day 7 – CaptureOne practice

for the next 10 days, will post a new CaptureOne Practice Edit…the short term goal is to see significant progress in working with this exciting program…

#7 – this is the first time I was able to effectively use layers, masks and the incredible CaptureOne Color Edit controls to even out the color on a few slightly browned areas of this magnificently colored Vanda (central image in this montage)…it took me some time to figure out how to achieve this.

Just love this program!

day 5 – practice CaptureOne

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for the next 12 days, will post a new CaptureOne Practice Edit…the short term goal is to see significant progress in working with this exciting program…

#5 – (above) layers allow significant in program control (in this case – masking, opacity, color balance & color edit adjustments). This version has much more even color in a small area of an unfurled petals of this beautiful rose in Peggy Rockefeller’s Rose Garden at The New York Botanical Gardens.

I needed to go into Photoshop to repair a very damaged petal on the lower right and in retrospect might leave it untouched in a future exercise.

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I was unable to adjust the lower right damaged petal in Lightroom (directly above)  and could not even out the color in the slightly unfurled petal in the middle left.  As the days go by, I am becoming more comfortable and pleased with the superior results of working in CaptureOne.

 

Botanical Elements is a finalist…

Inspired by my first large format botanical pano, I then created this montage in November for my final portfolio presentation at SCSU. Several elements were photographed on location at the New York Botanical Gardens (the central bubble abstract in the pool room, a birch fragment glowing in the afternoon sun, and Juncus Effusus from the Burle Marx exhibit this past summer). Several elements were photographed in my studio in New Haven, CT.  The central green orchid is a Paphiopedilum Citron hybrid from White Plains Orchids; and the midori green antherium and iris are from Compo Farms in Westport, CT. The fern is a box store patio plant, the red maple is on our front lawn and the majestic ginkgo is across the street.

This pano is one of two chosen as finalists for the month of December 2019:
http://www.artroomgalleryonline.com/exhibitions/2019/december_2019.html

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Natural Spaces at SCSU…

At Southern Connecticut State University, this semester, my portfolio development exhibit will include a participatory installation. During the semester I have been making macro images of botanical and natural subjects: orchids, iris, ferns, trees, leaves, etc, pushing towards very high key, very abstract or both.

Our professor, Jeremey Chandler, encouraged me to consider printing large and I am so very glad that I followed his advice. His teaching style really inspires me to move forward and find the right way. I did not want to make the botanical images large just for the sake of making large images even though this was something I always wanted to do. So I searched for a compelling reason and came up with something that seems fun and exciting.

I decided to explore the montage techniques which Jeremy discussed in class and constructed an imagined  “natural floral “arrangement in very wide panoramic format from individual photographic elements. I intentionally left a noticeable amount of white space in this digital montage and realized that the negative space was very similar to how I had designed with real flowers when I had Buds & Blossoms Floral Design Studio in Westville twenty years ago.

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What if I proposed encouraging fellow students to draw over the large printed images with pastels, pencils, etc.? The extra white space would readily permit this. Professor Chandler suggested looking at the writing of French art critic, Nicolas Bourriaud, whose theory on “relational aesthetics” proposes that “the artwork creates a social environment in which people come together to participate in a shared activity.” Jeremy also suggested presenting this idea during a class critique. Our discussion unearthed questions about the “value of the finished art piece.” Hopefully, the true value will become participation. Some folks like to draw particularly those that frequent the art building at a university!

Printing an 84 x 44 inch pano was a tad challenging but it was a thrill to use the new Epson P9000 series in our lab. It was easier than I expected even though the file was gigantic.  We hung it using clips and it was thrilling to see the large piece on the wall. I went to Hulls Art Supply in New Haven several time to select pastels and pencils which paralleled the color palette. Moab Entrada Rag Bright is a beautiful matte paper made from 100% cotton. The soft texture lends itself nicely to fine art printing and was a perfect surface for the pastels.

Almost immediately the reactions of our art community were thrilling. One person shared his love of flowers and immediately identified the various species. We talked about the recent Roberto Burle Marx exhibit at the NYBG, Mapplethorpe’s perfect botanical images, Compo Farms, White Plains Orchids, studying floral design and local botanical artist, Ellen Hoverkamp. Another person  read my artist statement and seemed quite moved.

Mary, from our class, had already made the first mark which was so subtle that I never noticed it on my fave flower, the large green orchid – Paphiopedilum Hsinying Citron. After viewing the pano at 100% for touch up at least 10 times before printing thought I knew the piece well. Another student, Kenny, is President of the SCSU photo club and I asked him if he would allow me to document his effort. It was fun to photograph Kenny adding to the montage.

Very quickly, a few more folks contributed and the montage took on an entire new life. Peggy made a lady bug and encouraged her design students to also draw on the pano. Subtle and strong shadings were added in the perimeter.  Insects, more flowers, leaves and signatures were added.

By the following week, the Photo Club left their marks and making this a collaborative work of art. Amazing and thrilling to me, knowing the original piece so weIl, is the joy of discovering how so many artists made their own choices.  Someone drew a beautiful large purple flower next to the “green paph.” It looks like the flowers are walking together!

Bees, spiders, rainbows and more appeared from imagination and the pano is becoming a collaborative vision of nature. Folks seem to be having fun. This has far surpassed anything I  could have envisioned and I am humbled and happy.

I showed the Pano to my husband Steve, who is the kindest and most supportive person in the world. He succinctly sums it up: “ you are totally immersed in the world of flowers”.

My wide angle photograph does not do the work in progress justice…and it’s fun to see it up close…so please stop by to see our exhibit, Natural Spaces.

NaturalSpacesSCSU

Working with Kim Weston…

My friend, Kathy, had mentioned that she really enjoyed a workshop she took, How to See + Make Photographs, led by Kim Weston at the Kehler Liddell Gallery in Westville, CT. After reading about Kim’s work, I was thrilled to discover that she planned another, How to See + Make Photographs II, in conjunction with the ArtEcon Initiative (www.ArtEconInitiative.org). I signed up in April knowing that there would be a gap over the summer as I geared up for my portfolio development class at Southern Connecticut State University.

Years ago, I was a florist in New Haven, CT, and based my designs on the study of Ikebana or Kado – the flower path. My approach was intentionally minimalist so folks could appreciate the individuality & beauty of each blossom. A client gave me a book of Robert Mapplethorpe’s photos of flowers…and I promised myself to put together a body of work that inspired me as much as those photos. In 2001, closed the shop and went back to school to study photography and graphic design. I have been photographing flowers in earnest for over ten years. Magic occurs for me when using a macro lens & standing very close to capture a tiny detail. Equally “magical” is the ability to change something as small as a single pixel and not deal with the unpleasant odors & chemicals of the darkroom. Perhaps, most magical, is the chance to get in so close & capture something not obvious to the human eye. Maybe even crop closer so as to wonder about what the final result describes. I totally love flowers…they make me happy…some more than others. I love to consider them as individuals and love to explore their colors, centers, forms and lines…and am thrilled that much of my work reflects this. Just take a quick glance upwards at the mosaic header. And, I feel that my journey has just started!

Although I went in many directions for school and work, kind, positive & supportive people helped me to stay on track and also encouraged me to see & create with a wider perspective. It’s nice to come back again to this promise made in 1989 while at the same time, Kim’s workshops help me move forward at a time when I hoped to kickstart my creative energies for the fall semester.

In May, Kim announced another workshop, Through the Camera Lens to the Photographic Print.  At first, it was enjoyable to push forward knowing that by the fall there would be some new work for me to show at the university. To be honest, I tried some things for the sake of trying and although the images were interesting and technically proficient I really did not enjoy most of the work and realized that the person I needed to please was me!

It became increasingly challenging to offer an informed opinion without meeting resistance and the interactions felt unpleasant. It was difficult for me  to internalize several carelessly “pronounced” as dogma, principles, some of which hardly made sense. One, in particular, “only people who are good at it should do video,” struck me as odd. Another, “I don’t enjoy explaining the technical stuff about using the camera.” And, another, “I don’t want to see images of dogs, flowers or cuba.” Eventually I realized the futility of offering an alternate opinion, left the workshop and just kept counting the seconds until the start of this fall semester.

However, during the summer workshops with Kim, I tried very selective focus, high key backlighting and intentional defocus…some techniques were relatively new for me.  This allowed me to photograph deliberately arranged, fairly usual botanical subjects in a new way and to concentrate on the abstract components of light and shadow and still make images that please me.

It’’s really hard for me to pin down a  favorite part of these workshops but with all due respect we were introduced to the work of several unfamiliar artists, I was inspired to learn more for days and really enjoyed this part of the learning.

Over the years, in fact, since the early 1970’s, I have taken a number of university level photography courses, specialized workshops and even private instruction to learn and grow as a photographer.

It was such a relief to know that I could look forward to the value of each university class and leave energized, satisfied and inspired…more to come on the value of this type of formalized learning.

Photographic Vision & Style

One always hears about composition and the rule of thirds. It’s all about composition, focus & lighting for photographers & designers. And, I decided to do an exercise and put a rule of thirds grid over the work of a few famous artists. Sure enough – they followed the rule of thirds. 

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The work of Lewis Hine are inspiring – his photo, above, speaks thousands of words, follows the rule of thirds, and reminds me to never be satisfied & to keep trying.

Georges de La Tour also inspires me – his painting, below, captures light and emotion in a style which instinctively informs mine.

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Keeping them in mind along with the rule and it works well for me!

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And, if you want to see more of our work: www.awesomephotos.co