My Favorites of 2014

It took awhile, but I have decided on my favorite images from 2014. Actually, I feel pretty pleased because I have narrowed it down to more than twelve images, and Ansel Adams said that twelve images in a year was doing very well (I paraphrase). I guess I may have cheated some, because a couple  of these images were taken earlier than last year, I just didn’t process, or finalize them, until now.  So, without further ado, I present my favorites of 2014.Morning_Mist Winter_Trees_2 Moon_Underscored Moon_and_Trees Springs_Greens Windblown_Grasses Amarylsi_Profiles Bit_of_a_Bow Bloomin_Cactus Quiet_Evening Into_the_Wild Fall_Colors Progression Autumn_Gold Spots_of_Color Hangers-On  If you have a favorite or three, please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you about which you like the best (or least, if you prefer).  Until next time, enjoy!

Balance

I have been thinking about balance recently, and how I might incorporate more of it into my life and work. And it seems that I am not the only one thinking the same thing, because, after doing some research on the issue, I have found many articles referring to studies on this subject by psychologists and other mental health professionals, some even going so far as to declare that it no longer exists in the American way of life.

Balance, as defined on Dictionary.com under definition #3 is “mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc.”  and definition #18: “to bring to or hold in equilibrium; poise” appear to apply to the issue that I am grappling with.

The questions that I am faced with are: Is it possible to have balance in one’s everyday life without sacrificing work or personal life? If yes, how does one achieve this ‘balance’?

Psychologist Robert Brooks offers 5 ways to help build balance between work and personal into our lives. They are:

1. Build downtime into your schedule.

2. Drop activities that sap your time or energy.

3. Rethink your errands.

4. Get moving.

5. Remember that a little relaxation goes a long way.

While these are good suggestions for their intended purpose, it doesn’t answer my third question: How does one balance the different parts of work?

This is what I will be working to resolve for myself over the next few weeks. I expect, as with most other struggles, that the answer is going to be simple, once I correctly define the terms. Stay tuned.

 

Happy holidays to all.

On the creation of an image

 

A question that I am often asked is “Do you manipulate the pictures?” The most direct and succinct answer is simply “Yes, I do.”  But this response needs some expansion, so I will usually add that my goal is to reproduce what I saw at that moment in time.

The camera is a completely unbiased recording device which is very different from the human eye/brain combination. When we look at something, our eye is ‘seeing’ everything, but the brain is focusing on one thing at a time and creating an overlaying order to the cacophony of what the eye is seeing.

As a photographer, I must take the recorded information from the camera and create an image that approximates what my brain remembered of the visual scene at that moment in time.

As am example of this, follow along on a short trip along the path of creation of one of my more popular images, “A bit of red on the side”.
Before-a-bit-of-red
This is the image that came from the camera and after my standard “development” process, but before any ‘sculpting’ to my concept for a final image.

First, the image was cropped so the the left edge of the image was just to the left of the  orange leaves and the left angled birch trunk. This helped to organize the image around the birch trunks on the right side of the original picture.

The second process that took place was getting the color right with my impressions. The original had much more yellow in it than I wanted. This solved the problem with the orange leaves that I distinctly remember as being bright red. This process also refined the color palette to my liking.
A-bit-of-red
Though greatly simplified, this is a brief look at my thoughts on the creation of this image.

News update

 

 

New images and show schedule.

 

Purple-Time
I would like to take this opportunity to let you know about my show schedule for the months of August and September, and also to show off some of the new images available for sale, either on the web site or directly from me at a show.

First, the show schedule:
During the month of August, I will be participating in the Riverwalk Market Fair on Northfield’s Bridge Square. This show runs from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm every Saturday. There are many artists and crafts people attending this fair, as well as food vendors. So far this year we have had great weather, so you should plan on coming out and visiting. I am looking forward to seeing you at the fair.
In September, I will be moving around a little. On September 6 and 7, I will be participating in the Northfield Arts Guild Riverfront Festival. This takes place during the Defeat of Jesse James Days weekend. I am really looking forward to being at this festival, and I hope that I will see many of you there. The hours are 10:00 am until 5:00 pm both days. Be sure to stop by and say hello.
September 13 and 27, I will again be at Riverwalk in Northfield. Then on September 20 and 21, I will be at the Lakeville Art Festival from 10:00am ’til 5:00pm both days.
Spring's-Greens
About the images.
Purple Time is a photo that was taken on the shore of Lake Superior during sundown. I was struck by the violet/magenta colors and the rain squall out on the lake. This has been sitting in my archives for awhile waiting for me to process it to my liking. I finally pulled it out and spent some time working on it to my satisfaction. I am pleased with the results.

Spring’s Greens is the result of my trying to stay within 100 miles of home and finding images that display my feelings about the area. Very close to home. It incorporates a color palette that I haven’t worked with much, but I think it captures the greens of a Minnesota spring very well.

Winter's-Prelude
The final image is also part of my ‘Within 100 Miles’  project. Taken in a county park on the Cannon River, I was drawn by the colors and the juxtaposition of the bare tree with bluff behind. Also a color palette that I was not accustomed to using.


Have a happy and enjoyable life.


Chris.

From the Beginning

Welcome.

This is the beginning of my  journey to artistic expression through photography.  Though I never referred to myself as an artist before this journey began, I am a classically trained musician, and, really, a musician is as much an artist as, say, a painter or  sculptor.

This is one example of the change in thinking that I am going through early in this journey.

Another important change is the conversion from an aural perception of the world to a visual. While I have always been aware of visual stimuli and the emotional impact they had on me, the organization of visual elements necessary for photography is not second nature to me as is the arrangement of aural elements in music. I am forced to consciously take stock of my surroundings, to take a moment and organize the things that I see and connect to them emotionally in order to create meaningful images.

I have been told that with practice this will become second nature to me, and I understand this on an intellectual level, but I haven’t done it often enough for it to become an unconscious action. In comparing it to what I learned from playing a musical instrument, I know that I have many, many hours of “practice” yet to go.

I am anticipating the journey, knowing that it will never end. After all, it is the journey and not the destination that is important. Join me if you will.

To close, I would like to quote from one of the artists that inspires me.

“We are those who believe that art should be free of constraints. Any limitations applied to our work are those we choose for ourselves.

We are those who proclaim ourselves artists, in the sense that we are people who create art, and who believe that no other qualification is needed.

We are those who wish for our work to be judged, above anything else, by the goals we set for it.

We are those who believe that art should have meaning and purpose, and thus is incompatible with the notion of “art for art’s sake.”

We consider art a construct of the human mind, and as such, believe that it should benefit the human experience. Beauty and aesthetics, although not a necessary ingredient, should nonetheless never be dismissed in and of themselves.

We are those who recognize other trends, fashions and movements in art, but choose to pursue our work in the way that we do, in a manner most honest with who we are; our personal sensibilities; the roots of our inspiration; our own creative voices; our choice of media; and the goals we set for ourselves.

We are those who believe that our work holds meaning to our audience, and that such meaning trumps any consideration of genre, movement or categorization.”

Guy Tal   2012