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Developing Personal Vision

Mussel in the Sand

Anything can be photographed! We have been talking about vision in my advanced photo classes, and looking at images of ordinary subjects photographed in extraordinary ways. It all boils down to vision, what we see and how we present it in a photograph. Is it nicely composed and flawlessly lit to enhance our vision? Does it create a feeling or a mood?

Some of my favorite photographers photographed common things. Edward Weston photographed peppers and Paul Caponigro shot sunflowers, both in incredible ways. It really doesn’t matter where we reside and work, it is about how we see. Learning to see in moving ways is an art. Through practice we can develop a personal vision that allows us to share a piece of ourselves to the world. I find it very refreshing as well that my vision evolves and changes with time and experience. As I live life, those experiences shape and mold my vision. I see old things in new ways and new things in old ways. When photographing from the heart, I am never disappointed. It is always new and exciting.

I love life!

I love photography!

Marina Reflections


As hard as it is to do sometimes, it is good to get out of your comfort zone. I teach this all the time to my students as I assign them to photograph things that are not their forte. Doing it out of choice is harder to do, though. One rainy afternoon I found myself at the marina in Newport and decided to try something new. I have always admired photographers who shoot in locations like this and work wonders with their images. This is not where I choose to do most of my work. I fail find the organization in this kind of chaos. I am about simplicity.

I made the choice to find and photograph something that day. I had no tripod with me at the time, which made matters worse. I am always on a tripod. I didn’t have any idea what I might be able to find, but I went looking. I was way out of my comfort zone.

It was a great experience. I learned that even though I don’t choose to photograph this way very often, I can do it. I began to see things that I wouldn’t normally see. I began isolating the reflections in the water from the bouts. The scenes became abstract and I saw line, color, shape and form. I learned that beauty is everywhere, we just need to open our eyes. It is about vision.It is about the love of photography.

Autumn Sunsets


October is my favorite month to photograph. The air is cool and refreshing. The colors are great and the light is wonderful. There is a good mixture of sunny days and stormy weather… I love both! Above all, though, the sunsets are usually great.

One particular evening as I was out at the lake, I turned west just in time to see this line of birds crossing through the golden light after the sun had dropped below the horizon. I quickly turned the camera and shot. I didn’t have time to think, I just did it. I was glad to have had enough experience to know where my camera settings needed to be because I only got one frame shot and the birds were gone. It is so important to understand the technical aspects of the camera so that you don’t miss out on these kind of opportunities.

Light, Line and Color

Light is what I look for. If I find great light, I will always find a subject. In this case a small stand of trees in the middle of the red rock hillside on the island of Kauai. I noticed this on the way up to Waimea Canyon, but on the way back down at sunset the light was just right. It skims across the tree as well as the ridges of the rolling hills and creates depth in the image otherwise unattainable. The light dances across the scene creating a liveliness that was not there just a few hours earlier. Timing is everything. A photographer must be patient if he is to succeed. It is a life of looking and waiting, then at just the right instant creating. It is a wonderful life!

Reminiscing; Square Format and VPS

Sunset, Gotts Point

I used to shoot square images a lot. My wedding camera, back in the days of film, was square. I sometimes miss that Bronica. I liked the feel of it. I liked the format. It was refreshing because it was different. It was sometimes challenging to shoot interesting compositions because it was symmetrical. I got used to it and loved it. Now I shoot almost entirely digital. I have one format. Occasionally I still see square, though, and I shoot and crop. This is one such image.

While out at the lake earlier this month, I watched the sun setting and this pastel image appeared before my eyes. I set up my tripod and camera, and rotated from horizontal to vertical and back again. The image was not in the rectangle frame of my DSLR. It was most definitely square. The lines created by the rocks and the horizon leading left to right are strong. The placement of the sun in the upper right, perfect. This is the perfect composition to be photographed square. It has a strong vertical feel to it, yet it is perfectly square. My mind drifted back to my Bronica SQai. I could feel it in my hands as I squeezed the shutter. Even the color of the image is reminiscent of the color from Kodak VPS, my favorite color film that Kodak ever made. The pastel colors rendered warm and inviting. The contrast soft and smooth. This image reminds me a lot of my days shooting film. Those were good days.