Tag Archives: photography

The Story Of A Shell

Sometimes the best and most artistic things come in really small packages. This is true for macro photography. Macro photography is the scientific art of taking the very small and making it larger. It effectively uses your camera as a type of microscope.

Often in the world of Macro photography we see impossibly small scenes of insect faces, bulbous eyes of flies or the death stare of the praying mantis. But, the artist doesn’t necessarily require such magnification to make an artistic statement. Often the subject itself presents the artist with a hidden mystery or story.

Often the beauty and structure of a story in nature exists in the smallest items. This month’s feature Shell in Sand shows the majesty of such a shell and the story it presents to us.

Shell in Sand
Shell in Sand

Indeed,  a magnificence found in this shell is the pink undertones and greenish brown highlights contrasted against the cold gray of the sand. Shell colors are determined by the diet of the animal or it’s genes. Often the color of the shell will provide camouflage against hungry predators looking to cut our story short with a rather dramatic ending.

Not just Color

Color in fact only tells part of the story of our shell. The ridges on each raised line reflect the age of the animal that once called this shell home.  It also presents the  mathematical precision used during its creation. The size of the ridges can make the shell look larger and provide structural support for the shell against attack. Was it to scare off potential rivals?

Then the story of our shell continues with the growth of the small barnacles at the edge of the shell. The mystery only deepens as we ponder whether these temporary slackers used the shell as their base before our aquatic friend met his end or after when the shell represented a lifeless husk of a once beautiful corporeal house.

Our story finally comes to the ageless time spent on the bottom of the sea. Drifting with the currents in a haphazardly fashion at the whim of the waves. How long did it sit before a storm at high tide disrupted its slumber and sent it tumbling with the surf only to arrive partially buried in the sand at a place predestined to change its story forever. There it waited patiently for my arrival and a chance to tell its story to my camera and then the world.

 

 

The Building Storm

The picture Building Storm convinces us that nature is truly an awe-inspiring and captivating subject.   There exists a level of power in those columns of clouds that we as mere mortals just cannot seem to grasp.

Our own brains immediately channel part of that power down primal synapses and earlier embedded childhood memories that usually protect us. We see an image of danger and immediately feel a tantalizing sense of wonderment. Yet, in the tiny recesses of our mind there is also a touch of disbelief that such a storm could exist.

You might start asking questions. Is it heading our way? How long until it gets here? Or the infamous comment, “Damn, I just washed the car!” All are thoughts that course through our adult minds at light speed.

Building Storm
Building Storm

The Work Behind Building Storm

This picture really represents one of the nicer things about living close to an ocean. Near the ocean nothing exists between you and the horizon except the vastness of the water.  You can see the whole horizon right to the point where the perfectly flat waterscape meets the perfectly flat sky.

The problem of not having visual landmarks only adds mystery to the actual photograph. You can’t really determine size or distance very well when such a large object is dominating the sky. This also adds to an impending sense of dread.

I wanted to take that dread and feeling of raw power and enhance it. So, using heavy blue Cyanotype filter, I turned the picture into a blue and white not a black and white image.

The next issue was the crispness of the photo. This is a sort of irony for me because I suffer from a bane in the photographer’s world known as camera shake. This means that my fingers press too hard on the shutter button and the camera tends to shake thus causing some blurring to occur.  Usually, I have to take countermeasures so that it won’t happen.

Well, imagine my surprise when I discovered a situation where adding a bit of abstraction to the scene actually enhances the artistic flair!

Nature played her part well; it was her work of art in the first place, by selecting the perfect colors and shading to help transform a typical thunderstorm on the horizon to an enhanced beautiful monster of a storm.

Who’s ready for Spring?

 

Spring is one of the best times of the year.  The days are getting longer, and the winds are warmer.  The long winter, if such a thing existed in Florida, is coming to a close and the art season on the Suncoast is in full swing.

We just wrapped up a month-long show outside the

Caught me unawares during the setup...
Caught me unawares during the setup…

auditorium at the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center and are already looking to make a return to their hallowed halls in April for a month-long show with the Tarpon Springs Art Association.  

Meanwhile, the new butterfly collection remains on view at the Gateway Gallery in New Port Richey until April. There is no rest for the artist, and we are spending our precious spring days preparing  Art on the Bayou in April, a two person show in the New Port Richey City Hall during May, and a continuing series of revolving shows at the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center.

White Peacock ButterflyIn the meantime, enjoy our latest additions to the Butterfly Collection.  These works of art are incredible Monarch-Butterfly-2to look at when printed on our archival aluminum print.   The aluminum gives the image a glossy image and produces an effect that appears to light up each work.

 

 

 

[shopify embed_type=”product” shop=”a-a-photographic-arts.myshopify.com” product_handle=”monarch-butterfly-2″ show=”all”][shopify embed_type=”product” shop=”a-a-photographic-arts.myshopify.com” product_handle=”white-peacock-butterfly” show=”all”]

 

Know Something Most Artists Don’t Know About Filters

This incredible capture of a local bird fishing by the side of a tranquil pond owes its drama and vision to the use of filters in photographic art.

What we do:

I’m often called upon to explain what a photographic artist does.  I explain not only to the everyday art lover, but often enough to painters and sculptors also. Many people, especially, other artists are often hung up with the use of photography as merely a recording tool for selfies.

Slowly, these barriers of misunderstanding are breaking down.  Especially as people see the results of science and art blended in perfect unison.

In Photographic art the light is our paintbrush and reality is our stretched canvas. However, we need to add some further explanation as our work of art Water Bird in Copper displays.

Water Bird in Copper
Water Bird in Copper

Namely, a filter is our artist palette.

 

This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Mlaoxve
Public domain by its author, Mlaoxve

Artist palettes are stereotypically large boards held by painters where they mix the colors of the paints. It’s one of the oldest and most recognizable pieces of equipment in a painter’s toolbox.

 

Painters use palettes to mix their colors to achieve the perfect nuance of color that they then apply to the picture that they are painting. It allows them to lighten or darken paints to create help them create the highlight or shadow in the work according to their need.

In photography, the use of filters is nothing new. In fact, with out the use of filters color film would never have developed. Filters allow certain wavelengths of light, or colors, through to the lens while blocking others.

In it’s artistic application; the humble filter can serve the role of the palette and dramatically enhance the drama and beauty of the picture at hand.

 

How We Took A Flower From Ordinary To Extraordinary

As I mentioned last week, we are looking to take this photo of a typical tea rose and turn it into something fabulous. It is a good photo with the subject clearly

Tea Rose Original
How can we improve this?

defined and focused. But, it looks like thousands of other photographs of a tea rose.

Artistic is not really a word I would use to describe it as much as ordinary. Ordinary is not bad, but we are making art here!   Yet, it does have some artistic value. Centered in the shot, the rose falls in line with the traditional rule of thirds. However, there is too much space on the outside of the rose.

If you look at the white of the rose and the dirty white in the background you’ll discover that the rose tends to disappear into the background. If it wasn’t for the reddish tint on the tips of the petals, one might not even realize it is there. That is not good.  The answer is to crop the picture so that the flower becomes more focused as the one and only item for the viewer’s perusal.

Next, we need to create a mood for the picture. Since the subject is a flower, we can easily follow one of two routes for creating this mood. We can soften the flower by blurring it. This will give the flower a dreamy  like quality. Doing this kind of visualization reminds me of the Hallmark cards you see for sick people or weddings. In my opinion this is best done with a color photograph.

Or we choose the second mystical mood creator known in art as visual punch. This choosing of one technique over another, probably more than anywhere, is where the visual message of the artist gets to be expressed in photographic art. It’s a choice. You must factor in different element of the picture to make your choice wisely. Personally, I’m thinking this flower needs visual punch. Punch is power.

The reasoning behind this decision is the color of the flower. Since the shot happened during the mid afternoon with the harsh sunlight moving in and out of the clouds, I used a UV filter to act as a sort of sunglasses. I don’t like the amount of color I had to lose to make sure I capture the detail in the flower. Therefore, I chose the visual punch of a black and white image.

Further, the shot just doesn’t seem romantic and “soft” to me.  However, flowers always show a certain sense of passion and passion is power.  So, we have passion and visual punch able to combine into a true statement.  My vision of what route to take when creating this work is now complete.  Now we just need to visually bring it to life.

Since there is no color to attract the eye, we can only use the shading naturally provided by the sun and the colors as they turn from various colors to numerous shades of blackness. The result is a powerful visual image.

Pink Petal Tea Rose
Passion and Punch always work together.

The flower is actually enhanced in its detail by losing the color and the cropping helps bring out the graininess of the flowers leaves. The result is a powerful combination of light and dark, grainy and smoothness that will look good whether framed or printed on canvas.

We go from ordinary to extraordinary.

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