personal work – Manhattan cityscapes

It’s been a long cold winter without much chance to roam around and explore with a camera. The past weekend it seemed like the weather was finally relenting and becoming warmer. Taking to the streets to shoot for myself a bit with no purpose in mind, I ended up with three images that I liked – all deserted New York city scenes. Or in the case of the image above, nearly deserted.

It felt good to let my thoughts roam for a while, getting some exercise and listening to music … looking for anything that visually appealed to me in the camera’s viewfinder.

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This alien-looking Quiver Tree is indigenous to the arid regions of southern Africa.  This photograph was taken in the Namib Desert in Namibia.  Apparently the tree only blossoms after 20 or 30 years and can grow to 300 years old.  The nest seen in the tree is built by a community of Sociable Weaver birds.  It is quite unusual for any animal species to herd in large numbers in arid regions.  The large nests is an adaption by the birds, helping then keep cool during the heat of the day, and warmer during the cold nights.

This photo is my entry this week in the Alive for 365 project.
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alive for 365 – week 16

April 23, 2010

All elements in the frame stripped to a minimum – my preferred approach to landscape photography.
The colors are saturated with a polarizer filter.
This image is my entry  for the Alive for 365 project this week.

[ Pentax Z-1; Pentax-FA 28-80mm f3.5-4.7 / Fujichrome RDP 100 / polarizer filter ]
[ Waenhuiskrans, South Africa / Sept '92 ]


alive for 365 – week 15

April 15, 2010

Still digging into the archives, this landscape is my entry this week for the Alive for 365 project.

When I saw the shadow side of this hill, I noticed how the triangular dark shape divided the yellow grass from the blue sky.  By framing the edge of the hill to the very edge of the frame, I was able to reduce this landscape to basic geometric shapes.  I darkened the sky, by over-saturating it with a polarizing filter.  This also helped darken the winter-dried grass, which was side-lit by the sun. Saturating the colors like this helped simplify the image for more impact.

[ Pentax Super-A; Pentax-A 24-50mm f4  /  Fujichrome RDP 100 ]
[ Zululand, South Africa  /  circa '89  ]

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alive for 365 – week 7

February 17, 2010

This super-saturated landscape photograph is my choice for this week’s entry to the Alive for 365 project. It is the lighthouse at Cape Aghulas – the southern-most tip of South Africa.


alive for 365 – week 5

February 3, 2010

My entry this week for the Alive for 365 project is this enigmatic landscape.

While on a hike in Magoebaskloof in South Africa (Dec ’89), I wanted to portray some of the eeriness of walking through the misty forest that morning.  I remember it being very quiet. I kept looking for *something* to photograph .. something that I could focus my attention on.  But there wasn’t anything specific.  Just the trees and the sloping mountainside fading away into nothing as your gaze wandered further.  Then I realized that that is exactly what I wanted to encapsulate in a photograph.

So instead of trying to find a specific “thing” or a specific part of the landscape, or geometry or pattern or composition … this was just how it was … stark trees in the mist.  Nothing else.

This is why this particular image appeals to me.  I felt that this simple lateral movement in my mindset, got me closer to photographing the essential aspect of this particular landscape.

In finishing the image for the Alive for 365 site, I simplified the original image slightly …

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Beach houses at Muizenberg Beach, South Africa;  Sept ’92

using a polarizing filter with landscape photography

In trying to find an interesting image for my entry this week in the Alive for 365 project, I went back into my archives to some color transparencies I had scanned.  It’s still too cold to venture out and hunt new photographs, so I took the comfortable way out.  In going through my older photographs, I noticed that in my landscape photography, there were two common links.

The first link in the images is that the landscapes, as photographed, were most often simplified to basic shapes and patterns.  They were reduced views of what I saw at the time.  I mentioned this briefly in a previous post showing some archive images.

The second link isn’t a thematic one, but rather based on technique.  Most of them used a polarizer filter.  For me this was, and still is, my most useful accessory when photographing landscapes.

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