Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Art of Architectural Photography 3-20-2016

Details, details, details.  The addition or lack of details creates interest in the work.  Whether it be a sprig of parsley on the plate or a row of shiny buttons on a coat sleeve, the details frequently draw attention to the overall composition.  There are instances, of course, when extraneous trifles can harm a great composition.  It's hard to tell what to put in and what to leave out! "God is in the details" V. "Less is more?"

Then there are the compositions that are composed solely of a detail or details.  Often I look at the details of architecture and think "That would be so perfect on its own."  In fact, the are parks and gardens specifically devoted to showcasing details of former structures.  These are wonderful treats for the eye.  Too, antique shops frequently have doorknockers, mantle pieces, wrought iron gates,  carved doors and a host of other remnants in wood, metal and stone.

So if the details are best left out, find another way to create with them!

 Sepia Architectural Photography: Architectural Detail

Friday, March 11, 2016

Sketching With Instagram

For a number of years I painted portraits of dogs.  During that time, I sketched dogs at every opportunity.  There were many.  Living in New York, I could travel the tri-state area, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, to go to various dog shows, which always had many beautiful breeds available to observe and sketch.  Show dogs also have a talent for sitting for their watchers, so I garnered much valuable information for my portraits.  Then, too, there are the dog friendly areas in Central Park, such as Strawberry Fields, and numerous shelters in my area that lend themselves to dog-watching of a more spontaneous nature.  I was able to capture poses of dogs in daily activities and also see numerous mixed breeds.  Sketching always laid the groundwork for my oil and pastel portraits.  Sketching not only saved me time and error in portrait painting but as well, it was a highly enjoyable way to increase my skills as an artist.

Sketching with the camera is also a way to prepare for serious commissioned images or commercial photography.  I always have a point-and-shoot camera with me.  For the last few years I have been using a Lumix, which is a great camera to walk around with.  I shoot dozens of sketch-like photos during the course of a week with the Lumix, which are very useful indeed.  For example, I'll photograph textures whenever I see something that may come in handy for an image with blown out highlights that I'd like to "restore" in Photoshop.  Since my photography is mainly architectural, these textures will be of stucco, brick, stone, wood and the like. I also "photo sketch" for values, composition and subjects to which I'd like to return.

Instagram is a much simpler way to photo sketch than using the point and shoot camera. For one thing, the iPhone is a very accessible device with which to do very quick impressions.  Using Instagram as a method to both immediately capture an image/idea and communicate to others is a great platform.  Of course, for me, personally, the photographs are rarely usable for my clients or for art photography because of several reasons: low resolution, limited focusing and small shooting range of images, to name a few.  If I were photographing with the cameras that I would ordinarily use on a photography shoot, I would have many more options to work with.  However Instagraming on my iPhone is a very enjoyable way to sketch and to share with others some of the marvelous architecture I love.
Below are several Instagram sketches from last week.

Black and White Architectural Photography

Black and White Architectural Photography
NYC Architectural Photography

Black and White Architectural Photography

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Art of Architectural Photography 3-1-2016

The are times when I am working on an image and I accidentally create something other than I intended.  This happens in all areas of our lives.  Sometimes the results are good; often not.  You wear what looks like black sox with black slacks and at a meeting, you notice your sox are charcoal brown.  You add baking soda rather than baking powder to your recipe or salt rather than sugar.  But occasionally, or for those fortunate ones, the mistakes turn out just fine.  In fact, trend setting fine!

Just days ago I was working on a photograph in Photoshop that needed help.  Since my background is photography and fine arts, I frequently tweak my jpegs or camera raws with some computer application in order to crop; fix blown out highlights; straighten the buildings; remove unwanted elements, such as cars and other "fixes."  Sometimes the image I have in my mind pops right away.  Other times, I struggle to get what I want.  Once in awhile I have to scrap a photo.  This happens for several reasons: too much noise, blurry, a giant I never noticed while taking the picture is standing in front of my subject.  You would be surprised!  Out there in the photo shooting zone, I'm forever excited and seeing what I think is there.  Sadly, what was there, I thought while clicking the shutter, is not what sometimes appears on my computer screen when I download the camera cards.  It happens.

On my recent trip to India, I was overwhelmed with many sensations that were uniquely exotic.  Never had I been to Asia.  The tropical weather and vegetation is similar to that which I have experienced in Florida, but combined with a totally unfamiliar atmosphere that bespeaks mystery, majesty, allure, and all things extravagantly fantastic.  In capturing the feel of India through photography, I have to present the magnetism of the place I sensed while there.  The image I was working on is of the marvelous University of Mumbai: architecture that is as magnificent as it is intricate.  The University is surrounded by lush plants and the beautifully designed windows shimmer in the heat of the tropics.  In error I reversed my photograph to a negative-like/infer-red style image.  Somehow, all the sensations of the day I stood before the building enveloped me as I looked at the image: heat, tropics, exotic vegetation, luminous architecture. This image is a sketch.  It captures an emotion and gives me again the feel of the breathtaking enticements of India.  Through an unintentional reversal of positive to negative, I caught my mood.

Black and White Architectural Photography: University of Mumbai, India