Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Putting it All Together

Over the past few blogs, I have detailed some of the meaning with which I try to invest my photos in terms of style and emotional impact. I spoke of the chiaroscuro and pictorialist styles as well as the words I have in mind when I am creating images. Just to review, the words were: Beautiful, whimsical, innocent, peaceful and revealing.

The more of these elements I can include in a single image, the closer it will be to defining something with which I am completely happy. With that in mind, Here are a few images that I think each contain a majority of the elements. I will list the factors I think are in play with each photograph.

The first one at the beginning of this blog was one I had not planned on. I had seen these three guys on other occasions going out crabbing. On this particular morning, the lighting was so wonderful, I felt compelled to take a couple of photos. I am not a voyeur. When I take candid pictures of people enjoying activities on the river, I try to contact them if possible to offer to send them the photos. If you were one of these guys, wouldn't you be happy to have a copy of the image? In this case, I know who owns the dock, and I have tried to contact them, unsuccessfully as of yet. But, I'm still trying.

Anyway, the elements that the image contains (in my mind) is the chiaroscuro style and beautiful, whimsical, innocent, and peaceful. So, it scores pretty high in my level of satisfaction with having taken it.

This image was taken on the edge of the Chesapeake Bay.  Not a hundred yards inland, there was a marsh lagoon where a hundred or more Snowy Egrets were hunting for fish just like this bird. But, this one chose to brave the waves and fish here. I took a lot of pictures of that bird, but I also made a real advance that morning in my understanding of something Snowy's do that had been bugging me. I had been wondering for quite some time why Snowy Egrets don't get upset when another bird walks right through an area where they are standing stock still waiting for a fish to swim by. It was on this morning, watching this bird, that I realized they use the other bird in a symbiotic relationship to drive the fish to them.

To my way of thinking this image has the chiaroscuro style and can be described by all five of the words.

Eagles are difficult to film. They are not afraid of people, but they certainly don't seek them out. So, unless you have some other way of getting near them, your pictures are going to be pretty mundane. Yes, when you first take pictures of an eagle flying right overhead, it is exciting. And, maybe the second time. But when all the pictures begin to look alike, you lose the thrill. Given the choice between a close-up of an eagle flying overhead or a photo such as this one of an eagle revealing it's habitat, I think I would opt for the latter.

Since the eagle isn't trying to kill anything, I'd say it meets the idea of a peaceful image as well as the four other elements and the chiaroscuro style.

Here is the same general area that appears in the first photograph. It is a great area to employ the chiaroscuro style because of the way the sun rakes through an opening where a creek meets the river leaving the background in deep shadows. If you can get some action in the picture like the osprey catching a fish with a Great Blue Heron looking on, all the better. Notice also that the 16:9 aspect ratio is very pleasing to look at. If it were in a 3:2 or 5:4 aspect ratio, all it would do is add more water at the bottom or more dark trees at the top.

In my mind, this image also has all the elements I am looking for in creating a photo.

Here is another photograph that ranks high in containing all the elements I hope to include. The three osprey chicks from the nest I followed this summer took to sitting in this tree after they fledged. Sometimes, one would sit in a different spot nearby. There is much I never learned in watching these birds this year. I never saw any of them successfully catch a fish. The last time I saw one of them, it was still being fed by a parent. The parents migrate before the chicks. Once the parents left, I never saw the chicks again. Did they learn to fend for themselves? That is something I will never know.

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