Quiet, Please……….

Among the images I made in Maine this past trip (August), there is one in particular which I think speaks to a sense of quiet. At least that is how it strikes me. It is the type of image I am making more and more, one with only a few elements where the mood is more important than the objects in the piece.

What this image consists of are really just two partial birch trees, a small sail boat, water, and a horizon line. There is some structure to the sky, but mostly it is white. This is an image I saw in my head first. From the position in which I was originally, I saw the sailing boat moving slowly and I visualized the two trees acting as framing devices. I was using a Panasonic lens which covered equivalent focal lengths of 28-280mm so I could have framed this image in many ways. I chose a focal length of around 90mm which isolated the trees but still kept the boat small enough to not overwhelm the image. Keeping the boat low in the frame emphasizes the trees and sky, which adds to a feeling of calm. The water is also calm. The boat is framed to be moving toward the edge of the image which keeps it from being thought about too much as the story. The tonalities and colors are soft and cool. I also opening up (lightened) the shadows to lower the contrast.

I think it is an image you can get a bit lost in……….

(c) 2014 Paul Grecian

(c) 2014 Paul Grecian

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Past, Present, and Future……….the Show!

This time of year is my busiest of the calendar and it all starts in a few short weeks right in Bucks County. In addition to being in the New Hope Arts and Crafts Festival on September 27-28, I have been invited to participate in a multi-artist show to benefit the Historic Doylestown Cemetery. This show takes place october 4-5, with an opening reception on Friday, October 3 from 5-8pm. It is titled Past, Present, and Future and is being curated by fine artist, and teacher Materese Roche

I will have four larger framed pieces in the show including the two below. Both of these images were made with slide film. The image titled Foot Falls was made at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Kempton, PA using a Pentax 645 format camera. The other image, titled Seduction, was made here in Bucks County using a 35mm system camera. Both pieces reflect the real visual joy I experience during the fall season.

Past, Present, and Future has a wonderful roster of regionally and nationally known artists on exhibit, and offers a great opportunity to see and acquire some of their best work.

Foot Falls, by Paul Grecian

Foot Falls, by Paul Grecian

Seduction, by Paul Grecian

Seduction, by Paul Grecian

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Moon Light Reflections

Maine weather seems very unpredictable. Forecasts call for clear nights but fog is a threat and clouds seem to roll in without warning. So, I only had one decent night of clear skies in which to enjoy the Milky Way. But, I also had a brief period of moon light with which to work. This particular evening I decided I better arrive early before the sky was fully dark and work while I could. The moon reflected enough light to cause shadows to be cast, light up the sky a bit, and place lovely reflections on the waters of Eagle Lake.

Composing was still like, well, working in the dark. But I adjusted after a quick image review and proceeded until clouds ended my session. This image was made with a Nikon D800 and Nikkor 16-35mm f4.0 lens wide open for 2.5 seconds at ISO 2000. A tripod was used of course, as was an electronic cable release. In the print, stars will be seen, while in this smaller screen image they are more obscure. 

(c) 2014 Paul Grecian

(c) 2014 Paul Grecian

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Maine – Inside Out

Recently returning from an extended trip to Acadia National Park and Portland, Maine, I am in the process of evaluating and developing my new work. This was my fourth visit to Acadia and first time to Portland. Because I’ve become familiar with Acadia, I felt more comfortable and relaxed there. I also felt more free to just respond to what excited me visually instead of trying to create work that spoke ABOUT Acadia. In fact much of my work will not be easily placed as being made in Maine. This kind of “place-less” imagery has always been my goal, but it is harder to achieve during initial visits.

To be successful, I feel I have to not even think about where I’m at and certainly not try to convey location. I like it when my imagery could have been made any where or remind viewers of any place. I always want my audience to think more about the feeling of an image than where it was made. For the image below, I used an Olympus E-M5 with a Rokinon fish eye lens to emphasize the roundness of this particular stand of birch. I wanted to achieve a rather lacy look to the canopy and draw you up into its layers. Symmetry and depth were important considerations, as was keeping my fingers out of the image (darn fish eyes take in everything!). Evaluating the image in color and Black & White, I felt the tonalities supported a monochromatic presentation.

Birch Canopy, Maine

Birch Canopy, Maine

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More Dragons……

Back to fighting dragons.  My goal is to create enough isolation from the background to create a clean image with strong graphics and no textural distractions.

This particular dragonfly was a wonderful green that very much blended with the back lit green blades. I composed to maximize the separation of the grasses and to make myself as parallel to the dragonfly as possible.

(c) 2014 Paul Grecian

(c) 2014 Paul Grecian

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Wildlife Photography in a Small Way

I consider “wildlife” to be any plant or animal that lives its natural life in the wild. It’s interesting how the term seems so often to only refer to mammals (and larger ones at that). On a resent outing to photograph local native flowers and other wildlife, I had the opportunity to work with a number of dragonflies. These really are magnificent insects and I think they are also beautiful.

Dragonflies tend to be difficult subjects because they are quick to fly off when approached, and often choose postures that are not the most interesting (e.g., facing away from the photographer, choosing perches that are hard to isolate, or just too far away). What helps to make for successful imagery though is that dragonflies seem to be habitual users of their habitat. I have often seen them fly off of a perch and then come back to land on it in the exact same posture. This bit of predictability allows for pre-visualization of an image so that when the dragonfly returns, the image may be made.

I’ve rarely been able to work with a dragonfly that chose a perching posture that looked right at me, so this was pretty special. I focused carefully on the eyes which can be done quite exactly because of all of the eye facets, and then concentrated on fine-tuning the composition. I used a Nikon D300 body and a Tamron 180mm macro lens steadied on a Benro tripod with a Really Right Stuff ball head. The 180mmm gave me enough working space and the ability to isolate my subject against a smooth background.

 

(C)2014 Paul Grecian

(C)2014 Paul Grecian

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Sometimes it is black and white……

My “formal” education in photography started in High School where I took my first class in black & white image making. It was a basic course but stoked the flames. In college, I continued my exploration of black & white photography while majoring in Psycho-Biology. In all, I had 4 semesters of photography in college which allowed me to both learn and experiment with the medium.

After my undergraduate career, I moved to color slide film. With nature as my primary theme, I learned to deal with the added complexity color can bring to an image and the unforgiving attributes of slide film. But, color excited me, most editors wanted color (specifically slide film), and I understood the importance of color both biologically and emotionally.

Within the last couple years however, I have found myself gravitating back to black & white work for certain scenes or feelings where color either detracts or is unimportant to the image. These images have a somewhat different mood than even my more monochromatic color images. I have now dedicated one of my printers to just black & white work and am finding myself thinking in both color and B&W more often.

The image below is a good example of where I feel B&W is especially effective. It allows for the  image to be mostly about  texture and geometry. There is no color aspect to draw you to one part of the image over the other.  The bird is for me the visual center and being the only animal in the image, the visual subject. In a color image, I think it would be lost (at least in this image).

(c) Paul Grecian

(c) Paul Grecian

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Copyright Notice

All images are copyright of Paul Grecian. No image may be linked to or downloaded without expressed written consent and rights authorization. Images are available for purchase for publication and in print form. Please contact me through www.paulgrecianphoto.com for more information.

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