abstract, "motion blur", "camera movement"Rising tide

SPIRIT STANDING STILL - a blog about photography, mostly

"No matter how slow the film, Spirit always stands still long enough for the photographer It has chosen." (Minor White)


The overflowing sun

June 25, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

photomontage, abstractMirage under the bluffsPhotomontage

"Air ran like hot spring waters nowhere, with no sound. The lake was a quantity of steam very still and deep over valleys of fish and sand held baking under its serene vapors. Tar was poured licorice in the streets, red bricks were brass and gold, roof tops were paved with bronze. The high-tension wires were lightning held forever, blazing, a threat above the unslept houses.  The cicadas sang louder and yet louder.  The sun did not rise, it overflowed.”  Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

When it’s too hot for outdoor photography, a photographer’s fancy turns to indoor projects.  That was certainly true last week, as the western U.S. was overwhelmed by a crushing heat wave.  It got plenty hot here in my neck of the woods, but not nearly as bad as other places.  I spent some time playing with photomontage, and (not surprisingly) ended up with this rather sun-baked image.  It reminds me of a vast desert, vibrating in the heat and conjuring up mirages.

Scanner art - the unnamed thing

June 17, 2017  •  1 Comment

cabbage, "scanner art", scanographySavoy cabbage #2Scanography

To see is to forget the name of the thing one sees. - Paul Valery

cabbage, "scanner art", scanographySavoy cabbage #1Scanography

After last week’s vegetable “photo shoot”, my subjects ended up in the soup pot.  These leaves were set aside, though - so beautiful I knew they had more photographic potential.

And they certainly lived up to that potential.  I spent a fair amount of time examining the intricate patterns and curling edges, and decided that scanography would show them at their best.  I was not disappointed!  The play of light on the thick leaves creates a beautiful sheen and throws the details into soft relief.  From farm, to market, to art.  Food for the soul.

The photographer's cookbook

June 10, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

"light painting", "still life", vegetablesStill life with cabbageLight painting.

Vegetables are a must on a diet.  I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread and pumpkin pie. - Jim Davis

Did you know that June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month?  I decided to celebrate with a still life (using light painting), and selected a bunch of produce simply because it looked interesting and beautiful.

Only then - after the fruits and veggies sat for their portrait - did I try to figure out what to do with it all.  Wouldn’t a ‘Photographer’s Cookbook’ be a great idea?  Gather ingredients simply because they look great together, take the photograph, and then come up with creative recipes for the ingredients.

Happy trails

June 03, 2017  •  1 Comment

"Hobbit trail", "Oregon coast", "photo impressionism", hecetaThe beckoning pathHeceta Head, Oregon. Photo impressionism.

Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer... Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but nature's sources never fail.  - John Muir

Today is National Trails Day.  Time to get outside and tread gently on this Good Earth. Feel a breeze on your cheek, and maybe get a little bounce back in your step.  It’s good to be reminded of all that Mother Nature gives us - and to remind ourselves not to squander those gifts.

This enticing trail is in the woods of Heceta Head on the Oregon Coast (added a hint of photo impressionism for a dreamy feel).


On creative pins and needles

May 27, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

cayucos, pier, pinholeCayucos pierPinhole camera effect

Pinhole takes photography back to the absolute basics - just a box with a tiny hole to let the light in.  A portable camera obscura.  Since there’s no lens, you can’t focus or change the aperture.  And if it’s a true pinhole box camera, the shutter is just a little flap (lift it and start counting) and there’s probably no viewfinder.

I say all this, of course, having never used one, so hopefully my description is accurate.  But I’ve been thinking about pinhole photography lately, and decided to experiment with processing techniques that convey the dreamy qualities that come to mind when you think of pinhole camera images.  They often show dramatic vignetting, a pleasing grain and blur.  

"Morro Bay", dock, pinholeWaitingMorro Bay. Pinhole camera effect.

Choosing the subject matter is important, and I think these images capture the emotional impact that pinhole photographs can have.  There are two images taken on piers that give a sense of loneliness (the tattered chair and long shadows) and open space (the long pier with human figures barely visible in the distance).  And then the hood ornament of an old truck, shot with a dramatic wide angle.

Of course experimenting with creative techniques that evoke this retro technology makes me long for the real thing.  There are some nifty wooden pinholes being made now - a wooden camera!  Hmmm….  More to come?

California, Campo, "Motor Transport Museum", pinhole, truckFigureheadPinhole camera effect. Motor Transport Museum, Campo.

Favorite Sites / Recents Reads

  In the Moment: Michael Frye's Landscape Photography Blog

 Carol Leigh photography blog

 David du Chemin photography blog

 Fine Art Landscape Photography of Seung Kye Lee 

 My Modern Met "where art enthusiasts and trend spotters connect over creative ideas"

 Ian Plant Dreamscapes photography blog

 William Neill's Light on the Landscape photoblog

 Art Wolfe blog

Recently read, and highly recommended:

The creative habit (Twyla Tharp)

The museum of extraordinary things (Alice Hoffman)

Jane Gardam's "Old Filth" trilogy: Old Filth, The man in the wooden hat, and Last Friends

The good Lord bird (James McBride)

Snow hunters (Paul Yoon)