Tag : sky
If you shoot in RAW format (unprocessed image data) like I do most of the time you have to touch every single image again later in post. Often this is just getting groups of images with similar color, contrast ratio, and exposure, and batch processing them using a tool in Photoshop. It does make for a much longer post production process, but I think it yields much more consistent and better results.
Unfortunately for my ego, this photo was not the result of careful shot selection and meticulous editing, but rather, if I remember correctly, an incredibly lucky shot captured in full auto mode in jpg format. Too bruise my ego even more; I didn’t even notice that my camera had somehow been switched to auto and jpg. It is an easy thing that can happen with the turn of a dial, and I remember wondering why my camera would choose this moment to start misbehaving and being all stupid.
By the time I had figured out what was going on the wondrous and evanescent weather moment had passed and I was sure that I had miss it completely. Not so. As it turns out my camera is pretty decent as a photographer and barely needed me in order to take great photos.
This all happened more than five years ago, and I had pretty much forgotten about it. But, then I found this image on my HD, and thanks to our wondrous technology, all the metadata that had been embedded when the image was created. Metadata is all the information about and image such and camera model, lens model, focal length, etc. This stuff is great for many reasons, but in this case it was a great memory jogger.
As I write this I am deciding what size and type of print of this image to buy and hopefully sell. I am pretty sure that when the print arrives, it will look spectacular and I will be very happy with it. I also know that what this image means/speaks/inspires to me is going to be very different from others who view it. I will always look at this photo and chuckle and be amused that something so cool was so accidental. Perhaps I should modify it in some way to express that viewpoint and make it part of the “art.” hmm, I may have just talked myself into that…looks like I will be ruining another perfectly good photo with “art”
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I’m gonna do something weird for this photo of the week. The next paragraph in this post I wrote a while ago and now I don’t like it and don’t really agree with it. Instead of deleting it and starting over I think I am going to include it in this post and just add the new version after it. This blog is about process so I thought it might be interesting. I might also be lazy, but I would like to think that I not so lazy that I cant delete a paragraph.
A tall pointy building in the middle of the desert…
So, you can’t go to Dubai without going to see the Burj Kalifa, as of April 2012, the tallest building in the world. I was prepared to be amazed. What I was not prepared for was the sheer size of the building. Massive is word that does not really come close, but will do for now. It’s huge triangular base looks like something from a science fiction film. It is truly one of the most amazing sights I have ever seen. All that being said, I was not moved by the building the way I am by other huge buildings. The Burj is an engineering marvel, like so many buildings in the enormous city of Dubai, but it seems to lack “soul.” On some level buildings are the ultimate expression of humanity…(ran out of thoughts)
The New Version
What can you say about the world tallest building? The size is only believable when you see it. There is almost no way not be impressed.
This photo was taken from a path leading to the base of the tower, I would say I was several thousand feet away. A 16mm lens was not wide enough to be any closer than this and capture the whole thing. As it is the top is cut off in the image as well. I was quite tempted to change the brick of the path yellow, but that seemed a but over the top. However OZ would be a place where this marvel would be at home. In fact the reflective glass does give it a bit if a green tinge and the emerald city did come to mind.
I very much wish that I could have taken a trip up in the tower, but my schedule was prohibitive so this was the best I could do. To be fair the exterior vantage is better for getting the sheer size.
I have several other pictures of the tower and I think I will have more and better things to say when I post those. At the moment I have not decided how I want to approach the interaction of engineering, architecture and art. I did want to get this image out there so you could check it out.
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These are the exact parameters and pressures I was shooting under when I made this image. I got several great images out of that lovely morning and I am quite proud of some of them. At the time I was completely absorbed by the moment, but after staring at images on a computer for hour, it is hard to not let your mind wonder.
I occurred to me that sometimes a crappy shooting situation is less stressful because if you get anything that meets your artistic standards you can be very satisfied with the practice and skills that allowed you to work through it. However, working with the perfect parameters can sometimes make for stress of a completely different nature.
I don’t think that I am the only artist who has a large portion of self esteem inextricably intertwined with artistic endeavors. Given that fact a perfect shooting environment can be a very precarious position to be in. Not because of the fear of getting nothing; if you have any skills there will be some usable end result. No, its because the perfect situations is where an artist must navigate the treacherous waters of transcendence. What do I mean by that? I am referring of course to the question of true genius or great skill. Skill can be developed, and not just technical skills either, artistic instinct and eye I think can also be developed. But, there is another level I think. A level almost no one ever reaches, and even more rarely know they have reached it.
It seams obvious to me that virtually no artist can know if they have reached that level. Thankfully it seams impossible be that much of an objective observer of your own art or art around you. For this reason it makes no logical sense to even allow these thoughts to percolate in the brain, but I do it anyway. I think this may present a fundamental problem: The perfect environment for creating art has always forced questions of an unanswerable nature into my mind and I am not sure that I can change that. It has also crossed my mind that these questions may be the very thing that separates 10k hours from genius.
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So far my audience is pretty small so the number of people who get to see all the little details is more or less one, me. I think of this fact as a reinforcement of my artistic honesty. You see, there is no guarantee that anybody but myself will ever have the chance to look close enough to actually see the little things. In spite of this fact, I have no power to stop agonizing over the details. If I am to continue making art I will continue spending hours making a mask or layer perfect. Since I intend to continue in this direction I have no choice but to come to terms with the frustration of not being able to get it perfect. On the flip side, ever once in a while you know when something works just right.
Getting back to artistic honesty. I like to think that my lack of restraint in beating the little details to death indicates that I am working from a place of true integrity. This could just as easily be false and closer to a psychological disorder than artistic inspiration, but I have a feeling that this is a chasm bridged by every person who thinks themselves and artist.
In so many areas of my life rationality is the best way to make my way. However, it sometimes seems that in the realm of artistic self esteem, logic and reason should be used sparingly at best. For example, if I truly examine the continuum of technical ability and artistic narrative skill that has existed, there is little hope that anything I create will be seen, even posthumously, as possessing of such an awe inspiring nature. If I base my self respect and belief in my work in any way on the context of history and previous genius, I will have none left. I are thus left in a logical conundrum, for I would argue that unless you greatly value your own work, and its creation, chances are, not many other people will either. So, in the face of this apparent contradiction I think that a minor abandonment of traditional logic is probably necessary in most instances of artistic endeavor.
All this is to say that this image was shot at sunrise on a beach and was created mostly with simple aesthetics in mind. When I got it into photoshop I could see that it had something to say so my question to myself was “how do I get you, the viewer, to listen and hear the thing that i hear?” As with every one of my images I try to create face value interest, and within that framework build meaningful things and hopefully a story. You will of course hear different things than I do when you look at this image. But, I think that if I can honestly hear them when I am making it somebody will notice that maybe there is something to listen for. I have decided to call this piece “We are the flying machines,” odd in know but for me the name of one of my pieces is often the context from which it should be viewed. All i can do as an artist is to trust my own judgment and inspiration because to rely on logic, history, and external validation is a recipe for spiritual anxiety that I definitely cannot handle.