Weekly Photo Challenge: Admiration

It was a nice afternoon, so I went for a walk in our local park.  I found this wildflower blooming:

ISO 400 4.3mm f/8.0 1/250

ISO 400 4.3mm f/8.0 1/250

Pretty amazing when you consider that this was the same area that was the control burn at the beginning of March.  Here is what it looked like then:

ISO 160 170mm f/5.6 1/640

ISO 160 170mm f/5.6 1/640

I blogged about it here.  I couldn’t help but admire how fast things were growing back.  The photo from today was taken with my point and shoot.  I used the macro setting, which I think does a nice job of shooting flowers in particular.  In Photoshop I cropped the photo and sharpened it a bit.  The photo from the controlled burn was taken with my Canon 50D and was edited in Photoshop into an HDR image.

Pretty amazing how quickly the area changed isn’t it? Do you have a favorite place to go and shoot under different conditions or at different times of the year? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Abstract

In the Spring the St. Louis Art Museum hosts one of my favorite exhibits, Art in Bloom. The challenge for some local floral artists is to create a work based on a piece from the museum that is assigned to them.

This was one of my favorites from this year.  It was this detail that caught my eye:

ISO 800 10mm f/5.0 1/13

ISO 800 10mm f/5.0 1/13

The ribbon, an almost exact detail from the painting, I think made the arrangement go from abstract to concrete.

This exhibit is usually crowded, for that reason I take my point and shoot camera. I usually set my ISO to 800, turn the flash off, and then let the camera make the rest of the decisions.  This low maintenance approach leaves me with nice photos and more time to focus on the art I am looking at.  I was lucky this year to have time to see the exhibit twice, once in the morning on its first full day and once near the end of the weekend in the evening.  It was interesting to me how much the arrangements had changed over the few days.

What do you think, do you like this take on the painting? Do you have a favorite yearly art exhibit?  Do you think that the time of day changes how you interact with the art you are looking at? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dinnertime

I went to an exhibit a few weeks ago that has then been lurking in my brain ever since. I will say upfront that I tend to shy away from contemporary art, but still, there I was in the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, wandering through the galleries.  I had not taken my camera, it was a conscious choice; to go and visit with the art, but not bring along my full kit of art supplies.  I did however bring what I consider sometimes to be my sketch pencil, that is my phone.  I’ll take snapshots of things that interest me so that I can come back to them later.

When I saw the theme for this week’s photo challenge, this display floated back to the front of my brain.  The exhibit was called “Not Human” by artist Arcangelo Sassolino.  This particular piece was not working the day I was there so I found this video on Youtube of what it is supposed to look like.

Figurante, 2010 Steel, bone, and hydraulic system

Figurante, 2010
Steel, bone, and hydraulic system

I will tell you that what this photo doesn’t show is blood that was dripping down the jaws and onto the floor.  Overall, the exhibit was noisy and messy for an art exhibit.  All but one of the pieces moved in someway.  A certain amount of housekeeping is required daily for this exhibit.

Speaking of housekeeping,  I’d just like to let my readers know that I am in the process of a pretty big move and so will not be posting as regularly over the next few months. I’m hoping to still post and visit other blogs, but overall my “blogging time” will be less than usual in the short term.

So what do you think of the work of art? I found the display different and the most thought provoking exhibit I saw that day.  Feel free to leave a comment below, let me know too, if you watched the video of the art in action.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Harmony

It’s worth it, I think, to have public parks, they make it a little easier to feel in harmony with nature. Maintaining a natural setting requires some work.  Setting fire to a prairie seems counterintuitive, but it does actually help keep the land healthy and productive.  This weekend there was a controlled burn at a nearby park, so I went to take some photos:

ISO 160 170mm f/5.6 1/640

ISO 160 170mm f/5.6 1/640

It was a sunny morning, so I was able to set my ISO low and still have a high shutter speed.  The image you see above is an HDR image.  I bracketed the photo while I was shooting so that I could create an HDR image later in Photoshop. For this shoot I was using my 70-200mm lens; it allowed me to get great shots but not get in the way.

The images in the gallery below tell more of the story of the burn.  I decided to not edit them at all, keeping them as close to what I saw for the viewer.

It was interesting to watch them work.  This particular park of the park is beautiful when it is in bloom.  The burn will help keep it that way.

Don’t you love it when interesting photography shoots just drop in your lap? Have you ever seen this type of work being done?  What do you think of the HDR version?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: State of Mind

It’s late winter here, what to me is the hardest time of year.  I had an unexpected day off in the form of a snow day this past week.  I was up early as usual, but didn’t have to stick with my usual schedule.  I took advantage of this change by taking photos of the storm that was blowing outside:

ISO 800 50mm f/7.1 1/100

ISO 800 50mm f/7.1 1/100

This week’s photo challenge is to choose a photo that reflects your state of mind, and I chose this one.  It’s pretty dark here, but what drew me to create this image was the light, the almost ethereal glow of early morning in a snowstorm.  This photo is actually an HDR image, One of the original exposures is just below. I used HDR to bring out the definition of the house and the trees.  I also think it helped the photo glow a bit more.  That to me, is the strength of HDR, you really can bring out a lot by using even just three exposures and combining them into one image.

ISO 800 50mm f/7.1 1/100

ISO 800 50mm f/7.1 1/100

It’s not all doom and gloom here, it’s just the start of Spring, so this day was followed by a very warm and sunny day, but for me, this was the image that reflected the mood of the week.

How are things where you are, is the weather turbulent there as well?  What do you think of my edit? are you a fan of HDR, or not so much?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Seasons

While in theory I do love living in an area where there are four distinct seasons, I will admit that I often long for warmer weather during the winter.  So on a particularly cold day this past week, I headed to an indoor garden to take some photos:

ISO 500 50mm f/4.5 1/125

ISO 500 50mm f/4.5 1/125

This is an Aphelandra, and here is what the photo looked like originally:

ISO 500 50mm f/4.5 1/125

ISO 500 50mm f/4.5 1/125

It’s beautiful as is but when I was editing it, I wondered if I could make the yellow tips glow in a black and white version. I am new this week to Lightroom, so I went ahead and did some of the editing there.  Specifically for this final version I looked at all the black and white presets that were available to me, picked the one that I liked, and then adjusted from there.  Prior to doing that though, I did start with my color version in Photoshop. I chose to do my cropping and sharpening there, and then did the black and white transformation in Lightroom.

It’s been a bumpy few weeks for me.  I’m in the process of taking an on-line course in Lightroom, so that hopefully I will be able to use it fully.  It means a lot of stops and starts in my work as I have to google instructions on how to do things, and then look at those instructions again a few days later as I am still learning and don’t yet have even the simple things down by rote.

How are things where you are, are you enjoying the current season or do you find yourself longing for another one?  Do you like the black and white edit?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Life Imitates Art

When I saw the theme for this week’s photo challenge I thought, my life did not imitate art this week.  Instead, this is what my life looked like:

ISO 500 4.3mm f/2.7 1/60

ISO 500 4.3mm f/2.7 1/60

That’s me in my office, where I create my work, only work this week consisted of hours worth of attempting to get my new laptop set up and my photo files transferred so that I could “do” my art.  It was incredibly frustrating.  It involved a lot of moving parts and thinking through what my new workflow is going to look like. I had trouble sleeping.  But when I created the image above in Lightroom and then Photoshop, the worst was behind me, I hope.

So then I was thinking again about the challenge, and thought that I saw my past week reflected in this painting:

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper 1942

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper 1942

I’m there at the counter, my back is to you.  It’s a busy world around me somewhere and it’s busy inside my own head, yet somehow there is such a desolate stillness to what I am doing.  That’s what I see in this painting this week and in my photograph above.

But if you are feeling a bit down for me, don’t, through this process I found a few new things this week.  First, the photographer Gail Albert Halaban, who has a whole series based on Edward Hopper. I also took a break and went to see an art exhibit by Judith Shaw called Body of Work.  I found it very moving.  It was also nice to know that all her work and hours put toward this exhibit had yielded something so beautiful, it was encouraging to me as I went back to my own work.

And that’s the thing about art, that life is reflected in it, your life, whatever is in your mind at that moment will be reflected in the art you are looking at or creating.  It’s an interesting process don’t you think?  Do you have a favorite work of art that looks a bit different to you depending on the day?  Feel free to leave your thoughts on the matter or your take on my week in the comments below.

Happy Creating,

Cheers!