Monday, October 31, 2016


We write poetry because we are members of the human race, and the human race is filled with passion.
Robin Williams in 'Dead Poet Society.'

Photography is generally translated as 'painting with light' and certainly the only way we see is by the energy of light waves/particles as it falls upon the things of this world and they are reflected back to our eyes. We can be reasonably sure that the real solid world exists but how we experience it can vary considerably: daylight, moonlight, starlight, filtered through overcast, sunrise and set, reflected, high noon glare.... the list goes on. So it is quite possible to view and photograph the same subject not only from different angles but in different light. Each light communicate its own essence.

Heather and I seized a brief afternoon break between rain and cloud to walk a familiar trail in Ruckle Park. This time we reversed our usual direction and chose a trail that passed higher up the hillside. At this time of year the sun was already low on the horizon and glaring off the surface of the bay. The bright reflected light sent a brilliant glare low through the forest, creating long shadows. Drama! I did not resist the call and say to myself “Too simple, too dramatic, too easy!” Light like this is an occasional gift and we should gratefully accept it when offered.

I take my camera along and use it just about every day and often in the same familiar places. It takes up time, even in the processing that comes after, but like learning to sing or any other skill, repeated practise is a necessary part of mastering it. Native ability counts for a lot, but doing it regularly, challenging oneself, always striving for more complete expression, is the only possible path.

I find that I am always pleased with my photographs when they appear and that sense of being gifted by something greater is with me, but only if I am truly pushing into new territory. Things can stale quickly if I simply follow a set of rules and do not constantly seek a fresh vision.

The other day I was talking to a photography friend about the role of technical knowledge, and I agreed that was important, but maintained a feeling for one's subject comes side by side with it. We all know people who have their cameras ( or their voices, musical instruments, pencils, pens and brushes etc.) down pat, but have little feeling, empathy, 'charity' or passion. As in all parts of daily life, going deeper in all aspects works best. “The human race is filled with passion”.

Seeing the figure below balanced on a log provided a focal point, and gave a sense of scale.
A human figure in landscape invites the viewer to feel themselves part of the scene.

These two photos are of the same scene, but present differently. The more traditional one below is satisfying to the eye because we have been trained to see this way. The one above seems strange, it is so symmetrical. In the end though I prefer this one if only because it was a challenge to break with tradition, and is a challenge too for the viewer to see differently.

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