Art 264 | SCSU Fall 2020

We had our first class group critique today (virtually) and this was the best critique I’ve ever experienced for several reasons. Our professor, Jeremy Chandler, gave us a list of questions to answer for each group members work. We posted to a private group on FLICKR and put the images in an album. Each member had a chance to answer the question about the artist’s work being reviewed, then the prof commented. We methodically moved to the next question and repeated the process. This experience was totally professional and collaborative. Everyone seemed inspired and encouraged. Our teaching assistant Jim worked with Jeremy to make sure each small group session ran perfectly so we could devote the necessary time to cover all the questions properly.

I worked really hard on this assignment and went to the Duck Pond in Milford, CT at least six times in order to fulfill the assignment which was to master camera settings using shallow and deep depth of field, blurred and stopped motion and two optional artist’s choice images. My favorite images are in the right column. Everyone liked the top left and top right images most.

This Flickr album has more info about each image:

https://flic.kr/s/aHsmQTF6NM

Please note: this is the first post I’ve done with the new block editor:)

thinking about the next project…

Clockwise from left:
  • this will be a perfect image to use for a digital montage composition as the ground base…reflecting the image horizontally several times will create an interesting expanse and serve as a backdrop for animating floral macros
  • starting to work with flowing water in order to understand it’s behavior and determine the way in which I prefer to photograph it moving forward
  • photographed this dense lavender rose in late afternoon on our front terrace against the (intentionally) painted green shingles & a dense birch tree filtered sun

    recipeThis is the same rose photographed in studio against a Slim Light Plano lightbox which makes it very easy to capture a nearly white background suitable for animating.

    These orchids, from White Plains Orchids, also will be suitable for animating against, perhaps a video capture of a waterfall.

Passionate about passion flowers…

todaysMoodFirst saw this species at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens over 10 years ago & have been intrigued & obsessed w/it ever since…so it’s great that my neighbor, Jean, planted a vine that is thriving:) Passion Flowers grow on  climbing vines..during their blooming season, the flowers start to open slowly…some varieties open later in the day and then close at night. So each day is a surprise. She had just watered the vine with an old fashioned large round sprinkler head. I just love photographing this flower.

After Effects

Have been dancing around learning this Adobe Program for years and the time has come for a deep dive. This semester, I plan to study video at Southern Connecticut State University. In preparation, I usually try to get my brain around an unfamiliar program and started working my way methodically through a Lynda course. Animation has always been challenging for me. I plan to photograph and isolate botanical subjects which are appealing and animate them again moving water. So the concept for the project is very well defined. Excited about learning!

reaching

I placed this passion flower on the slim light plano for backlight and added soft diffused front light. Stopped down and got close and although a complete challenge to isolate the tendrils, managed to capture the essence of the flower in all its glorious complexity. This one will be fun to animate.

Getting ready for animation…

For several years I’ve been thinking about animating flowers against moving water…the digital montage has always fascinated me. Historically, when photographing on location, I stop down the aperture, get close, and isolate the subject against the existing environment. My neighbor has a beautiful plant in bloom right now. However, this project requires a different approach and the challenge increases as the complexity of the flower increases. I have been building a library of my favorite “isolated” flowers and it’s time to include the passion flower. These were made on location and I placed a piece of white paper behind the plant. Next step may well be to ask my neighbor if I can snip one to bring home. To be continued.

Why I switched from Lightroom to CaptureOne…

About a year ago I met Douglas Dubler who taught a course at the New York Botanical Gardens – abstract floral photography inspired by Georgie O’Keefe. I invited several photo friends to come with me and we all had an amazing learning experience. At the start of this year, with Douglas’s firm encouragement, I finally switched from Lightroom to Capture One and although it took me some time to explore the program at this point I feel competent. My established workflow is to start a new catalog each year and I see no reason to change at this point.

I resist the impulse to use Lightroom for almost everything – now, just to set up & export an html web gallery which is not one of my core skills. As a part-time, non-matriculated grad student at Southern CT State University, we are standardized on Adobe Creative Cloud so it makes sense to continue to be familiar with the program and it’s updates. This semester I will be studying motion. Very exciting!

It seems that lots of folks recommend and feel comfortable working with the program they know, myself included. Over the years, I have worked with private clients who were interested in learning about Lightroom. It’s always a challenge to shift gears and rewarding when the result is worth the effort.

Over the next month, my short-term goal is to set up Capture One Catalogs for each previous year’s photos. I am excited about this new project.

It’s wonderful to have heroes…

Last week, we watched a MOMA Q&A on Gordon Parks. Have just finished rereading his autobiography, Voices In the Mirror.  His body of work is so incredibly relevant right now. His visual art was, is & always will be transcendent.

In his autobiography, Gordon Parks indicates that he did not study photography formally. He spent time getting to know and earning the trust of the people he photographed. He also spent time studying traditional composition in museums.  This served him well on future assignments.

I could not put the book down. His descriptions of poverty and racial injustice are searing. To my thinking, he was a creative genius, very nice and brave.

When I get discouraged about the political climate today, just thinking about this American hero brings me joy and fortitude.

 

 

 

 

tending towards abstract…

Images from a recent trip to the New York Botanical Gardens 2020 Orchid Show…although this approach is relatively new for me, I find the tendency to favor extremely soft focus when making images of this nature. And, yet my eye goes right to the dark image in this mosaic! Perhaps because it lacks color or perhaps because the sense of sharp detail invites closer inspection.

First favorite flower – Paphiopedilums

sunnyStarting to enjoy working with CaptureOne and can’t wait to do the daily edit:

1. rather intense & subjective color edit of hue & saturation for greens & yellows
2. brought up the shadows & blacks with a modest amount of healing on a layer
3. love luma curve to bring down the hotspots – subtle mask
4. dodged shadows from nikon macro twin flash -subtle mask
5. adjusted program settings of the FOCUS MASK so it was a tad more “generous”. The lip and central column are not on the same plane, so it is necessary to stop down because I prefer both parts, if framed in camera, to be in focus.

The CaptureOne controls are very responsive. Love working with this program…it took me about 7 weeks to start feeling comfortable:)

This paph was in pretty bad shape with brown aging spots around the edges (left only a few to hint at the integrity of this specimen) and tons of microscopic debris which I really dislike…so a roundtrip to to Photoshop was required.
This took tons of work at 200% magnification.

Then, took a shortcut and ran a hi pass PS filter to sharpen up only my favorite parts of the blossom and put another dodge layer to even out the flash shadows a bit more…next visit will adjust the powers setting and try some extra diffusion.

This is the original .nef file w/o any adjustment…can’t believe I have the courage to post this:

sunny 3