Monday, January 31, 2011

Photo Of The Day

Buddhist statue, Seikoji Temple, near Koriyama Japan, June 1988. (Rendered as a Polaroid transfer.)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Street Photography

Line worker, Koriyama Japan, June 1988
(Click on any picture to see a larger version)

Street photography is usually defined as taking candid photos of people in public as they go about their lives. As a general rule, I'm not interested in people as a photographic subject, preferring places and landscapes. In spite of that, when trying to picture a place, the people there often bring out a feeling about the surroundings that can't be found in pictures of buildings and landscape alone. When this happens I find myself drawn to photographing people who seem to express this sense of place. These are some of my favorites.
Times Square New York City, May 2006

Boating, Villefrenche-Sur-Mer, Provence, France, July 2006

Street performers, Ueno Park, Tokyo, Japan, May 2005

At the Met, New York City, May 2006

Shopping, LaCroix-Valmer, Provence, France, June 2006

Sitting men, Nagoya, Japan, November 2006

Subway Station, New York City, May 2006

School outing, Kyoto, Japan, November 2006

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Photo Of The Day

Farmhouse interior, near Koriyama Japan, June, 1988.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Photo Of The Day

Bridges near La Porte City, Iowa, May 1987.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Patterns are a popular subject for photography, but getting a good picture involving a pattern can be tricky. A good picture of a pattern is interesting and exciting. A poor one hardly catches the eye at all. I believe the difference has to do with two things. The first is the path that your eye takes through the image. The second is extent to which your brain becomes engaged in decoding the pattern itself.
A good way to discern patterns that will work well as a photograph is to think about how people actually look at a picture. While we may think that we simply gaze at the whole thing, our eye actually travels around a picture, taking in its elements one at a time, and assembling them internally. This is a very complicated topic, and I am not an expert on it, but I do know that one of the reasons the rule of thirds and the golden mean work so well in composing images is that they enhance the eye's progress through the picture. The rule of thirds doesn't always come into play in a picture of a pattern, but it's a good idea to be conscious of how the pattern leads the eye through the image. Pattern pictures that don't work often fail because the image doesn't lead the eye anywhere.
Pictures of patterns often have a disembodied quality, in that they are often close-up images of larger things. This can create a little puzzle for the brain, in which it tries to figure out the greater whole. This process can actually be quite pleasurable, like solving a riddle. This phenomenon was also at work in some of the reflection photos I've written about.
Speaking of reflections, they are another element that can add to a pattern picture. City buildings are particularly good places to find a combination of the two.

Interesting patterns are everywhere, and their creative possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Photo Of The Day

(Click on the picture to see a larger version.)

Students waiting for a train, Kyoto Japan, November 2006. Rendered as a painting.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Photo Of The Day

 (Click on the photo to see a larger version.)

I finally got out and did some shooting. It was cold, but the sunshine did me good. This scene is on a country road southeast of Urbana, Illinois. Shooting into the sun darkened the rest of the scene a bit, as it was actually very bright out, with sunlight, white clouds, and white snow. Exposure on my Canon G12 was 1/2000 at f 6.3, ISO 100.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Photo Of The Day

As sort of an antidote to my recent depressing post, and fighting back at the winter blahs as well, here is a photo of sunrise over Fisherman's wharf in Monterrey, California, from November 1997. It was a long exposure on slow film, as you can see from how some of the boats are blurred. Those colors have me hoping for warmer weather to come.

(Click on the picture to see a larger version.)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Some Thoughts on Mid-Winter

It's a tough time of year, especially if you're like me, and live in the upper Midwest and have little tolerance for cold or snow. The unremitting cold, the sense of isolation and encroaching cabin fever, it's all enough to have you feeling vaguely suicidal. Add to that national tragedies, and, well, it's beginning to get a bit overwhelming.

I know, I know. This is a photography and travel blog. It's not about depression or politics. But I think that's my point. I write about photography and travel because those are two things in my life that consistently bring me joy. And joy is what seems to be lacking right now. And it's not just me. There seems to be quite a few people out there who need some more joy in their lives.
I don't have a good answer for all this, but I have pictures. Pictures that bring me joy. I post them here in case they might bring someone else some joy too. That's feeble and ineffective, I know, but if you can think of a better way I can spread some joy, just let me know. I'm all ears.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Photo Of The Day

A reflection from Iowa City, Iowa, 1986.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The 2010 Fifteen Best Photos Countdown: Top Five

Here is the top 5 of my top 15 photos of 2010. Numbers 15 to 11 were posted on Monday, and numbers 10 to 6 were posted on Wednesday. Click on a picture to see a larger version.

5. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, May 30, 2010.

4. Arches National Park, Utah, October 21, 2010.

3. Elevator, Wallace Kansas, October 25, 2010.

2. Sunset north of Villa Grove Illinois, June 3, 2010.

1. Monument Valley Arizona under full moon with star trails, October 25, 2010.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The 2010 Fifteen Best Photos Countdown: Ten Through Six

Posting my favorite 15 pictures for 2010. Monday's post had numbers 15 to 11. Today's has numbers 10 to 6. Click on a picture to see a bigger version.

10. The continental divide at Berhtoud Pass Colorado, October 19, 2010.

9. Early morning at Monument Valley, Arizona, October 22, 2010.

8. Sun and storm north of Taos New Mexico, October 23, 2010.

7. Fog bank and full moon, northern New Mexico, October 24, 2010.

6. Setting moon over the San Juan Mountains, southern Colorado, October 24, 2010.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The 2010 Fifteen Best Photos Countdown: Fifteeen through Eleven

This week I will post my favorite 15 pictures for 2010, starting on this post with numbers 15 to 11. Click on a picture to see a bigger version.

15. Countryside and sunrise, northern New Mexico, October 24, 2010

14. Trees north of St. Joseph Illinois, infrared, November 19, 2010

 13. Chama river, north of Abiquiu New Mexico, October 23, 2010

12. Bailey Cemetery Tolono Illinois, infrared, November 26, 2010

11. Denver Telephone Exchange, Denver Colorado, July 11, 2010

Wednesday, numbers 10 to 6 of my top 15 photos of 2010