Fall Falls

I am still having trouble driving around here in Pennsylvania without getting distracted by the wonderful fall display this year. I like each part of the color transformation starting with the earliest changes and ending with just color accents on the trees. I can’t safely pull over everytime I feel inspired while on the road. Working at Ricketts Glen State Park however doesn’t pose that problem.

This image was made after a heavy rain which really got the water flowing fast and furious. But the image is designed to also emphasize the stone stairway on the left. Pathways have been a theme of mine for many years. In this case the stair path also provides a visual alternative to following the flow of water and balances the fallen tree trunk on the lower right. What I especially like is that the stairs give me a way into the image and a mental place from which to explore the entire scene.

I have been working with a Micro-Four-thirds camera system made by Olympus for some time now and have been pleased with my results. Importantly, I also find that there are certain types of image making and certain kinds of locations where a small profile camera system allows me to stay active and flexible.

My show year still has six events on the calendar including a Sugarloaf show this weekend in Oaks, PA. Go to my website for my full show schedule and additional galleries of work – http://www.paulgrecianphoto.com

Ricketts Glen State Park - Stairs
Ricketts Glen State Park – Stairs

Barn Cats – the series

During the past 9 months I have been working on a series of images depicting the lives of a group of barn cats residing on a small Pennsylvania farm. There have always been cats in my life and I have found their behavior and beauty a tempting subject for years. I approached this project from a fully visual perspective but can not help be enthralled by their behavioral interactions with each other. I have also become very appreciative of how hard their lives can be even when they are provided supplemental food.

In many ways these cats are living like other wildlife; they are dealing with the elements, sickness, and even predators. I find myself viewing them now as I would have any animal I studied while earning my degree in Psycho-Biology (Animal Behavior). This cat project has become very personal as I have come to know these animals as individuals. Even in what seems like a rather short period of time working with the cats I have seen some come and go, empathized with there feelings of lose and cold, and rejoiced in the new births.

This is a project that will continue over time as the group is a dynamic and fascinating subject for me. I am currently showing a selection of images from this project at Artist’ Gallery in Lambertville, NJ. I will also have several from the series at my regularly scheduled art show events. See my full schedule at http://www.paulgrecianphoto.com.

Barn cat on fence with snow on ground
Barn cat on fence with snow on ground

Observations – A Two-Person Show

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.

At Artists' Gallery starting June 4
At Artists’ Gallery starting June 4

Spring Ahead

Longwood1The 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.

(c) 2015 Paul Grecian
(c) 2015 Paul Grecian

“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.



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


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

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


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


Foggy January

I’m really appreciating being able to get back to making photographs. Earlier this week I saw fog again when I awoke and took off, straight to my favorite lake! There were Canada Geese in large numbers and a distant Bald Eagle perched on the opposite shore high in a tree.

Even when working at a location I’ve been to a thousand times, I need to take time to absorb what I’m seeing and feeling. What moved me to start the process was the mist rising off the water against a winter woodland and a large stone in the foreground.

In the field, I used a Canon 5D Mark II camera and a Canon 70-200mm f2.8 L IS II lens on a Gitzo tripod with a Really Right Stuff  head. I like to work with the mirror locked up and a 2 second self-timer. This image was made in color and converted to black & white. I developed the image further using levels, curves, shadows/highlights, and some sharpening. When all was finished I applied sepia toning to emphasize the mood.

(c) 2013 Paul Grecian
(c) 2013 Paul Grecian