Lens-Artist Photo Challenge: Candid

Ann-Christine is hosting this week’s photo challenge with the theme Candid. She invites us to share pictures of people and animals who had no idea they were being photographed.

Stealth shots seem to require that the subject is comfortable with the photographer’s general presence or that the photographer has a lens that allows clear shots from a distance. I cannot claim the long lens, but I can claim that I know a few people and animals who don’t mind me stalking them.

The challenge in candid photos is to be able to capture spontaneous moments when the subject is simply doing their thing, preferably something interesting. Another challenge is in setting up the shot without too many background distractions without “staging” it. Serendipity and shutter speed definitely become factors in the results.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Filling the Frame

Patti is our host this week for the Lens-Artist photo challenge, and she posts a good tutorial on framing your shots so that the subject is treated with the importance it deserves. How does framing make a difference? Consider:

If this is a shot of two people engaged in conversation about the land, getting a lot of land in the picture might be important. But this also has a truck bumper, distant telephone poles, and other distractions. How about this? You still get the feeling that they’re working on the land, but now it’s about their interaction.

Photographing a monarch in its habitat can be scaled down to photographing a monarch at its food source. 

The petals of a fringed gentian make it distinct from other gentian varieties. Why not make that the focus of the photo?

And finally, even if giving a small portion of the subject a full frame might make the object unrecognizable, creating an abstract might make a better shot.

Experimenting with framing opens up new possibilities for making photos more dramatic. Thanks for the tip, Patti!

Lens-Artists Challenge: Pick a Place

Tina at Travels and Trifles hosts this week’s challenge with an invitation for us to pick a place to which we’ve traveled and feature it in our post.
I have not traveled abroad since the death of my husband 11 years ago, but I have done a bit of traveling throughout the western portion of the United States. I am particularly fascinated by canyon country, places where the geology of the place takes center stage an overwhelms the senses, leaving you awestruck.

“When your spirit cries for peace, come to a world of canyons deep in the old land, feel the exultation of high plateaus, the strength of moving waters, the simplicity of sand and grass, the silence of growth.” — August Frugé 

 

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

“Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms you would never see the true beauty of their carvings.” — Elisabeth Kübler-Ross 

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Sand Canyon, Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, Colorado

Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, Colorado

“Beauty in front of me, Beauty behind me,
Beauty Above me, Beauty below me,
Beauty all around me,
I walk in Beauty…” — Navaho prayer

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado

Gunnison River, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Magical

Ann-Christine finds Magic in her garden and invites us to share the magic in our lives.

This is something I have to ponder. I tend not to believe in magic. I am in awe and wonder of the natural and suspicious of what others call “supernatural”. However, the dictionary gives me a second definition that I certainly can embrace: 

“beautiful or delightful in such a way as to seem removed from everyday life”

So here’s a gallery of some of the most beautiful and delightful moments of my life. Enjoy!

 

 

Lens-Artist Photo Challenge: Silhouette

Patti challenges us with silhouettes this week. “They are a marvelous technique to add to your photographic repertoire because they can add drama, mystery, emotion, and atmosphere to your photos.  They can also tell a story to your viewers.”

Here are my silhouette stories:

I took this photo of my husband on the beach at my grandmother’s cottage on Lake Michigan with the Cannon AE1 film camera he gave me for Christmas when I was 17. The location is a place rich with three generations of memories. The subject is familiar and much beloved to me, but sadly also a memory. Jim died in 2008 at the age of 47. The sunset lighting adds a layer of romantic yearning that completes the picture. 

This silhouette is my youngest daughter on stage at the Lyric Opera House in Chicago. We were attending an opera comedy cabaret performance where the audience was seated at cafe tables onstage facing a smaller stage set up downstage. Emily has been in many musical comedy performances and studied play-writing in college. The theatrical setting and her curly hair are the perfect components of her personal silhouette.

Finally, here is a gallery of landscape silhouettes. The story here is that I love to be outside with my camera discovering how the light of the sky is a background for all that happens in the world. And the world is a wonderful place!

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Framing the Shot

“The frame through which I viewed the world changed too, over time. Greater than scene, I came to see, is situation. Greater than situation is implication. Greater than all of these is a single, entire human being, who will never be confined in any frame.”
― Eudora Welty, On Writing


“Art consists of limitation. The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame.”
― G.K. Chesterton

I am in rehearsal for the premier of a musical written and composed by two local women who have become dear friends. The title of the musical is “Girard’s Nude”, and it tells the story of an overweight, middle-aged housewife who is asked to pose for a renowned artist. It is set in the 1950s in a conservative small town in Pennsylvania. It brings up the opportunity to ponder the meaning of FRAMES in art and in life, how we see ourselves, how we see our world, and what part we allow freedom to play. 

Frames and structure are useful for lots of reasons. Containment can provide safety – a way to explore a place without feeling overwhelmed.

Framing is also a useful way to state your point of view as an artist. “This is what I want you to see and focus on!”

Mindfulness encourages the awareness of what is outside the arbitrary frames we impose on the world for our own comfort. 

Transcending the frame is perhaps the greatest artistic challenge. How do you go higher, deeper, beyond? 

Framework is worth pondering. Freedom is worth exploring. 

Thank you, Amy, for inviting us to engage with this Challenge

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Angles

Ann-Christine challenges us to illustrate the difference angles can make on our perception of the world. I am reminded of the ancient Indian story of the blind men and the elephant, retold in the poem by John Godfrey Saxe that begins like this: 

It was six men of Indostan 
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant 
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation 
Might satisfy his mind.

From my photo archives, I found an album of pictures taken five years ago next week on my “birthday cruise”. I had been working at Discovery World, a museum in Milwaukee that owns a replica of a 19th century cargo ship they named The Denis Sullivan. For my birthday, I was gifted a short trip out of the harbor and back to dock. There was absolutely no wind that day, so though we unfurled the sails, we didn’t go very far or very fast. In the calm, I found that taking photos from all different angles became the excitement of the day. 

 

My perspective on sailing Lake Michigan, therefore, was all about tranquility and discipline. The crew had everything “shipshape” and moved like clockwork. However, I’ve read accounts of shipwrecks on the lake that must have been the picture of chaos and terror.

Perspective makes a huge difference. In this complex world, we must remember the danger of a single story and humbly leave room in our imaginations for something outside of our own experience. 

So, oft in theologic wars 
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance 
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!