Archive for United States

Inspirations – Gabe Farnsworth

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , , on September 4, 2011 by sabrina

© Gabe Farnsworth

830nm-modified Canon EOS 5D, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II, ISO 50, 1/50th second, f/5.6

It’s been some time since I took the image, so my recollections of the thoughts behind its creation are hazy.  Lighting in canyons such as these can be difficult, aside from shooting explicitly at noon.  Thus, I was looking for areas with more even lighting; I’d brought both a color-sensitive camera, and an infrared one, but I ended up predominantly using the IR camera during the hike.

The Fiery Furnace is essentially without trails.  You are free to explore, but politely asked to avoid leaving signs of exploration.  Walking on stone and loose sand is all that’s really allowed; one might assume this would make for a linear path through “The Furnace,” but this would be a mistake.  The hike is a maze of dead-ends, steep drop-offs, and tunnel-like formations through which one must traverse.  To really enjoy the Furnace, it’s necessary just to explore; to take every visible path to its end, attempting to leave “no stone unturned,” so to speak.

This image is of that mindset.  Every visible path possible, I took.  I did not deliberately lose myself in the maze, but I was, for several hours, lost.  No sound or sight of civilization or humankind. Red walls of stone and bits of sage and juniper were all that was around, save the occasional deer or rabbit.  I recall hiking over a small hill and seeing what appeared to be four or five different possible ways the trail could go.  Instead of picking one, I chose all.  I followed them all to their ends over the course of several hours; eventually, after some time, I arrived at this scene; hiking down into an area which was, for all intents and purposes, another “dead-end,” but a remarkably scenic one.

While many research areas prior to attempting to photograph them, I try to do the exact opposite.  I try to enter these areas with as fresh eyes as possible; approaching without any knowledge of what others have composed, what others have seen.  This may seem ignorant, as it’s possible that I miss out on more thoughtful compositions, but by the same, I often end up with images that are original from overly photographed areas because of this.  Because I don’t have pre-composed images in mind that I’m trying to re-create; instead, I’m only capturing what I see, as honestly and skillfully as I can. ~ Gabe Farnsworth


Inspirations – Brian Day

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , on August 21, 2011 by sabrina

© Brian Day

This image was taken at the abandoned City Methodist Church in Gary, Indiana. The presence of the piano and drifts of snow all around are symbolic of the poetic decline of neglected architecture. In this case, the structure, built in 1926 in the English Gothic style, reveals clues about a prosperous time that has come and gone in a now troubled city. I wanted to capture not only the sense of scale, but the powerful effects of time and nature’s reclamation of dereliction. ~ Brian Day

Photographer of the Month – Eric Kruszewski

Posted in Photographer of the Month with tags , , , , , on July 15, 2011 by sabrina

© Eric Kruszewski

This month I’d like to introduce you to Eric Kruszewski, an up and coming photographer from the Pacific Northwest. His work was most recently recognized by PX3 (Prix de la Photographie Paris) where he was awarded a Gold Medal for “Cowboys’ Rodeo” and a Silver Medal for “Haitian Despair”.

Darwin: Eric, from your bio it appears that you just started photographing in 2008, yet your portfolio has a richness to it that suggests someone with much more experience. Why do you think you have made such progress in developing your craft and your art when others stuggle for much longer before seeing the returns you enjoy?

Eric: While living overseas in Former Soviet Union countries and traveling to other distant places, I wanted to capture what I was so fortunate to witness and share it with family and friends in my homeland.  So in late 2008, I decided that I wanted to learn how to capture profound imagery; to do so, I participated in a hands-on photography expedition through India with three amazing professional photographers.  After soaking up information and practicing photography for the 18-day journey, I became hooked with the camera.

After returning from India, photography became an integral part of my life.  Everyday I devoted as much time as I could to some aspect of the craft – shooting, editing, reading, attending exhibitions, surrounding myself with other photographers and people who respect what I did, studying others’ work, etc.  I literally left my camera hanging on the doorknob so I could grab it as I left home.  I certainly do not know what the “normal” or “average” timeframe is for developing, and no longer struggling in the field.  Seeing progress in photography, just like with anything, comes down to working hard, having a vision, having the passion for it, embracing the received “no” and striving for the desired “yes.”  As an artist, I will always challenge myself; that, combined with dedication and hard work, motivates me to develop and hone my vision as a photographer.

Darwin: How has your “New Talent “win in the prestigious TPOTY contest affected your audience and opportunities for new ventures in photography?

Eric: The Travel Photographer of the Year “New Talent” Award was an amazing surprise for me – not only winning the award, but also communicating with the contest’s creators / organizers, fellow winning photographers and experienced judges.  Fortunately, I was able to attend the ceremony and exhibition opening in London, where so many lovers of travel and photography came together.  The contest truly was about the imagery, the story behind the pictures and the artist behind the camera.  The organizers went to great lengths in creating a top-notch website, a wonderful exhibition experience with such a high profile and reputable gallery and showcasing the images for industry personnel, the public and the press to enjoy.

Since the Travel Photographer of the Year contest was open to all international photographers, it brought together imagery and followers from all over the world.  Therefore, after winning the “New Talent” Award, there was definitely more interest in my photography and how I have developed.

Darwin: How did you manage to get access to the street people depicted in your Blocks Apart, Worlds Apart portfolio?

Eric: A photographer or passerby could come across the imagery and street people seen in my Blocks Apart, Worlds Apart story by walking down the streets and alleyways of Downtown Eastside.  One of the amazing things about “Ground Zero” in Vancouver, BC is that drug use, drug deals, prostitution and sex are practiced so openly and commonly on the streets, and they are all concentrated within several square city blocks.  Access, and getting close to the people, was accomplished by asking their permission to observe them, learn what they do and respect their practices.  I let them do their thing and they let me do mine.  Of course, there are plenty of bystanders in the streets that warn a wandering photojournalist of potential trouble while in their territory.  Fortunately I did not encounter anything serious while developing the story.

Darwin: You seem to travel extensively, how do you finance your travel photography?

Eric: I am an engineer by degree and a photographer by heart.  Since graduating from university about 10 years ago, I have been working as a mechanical engineer for an international engineering-construction company.  It was this engineering work that took me overseas to the Former Soviet Union, allowed me to travel internationally at a relatively young age and eventually drove me to begin photographing the cultures and societies in which I was immersed.

Currently, I still perform the 40-hour-a-week engineering job and spend all my free time and vacation time photographing and developing stories that motivate me.  Most times it feels as if I have two full-time jobs, and all of my family and friends support my endeavors as I continue to strive in pursuit of making the transition to full-time professional photographer.

Darwin: You are in the ‘thick of things’ with your images, making it feel as if we, the viewer, are right there on the street with the subjects you photograph. How do you achieve this narrative point-of-view?

Eric: Being around people, capturing their stories and sharing those stories captivate and motivate me as a photographer and storyteller.  In order to do this effectively, I feel that being close and intimate with the subjects is necessary; it allows me to communicate openly with them, build a rapport, truly learn the subjects and then relay their story and voice in imagery.  However, it takes trust on the subjects’ part to allow a camera into their lives and it takes trust on my part that I will be received openly, thus being able to tell the story correctly and accurately.

For most of my work, I use a lens with a short focal length.  It forces me to approach people, to concentrate on and work with main subjects that are practically within arms reach and to not worry about what is happening a mile away; I can always move and get closer.  This “in the thick of things” approach allows the viewer to feel as if they are a part of the scene and immersed in the same story that I had the privilege of witnessing.

© Eric Kruszewski

© Eric Kruszewski

© Eric Kruszewski

© Eric Kruszewski

© Eric Kruszewski

© Eric Kruszewski

© Eric Kruszewski

© Eric Kruszewski

© Eric Kruszewski

© Eric Kruszewski

© Eric Kruszewski

Inspirations – Drowned Trees by Marc Ward

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , on July 3, 2011 by sabrina

© Marc Ward

Nikon D300 Tokina 12-24 @ 24mm 1/50 sec @ f/20 ISO 250
with a B&W Circular Polarizer

This image was taken about 2 miles from my house in East Tennessee on Douglas Lake. I was on my way home when I saw this fabulous cloud formation taking shape over the Great Smoky Mountains. I drove down to the lake access and was rewarded with this stunning cloud and its reflection on the water. We had received large amounts of spring rains and the lake was up over its banks leaving these trees a bit stranded. I was particularly lucky that the shape of the trees echoed the shape of the cloud. The event lasted about 30 minutes and then high altitude winds blew the top off this guy. ~ Marc Ward

Inspirations – Stanley Rose

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , , on June 22, 2011 by sabrina

© Stanley Rose

Canon 5D MkII 70-300mm at 150 mm 1/100s at f/16 ISO 100
Processed in LR2 and cropped approximately 25% on sides.

Hanging Lakes is a popular attraction just off Interstate 70 east of Glenwood Springs in Glenwood Canyon, Colorado. It is a short but steep hike to some small waterfalls and colorful pools. In the Summer, there can be quite a crowd at the small lakes, but in Winter, thanks to deep snow and ice on the steep trail, you can usually have the place to yourself. I took this shot as part of a collection of photos of frozen Colorado waterfalls. I was particularly attracted to the vertical lines of the icicles and opposing horizontals in the reflection, along with the dripping water. I used a telephoto to zoom in on the pattern and a relatively fast exposure to get some of the detail in the dripping water. I just wished I had a dry-suit so that I could wade out amongst all those icicles! ~ Stanley Rose

The Weekly Photo – April 25

Posted in Art of Photography, TCBlog, Techniques, Weekly Photo with tags , , , , , , on April 25, 2011 by Darwin

Well, there are no flowers around here yet so I dug up this image from my archives taken in Skagit Valley, Washington many years ago. This image is a triple exposure on Fujichrome Velvia 50 slide film. I used my Canon 300mm f4lLlens at f4 and made three exposures on one frame of film. For each exposure I focused on a different line of flowers and so the result is a dreamy-looking image with different areas of sharp focus. To get this result in camera was a thrill and over the years this image has been a popular seller.

©Darwin Wiggett

Inspirations – Jim Patterson

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , , , on April 24, 2011 by sabrina

© Jim Patterson

Nikon D300, Nikkor 12-24mm f4 lens @ 12mm 15 sec, f14, ISO 100

Over the 2009 Thanksgiving holiday, my girlfriend Kendra and I decided on a long weekend around Lake Tahoe. We left early enough to arrive by lunch time and allow ourselves plenty of time to scout out and find Bonsai Rock, a secluded spot along the lake’s north eastern shore made famous by Elizabeth Carmel.  It seemed like a good place to start as the weather forecast called for worsening wind and potential snow showers as the weekend progressed. If we were going to get reflections, the first day would be our best chance.

Kendra is the GPS guru, and she loaded coordinates for us to check out. As we passed Sand Harbor, I knew Bonsai Rock was close and instructed Kendra to look out the window as it is down a relatively steep incline from the highway. “But the GPS says we have four more miles”, she said.  “I don’t think so”, I replied,”it’s only about half a mile or so from Sand Harbor”.  At that instant, I hear “there it is!” and the GPS chimes to tell us we had reached our destination. Funny how four miles can be covered in 30 seconds.

We scrambled down the hillside and made our way north along the rocky shore until we came to Bonsai Rock. The lake had been recently drained and there were a lot of rocks exposed compared to images I had seen. I tried a variety of compositions, but this one ultimately won out as I felt the rocks aligned best and led out towards the Bonsai Rock itself. I used my newly acquired Singh-Ray Gold-N-Blue polarizer as well as a 3 stop and 2 stop soft graduated neutral density filters to create this image. It being my first time using the Gold-N-Blue polarizer, I feel there was a little beginner’s luck involved in making this shot. During the peak light in the sky, most of my images had the polarizer dialed so the blue lake water took on more of the golden sunset colors. Fortunately, that little light bulb flickered on in my head and I dialed the polarizer so the lake turned blue once more. ~ Jim Patterson

Inspirations – Guy Tal

Posted in Art of Photography, Environment, Inspirations with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2011 by Darwin

©Guy Tal

Years ago when I first moved to Utah, I was already familiar with the majestic red rock canyon country of the Colorado Plateau. I also knew of the Wasatch and Uinta mountain ranges in the northern part of the state. But, one place that was still a mystery to me was the Great Salt Lake. A remnant of the vast and ancient Lake Bonneville, the Great Salt Lake is still a formidable body of water, the fourth largest terminal lake in the world and the 37th largest lake on Earth and yet, I rarely saw images of it. As a landscape photographer, a feature of this magnitude demanded exploration. On my initial forays I discovered a place that was almost alien: a shallow lake stretching as far as the eye could see, austere and beautiful and almost devoid of prominent features other than several islands and the faint outline of mountain ranges across its vast expanse. Best of all, I had it to myself. I fell in love instantly. At the same time, I also realized why it is not visited more often. Large stretches of its shoreline have been appropriated for industrial use and mineral extraction and the remains of its most prominent life form, the brine shrimp, pile along its shores in deep layers that emit a rather unpleasant odor. Still, the stark beauty of the place is undeniable. As I became more familiar with it, I learned to appreciate the great geological and biological diversity not obvious at first glance. In this particular area, along the shore of Antelope Island, a beach of soft white sand lines the feet of a craggy peak and stretches down to the lake. This place is home to bison, antelope, coyotes, and multitudes of shorebirds. In spring, a field of barley grass covers the sand and sways in the winds. On this day, a monsoon storm was brewing in the distance, its clouds visible in the image, building up around the distant Fremont Island. I positioned the camera just above the grasses to capture their gentle patterns, shaped by earlier winds. I decided to opt for a toned black and white presentation to further emphasize the other-worldly feeling, the gentle wind-sculptued curves, and the grand long views that characterize the lake, without the distraction of color. ~Guy Tal


Inspirations – Confidence Man by Mark Krajnak

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , , , , on March 13, 2011 by sabrina

© Mark Krajnak

As I like to say…. “There’s noir…and then there’s JerseyNoir.” It’s a widely held belief that New Jersey is a corrupt state. From the politicians in Trenton to the way we’re portrayed on the small screen via The Sopranos and, more recently, Boardwalk Empire. Maybe it’s our proximity to underworld scenes in New York and Philly…or maybe we really are like that…I don’t know.

What I do know, though, is that the noir genre is one of my favorite conceptual photographs to put together and shoot. Whether it’s the Man In The Fedora or a femme fatale,  it’s fun for me to harken back to the to the good ol’ days of mystery and suspense,  when a  bottle of whiskey, a pack of Lucky Strikes and a smoking gat got you through the day, though you always had to look over your shoulder.

The image above is part of my JerseyNoir series, a series of conceptual photographs I started a couple of years ago and have continued to add to. I shoot everything in color JPG/RAW and usually convert these images to black & white using Nik Silver Efex Pro. Silver Efex Pro, and its many filters, usually give me the best results when I do color-to-BW conversions. However, I decided to keep this image in color and not do the conversion.

My lighting here was extremely simple. Camera left was a simple desk lamp, the kind you can find in any homegoods store, loaded with a compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb. No other on-camera or off-camera flash was used. The minimal post processing included just pulling up the blacks in camera RAW.

The crop here was set up in-camera, and what appeals to me about this image is the use of negative space to the left of the subject.  The constant light also bounced nicely off the polished table while illuminating the smoke from the cigarette. The positioning of the light source provided some separation between the subject and the wall, or else the dark hat would have faded into the background.

Simple but direct. Like a good noir story should be. ~Mark Krajnak

Inspirations – Michael Gordon

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , , , , on March 6, 2011 by sabrina

© Michael Gordon

Chamonix 4X5″ view camera; 200mm lens; Ilford Delta 100

 I found this small section of dune – approximately 20′ wide by 15′ deep – shortly after sunrise on Death Valley NP’s Eureka Dunes on a frigid January morning this year. Much of the dunes were frosted or frozen, so the walking was easy to this exposed ridgetop site. Arising well before the sun to make the 2+ mile walk to this location, I caught this backlit ‘decisive moment’ and wasted no time setting up the camera. By the time I was done and packing – a short 10 minutes or so later – the sun had transited far enough so as to render this composition nearly impossible to see. ~Michael Gordon