Tag Archives: elements

Discover the Energy of the Lions

Blue Lion is the first in a dual picture set. Red lion is the other picture offered in the set . Meant to go together side by side, the details and colors of these two lions bring up the energies found in fire and water.

Both elements are clearly lions of the elemental world. They both contain a primal cleansing function and are equally feared by man. Lions represent the sheer force and power of nature in action and these statues summon an example of that ferociousness.

Blue Lion
Blue Lion
Red Lion
Red Lion

With the blue hue representative of the water element and the red hue a symbol of fire, we seek and find an energy balance between these giants of the natural world.

Whether you are seeking to enhance the Feng Shui flow of energy found in fire or water or just seeking a powerful dual statement of protection, these lions will look equally good protecting a doorway or projecting color into a room.

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The Texture Trap

Part of the beauty of a rose is the color.  But, the texture of a rose is often overlooked,  Through the use of black and white photography techniques we view this flower in yet another of its beautiful forms.

When dealing with composing a black and white picture for texture your adept to run into the issue of the texture trap. The trap is allowing the texture you are showcasing to completely dominate the picture. Texture is a needed element in any work of art, but too much texture can quickly turn the best masterpiece into a slurred mess of harmony and scale.

The old painting masters use to a sense of color coördination in their landscape masterpieces to give a sense of texture. The foreground would often be painted with close examination to detail to allow the viewer to place himself or herself in the picture.  A master would then paint a midground to present a color gradient to link the foreground to the background. That gradient is what gives the painting such a great sense of depth.

In photography we control this with depth of field.   That wonderful tool that allows the photographer to focus on the foreground in perfect clarity while allowing the camera to blur ever so slightly the midground and fully blurring the background. This depth of field allows us to control out textures by allowing us to simplify and unite the any complex textures into a smoother blended texture as the picture becomes more out of focus.  

One of the difficulties when dealing with texture in photography is that the relative size of the texture will often distort the sense of scale. When I was working on this rose I did not want the rough texture of the front petals to distract from the dramatic effect that the layering of the petals gives the shot.

Just like with the color, I also wanted to take a minimalist approach to size of the rose. Against the blackness of the background, the rose commands attention of the eye. It registers with your eyes and draws you to the center.   But this effect does not act alone to get the result I wanted.

The change in texture found on the rose itself helps draw the eye where I want it to go. The texture in the Rose picturefront and top of the rose is different from the back and bottom petals. Even though the rough texture remains relatively constant from front to back, the outside petals and fringe allows for the black background to hold the viewer’s attention to the rose.

By not having the rose so close and allowing this perceptual depth, I’m able to use the size of the background to hold the texture on the top petals of the rose in check.

Why would I want it in check? I just stated I was using the texture of the rose to draw the viewer’s eyes where I wanted them to go. This seems like a contradiction, but truly it is not. By minimizing the texture of the rose with the size of the background I don’t allow the texture to gain more influence than I want. I’m trying to use space to influence the texture. So the texture doesn’t dominate the scale in the picture like the result you would get by taking a closer macro shot.

As I continue to photograph more and more I am always astonished on how complex good composition easily becomes. The blending of the various elements to create a visual representation of what we wanted reality to be. Hopefully by watching your depth of field, you will avoid the texture trap of allowing to many textures from dominating your shots.


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Has Color Influenced Your Photography Today?

I’ll admit it.  The inner geek/nerd in me loves color.  My fascination began when I went down in one of those tourist submarines.  We approached a depth where the red wavelength could no longer reach and my red ball cap became grey. Since then I’ve been hooked on what color is and why we need it in art.


A scientific definition of color is the resulting wavelengths of light reflected from a solid surface and projected into the eye.   A flower has as certain color due light either being reflected or absorbed by the pigments in the flower itself.  A flower is yellow

Mom Loves Tulips- color
Mom Loves Tulips

because it reflects the light wavelength of yellow while absorbing the other wavelengths of color in the visual spectrum.

We are visual creatures.  We respond certain ways to the stimuli provided by color.  It warns us of danger, like a traffic sign, or tells us about a certain cultural notion or idea such as the color of a wedding dress or a shroud.


It even influences our moods.  The artist will see color as a means to communicate a message.  We use it to communicate feelings and ideas and even actions.  A photojournalist might use it to emphasize a tragic event.  A picture of a displaced family watching their house burn is sad.  However, add the splash of color of the fire or the lights of the fire truck reflecting off their concerned faces and you have the makings of an emotional tragically powerful event.  The faces don’t change the emotions of the viewer as intensely as the hues of the fire reflecting off of their faces does.  It makes the viewer part of the experience.

A fine art photographer might make a photograph of a rosebush being pruned by an old gardener completely black and white except for one single red rose.  Bam!  The viewer’s eye is instantly transported to that rose.  The rest of the picture becomes secondary in nature.  The viewer may ask themselves,  “Why the rose?”  Why that rose?  Only then do they notice it is the rose being pruned by the gardener.   You have told a powerful story.  All from the coloring of a single rose.  The rosebush itself had no power of suggestion, just the rose.

Color is a vital element of art, particularly photographic fine art, it is an important step in communicating with your audience in new and dramatic ways.