Tag Archives: black & white

Sands of Time :: CO

27 Jun
Sands of Time :: CO

Sands of Time :: CO

“What makes a desert beautiful,’ said the little prince, ‘is that somewhere it hides a well…” -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I decided to go a bit dramatic on this one, because I’ve always loved the red filter-Ansel Adams look and it just felt right here. ❤️

This is from the Great Sand Dunes in CO, and spoiler alert…they really were great! 😊

Advertisements

Defiance

21 Mar
Defiance :: CT

Defiance :: CT

“An island of calm in a sea of uncertainty…”

 

I spent a little time last week down at the shore, putting together example images for next month’s Light and Landscape Member’s Area lesson plan.  This photo was a happy little by-product of the trip.  And by happy, of course, I mean angry skies. haha  We’ve been having some strange weather lately.  This morning, the second day of spring, we woke up to 4+ inches of snow in the back yard…but that’s New England for ya!

If you’re interested in getting any info about our teaching program and photography community, you can contact us at support@availablelightmedia.com .  We’d be happy to give you the overview and answer your questions!  You can also check out a small sampling of some of our student’s work in the next issue of Light and Landscape Magazine, the number one landscape photography magazine on iTunes. 🙂  You can find it in the newsstand app!

The settings, for those interested: 10 mm, 4 seconds, ISO 100, f/11, grad ND

“Ahem. My lens is up here.”

27 Aug
Balanced Flow :: RI

Balanced Flow :: RI

 

You can thank David for that title. haha

This week, I was honored to be included in a pretty comprehensive list of Inspiring Female Landscape Photographers, put together by Sarah Marino.  She did a really nice job expressing how I feel when she says that instead of being a “female landscape photographer”, it would be great to be recognized as a landscape photographer who also happens to be female. Every industry has its challenges though, and hopefully resources like this list will help make the hard-working landscape photo-ladies easier to find when companies are looking for speakers, teachers, etc. 🙂

I feel so very honored to have made the list with so many other talented, inspiring women busting their butts to make it their goals a reality! Check it out, show Sarah some love and hopefully you’ll discover some new, awesome talent out there in the world.

As for the above shot?  I took that in Block Island a few weeks back.  I thought the composition had a nice “yin yang” potential, so I did the smart thing…plopped myself in the way of some incoming waves, and then was shocked when a rogue one snuck up on me and almost drowned my camera. haha  (Don’t worry…the gear is fine!)

Black and White and Grey

22 Apr
Dreamsong

Dreamsong

Well…it’s April 22.  That means four things.

First, it’s Earth Day.  It’s one of those holidays that most people give a nod to in passing.  We humans are creatures of habit, afterall.  While we may remember to appreciate the beauty of nature for the day, making it a daily occurrence takes some dedication.

Just remember though…your life is 100% affected by your perspective.  A positive mindset can go a long way towards building permanent happiness.  One of the things that involves is appreciating what we have.  For me, that includes stopping to notice and experience the beauty of the world around us.

Juxtapose

Juxtapose

Now, as part of Earth Day awareness, we may also recognize we don’t do as much as we should to protect our planet.  But again, change is difficult.  “I want to recycle…but the recycling bin is down by the street.  I’ll just do it…..tomorrow.”
Here’s the thing though….you’re better than that.  Change is difficult.  Bad habits are hard to break.   I’m not saying it will be easy.  I’m saying it will be worth it.

At the moment, this is our only home.  That water? It’s all we have.  That polluted air?  Well, it’s all connected and it’s in your lungs too.  That soil? …well, you get my point.

Make a decision to be good to your world.  Give the gift of a healthy future to your children.

 

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!

 

Ok…the first of four things is Earth Day.  The next thing?  A great Black and White Challenge issued by John over at Book of Bokeh.  John’s blog is great, and I enjoy his point of view on things.  Make sure to swing by and give his blog a read.

Now, I’ve actually already been issued several B&W challenges (and participated once a few months back), so I’m going to condense this round into one post.  I know, it’s not the way the rules read….but damnit….rules are meant to be broken.

The Pillars :: New Hampshire

The Pillars :: New Hampshire

In the spirit of breaking rules, and embracing monochrome images, I actually challenge ALL of you to give B&W a try.  It truly is it’s own art.  It is photography that carries it’s own set of guidelines to be effective, and requires a deliberate, thoughtful approach to have long term success in the medium.

(For those of you interested in learning more, I actually have an article about learning to see in Black and White in the newest issue of Light & Landscape Magazine.)

Oh!  That’s the third thing.  It’s April 22nd, and I have my art in that ^^ magazine.

Now….what was the fourth thing??

Enders Falls - Mono and Moody

Mono and Moody :: CT

Was it….eeerrr….ummm….  I am helping to run a new Instagram feature page?  Where we put together lovely images from contributors and share those images with like minded individuals in the hopes of creating a safe community atmosphere where people can discuss their mutual interest of photography??

Nah…that’s not it.  (Although I do help with a new IG account, which you can be a part of.  Just follow @i_took_a_photo and use the hashtag #w_my_camera )…..get it?  I took a photo with my camera!  Now you will always remember it!

But for reals, that wasn’t the fourth thing.  I should really start putting together outlines for my blogs.

out….lines…..reminds me of The Outbound, where I am now doing write ups on some of my trips.  The Outbound is a great website that any traveler, adventure…er?, and explorer should be a part of.  It gives you the background on what it takes to get to crazy awesome locations, like the ones you see in my shots.

It is also not number four on the “April 22 list”.  Maybe I meant to ask you to sign up for my newsletter?  Because you can’t get deals on the upcoming book without the newsletter.

Or maybe I was just going to tell you to stay cool, Daddy-o?  I don’t remember.  I need an assistant to start writing these things down for me.

WAIT!  Eureka!  I do remember!  Happy Administrative Professionals Day!  Buy your secretary a coffee today!

And on that note…You guys rock.  Thank you all for your continued support. 🙂

Bonus image.  Just because.

SSP Endless Summer :: Massachusetts

SSP Endless Summer :: Massachusetts

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 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

Azure Shores

6 May
Azure

Azure Shores

So…I think it’s time to admit something.  I’m a wide angle junkie. It’s my go-to lens for most landscape projects and a major player at events.  Sure, there is some distortion, but often, I kinda like it as an artistic choice.  Sure, sometimes I want to get a closer view and can’t walk up to the subject…but that’s a simple matter of swapping a lens.  I’d say the most notable drawback for me is filter vignetting. Now, this isn’t an in-depth review of filters, stacking, philosophies etc…(you can get a nice breakdown on the topic here though)…really, it’s more of a public service announcement.

Azure, Vignetted

Azure Shores, Vignetted

The short version, if you’re using a wide angle and filters, you run the risk of vignetting.  If you stack filters to achieve some artistic goal (and don’t mind image quality loss, or increased changes of rogue light between the extra layers of glass), then your vignettes become more pronounced.

So…what do you do about it?

Option 1: Zoom in, so you cut the vignettes out of your field of view.  Alternatively, crop in post processing.  Either way, kind of defeats the purpose of having a wide angle on. haha

Option 2: Pray for the best when it comes to software lens correction.

Option 3: The old clone stamp in PhotoShop (or its equivalent in your editing software of choice).

Option 4: Go naked and avoid the whole thing.  Uh. Filterless. (Naked will probably get you arrested)

Like so many other things in photography, knowing the effects a tool or decision will have on your final image are part of the art of photography.  In the case above, the scene called for a wide angle, and I knew I needed to cut the light down by several stops…so I used filters, even knowing the final image would take some work to remove the vignettes.  If I could do it again, and had infinite resources at my disposal, I might choose a different mount, or one filter that cut down more stops so I didn’t need to stack.  Probably both.

The reality of the situation, however, is that I didn’t have those things at hand, so I used the tools at my disposal (including an awareness of the editing nightmare that was to come) and made lemons out of lemonade!

Or…’Azure Shores’ out of lemons?  ………..Eh…you know what I’m saying.

So, in closing, ‘Knowledge is Power”.  Also, “The true method of knowledge is experiment.” And, <insert inspirational knowledge quote of your choice here>! 😉