Saturday, February 16, 2013

Opposites Attract

I like contrasts...well, maybe everybody does.  Remember that whole kindergarten, first grade thing?  Up-down, fast-slow, high-low, whisper-yell, first-last.....or is this the former teacher in me gone awry?

I think anyone with even a touch of artist or awareness sees the dark light contrast-perhaps without even realizing it.

Farm porch
Farm Porch

Here's an image I took maybe a month +/- into my photography start.  It's a SOOC from my pre Photoshop days.  Got the light, shadow, lines and contrast....from intuition that said "click the shutter".  I'm certain now 3 years later, my intution would say the same, I'd just be more aware of it.

But in this lesson, the idea was to extend beyond the more obvious contrasts.  I think.  If I read it right.  And if not, that's what I did.

Forgotten Peaches

Forgotten Peaches

I took a basic photography class 3 years ago.  I recall a student asking about not knowing what to take photos of.  The instructor was very gracious and supportive with beginners.  She said "when I'm stuck for inspiration, I shoot anything that makes me turn my head".  I tucked that insight away and it's been useful on many occasions.

Here's an example of a head swiveler.  Peaches.  Hmmmm.  What are they doing on a snow covered picnic table next to an empty parking lot?  The subject was a strong contrast to setting....well, I had to take it.  There was also something about the lone pick up truck in an empty park lot, so it was added to the mix too.   I was not even thinking about shooting a photo; I was headed to my car, cold and finished with the day's efforts.
People will remark "you take pictures of things I'd never think to take"'s all that instructors fault.  Bless her.

Bethlehem Steel {59/365}
Bethlehem Steel

Here's another one.  Leaf, RR tracks.  I feel like I'm playing that matching game.  I can almost hear someone like Alex Trebec say "oooh, no.  I'm sorry.  Not a match."  Even the bumpy little rocks vs the long smooth tracks provide that contrast.  A lone leaf is often a great assistant.  I never add them, I just use them when I find them.

Off to the assignment's photowalk.  Honestly I was moping around not feeling very inspired at all.  Trying to force a moment without much success.

Still Standing 165/365
Still Standing 165/365

Here's the day's best.  Yes, the dark-light thing, but also the flower-fence thing, the diagonal against straight thing and the winter-flower (albeit done), but a contrast of season there too.  I believe I've remarked before about the Queen Anne's Lace.  They are one hearty yet delicate looking flower.  This shot was after the pummeling we took in the 30" nor'easter snow storm.  You go girls!!

This was the moment I felt most inspired that day.  Inspiration on a beat up side road that led to an industrial (safety said don't go in there) area.  A rusty neglected fence surrounding a cemetery, and a muddy yucky patch to walk thru to get the shot.  Funny where inspiration chooses to take you....and sometimes I wonder why I chose to follow it.  Mud.  Yuck.

Lady Dee
Lady Dee

Another shot.  I was taking the boats docked-again blah, blah in the emotion department, until the movement of the boat coming to the wharf gave me the lift.  The stillness of the scene broken by movement.  You should have seen the captain slide her into that one remaining spot effortlessly.  I was impressed.

Girlish Figure
Girlish Figure

Lastly, since my photowalk was dull on inspiration, I kept contrast in the back of my mind.  While showing an empty house-no furniture at all-(and 40 stinking degrees inside-brrr to spend an hour) the light at this window drew me in (for a little head swivel while my client was considering the room for her son).  But it was the gentle curvy line against the straight window framing that made the appeal.  I'm pleased with the result, and I am so not a ruffle girl.  Now if only this woman would buy the house it would be kismet.

Thank you Kat for the great topic to ponder.  Looking forward to what's up next and to seeing how my fellow journeyers fared with their contrasts.


Wayne (Woody), whatever said...

Where do I start with the porch shot?? The shadows intersecting the decking? The warm color? Wow, it's great.

I like to photograph anything that seem out of place, like the peaches. Gotta run, on a quick break @ work :-(

Cee said...

Wonderful pictures and words on contrast. I really enjoyed viewing your Blog.

Laloofah said...

I love your photography instructor's advice! A lot of things turn my head - but usually my camera's not attached to it. :-)

The porch photo is my favorite. That is absolutely beautiful. And I'm overwhelmed with curiosity about those poor, abandoned, frozen peaches! What a perfect contrast photo - I think peaches, along with strawberries and watermelon, are the fruit most associated with summer and sunshine and heat - it's jarring to see them in that snowy environment.

I'm definitely surprised that a ruffle caught your eye! Sure made for a nice photo - I hope Kismet kicks in for you on that one!

martinealison said...

Vous êtres très talentueuse... J'aime ces captures photographiques. de la personnalité dans chacune d'elles.
Gros bisous à vous.

Norma Ruttan said...

I don't like ruffles on myself (it adds to my bosom size, and I DON'T need that!). But I do like this ruffle. I don't have a favorite among your sublime images; I love them all. I too like contrasts; after all my late hubby and I were polar opposites, and we stayed married till he died (way too early, I think).
lovely weekend wishes to you

gina said...

Thanks for sharing your photography teacher's advice, I will use it. Susan, what a clever title for the last shot -- love its simple beauty. Wonderful contrast in Lady Dee, you know I adore water images. And your little leaf pic really tugs at my heart with it's the contrast between the fragile and the strong. Well done!

smiles, Sharon said...

You never disappoint! I have never read a posting and photos that didn't impress me. You have that magic touch...and your head must be on swivels.... every shot has a story....every shot has great contrast and interest. You have done Good my Friend. smiles: sharon

Leanne Barnett said...

Lovely shots, not bad for 'uninspired' . I'm not really a ruffle girl either but this shot is beautiful, wonderful light :)

Brenda said...

Contrasts - the name of the photography game. It was interesting seeing your 3-yr-old Farm Porch shot - you definitely have great artistic intuition. An intuition which has only grown stronger over the years. And I love seeing what "turns your head" - always thought-provoking. I love the golden light on those poor forgotten peaches. A great set of great contrasts.

Kat Sloma said...

Fabulous contrasts, Susan. You see them everywhere. Peaches in the snow? Wow! And Queen Anne's Lace in the snow - I think that is a great contrast of something that looks fragile but can endure hardship. Your photography teacher's advice is spot on. What are we photographing, if it's not something that turns our head? That's always the rule I use to photograph. It sometimes leads me crazy places but the creative payoff is always there! Thanks for sharing this with us for Find Your Eye: Journey of Fascination.

Kathryn said...

Love the range of contrasts you were able to depict. The leaf on the tracks really speaks to me. Great advice that teacher gave, I'll have to remember that when I'm wondering what to photograph.

Anonymous said...

I like your choices for the subject of contrasts. I especially like the leaf and track - quite a few contrasts in this shot.

I have enjoyed reading your blog and seeing your photos.

Deborah Tisch said...

Fabulous images, simply fabulous. That yellow leaf and the rail just fascinate me, drawing my eye along the rail but then right back to that leaf.

seabluelee said...

Hi, Susan! I know that farm porch! That is a beautiful shot - the sunbeams and shadows are perfect. Bethlehem Steel...almost monochromatic except for that electric leaf. I love that instructor's advice about shooting things that make you turn your head. I think it's probably the driving force of my own photography, and it's one of the things I love about yours. The really cool thing is that we can be in the same place at the same time and our heads will be turned by totally different things. I love that you show me things I wouldn't have noticed.