Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Follow the Energy

Have you noticed in the art world that, where the energy is excitement is sure to follow? What I mean by that is, I love to watch exciting things unfold and love it even more when I get to be a part (even a small part) of that excitement. For me, lately, the most exciting things I've seen have come from the iPhone world. Allow me to explain.

When I first started in photography, everything was new and there was a lot of exciting, new work. Well, I'm the first to admit that, what was shiny and new back then, now seems very tarnished and old. Rusted. Should be put out to pasture. Well, ok, maybe not that bad but like you get the idea. We all (collectively) grew sick of shooting the same stuff over and over again. 

Fast forward to the digital realm. Suddenly it was possible to shoot everything we shot before without the hassles of film. Oh the joy! Oh the humanity! (For those of you who never shot film, you'll just have to trust me on this. It was a burden we are all so glad has been lifted. Phew!) So now the challenge became shooting everything again only digital this time. That was great, it lasted for a while, and, frankly, I still have more shooting I want to do with the "big girl" camera. But, a lot of the excitement is gone. All that's left is clocking it in. Some days anyway it seems like it's all later, rinse, repeat. There is no fun there, there is no there there. Heck, it's drudgery only without the stink of film chemicals (believe me, they really did stink! So, I guess it's still a net gain but boring now nonetheless.)

In the iPhone world, however, we have artists moving in. And, move in they did. The iPhone has opened up photography to a lot of people who didn't (or couldn't, or didn't want to) use the stinky darkroom. They also maybe didn't (or couldn't or didn't want to or couldn't afford to) use digital technology. Suddenly, there's no need for the stench of the darkroom, there's no need for the massive outlay of computer gear and the steep learning curve Photoshop has to offer. It's all just click, play with app, post online. And lots of artists and would-be artists are getting it. Not only that but, thanks to the wonders of the Internets, these same artists are banding together to form groups and these groups are doing interesting things. It's all very exciting. There's a newness about it, an energy, it's like it's almost electric. You can feel it in the air. There's exciting work coming out of these little digital hovels. The exciting work breeds hot exciting new apps which in turn breeds hot, exciting new gadgets which in turns makes the artists want to play even more, and so on. It's a positive energy cycle that's resulting in an upward spiral which is all just leading to some very exciting work.

Now, I can't say I'm going to quit shooting my "big girl" camera In fact, all of this iPhone stuff might make we want to shoot it more. Maybe I'll shoot it just differently-like with purpose. It's hard to say what the future holds. For now, I've been treating the iPhone work like just another medium. Like any medium it has its advantages and disadvantages. Neither good nor bad, I find it just different and try to make the most of what it is.

Today, while I was looking over some material for HouseOfCarol.com, I felt most excited about putting up iPhone work. I updated the old website, yes I did a bit, but I added about twenty iPhone images. And, frankly, I want to make more. I even want to get an iPad so I can make bigger ones and work more easily on a new digital "easel" of sorts. I'm also super excited about the new iPhone 6s coming out soon-rumored to have a 12 megapixel camera. How cool is that?

Of course, all of this uploading, updating, and the like has made me realize that I might just need to do an iPhone show sooner rather than later. Now, I had always planned on doing a show of my best iPhone work at some point-heck, I've already been included in some invitational shows for this work before-but lately I've been thinking about doing a one-person show somewhere. Maybe organizing the work, seriously putting it together, doing a book or a project or a show or a...something. More on this to come, I'm sure, but, for now, I must confess. The energy is there. I'm actually excited about the iPhone work I'm seeing in groups like Dogsitter's App Circus and even on Flickr. It's fun stuff. I can't wait to join in the fun and hope to contribute in some small way at some point.

Yeah, I'd have to say, if you want to see where the excitement is, follow the energy and, right now anyway, it seems like the mobile stuff is all the rage, all the noise, all the energy, all the excitement. Join in the fun! All the cool kids are doing it!

Until next time...

PS This one taken with the iPhone (in keeping with the theme)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ladies who Landscape

I happened upon a link today discussing landscape photography, in fact, questioning why there are so few female landscape photographers. Turns out there is a wonderful website called Landscapes by Women which I checked out and thoroughly enjoyed. While the website was wonderful, the issue still remains. Why are there so few women in landscape photography?

In the old days, it used to take a lot to lug a camera around. It's no coincidence that Ansel Adams had a pack mule! Nowadays, however, we seldom need that much in the way of equipment. Heck, some people are even working with their iPhones. Still the stigma remains. Why so few women? I think it's not just relegated to the field of photography, I think it's true in the art world in general but photography is starting to address it, specifically in relation to landscape and outdoor photographers. It's no longer, or at least it won't be for much longer, a man's world, folks. Women are involved in all aspects of career life and choice-everything from holding down some of the most dangerous jobs, to racing fast cars, to running more inanimate objects, like money for banks. Ladies are holding their own and it's high time we allow them to shine in fields such as the arts and photography in particular. Why should this be a man's world when women are just as good, if not better (in some ways) then men at the whole communication thing?

So I say, go ahead. Make room on the gallery walls for some ladies. Let us in, we deserve a spot at the table. Seriously, we're pulling down the work, right? It's not a question of equipment anymore, no I think it boils down to women don't like to take as many risks and maybe aren't as "pushy" about getting their artwork out into the wilds. Men are more go-getters in this regard but that's ok too, it's changing, we all know it's changing. The men are going to have to, as a matter of course, start making room for us women.

I've never been one to identify myself as a "female" photography, although I have touched upon more feminine themes in my work. Given that, I do think it's a good thing, that women are to be more represented, given more gallery shows, maybe the imbalances will finally be addressed. Some women photographers do work that's so worth seeing, it really should not be denied. Let's see to it that it doesn't get denied, shall we?

No, I think it's time, it's high time, some ladies had their day to shine. Rather than the typical "ladies who lunch" maybe we can start a field of "ladies who landscape" and do more to promote websites, raise awareness, and just celebrate a women's voice in photography. When all is said and done, it shouldn't matter really who took the image, so long as you like it, right? As long as we keep it about the image, about quality, about the craft, I'm all for it. Let's celebrate, ladies, our time to shine has come!

Until next time...

Monday, August 24, 2015

Bumbling Towards Perfection

Today I shared a video clip from Jay Maisel on "How to Be a Better Photographer." Really interesting clip, that is, as it really speaks to the process at least the process I follow. In the clip he talks about "bumbling and fumbling" (excuse me if I paraphrase here. I do wholeheartedly recommend you view the clip in it's entirety for the exact words.) Photographers are always "bumbling and fumbling" indeed. It's always a process. You walk around, you walk slowly, you're on the hunt, you see what you see, you feel what you feel and, in the end, you hope you craft images that halfway live up to all of that. Seriously. Nobody knows what they are doing and, if they do, they should go back and question everything they think they know. Nobody knows, for certain, what something will look like photographed. Sure, most of us have ideas but they actually fall into the realm of the "educated guess" more than the certainty factor. We all bumble, it's part of the process. It's hard work to get good shots and the best of the best, why, they make it look so easy, don't they?

Some days, frankly, I just don't know where photography comes from. Is it inside of me wanting to get out? Is it outside of me wanting to come in? Do I have a thought, share a clue or am I just enjoying the innocent hapless wanderings that life throws my way? These are really difficult questions to answer and, again, frankly, I doubt anybody really has a solid answer. We do what we do because we must. It's some kind of drive within us that makes us take pictures, yes, but it's never quite the process, it's not quite the journey we set out for it to be.

On some levels, we are indeed all bumbling towards perfection. We want the perfect shot and bumble our way halfway there. What was that Ansel Adams said? Twelve in a year is a good crop? A really good crop indeed.

Bumble on, my fellow photographers, bumble on!

Until next time...

PS This one shot with the new Lensbaby Velvet 56 on the Double Bluff driftwood beach. Man, I told you that stuff was golden. Love me some fresh driftwood when the light gets all soft like that. Fun stuff for a good bumble, don't you think?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Notes From the Road - Whidbey Island

Some notes from the road from Whidbey trip. Let's see. Got in on the ferry on Saturday morning, after an un-Godly early flight out of ATX. The flight was smooth even though I could not sleep managed to push on through. Made it to the airport and almost got lost in Sea-Tac a couple of times. Turns out there is a train inside there and you have to get to another terminal and, yada, yada. Been there before, done that (Dallas, Texas, anyone? Anyone?!?) OK, so no surprise there. Finally made it to the shuttle desk about an hour early. This is the thing I was calling the "floating van" on account of the fact that it was an airport shuttle which also went over the ferry onto Whidbey and dumped us at a Valero gas station. Interesting concept on paper, worked even better in real life, in fact, I'd have to say, if you are traveling to Whidbey, the floating van (aka shuttle) is your best bet. It cuts off mountains of traffic at the ferry stop and goes right on the ferry to Whidbey.

At the terminal itself, I was afraid my friends would not recognize me, but my fears were put to rest when Taz ran up, out of the blue, with a look of happiness to see me and surprise on her face. It was like we had met yesterday. In fact, highlight of the trip for me was catching up with everybody. This was so much fun. To go shooting and just catch up with photographer friends was a joy for sure.

So, we made it onto the ferry, shuttle, floating van thing and made it over to Whidbey and met up with Helen who picked us up at the gas station and then we drove into town to visit our new little town, aka home away from home for the week. Turns out Langley is a very cool little town, another on my highly recommend list for Whidbey. Totally cool, totally cute, even if overrun with bunnies. (Seriously. Bunnies.) Ended up shooting around Langley for the first part of the trip and it was worth it on account of being so cute and easy walking distance.

We wound up shooting Coupeville on Monday, which was also fun, and doubled back to a beach called Double Bluff which was also fun. Turns out Whidbey Island is also a place I've dubbed "Driftwood City" as there is a lot of driftwood on all of the beaches. Now, don't get me wrong, I love the stuff. I love how it looks like monsters and monoliths, how it washes up on the short, how it floats around and gets washed up looking but still kind of cool. It was very cool and we had perfect weather. Got home to find out I Borked my 5DS (only to eventually return to B&H photo in an exchange) and had to switch back to the 5d Mark II. No worries there as I think I managed to drop a card but might be able to salvage it at some point. I've always loved that 5d Mark II anyway. It's a favorite camera on mine, so it felt like going home again.

Tuesday was fun as we got invited into an old Victorian home owned by an interesting lady. I don't know which was better, frankly, the lady or the house. It was an old B&B not converted to a private home for a lady who filled it with antiques from her travels around the globe. Had an interesting conversation about Montevideo, but that's a blog for another topic. Uruguayan city discussions aside, we also had Champagne and truffles. I mean, come on, who would not like some Champagne and truffles while shooting an old Victorian house? What a shoot that was, let me tell you.

Wednesday we did a night shoot which was filled with hooting and howling of laughter. Really had a grand time with that one, even if the images don't reflect it. Have to do that again sometime, as it was so much fun. Thursday, we braved the Puget Sound ferry system over to Port Townsend and got in a teeny bit of shooting before having a nice dinner and catching the last ferry of the day back to Whidbey. Friday was met with more class time, some discussions, and the like while Saturday we made it up to Desolation Pass to check out the north side of the island and the cool bridge and park up that way.

All in all, great trip. Some great friends, some great food (highly recommend Penn Cove mussels, man those were yummy, as well as Useless Bay coffee company) fantastic weather and the like. Didn't shoot as much as I would have liked, shame about the 5DS which is now on it's way back to Canon-land via B&H and wish I could spend about a summer up that way just shooting and eating my weight in mussels.

Notes from the road, indeed. Happy to be back home, almost done with the laundry and started the process of uploading to Flickr and other points on the web.

Until next time...

PS This one shot with the 5DS before it Borked, in Langley with the walkabout lens.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Seeing Double

I've been doing a lot of 2X lately. Just seems to sort of sink in my mind. I love double exposure type work. It's fun. We tend to approach it differently too-some people just jump right in and sort of randomize it while others more carefully plot out their real estate. 

Do you find you want to do more of it? Less of it? Hate it? It's kind of like HDR or Hemmingway's whisky-a little is too much and so much more is never enough! 

Until next time...

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Today's Office

This is a shot of me working it. On location today near Coupeville, Washington, watching the ferries go by, shooting both the Canon and the iPhone. I really liked the reflections and found that I was able to do a two fisted selfie. Go me! Seriously, spent some time today at the beach shooting and got invited into an old Victorian home that was just fabulous. It's been a simply fabulous day and the weather is nice. Oh, we had good food too. Another incredible day at the office.

Until next time...

Monday, August 10, 2015

Langley Today Coupeville Tomorrow

We took a walk around Langley today. Look bunnies! We have some serious hare action going down in our 'hood. Seems to me they are multiplying like, oh wait, they *are* bunnies. Explains why there are so many afoot perhaps? Must have seen four today, hopping about.

We have a coffee shop of sorts. Useless Bay coffee house appears to be our local watering hole of choice. This is, pretty much the view from the front yard. Getting settled into the house and gearing up for Coupeville tomorrow. More notes from the road soon, I promise!

Until next time...