Upcoming Print Sale!

So, this winter is horrible and we all need to be cheered up!

Starting tomorrow, there will be a Glass Lakes Photography still life print sale. $25% off product order up to $1,000 in savings.

Please share, share, share and then check back at 8AM or later for the coupon code and details!
http://www.glasslakesphotography.com/gallery/still-life-galleries/

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Why I chose photography; part 1

Why? Because…

I have decided to write a few blurbs now and again to educate, rant, and to tell a story on the photographs. But until now I have never personalized the rantings to tell you all why it is that I have wondered down this path. So now, I think I shall. I am not sure if it will be any sort of beacon in the mass media of stories about such a topic, all I can hope for is that it makes some sort of sense to someone, somewhere. There are a lot of people who make grand statements that they are entering the photographic world after purchasing a digital camera. Then in all reality never get off the ground, except to their friends and family. This creates a problematic culture for talented photographers to enter into the business; there is a lot of noise that must first be overcome. So that you can be separated from camera owners, and defined as a photographer.

So, what is a photographer?

If you were to consult Merriam Webster dictionary it would be listed as “one who practices photography; especially :  one who makes a business of taking photographs” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/photographer accessed: 2/4/2014). If you were to consult Ansel Adams’s writings you would find a passage on how a photographer is a camera technician first and an artist second. Implying the concept that one needs to know their equipment thoroughly to be able to put it to work in the most efficient means. I subscribe to this this school of thought. I feel that in the process one must be a student of the camera. Learning the general principals, and then how they are applied when capturing exposures. Dark room experience is one of the best things for someone to know when entering the field. Not only must you carefully weigh out your exposures in the camera, but you have no way of instant gratification. This will cause you to think, think, and think some more. Especially when you are out re-shooting a roll because of a compositional failure.

It is not about selecting the best…DSC_7056

If you are reviewing your images and making your selections on what image to print based on the fact that it is the best of the bunch is a compromise. There can be no room for compromising in this field. If you cannot capture the image you want then one of two things have happened. You failed by not possessing the knowledge and skills to capture the image you wanted, and thus you need to study more. Or, you were in a situation where you could not control the factors that caused the image to be “imperfect”. Such as when the sun dose not light the clouds as you would like. Then you are forced to make the best of the situation and then pick the best. In this event goals and exasperations should always be dynamic, but always return for what you were seeking originally.

The art is a science…

For the best results you must realize that the art itself is based on scientific principals, and for your creativity to be set loose you need to have a knowledge of the underling principals. Light, optics, time, space, angles all play a role. Why dose the DOF get longer as the aperture gets smaller? Why dose a longer shutter speed have a blur? What is panchromatic film? Why dose my flash only allow the camera to go up to 1/250th of a second? and other such questions. I have always been one with an interest in the sciences. I have tried my hand at drawing, the result of which I swear that somewhere a small child spontaneously ceased to be alive. It was a horrible product. I therefore have remained to keep my hand stayed to a drafting board and when I stray to only produce stick figures. When I read threw study manuals, and books I keep a strong focus on the science behind the operation of the camera. This leads me to be able to produce the images I see, but to also

The science is an art…

As I photograph over the years there develops a feeling of the camera, and an instinctual feeling on what I need to do. It is a craft, a trade. One that when passion is applied to it the scientific principles become more of creative medium. I like to capture the scene as I see it. Realism would be my preferred methodology, now and again I delve into the abstract. It takes a creative side to find a new view of something, especially if that is a common sight. I dislike what I call “postcard” photos. They are boxed, plentiful, and typically a strait on approach to the subject. Lighthouses, and landmarks are the most which are victimized by this. There they are, usually dead centre and lit as you would find them at 3 o’clock on almost any given afternoon. I have climbed down a cliff once to get a different view of a lighthouse, one that I am sure not many have obtained before (Owl’s Head light, Maine; pictured left). I like to share my viewpoint with the world and that by essence is why I have chosen to be a photographer. when I see something which I consider to be aesthetic, I look for another angle.

So…

Aside from entering a treacherous career, I feel that applying my talents in this medium will be to the better benefit of all. Regardless of how long it will take for success. In this field you are always truly a student of the camera.

 

JC

Point Betsie Adventure

Dull winter greyness…

Has been surrounding the entire Norhtern Michigan area for far too long. As I would look out my windows on a daily basis to determine if I should go out and attempt to get some good shots, it would be there, lurking and waiting. There are days that I would go out, and make attempts only to find nothing but a grey sky, ground, and air filled with grey snow. There were a few exceptions that would occur on days where I had other work obligations, that created a most frustrating feeling. However I was sitting at my desk working on a couple of other projects yesterday when I noticed a break in the clouds and some sun peaking in my window. This happened the day before as well, and I made an attempt to go shoot but it failed because the cold blistering wind and greyness returned when I got to my location.

Something felt different thou…

But yesterday felt a little more promising. So I waited a little, there was two and a half hours until the sun would be setting, and I can wait and see what the clouds were going to do. Miraculously it seemed as if the clouds were clearing up. I checked the RADAR and satellite images, that seemed to be promising. I called the Coffee Shop in Glen Arbor, and they said that there was no change up there yet, still no sun. This seems to make more and more sense to me that Leelanau County is a micro climate bubble within the micro climate which is Northern Michigan. So I decided that I would head out. The weather was not the most pleasant, somewhere in the ten degree range with a -20 wind chill. So I bundled up, put on some wind proof pants and wondered out. Unsure of where I wanted to go I went north along Long Lake. I was thinking that if I stayed south of Leelanau I would be doing myself a favour. I wound up in Lake Ann and stopped at the LA Grocery to get a pop. As I left I turned westward and saw that there was an periodic break in the clouds, which told me that it would be a great sunset opportunity.

I made my decision…

It was a little radical, I wanted to go somewhere that I have never been before. So I chose Point Betsie. I have driven past the access road a few many times but never made the turn. All I knew was it was a lighthouse and a couple images I quickly looked up on google. DSC_7040So I pointed my car that way hoping that it was plowed out. I was pleasantly surprised that I did not need to hike in on eight feet of snow to get there, I had the snowshoes in that event. This was also a drawback, because it meant that I would have some company. I got out the tripod, a couple lenses I pocketed, and the old D100. I wondered out onto the ice with an hour before the sun would disappear. It was a nice site, the lake had frozen everything. There was ice covering the ground, the beach, everything. This was also problematic to a degree, hard to keep traction. So I slipped around a good bit, and did my best to not injure myself. I only fell once. After slipping around and exploring for half an hour I had to return to the car to warm up a bit and to change some clothing options. I waited for 15 to thaw out my hands and ears and ventured back out. This time I put on a stocking hat and a grabbed the snowshoes that are equipped with some serious crampons on the bottom. I clacked back out on to the ice.

The Sun was descending…DSC_7066

I wondered around for a while, wanting to frame up the lighthouse in some manner. Knowing that if I had the sunset, it would generate a silhouette of the subject. So I decided to place myself where I was before in the hopes of the sun lighting up the tower and then the clouds with some orange hue. With the addition of the crampons I now could get further down the slick slope that was the ice. I wondered out a little ways and set up so that with a quick turn of the tripod I could get both the lighthouse and the sunset. Although I had my worries about wondering out onto the ice that was Lake Michigan I knew that I must be standing on a few feet of ice and that it was more than likely frozen to the lake bed. This seemed to comfort me a little. There was a man who was way out at the very edge of my vision, hiking alone, and along the hills and valleys that were placed at the very edge of the ice sheet. I kept a worried eye on him as this meant only two things. Either he was a idiot that knew not the risk he was taking, or an avid photographer looking for an extreme shot. In the back of my mind was a story I herd from a fellow alumni of The Leelanau School about when she was out on the ice with a friend, and then later had to be rescued by the Coast Guard helicopter from Traverse City as they were drifting out past South Fox Island. I set up my tripod and waited, almost falling asleep once because I laid back onto the ice sheet and watched as the clouds raced by above. I sat up as The Sun was approaching about 20 degrees off the horizon. DSC_7056The lighthouse lit up as I was hoping but the clouds never seemed to catch up. The sunset was a lovely one, but with the assault of the high ridges of the ice it seemed to be mostly lost. The best feature that I found was my attempt to combine a reflection from some texture on the ice near my position with the sunset in tDSC_7072he background. I decided that I should make a position change, it seemed that I had exhausted the options of where I was. So I went to the Southwest a little distance to where it appeared to be a beach in the summer and set up again. It seemed to provide a nice framing for the lighthouse between some trees. It did not have the annoying signal house in the view as with most of the others, but it still seemed to be lacking.

Someday…

I would like to make a return trip and find better framing, along with some better lighting on the clouds. Until then I should try my luck with Old Mission light, even maybe the crib on the Manitue passage. I have provided some more images from that night in this post as well for your view pleasure. If you have any comments or critiques please post a comment.

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