Wednesday, December 30, 2015

PHOTOGRAPHER AS ARTIST--A Reflection


Regarding my evolution as a photographer, I have always been a chronicler; that is, someone who takes pictures as a reminder of places I've been, people I've been with, or things that I've seen. Which means that as a 9-year-old with my first Brownie camera, I took a lot of B&W pictures of chipmunks at the Grand Canyon, my miniature Poodle Pepe posed in different outfits, or candid shots of my girlfriends at slumber parties or summer camp.

As a college student back in the early 70s, I received my first Nikon SLR, so with classes along with much trial and error, I worked on composition and using the myriad of settings to enhance my documentation of people, places and things. Over the next thirty years children, holidays, vacations and my garden and pets were my standard topics where I practiced photographic techniques in an attempt to grow my skills as a visual if not artistic chronicler of my life.

Somewhere between the advent of digital and decline of film cameras, I obtained a simple point-and-shoot camera and used that for the next 10+ years to document my cross-country bicycle trip, a canoe trip along the Missouri Breaks route of Lewis and Clark, a 4-person raft adventure on Alaska's Kongakut River in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and hundreds if not thousands of garden and pet photos. 

Flash forward to 2013, with my latest point-and-shoot in hand, along with a hand-me-down iPhone 4, I traveled to Paris. I remember clearly the first day of our tour as we walked to Isle de la Cite, and how I fumbled with my camera every time I wanted to take a picture. Out of frustration, I reached for my iPhone and began shooting. Snap! Click! Bing! Bang! Boom! Up high, down low, right here, over there. The freedom I felt to shoot on the go, sometimes even on the run, excited me, and I haven't looked back.

Yes, there are still times when I use my new Canon 60X especially for those long range shots that fail with an iPhone. Otherwise, I am a die hard iPhone fanatic who really believes in the adage--The best camera is the one you have with you. And with that acknowledgement, I am now learning how to use my iPhone and the zillion available apps to find my personal voice as an amateur photographer.

And let me tell you, now that I have opened Pandora's box of apps and post-processing editing, I've discovered it's a wild and crazy world out there. And here I am at the teeny, tiny tip of the iceberg, just trying to decide how much editing I feel comfortable doing. Heretofore, it's been none, zero, zilch--save for some judicious cropping and perhaps straightening here and there. But I must admit, I am intrigued by how adding a filter or light or contrast or detail can enhance an already decently composed photo. Or how shooting in HDR or Chrome can intensify a scene.

That's what today's photos (and yesterday's) are all about. If you have a preference for one photo or another, please leave your 'vote' in the comments. Otherwise, simply enjoy another view of a foggy creek along Five Mile Hill outside Walla Walla. And keep following me on my journey.


FOGGY CREEK-Another View

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