The Shadows of Our Lives

Shadows are too often used to portray the sinister (“lurking in the shadows” – Don’t people lurk in the sunshine?) or scary (“shadow of death” – Who knew death had a shadow?). In photography shadows are often what brings interest to a picture. While the shadows often are used to accentuate the starring lighter areas in a picture, sometimes shadows have an equal or even starring role.

The fence shadows on a beautiful sidewalk bring value to the image and even tell an early morning story themselves.
Fence and Sidewalk

The late afternoon shadows on a storage tank seem playfully dramatic.
Storage Tank

This Civil War photo (reenactment – I’m not THAT old!) would be dull and lifeless without the shadows. The shadows made me want to know what the soldier was thinking.
Breakfast

Shadows help tell the story; both in pictures and in our lives.

RGB

RGB (Red, Green, Blue) is the color protocol in almost all electronic viewing devices. The model is based on the way the human eye perceives color. There is no set standard for any of the three colors so the display of color images is device dependent. That is why it is important to calibrate equipment if we print photos and why our posted images might look different than how we thought they might look.

RGB is an additive model, the theory being that any color can be created by an additive combination of these colors. In contrast, most printers use a CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black or “Key”) process which is subtractive; colors are made by subtracting from black. This is why getting a print just right can take some effort.

Here is my homage to red, green, and blue. All of the pictures were taken within a couple of hundred yards of each others. The alley window and wall were really this mellow blue, enhanced only by the morning light and shadows.

Farmers' Market Tomatos

Farmers’ Market Tomatos

Alley Window and Wall

Alley Window and Wall

Ivy

Ivy

Zoo Abstractions

If we think of photography as a continuum, with documentary photography (capturing the event, object, story) on one end and interpretative photography (portraying the feeling, essence, emotive qualities) on the other end, most photography falls somewhere between the two poles. That said, photographers often show a preference – slight or strong – for one of these two approaches to photography.

For me, art is all about reaching head and heart. In my photography I try to capture enough of the subject to set a context but also try to provide an emotive element. Today’s somewhat abstract images from the zoo lean much more toward the interpretative end of the continuum.

In the first two images I attempted to portray the intrinsic beauty of the peacock through rather abstract (interpretive) images of the bird’s feathers. The third image is about the colorful beauty of the rotting process in a fallen tree. The last image is of eyelashes from an African cow. The interpretation comes in capturing the swirls and the shadows in this tight shot.

Tail Feathers

Tail Feathers

Side Feathers

Side Feathers

Rotting Log

Rotting Log

Beauty is in the eye . . .

“Beauty is in the eye . . .”

Zoo Animals

I have mixed feelings about animals in a zoo. On one hand I like the opportunity to take pictures of the beauty and diversity of creation (especially if the zoo has few barriers to photography and a natural setting for the animals). On the other hand, I am unsettled with cages for living things. It is a difficult dilemma but I have come down on the value of people being able to experience animals that they otherwise might never see, if the animals are well cared for. Binder Park Zoo has a good reputation for ethical care of their animals which helped mitigate my discomfort. Wherever you come down on this tough tension, I hope you can enjoy these pictures. I enjoy reading your thoughts and comments . . . on the pics and/or the dilemma.

Whatcha lookin at?

Whatcha lookin at?

No Bull

No Bull

Smiling for the Camera

Smiling for the Camera

Nap Time

Nap Time

Sticking Out Your Neck

Sticking Out Your Neck

Fish & Fowl

Met our Michigan sons, spouses and their families (including 3 of our grandkids) at Binder Park Zoo on Saturday. The family pictures are on my Facebook page. My intention (unless I change my mind) is to post animals later this week and abstract/other images this week or next. It was a great day with family and good lighting. Enjoy some fowl and a fish.

Crown Prince

Crown Prince

Whatchyou lookin' at?

Whatcha lookin’ at?

Swan in Shade

Swan in Shade

Yellow Bird

Yellow Bird

Large Carp

Large Carp

Roundhouse

In boxing a roundhouse is a big punch. Jackson’s former economic big punch was its railroads. There is a good article about Jackson’s rail history (with pictures) by my friend Ken Wyatt at
http://www.mlive.com/news/jackson/index.ssf/2012/06/peek_through_time_central_
Add rail.html to the above link. Word press doesn’t like long URLs.

Pat and I went with the intention of trying to see if anything remained of the Jackson roundhouse where her grandfather had worked. We were able to find some remains of the roundhouse; the circular foundation and tracks leading out. To our delight we also were able to see much more. The surrounding warehouses are still in use (mostly by trucking companies) and many of the tracks still haul freight. There was an intrinsic beauty in both the history of the ground we walked on as well as the beauty that remains in the aging infrastructure. These are just a few of yesterday’s shots; more later (Do notice the windshield wipers on the side window of the blue caboose!)

Caboose Window

Caboose Window

Changing Tracks

Changing Tracks

Tied In

Tied In

Spikes (from a large pile)

Spikes (from a large pile)

Bliss

Bliss in Blissfield comes from finding keepable photos on a day forecast to be partly sunny but turning out to be the sun’s day off. (To be fair, the weather folks weren’t specific about what part of the planet would be mostly sunny). Somewhat frustrated by the poor lighting conditions, we went to Blissfield for lunch at the Hathaway House Stables.

Our dining area provided the lantern shot. The unusual six-faced barn roof is from a barn behind the restaurant. The barn window comes from the same barn (note how the barn wood frames the left of the window). The smiling Officer Friendly (or Kelley) consented to a picture in her cruiser surrounded by her technology. The picture is a double portrait as you can see yours truly in the near window.

So even on a cloud mega mania day you can still take pictures and find bliss.

lantern

roof

window

Officer

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