I had a recent conversation with a friend over the subject of composition, and how specifically do I compose my images. It is not exactly a soup question, not easily quantified or simplified into bullet points, and is a subject that leads very quickly down a deep rabbit hole. Without going into a lengthy diatribe I think this image may quickly point to what I look for in an image. Simply stated it I look for the light first and then I compose - or better yet, shape - the image around it. This simple structure takes on a different meaning in the way the side-light and shadows create the depth and dimension. Working quickly off the tripod I created a series of “sketch” images to determine the position of the other elements, from the road, to the clouds, and even where the darks and lights would go to create the figure-ground separation of tones.
I visited an old friend today. The Red Barn, as I have come to name this place, is a location that I have photographed on many occasions and in all kinds of light. The morning light in the Spring and early part of the Summer is the most dramatic as the rising sun illuminates the south-east face of the barn, arguably and fortuitously, one of the more interesting sides to photograph. At this time of the year the owners allow the fields around the barn to go to seed and the clover and grasses grown to around waist height. The resulting textures create a very strong foreground element and I love how the barn seems to nestle into its footers as the grasses embrace it.
It is only a month away from my 2019 West Virginia Photography Workshop, details HERE, and I managed to get away for a short one-day trip up to Canaan Valley for a meeting and the chance to scout a few locations. Spring rains often bring heavy flows to the waterfalls but not on this morning which is not the end of the world and actually allowed me to work on some different compositions. When you have photographed a place extensively it can be easy to get lazy with the compositions instead of stopping to really look at the possibilities - specifically new possibilities.
In 1986, while working on my Master's thesis in architecture, I made a research trip to New Delhi. During the near 24 hours of continuous travel I made a brief stop in Frankfurt where I saw, and held, my first Leica camera. As a poor, and married graduate student, I could not afford it, but knew even then that I wanted one. It is hard to believe that it took me 32 years to get one. And even harder to believe is that it was prompted by my desire to return to the simple challenges of making images - reliance only on the exposure triangle and manual focus.
Goðafoss literally translates in Icelandic to "waterfall of the gods" and is located in the Northeastern part of Iceland. The water of the river Skjálfandafljót falls from a height of 12 meters, and along a horseshoe shaped curve over a width of 30 meters. The waterfall can be accessed from both sides and there are several trails to the rivers edge, however these are fairly steep and one should exercise caution while navigating to the bottom.
Recently a photographer friend of mine was lamenting about their lack of desire to make images and a general loss of creativity. Creative block, such as what my friend is immersed in, is indeed a real and crippling challenge for artists. Many of us who write, paint, and photograph face it from time to time. I read an article that said there are seven kinds of creative blocks ranging from mental blocks, to emotional, monetary, habits, and so on. I cannot say for sure where the the creative block comes from but I suspect it generates within an emotional or mental state. Creativity can be an intensive process and becoming trapped by your thinking can force you into making assumptions that are limiting to the creative process.