I am in the final printing stage of work that I will be exhibiting at my annual two-person show with Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville, NJ. This year I have teamed up with the amazing Gail Bracegirdle whose work I have admired for years. The name of our show is Observations and touches on the question of whether artists really see the world differently.
The show will be up starting June 4 with a reception on June 6 from 5-8 pm. This show is more about my visual approach than any particular subject matter, so it seems extremely personal to me.
It is typically the case for me that when I experience an attraction to a subject, landscape, or idea, I have a fairly specific response which results in a particular interpretation or communication in the image I make. That doesn’t mean I don’t explore the “scene” or try different ways of expressing the feeling I’m having. it’s just that when all is said and done, I usually can decide on one image that represents my intent.
Recently, I began developing a RAW file from my 2014 Acadia National Park trip and found myself creating 6 different versions of the print. It is a scene containing Birch trees along a path around Sieur de Mont. I have been working on “pathways” as a theme for many years and I was especially drawn to the light and monochrome tones of this scene.
(c) 2015 Paul Grecian
I have decided to offer the 6 different versions as Artist’s Proofs and will decide on which to add to my regular print additions over time. The two examples here represent the extremes of the range of looks I liked. The image was made with an Olympus OMD EM-5 camera with a Panasonic 14-140mm lens handheld. In all of the versions, I converted the image to black and white.
I am especially fond of the vignette version below with a bit of sepia “toning” which gives it a timeless feeling and also one which imbues it with a sense of mystery or romanticism. It reminds me of the type of imagery that one would find in a very old book or magazine. I will be offering each Artist’s Proof framed for $225.00 which includes UV-protective, Reflection-control glass.
Not really colonial, but animals that live in the “colonial” town of Williamsburg, VA were my subjects this past weekend. The young lambs were great fun to work with, and rather frustrating (they don’t stop moving). The birds and squirrels are not exactly exotic, but the setting in which to work with them is appealing to me.
(c) 2015 Paul Grecian
The lambs are just too cute to pass up on and from the response of the other bystanders, I have company. Appropriately enough, one of the common birds found in Colonial Williamsburg is the English Sparrow (too bad it isn’t a red bird like the Cardinal, huh?).
For this venture, I worked with a Micro Four-thirds system which allowed me to pack light and be nimble. The lens that got the most work was my Panasonic 100-300mm which translates into a 200-600mm in 35mm SLR terms. This lens is not only small for its power, but is really impressively sharp! I worked handheld for most of the weekend and took advantage of the in-body image stabilization capability of my Olympus OM-D EM5 camera.
For both of these images I am composing to frame the subject within it’s setting using strong lines and design elements. Also in both cases, the “environment” has similar tonalities as the subject, i.e., a white fence for the lamb, and various browns with the sparrow.
The calendars and the clocks tell me it’s spring but I need proof. For the last couple years I have been seeking that proof along with a friend, Wayne. We head down to Longwood Gardens to be shown that spring is in fact here.
Today, however, we found proof of spring mostly lacking. There were a few initial signs that the season has changed, but most were still weeks in the making. It’s all good though, the Conservatory is always worth a visit. And a walk around the grounds, even looking much like winter, is a fine thing.
Highlights of the day included a lawn full of crocuses and a the sighting of a rather rare Long-eared Owl! Other than that, well, there’s always that amazing mushroom soup………….
Inside the Conservatory I found a drapery of flowers with a hanging pot of orchids. it had a rather magical look to it all when I compressed the view with a telephoto perspective. For todays group of images I used a Sony RX10 with a lens equivalent to a 24-200mm which gave me most of what I would need with the various subjects at Longwood.
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.
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.
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.