Friday, February 24, 2017

Photography Is...

"Capturing the way we are today, to cherish the way we were tomorrow." -Bob Ray

Ricoh GR II, f/5.6, 1/160sec, ISO 25,600
Completely wrong settings for the situation but I love it

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Birds on the Waterfront

I took a walk through the entire length of "old town" Alexandria from the Metro to the waterfront where I saw this family throwing crumbs to birds as the sun set behind them.
GR II f/5.6 ISO 800
Post-processing in Lightroom, I lowered the highlights to bring out contrast in the sky and applied a graduated filter to lighten the foreground, matching intensity of the color on the water with the sky. Then I bumped up the saturation a bit to stylize the scene. The shutter speed of 1/125th of a second was just long enough to have a bit of motion blur in the birds' wings brushing against the glow of sunset.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Meanwhile, in Iceland

It looks like a DC-3 crash-landed on another planet.

Canon 6D 40mm f/8

An Evening in D.C.

The funny thing is, I was walking around the whole time thinking I brought the wrong camera. The monuments in D.C. line up beautifully at sunset and a long telephoto can compress the distance for spectacular compositions. My fixed wide-angle Ricoh GR II makes such a long distance scene look flat and empty so I was restricted to close-ups, but close-ups of what? The Mall was practically empty on a cold February evening and it's a long walk to everywhere. As the sun set I found myself at the Washington monument with a few hardy tourists and joggers. So I stepped on the grass and got low.

From here the circle of flags makes a nice framing.

Perhaps with such a wide angle lens I can try photographing a monument from the inside, in this case the WWII memorial.

Another possibility, people walking in front of monuments, "street life" style...
Don't mind me, just taking snapshots.

Walking downtown to meet my sister for dinner I saw a protest headed my way. Thanks to some fast footwork and a quick shutter I was able to get in front for this shot.

I wandered back in the night...
ISO 12,800 in all its grainy goodness the Lincoln memorial where the crowd is after dark.
f/2.8 ISO 8000
So much going on among the people on the steps. A couple sitting close together, a man in suit and tie dressed for political ambition or the aspirations of youth, a face illuminated with phone glow, friends are talking, and behind it all a tourist salutes our 16th President with a perfect photo-taking stance.

Inside it was even better, a scene deserving proper high contrast black & white treatment.

With Honest Abe keeping watch, it's a beautiful place for quiet contemplation.

On my way out I passed by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and saw this old guy staring somewhat wistfully at the statue when a large group of children approached in their exuberance, he looked away.

Perhaps he was thinking of one of these names. Perhaps not. In any case it's impossible to not be moved by the weight of it all.

And with that I headed back to the Metro line, to the hotel, and then the next morning, home. As a parting thought, the very last picture on my roll is of a certain place I happened to walk past on Pennsylvania Avenue. I found myself suddenly inspired to make an homage to my favorite Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei and a photo series he called Study of Perspective, and perhaps my own statement regarding the emoluments clause in the Constitution. There was plenty of security and people going in and out but nobody bothered me as I crouched in the middle of the driveway to get a good angle, and then came back again for a second take. I'm sure they've seen this before.
GR II shot left handed at f/2.8

Always have a camera ready. Even if it's the wrong camera.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Golden Spiral in Death Valley

Revisiting some photos from last spring in Death Valley, I came across this "photograph the photographer," applied a bit of dehaze to the foreground to bring out the shadow contrast.  

LX100 f/5.6

I cropped it using the "golden spiral" overlay. The golden spiral is based on the Fibonacci sequence. You compose elements along a sweeping line for the eye to follow and put the focus of your composition where the spiral ends. And it works. Or maybe it's just fun to play with.