Practice Makes Progress

14 Apr

Vortex (reprocessed) :: CT

Last weekend I spent some time reprocessing some older photos for a write-up on the Outbound.  As I looked through my older shots, I kept asking myself, “What the heck were you thinking??”

The shots themselves were solid compositions (in my opinion) but the edits were….well…not.  They were okay, but they didn’t reflect where I am as an artist today.

Art is funny that way, ya know?  Trends change.  The look that was popular a few years ago is most definitely not what we see now.  A few years ago, many of the landscapes you saw were run through HDR software, so they had very even tones across the board.  The highlights and deep shadows were pulled back, and the lack of dynamic light was over-shadowed by the fantastic colors.

Vortex

The Vortex :: CT

Older version of the same image is significantly different based on both growing my editing skills and current trends.

Now, you’re seeing a trend for extremely dramatic light…lot of deep shadows during the magic hours.  Think Ryan Dyar or Marc Adamus.

Now, these shots are stunning.  But having watched the HDR revolution come and go, I can definitely see it’s a trend.  I have no idea how long it will last, before the next editing style gets its 15 minutes of fame.

Which brings up a good point, I think….  Your edits really can make or break an image.  It’s important to learn to use your camera in the field, but in today’s world, your edits can hold almost as much weight.  If you put together a well composed photo in good light, but the edit doesn’t highlight the strong points of the image, it will get overlooked in favor of an image with the more popular editing trends.

Now, if you make art for you…then you do what looks best to your eye!  But if you make art for a living…then you need to catch the buyers eye or you can’t put food on the table.

For me personally, I strive for a photo with dynamic, molded light.  I don’t often go so far as to create surreal images, but rather, I’ll try to enhance the light as it falls normally. Molded light is…well…my newest trend. ;-)

The shot above was taken at Enders Falls in CT.

For more information about the edit and/or classes, contact me at seespotsphoto at yahoo dot com.

Also, if you’re an iPhone/iPad user, check out my newest article on seeing in Black and White in issue 9 of Light and Landscape magazine.

The Mountains Are Calling…

9 Apr
The Mountains Are Calling :: NH

The Mountains Are Calling :: NH

The mountains are calling and I just go.

Warmer weather is coming. Adventures are close on its heels. I can’t wait. :-)

So many of you have been looking for an update on the soon-to-be book. We have officially started formatting (first 4 chapters are done-done!) so hopefully we will be prepping for a release soon. There will be some fun hoopla surrounding the release, but you need to get our newsletter to be part of it. :-) Sign up for that here!

The Outbound

6 Apr
Crystal Cascade :: New Hampshire

Crystal Cascade :: New Hampshire

Spring is finally springing, and I am so happy to be back outside, filling my life with adventure.  So often, I get asked about where shots were taken and what the journey to get there was like….  Well, as of this week, it just became a lot easier to find those answers.

I have started posting my trips up on The Outbound Collective, and I couldn’t be more excited about it.  It’s an online adventure resource goldmine.  If you want more information about the practical aspects of making a trip up a particular mountain, or trekking a desert, or kayaking a river…they probably have it.  In particular, they are filled to the brim with info about the west coast…but I intend to beef up their page with plenty of east coast adventures in the coming weeks.  All you have to do is follow and save any trips you like, and when you’re ready for a vacation….viola!  Instant trip guide!

So, if you want the details on how grueling a hike was to get to the peak of that mountain to take that pretty picture…well…go read about it on my Adventure page.  Then you will be a little more prepared for when you make your own trek into the great….where ever. lol

The above shot was from last year, when I took a trip up Mt. Washington’s Tuckerman Ravine Trail.  Read more about it (and see more pretty, some previously unpublished photos) here!

 

A Great Perhaps

1 Apr
Breathing Dreams

Breathing Dreams

I go to seek a great perhaps.

That kind of sums up an adventure, doesn’t it? Last weekend we took a road trip to upstate N.Y. because I found a photo online of a 215ft waterfall that looked impressive. We spent 5hrs in a car, each way, for a place that on the whole probably wasn’t going to offer many good vantage points for images.

But then again, maybe it would. Maybe it needed to be explored. Maybe it needed to be worked at. Maybe… Well, maybe’s are intriguing…so we went.

Taughannock Falls are pretty awesome. The gorge trail was closed (probably for the best…ice and cliffs don’t mix well), and the rim trails offered limited views…but the overlook was so damn pretty. The light was Narnia level magical.

And as a bonus, that area is loaded with cliffs, gorges and waterfalls. There was so much to see, we are obviously going back when it warms up.

Why, you ask?

Because… Ithaca is gorges.

Hahaha (yes, that really is their slogan. It’s my kind of place!)

The Pillars

25 Mar
The Pillars :: New Hampshire

The Pillars :: New Hampshire

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence. -Ansel Adams

 

New Hampshire is a such a beautiful state. This fall, we will be taking some students up into the White Mountain area for a one day workshop. If that’s something you’d be interested in, sign up for our newsletter so we can keep you informed. Announcement should be coming in the next month or so. :)

If you think a private lesson is more your speed, contact us and we can put together a lesson plan tailored to your needs.

And finally…for those of you on Instagram, we have a new project we have started meant to help people meet other great pphotographers, chat, and grow a sense of community among our awesome supporters and friends. If you’re on IG, please give @i_took_a_photo a follow. If you want your own images shared, tag them #w_my_camera. :)

See what we did there? @i_took_a_photo #w_my_camera ….. Heh. Heh.

Hilarious.

Xoxo!

Shannon

Free Gift Giveaway!

23 Mar

big-sur-cover

A few months ago, I released a photo guide to Connecticut and got a great response (THANK YOU!). Now, if you follow my Instagram, you saw that my buddy David Pasillas Photography is doing the same! If you have ever been interested in checking out California, you NEED this e-book.

 

David has spent a lot of time in one of the most beautiful sections of coastline that Cali has to offer -Big Sur – and put together a great guide for those of you looking to take some photos there. Maps, lesser known beaches and trails…all in all, a nifty must-read and for a limited time, its FREE! Check out his post about it here. :)

Iconic Places

18 Mar
Iconic

Iconic

I have a love-hate relationship with famous, overly photographed locations.  On the one hand, they look so damn beautiful…obviously I want to visit them.  On the other hand, I want to build a portfolio full of fresh images.

In most cases, the solution is to find a new take on an old place.  The goal for any location is to make an image that reflects my experiences and my interpretation of the icon.  At Bass Harbor Light, however…well…good luck. lol

David and I got to Acadia just in time for sunset so we raced to Bass Harbor, hoping to have a half hour to scout before the real light show began.  What we found was about a 30 foot wide space – the only vantage point from this side of the lighthouse – crammed with approximately 15 photographers.  About 10 of those had tripods.

We took what we could get.  I spent more energy trying not to fall off the cliff into the ocean than I did on my composition.  There was only one composition…the one that fit between the lens of the other photographers.

In fact, after I took the image, I forgot about it.  The world doesn’t need another almost identical shot of Bass Harbor Light, does it?

No, it doesn’t.  But turns out, our upcoming book might…and an edited photo is meant to be shared. lol  Here is a little sneak-peak at something that might make it to the book.  And if it doesn’t?  Well, then at least the internet is one lighthouse photo richer today. :-)

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