“Winter Field” was named an administrator’s weekly choice for a group I belong to. The upload and comments can be read here. Frankly, I was quite flattered as I am not all that good at painting having pursued the hobby to learn more to enhance my photography. I must admit though that I do like the way I can organize the composition of a painting which is often difficult if not impossible to do in a photograph, especially landscapes which I enjoy. At the moment I’m trying to learn to use acrylics but am having a tough time understanding how to mix for the color I want. It always comes out too intense (oversaturated is the term I would use if it were a photograph). I feel like Thomas Edison, I keep learning procedures and processes that don’t work.
Lots of lessons lately, or maybe understanding is a better word. In creating this image I began to think about the difference between art and craft again. For me, and I realize all these concepts are personal rather than general, art is the conceptualization while craft is the skill with which the concept is implemented in the chosen medium.
Now thinking that brought me back to a couple of my original reasons for starting this blog — improving photography and discussing my work in videography. I have perhaps surprised myself in realizing that to create the “mood” or “reaction” I hope to achieve, I need to choose the medium (photo, video, watercolor, acrylics, and so on) with as much care as anything else.
For example is you check out my Payne’s Prairie Foal image I found it could only work as a photograph to convey the “mood” I was after. On the other hand, the photo I took of the Amelia Island Lighthouse, which is somewhat off the beaten path and not where a vista with water can be approached, seemed to cry out for watercolor.
I have been trying to zero in a bit on what drives my decision concerning whether I should publish an image as a photograph or as a painting. When I did this one I at least got one clue. The painting is very close to the actual photograph but by rendering it as a painting I was able to declutter some of the vegetation and to slightly enlarge the sabal palm which is the main subject. But indeed as I wrote in the description this image caught my eye as we were walking between two points when visiting the preserve. The full resolution image is here.
Somehow I think my experimentation with fine art (watercolors and acrylics) has changed my “eye” when photographing landscapes. I’m not totally sure yet what the change is, but it has something to do with the overall “feel” of the image. We recently travelled to Payne’s Prairie State Park in Micanopy Florida (just a bit south of Gainesville) and arrived on a day the wild horse herd was near the observation tower. The ranger told us that the previous day the wild buffalo herd was nearby. I was able to capture this scene of a new foal being led to a short grass area by the mare. The main herd “off camera” to the left of the viewer where the grass was almost as tall as the horses.
We printed a 16 x 12 (300dpi) version of this image and have it on one of our living room walls above a small table lamp. When the lamp is on, the image literally glows. The 300dpi version can be seen here.
I think I am seeing some of my previous photographs in a different light (no pun intended). This is the original image from 2014, an altostratus cloud formation seen over the entire state of Florida. I originally thought it needed to be cropped and an artificial (ie photoshopped) reflection placed at the bottom. A local buyer recently asked to see the original — this image — after looking at the cropped version and immediately purchased a large reprint. So I studied the original again, this time with eyes that have been struggling with painting, and saw much more drama and power in the original that I had thought was there at the time. Gallery posting is here.
A couple of days ago I took some handheld snaps (Nikon D5300) and stitched them together for a quick panorama of an area originally called Cherry Lake in Sumter county Florida. I wanted to use the pan as the basis for a piece of artwork.
In painting, the teaching goes to lighten colors at the horizon and make them progressively more saturated as objects move to the middle ground and then to the foreground.
What struck me is that the photograph does not do that (unfortunately I have tossed the raw or NEF files so I can’t tell what the exposure etc. was).
So I wondered what would happen to the image if I applied those painting rules to it. Here are the results … but I have no idea if this is something I should do in my photographic landscapes. At least its an interesting comparison. The edits were done in Photoshop Elements 11 using a50% gray overlay layer and burning / dodging as appropriate, plus slightly over saturating the left, right, and bottom edges of the original using the sponge tool.
Well, I still haven’t returned to a whole lot of photography, but I did recently create a pretty decent video summarizing some of my talents’ work in teaching Rumba (they took a couple of years off to recuperate). During those years I dabbled off into painting. This is my latest watercolor — my impression of the visitors center at the [Carl] Sandburg Estate [the American poet] in Flat Rock North Carolina.
For the moment, I am continuing in the painting medium with perhaps a chance to return to photography later (my test shots recently have been very different and concentrate on light more than ever).