This week we have another educational topic as the theme for The Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: “Focus on the subject” and Patti is our host.
“Focus on the subject ” – What does this mean. You know, sometimes you’re photographing a scene or a subject and in the end, the image does not represent what you’ve seen or felt. How can you change this? By focusing on the subject. It seems, at this point the cat bites in her own tail. So, let me explain this a bit. Focusing means you need to set the main subject in the most prominent place of the image and arrange all the other parts in a way to support the main subject. Hugh, very theoretical, right. Never mind, I’m explaining it now.
A couple of weeks ago, we had the topic “cropping” for LAPC. Cropping is a way of supporting the main subject. Here I’m not necessarily talking about cropping in post-production. Instead, use your zoom lens or decrease the distance between you and your subject. Especially, this is very important when composing your image. Just like Robert Capa said, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you weren’t close enough”. And he was photographing soldiers during wars while fighting.
In case, I would be asked to organize a photo challenge, I’d already know the subject. It would help training the eye and focus on the point. In the past, I wrote down some rules to have in mind when trying to participate in a photo contest. Most of these rules are also to consider when you’re trying to focus on your subject.
Búðakirkja, located on the Snæfellsnes peninsula in West-Iceland, is a natural-born black-and-white image when having typical Iceland weather. When visiting this lonely church, a remnant of a sunken fishermen’s village, on a day when the sky is covered by thick clouds and the air seems to be soaked with fine spray reminding of light fog, you definitely feel like being teleported into an ancient black-and-white movie. It feels so strange standing in front of a well-shaped small church in the middle of nowhere. The church is painted in black and only the door and the windows are framed in white. The whole scene is kind of surreal. In the next days, I’m showing you another image where you can see the surroundings, too.
Many, many people complaining these days about how bad they are treated by the government to obey the simplest rules for finally defeating SARS2-CoV, the source for the COVID19 pandemic. Despite the majority works hard to defeat the virus, many people, unfortunately, do everything they can to ignore the rules just for their own enjoyment.
In this situation, I received the notification from Tina about the topic for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: What a treat!
Her own post is about a safari in Africa and how valuable a training session with a photographer from the US via Zoom was for her and her local photo club. I can understand that very well. When you’re feeling alone in this situation, give me a note, I guess we can organize an online meeting to talk a bit.
When I saw the notification from Tina and thought about it for some time, my brain changed a few letters and made “treat” to “treasure”. I know, both words are different in their meaning. However, they have a few connections besides the fact of sharing 4 letters. Both can mean something valuable, sweet, and personal among others. Family, health, a job, a house, someone to talk with can also be such a treat.
I’m organizing my photos of each year in a folder that contains subfolders for each event, trip, or photo session. When we were in lockdown, a thought came up to my mind, it could be difficult to assemble a calendar for 2021 with my own photos taken in 2020, as usual. We’re reaching the end of the year (yes, I know, 2 more months ’til 2021), so it was time to assemble the calendar for 2021. Therefore I had to check my 2020 folder and I was kind of surprised about what I found. So, each of the trips I did with my camera was such a treat. And the biggest treasure was the trip to Iceland in June. I’m so thankful, happy, and fortunate that the trip was possible in general, the COVID19 test at immigration was negative, and with great weather (don’t get this one wrong) to see everything we had planned.
Last week, my calendar for 2021 arrived. Here you can see all the images I included in the calendar. Each of them is a gem, a treat, and bears a valuable memory.
As you can see, 8 of the 12 images are from Iceland. I was also considering, to create an Iceland-only calendar for 2021, but when I was checking the 2020 folder on my disk, I got aware of a few other folders also containing treats. So, I made my preselection, which summed up to 50 images from the whole year. My youngest son and his girlfriend helped me reducing it to 12. For such a calendar I prefer landscape images over wildlife. Therefore the top wildlife images were printed out to hang them on my wall.
The next project is creating the yearbook. About 100 pages are waiting to be filled. That’s a job I usually do in December. The yearbook is a photobook containing the best images of the year. The most valuable memories. The treats of the year.
There’s a kid’s tale about a group of mice. All of them were working hard during summer and fall to collect food for the winter. But, one of them was not working that hard as the others did. Instead, he was looking around for the sun, the green grass, the colorful leaves in fall, and listened to the wind and the birds. The other mice were complaining to get the one mouse to help them. I do, the one mouse said. I’m collecting memories. And when the dark and cold winter days came, he was able to cheer the other up by telling them about the warmer days. He told them, how the wind sounded and smelled. Which colors the leaves have had and how the sun rays felt on their backs. That way all of them survived the hard winter.
That’s what I do, I’m collecting memories.
Although not planned that way, this post is kind of a review of 2020. I hope you don’t mind.
Another result of the workshop, I held a month ago. It’s not the first time, I had photographed this group of birches. I really love how they stand out of the heathland especially when there is morning fog.
This is the same waterfall like the one I showed you last week. But, this image is from outside the waterfall and from a little distance. The other difference is, this image is shot with a longer exposure time to make the rushing water more visible.
It’s Saturday evening. So, it’s time for The Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. This week Leya is our host and she asks for presenting our hideaways.
For me, this is a very hard theme, as I don’t have something comparable to the definition of a hideaway. When I was a child, I used to grab a book and went outside of our home to a tree, half a kilometer away. This tree was kind of lonely and also not very tall. It wasn’t standing alone, but it was surrounded by bushes and a gap between two bushes gave enough room to pass through it and reach the tree. Noone was aware when I was sitting on the low-growing branch. Noone was even knowing where I was. But, I was sitting there, only 3 meters or so away from the street, hidden behind the bushes and able to read ’till the evening. At that time I was reading a lot and very fast. A book couldn’t be too thick.
When I grew older and had my first car, I loved cruising around. I even had my own mix-tapes, especially for these cruising tours.
When we moved into our current house, we set up one room as a home office. I hate closed doors. At once I’m feeling captured when I can see the door is shut. But, when I’m closing a door voluntarily behind me, everyone knows, keep me alone. (ok, there are also other reasons: i.e. keep the warmth inside – therefore we have some doors with glass). This office at home is such a kind of hideaway for me. this room is also my workplace now, that I’m working from home because of the Covid19 pandemic.
A long story and no images. Right. Unfortunately, I don’t have any images from that scene of my childhood. I even don’t have a digital image of my first car and I don’t want to bore you with an image showing my desk with my computer on top and my office chair. Instead, I want to broaden the perspective a little bit.
Why do you / one needs a hideaway? I need it sometimes to leave a certain scene I can’t bear anymore or for relaxing purposes. I also use a hide sometimes for wildlife photography. The other things being able to calm me down is coming to the sea for listening to the waves rushing on the beach or standing in nature at sunrise on a slightly foggy morning. Those mornings are so serene and pure. A place to recuperate. Unfortunately, it’s sooooo far away from my home.
Recently, I finished my work on developing the images from my Iceland trip in June. The wildlife images were the last I developed, as usual. A lot of great images were among them. I’m soooo happy about the outcome.
In the end, I developed about 2200 landscape images, 2100 wildlife images and 211 monochrome images.
I wanted to have some of them for the wall of my home office again. Unfortunately, I was unable to decrese the number to only 3 as I had initially planned. So, I ordered 6 instead: two images each of puffin, razorbill and red-throated loon. They arrived on Friday.
so, this is the final wall, now 😊
Yes, I know, not all of the prints are balanced.
As usual, click on the images to resize them 😊
This weekend I finished also the coffee-table books: one for the landscape images and the other one for the wildlife images. The monochrome book is alreday here. I had to finish it earlier because I got a test coupon.
A hidden gem in Southern-Iceland visited in June 2020. I was told in advance, not many people would find their way here. But this year, I was alone with my two companions. Great, no-one disturbing the image!
Photographing waterfalls is not that easy. A lot of spray in the air can endanger your gear, so you have to save it. Also, the spray settling on the front lens of your camera resulting in ugly circles in your image which are hard to correct. Depending on the size of the drops and their location in the image the correction could even be completely impossible. So, my advice is, take care of your front-lens when working in a quite wet environment or in a place with a high level of humidity. It’s the same during rain, in tropical areas with a high level of humidity, or during winter when going inside with your cooled gear after an outdoor photo session while the temperature was below i.e. 10°C.
Usually, you can read about water photography, that you should use a long exposure time to get a silky look. My advice is, think about your goal. The silky look does not always fit. Here the short exposure time was able to freeze the structure of the water and give it a more powerful look. A longer exposure would have eliminated the structure of the falling water as well as it would have merged the spray above the ground to a structureless bright cloud. So, I have chosen differently!
LAPC is hosted this week by a guest host again: Biasini. She asks for our understanding of “communication”.
The first thing coming to my mind is the famous statement by the was an Austrian-American family therapist, psychologist, communication theorist, and philosopher Paul Watzlawick. He said, “you can not not communicate”. It’s not a typo doubling the word “not”. It’s simple. Whenever people come together they communicate. They communicate by their clothing, posture, mimic, and gesture – the body language.
Besides direct (oral or body language) communication between humans, we also have signs, i.e. traffic signs, lighthouses, writings, and so on.
Two weeks ago I was holding a workshop again. Not a big one. Because of the pandemic regulations, only a very, very small group was with me.
We were reaching our destination before sunrise at about 6 a.m. (oohhh, that’s before breakfast 😳). Amazing how many people were already there or were arriving shortly after us. About 30-40 photographers, mostly equipped with a tripod and a bunch of filters (noooo, no Instagram-filters 😇, glass filters) and about 20 joggers. It wasn’t my first visit here at that early time and in the past, I never met more than two or three people (mostly walkers and not photographers). When I was leaving I met some people walking their dogs or so. So, I was quite surprised how crowded the location was.
But, I won’t complain. As expected, we were gifted by a lot of morning fog, a nice sunrise but unfortunately no clouds.
About 2 hours later, all the beauty was gone. But, our memory cards were filled instead to keep the beauty.
LAPC is hosted this week by Amy and she asks for images of a photowalk.
At least, once a month I go on a photowalk. That our monthly photographer’s roundtable. It’s always fun: walk, talk, take photos, and discuss the results afterward online.
These images are taking during my last photowalk two weeks ago. I had to take care of my grand-son that day and took him to the hills above the town. Our goal was a visit to the deer enclosure, a round trip of about 3 km or so. From the parking ground, our path first led us through the fields where we saw corn, apples, horses, and cows. Next, we entered the forest to reach the enclosure, soon. We also passed an area, where the lumbermen cut many trees and prepared them for transport. Many things for such a young guy to discover. Finally, we reached the enclosure. Unfortunately, only one deer was visible. The enclosure is big enough to offer a lot of hides to the animals. So, we only saw one. Fortunately, the little guy wasn’t disappointed and walked back with me willingly. Btw. yesterday, he turned 4!