Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What's Your Problem?

Happy to be taking Kat's latest class "Journey of Inspiration".  I mean, who doesn't want to be inspired?  Hopefully I will become or will find or will learn or will something in the inspiration department.  This is the 3rd class of Kat's I've taken so I have little doubt that inspiration is right around the corner.  If you haven't checked out or joined in one of Kat's classes, I highly recommend them.

Our first challenge was thinking about "solving problems".  Hmmmm.  Photography is what I do to get away from dealing with problems.  My work as a realtor of late seems to be all about problems: angry sellers, stressed out buyers, moldy basements, foreclosures, negotiations, too many sellers not enough buyers, unsettled consumers worried about the economy, etc, etc, etc.  I thought I used photography to escape all that.  Hmmmmm.  Frankly; I'm sick of problems.

None the less, it's Kat.  And Kat knows best, so onward.

Sand castle
Sand Castle (SOOC)

This is a really, really early photo of mine.  I remember the day I took it.  It was the first time I'd built a drip castle in over 35 years.  It was taken with my point and shoot camera within the first month of my photo taking career. 

After the fun of creating the castle (to fulfill the prompt word "drizzle") I was ready to photograph.  The light was getting strong, but it was still mid morning.  I could sense that being on one side or the other (ha, ha,'s a ROUND castle....doh) would offer better light, but I couldn't figure out which angle would be best.  I went around several times, shooting from one side then the other.  When I got home, one of the images "won" and the others went into the scrap pile.  Deleted.


Nearly Summer
Nearly Summer

...and thousands....

Steam {159/365}

...and thousands of....

Shadow Dance {207/365}
Shadow Dance

photos later, I think I may have a pretty good handle on light (not that I don't have plenty more to learn).  I think the immediate feed back of a digital camera has been the teacher; the problem solver.  If you visit my blog often enough you know of my love affair with light.  It is what I think of as my biggest inspiration.  I'm trying to accept new paramours into my line up.  If they were to stand in beautiful golden hour light, I'd be more likely to let them into my heart.  (Maybe there are more problems here than I originally thought.)

Perhaps I am too loyal or faithful.  Too drawn in.  A slave to light's charms. But I think I have learned to walk around it, find the color, shadow, angle, and result that I'm looking for.  To see it, and know that is what I want.  Practice, practice, practice.  That too is how you get to Carnegie Hall.

Ok, yippee for me.  I've worked it out.  Now on to more problems.  Geez....this is just like real estate.  Blech.

When I first read Kat's lesson, immediately what popped into my head was exactly what she'd sited for example; high-contrast light situations. It feels like cheating to say that too is my struggle du jour, but it is.  Sometimes I can hear myself saying "I want that shot....but I don't know how to get it."

Yuck (SOOC)

I mean, yuck, yuck, yuck and yuck.
After PS help I did end with something passable, but not as good a shot as I'd hoped for.

River Runs Through It
River Runs Through It

I lost the impact of the rushing water and the clarity is suspect.  Rats.  More practice, practice, practice.

Lately, some high contrast shots have been getting better.  Yay.

In the Air
In the Air

And some things are still experimentations gone awry.

Contrast Hell
Contrast Hell

Rooftops and Trees
Rooftops and Trees-aka Photoshop hell

This beautiful rotunda room at Quincy Market in Boston was so inspiring, but I couldn't seem to capture what I wanted.  In my defense, my best friend called while I was snapping pics, and talking on your cell and snapping shots at the same time-bad mix.  I did get some nice framed shots, which was primarily what was on my mind that day in that space.

I think when struggling with a problem, it's good to remember the many things you do do correctly while you kick yourself and piss and moan that you can't get the other shots you'd hoped for.  Truth is....I took over 400 shots that day in Boston and have lots of winners.  And....since I didn't capture the mixed lighting scenario in the rotunda, I guess I'll have to go back another time and try again.  Road trip!!

I think two things helped me learn to better capture light....practice, practice, practice and relying on my camera to give me feedback.  This can also help in high contrast situations.  My camera can be a teacher.  I am already getting better at assessing while I'm on site, checking the display, looking for places where the image is blown out.  I know that dark areas can be brought up, but blown out spots can't be recovered.  I also need to keep working with PS and become better at editing my photos.  Certainly these tools-and dedicated practice-will give me the results needed soon enough.  Then I can save problems for my yucky old day job.

Thanks for stopping by to share in my learning musings.  Hope your problems will stay at bay.


Tamar SB said...

What a great journey! I think all of these pictures are stunning and I agree, it's all about practice! I too look back and love to see how far my pics have come! Great journey and I hope you enjoy where it takes you next!!

Ms. Becky said...

you've superbly laid out a trail of light here, and I love it. Framed is my fave. it's lofty and has a real nice reflection as an added bonus. I'm so behind on visiting, I'm missing all these great shots. I marvel at how much thought you give to your photography because I try to run from that as fast and as far as I can. you teach me something whenever I visit, so thanks for that. oh, In the Air is a dreamweaver. fan.tast.ic.
happy day to you Susan.

Anonymous said...

I think the river shot is pretty cool because it's an unlikely place to find rushing water. A Neutral Density (4X) would reduce the amount of light and give you a nice, slow shutter, blurring the water and giving it movement. Gotta use a tripod.

Contrast hell, LOL, that's great! An amazing set!

Susan said...

What fun! It’s sometimes easy to find the problems, but oh so hard to find solutions. It looks like you’re well on your way.

James said...

Beautiful photos! You are so talented and I'm always inspired when I come here. I love taking pictures and I've been taking them for almost three years now but I never take the time to learn about photography. Just lots of trial and error. It's time for the next step! :)

JM said...

All shots are wonderful! The sand castle is amazing. Great post.


I adore your writing style madame!

Deborah L. Tisch said...

There's that word "practice" I have never had much patience for, but you have put it in it's proper perspective for me.

I happen to work in a real estate office (not as a realtor), and can identify with the 'problems' you mentioned. Real estate problems are not near as much fun to solve as photography challenges.

I appreciate how you wrote this, and how your images demonstrate so well what you are learning.

Kathryn Dyche Dechairo said...

Light is one of my biggest challenges and I can't for the life of me seem to get a handle on it. Loved seeing your explorations and journey with it, some gorgeous images.

Ginny said...

All of your pictures were fascinating to me. I learned so much just by looking at them and of course from all that you shared. I too love light and all that comes with it.

Kat Sloma said...

Great post Susan! Problems are just a way of life, in any pursuit. Approaching them as opportunities to learn, as you've done, instead of roadblocks makes all the difference! You are right, practice is the key. My favorite photo is "Framed." That's an excellent way to use a high contrast lighting situation!

Stampmouse said...

what a great refelective post. I just love that steam shot love love love it

Jamie said...

Wow - what a post. I need to follower your example and get more serious about learning.

Kay L. Davies said...

Put me down as another who loves the steam photo. It's fantastic, I can almost smell it.
I can hear my mother's voice (distorted in my head to sound sarcastically sing-song) saying "If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again" and I remember how much I hated it. LOL

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

Anita Johnson said...

I learned something just reading this. I love that steam shot and the River Runs through it IS excellent. Especially your processing. And I needed a laugh to start my day..."photoshop Hell"...that cracked me up!

lisa said...

I love your high-contrast photographs Susan.
I am taking this class also, and really enjoying it.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

seabluelee said...

Susan, your posts are always so much fun. Drip castles...I used to make those when I was a kid (won't say how many years it's been since the last time). I admire your persistence and willingness to keep experimenting -- and sharing the results. My favorites in this group are Almost Summer and Steam, which I think is amazing. I really like Framed, too.

Wanda said...

Terrific post chronicling your exploration of light. Your images are amazing--I especially like Framed for the wonderful exposure of the cityscape but also the golden lighting on the window frame.

Cheryl said...

This was just plain fun to read! Being a "slave to light's charms" is beautifully said. My favorites: "Steam" I want to lean in and smell what is in the combined with great light is fantastic! and I loved "Nearly Summer" because it of the background light and the memories it brings back to me of similar scenes.
I haven't made a drizzle castle in years...think it might be time to do it again.