Light The Sky

3 Mar
Light The Sky :: Maine

Light The Sky :: Maine

“Even
After
All this time
The Sun never says to the Earth,

“You owe me.”

Look
What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.”

Hāfez

(Working title: “JJ Acadia”, for those JJ Abrams fans out there! Or Acadia fans, as the case may be.  Both = a double win! lol)

It’s been a busy few weeks…as I mentioned last week, we are working on a book (which will be awesome.  Sign up for the newsletter for updates, discounts, etc when the time comes!), I’ve got a few personal projects going on and I’ve spent the last few weeks working with Edith Levy on an mutual interview project (because her travel images rock and I think you’ll love them.  Her interview will be released next week…stay tuned for that!).

As of yesterday, she was kind enough to put together a little behind the scenes interview about my photography work.  Please, go check it out and show her page some love. :-)

This image will be part of the upcoming ebook that David and I are working on…it is a shot I took in Acadia last fall as an example of sun flare.  The final is actually a blend of three exposures, using luminosity masks and manual tweaking.  When we got to the beach a little before sunrise, I wasn’t sure if we were going to get much color.  It’s always a fine line between heavy clouds adding texture to a sky, and heavy clouds blotting out the sun.  Thankfully we got just enough breaks for the light to pour through and give us a show.

That trip was still one of my top photo trips.  I was there with such good company and the weather was just perfect for dramatic shots…what more can a landscaper ask for? <3

Follow my work on any (all?) of my various social medias…I use each for something a little different. 500px, twitter, FB, G+, IG

Friend, like, circle me (in a non-creepy way), 1+….get to it!

Explore The Scene (Tips and News!)

25 Feb
Infinity :: California

Infinity :: California

When I find a place that intrigues me, I explore the location until I find a composition that really resonates with me.  After that, it’s a matter of waiting for the best possible conditions to get the most out of a scene.

The camera settings, the light, the weather, the sky, the water, small details you may have missed at first that can become an important foreground element…all of these things can change over the course of a day (or night). Those changes can have a drastic effect on your image.  The more time you have to spend creating your photos, the more options you will have to choose from when it comes time to edit.

I may ultimately edit only one or two images from a series, but in my opinion, it is never a bad thing to have similar (previously unpublished) comps in the archives for future use.

Explore the Scene

Explore the Scene

This image was taken in California last summer, while out exploring with David Pasillas. I’ve been holding on to this gem for quite some time and waited until today to publish it for two reasons.

First, I am tired of the deep freeze here on the east coast and wanted a taste of summer.

Second, and more importantly, David and I have been hinting at some big surprises this year and today, I’m spilling the beans!

We just sent our final draft of a full length ebook out to edit!!!! The book is loaded with photography tips like this one where I urge you to fully explore a location, as well as ridiculous adventures and mishaps. If all goes well, we will have a finished product ready for release within a few months.

I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am, and how tough it’s been to keep all of our various projects for this year under wraps. Lol (Yes, that means we have more in the works….these secrets are killing me!)

If you want to keep up to date on the all of the projects, the deals and what we can do for you, it’s so important that you sign up for the newsletter. That’s where the exclusive discounts will show up, when the time comes. :-) If you do it before March 1st, I will include a free copy of “Photography + Connecticut“!

Cheers to a year of big things!

Xoxo

Shann

Juxtapose

19 Feb
Juxtapose

Juxtapose

Different can be beautiful.  Variety can make life so very interesting. <3

This photo was taken in Acadia National Park last fall in the Sieur de Monts section of the park.  It’s a great little area within the park, with gardens, hiking trails and interesting scenes like this one. :-)

Can Someone Please Explain…

12 Feb
The House on Grass Island, one of many images featured in my new ebook.  Get it now!

The House on Grass Island, one of many images featured in my new ebook. Get it now!

…what is up with all of the negative attacks on photographers/photography lately?

(Spoiler alert…Devil’s advocate time!)

Right around the time Peter Lik is reported to have sold that expensive slot canyon shot, I also saw at least two articles about how photography isn’t art, and another purporting the term artist isn’t applicable now. We are all “creative entrepreneurs”.

Now, within the last few weeks, I see a rash of photographers attacking the work of their peers.

I guess my question is, “To what end?”

Really, please, explain it to me.

My perspective on photography as a whole is this: it is a medium to express yourself, therefore it is art. The articles I read specifically compared it to painting, suggesting the camera does the work, therefore it is not art.

By that logic, doesn’t the paintbrush do the work?

The tool is just that. A tool to be used in bringing your vision to life. Photo shoots usually require planning, scouting if ‘on location’ and vision. It may not always go to plan, but vision is part of the process.

Most prints require some work – the amount to be determined by the artist. If you stop at simple dodge and burn in a dark room, so be it. If you create a surreal landscape in Photoshop, good for you. Photography is an opportunity to express yourself, your feelings and your perspective. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as you don’t lie to people about your process (such as claiming its straight out of camera). You shouldn’t have to defend your choices.

No matter what level of manipulation or editing or non editing you chose, without a human involved in the process, there is no photo. In my mind, that human element makes it art.

So why are we belittling the medium and the photographers involved in it?

I’m going to lump my thoughts on attacking our peers and label together.

First, the title of “creative entrepreneur” vs artist. The argument made is that the term artist implies struggle and experience with no regard for money.

In response, I’d like to mention The Last Supper, commissioned by Davinci’s patron, Sforza.

The statue of David was a commissioned piece, purchased by the Opera del Duomo from Michelangelo, one of the best paid artists at the time.

Ansel Adam’s history included a private gallery, commercial work, books, etc…all of which he made money on.

Three masters of their respective fields, all making money off their art?? Obviously, there are infinite examples of artists getting paid for their work. They should. They have dedicated their time to learning and/or practicing something, and are able to fill a demand for that thing…so why the recent trend to try shaming photographers for making a living with their art?

From a personal standpoint, I don’t care if you label me artist or entrepreneur. Labels and attacks on another’s work only serve to reflect poorly on the people doing the shaming. If its not constructive or thoughtful feedback, it won’t affect my choices with my art.

Now, let’s touch on a recent trend of bashing current photo trends, specifically in landscape photography. Their complaints seem to be that conformity is bad for photography as a whole. Specifically, I’ve seen people up in arms about the uniform look of the front page of 500px (who, by the way, is probably loving all the press on these recent debates) and the superficial nature of social media interactions.

My thoughts on this are sprawling…bear with me here.

In regards to conformity, why are we critical of an artist looking to cater to public response. Be it for personal accolades or for business marketing, the person behind the camera is recognizing the current trends in photography and creating marketable images for the moods of the public. Now, I can only speak for my own work, but I can tell you that while I make my art for me within the limits of editing that I am comfortable with, I also like being able to pay my bills with income from my art.

Trends come and go (HDR, anyone?) and people’s styles will always evolve to match them or they risk being irrelevant. Only a few hold outs to a particular style ever end up thriving long term. I don’t blame people for wanting to continue to be able to put food on their tables.

Besides…the idea of trends isn’t unique to ‘now’ or to photography. The era of Impressionism? Surrealism?  Shall I go on?

In regards to the superficial nature of social media interactions…duh. We have had a huge cultural shift over the last few years. The newer generations are being raised in sensory overloaded, short attention span inducing, technology laden environments. We are also living in an era where any perceived slight could result in a lawsuit. Between those two things (among other factors), it seems obvious that social media is a platform for superficial interaction.

That being said, I do think you get out of it as much as you’re willing to put in. You can get meaningful feedback, but you need to embrace a personal online culture of such. Start feedback swaps. Ask for tips. Etc.  For better or worse, social media is now “part of the job” and viewing it as such does help to keep it in perspective and keep your emotional investment at a reasonable level.

I can absolutely empathize with how frustrating it can be to work a competitive environment, or to see a photo you poured your heart into go unnoticed. It happens to all of us. Self doubt definitely comes into play when you rely on the fickle hearts and minds of the public to make a living. In my opinion, the way to combat this isn’t by attacking others, but rather, by embracing the joy you get from making art in the first place. Don’t do things you feel compromise your integrity.  If you’re unhappy with the current trends, don’t participate in them. If social media is dull, find meaningful interaction elsewhere. Respect other’s opinions and more importantly, recognize that while their art doesn’t speak to you, it is still something they labored over. If you want to work to change the current trends, do it…by creating something the people didn’t know they needed until you provided it.

I’m going to leave you with some perspective about playing nice….

“Don’t hate the player, hate the game.”

You can’t control most things in life, but you can control how you react. Choose wisely.

So…….that’s what I think.  I normally don’t put up things like this knowing they may get people fired up, but I felt it needed to be said.  Negativity begets more negativity, and I’d rather have an environment of understanding, tolerance and mutual goals to improve our craft to reach our personal goals.

 Feel free to put your opinion in the comments.

Winds of Winter

3 Feb
Winds of Winter :: Massachusetts

Winds of Winter :: Massachusetts

This was one of those beautiful, chaotic moments in nature where you feel both overwhelmed and at peace with the colors, textures and the cold breath of the season.  Mother Nature is truly an artist.

This image is also a prime example of why I love clouds and sky texture so damn much. :-)

Free Gift! Limited Time Offer!

29 Jan
New "PHOTOGRAPHY + CONNECTICUT" e-book!

New “PHOTOGRAPHY + CONNECTICUT” e-book!

I am so excited to finally announce the release of my first e-book!  Surprise!

This year has been a busy one so far, with so many exciting changes and plans in the works.  The time is not yet right to announce all of them…and believe me, David and I have some really awesome things coming up for 2015…but it is the right time to talk about my newest venture!  An e-book mini guide to some of the hot spots for landscape and nature photography in Connecticut!

I know, I know…Connecticut??!!??  Yes!  Connecticut.  It may be a small state, but it has so much to offer photographers, and it (unfortunately) often gets overlooked in favor of other New England heavy hitters like Acadia or Boston.  Now, don’t get me wrong…those places are great!  But Connecticut?  If you’re looking for variety, charm and history then CT is the cat’s pajamas.

“Photography + Connecticut; The Nature and Landscape Mini Guide” is a casual, conversational e-book indexing some of my favorite places to shoot in the state.  It’s meant to highlight the reasons that YOU…yes, YOU…should come visit…with a camera in hand.

So, how do you get your hands on a copy??

Simple!  For a limited time only, all you have to do is sign up for the newsletter here….you’ll get a confirmation email and once you’re signed up….boom!  Magic!  The link to the PDF will appear in your inbox as part of our welcome email, ready to be…er…read. :-)

I hope you sign up, I hope you enjoy the pretty pictures, I hope you come visit….and while you’re here, I hope you look me up!  Bring cookies.  I like cookies.

 

This book offer is only for a limited time, until the end of February.  Don’t wait!

 

Thanks so much for all your support.  Please, spread the word. :-)

xoxo

Shannon

 

Interview with Laura Macky

21 Jan
Laura Macky - A Way Out

Laura Macky – A Way Out

Laura Macky’s creativity is a bright light that cuts through a lot of the noise on the internet.  I discovered her blog a while back and have consistently enjoyed seeing the art she makes and the way she sees the world.  This interview was a chance to get a behind the scenes glimpse at what goes into making her images, and a chance to share her bold, painterly, thinking outside of the box images with you.  Hope you enjoy!  :-)
Where are you located?
I’m in the San Francisco Bay Area in California

Laura Macky - Sailboat

Laura Macky – Sailboat

How did you get into photography?

I used to play the piano as a hobby but developed a nerve issue in my right hand from a neck injury/surgery and I couldn’t play like I used to.  For several years I had no hobby and one day I thought it might be fun to try photography because it was in the arts, and I’ve always been a huge fan of the arts!  So off I went to our local camera store to buy cheapest DSLR, a Nikon D3000.  I remember going out with the camera for the first time and being scared to even press the button in auto.

Laura Macky - Fog Wave

Laura Macky – Fog Wave

Laura Macky - SF Skyline

Laura Macky – SF Skyline

One of things I love about your work is the creativity and bold edits. Do you have a vision in mind when you shoot, or do you let the photo edit develop as you start working with each image?

I love this question Shannon.  Thank you!   First off, you can probably tell I love color and vibrant color to boot!  I do a bit of B&W too but color is definitely my favorite.  It’s important that my personality show through in my photos and because I think I’m anything but demure lol, I think you pick up on that side of me through my editing.  As to the second question, usually I’m driven by mood of what I’m seeing at the time.  For instance, if I’m standing behind a willow tree and I see beautiful light and I feel magical, I know that I will try to edit the photo to match my feeling at the time.  Or if I’m zooming in on a tiny flower and I see it as a jewel box while I’m there, I will try to edit that way later.  Once in awhile I get an image that’s in between and then I let myself go in photoshop and see what I come up with…no preconceived idea up front.

Laura Macky - Flying Mallard

Laura Macky – Flying Mallard

Laura Macky - Windswept

Laura Macky – Windswept

What/whose work inspires you? (Doesn’t need to be a photographer)

What inspires me are artists who are original and come from a unique viewpoint.  I see a lot of images that look the same and you can’t really tell who took the photo.  It’s inspirational to me to see someone who takes a chance and expresses themselves out-of-the-box.

 

Laura Macky - CA in Pacifica

Laura Macky – CA in Pacifica

Laura Macky - Willow Glow

Laura Macky – Willow Glow

What are your goals for your images? Are you trying to convey anything with your art?

My goal is to express the mood I felt at the time I took the photo.  I hope to evoke someone to feel the same as I did when I took the photo.  Since I’m fairly new to photography, I feel like only recently have started to be able to do this and while I’m not always successful, it’s what keeps me motivated to improve.  When people comment on my photos with certain words that I was already thinking, I feel like I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.

Laura Macky - Here Comes The Bride

Laura Macky – Here Comes The Bride

Laura Macky - Tangled Coneflower

Laura Macky – Tangled Coneflower

How can people find you? Website, email, twitter, instagram, etc.

You can find me at http://www.lauramacky.com/, www.lauramacky.wordpress.cominfo@lauramacky.com.  I’m also on G+, Twitter, and Flickr.  The links can be found either on my website or on my blog in the sidebar.  Thank you for the opportunity to share!

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