Friday, May 31, 2013

I think it's a dobro.

Dobro, Asheville, NC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

While I am a fairly accomplished air guitarist, I'm not much of an authority on the real thing. So I'm guessing that this is a dobro. If it's not, I'm sure somebody will correct me. Whatever it is, I thought it looked pretty cool, and was obviously much older than its 20-something owner. I added a simulated lith effect to further bring out the age and character of this instrument.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

More Musicians

Three more street musicians from Sunday afternoon's walkabout in downtown Asheville. We were especially impressed by the boy blowing some cool jazz on the sax in Prichard Park - he appeared to be only 10-12 years old. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

It's All how you Look At It

Two weeks ago I was photographing a cutting from a yellow azalea from our yard. Of course when I was finished, the cutting remained right where I left it. While gathering some of my camera equipment for a hike Monday afternoon, I discovered the now dried flowers on the table, right where I left them two weeks ago. Yeah, I'm not real good at picking up after myself sometimes.

Past Their Prime, Canton, NC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Being a "glass half full" kind of guy, I decided the forgotten flower wasn't evidence of my laziness. No, this had actually been a photo op in the making! The dried out azalea was actually more interesting to me than its previous fresh version. So, you see, sometimes it pays not to clean up after yourself.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Relaxing Afternoon

Dead Tree, Transylvania County, NC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

After a filling early afternoon meal of BBQ ribs, and a couple of hours slumming on the couch watching old WW2 movies on TV, I felt a need to get out and get a little exercise. I didn't want to drive too far, or be gone too long, so I decided a walk up to the top of Devil's Courthouse would be a good leg stretcher. My daughter Courtney hadn't been there since she was about four, and she couldn't handle the steep trail back then. I knew she would welcome the challenge.

The trail to the top was steeper than I remembered, but thankfully it's only about half a mile long. The view from the top featured hazy skies, typical for the warmer months around here, and not very good for photos of scenic vistas. I saw a few dead trees here and there in the forest - probably dead hemlocks. The contrast of the sun-bleached trunks with the dark greens of the surrounding forest was striking, and about the only thing of interest that caught my eye from the peak. A little exercise and one fairly decent photo - not a bad afternoon.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Another Sunday Afternoon In Asheville

The weather was mild, the skies were sunny, and the street musicians were putting out the tunes yesterday afternoon. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Most Momentous Occasion

Congratulatory Kiss, Canton, NC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Barnes is so proud of his big sister because tonight she will be graduating from Pisgah High School. It's the ending of one era, and the beginning of another. We're proud of Courtney too, and pray God's best for her as she looks forward to college and bright future!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

When I saw that wig . . .

Mom Makes Me Laugh, Clyde, NC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Saturday, a friend posted a picture of her daughter who was in a play called "Seussical The Musical" this past weekend in Clyde. As soon as I saw that outrageous wig I knew I wanted to photograph her in costume. So I made arrangements to meet them before the final performance Sunday afternoon for some photos.

My "studio" was the parking lot behind the building the group uses as a theater. My background was a drab, brown wall, but I knew I could fix that later. Under her mother's direction, we got my young actress to strike some poses replicating some dance moves from the play. At some point her mother said something to her that made her bust out laughing, and "click", I got what may be my favorite shot of the bunch.

Since the play was based on a combination of Dr. Seuss stories, I decided to experiment with a more cartoonish look on this image. I looked at some Dr. Seuss wallpapers online, and created a background similar to one I thought would work with the colors of her costume to replace the ugly wall background of the original. Then I jacked up the colors a bit, and used Redfield's "Fine Touch" filter to simplify the details. You gotta love that wig!

Friday, May 17, 2013

On The Rocks

Courtney On The Rocks, Sullivan's Island SC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Even at the Atlantic Ocean, if there are rocks to climb or walk on, Courtney will find them.

I've been reading a book about the relationship between photographer Alfred Stieglitz and artist Georgia O'Keeffe, and that seems to have re-kindled my interest in pictorialist photography. I decided to experiment with this look in this photo of Courtney. It is frustrating because it's hard for me to get the look I really want. This is close, but I stopped with this version mainly because of time restraints. Too bad I have to work for a living.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Back To The Falls

Falls At Little Branch Creek, Swain County, NC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Now that the forests are "greened up", waterfall photography is much more appealing. Although you can get some interesting shots in the winter, especially if there is ice around the falls, I think green foliage makes a prettier photo. A full forest canopy also gives you more even lighting (usually). Avoiding "hot spots" on the fall can be a real headache in bright sunlight, and the open shade provided by a full canopy helps with that problem. Of course, the best lighting can be found just after sunrise. You'll get better light, and less chance of turistas wandering into your photo.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I Love Spring Mornings

Early Morning Light, Lake Junaluska, NC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Except at the higher elevations, all of the trees are "leafed out" now in our area. Spring leaves have a lighter shade of green than they will have in the summer months. They almost glow in the early morning light on the walking path around Lake Junaluska.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Magazine Inspiration

Pink Calla Lily, Mt. Pleasant, SC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Occasionally I'll treat myself to a copy of one of the portfolio editions of Color magazine. They're pricey for a magazine, but I get ideas from the photographers featured for their fine art photography. I'm still not quite sure what separates "fine art" from other photography. Some looks "fine" to my eye, some does not. Anyway, I get ideas that challenge me to push my own limits a little bit.

This photo started out as just a straight shot of a calla lily. After seeing some of the work of photographer Bob Francis of Hermosa Beach, CA, I decided to experiment with his approach to flower photography. I'm kind of pleased with how this one came out; it certainly looks more "artsy" than my original.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Other Views

Tulip From Below, Clyde, NC  -  2007
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

One of the things that I have had to learn as a photographer is that holding a camera at standing eye level is often the least interesting viewpoint. Many times it is better to stoop, climb up on something, or even lay your belly to get a more visually compelling perspective. Yeah, you'll get some strange looks from other people, but you'll also get better photos. Having people look at you like you're nuts is just something photographers have to get used to.

I made this photo of a tulip's underside at Haywood Community College a few years back. The tulips were in a bed at the front entrance gate. A few drivers slowed down as they went through the gate, probably wondering why this guy was laying on his back looking up at the tulips. When we get those "looks" from the incredulous passerby, we can take solace in the fact they probably also wonder why their pictures don't look anything like ours.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Thanks, NCDOT!

Red Poppy, Haywood County, NC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

The poppies and other assorted flowers planted by the North Carolina DOT are beginning to appear at highway interchanges across the area.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Trillium Time

White Trillium, Jackson County, NC  -  2006
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

It's trillium time in the mountains. On a short stretch of highway between Balsam and Sylva the woods are full of them. That's where I photographed this specimen back in 2006. It was growing right at the base of an old stump which gave me a non-distracting background. The drop on the tip of the leaf was a happy accident - I didn't even notice it until I got the photo up on my computer screen. I've got dozens of trillium photos in my files, but this is my favorite. If you want to see these beautiful flowers, you better head to the woods soon. They won't be around much longer!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

It's all been done before.

The Big House, Boone Hall Plantation, Mt. Pleasant, SC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

What has been done is what will be,
    and what has been done is what will be done,
    and there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there a thing of which it is said,
    "See, this is new"?
It has been already
    in the ages before us. (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10)

If I didn't know better, I'd swear Solomon was a travel photographer.

When visiting a site that has been photographed millions of times by untold thousands of photographers, it's hard to come up with anything original. How many times do you think this house has been photographed since it was built? I'm sure it's been explored from every angle, in every kind of light, in every season of the year. So how do you come home with something original?

Maybe you can't, but I wanted something at least a little different than just a postcard shot. In the digital darkroom I experimented with overlayed textures, tinting, and vignettes. I finally came up with this version - a standard post card view with, hopefully, just a bit more personality. Even this approach has no doubt been done before. It's hard to argue with Solomon.