Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sticks and Stones

Coastal wind swept birch in winter.

By now you are probably starting to think I might be suffering from bouts of depression. I am – we just can’t seem to get into the throws of winter. It snows one day and rains the next, making it very difficult to get some vibrant clean white snow pictures of the season.

Consequently I admitted defeat and reverted back to something I learned a long time ago: Shoot subject matter that is enhanced by the current conditions and stop feeling sorry for yourself. (The other option is a real 9-5 job! Yikes.)

Unbeknownst to me I had been over the years making photographs of trees that had a unique look or feel for no particular purpose. Similarly I had also been making photographs of rocks with no particular purpose in mind. In retrospect I can look at these images and see that they were mostly taken in what one might consider poor lighting conditions. But poor for what? Flat even light is great for doing portraits; be that portraits of people, trees or rocks. I have since come to the realization that what I have been unknowingly doing all these years was developing a portfolio I have since come to call “Sticks and Stones.”

Lichen on Coastal Upland Rocks

Here is this weeks offering. Both images have been enhanced digitally using a technique that is my own spin on the Orton Effect and layer masking. Giving credit where due, Michael Orton is British Columbia photographer who developed this technique back in the days of film by sandwiching two slides together. My good friend, and Ottawa photographer Garry Black, has a tutorial on the Orton Effect here . My technique is somewhat different, but the results are very similar. As in any learned skill, embrace something you enjoy and then endeavour to make it your own.

So the moral of this story is ... just get out and shoot. It is necessary to keep one’s sanity.