A Day at the Station – Union Station

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sometimes you come home with only one image, but that is all it takes.

It was cold and breezy outside, so Jerry Weber and I decided to shoot Christmas Day the Los Angeles Union Station instead of downtown Broadway. Up on the train platform, there were trains on two adjacent platforms, effectively creating a tunnel except for a small slit near the roof and between the train cars. I took a bunch of shots while the passengers were loading, but the payoff was near then end with the last few stragglers.

The sun, though low, was quite intense and in looking at my early shots, I had the wits about me to push down the EV 2-stops. While I was shooting, I was just concentrating on getting the face in the shaft of light, keeping my framing straight, and fixing the relationship between the light in the upper right and the corner of the frame. I didn’t recognize the reflection or little red lights on the side of the train until I looked at the back of my camera.

Advertisements

Admiring the Art

Enjoying the Art

My friend Jerry and I were shooting around Beverly Hills and wandered into this art gallery. Even though we were dressed by bums (i.e. street photographers) they were very polite to us and even gave us some bottles of water. While I was admiring the art of Dali, Picasso, and Miro, Jerry struck up a conversation with one of the Gallery art reps. Turned out he needed a head shot and he had two photographers at his ready. After the posed portraits were done, I turned around and noticed he had used the bronze statue to hang his coat.

Olympus OMD E-M1, Oly 17mm f/1.8 (35mm equiv)

Fireworks – It’s all in the Presentation

Fireworks_IMG-7040079

It is hard to make something new with fireworks. I can think of several styles: traditional, lots of context, and zoomies. This year I saw something new to me – changing focus. What I learned when I started to edit mine, is that it was not so much what I took, but how I chose to present it.

All images taken with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and M. Zuiko 12-50 Zoom. Roughly f/11 @ ISO 200. Some straight, some zoomed. I used the LIVEBULB mode to judge exposure and timing as I watched the image appear on the back screen. This is what I would call the antithesis of shooting film.

Fireworks_IMG-7040042

Fireworks_IMG-7040053

Fireworks_IMG-7040057

Fireworks_IMG-7040081

Fireworks_IMG-7040048

Fireworks_IMG-7040056Fireworks_IMG-7040084

Lady with the Blue Skirt

Lady in Blue Skirt

I’m still in the image harvesting stage from my Cuba trip. I have a good idea where some of the gems are located, just waiting for me to get to them. There are some sections of images I’ve hardly touched because they represent a big project. For example, I have a set of images taken off a rooftop in Havana. I know that I have a lot of culling and panorama stitching work to do in order to bring together the complete vision. So they sit and wait for a long quiet weekend.

This image, on the other hand, was a complete surprise. It was buried within a series of images I took walking along the Prado on afternoon. Sometimes, when I shoot, I see a theme but I just can’t get all the variables right. That was the case, mostly, with the images from that part of the day. Except for this one. I don’t even remember taking it.

The Life of a Photograph

Tennis

Tennis

Tennis

Tennis

I’m taking a few days off work and instead of my usual eat-breakfast-at-work-while-processing-email routine, I sat down for my mid-summer breakfast of peaches and yogurt with a recently purchased copy of the book: Fred Herzog: Photographs.

Fred Herzog worked professionally as a medical photographer but his personal work concentrated on capturing the street life of Vancouver. While reading the introductory material my mind began to wander. Fred Herzog had taken over 100,000 images of Vancouver over the course of time since 1953. I was wondering how Herzog determined what to include in this collection.

This thought was triggered by a couple of my nagging to-do items: developing a presentation of my work for the Ojai Photo Club and constructing a portfolio for review by David DuChemin for a visit in October.

I tend to make my images in short bursts of activity. The results are often a collection of short series of works, bound together by place or time. Often there are two or more images which are equally strong, showing single subject from different perspectives. However, there are not enough images, created over a long enough period of time, to create a real collection and I have a difficultly choosing exactly which image to show. I believe that the strength of story spans across images and not any single image.

It was while working out these ideas that I experienced a break-through moment for thinking about how to present my work.

About a year ago, I was introduced to the photography of Sam Abell, a veteran National Geographic Photographer. In Sam Abell’s book, The Life of a Photograph, he annotates the images with short notes discussing his photographic thinking. In many instances he presents two or more images side-by-side to show different visual approaches to the scene. In the book’s introduction he writes:

“Life rarely presents fully finished photographs. An image evolves, often from a single strand of visual interest” and he goes on to say, “Sometimes there is more than one finished photograph.”

This is his notion of the life of a photograph. The process of starting with “a single strand of visual interest” and developing that into one or more finished photographs.

It was this concept that I finally understood and say distinctly in my work. Through a seemingly random chain-reaction of thoughts, over peaches and yogurt, I was able to shed-light on my proclivity for creating small series of images and my weakness in editing down to the one single standout.