The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Billions and Billions

Imagine standing in the night, in the dark, on a beach. The tide is so low, there are not any sounds of waves. The Milky Way is over your head. The sky is filled with stars.

Stars Over Low Tide     St. Simons Island      October 23, 2013

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Once an Instructor...

Potomac, at Colonial Beach  July 2013
Last night was the opening reception for the photography exhibit I have at Dogwood Gallery in Tyrone with my friend and colleague, Dale Niles. Years ago, when I was teaching photography for Clayton State, I met Dale Niles. She took a couple classes from me -- I do believe one was with Clayton State and the other was a beginning Photoshop Elements class at Dogwood Gallery. When I began my "public" step into photography, it was with the beginning of a local photography club and as an instructor. 

I am not one to keep my methods a secret. I love to tell others how I did something. The work in the show last night is a good example. Recently, I was cautioned to not mention how I created the work hanging at Dogwood -- that the admission of my tool would perhaps belittle the work in the eye of the beholder. I completely understand that thought. There are many people out there who feel it is the tool or the method that makes the work. My feeling is the work is the work and how you made it is secondary.

I do shoot with film -- not often. I have shot wet plate. (one day I plan on a wet plate darkroom in my basement...) I use mostly digital cameras and mainly, for the past few months -- I have been working with my iPhone. It is always amazing to me when you talk to someone and they will lead off about their work with the method of the print or the tool they used to create the image. Just because your camera cost what a nice used (or new) car would cost that does not mean you have a great image. Same can be said for if it is shot with film that does not make it a classic. There are a lot of photographers who seem way to hung up on the tool or the method. This goes so far beyond the boring blabbing over Nikon vs. Canon. Obviously, I am not a gearhead. 

When speaking with people last night about the images, I told them I used an iPhone and that all editing was done in phone. The only time the image was on a computer was when I printed it. This was part of my point of pulling those images together -- to show the versatility of such a simple tool; to show how you do not need to be overwhelmed by what gear you have or what someone else says you need. I guess this is the instructor in me coming out to play -- telling the interested observer about the image, why I chose that subject, and why I choose the iPhone as a serious photography tool. The spontaneous nature of the iPhone appeals to me. But deep down it was good to see people drawn to an image and then learn how it was created; and to see the surprise.

There is a lot of noise in photography now. I say; show me an image. If I really like it, I will, perhaps, want to know how it came to be -- but it is the image that attracts me first, not the method used to create it. Just as holding a pen does not make your a writer, holding a camera does not create the image -- the person does through thought and study. 

The show is up at Dogwood Gallery through November 16.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Apparition

Identical exposures without moving an inch, yet there is something very different from one frame to the other. On January 13, 2013 I was with a small group shooting in the old elementary school in Zebulon, Georgia. I had been in the school before.

On one previous occasion, I heard footsteps in the auditorium. The only other person in the building at the time was standing next to me.

I asked her, "Did you hear footsteps?" 

She replied, "Yes." 

Then we both walked to the other side of the building.

I have heard stories about 'activity' in the school. I admit that I am somewhat skeptical of these things -- thinking maybe there is something to it -- but usually there is a good explanation of the noise, light, etc. The sound of the footsteps made me think the stories of the school were true. The shots I took on January 13 reinforce this feeling.

Usually I don't give out boring details like shutter speed, fstop, etc. but in the spirit of openness and to show how identical these images should have been - here it is: 25 sec. exposure, f5.6, ISO 160, focal length of my lens 17mm -- for both images. 

This image was shot at 1:36:15pm:

This image was shot at 1:37:28pm:

It appears a little bit brighter -- but the big difference is the streak of light across the middle of the frame. 

I printed this today and framed it for a show at A Novel Experience in Zebulon, Georgia; The Ghost Show. This show will be up at the end of October and the reception is November 2, 6:30pm.  Come see the "Schoolroom Specter" in person.

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