Tag Archives: artistic photography

Do You Have A Dragonfly Yet?

Living in the tropics the amount of insects and other assorted creatures you find is just staggering.   Most of them are not very photogenic.   However, every once in a while you run into the sort of small insect that screams for a photograph.  A dragonfly remains one of the best examples I know.

Thus, I proudly introduce you to the latest in our dragonfly collection. Blue Dragonfly is a portrait capture of a male Pondhawk in all his beauty. That is unless your another insect, for these voracious hunters prey on smaller insects they capture with the their ability to fly at speeds of 30 mph or more.

Adding a little filter action to the scene produces the remarkable orange background. Funny enough, the background for this shot was actually orange. All the filter did was enhance a little more of this amazing color all the while bringing out the dramatic blue.

Blue Dragonfly
Blue Dragonfly

The hardest part of the filter process was the maintaining of those fragile wings.   A dragonfly’s wings have a very thin, almost completely translucent quality to them. Changing the filter to enhance certain colors would invariably end up transforming the unique properties of those special wings. Indeed it was a challenge that ended with some surprisingly pleasant results.

In the end, when this radiant blue dragonfly with it’s gossamer wings resting peacefully on a flower appeared before my camera I took the opportunity to snap it up.   An act I’m confident you’ll want to do too.

 

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The 55 Buick Roadmaster And Why I Did It

One of the more enjoyable aspects of creating fine art out of historical antiques like this ’55 Buick Roadmaster is learning about the history behind them.  Usually, with machines like cars and airplanes, aficionados like Jay Leno, bring out their slide-rulers and talk about all the old technical terms.

You get to learn the Roadmaster had  a Variable Pitch Dynaflow Transmission, and how with a 322 Nailhead V8 you get 236 horsepower. Or, you could even learn why one of these beautiful cars would be worth more if it had wire spoke wheels than the standard issue. It’s like communicating in another language.

But let’s talk art.  When I originally went to take the picture, I thought of just a candid shot of the grill and hood to show off the natural beauty of a Roadmaster. But, I had another idea.

First, I must confess that after living in the Southern States for a couple of years the concept of watching NASCAR on the weekend is not lost on me.   I’ve always loved the angles from the live cameras on the cars. The shot from the bumper showing the other car following you from 12 inches at 150 mph always raises the level of excitement.

The distinguishing characteristic of this one angle is that the lines are never straight on the car behind you. Because the car is so close, and moving at speed, the dynamics of the shot will always show a slight curve or bend in the fenders and hood.   Your eye views this  as speed. Or, in other words, it makes it look like it’s going fast.

55 Buick Roadmaster
55 Buick Roadmaster

Normally, a photographer would reach for a fisheye shaped lens to accomplish this task. I had two problems with this idea. First, I wanted a slight curve, barely distinguishable to the eye. I wanted the subtle effect of speed without the obvious reason behind it. So I’d be understandably nervous about overdoing it with a fisheye.   Second, and most importantly, I didn’t have a fisheye lens with me, so I had to make do positioning myself, and twisting the camera just a fraction to get the effect I was looking for.

In the end, I believe the goal of what I accomplished the look I wanted. So, help me welcome the 55 Buick Roadmaster to our Gallery. Don’t wait; this work looks incredible on a metal print. Contact us and get yours today!

Understanding The Creative Experience in Photographic Art

Part of the creative experience when you are creating art of any kind is to understand when to break the rules. Studying the successful works of the masters before you earns you some of this knowledge; however, this alone does not guarantee success.

People that practice both photography and art like to have rules. But, rules are guidelines. More like suggestions to be contemplated. What makes a rule a steadfast guarantee of success in one photograph will make it an utter failure in another.

No, instead it’s really applying learned academic knowledge combined with the intangible gut feeling of pure instinct over the period of many viewings.   When you are looking at a subject, say a flower, if you purely concentrate on the academic aspects of taking the picture all you will accomplish is taking a clear focused picture.

 

That’s it, and that is harder than what most people realize in the days of iPhone photographers. That’s because the proper academic technique of taking a picture consists of the mathematical measurements of aperture, focus, rule of thirds, white balance and lens selections, the list goes on and on. You either get these right or it’s wrong.

 

The result is a properly formatted picture of a flower. It looks good. But is it art? That’s where so many people get hung up on definitions.

Now let’s look at that flower from a more creative view. When you are viewing the flower what are you trying to express? What vision are you giving your work? Do you want to break any rules to make that image speak the emotion or action you want it too.

Purple Daisy
Purple Daisy

How you come to this is by experimentation and learning what works for what goal you want to accomplish.   For instance, does the flower have to be precisely centered in the picture, or by putting it to one side can you force the viewer to move their attention?

After a while and about 10,000 pictures you begin to develop an eye for what is going to work and what might not. It is not really a conscious thing though.  I mean you don’t wake up one morning and the world suddenly looks different.  Rather, it is a slow process that usually takes years to appear.

However, I daresay you will become as proficient in the creative view of photographic art as the academic photographer does with all of their math and formula.

Mind you, neither side is necessarily better than the other and any photographer worth their lenses will tell you that it takes both the academic and creative approaches to truly the master the art and science of photography.

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

 

Be The First To Read What The Artist is Saying About This WWII Fighter

I became interested in military aviation in the fall of 1976 when I watched my father work on a large plastic model kit of the Chance Vought F4U Corsair. This WWII fighter plane excited me; everything from the strange cigar looking long fuselage to the gull wings gave the impression that this was a different kind of fighter.

Born in WWII, the Corsair fought in the Pacific theater against the Japanese Empire. This aircraft was a star performer in the hands of many a pilot. Thanks to Hollywood and actor Robert Conrad, no one was more famous for flying Corsairs than Col. Gregory “Pappy” Boyington. He was a Medal of Honor winner and commander of the VMF-214 squadron known as the “Black Sheep Squadron”.

When I eyed this beautiful still operational museum piece at an airport after a nearby airshow, I remembered the old legend of the Black Sheep Squadron and promptly went about capturing the idea.   Baa Baa Baa was born. The conditions for the picture were not to my advantage, however.

Baa Baa Baa
Baa Baa Baa

In artistic photography light is your paint, reality your canvas, and the camera your paintbrush. All three parts must combine and work together for a work of art to coalesce. The aircraft hangers in the background coupled with another fighter just out of the frame proved to be a challenge thanks to the glaring afternoon sun. The only thing to try was constant repositioning and checking the angles for the shot that obtained the most dramatic effect.

Later during processing, I decided to try my hand at creating a more historical looking piece. The traditional black and white imagery proved to be too bland and the way the brilliant sunlight plays on the undercarriage shadows and shiny metal wings became muted. So I started experimenting with the pale browns and yellows of yesteryear type film. The result is a unique blending of techniques and filters allowing the picture to retain its historical feel and yet have the punch and crispness of modern-day photography.

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

Make A Symbol of Power Work for You

The city of Venice uses the winged lion as its symbol. The winged lion is also a symbol of St. Mark, and it’s not by coincidence that St. Mark is also the patron saint of the Venice. There is a power in these old symbols. The mere fact that you find symbols of this nature throughout the ancient world, and often modeled very similarly gives credence to the notion that they believed these symbols had an energetic power also.

In many ways this idea of energy is like that of the Chinese concepts found in Taoism and Feng Shui. In both of these philosophical ideas, objects and pictures can obtain and even hold energy. These objects, such as our wall relief here, influence the attractive or disagreeable energies surrounding us in our everyday environment. It’s believed that using these objects as art can help us in subtle ways.

For instance, a popular artistic expression of a winged lion shows the lion resting his paw on the Motto of Venice. Naturally, being Venice, the motto is in Latin and the ancient carvers may or may not have known what they were writing.  However, when carving out the motto they knew they only had so much space in which to carve the phrase “Pax tibi, Marce, Evangelista meus. Hic requiescet corpus tuum” .

That’s quite a bit of carving to place in a relatively small area without any errors. So, they used a sort of shorthand to get the whole phrase to fit. These artisans preferred the much shortened. “Pax – Evan, Tibi – Geli, Mar – Sta, Ce – Meus”. Obviously this version is a great deal easier to spell and carve. The phrase, in sum, means “Peace to you, Mark, my Evangelist. Here your body shall rest.”

Seal of VeniceThe lion has a grotesque even a gargoylish expression that gives the work an expressive power of suggestion. These carved features often enhanced seals and heraldic carvings to motivate a sense of fear and foreboding in us. It is still believed in many areas of the world today that these grotesque and macabre features are useful in frightening away the evil spirits that wish us ill will. What better location therefore, than to place it on a seal of a powerful empire?

We are then drawn to the large claws surrounding the book on which the famous motto is carefully carved .   At once this message maintains both a foreboding warning of power and fear to the enemies of the owner of the seal and delivers a message of hope of protection to that owner. A message establishing that St. Mark is still present and gentle people have nothing to fear.

The idea is to enhance that message through the visual use of various artistic filters.   The shadows on this piece play a crucial role in establishing the historical and powerful feel of the carving. The deepening shadows and lighting enhance the effect of the lion as both a gargoyle and protector.  Various brown filters are then applied to allow for the stone and it’s all-important texture to suggest its permanent nature as a protective seal against evil.

These two elements drawn together allow for the energy of the piece to fully flow and provide the emotional response that makes owning the work so fulfilling.  All you need to do is display it.

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