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House by the sea

House By The Sea

Photography is more than just creating Fine Art images. It can be used for many purposes. A camera is a great documentary tool. Snapshots definitely have their purpose. I have and use a point and shoot camera for this purpose. Photographing life as it happens is a great thing to do. I forget too easily what my kids were like just a few months ago, and photographs of them in their activities helps keep those memories alive. I have not posted any of these documentary images in the past, but have been considering doing so in the future. It is part of who I am and what influences my art.

I am not an architectural photographer by any means, however as I was returning to my car after an evening at the ocean I noticed this interesting house, so I took a moment to photograph it. The sun had long since descended below the horizon and the last light was fast departing, so I had to hurry and get what I could get. Maybe someday I will return when the light is perfect and try this again. I can visualize the color of a nice sunset reflecting off the windows. As is, this is a nice documentary image that reminds me of a great evening that I had on the coast this past October.

Getting ready for Christmas!

Whitetail Resort

Whitetail Resort

The Christmas Spirit is supposed to be cheerful and happy, however around my house the stress and tension levels seem to escalate! I am not a shopper, but shopping needs to be done. I want to be involved in the Christmastime decisions, but I only last about a half hour at the store before I get edgy and am done. I like to go with a list, get what is on the list and get out. Others in my family love to browse. It drives me crazy! It is my challenge that I must overcome. In an effort to promote the Christmas Spirit I attempt to control my emotions so everyone can be happy! When I succeed in this effort, I notice that our home is a much happier place.

This image reminds me of one of the best Christmastime experiences in my life. I post it as a reminder to myself that Christmas is about being selfless and making others happy. By putting others first I find the strength to persevere the commercialism of the season and find the peace that can enter our lives at this time of year if we allow it.

I wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of holiday seasons. Now it’s time to start the shopping!

Architecture; The importance of an interesting sky

Idaho Falls LDS Temple

When photographing architecture, and especially in black and white, I look for interesting skies. Without clouds, the sky becomes just a boring gray tone. I have just one word of caution, though. If the sky is too dramatic, then it can overpower the building, detracting from the original intent of the photo.

Notice the composition in this image. The building is surrounded by, and rising out of the trees. I have included the landscaping as a way to frame the temple and give the image a solid base. With the sky, I positioned the camera so as to place the spire in a darker part of the sky and surround it with clouds, helping to draw attention and frame the building. The evening light was soft enough to allow detail in both highlight and shadow, yet hard enough and at a low enough of an angle to create depth and dimension in the structure. Light quality, whether natural or artificial, is the key to successful photography.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

I don’t know what it is about this image. I initially didn’t think too much of it, but every time I have reviewed the set of images from my Oregon Coast 2009 trip, this one stands out more and more. It is kind of growing on me, I guess.

I have found over the years that certain images will really appeal to me initially, and over time kind of fade away, and others will take time to grow on me, but I seem to never tire of them. For this reason, I always do an initial edit of my work, but review it several time over the course of several months or even years. Often I find little gems that I missed at first. This is one of those.

When I was at Yaquina Head, the fog was rolling in from the sea and you could barely see the top half of the lighthouse. We hiked down to Cobble Beach and occasionally the fog would grow thin and you could see the top, however it left a unique softness to the image. I think that is what is drawing me in. The subtle color and softness create a very passive feeling, very relaxing to look at. It is very different from the stark, crisp and sharp architectural images that we are used to seeing. I kind of like it for a change.

Boise Temple

Boise LDS Temple

I do not shoot a lot of architecture, but on occasion get an itch to do something different than the natural landscape that I am so involved with currently. The Boise LDS Temple is one building that I have wanted to shoot for a long time. I have seen a lot of images that I think do not do it justice. I have felt that I could create a better image. I guess you could say it was a personal challenge to do this one. One evening when I needed to get out and photograph I decided I would give it a try.

One of the keys to successful architecture photography is to make sure that the light on the building and the lighting on the landscape that it is in are balanced. If the sky and surroundings are too bright, then they will take away the focus on the building. I arrived about 45 minutes before sunset in order to be able to set up and be ready as the sun dropped below the horizon. I had figured that just as the sun set the light would be in near perfect balance. On this evening I was lucky to have some color in the sky, which reflected off of the windows and trim on the front of the temple, giving some extra color contrast to the image.

After making this exposure, I wanted to try something different. I loved the tulips in front of the temple and decided to emphasize them. To do that, I dropped down a bit and moved in tight. I chose a small aperture in order to get everything in focus. These images cannot be done with a hand-held camera, you must be on a tripod. This is what I got.

Boise Temple and Tulips

I am not sure which one is my favorite. There are things about both that I like. I like how the spires line up perfectly with the corners of the roof on the second image. The color in the tulips is nice as well. If you have an opinion, I would live the feedback.

Architecture

Rexburg Temple

On a trip to Eastern Idaho, I stopped in Rexburg tor a visit some friends, who ended up not being at home. this turned out to be a good thing, as I had a chance to photograph in an area I had not had the chance before. The whole story I mentioned in an earlier post that you can find here. This image is the one I was capturing when I noticed the clouds moving in the other direction.

When shooting architecture, I always look for interesting angles. In this case, I had shot the standard “whole building” shot, and wasn’t at all happy. It looked like something anyone could and would do. I started looking at what made this temple different. It is narrower and taller than most, so I tried to emphasize those characteristics. I came in close, selected a wide angle lens, made sure to compose with the foliage in the foreground to act as a natural frame and then waited for the clouds to move to a desirable location. The resulting image is both pleasing and different. I then turned and headed across the street to photograph the clouds rolling in.

More images can be seen at MoffettGallery.com.