“Bolt” – SOLD at Artists’ Gallery

Images that depict motion are always challenging in a two-dimensional, static medium like photography. But, if you can make it work, the image can be very powerful. This is an image that happened quickly as I responded to this deer just a moment after spotting him.

The technique of “panning” the camera with the subject’s movement at a shutter speed slow enough to render a sense of motion but fast enough to maintain recognition of the subject, is tricky. There are technical and aesthetic considerations so it requires having done it enough to respond in the moment.

This is the second image of this type that I’ve sold at Artists’ Gallery this year and it drives me to do more work of this nature.

Bolt

Bolt

Together

Northern Cardinals continue to be a favorite subject of mine. Over the years, I have grown to appreciate not just their physical beauty, but also the emotional significance they hold for many people who have lost loved ones. I have become especially conscious of situations where the male and female cardinal are together. The relationship between these two birds is both visually striking and a metaphor for caring couples.

Most of my cardinal work is done during the winter when trees are bare and visual access to the birds seems greatest. This image was made this winter during one of the above frigid days when I could work effectively for several hours. I composed to use the lines of the tree, the two bird’s similar posture and a panoramic cropping for maximum impact. I also like that the female is out front and has the darker color of the male as a contrasting background.

I used a Nikon D800 camera with a Nikkor AFS 200-400mm f4.0G  lens with a Nikkor TC20E III at an ISO 2000 and f11. The image is now available as a print in the size of 7×14″ matted to 16×20″ for $84.00 and framed for $189.00 with UV-protective, Reflection-control glass. I will have print #1 with me at the North Penn Select Craft Show on March 21.

(c) 2015 Paul Grecian - Photography

(c) 2015 Paul Grecian – Photography

Ukiyo-e

For a little while now I have been studying and appreciating the Japanese art form of ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”). These were woodblock prints and paintings that were made during the 17th to 19th centuries and which had at their core a beautiful simplicity that I am very drawn towards.

In this genre of art I am especially excited by the nature themed works which emphasize line and form. . I have made several prints of images that were inspired by these poetic artworks and have been pleased with the response to them.

During my last trip to Maine, I made a bird image that I feel is consistent with the overall feeling of ukiyo-e, at least the way I have been inspired by it. In this image, made near Portland Head Light, I am emphasizing simplicity with repetition of line broken up by the more organic form of the bird. The print will be made as a black and white image on Epson Enhanced Matte paper at a size of approximately 10×14. The 16×20 framed price is set at $200 to start and includes UV-protective, Reflection-control glass. The edition will be limited to 100 in this size and 150 overall.

(c) 2014 Paul Grecian - Photography

(c) 2014 Paul Grecian – Photography

Squirrel!

Animal behavior has always been a subject of great interest to me, it is what I studied in college and continues to influence the types of images I make. Squirrels are one of the most expressive and entertaining subjects I’ve worked with in Bucks County. OK, they’re darn cute too.

This character was not just perfect, perfect fur, perfect posture, perfect ears, he was seemingly perfectly fed! I composed here to maximize symmetry and to place its expressive eyes in a “power point” in the frame.

This image was made earlier this winter with a Nikon D800 and Nikkor 200-400mm f4.0 lens coupled with a Nikon TC2.0 III at f11 equivalent aperture, ISO set to 2000. I like the flexibility of this outfit and if my technique is solid, so are the images.

(c) 2015 Paul Grecian

(c) 2015 Paul Grecian

Phillips Mill Photographic Exhibition (PMPE) 2015 is Announced

The Phillips Mill Photographic Exhibition began in 1991 and has dealt with photography as an art form throughout. The PMPE is one of the more prestigious exhibitions on the East Coast. I am honored to have been asked to serve as one of the three jurors for the 2015 competition and look forward to being a part of the image selection process.

I have also been a part of this exhibition as an exhibitor when my image Downward-facing Dog (below) was both selected and sold during the show.

(c) Paul Grecian

(c) Paul Grecian

Water Falls and Mood

There appears to be no reliable influence by positive or negative air ions (high levels occur around waterfalls) on mood according to a meta-analysis – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23320516, but I certainly felt good working the falls of Ricketts Glen last month.

We had some very rainy weather my first day there which hindered my efforts, but the next day was magnificent and I did the loop down and back up the other side of the falls trail. All that rain had the water running deep and fast (and loud), making it quite the experience. Many other photographers thought to as well and added to the challenges of working that day.

I hadn’t photographed at Ricketts Glen in over ten years, so I went with light gear opting to be nimble and productive. I worked entirely with one camera and one lens — the Olympus EM-5 and the Panasonic 14-140mm II, and a small tripod. I used a polarizing filter and closed down the aperture for maximum depth of field.

Ricketts Falls- (c) 2014 Paul Grecian

Ricketts Falls- (c) 2014 Paul Grecian

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Manipulation

After being asked “what camera I use” I am most often asked “do you manipulate your images?” I don’t mind answering either question, but neither is straightforward. I use and have used a broad variety of gear, so my answer to “what camera” never pleases anyone. The harder question concerns “manipulation.” At a couple recent shows, a show judge and a customer asked me if I manipulated my images. The problem I have is that I do not believe most people know what they mean when they ask about manipulation. I have also discovered that those who do have a sense of what manipulation means to them, have differing ideas.

As a result, I always ask the questioner what they mean by “manipulation”. Some will answer honestly that they don’t know, in which case I just explain what I do in some detail. However, the show judge I mentioned above told me his definition of manipulation involved putting things into the image that were not in the original scene. That is not a practice I engage in. In the case of the customer who asked me about manipulation, I asked him “how I would measure manipulation?” His answer was that I would measure it “in hours.” I told him that I have a very straightforward workflow process and “hours” are never involved. However, I may stare at an image for days before I decide on how it should ultimately be developed to match the feeling I had while in the field.

Ironically, both the adding of elements to a photograph that were not in the original scene, and the working of a print for hours have been around since the beginning of photography. These practices were common and often discussed in their time as well. To my way of thinking, all of photography is fundamentally a manipulation. Working with a three-dimensional subject in which light is bouncing off in every direction and converting it into a two-dimensional print in which no light is emanating is a pretty big manipulation. Take away color as in black and white prints, add perspective, contrast, exposure, focus, and the myriad other creative decisions artistic photographers make in the creation of even rather “straight” images, and the answer to the “manipulation” question is never a yes or no reply.

Rain on Jordan's Pond, Acadia NP

Rain on Jordan’s Pond, Acadia NP

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