Photography Close to Home

Macro Photography

If you are like most of us, you have been spending a lot of time around the house lately. We can only spend so much time working or doing chores before we start to try to figure out something that will occupy our creative minds between obligations. I like to give my mind a break by taking time to be creative. As photographers, and creatives, we have a lot of options for making some creative artistic images at home.

Macro Photography - Macro photography is a type of photography that involves photographing small things. It is Springtime and the flowers are blooming and the bugs are starting to crawl. They both make excellent subjects for macro photos. You do not necessarily need a lens that is made specifically for macro if you have a zoom lens that will shoot at a focal length of about 90mm or more. Something that I like to do with flowers is to take a spray bottle and spray water drops on the flowers. I also like the look of a shallow depth of field. Using an open aperture and getting close to your lens will create a soft feel around the narrow-focused area in your shot. Give it a try.

Abstract Photography - Everyone knows about abstract painting, but abstract images can be created with your camera too. An observant eye can find patterns and textures that could be interpreted as impressionistic paintings. Structural shapes, angles and patterns can be framed in a beautiful yet abstract way. Not only are you able to create abstracts by observing your surroundings but you can use the camera adjustments to alter the reality of the scene. Something that I enjoy doing is to extend the shutter speed to a second or more and move the camera to create patterns of movement. This technique is called Intentional Camera Movement. Try varying the degree of focus. Shoot into the sunshine through leaves. Be creative.

ICM - Intentional Camera Movement

Portraiture - Photograph your family or your pets. Artful portraiture is something that can challenge you. Try using your family members or your pets as subjects for your photos. Be mindful of the background and consider the lighting on your subject. Some beautiful portraits can be made using the light that comes in from a window. Set up a sheet as a backdrop and use shop lights with a fabric or some translucent paper in front to reduce the harshness of the light. Be creative.

Taken in a dark room with a single light

The best thing about a digital camera is that we are not limited on how many photos there are on a roll of film. This allows us to just get lost in taking photos. It allows us to experiment. You can take a photo, preview it, correct, or change a setting and try it again. It allows you to be able to occupy yourself creating artistic images all day. So, do not despair if you are agonizing about not being able to get out and take photos like you would like to. Play and practice close to home in the meantime. 

Details, Details.

 

Lost Lake Ripples

 

It's a beautiful warm sunny day as you drive up into the mountains seeking cooler air and a needed break even if only for the afternoon. The kind of break that requires a seat next to a lake you think to yourself.

As you arrive you leave your car and stretch your legs you look at the trees surrounding you. You breath in the forest's essence and walk toward an opening in the trees that leads to the path that you seek. The one that gives you a view to your goal.

As you walk forward the opening slowly reveals a still lake whose surface is broken only by the texture of the effect of a soft breeze. Beyond the lake toward the opposite end lies in the distance the snow capped peak of a glacier laden mountain reflected softly in the lake. You instantly feel a relief of stress in your body.

In the moment that you take to admire and absorb the beauty revealed to you an adult male bald eagle flies past the break in the trees, light shining off of it's feathers, floating in the breeze only to disappear for a moment behind the trees then to reappear high up in the sky floating off into the distance to a tree branch of a tall Douglas fir tree.

The scene is huge and majestic. There's so much to see and observe. It's larger than life itself.

As you stand there you realize that you came to also snap a few photos. You think how cool it would have been to be able to get a shot of that eagle as it flew past... so you best be ready in case it happens again! You bring out the wide angle lens to get some photos of the scene beyond. Everything must be included you think. The trees surrounding the opening and framing the amazing scene, the bushes in the foreground, the surface of the lake, the occasional boat floating by, the mountain in the background and that darn eagle if he'd cooperate.

You snap a few shots before you walk to the edge of the lake. Excellent, you think to yourself. Another great comp for the wide angle lens but closer to the water. Snap, snap, snap.

In time you set your camera down and you start to relax while casually looking at the details surrounding you. The fresh growth on the tips of the trees, the heat of the sun, the chill of the breeze. The water at your feet is lapping against the shore and the rocks along it. The daydreaming starts and then you realize that you're staring at the surface of the water and the patterns of the undulating reflection caused by the soft waves along the shallows of the lake. They move around causing an abstract and fascinating hypnotic show.

All of a sudden it occurs to you that you should try get a photo of it just how it appeared to you. A literal graphic interpretation. You get the camera and point it at the water. The first few shots show a very fine and noisy texture from what seems like a long distance away, nothing like your eyes saw as you were staring at it contemplatively. You change lenses and zoom in to about 300mm and shoot a little closer. You snap one and look at the sensor and you see it. It seems to capture the fluid, pulsating movement that hypnotized you. You then spend another 20 minutes taking the shot over and over trying to get it just right, when really one was just as good as the next yet you enjoy every minute.

How many times do you go out to a scene as I described above and then didn't take the time to look at the details?

Look at nature as a source of patterns, rhythms and a source for your creative abstractions. Take off the long lens and shoot some details. Not just close up macros of flowers, for instance, but also of things like the surface of a lake. It will stretch your creativity and will feed that creative need in you as an artist.

The scene that I described above actually happened this last Saturday at Lost lake while I conducted a private tour with a client. He was stoked, to say the least.

We shot for four days. We shot wide angle scenes to macros. Creeks and waterfalls to mountain vistas. Wildflowers to cherry trees. I was also able to give him some pointers along the way that will certainly help him elevate his work a few notches... this is his word not mine.

Remember Gary Randall Photography for workshops, classes and photo tours. I would appreciate it. ­čÖé

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