KISS, each one is a work of art
No, not that kind of kiss, although I suppose one could argue the point as to whether or not each kiss is a work of art. 😉 What I’m talking about is principle known as Keep It Simple Stupid, something that I have trouble doing when it comes to my Landscape and still life photos.
It’s funny, back in the days when I repaired, designed, and built machines and fixtures, keeping it simple was the motto that I went by. However, when it comes to art, that seems to be a different story.
For example, the types of music that I listen to the most. I thought about putting in links to video clips of some of my all time favorites, such as Genesis “The Musical Box”, Frank Zappa’s “Cruising for Burgers” or something by the Mahavishnu Orchestra like “The Inner Mounting Flame”, but every one of those songs is close to ten minutes long. Maybe if I relate something an ex-girlfriend asked me will help me to explain this. I was overjoyed to have found that one of my favorite albums had been finally released on CD, and was listening to it when the ex asked me “Don’t you ever listen to simple music? Everything that you listen to is always changing so much that it’s hard for me to follow along with it.” The stuff that I listen to often has strange time signatures, or in the case of Frank Zappa, different parts of his band playing in different time signatures at the same time, and he made it work. I suppose that’s why I’m also a fan of classical music as well. BTW, never listen to Cruising for Burgers while trying to type, even worse is hearing the Mike Brecker sax solo from “The Purple Lagoon” in the background while trying to think of what to type here. 😉
Anyway, back to photography. I’m learning to do fairly well when I’m shooting larger scenes, as yet another sunset from Duck Lake shows, although it was an uninspiring sunset that evening.
I did learn something that evening though. I had used the neutral density filter the prior week and was pleased with the results. Then, the clouds and water were moving directly at me when I shot the photos that time. This time, I swung the camera around and came up with this, not so pleasing.
I can see that any motion blurred by longer shutter openings has to be in certain directions in relationship to the camera, or the effect isn’t good. I wouldn’t have used the neutral density filter if my shutter times had remained short enough to freeze motion, but when shooting at 5 seconds or longer, you can’t freeze either the water or clouds. Oh well, lesson learned.
You don’t have to worry, I’m not going to be running around with the neutral density filters on my lenses all the time, blurring everything, there are times and places when doing that make sense, but as in so many things, there are people who go overboard with fads.
Since I’ve been trying to shoot more landscapes, most of them are too busy to be pleasing to the eye, even though I’ve been trying to keep it simple. However, this past Sunday, I shot this one as an extreme example of what I do wrong.
I liked the scene in real life, with the reflections off from the water, but I knew that the photo would have too much going on in it, with no place for your eyes to land, and very little to lead your eyes through the image. I did a little better with this one…
…it looks even better in black and white to make it less busy.
As you can see, I still have trouble translating what I see in the three-dimensional world into a good two-dimensional photograph. I’m still prone to shooting photos like this.
When it comes to my photos, I fall victim to the notion that if some is good, then more has to be better.
As you know, I’ve been watching videos of presentations by famous photographers on how to improve one’s skills at photography. One thing that has always struck me is how, for a lack of a better term, simple their photos are. That’s a bit misleading, for great photography isn’t simple, it’s that there are very few objects in the frame. Maybe three seashells, each one beautiful in its own right, but also arranged in a pleasing manner. Seeing how much you can cram into a photo as I often do doesn’t make a good photo, just the opposite is true.
So, that’s one thing that I have been trying to work on. Another is to get more depth in my photos, so that they don’t look so two-dimensional, sometimes striking the right balance can be hard for me.
I like the depth that I was able to achieve in that image, by “layering” the different colors and textures of the foliage. However, I think that it’s still a little too busy. So, I have been trying to shoot more photos like these.
…love the color…
…but, I think that I’m getting in a rut with these. I don’t think that any of them are too busy, but they all have the same look to them, the subject entering the frame at a diagonal, there must be a more creative way of composing them and still get the desired results. I’ll work on that as I go along.
In the meantime, I went walking at the Pickerel Lake Nature Preserve last Sunday, and over the course of the day, an idea popped into my head, which I’ll get to in a minute. But first, there’s this.
I have no idea what that is. I spotted it on a log and thought that it was a new puff-ball since there were some older ones just a short distance away on the same log. I pulled out the macro set-up before I had even given this a close examination, because I knew that I wanted a photo of it, no matter what it turned out to be. I looked through the camera and was ready to shoot a photo, but there were a few dead leaves against it. I reached out to remove the leaves, and the thing rolled off from the log. I never looked to see if there was the remains of a stem or anything else to provide a clue as to what it was, I was so intent on a good photo that it consumed my entire thought process. I picked it up and set it back on the mossy log, and was lining up for a photo, but the shadow it cast would have ruined the photo of it. So, I got out my LED panel light and the Gorillapod to kill the shadow. I got a reasonably good photo of something that I have no clue as to what it is. There were other things on the same log that I ended up shooting, but it never occurred to me to take a closer look at this object to determine what it might be.
Between that, and this single leaf that I found trapped in the thin layer of ice on the surface of Pickerel lake…
…I love the color and the texture of that leaf from the ice, but there’s still too many distracting elements to the photo, maybe I should try cropping it?
Anyway, the idea that I finally worked out in my mind that day has been developing for a while this fall. I’ve been walking along and a single leaf will command my attention, and it has dawned on me that each leaf is a work of art. Just as with man’s art, some are better than others, but still…
…some of them seem to say “I deserve a closer look”. In fact, with some dramatic backlighting, some leaves practically scream “Look at me!”.
But, even though I thought that I had found the answer, shoot with fewer leaves in the frame, things haven’t always worked out. These three leaves of a rush almost glowed in the sun, but the camera didn’t capture it well.
And then there were the times when I didn’t pay enough attention to the background as I lined up a shot.
So, I tried again.
Nope, going with the brighter background didn’t help, maybe a darker one would be better?
Better, but I never did get exactly the shot that I wanted, which seems to be the story of my photography. 😉 It’s never as easy as the professionals make it look.
It doesn’t help when nature doesn’t always cooperate. I found leaves that I loved the colors of, but couldn’t get close enough to isolate a single leaf, so I had to shoot flock shots.
But, I did find a few single leaves with few harsh shadows on them to shoot.
With the storm that’s raging outside today, with rain driven by wind gusts over 50 MPH, the only leaves that I find the next time I’m out will be like these.
And not like these.
I’m approaching my self-imposed quota for photos, so I’d better throw in a bird…
…something warm and fuzzy…
…and to wrap it up, the last sunflower of the year?
Well, that’s about all for now, I’ll keep plugging away at improving my photos, hopefully I’ll start getting more of them correct soon.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!