Friday, July 26, 2013

It's Been Too Long

"Opening Night"

I know you're shocked. Or maybe not. No sunset shot today, no towering architecture, no flowers, no historical ships. This is my image for today, and it's been too long since I've explored the streets of downtown Hamilton with the Nikon. It's been too long since I've had something so different to share with you all. I kind of did a little jig when this image demanded my attention!

Joined our local Hamilton Flickr Group last weekend for a photowalk. And I'm glad, very glad, I did. Not only did I get a chance to connect with a fabulous group of people for a few hours, wandering the streets, being inspired by the different things that would stand out to different people, but I was reminded that it's still fun to hunt for those "photographic gems" that are available to us if we care to look hard enough.

Several telephone and hydro poles were sporting this particular poster... for a rave or music event... and the eyes would follow you no matter where you stood. They really got my attention, and the graphic face emerging from the shadows screamed to be photographed. In my experiment to see how far the eyes would follow me, I wandered past the pole, then looked back in the lens... I realized if I got my exposure right, I'd get the "open" sign in the dark window of the dance studio behind it. Take what you will from it, paper vs neon, the solitary vs the city bustle, blue vs red (ha). Is it the most stunning image I've ever produced. Nope. But it was so much fun to take, and I can't wait to print it up. And that's the point.

If it's been too long since that was you having fun, being excited, creating something you can't wait to share, causing you to give an unrestrained giggle of accomplishment, then maybe its time to revisit something you once had time for. Doesn't have to be photography, and it doesn't have to be complicated. Just has to bring you joy. 

Thanks to the HFG for the great night, for John who got us into the local fire hall with our cameras last minute (and to all the firemen out there, stay safe and thank you for all your hard work at all hours of the day and night)... 
..... and thanks for the Ramble here on the blog, gang! Have a good one!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

When You've Got The Blues

"Quiet Dusk"

Dusk. Things quiet down. Bird song is amplified. Music carries from the distant pier. The water barely moves. We walk the trail by the local marina and here and there a couple sits on benches overlooking the restful scenery, letting the calm do the talking. I let it call to my camera on this particular night.

Why haven't I used this wonderful low light more often?

We see in colour, we see in black & white, but I have struggled with seeing in 'blues' I'll confess. There are only subtle, gradual changes from highlight to shadow. From one tone to another to distinguish shape and line. If anything, the blues of dusk cause me to really pay attention to the light, where it plays, where it disappears, what and how it illuminates and not as much on good composition to also carry a story.

When you've got the blues that come with dusk's final light, you are forced to sacrifice blatant contrast for more subtle details, in order to preserve mood and perception. And in processing, you have personal considerations galore. Do I remain true to the colour cast? Do I only accentuate the light skimming over the objects in the foreground? Across the water?

I decide it's not necessary to see every bold detail on the boats, we know they are there and that's enough for the image. I decide I love how the light grew intense near the sun's connection to the horizon and keep that intensity. I keep the composition consistent with the lily pads mimicking the clouds above.

When all is said and done, how lovely and quiet the evening was comes rushing back to me. You'll all see something different, which is just as wonderful. It's what I love about the arts period.

Have a great week, and thanks for this ramble in the dusk.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Imagination Set Sail

"Evenings Companions"

Another image from the Tall Ships that visited Hamilton last long weekend. Grown ups and children alike were excited to see these beauties. If you click on the photograph to enlarge, you will notice all the flags fluttering in the background from the other ships waiting for visitors as well. Some of the festival personnel were decked out in 1812 era gear, demonstrating musket firings and drills, and two of the ships touring the harbor fired "canons" at each other, shaking the pier.

I don't care who you are, but at that point your imagination reminds you of other fantastic vessels you've encountered over time. Maybe from childhood. Maybe from current films. The eerie but trusty Black Pearl from the movies, the glorious danger of Captain Hook's ship from J.M Barrie's "Peter Pan", the Hispaniola which emerges from "Treasure Island" and the delightful mind of Robert Louis Stevenson.

I don't know if this image is my favorite from that evening... but it's the one that causes my imagination to ramble through all the things we love about these fantastical vessels. So I thought I'd share.

Have a great day, explore your own local festivals, and heck, take the camera.... but whatever you do, take your imagination.

Thanks for the ramble! 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tall Ships and Opportunities Abound

"Sorlandet in Sunset"

One of our long weekends just past, the family and I wandered down to the waterfront to enjoy the Tall Ships event happening in the Hamilton Harbor. The weather was a perfect summer temp, so the entire Pier and beyond was swarming with people there to enjoy the festival. The tall ships don't dock here every year, so the crowds were thick. As were the number of cameras visible. You knew the local photo communities were about to be flooded with sea faring vessels photographed at dock.

Limited access was the order of the day... many ships roped off for special sailings and tours, others simply docked near food and displays... and throngs of people. It quickly occurred to me that there were only so many places and views and vantage points to be had. And that all weekend hundreds of other photographers would use them all as well. But I didn't let that deter me from getting my own photographs of these carefully restored and historical beauties. And sure, I could have returned with dozens of others in the early morning hours in the dawn, to try to get something different and unpopulated but I was also enjoying some added family time.

I guess I'm posting all this to say that I no longer valiantly try to get "the" shot when I'm out on a ramble... one that no one can compare another to... I think over the last little while I've figured out that I'm always happy documenting what my own eye and camera actually see, or interpret, around me. If I'm experiencing something similar to someone else shooting nearby, so be it. Another photographer I know showed up, saw how limited it all was and decided it wasn't worth it. But why not? Why not enjoy what you see? What speaks to you personally is just that, personal. And if it's personal, you would hope there would also be something unique about it anyway.

So many are obsessed with the "it" shot that no one else can get. But the world isn't exactly getting any bigger. Just the opposite. You are going to ramble and explore and get the same scenes or subjects someone else might have had at some point. Does that mean you pack the Nikon away and pick a new career or hobby? For me that day, it meant noticing the way the sun shot beams through the Norwegian Sorlandet's rigging across from where I happened to pause with my daughter. I took a minute to drink in how pretty it was. It meant if I waited in that exact spot, I could compose for a nearby ship to sail into the frame as well, under a golden sky. Getting the image was a creative and personal experience. And after some slight editing, I can say that this photograph is completely unique to me personally, which is the most rewarding feeling to come away with anyway.

In a world overflowing daily with more and more photographers trying to outdo one another, fabulous images will abound on a more personal level. Don't let anything rob you of that.

Thanks for the prodigal ramble, gang! It's been a while I know. 
Have a good one.