Channeling John Singer Sargent …

Several years ago, I became acquainted with John Singer Sargent during a member’s preview of his seascapes at the Corcoran Gallery. I really liked the way he captured the light, atmosphere and water, and those impressions have remained with me ever since.

A couple of weeks ago I was in Charleston, SC with a couple of photo buddies, and the last morning I was in town, we went to Folly Beach for sunrise.  The big draw at Folly Beach for most people is the pier, which extends for what must be nearly a quarter mile into the ocean. I took some obligatory photographs of the sunrise behind the pier, but was not really inspired until I looked to my right, away from the sunrise, and saw the light playing off the water – it immediately reminded me of John Singer Sargent.   I made exposures as long as the magic lasted, and the one below is the first of what I hope will be several images from those few minutes.

I stood in the surf and aimed my camera down the beach, away from the rising sun toward the boundary between night and day.  I wanted to include some of the beach in the frame, but had to be careful not to include any of the early morning beachgoers,  I used a longish exposure (1 second) in order to capture some of the wave motion, but  still retain a hint of detail on the water’s surface.

This picture proved incredibly difficult to process to the point I wanted – I suppose part of that was due to the fact that I tried to do as much as I could in Lightroom 5 instead of Photoshop by itself.  The print, though, turned out very well and will be displayed at the Workhouse Arts Center in the Associate Artists Gallery (Building W-9) during May.

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Iconic Images …

I have been in Charleston, SC since Monday, and have been shooting with a Tony Sweet workshop since Tuesday morning.  On Wednesday morning, we went to Magnolia Plantation, arriving just as dawn was beginning to break.  This was my fourth trip to Magnolia Plantation, and for the first time I made a resolve to shoot a couple of the iconic images this venue presents. Both the images in this post were taken along Oak Drive, within about 100 yards of each other.

The first image is a single click, while the second is a three-shot HDR.  I have also been doing a lot of experimentation with mirror montages and am beginning to get some feel for how these work.  I will add a post about this technique later and include a gallery of some of my more successful experiments.

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Some More Experimentation …

It has been a while since my last entry; lots of stuff going on surrounding photography, but no actual photography until yesterday morning.  Barb and I are on a road trip to Florida and stopped off the other day in Savannah to break up the trip and do a little touring.  Yesterday morning, I got a chance to spend about half an hour on Gordon Street near Chatham Park, where there are a number of old townhouses with ornate iron work railings.  I jumped at the chance to spend a few minutes there photographing the railings specifically with the intention shooting for mirror montages, like I described in my last post.  The first of these experiments is posted below.

The approach was fairly simple; duplicate the original image and then flip the duplicate horizontally, and then overlaywith the original, and adjust the images until you get the desired amount of overlap, then adjust the color balance and contrast to taste.  In this instance, I took the completed montage image and then duplicated it, after which I brightened up the original montage image and overlayed it with the duplicate image which had been blurred using the Photoshop Gaussian blur set to 20 pixels. I used the Multiply method to blend the layers.

Having had a chance to shoot specifically for these techniques, I am looking forward to getting to Venice, Florida in about ten days so that I can spend some time shooting some of the architecture there with montages in mind.