my ‘tool box’.

Here are some images from the week.

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Mandalas

I have been working more with the multiple exposures in camera. The 2 images with the daisies intrigued me and the reaction of people to them was very positive. So I took many more images and am learning how the placement of the flowers in Nature impacts the final image. I tried to figure out a way where I could keep the central flower in focus, i.e. not have any camera movement there. I have not yet been able to do that. I may need a fancier ballhead for my tripod to accomplish this.

Here are a few images. Seems like I am working on a series of in camera madalas. 🙂

Let me know what you think. I am looking forward to hearing your comments.

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Learning new things

There is a reason to my absence for the past few weeks. I have been busy learning about Social Media (Facebook and LinkedIn) I had attended a short introductory workshop with the intention to find out about ways I could get the word out about my book, “Essence:contemplations in image and word”.

BE careful what you ask for :-). Since my daughter is in an MBA program, much more information on marketing came my way. As I am working through all of that, there is obviously the question of how to implement all of the answers to the questions I am now asking. “Who are your clients?” seems a straightforward question. The answer that came intuitively – people, who decorate a (space in a) home – showed me not only how unfocused my inventory is, but also how many more possibilities I have to sell my images. The impact of just this one answer is big:

  • change the galleries on my web site
  • get a second site that serves as a stock image site
  • get on Flickr
  • begin to “work” LinkedIn, i.e participate in the discussions and build relationships.

Then, I just got the new releases of Photoshop and Lightroom. Now I need to figure out which new features in CS5 will serve my way of working with images and learn them. I am much more familiar with Lightroom, so the upgrade will not take too much time to figure out.

Between all the Art Fairs, it feels sometimes overwhelming, yet I am enjoying it. Now, that enjoyment may not be so much the case with having to thoroughly keyword and caption all the images I plan on pulling up on Flickr. There have been times when I was not consistent with keywords and there are hardly any captions. I look at it that it is better to start now than in another year when there will be even more images. 🙂

As you can see, my days are full and exciting. I will post some images to keep you appraised of my progress. I invite your comments and ideas.

Since for the next 2 – 3 month I can not get into an area where i had been photographing, I was faced with the question what to do instead. I decided to experiment and therefore learn more about multiple exposures and images where one moves the camera during the shot. Many factors play into getting a great photo using these techniques and I want to have a feel for it instead of just getting lucky every once in a while. As I progress, I will post some some images so you can see my journey.

I invite your comments and ideas. After upgrading the software, I made sure the settings are such that you can post a question and pull up an image to go along with it.

Have fun shooting!

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