From the Inside


Sometimes, I make pictures from the inside of the subject.

From the inside.

Sometimes, the subject sort of envelopes me. It happened the other day. Dog or no dog, I take walks. That’s going to get stepped up a bit as I prepare for second line season, assuming we stay in New Orleans. Our property taxes shot through the roof. I don’t mind that, if I get something in return. Like streets without potholes. Or, a city that doesn’t flood with each rain storm.

Anyway.

I wasn’t paying attention to where I was walking. When I looked up I realized that I was standing inside of a tree’s branches.

I was inside the tree.

What to do? What to do?

Oh, I know. I’ll make a few pictures. So, that’s what I did.

And, this picture is what I got.

Yeah, I did a little post production. I made the picture glow. That wasn’t quite how I saw it. But, it’s what I liked. So, I went with it.

Anyway.

As you know, I’ve been thinking about social media. The good and the bad of it. I was thinking about giving it all up. But, in 2019, it’s how we sell ourselves. Instead of just leaving it behind, I’ve been removing folks who don’t teach me something, or make me smile. That, in itself, has been making me smile.

If you are starting to feel the way that I was, maybe you should try that too. Just don’t get rid of Storyteller. That would make me frown.

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9 Comments

      1. Wow! I just spent a happy half hour perusing the images, imagining the stories, absorbing the richness. Rich is the word that kept coming to mind – the colors, the layers, the legacies on the faces. I learned a few things from looking at the photos, too. Are you going to add an “About”?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. To be more open-minded and flexible about angles (many pics).
        To be more open-minded and flexible about what the subject is and making the right crop / the crop that the image wants you to make.
        To look for multiple stories in the picture. The last one in the City of New Orleans section has at least three stories – wow!
        To let the electric wires, cars and other annoying necessities be an important part of the picture instead of trying to photograph around them or deemphasize them (you’ve said this before, but the collection has many great examples).
        To look for shadows instead of trying to avoid them. I knew this intellectually already, but never remember to do it.
        That I want to learn some post-production techniques with color, like dozens of them, and overlaying other photos, like the one with the power lines and the digital clock. (I know this would take tons of time and it will be years before I’d be any good at it, but it’s still a goal.)
        That I want to be more bold with people closeups.
        To embrace the blur; it can be a good thing (you’ve said this before, too).
        That it’s ok to have half a face in a photo (on the edge); it isn’t ruined.
        That even though you don’t claim to be a nature photographer, you have a true gift for transforming nature into art.

        That’s what I learned.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You are on the right track, but let me add to the discussion.

        When I moved from black and white film to color slide film (when dinosaurs roamed the earth), we all learned to fill the frame with the subject that we wanted. We cropped in camera, rather than letting some one else do it for us. In other words fill the frame with your picture.

        The thing about distractions is that they should be appropriate for the place. A pristine nature scene probably should no have power lines in the frame. In NOLA where most power and phone lines aren’t buried because of shifting earth and former swamp, power lines are part of the every day scenery.

        There are some visual cues that have helped make my career. One is contrast, which you get when you work shadows and highlights. Exposure can be tricky because if you shoot too much in one direction you can blow the picture. With digital cameras, Expose for the highlight, because the digital software inherently digs into the shadows.

        When people started working in Photoshop, it was overwhelming because the learning curve is so steep. If you are using any editing software, start by learning the things that interest you the most. That said, I do very little layering. Most of it is experimental. I did chuckle about the picture that you thought there is a digital clock. Those numbers are part of the original picture because they are gas prices on a tall sign. But, post processing turned it a little moody.

        People close ups. Remember I started out as a photojournalist. I practiced long enough that it became second nature to me. It takes some time in order to feel comfortable and non-threatening to your subjects. I have a pretty good “photographer’s patter.”

        Blur… NGS’ Chuck O’Rear taught me how to do it. Hold the camera steady, set your exposure at night for something like f5.6 @ anywhere from a 1/4 to 2 seconds and have at it. That also means that it’s time to get away from most auto settings. If I where you, I’d practice by finding a busy street near you and just photograph using different settings. Don’t forget to learn about panning. That’s how everything can be moving a blurred line, except for one subject which is kept fairly sharp. As a rule of thumb, move the camera at the same pace as the moving scene . You can also move against the grain, which gives you another look.

        For a while, faces on the edge were a thing on Instagram. It usually depends on intent and timing. For me, I never self edit in the field, meaning I just take the picture. I don’t think about it. Which leads me to shooting more or less. These days, I shoot less. But, how long have I been doing it? If you shoot more, delete nothing. Keep your mistakes and look at your EXIF setting to see what you did.

        Thank you for your kind comment about my “nature” work. The reason I don’t call myself a nature photographer is because I work close to home. Real nature photographers work in the field. Look at Franz Lanting’s or Art Wolfe’s work to see what I mean. Mostly, I sort of cheat.

        Hope something I wrote helps.

        Liked by 1 person

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