Friday, September 27, 2013

Shadows and Why I Like Them

One of the best photography classes I ever took was not a photography class.  It was a graphic design class taken at RIT as part of my Pro Photo curriculum around 1980.  There I was introduced to the concept of positive and negative space and the importance of balancing the two for visual harmony.  Our exercise was to create forms on a 3x5" white board, incorporating all or a portion of a square, a triangle, and a circle. Below is an example of one of my efforts.   Positive space loosely defined is the subject or main picture elements.  Negative space is essentially the unused part of the frame.

Since then, I have found strong shadows can sometimes be used to help control the negative space of my images.  Here are a few examples from old as well as new photographs.

I love the design created by the shadows in this picture of Chris;  the "angel's wing" and the strong diagonals that divide the frame.

I like the shapes of each of the picture elements; the silhouetted people, the wet sidewalk, the bench,  the clouds, but without the negative space (i.e. the black foreground), I don't think this picture would work.

Simple is often best and the large negative space helps accentuate the shape of this tiny leaf.

Simple picture elements, Stacey's face and a sign at the bowling alley, accentuated by the deep shadows and dark blue sky of dusk.

The subject is very small in this picture but the negative space adds the drama.

Love the shadow of Rick's hat and how his body disappears into shadow.

A composite from two separate pictures.  Love the negative space created.

There is kind of a 50/50 split between the positive and negative space in this picture of California girls posing their shadows against a white wall at sunset.

I like the interesting shadows contrasted against the backlit cuteness of our great niece.

I guess I'd view the sunset and water as the negative space in this picture, but it's the shape of the fishermen and peninsula in total silhouette that provide the visual harmony.

An image from a "film noir" shoot.  

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Reflections and Snow

I'm a sucker for lake reflections and Lake Lynn in Raleigh is a great place to find them.  But when it started snowing huge flakes today, I immediately headed over there to see if I could capture the inside of a snow globe.  Success!!  Click for full size versions.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lafayette Village

An empty lot about a mile from our home was transformed into this unique European village setting.  It is getting filled with interesting, individually owned restaurants and boutiques.  The Village was all dressed up for the holidays so I couldn't resist taking a few dusk and pre-dawn pictures.  Our friends in Rochester might recognize the restaurant in the last picture, Simply Crepes.   The original is in Pittsford, NY.

Goodbye "Old Friends"

When cleaning out the attic last month I decided to finally throw away a bunch of large mounted prints that I made in the 1970's while at Kodak.  These prints were like old friends because they represented an exciting time in my life as I was just getting started in the world of photography.  But it was time to de-clutter and since we were never planning to display them, I decided instead to take a picture of a few of my favorites for posterity before trashing them.

A window light picture of Claire before we were married.  She was my favorite subject.  This picture could easily be captured by today's great digital cameras but slow films necessitated a tripod and a very still subject back then.

This is Lynn, a high school friend of Claire's, shot on B&W Tri-X film in our apartment.  Always loved the distant look in her eyes .

My sister Mimi.  She's the one who introduced me to photography.  This is a posterization from a B&W negative.  It kills me that you can do this with a click of a mouse today.  Back then, I had to make high contrast separations from the original.  Hours of work in the darkroom.

I worked in the Photographic Technology studio at Kodak and occasionally had opportunities to be creative.  I spent a full day setting up this glassware and dye shot, creating an off-beat impression of how color film was made.

I gained my first understanding of how difficult commercial photography is when I working on this soap picture.  Even though it took a long time to set up the lighting, I only had a few seconds to capture the shot because the bubbles wouldn't last.  Shot with a 4X5 view camera.

My friend and I loved to waterski on Irondequoit Bay.  We got introduced to some good slalom skiers and naturally I wanted to photograph them when the water was still and the sun was low in the sky.

One of our dearest childhood friends, Kathy, posing for me in the backyard of your first home.  I used a homemade soft focus filter on this picture to soften the edges.  Was constantly experimenting with different ways to do this.

Our first road trip to Vermont during foliage season.  I would LOVE to go back there in the fall.