Empty Warehouse Window

This past weekend I was wandering around in the Old Market of Omaha, looking for compositions.  I came across what looks to be an old warehouse.  This window caught my eye.  Dust on the glass was pockmarked by rain drops and some type of water stained paper hung on the inside.  Paint on the window frame was relatively new.  I couldn’t decide between the black or white.  Which do you like best?

Posted in Photographs

Maple Seeds in Backyard

Yesterday I wandered around in the backyard looking for something interesting to photograph.  The wind was flinging and whirling maple seeds in the corner of the patio.  As the wind would die down I’d look for interesting patterns among the seeds.  It was interesting watching nature rearranging itself.  Spring is such a messy time.  Have you ever noticed that?  I’ve been looking at the beauty of this mess, don’t miss it yourself.  Spring only comes once a year.

Posted in Nature

Camera Obscura and Bedroom

One of the precursors to our modern cameras, is the camera obscura.  Camera obscura is similar to a pinhole camera, without the film.  Camera obscura was used to project a subject onto a screen, in order to trace the subject’s outline.  You can turn a room into a camera obscura, by blacking out all the windows in a room and cutting a small hole to let light through one of the windows.  The result is an upside down projection with left and right swapped as well.  As you can see in the image above, the scene from our backyard is projected into our bedroom.  Melissa and I used cardboard to cover the windows and I cut a quarter sized hole for the aperture.  The exposure for this photo was 7 minutes long at f/5.6.  This is a pretty crude test.  I’m going to be doing more research and working at refining the process.

Posted in Photography Techniques

Hastings Museum “Life Up Close” Photo Contest

More good news!  I managed to win the Photographer’s Choice award for my truck picture.  This is the same silage truck as the one that won third place at Prairie Winds Gallery.  If you’re close to Hastings, stop by and see all the photos in the exhibit.  They’ll be up until March 25th.

Posted in Achievements

The New Plan

Photographically speaking, I’ve been kind of lost since my ‘a photo a day’ project ended.  My plan was to start posting ‘a photo a week’ at the beginning of the year, but it’s March and that hasn’t materialized.  I’ve been reading and thinking about photography, but not making many pictures.  I’ve heard from several people that I need to start a project.  That I need to start building a body of work that has continuity and personal style.  One professional photographer told me to pick a subject and photograph it for six months.  I’m sorry, but I just can’t do that.

Over the past year I’ve developed tastes for certain types of photography, but I’m no where near ready to commit to one subject for six months.  In fact when I tried to pick a subject for a project, I couldn’t even narrow my tastes down to one genre.  On the other hand I’m tired of taking pictures of “everything.”  So I’ve come up with a compromise.  I picked four genres of photography that I’m interested in, and broke them down into four sub-genres.  Incidentally try researching photographic genres sometime.  If you can actually find a consensus as to what the major genres are, let me know. 🙂  Anyway, the plan is to pic one genre and a corresponding sub-genre each week, and photograph subjects in that sphere.  So one week I might pick ‘Nature’ as a genre and photograph flora the whole week.  Or I might pick ‘Architecture’ and concentrate on urban interiors.  At the end of this post is an outline of the genres I’ll be following.

I’m hoping that by concentrating on one sub-genre each week, eventually the cream will raise to the top, and the list will begin to narrow down.  I’ll treat each week as a small project, that fits into the larger project of sub-genre.  Whatever the outcome, I’ll be moving forward and learning.

If anyone’s in a similar situation with their photography, leave a comment telling us how you’re handling it.

Genre Photography Project Outline

  • Architecture
    • Rural
      • Exterior
      • Interior
    • Urban
      • Exterior
      • Interior
  • Fine Art
    • Abstract
    • Objet Trouve (Found Art)
    • Still Life
    • Studio Portraiture
  • Life
    • Candid Portraiture
    • Documentary
    • Street
    • Travel
  • Nature
    • Fauna
    • Flora
    • Landscape
    • Underwater
Posted in Thoughts on Photography

Prairie Winds Art Center Photo Competition and Show

A few weeks ago I entered Prairie Winds’ 12th annual photo competition.  Today they postponed the awards reception due to the weather, but I called and they told me the results.  Good news!  Inside Old Silage Truck won a merit award, which is 3rd place, and Peony Parts received an honorable mention.

The old truck picture was taken at my father’s ranch, south of Ainsworth Nebraska.  It’s had a long useful history.  It’s a hand-me-down from my Uncle Blair.  It’s primary purpose was hauling silage or livestock.  When I opened the door a semi feral cat named Yowler, bolted off the driver’s side seat and squeezed through a hole in the floor.  Judging from the amount of cat hair he left behind, the truck is a common resting place for him.

The peony picture was taken in my garage.  I arranged the parts on mat board and then played with the size of the crack under the garage door, until I got the light I wanted.


Posted in Achievements

History of Photography Podcasts

For those of you who don’t know about this, Jeff Curto from DuPage College has been posting podcasts of his History of Photography class online.  I’m excited about working through the class.  We’ve all heard how important it is to be informed about the past.  I’m interested in seeing first hand how learning about the history of photography will inform my own image creation.  I’ve listened to the first lecture and have started reading the material for class number two.  If you’re interested you can get the textbook for a reasonable price on Amazon: A World History of Photography.  If you’ve listened to this class before, or intent to, leave a comment on this post.

Posted in Education

2011 Wrap Up

Well it’s a new year and a new blog for me.  Last year I began a love affair with photography.  Shortly after purchasing my first DSLR I decided I needed a photography project to keep me motivated.  So I started A Photo A Day project.  The idea was to post a picture, taken that day, and write some text to go along with it.  I found myself quickly overwhelmed with just getting a photo out each day and the writing took a backseat.  In fact it was pretty much nonexistent.  But I finished my quest and managed to post 365 pictures.

Out of the approximately 34,000 pictures I took, I manage to take a few decent ones.  I entered two photo contests last year.  The first was the Fontenelle Nature Association Photography Club annual contest.

In the Novice Class two photos placed:

Animal Category
1st place “Green Heron Hunting”

Flora Category
2nd place “Peony Parts”

In the advanced class two more placements:

Other Category
2nd place “Sandhills Reflection.”
3rd place “Deer Bones – Fontenelle Forest”

You can view a gallery of the images entered in the FNA contest here.

The second contest I entered was the Nebraska State Fair.  The highlights were having two division winners and winning best of show for my Deer Bones photo, pictured above.  A gallery of the photos that won an award can be viewed here.  How each photo placed is listed in the photo descriptions.

Awards are great, but they are secondary to the most important thing about my year of photography.  The most important thing is, that I learned a ton.  I learned how to use my camera in manual mode. I learned about composition, proper exposure and executing creative aspects of photography.  Post processing raw images in Lightroom and Photoshop was something I knew nothing about when I first started.  Recently I purchased a printer and I’ve started learning about print processing.  Last year was great, but what’s more exciting is that there’s so much more to learn!

Posted in Achievements