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Posts tagged ‘black and white’

Introductions: Joe Giordano

When I was in New York last year I met quite a few people and one of the people that others mentioned was Joe Giordano. We have been following one another since connecting through the people I met there.

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When I approached Joe about featuring him he said that he wasn’t a professional photographer, so perhaps not right for this. I told him that I don’t just feature professional photographers, I like to introduce people whose work I like, and I like his. I am sure you will like it too.

My first question, where in the world are you?

I am located in New York, Long Island to be specific.  We are very lucky to have beautiful shorelines and gorgeous beaches on both the north and south shores of the island.

Traveling east on the island we are surrounded by vineyards and heading west we are just a short drive or train ride to The Big Apple (Manhattan).

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While he has lots of colour images there are also many black and white ones too. He seems as committed to the monochrome ones as he does the colour ones.

My second question, how long have you been taking photos and why?

I have been taking photos for about 45 years (non professionally). My first camera was a Canon TLb which was a manual mechanical camera as most cameras were back then.  I quickly outgrew that camera and purchased a used Nikon F meterless camera.  My big decision then was which hand held meter to buy.  I remember how bullet proof that camera was and I took a lot of images with it as the years went by.  Taking the images was only half the job the real work came when it was time to come home and process the film and get into the darkroom and print the images.

A lot of people are getting back into film but as for me I fully embrace digital. I feel that it gives me more flexibility than the old darkroom days and I never really liked the smell of stop bath and fixer anyway, LOL.

Photography has always been a hobby of mine but since I retired it has become more of a passion or sort of therapy for me.  It gets me out of the house and no matter what I am taking images of it always puts my mind in a great place.  I really can’t think of many things I would rather do than be out in nature with a camera.

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When I look at Joe’s work I think simplicity. They are very minimal and sometimes I think many of us can get carried away trying to put too much into a frame, but I like how Joe frames his work.

The third question was about his inspiration.

I have always been inspired by nature, how delicate or powerful it could be.  Living on Long Island the weather could range from a powerful NorEaster storm one day to a tranquil day at the beach the next. Its challenging to capture the different moods of the day which I enjoy.

I am also inspired by anything old, rusty or I guess you would say in a natural state (unrestored). Long Island has an abundance of old farms and historic places to visit so there is no shortage of old things for me to photograph. I also love URBEX photography and anything deteriorating.

Recently I have really been inspired by street photography and photographers like Valerie Jardin and Zack Arias.  I love traveling into Manhattan and meeting up with fellow Monochromia contributors Patti Fogerty and Stacy Fischer spending the day taking street images.  I love the gritty nature of Manhattan and the beauty of its many parks and street performers.  Its such a perfect place to practice the art of street photography.

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As with many photographers there is something very homely about his images. You really get the feeling that you are looking at the world around him. No pretentiousness, just what is there.

My fourth question was if there was anything special about the way he worked.

That’s a tough question because my work is sort of all over the place, LOL.  I really don’t adhere to any specific genre of photography I just try to capture what I see in the moment. I guess thats one of the advantages of taking images for your personal pleasure rather than for earning a living.  It takes all the pressure out of it and you are left with the enjoyment. To make a long story short I really don’t think there is anything special about my work.

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There are some beautiful photography places that Joe photographs. I guess it is one of those things where if you look hard enough around you, you will find many places to photograph. I’ve certainly found that.

My last question was what gear do you have?

For a good part of 43 years I was a Nikon user with a generous amount of lenses.  When I was forced to retire because of deteriorating back issues a couple of years ago the heavier gear and big lenses were a problem for me so I sold all my Nikon gear and starting using The Fuji X system.  I have enjoyed the past few years of using the lighter Fuji mirrorless gear and i actually think it made my work better as a result.

My gear consists of a pair of Fuji X-T1’s with 14,18,35,56 and 60mm macro primes and 10-24, 18-55 and 55-200 Fuji zoom lenses.  I also use a Fuji X100T for street shooting.  I never quite got used to using my iPhone for taking images (I really wish I could) so I bought the Fuji X30 to carry with me all the time.  I could quickly upload any images via the WiFi function to my iPhone and then post them to my Instagram, Twitter or any social media that I wish.  Maybe someday i will get the hang of taking great images with my phone like so many other people do.

I would like to thank you Joe for giving me permission to feature him and his work here. He has given me some blogs for you to check out his work, MONOCHROMIA, The Visual Chronicle and X-tended Vision. I hope you will all go and take a look his sites.

I have a gallery for you now of some of the images that I really liked, I’m sure you will like them as well.

Introductions: Beth Moon

Remember that friend of mine, you know, the one that is always introducing me to many great photographers? Well the photographer today is another one she also introduced me to. I would now like to introduce you to the amazing work of Beth Moon.

The work is really stunning. While I was able to get permission to show her work, I wasn’t able to get her to answer the questions.

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She is well known for photographing ancient trees and from what I can understand she travels the world photographing them.

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I took this from her website, it is her artists statement.

Many of the trees I have photographed have survived because they are out of reach of civilization; on mountainsides, private estates, or on protected land. Certain species exist only in a few isolated areas of the world.  For example; there are 6 species of spectacular baobabs, found only on the island of Madagascar. Sadly, the baobab is now one of the three most endangered species on the island.

The criteria I use for choosing particular trees are basically three: age, immense size or notable history. I research the locations by a number of methods; history books, botanical books, tree registers, newspaper articles and information from friends and travelers.

Standing as the earth’s largest and oldest living monuments, I believe these symbolic trees will take on a greater significance, especially at a time when our focus is directed at finding better ways to live with the environment, celebrating the wonders of nature that have survived throughout the centuries. By feeling a larger sense of time, developing a relationship with the natural world, we carry that awareness with us as it becomes a part of who we are. I cannot imagine a better way to commemorate the lives of the world’s most dramatic trees, many which are in danger of destruction, than by exhibiting their portraits.

Beth Moon
2010

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I’m going to leave it there today. I do want to thank Beth for giving me permission to feature her work here for you. If you would like to see more please go to her website, Beth Moon.

I have a gallery for you now, but before you go to it, I just wanted to let you know that as part of the changes here, the introductions posts will now be on Tuesdays, and Monochrome Madness will be on Thursday, my time that is.

I hope you enjoy her work.

Introductions: Peter Hill

When I went to Aireys Inlet on Friday I was discussing with my friend Chris how I didn’t have anyone to introduce to you today. She often gives me the names of people and she came up with another suggestion. She said why don’t you ask Peter Hill. She said his work was amazing, so I looked and she was right. So I asked Peter for permission to feature him here to you.

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I wasn’t at all surprised to find lots of black and white images, or waterfalls. If Chris recommended his work then there would have to be a lot of those types of images there. I certainly wasn’t disappointed, there were lots of images like that. Beautiful atmospheric images.

I asked Peter where in the world he was.

I am based in the Blue Mountains, in NSW, Australia. My wife and I have a 100-year old farmhouse on half an acre of gardens and fruit trees. We are surrounded by huge oak trees and clouds. I also spend a lot of time living in inner-city Melbourne.

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Recently Robyn Graham mentioned how she liked to see how others photographed New York where she is. I have to say I feel the same way about Melbourne. I like to see how people take photos of my city. I get a lot of inspiration from the images. The infrared that Peter does are just amazing.

The next questions were how long had he been taking photos for and why.

I first got into photography in the mid-1970s when I was awestruck by some landscape and landscape “extract” monochrome images of Ansel Adams in American Photographer magazine. His compositional fastidiousness and control of light was a revelation, and being very young at the time I wanted to “be like Ansel”. I wanted to photograph the natural world and capture its beauty and power and I wanted to do it well, with images that deserve being printed large and hung on walls to be looked at. I am greedy in that respect.

My first serious camera was a just-released Olympus OM-1, which I bought in 1978 and still have and took with me on several treks in the Himalayas in the early-1980s, shooting with Ektachrome slide film.

I was on the verge of creating my own darkroom when I discovered girls and rock’n’roll, which led to my photographic urges taking a back seat. However, the emergence of digital photography 10 years ago saw me succumb once again.

Before long I was regularly arising before 4am to either head to the coast to capture seascape sunrises or, increasingly, to the Blue Mountains to trek down into its many valleys and capture waterfalls and the like. I am never more than happy then when emerging from a long morning shoot soaked wet and covered in mud but knowing I’ve got one or two moments of magic safely stored on a CF card.

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You think you know what you are going to find and then you find images like this. I love symmetrical shots and this is a great one.

I asked Peter about inspiration.

Nature being awesome is my main inspiration. When the light is of the dawn or early-morning type, crisp and interplaying with a rich natural environment in some minor or major way, my lens will always be drawn to capture it. Knowing the outcome has only minutes, sometimes seconds, to be captured before the light changes just makes it even more a drug to take right there and then. When at home in the Blue Mountains I am constantly reviewing the prevailing light, cloud and wind for that wonderful mixture that I need to grab the gear and head off and do some shooting, whether it be 5am or 5pm or anywhere in-between.

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While most of his work is black and white,  there are quite a few colour ones as well. The lush green of a rain forest around a waterfall. The ferns fanning out. So beautiful.

The third question was if there was anything special about the way he worked.

My work has been described by Paul Burrows, Editor of Pro Photo, as “real photography”. That is, I eschew manipulating images with a computer and prefer to focus on the craft of photography as it is done with the camera. Ansel Adams, my first and greatest inspiration (along with Eugene Atget), is sometimes labelled (by ignoramus’s) as a great manipulator, but this is rubbish. Adams was a perfectionist. In the darkroom he used dodging and burning to correct over and under exposures of light on his plates to bring the print back to what his eyes saw. He never replaced a bland sky with a dramatic storm-cloud laden one, or removed a fence line or indeed any objects from the images. He never bracketed or created composite images. He shot what he saw and developed and printed what he saw.

It seems that adopting the same principles in the digital realm, as I do, is “old school”, and it is a bit sad that my photography is labelled as different for that reason. But it does rile me to routinely see photographs I know to be fake to be published, misleadingly labelled, marketed and awarded as “photographs” when in fact they have been created by a computer program. The problem then for me is that when people come to one of my exhibitions and see my images printed large on the highest quality paper and carefully framed, they often ask me what photoshop techniques I used to create them.

The viewer of landscape photographs is becoming attuned to visions of natural perfection – where nothing is out of place and the colours are ….. amazing. It saddens me that this visual vomit is becoming accepted as the norm, as more and more so-called “photographers” seek the nadir of “perfection” in an image when the real natural world is nothing like that.

For example, I often shoot rainforest creeks with tree ferns and such in abundance. The real composition naturally includes some dead brown branches or limbs. I don’t clone such clutter out of the picture in some twisted desire to make the scene “perfect” – I leave them there. At worst my composition of any given landscape photograph will take such things into account. As a result I get suspicious about any rainforest landscape “photograph” that is all green green green.

It is all about the light. And light creates shadows. And light and shadows create depth and body and mood and mystery and contrast and emotion. If I can convey those things in my photography then I feel I have captured something special.

I am creating more B&W photographs and less colour ones. Indeed my next exhibition, in June 2016, will be exclusively B&W. Whilst it grates me to be told “great conversion” when I publish B&W photographs on-line, the truth is I have learnt to visualise my B&W images, I shoot them in B&W (Infrared camera) or in B&W Mode (normal DSLR), and I process them in B&W.

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I do love the architectural shots especially. I find them incredibly inspirational and I can’t wait to get out there and start doing some of my own. It has been strange lately I am so drawn to the city. A few months ago I was sick of it.

The last question, as always, was about gear.

I started my digital renaissance with a Canon EOS 10D, and have stuck with Canon bodies ever since. Currently I shoot with full-frames – a beat-up, cracked, old EOS 5D Mark II, a Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, and a rather special EOS 5D Mark II – this one was converted when near new to shoot Infrared. It has a Deep B&W Infrared Filter inside the body.

In terms of lenses I use Tilt+Shift lenses a lot, mostly the Canon TS-E 24mm f3.5L II, but also the TS-E 45mm f2.8 and the TS-E 90mm f2.8. After curating my last exhibition I realised that every single photograph had been taken with a 24mm Tilt+Shift lens, either the original (which I still have) or the new model. the reasons are simple – when engaging the Shift function I can create distortion free landscapes at 15mm focal length equivalent. I also use the Tilt function (with or without the Rotate function) to carefully select the right field of focus depending on the particular landscape scene I am shooting.

For landscapes I also use the EF 24-70mm f2.8L (when I can get it off my son’s camera!), the EF 24-105mm f4L (when I can get it off my wife’s camera!), and the beautiful Zeiss Distagon 21mm f2.8 lens.

I have a large collection of filters. My favourite filter is the Hoya ND x400 filter which I use to create long exposures. But I also use B+W ND filters, the Lee “Big Stopper” ND filter and about 20 different Lee Grad Nd and other filters, e.g. Coral.

I use 2 Manfrotto 190XB Pro tripods. One is salt damaged which I keep for seascapes, the other I use in the mountains.

I would like to thank Peter for giving me permission to Introduce his work to you, but also for doing it last minute.You can find a lot more of  his work on his Flicker page and on his Facebook page, Peter Hill Photography. I have a gallery for you, as usual and I know you are going to love his work as much I do. These are the ones I loved.

Quiet Thursday

For me this is a great post after a busy Wednesday. I won’t talk a lot, but I have some photos to show you. These were all done in the last week and put up on my Social Media sites. I’ve been trying to use Instagram more. Apparently one of the ones you should be involved in right now. I got some tips from an unexpected guest last week and I’ve been managing to grow my followers. I still don’t really know what I’m doing, but I get to look at some amazing photography, that can’t be a bad thing.

The first three are from a trip to the coast last Thursday. We went in search of the famous Dragon’s Head at Number 16 beach. We weren’t sure we would find it, but we did.  The third image is from Shelly Beach near Sorrento. It has lots of piers. I had fun doing lots of long exposures that day. It is also where I was walking around in the water with my new Merrell shoes.

The last image is from a trip into the city last Friday. We went into the foyer of a building and took some photos. We did ask if it was okay. This is one of the photos I took.

I hope you have a lovely quiet day. Not sure I will, have to move on with the magazine, but all good really.

Monochrome Madness Returning

Just a short post today to remind those that want to do it that Monochrome Madness will return next week. It is a themed week and the theme is to be Country.

Not many entries have been coming in, so I don’t know if people have forgotten about it, or don’t want to do it anymore, but to get into the spirit of it I thought I would put an image for you.

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An image from Yosemite. It seemed a perfect idea to do one of these in monochrome. I’m sure Ansel Adams would have done a much better job, but I wanted to see what I could get from my first view of these famous mountains.

Below are the details if you want to send in an image.

Don’t forget all the instructions on how to enter your own images are at the bottom of the post.  If you have entered an image then please remember to check your image in the gallery, scroll down and see if anyone has left you any comments.

Monochrome Madness each week and if you wish to participate and submit an image here is how you do it:-

  • You must email me the image you want to include and if you have a blog or website, or somewhere else, please include the link. My email address is leanne@leannecole.com.au
  • The image size should be low res, so the largest side should be 1000 pixels or less.
  • Please insert either your name or your blogs name in the file name.
  • Remember I am on Australian time, so with GMT I am +11 hours at the moment, I publish my post on Wednesday morning.
  • If you need more help with sending images, and get confused about time zones, etc, well, there is a great website called The World Clock, if you go to that and look at Melbourne time, if it’s before 6pm on Tuesday evening, then you can still send me images.  If it’s after that time, you can send me an image, but it will be set aside for the following week.
  • Remember to include a link to your blog or website.
  • Please remember to resize your images, it is fairly simply, you just need to go into any editing software and usually under Image you will find, resize, scale, or image size, something like that and you can resize your image there. Change the dimensions to pixels and make the longest side 1000 pixels or smaller, hit return, and for most types of software that should change the other side automatically as well. Just remember to save it with a different name so you know it is the smaller version.  If you have any problems, please contact me, I don’t mind helping out.

Please note you don’t have to be a WordPress blogger to be in this challenge, you can have a link to a Facebook page, a Flickr page, anywhere really, or no link.  We just want to encourage people to do monochrome images, just for the madness of it. Just to let you know also, that as soon as the challenge is published, all emails and images you have sent me are deleted from my computer.

Tuesday’s Bits and Bobs: The Magazine is Here

It has been a very stressful time the last few days. I have been sick, and trying to get my website ready for the launch of Dynamic Range. I have spent the last three days trying to get the e-commerce part of my website working. OMG, it doesn’t if they say it is easy, believe me, it isn’t abd wasn’t. I went through about 5 different ones until one of them finally took me by the hand to go through it. It is all up and running now.

Dynamic Range – Get Your Copy Now

We have seven articles for you, and I would like to this opportunity to thank all the contributors, Stacey, Mel, Chris, Loré, Sharon and Emily for their brilliant articles. They had faith in the magazine and wrote for it. Great quality as well and I’ve really enjoyed reading what they’ve written.

I would also like to thank another Chris for helping with the editing and my daughter Klara. She wants to be an editor so it was good for her to get some experience. Her lack of photography knowledge could be a problem at times, but I think she is going to learn.

I would also like to thank Julie for all her work putting the magazine together. Julie came up with the logo and has worked hard putting all the articles together. She has had to put up with me telling her what to, but she handled it well.

It is available to buy and we are selling it for $5. Here is the link to purchase it if you want to read it, Dynamic Range or click on the image below.

Dynamic Range_Aug15-1The cover again and you can see all the articles that are in it, a great range I think. I think there is something there for everyone. It is going to be great to see how it evolves over the coming months.

You can only purchase it with Paypal, but  you don’t need a Paypal account and can just do it with a credit card, there should be a thing at the bottom that will explain that.

There is also a new Facebook page for the magazine as well, Dynamic Range.

Here are some photos that from articles from the magazine. There is also a chance to win a camera bag thanks to Lowepro.

Introductions: Clyde Butcher

Last week as I was driving around country Victoria with a friend she asked me if I knew Clyde Butcher and I had to admit that I hadn’t, but I certainly do now. I got this from Clyde’s website, I think it describes him quite well: ‘Like fast-action drama in still life, the majestic beauty, boldness and depth of Clyde Butcher’s photographs, which have earned him recognition as the foremost landscape photographic artist in America today, will make your heart beat faster.’

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I really like his work and I’m really looking forward to studying it closely. I do like how on his website he has descriptions of the photos, so I am going to share some of those for a few photos.

Mangroves are special plants, because without them we would have no fish. Yet people do not respect them. I remember when Florida’s late Governor Lawton Chiles said he was afraid that if we didn’t pass a law to save the mangroves, the state would look like a giant bathtub because all the mangroves would be replaced by concrete sea walls.

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My friend described his work as having big skies, and I think she was right. There are many photos with some really amazing skies. You will see more here and on his website.

As an Artist in Residence at the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast we spent the week photographing many wonderful locations. On this morning, Clyde and I woke up early and looked out the window to see what the weather was like. We could see a beautiful pink sunrise filled with large bulbous clouds hanging over Casey Key Island. We grabbed the camera gear and headed to the island. By the time we got to the island the light was perfect for photography. Clyde was able to capture this image before the cloud covered the sun.

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His work reminds me so much of Ansel Adams, the colour stripped away and we are left with nothing but the bare bones and beauty of the landscape before us.

My favorite period of art is the Hudson Bay period. I love the paintings from that era showing the romantic beauty of the earth. I have always wanted to photograph along the Hudson, but when I tried to find a place to shoot all I could find was man-made scenery. When I told the Columbia Land Conservancy Trust in Chatham New York about my dilemma, they helped me to find the natural landscape in the area. Thanks to them I was able to photograph this beautiful little waterfall.

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This image was a little different to most of the others that he has taken, read why.

This image is very different than my normal style of photography. Niki loves to photograph plants and was playing around photographing this plant when she decided they were just to wonderful for a small digital camera. She came and got me, requesting that I photograph them with my large format camera so that she could see all the detail when the image gets enlarged to a giant size. She says, “…so, because Clyde loves me, he took this photograph for me.”  Yes, that is true and it wasn’t easy! It was dusky, so my exposure was ten minutes. In a large format camera everything is upside down and backwards, which makes it hard to make good compositions. However, when the image is an abstract, it’s even harder. I really didn’t think I managed to capture it due to all of the technical problems.  However, I like it so well I might just do a few more close up images down the road!

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It is lovely to see how he uses light as well, something I think a lot of us can learn from.

We were only at the Badlands for 24 hours, but WOW, what a wondrous time it was! A violent storm, complete with tornadoes, ripped through the area. I photographed like mad trying to capture the sun hitting the landscape as it popped in and out of the dark storm clouds. By the end of the day, the sky was totally black with no sun. The next morning I woke up at our normal 4:00am and looked out the window to see that there wasn’t a star or even a glimmer of light on the horizon. Thinking the sun was going to be blocked out by the clouds, I went back to bed. I lay there for a few minutes and changed my mind. As we drove out of the parking lot the sun began to break through a slit in the clouds. In front of me was this wonderful formation with dark storm clouds behind it and the sun starting the process of brilliantly lighting up the mountains in the foreground. Niki and I jumped out of the car and set up the camera as quickly as we could. We managed to capture the scene just before the clouds covered up the sun.

I couldn’t interview Clyde, but his website does have a lot great information on it. I found this attached to every image.

SILVER GELATIN PHOTOGRAPH
Hand Printed by Clyde in his Darkroom
Recognized both nationally and internationally, Clyde is regarded as Florida’s finest landscape photographer. He has been reserving the untouched areas of the landscape on film for more than fifty years.  His images are created using 5×7″, 8×10″, or 11×14″ large format view cameras.  He hand-processes his photogrpahs in his on darkroom on silver gleatin fiber-base paper in a limited edition.  The photogrpahs are selenium toned, then mounted and matted to current archival standards.

I would invite you all to go and take a look at this website, Clyde Butcher and see for yourself how wonderful his images are. I would also like to thank Clyde for giving me permission to feature his work and introduce him to you.  I am going leave you with a gallery now.

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