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PIXelations 26

Drawing 101
by fotofinish , 07-29-2009 at 07:57 PM (1226 Views)

I had been thinking for some time about taking some sort of intro to graphics design class, just so that I could learn more about design fundamentals. I thought that this would give me a different way of looking at the world before I decide what to photograph. Well at my workshop in early June, I met two women who actually were graphics designers.

One of them, Tonya, told me that there were two paths that graphics designers can take. One was the technical where they learn how to use the computer and Photoshop to get what is needed. The other, more preferred path was to learn how to draw first, then add the technical. Tanya said that many of the best graphics design schools prefer people to take this route. So, she told me to take a beginning drawing class. This way, she said, I would learn how to see first by learning things like perspective, the power and direction of light.

So that is what I did. I went down to my local community college and signed up for the Drawing 1 class. It starts the first week of September for two nights a week, 4 hours each week. It is not that I have any burning desire to become proficient at drawing, it is just that I could stand to improve my ability to see properly. And I think it could even be fun! Thanks, Tonya!

hey Jerry, just wanted to say…… Im back to reading blogs, and wanted to touch base and say HI.. Missed you!!!

Tracy! You’re back!! Welcome back!!! I look forward to seeing something new from you. Thanks for the visit.

Good idea Jerry. Unfortunately I can’t draw, so I take pictures instead. Bet you will enjoy going to class.

I can’t draw much myself, but it should be fun! Thanks for the visit.

gotta gig
by fotofinish , 08-02-2009 at 03:38 PM (849 Views)

I was recently asked by a friend at work to be one of the photographers shooting the “Celebrate India! 2009” fundraiser on Saturday, August 29 for the D.F. School for the Bind Children in Kolkata, India. My friend and his wife visited this school a few years back and were so touched by what they saw that they started an annual fundraiser for them. This will be a chance for me to give back something to help out a worthy cause. It also sounds like fun!

That’s great! Hope to see some of the results you get!

Thanks for the encouragement and the visit! I’m looking forward to it; it should be fun!

Racebrook Falls
by fotofinish , 08-09-2009 at 11:31 AM (812 Views)

My friend and fellow photographer, Vinny, went on a hike a couple of weeks ago, mostly scouting out locations to go back to with Fall color. So we found Racebrrok Falls in MA. We made the mistake of trying to blaze our own trail up to the top of the falls, but went only half way, due to slippery conditions. So we settled for the base of the falls:

And of course, I had to try some camera movements. Here’s my best one of these:

You can see the rest of my selections here.

My new website changes
by fotofinish , 08-29-2009 at 11:12 AM (1104 Views)

I have made a number of changes to my website over the last few weeks. These changes include:

Adding my new Pretend gallery as the central, featured gallery on my home page.
Splitting out my original gallery, Abstracts and Stills, into two separate, standalone galleries. This will allow these two to grow independently over time.
Adding dropdown menus for my main menu items, Galleries and Info. This way when the viewer clicks on one of my other menu items, say news, the viewer can choose which gallery he wants to visit in one click, rather than clicking Galleries and then being forced to click on one of the pictures on my home page.
The Info menu link now has subpages for my Mission statement, Contact info, History info, and a Links page. This links page allows access to my proofing website which contains pictures of general interest that I may be experimenting with for a possible new gallery or project.
I’ve also added a direct link to this PIXelations blog which launches the viewer into a separate window. This way the viewer still has the original window in my website. I’m not ready to let the viewer go yet!
Each page features a picture from one of my galleries. Each picture can be clicked by the viewer to enter that particular gallery.
Since I use Lightroom to create flash versions of each of my galleries, I’ve decided to maintain the same color scheme I’ve used throughout my site. Why this color scheme? I’m so tired of grey or black! I know those colors show off your pictures better, but I’m just so bored with them. But that’s just me. I used my “southwest” theme throughout my site now.

My philosophy has been that a website should be quick and easy to use, without a lot of distractions in the form of sound or effects. Afterall, the goal of any site is to get viewers to see your pictures! Why make the viewer hunt for your pictures, forcing them to drill deeper into the site?

He Jerry, nice work on your website. Great photo’s in there too!

2 remarks about your post here .. one is that you made a typo in the link to your webaddress (forgot an ‘o’ ) .. and the other is that the link to your webadress doesn’t work for me when you link it to ‘index.html’ .. if i go to ‘index.htm’ it works fine ..

Thanks for sharing, regards, Eric.

Corrected…Thanks for the help, Eric! And thanks for the compliments!

Very interesting…
by fotofinish , 09-06-2009 at 12:10 PM (1166 Views)

I found this on another website which really sounds interesting. I’d love to see this happen! Read here.

Perhaps even more interesting is this one. Read here.

Not for everybody, but it sure is nice that they are looking for new ways out there…

That sounds really interesting. It should only make things better.

Yeah, Skippy, sounds like things could get interesting in the not too distant future. I know that I would like to see Canon come out with a medium format dslr!

Drawing update
by fotofinish , 09-07-2009 at 09:10 AM (723 Views)

I started my Drawing 1 class last week at my local community college. There was one other guy in the class who might be in his early 40’s and a woman maybe in her late 30’s. There are I think 18 people, the rest were your average college folks. My son’s friend was also in the class, trying to get his associate’s degree. About 15 of these were taking the class as a prerequisite for some other program.

My purpose for doing this is in the hope of learning different methods of “seeing” which hopefully will help me in my photography. It is also important to learn how other media handles this topic as well.

I have NO talent for this, but I still find it enjoyable. The teacher is Jim DeCesare, a talented portrait painter.

So, already I learned something valuable and transferable to my photography, nothing I haven’t heard before, but sometimes hearing it put in a slightly different way may improve your understanding in the long run:

Successful sketches exhibit the use of form and context. Use lines and shapes to create emphatic form which supports the sense of context in the sketch. If the viewer can’t deduce the context or the story behind the image, then the sketch has failed.
Be sure the corners and edges of the sketch support its form and context without distracting.

Again, nothing surprising here, but another example of universal techniques at work in other visual media.

Giving Back
by fotofinish , 09-11-2009 at 06:47 PM (774 Views)

I have had a blessed life: a wonderful wife, children, a house, health, a job, friends and family. If my life were to end tomorrow, I would not feel cheated. I live a comfortable life, though not rich. But I feel there is one more important duty I must fulfill: I must continue to give back in some meaningful way. Over the years I have worked a few times at a soup kitchen, given blood, helped out with my kids baseball teams, etc. As I move closer to my retirement years, I only hope I can find other ways to give back. I truly believe that it is the responsibility of every human being to help other human beings, no matter how small, and regardless of stature.

So, in one more meager attempt on my part to give back, I was fortunate to be asked to donate my skills as a photographer and record the events at a fundraiser for a school for blind kids in Calcutta, India. The event was called Celebrate India 2009.

Unfortunately for the organizers, it rained the day of the event. Although most activities were held inside at an area high school, the participation I’m sure might have been better in better weather. Be that as it may, the day’s activities were bright and colorful and enjoyed by all who did attend. The financial goals of the organizers were met, however, not exceeded. Below are a few examples.

…and a collage I put together for them to use next year…

You can see a few more example here.

Ben Willmore
by fotofinish , 09-17-2009 at 07:06 PM (1329 Views)

Last week I attended a Photoshop For Photographers all day seminar at the local convention center, featuring Ben Willmore. I had the privilege of meeting Ben this past June at a weeklong workshop in Maine.

Ben is a great guy and a marvelous photographer. You can see his work here. He is also an easy to understand teacher. Here are a few things I learned.

*** Painting with Light – using a bulb exposure while using flashlights to paint your scene.

*** The Panollage – his trade-marked term for creatively doing panorama’s which look like layered postcards of a scene.

*** How to do HDR (high dynamic range) the RIGHT way.

*** Adjustment essentials

*** Controlling the viewer’s experience – This was the best. He taught and then used numerous examples on how he controls viewing his images by making numerous adjustment layers and masks and blending modes, topics I sorely needed. Also, it was amazing how he uses the one-two punch of the cone tool and then the healing brush to remove many unwanted elements from your pictures.

So, if any of this interests you, check him out!

Ben Willmore rocks! For years, I’ve recommended his book, Photoshop XX Studio Techniques (replace those X’s with your version of PS). It was the class textbook when I took Photoshop Advanced Concepts in school when we were using PS 5.5.

No kidding, Bruce! He goes back that far?? He is a wonderful teacher. I hope he gets his new bus!

Georgia O’Keefe
by fotofinish , 09-26-2009 at 09:20 AM (2268 Views)

Did anybody see that TV special on Lifetime (yeah, I know) about her life and marriage to Alfred Stieglitz? Fascinating stuff. Here’s what the movie said:

Alfred made Georgia a household name when his show featured nude portraits of her, a radical departure for that era. But these were done by him as razor-sharp images, showing even the pores in her skin, which was a major divergence for him who was basically a pictorialist (fuzzy, soft focused pictures). This caused people to be curious about her background and discovered her true talent.

She is truly the most famous female painter ever in America.

Her paintings are female in every respect; the flowers represent female anatomy; the colors are delicate; even the brush strokes themselves have a female touch about them.

Today, she remains an icon in her art, whereas the art of Stieglitz has virtually vanished.

I’ve been to her house at Ghost Ranch in NM, so the filming on location was a special nostalgic treat for me. I’ve seen her work and the work of Stieglitz at her museum in Santa Fe. If you get the chance to see any of her paintings, do it and enjoy the experience!

My FAVORITE picture of her is on the back of a motorcycle with her looking back at the camera. The photographer (don’t know who) forever captured for me her zest for life in her burning, so alive, eyes! Terrific!

Next Stepper
by fotofinish , 09-26-2009 at 10:09 AM (1330 Views)

I am a little embarrassed by the good fortune that came my way recently, but I am also quite proud. As I mentioned in one of my earlier blog entries, I recently attended a creativity workshop in Maine in June, hosted by John Paul Caponigro. The last day of this week-long workshop, JP pulled me aside and personally extended an invitation to join his artistic community, called Next Step. I was honored! I asked him “why me?” and his answer was because of my enthusiasm and that he thinks I can make a contribution to the group.

Recently, John Paul and his team added a Next Step page off his own personal website for us. Check me out!

Wow you must be really hopping happy. That’s great. It seems like you are getting to where you wanted to go. Congrats.

Thanks, Skippy! It’s been a LOT of hard work, and I am not there yet…

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