Friday, August 31, 2012

Black-eyed Susans

Greene County, Virginia 

The summer has gone by quickly and it is hard to think that Labor Day is already here. Before long, the summer flowers will be gone as well.

Last week we traveled in Mississippi and I have been processing and editing photos from that trip which I hope to share next week. If you are traveling on this long weekend, enjoy and be safe. I hope you will join us next week on Photography In Place.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Orange pot

Photographers tend to worry a lot about focus, often becoming obsessed with resolution and sharpness. (See "So You Say You Want a 'Sharp' Lens" over on The Online Photographer for a good discussion of this topic). Achieving critical focus (which is not an easy task) and placing the focus where you want it (the eyes in a portrait, for example) are constant concerns. But what happens if nothing is in sharp focus?

When you think about it, focus is very concerned with surfaces. (I am using the word "surface" here not to imply superficiality, but simply to indicate a physical surface). Photography is wonderful at revealing surface texture and detail, but in studying several favorite artists recently, I realized that painters are often not at all concerned with rendering surfaces in sharp "focus." So instead of worrying about what should be in focus, I decided to see what could be photographed when the details are minimized by soft focus.

If focus (surface) is not the "focus" of the shot, then something else has to be and by deliberately avoiding sharp focus, I began to concentrate on shapes and spaces, color and light and the relationships between these elements. Nothing new here; in concept it is not much different from the way we ignore color when we take black and white photos, and of course the early pictorialists sought to free photography from the "stigma" of mechanical representation using soft focus and low contrast lenses in an attempt to create a more "painterly" look.

The exercise is not as easy as throwing the lens out of focus and hoping for the best. But I have looked at things in a different way, and even if I never take another "out of focus" picture, I think I have improved my ability to see, and to make what I see into a photograph.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

Flower pot

Summer is not the most productive time for me photographically. I don't mind the heat so much but the harsh summer sunlight discourages me from getting out with the camera. So recently, I wandered around the house, determined to find something that would help "freshen" my eyes.

These flower pot pictures got me thinking about abstraction, focus, color and shapes. I am not sure these ideas will result in good photographs, but the exercise is helping me explore some new territory. This week I will be sharing some of what I discovered as I tried to beat the summer photo doldrums.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Shenandoah Valley House

Page County, Virginia 

 Modest country homes like this remind me of my grandparent's house and I can recall what it was like to "sit a spell" on a cool screen porch surrounded by the summer night sounds.

Hope you have a great weekend, and thanks for reading Photography in Place. See you next week.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Drain stain

Richmond, Virginia 

I was walking down the sidewalk in Richmond when this drain running down the side of an old building caught my eye. Not sure why. But here I was kneeling on the hot sidewalk taking pictures, feeling like a crazy person but hoping that passerby's would think I am some kind of city building inspector. After all, this does look like a violation.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

Shenandoah Valley Barn

Elkton, Virginia 

Seems like barns come in three flavors: red, white or unpainted gray. In the Shenandoah Valley, white barns seem to be favored, perhaps because of the Mennonite influence. The barn pictured above is a bit of a hodge-podge of color, with two shades of red and white, not to mention the stone-work silo.

I have seen one or two green barns up in the Manassas, Virginia area, but otherwise can't think of a single barn that I have seen that was not red, white or weathered gray. Anyone seen any yellow barns, or blue or orange or . . . ?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Friday, August 17, 2012

August - Mallow

Greene County, Virginia 

This coming Sunday is Third Sunday, and we will have a picture of the Elkton Presbyterian Church in Elkton, Virginia which is in the Shenandoah Valley. Thanks for reading Photography in Place.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August - Pine Woods

Greene County, Virginia 

The path skirts along a small pine woods, not much bigger than a city block. The ground is carpeted with pine needles; I make no sound as I walk and the air is fragrant with pine resin. About fifty feet from the path, the low tangle of branches makes walking nearly impossible. Sunlight filters through the trees. I wonder what lives here, in this small piney wood, surrounded by farmland and deciduous forests. It is a place set apart and all is quiet.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

August - Mountains

Blue Ridge Mountains - Greene County, Virginia 

The other morning I grabbed the camera and went for a walk. It is August here in the Blue Ridge Mountains; high summer. The morning was cool and the air dry, but the sun was already hot. Clouds were just starting to form at the horizon, but overhead the sky was clear.  By the end of the day, white puffy clouds would fill the sky. A perfect summer day.

This week we will be looking at pictures taken on this clear August morning, from weeds to woods. Hope you will join us on Photography In Place.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Monday, August 6, 2012

Friday, August 3, 2012

Oh . . . !!!

Charlottesville, Virginia 

This expressive fellow, perpetually surprised, stands on the edge of the parking lot at the Taco Bell in Charlottesville.

Another week is nearly done and August is here along with the dog days of summer. Have a good weekend and  thanks for reading Photography In Place.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Wednesday, August 1, 2012