Col-o-phon, n.

A publisher’s emblem or imprint, or a historical statement at the end of a book or project, giving information about its authorship, processes and content.

This is an area where I will expound upon the technology and philosophies that drive my own particular pursuit of photography as art. There are many thoughts as to what makes art, usually the most vocal proponents of one thought over another are those who create that particular type of art. I am of course no different! So let the games begin..!  


The Shrinking Camera

Its true, my camera systems are getting smaller and lighter but the image quality is growing!  Happy happy happy!  With the loss of 80% use of both my hands and arms due to a surgery gone bad, this is a good thing!  I have been searching for the perfect small camera system that would best fill my needs. I have been through all of the Sony NEX cameras (ice) and about 7 of the various micro 4/3 systems.  I do like those very much and decided upon a Panasonic GH2 as my main IR camera system at 590nm and I have an Olympus OMD with its long reaching lenses and great and fast focus system for those times that I desire to go out and play with birds.  But my main true love has to be the Fuji X family of range finder style cameras!  The X-Pro 1 (destined to be my next great IR camera) and the X-E1 which is my main color system. The Fuji’s fill every need of mine for 95% of all my photography.  The 5% that it fails at is high speed work like birds in flight, but the OMD works well for that.  I have gone from 100 pounds of camera equipment in a backpack to about 5!  As I said, happy, happy, happy!


Emotional Impact

One of the principals of successful photography (of any kind) that I keep going back to in my posts on all of my blogs is the ability to capture emotional impact within the boundaries of your image that will trap your viewers.  I have written several articles on this in the past yet still feel the desire to touch on it yet again.  There are 6 basic components to a pleasing photograph once the rules of composition have been bent to your creative desire.  They are:

  • Carefully defined foreground
  • Carefully defined mid ground
  • Carefully defined background
  • Color combinations that are complimentary (if shooting in color)
  • Contrasts that AID the rules of composition and help draw your eyes through the image to settle upon the subject (especially true in B&W)
  • The willingness to stand in place and actually see your surroundings, design the image in your mind then use your photographic skills and the camera as a creative tool to actually make the image happen.

Oh, and if you are shooting in Infrared then we will add three more compositional elements as components:

  • Plants with leaves
  • A sky that is dramatic (not cloudless)
  • Some reflective water

Varying contrasts to depth elements to draw your eyes into the image

If you are able to bring as many of these compositional components together into your image then you are on the road to creating an image that will have real emotional impact upon your viewer.  I am looking for that cry “Oh My God!, I cannot believe how this image makes me feel!” from my viewers.  This is not such an easy thing to achieve as we wish it to be.  In my own work I can roughly average several images a week that will have this impact upon people.  First and foremost it has to touch me first on an emotional level before I am even remotely satisfied with the work that I have placed in the image both behind the camera and in front of the computer!  Take a look at the image to the left.  No, do NOT look at the small image, CLICK  on it to see the full size version.  I have created this image using ALL of the components listed above but added one last step:  By varying various levels of contrasts within the fore, mid and background I am helping  draw your eyes into the image starting at the bottom and moving up.  You would argue that the compositional elements and the rule of thirds so this on their own.  And so they do… to a point! But by also varying the contrast elements within the compositional elements you create an emotionally charged image that is guaranteed to grab you by the throat saying “Look At Me!”

Closeup detail of the Cross Eyed Cricket Mill

The 2nd image is a detail shot of a grist mill in TN.  The image might seem plain, but the mill was in an impossible position and lighting to photography properly.  So I moved in closer to look at details.  This is when I noticed the moving water coming off the bottom of the wheel!  I can sit and look at this image for hours and each time I approach it I can see and find something new in it that I didn’t notice in past viewings!

Think about these things as you find yourself standing out in the wild behind the camera and you will find that your portfolio of effective emotional images is enlarged!


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