Tag Archives: art

6 New Abstract Shots of Water


Water is a fun medium to shoot during the day but at night it is a real challenge.  While the camera focused on the surface of the water it wanted  to pick up the reflections in the water and try to focus on them instead.  I took these photographs strictly for artistic flair.  The challenge was to get the light reflection in the water the way I wanted it.

1.  The focus-  The auto-focus in the camera wanted to keep up focus on the image in the water and not the water itself.  I found that by switching to a manual focus or aiming slightly above my “target” on auto-focus gave me the best results.

2.  Depth of Field  -You want a deep depth of field.  Otherwise your colors will become blurred and out of focus in the water.  You also will not see the top of the water in a continuous way.  Now, this might be your preference and I did take shots that had this quality, however, I liked the ability to tell that water was the subject of the pictures.  It’s really a personal preference.

3.  Exposure-  I used long exposures starting at 1/2 to 3″ .  I had issues with the wind.  Sometimes the wind would pick up causing waves in the pond.  The longer the exposure, the more “out of focus” the picture became.  I also tried ISO’s from 200-800.  One thing was very clear.  Using a tripod is not an option.  I also found that using the timer on the camera allowed me to take the shot without touching the camera.  It was cool in the sense that with the ever-changing environment, I sometimes did not know if I had the setting right or not because I was not looking through the eyepiece at the time of the shot.

Overall, it was an exciting shoot.  I got to work with settings on my camera that I do not normally get to play with.  The thing to remember with night shots is that it may take some experimentation to find the right settings for your camera.  But then again,  that is the fun part of working a shoot.  When was the last time you got to play and take pictures in a creative and fun way?  Why not try your own night shoot?


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A Podcast Worth Watching


I listen and watch podcasts to give my brain with another way of learning about the latest trends and reviews in photography.  When I find a podcast that helps me view photography as an art I want to share it.    For this reason, I want to refer you to a photographer that runs a podcast worth listening to. The Art of Photography http://theartofphotography.tv/  is a podcast run by Ted Forbes.  He also provides some technical expertise when it comes to photography but that is not his main purpose in making the podcast.  I find his podcast worth watching and mentioning for two reasons.  Mr. Forbes has a great deal of passion and historical knowledge of his subject.


Mr. Forbes displays a passion for the art that draws the viewer past the technical and into the creative. He often discusses what it means being a photographer and how to become a better one.  Currently, the podcast is concentrating on a series of learning from the masters of painting and photography.  He selected some of the earlier master photographers and is showing how they copied the composition techniques of the great painting masters in art history.  It is a very well done and thought out series.


The second reason for watching is that he isn’t an actor.  The information he shares is coming from his knowledge of the subject and his love of sharing the art side of photography.  He is teaching, not preaching. I look forward to hearing his podcasts as they help me continue to learn some composition of art history and it’s relevance to the world of photography.


I guess this is the part where I say that I’ve never met Mr. Forbes.  However, as a photographic artist I find what he has to say interesting and worth watching.

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How to Avoid the Biggest Mistake Art Buyers Make.


I was in Washington D.C. attending a conference for social studies teachers. The conference developed some major problems with over booking of session spaces.  This had the effect of leaving a large crowd of history teachers in walking distance of the National Mall with nothing to do for an afternoon.  A history nut within walking distance of the Smithsonian Museums and the National Gallery Of Art with nothing to do?  Yeah right…

In a flash I was out the door.   I went to the National Museum of the American Indian where upon hitting the gift shop I saw a Clown Clan Koshare.  It was a clay figurine representing the Hopi Clown Clan and made by a Hopi Indian.  It was only about 6-7 inches tall and hand-made and painted.  This was not your typical tourist trap ceramic doll.  It was a real piece of sculpture. The clown is seated with a watermelon in his hands and featured the traditional black and white stripes of the clown clan. The price for the figure was perfect, being on the low-end of  what you’d expect for fine southwestern art of this type.  It was a good bargain for a real piece of  Native American art.  Not that any of this actually mattered.  I liked it.  I wanted it.

It was at that point where my brain became my worst enemy.  I stood there contemplating how I could get it back home without damaging it or having it lost at the airport.  I decided that it would be best for me to wait until the last day of the conference and come back with a better plan on how to stuff it in a backpack to carry it on the plane.  So, grudgingly, I left without buying it.  When I came back the next day, it was gone.  I found out it sold later the same afternoon I had visited.

Thus, I learned the harshest lesson of art.  If you find a piece of art that is handmade, authentic, and you really like it.  Buy it.  Don’t worry how you will get it back home. You may never get another chance to get it. I learned the hard way that sometimes you only get one chance to own art.  Oh, and the salt in the wound?  I realized at that moment, I could’ve had it shipped home.

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Want to know more?   Check out this article at the Peabody Museum  http://tinyurl.com/d47v9q3  and a modern description of the way a clown acts during the ceremonies at http://www.sfaol.com/life/koshares.html


How Will You Benefit From The Dallas Museum of Art’s No Admission Fee?

Great news!   The Dallas Museum of Art has announced on 11/27/12 that they are doing away with admission and membership fees on January 27th 2013. More here.  This is a fabulous development.  Why?


1. Convenience – Money is a serious consideration in doing anything and admission fees play a huge role in what people want to do and what they actually do.  There are now 2 museums in downtown Dallas, The DMA and The Crow Collection of Asian Art. Both are within easy walking distance of each other and both will be free.   They are top quality museums that allow you to spend hours in admiring both ancient and modern art.


2.  Opportunity – For many people, no fees mean a chance to go see forms of culture and history that they would not ordinarily get a chance to see.   More people walking through an exhibit mean a greater chance for donations and volunteers to the museum.  It also provides an opportunity for people to give donations according to what they can afford and get a feeling that they belong to a special organization.  This will stimulate the need for more exhibitions and even more art.  When that art exhibition is photography, it means more demand for photographs.


3.  Exposure–  What photographer doesn’t like excellent exposure? The lack of admission and membership fees is good for new converts to the modern art world.  This includes people seeing photography as an art.  I find it likely, as photography becomes more and more accepted as an art form, free admission will result in more viewers seeing more photos in a form recognized as fine art. Over time, more viewers lead to more patrons and patrons mean more business.  This encourages a greater understanding and acceptance of photography as a fine art.


This is a win-win situation for everyone involved.  Museums get more members and donations, more people see and get education in the arts, and more people get to see photography as a fine art form that leads to business opportunities for all photographers. It’s a good day for photographic art.

Why not start your own artistic journey ?  Sign up to be a friend of A&A Photographic Arts today!

5 Issues Decorating with Light and Fine Art

If the light source of a room is from windows or a skylight, your decorating design will need to be different from a dark hallway or windowless room. Lighting is the lifeblood of any art.  Why?  Color.

Different  levels and types of light can influence the color of a displayed picture.  What does the room look like during the daytime hours?   Are you positioning your artwork to take advantage of the light sources or colors that attract the eye?  The pictures above are of the same piece of plastic under a different type of lighting to give you a sense of how dramatic the change in color is.  Use this to your advantage when placing your art.

The 5 Issues :

1. Non-direct natural light is best.  If the light source is from a series of windows, diffuse any excess light with window dressings like shears or draperies.

2. Avoid direct sunlight.   It will wash out all colors and eventually ruin photographs and other fine arts.

3. Avoid fluorescents when possible.  These give off  harsh light and gives things a different color tint.  Further, many people report having migraines if subjected to fluorescents for an extended length of time.

4.  Be careful with halogen spotlights.  Not only are they bright but also halogens spotlights are known to give off heat.   They are useable, but keep them away from any fabrics, drapes, or photographs.

5.  Be careful with soft white or yellow colors.  Yellow lights are, well, yellow.  They offer a wonderful mellow warming effect against cool colors like blue.  However, too much yellow will change the color.

All lights have their uses.   It is impossible to say that you should use only this type or that type of light every time.  Determining the effect that you want the lighting to have in a room before hand will aid you in choosing the types of lighting that will go best for your situation.