I thought for sure I would see Rudolph. Really. It was December 24 and it was very, very foggy. In some spots the fog was thick, in other spots the foggy curtain would draw back to reveal the icy lacework it had left behind. Enjoy. (Let me know if you see Rudolph lurking in these anywhere!)
Visiting Hamilton yesterday, I was driving along the industrial waterfront when an exhaust plume caught my eye. It was picking up the colour of the twilight horizon. One u-turn and a bit of heavy-truck dodging later, I captured this:
As you can tell from the trees and the movement of the plume, the wind was really blowing hard. I kind of like the soft effect it gives the trees… it offsets the harsh lines of the industry behind. I decided to go around the bay to get a shot from the other side while there was a bit of light remaining.
The same day last week end that I had been shooting stone walls and industrial alleys (see prior post), I made a stop on the way home to feed my soul. It is a tight little gorge that cuts through a cedar forest beside an abandoned mill. The sun was low in the sky and aligned with the gorge… beautiful!
It’s kind of a boring title, but the results really got me exited. I usually use blur to obscure inconvenient background detail in a photo. I’ll illustrate with some photos I took last week end.
In this photo I have used a blur (and darkening) to obscure the background visible around the sides of the column.
In the next photo, I used a mild blur and allowed it into more of the photo. I used it on the trees in the background and some of the stone pavers on the left side to force the viewer’s eye back to the wall that I want to be the key element in the photo.
Then I got wild. I combined a severe blur with a complex mask that allowed the blur to show over much of the photo. A bit of touch-up to mask to remove the blur from a couple of key details in the photo (the chair, the alley ruts and the clothesline) and I had a whole new feeling in the picture. The mill buildings in the background still loom menacingly over the scene, but now they don’t distract from it.
Has this ever happened to you? You’re walking along, taking in the scenery when all of a sudden a picture pops into your head of the same scenery under very different circumstances. Sometimes it will be funny, sometimes black. This happens to me a lot. Last spring I decided to try to use these thoughts as inspiration for pictures. It turned out to be far more difficult than I had imagined, mostly because I do not have the $ millions needed to have a set built to my specification… I had to build it up from bits and pieces of digital images. This was the first one I did. Taking a page from Cindy Sherman’s workbook, I acted as my own model.
The model and I got along famously, but the restrictions of hitting the shutter and racing around to strike a pose within the 30 second timer delay wore thin in a hurry. (Not to mention trying to pose in a way that would fit with a background that existed only on my computer!)
In a post I made last summer (Children’s Nightmares Are Made Of This), I revealed my darker vision of the local town fair. While visiting the Orangeville Fall Fair this past September, I saw a shot that I thought would work perfectly for a scene I wanted to create. Fate smiled on me as I pressed the shutter… a child threw himself down on the grass in the background in a tantrum… and became a dead body in my photo. Perfect! Thanks to Kelsey S ( a very patient model) and Judy Z (makeup and model coaching), I was able to add a puppet to the shot, re-creating Pinocchio’s Circus.
I have put these in a new album in my Portfolio called “A View From The Edge”. I will add more to this album over time.