Everyday personal experiences with nature are the foundation to our larger appreciation of the world we live in. Recently a collector of my work named Sandy, shared a story of her affection for the common American Robin. She was interested in a piece that would celebrate her experience of caring for a Robin until it could fly away. I selected two pictures from my collection of images and offered her my first printing of either one.
Happily, Sandy selected a piece in a walnut frame that I will be shipping to her. Her choice was the image I titled Easy Pickins depicting an American Robin on a fruit laden tree. The price for the framed print which includes a nicely finished dust-cover on the back with a pocket for the Certificate of Authenticity, is $129.00. Visit my website for a full selection of available works by clicking HERE.
I always appreciate a collector sharing a story with me about an experience with nature. Recently, a customer told me about her experience with a common bird — the American Robin. I have always been fond of Robins as a sign of Spring; I also think they are an attractive bird, and very much enjoy their melodious song.
Having had purchased my bird work before, this customer asked me about my experience with Robins. That request motivated me to reconnect with some previous images of mine. As a result, I am introducing two new prints. The first piece is titled Fruitful and is of a Robin sitting on a richly fruitful branch. The second piece is titled Easy Pickins which is of a Robin framed by the branches of a fruit covered tree. Click on the names above to see them on my website.
In both images, the Robin is the clear
visual element of interest. Both images are also about the bounty of nature which birds rely on to meet their needs. The Robin is not an exotic bird, it is however, one with which we all have some memory and relationship during the year. These types of relationships, the everyday experiences with nature, are our most important.
Winter is a wonderful time of year to work with cardinals. The contrast between the brilliant reds of the bird and the clean whites of the background allow me to make very pleasing images. I am always trying to include a third element though, and in this case that third element was these blue berries. Red, white, and blue in winter.
Food sources are part of my strategy for working with birds during the winter. In addition to being a draw to birds, I like the visual element of small round shapes in an otherwise minimalist piece.
I am currently printing this new work to be matted to 16×20 inches, a standard frame size. I also offer the print framed with a UV-Protective, Reflection-control glass available on my website HERE
As a visual artist working with the medium of photography, I am always aware that I am translating a three-dimensional, moving subject into a two-dimensional, static image. What I try to achieve in my work is a sort of visual tension so that the viewer feels that movement is imminent or even actively occurring in the scene. I convey these feelings in landscape and still-life images partly through the flow of line and geometry. With wildlife subjects, I create images where the animal’s posture is full of kinetic energy. These images suggest, as Mike, who with his wife Debra collects my work, recently wrote to me, “that the life force will drastically change the scene in the next moment.” He continued, “Your pictures seem to capture that essence that no matter how we try to freeze life it continues to move forward….”
It is gratifying when a collector writes me words that affirm I am achieving my desired visual impact.
One of my newest images — Snow Cap — suggests this same kind of “subtle dynamic” as well. The Chickadee here is almost vibrating with energy it feels. These are the types of images that don’t stand still in our minds but relay a sense that the bird is alive in our presence. Having studied animal behavior my whole life from before college through the present, I know birds are a constantly moving power house. In many ways, the images I make are less about them than they are the human struggle in which we all engage. Without projecting our own feelings of empathy onto the bird, we would not feel the way we do about such images.
This image is available as a Limited Edition giclee print for $54. from my website – Here
Driving back from a show in Virginia last month, we passed by a section of the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. It was snowing which made the scene along the river appear to be in a fog. The snow obscured the details of distant hills, and generally gave a soft feeling to the landscape. I made some mental notes about returning under similar conditions with a qualified camera.
After a few more miles I couldn’t stand it any longer and pulled over the first chance I got. I always bring a camera with me to shows in order to make new booth images for future show submissions, and to do some PR images for web use. So I got out of the van with that “show” camera in hand and figured I would do what I could. The camera is an Olympus Stylus 1, a small sensor camera with a very good lens and full manual control capability. I am a strong believer that strong images are made by artists not cameras, so I worked to create an image that conveyed the feelings I had looking out over the river.
I like the feeling of dimension in this piece. My eye travels first to the island on the left then to the distant island on the right, then toward the middle island and the distant hill. I converted the image to black and white as color was not relevant to my visualization, and added a subtle sepia toning. I think the image has a rather timeless quality to it and am quite happy with it. My 11×14 test print is very pleasing and so this image is available on my website HERE.
One of my goals when selecting new photographic tools is to be able to do things that my current tools don’t allow or make too difficult. Last year I purchased a Nikon Coolpix P900 because I felt that its crazy 83x optical zoom lens which ranges from an equivalent 24-2000mm would allow me to compose almost any image I wanted. It also was said to have a pretty good image stabilization function which I knew would be necessary with 2000mm!
No camera can fill every niche, and the more any one camera claims to allow me to do, the lower the image quality tends to be. So I went into this purchase expecting the limitations of such a camera. Having worked with it just a bit now, I have confirmed my suspicions regarding its limitations but also what I hoped it to be – a go to camera when an image idea comes to me and there is no time or access to setting up “better” gear.
One of those “in the moment” ideas came to me during a recent evening and the Nikon P900 was the tool I selected to try to make the image I was visualizing. The moon was slowly coming over a ridge lined with trees. I wanted to compose a frame filling image of the moon with the silhouetted trees in front in a very flat, two-dimensional way. I ran inside for the camera and started composing. At 800 ISO I was able to get sufficient shutter speed to hand hold 2000mm I thought. But for extra security I found a post to lean on and stabilized myself further.
I took the meter reading off the moon to maximize my shutter speed and because I wanted the sky to go black. The image became a round, golden ball with some crater detail and bare winter trees silhouetted. Its the image I visualized in my head.
Prints in two sizes are available on my website – Here
A couple recent emails I received made me feel especially good. One was from a co-worker of mine 10 years ago when I worked as a manager for an information service. In a short note I was told that when stress at the job got high, he would go to my website and enjoy the imagery there. He wrote to me “….your gallery pictures are great and they truly depict some of the most peaceful and tranquil scenes I have ever seen“.
Mary E. wrote to me about two prints she purchased. Mary’s kind words were “These photos are so amazing and so alive, they feel more like members of my family than artwork. I’m now in the process of doing some redecorating and am eager to include more of your work.”
How could lines that those not make one feel good and motivated! The wonderful thing too about notes like the above is that neither person had to write them. But they did!
One of the images mentioned by Mary is also one of my personal favorites, an image of a tree swallow: