Light and Inspiration at the Santa Barbara Train Station

Looking Into The Sun

I’ve been buying a lot of photo books lately. Not how to or technical, but monographs of street photographers and photojournalists. I’ve been waiting for a copy of Suffering of Light to show up for weeks. My first order was finally canceled when Amazon determined that the book would not ship (and is probably now out of print). However, I was able to get a “new” used copy at a reasonable price and it finally arrived today.

I am a big fan of this style of complex, colorful, but well organized photography. Nothing easy to understand here, instead they are complex poems of life. This is what I am trying to achieve.

As I write this post, I think “how do I dare post my images against Alex Webb”. I think these are good for now, but I still have thousands of images to go.

Riding By

Hanging By The Door

On being open

Today I went shooting on Hollywood Boulevard. As I rode home I was not at all sure that I had written anything worthwhile to my memory card. I doubted. Perhaps I’m not a cut out to be a street photographer. Perhaps I should stick to genres more easily controlled.

After I got home, ate, and showered, and started working through the day’s shots I was able to get a little perspective on what transpired.

My problems stemmed not from technique or composition (though, certainly not all perfect), but rather I had problems seeing and isolating. But by the end of the day, I had decided to concentrate on people in cars and to my surprise, I found many more interesting images after this decision. But Jay (Maisel) whisper’s in my ear “Be Open”. How do I reconcile the words of the master against the difficultly of finding the needle in a haystack of “openness”?

For the last hour or so, I was less open. I was specifically concentrating on people in cars. I had constrained my world but the constraint felt good. The constraint gave me some boundaries within which to explore.With the boundaries in place, I began to relax and and find comfort and find a creativity within the boundaries and starting seeing more and more interesting opportunities.

Being open creates a big world in which to wander and it was too big of a world for me this afternoon.

Pigeons on 12th and Maple – On Composition

Pigeons on 12th and Maple
Pigeons on 12th and Maple by I Nancy, on Flickr

Last weekend I took a workshop from Sam Abell. It was entitled “Sharpening your Photographic Vision”, or something like that, but it was really all about composition. This man is a master of composition. He talks of macro composition and micro composition. Background and layers. He also talks about approaches to get these kinds of images to happen.

Here we had just arrived on our morning location at 12th and Maple in downtown LA. Of course we all saw the 200 or so pigeons on the wires above us. Sam’s words – compose and wait – find the background and then wait for the subject to come to you, miracles happen.

From time-to-time, the pigeons were coming into the street, so I found the orange background got down and waited for the birds to do something interesting. The street merchant threw rice in the gutter, the pigeons came down to eat, the van entered the intersection, the pigeons exploded, and a man rode through dressed in black wearing a hat.

In this image I achieved a deeply layered composition. We have the pigeons in front with all of their movement and flurry. A background of orange with the street patterns adding more visual interest. A “V” in the front of the image and the diagonals complete the macro-composition. In the micro-composition is the 12th St street sign – free from obstruction, its blue color standing out against the rest of the background,  the van which looks like it is bursting through the intersection, and the man riding through.

Miracles happen.