Tag Archives: Photography

Sketching evaluation

For those of you who followed this concept, I began around the first of February — maybe a week or so earlier — to try to teach myself how to create pencil sketches.  Access to a learning center where I lived abruptly closed this year, so that left me to figure this out by myself with the use of those youtube teaching videos I could find.

I have just about completed my first sketchbook and I can look back to see how I progressed – a kind of self evaluation in some sense.  I began sketching things I could see, and noticed I was able to produce a recognizable hand — in proportion and with appropriate shading — right out of the barn.

I progressed to some landscape scenes and discovered that I was very heavy-handed with a pencil.  I had to go back and learn pencil use skills, something I figured I had conquered in first grade.  Pencil skills included the ability to reproduce four shades of gray which along with the white of the paper would give me five B&W tones.  That turned out to be quite a challenge which took a couple of weeks to conquer.

I progressed to portraits and found I had a real problem with proportions of the human body – I call this my “cubist” period.  It was necessary to study each component of the face (overall shape, hair, eyes, nose, mouth, and ears) individually.  It took quite a while to reach adequacy.

At that point my sketches began to look like human beings, just not the people I was drawing.  More practice and study led me to the concept of a very light sketch underlaying the sketch itself.  I knew painters often sketched a rough out of their work before applying paint, but it never occurred to me that a pencil drawing required the same thing — or at least in my case looked better if I did.

I discovered that all of this work about ways to affix a range of tones to the drawing really improved my photographers eye for lighting a black and white photograph.  And I also found that I can interpret a scene in color as gray shades, something quite new for me.

I’m returning to landscape drawings, but for those interested here is a link to those sketches I thought were good enough to post on my photography webpage.


African Iris


Florals are something of a “subject for an overcast day” for me, as you can see by looking over my florals catalog here.  They are fun to take, and I always marvel that some of the same lighting and post-processing touch-up techniques are used for florals as for portraits.  The african iris, above, was taken on — yes — a heavily overcast day.  I used a tripod as I almost always do now, and the other camera specs are in the description of the image in the gallery at the link above.  As I noted, for me, this is probably the best separation of blossom from background that I have done … and in the end photography is about improvement of skills I believe, so I am happy with it.  The only real “Wow” factor is the image is that it scales to four feet by four feet if someone ever wanted an image of an iris that large.  It was fun, and I will certainly take more flower images on the next overcast day.

Thoughts on moving water or waterfall photos

One of the photography groups at Pixels/Fine Art America is hosting a contest the subject of which is waterfalls.  Any viewer can vote, I did, and if you want to here is the link to the contest overview page (just click on the vote tab to begin).

When I finished voting I had to rethink what I had learned about photographing moving water.  The technique was to use a longer than normal shutter speed (I learned it as 1/20s or less) in order to blur the water given the sense of movement.  However, after looking at 500 photos, I’m not convinced the technique is worth doing anymore — or if it is, then should be used sparingly.

This image is an example of the technique at its maximum use.  Its very attractive, but I don’t get a sense of moving water.  I think the method is overused and at least my mind finds it hackneyed.  On the other hand, this one was taken with no attempt to blur water lines, and this one was taken at 1/20s for a slight blur.

Its all up to the viewer of the image of course, but I am rethinking when and how much I should use the blurring technique in the future.


AS Panorama 4600x4800 B&W_small

Cloud formations impress me, but then I am perhaps easily impressed.  This is a very dramatic formation of altostratus clouds heralding the arrival of a cold front in Florida.  I have the image both in color and in B&W — both are dramatic — but I like the impact of this one best.  It scales to a very large print — 23×24 at 200 dpi, or nearly 2 feet x 2 feet if you like the poster effect of 100 dpi.  See the full image in my gallery here.

Koi and Water Lily – free download

Koi & Water Lily 450x600

Here is a 450×900 image that you can open and download by copying the result from your display (see my previous post “Fall Poplar Leaf” for how I make those downloads).  A full version can be seen here.  I think I will crop the upper right quadrant of this image and make a new one, just of the water lily.  So don’t be surprised if parts of this image show up again.  Meanwhile, when the hit level for the post reaches a high enough number I will be able to move my entire gallery into this sort of method at full size.  Thanks everyone.

Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Sunshine Skyway Bridge_small

I have just uploaded this photo to my gallery Florida Color Landscapes and Seascapes.  It is a small “Panavision aspect” photo at 700 x 1600 pixels in this gallery.  This is the new Sunshine Skyway Bridge which replaced the old dual structure bridge after it was struck by the freighter Capricorn and one side collapsed.  The photo demonstrates the architectural beauty of the new structure in strong sunlight.

Two things today


First – I think I have to apologize to the nice folks who follow my blog.  A couple of days ago I backtracked over my posts to add categories to them and it looks like the system resent the posts to all of you as new items.  I am sorry about that … you don’t need more traffic from me in that fashion.

The categories will allow me to occasionally comment on other topics that are hobbies of mine, like the United States Civil War and the First Battalion New York State Sharpshooters.  With categories my viewers will be able to tell if they are interested in the post or not.

This post is of the AutoTrain in station at Sanford Florida.  Blah blah for the most part, but my eye was captured by the perspective lines.  The security staff permitted me to go on the platform to take photos about two hours prior to the platform being opened for boarding.  This photo was the result.  The larger version, here, is worth a look I think.