You Keep Shooting

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If you’ve ever watched any of Brian Peterson’s short photography instruction videos then you’ll recognize the tag line in the title of this post.

What actually went through my mind as I was reviewing photos from this evening shoot at Rialto Beach was ‘I should have kept shooting’. In my defense the circumstances were challenging. The tide was doing odd things. It would recede and seem like it was going out, but then the next wave would come 2 or 3 feet higher up the beach than it had for the last five minutes. I was getting caught out by this every time and I was getting wet. So what I had was a set of images where the log rolled and was blurred, the tripod moved as it sank in the sand and on and on. It wasn’t until I got to the last image in the set that I had the one at the top of the page. In hind sight I should have stuck with it at least a little while longer. I could have taken my shoes off and rolled up my pants, or just embraced getting wet and dealt with it. Whatever I did I should have kept going.

A lesson for next time – commit to getting the image and stay with it.

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Friday Inspiration: Peter Schlör

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Any guesses where this photograph by German photographer Peter Schlör was taken? Any of my British friends recognize a popular summer holiday destination?

I recently came across Peter Schlör’s book ‘Black and Wide‘, a collection of very moody black and white photographs that if you’d told me were of the Pacific Northwest I would have believed you. But no, they were taken on the Canary Islands. I couldn’t believe it. When I think of the Canary Islands I think of it as a summer destination, the ocean, blue skies & bright colors. What you’ll find in these pages are images with very dark shadows, trees, fog and low clouds. It’s an amazing transformation. I’m looking forward to finding out more about Peter’s work.

I was pleased to find the video below of Peter and the team getting ready for an exhibit of the Black and Wide images but very disappointed to find out that it was all in German. Anyone able to help out with a translation?

In any case, it was interesting to see how the images were prepared for exhibition. This is one of the things that you miss out on when looking at images in a book, the scale of the final prints. It was interesting to see what an eclectic mix of sizes and presentation styles that were used and it makes me wonder why he made the choices he made. Worth a look even if you don’t speak German!

Friday Inspiration: David Hall

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In looking to see how other people have documented the Pacific Northwest I came across the book ‘Beneath Cold Seas‘ by photographer David Hall. While this is not the kind of photography I usually gravitate towards the photographs are undeniably compelling. I particularly like the juxtaposition of what’s going on below and above the surface as in the photograph of sockeye salmon above. Photographer Hall completed this body of work over a period of 16 trips to British Columbia between 1995 and 2010. I can only imagine how technically challenging this type of photography must be, managing both scuba gear and bulky camera equipment that’s made even bulkier by the underwater housings that you need to protect them. Then of course the water’s cold.

What is striking to me is how colorful much of the marine life is. Something I thought that you had to go to the tropics to see. To see more of David’s work visit his website – www.seaphotos.com and watch the gallery of his images below.

Look Behind You!

Nixon_130517_5332Look behind you is of course part of the standard audience participation in pantomime, a particularly English form of entertainment. It is also good advice to photographers because often good things are happening all around us and taking a moment to look up, down and all around can result in you spotting other good opportunities.

That was certainly the case for the photograph above. I was on the way to the Sol Duc falls and had stopped to photograph the mossy rocks that are part way to the falls. In taking a moment to look behind me I noticed that there was interesting light in the trees behind me. I shifted my attention to the trees for a little while and was fortunate enough to get a shot that, with the application of my standard B&W preset, resulted in the image at the top of the page.

So far I like this more than my mossy rock pictures and it just goes to show that looking behind you can pay off if you make a habit of it.

Friday Inspiration: Mary Randlett

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When I was poking around on Bainbridge Island recently I did a quick tour of most of the interesting shops on the main drag, Winslow street. I wasn’t looking to buy anything, my bags were perilously close to the 50lb limit imposed by the airline as it was, but rather looking. Looking for inspiration, looking for things that I could use later. In Bainbridge Arts & Crafts I came across a book by Mary Randlett called Landscapes that I thought was amazing.

Mary’s photography came to the notice of the public as the person who took the last photographs of the noted poet Theodore Roethke. She then went on to photograph Roethke’s students and other Northwest artists (including one of Johsel Namkung who I’ve written about previously), their artwork and architecture. As I understand it (from one of the essays in the Landscapes book) Mary’s landscape work was ‘personal work’, photographs that she made for herself and shared with friends as christmas cards. These photographs eventually were published in the Landscapes book.

What particularly appeals to me about Mary’s work is that there is little of the grand landscape here. The feeling is much more of someone who had spent time with the landscape, enough time to let the landscape reveal itself.

To see more of Mary Randlett’s Landscape work I highly recommend the Landscapes book. The University of Washington has some of her work online in their digital collection. As always let me know if you find a good resource that I missed.

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Friday Inspiration: Pat O’Hara

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In doing research for my trip to the Olympic National Park one name that came up in a couple of places was that of Pat O’Hara. I’ve found it tough to find out about Pat. He seems to have been most active before the internet kicked into high gear and so there isn’t a big Pat O’Hara web footprint. There is some material – this page on the Nikon website gives a nice biography of Pat and gives a sense of his path to photography from his military service days in Vietnam in the 60’s escaping into photography during his R&R time to his photobooks that serve his passion for the environment and conservation. The gallery of images on this page is also a good resource giving a good overview of Pat’s work – a mix of both the grand and intimate landscape.

There is more information about Pat on the Visionary Wild website, largely because the principal there, Justin Black, seems to have coaxed Pat into teaching a workshop a year or two ago. I actually looked at this workshop which was based in the Olympic National Park with a special extension in Pat’s studio but passed on it because I had too many other commitments and thought, foolishly, that I could go to the next one. I haven’t seen another offered but would of course jump on it given the chance.

Given the relative small footprint on the web we are then left to look at Pat’s books. Fortunately many are available on amazon.com. Click here to see a list. The first of his books to arrive from amazon was ‘Olympic National Park‘ which has the perfect subtitle ‘Where the mountain meets the sea’. It’s a delightful tour through the park, especially since every image is a unique perspective that I have yet to see elsewhere, plus there is a blend as a mentioned above of grand and intimate landscapes. His work really makes me realize that there are unique images to be made in even the most well visited places if you just take the time to go beyond the postcard shot.

If you find a good source of Pat O’Hara’s work, let me know I’d love to see it.

The Path Home

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Home again after what seems like quite a while in the Pacific Northwest. I’m still digesting what I saw and learned while I was out there, so be prepared for Pacific Northwest related posts for at least the next week or so. Just for the record my path home was car, boat, car, plane, car. Not tortuous, but it did involve a Viking Festival, which was a surprise.