Thursday, July 24, 2014

Studio and Landscape - Are they the same?

Working in the Studio (Garage) and in the Landscape

First a note about my absence from this blog: 
I have spent the last year trying to figure out the best way to express and display my hobby to an online audience. I've tried Flickr, Facebook, Viewbug, Smugmug, Intagram.... The list goes on. What I've finally decided is that the only way to completely control the look, quality, and content of what I produce, is to do it on my own blog and website. I've owned the website domain for almost 4 years and have never done anything with it, but perhaps soon. Now, on to the blog post.

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about what I want to do with my camera. I love photography for it's own sake, but I've always wanted to do more. I like all aspects of the craft except floundering around in stupid menus on digital cameras. If people find out I take pictures, they often ask if I am a landscape photographer or a studio photographer. Until recently, I would have automatically replied that I was a landscape photographer. But lately, I've really been enjoying the idea of having more opportunities to produce images that I completely control. 

In the landscape, I can control most of what you see. The following series of images was pre visualized and many of the factors came together just as I hoped and mostly I'm pleased with the results. 

The first three were taken on the same day, but the fourth was taken the next day and used a different film. It has a slightly different look. I did my best, but it is not exactly the same. I wanted a series of four, I got a series of three and one other nice picture. That is because in the landscape, I can control the variables within reason. I can not however create them. I have to live with the light as it is. If that creek would look better if it snaked back around to the left, too bad.

In the studio, everything is an illusion that I create from scratch. It is a lot more frustrating to fail at getting what you want in the studio because there is no one to blame but you. It also means that when you get it right, it is a lot more satisfying.

Below is a photo that helped me realize how hard this kind of photography can be. I wanted to take a picture that really conveyed how great everything look and the wonderful decorating that Polly did for Katie's party. When I took a picture of the table as it was set up, it looked terrible, even though it looked so cute to the eye. To get the image on camera to match the feeling of the party, I had to take all the stuff on the table and jam it together in the middle and leave most of the table empty. In real life, it looked stupid that way, but the picture of the jammed up party favors and treats shows how it actually felt when the table was set properly.

What you see in a picture is an illusion of what the photographer wants you to feel!

Creating from nothing also lets me have the simple compositions I look for, but often fail to find, or worse, fail to convey when I'm working on landscapes.

I don't apply heavy editing to landscape photos, but studio photos give the freedom to stretch my imagination

Do you know what these are? 

One thing that I do know, is that I will always need the mountains, the lakes and rivers, the pines, and the freedom of wide open spaces. So while studio work may give me a great creative outlet and ability to showcase more that a knack for being at the right place at the right time, there is little doubt I will continue to work on my landscapes. Maybe now, though, some of those landscapes will be created on a 2'x2' tabletop in my garage. 

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