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Archive for August, 2009

In photography as with all forms of art we seek oneness with our subject. This is called beginners mind. It is this part of the creative process that gratifies our souls, not necessarily the finished print. Although an excellent Giclee or digital print does make for good wall décor and can complete the visual venture.

We have all the equipment, books and videos one needs to learn from but does all the knowledge we accumulate get in the way of seeing and capturing good images?

How many times have you been in the field with a spectacular landscape scene before you? The light is excellent. But the rush of technology fills you head with thoughts of lenses, f/stops, depth of field, film choices, scene brightness ranges, composition and exposure limits. Equipment confusion really can get in the way of seeing and making art.

Water Spirits 16x24 Giclee Print

Water Spirits 16x24 Giclee Print

Some photographers get caught in this barrage of information and tools. Their images are accurate but lack life’s vibrancy. The spirit of the moment just isn’t there.

Every instant that passes before us is new and free from past baggage. Seeing with a beginners mind is the ability to step aside from personal issues and let the image find you.

For me, many of my images can come quickly. They tap me on the shoulder and seem to trip the shutter all by themselves. I become a catalyst to the event and I love that energy surge.

It takes practice to become comfortable with your equipment but it is essential.  With an ease of using your equipment you can trigger the core of your beginner’s mind.

This was something I learned as a beginning photojournalist. Don’t think about your equipment just know what it can do. Be there, be aware and the image will find you. You know, “the f/8 and be there” National Geographic thing.

Life’s moments happen fast and disappear. Practice with your equipment so when they appear before you, you can capture those flashes in time and see each moment with a beginners mind.

Photographs used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2009, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. An image catalog can be viewed at http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com . You can contact me through this blog or through email at: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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I had been reading about Zen and the Art of Photography and came across a statement regarding “Water Speaking Water”, by John Daido Loori a Zen Master and fellow photographer. I found these three words fascinating and thought about them on and off for three days.

In the realm of Zen everything in the universe is one. Everything is interconnected and relies on each other to complete its fulfillment. It is only our personal awareness that experiences life from our own unique point of view, defined only by the moment.

Liquid Voices

Liquid Voices

Water flows, as energy flows, around us and through us and at times if we have reached our still point we are able to capture a slice of this energy, in our hearts, on film or render it digitally.

My brother and I hiked to a small gorge near Big Sky, Montana, in the Gallatin National Forest, to a waterfall, on a photographic outing. It was just the day before when we had dropped down from the high country in the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness where I came face to face with a River Shaman that emerged from another water movement moment. (See https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/river-shaman)

We hiked into the gorge probably two hundred feet down from the trailhead and as we approached the falls through the pine forest we could hear the rush of the water as it filled the silence found among the trees.

The Throne

The Throne

We were absorbed in the moment. The water’s voice captured us and pulled us down to the base where mist splashed and swirled, filling our senses and singing the universe’s praises. It was a sirens song.

Conditions were right for photography but we sat on the edge of a cliff before the falls in silence just breathing and trying to feel the energies that rushed through our bodies. It was just a couple of minutes and somehow, we knew when it was time to spring into action. The next two hours were effortless. Many angles, different lenses and lots of film, all procedures as smooth as could be. Composition was easy.

That afternoon Ouzel Falls spoke to us and allowed us a cosmic experience. We were not separate entities. There was no self in the equation. All was one with the hum of the universe.

For further information on Zen and photographic insight: The Zen of Creativity: Cultivating Your Artistic Life by John Daido Loori.

All images are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, 2009, All Rights Reserved. No image may be linked to or downloaded without the written authorization of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. Fine Art Prints are available for purchase . Please contact me through email: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com or through my web site at http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com

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Today I need your help.

I did a little experimenting with some Glycerin while photographing some orange day lilies. The floral compositions I was working with all seemed boring.

I tried different angles, direct light, diffused light, garden backgrounds and solid backdrops but to no avail. Nothing was working that day.

While downloading and checking things out on the computer I remembered a photo I had seen months ago.  It had glycerin droplets on a flower stem that magnified and brought into view the out of focus flower behind it.

Image 3448

Image 3448

So I tried a new set up. Using boxes I made a platform about 18 inches above the plant and placed a sheet on clean glass on it. Spreading the glycerin drops in no particular pattern or size variation I realized quickly that I needed to level out the platform to keep the rest of the droplets from running.

I used a ladder to get about four feet above the glass and leaned over the center. The day lily was magnified and sharp in each of the droplets, bright orange. Using a 200mm macro focus lens and a shallow depth of field to keep the background out of focus I first got the glass sheet sharp then realized that just an eighth of an inch difference made each droplet pop with contrast and color.

Image 3452

Image 3452

I recorded a series of several images that swirled with color and each fine tuned droplet repeating the lily behind it. Each image was very different from the previous. After cleaning up a few blemishes on the glass in Photoshop I printed out several variations. Three of which I have included here on this post.

I am now asking my readers to give me some input and help me edit and name one or more of them to aid me in deciding which if any should be reproduced as a fine art Giclee print. I have had interesting viewer response to the proof prints and now want to see what my readers think.

Image 3467

Image 3467

Please respond with comments below. Each image has a number ID right now for your reference. I am having trouble naming them. Should they be offered as single images or a picture pair or perhaps a set? What do you think? Are these images worth pursuing?

Images used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2009, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography.  Print décor catalog and galleries can be viewed at www.rangeofvisionphotos.com Contact: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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The descent was rather steep. It called for a little side stepping and traversing the slope down about 1,200 feet into Hellroaring Canyon and Rock Creek drainage from the west summit of Beartooth Pass at an elevation of 10,974 feet, (3,337 m.).

I had been to these pristine alpine Twin Lakes before. The Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness has always held a special place in my thoughts. Being only 170 miles from Bozeman, my home, we have spent many nights in this area and hiked numerous trails. So I was very familiar with what to expect, high alpine tundra, boulder fields, no trail and plenty of wind with not another soul in sight.

Twin Lakes 11x17 Giclee Print

Twin Lakes 11x17 Giclee Print

This was just what I needed, a solo hike and a day of contemplation and meditation, my birthday treat. The scenery is dramatic on this the eastern edge of the Yellowstone ecosystem. I was on the longest running alpine plateau above 10,000 feet in North America.

My first target was Goat Meadow a sculpted peninsula of barren tundra that pokes its way into Rock Creek drainage. Sharp cliffs are carved into three of its sides with Twin Lakes, Mirror Lake and Rock Creek below. Several small unnamed lakes are just as inviting to the hiker.

It was slow going over the boulder field. Each step was carefully placed. A twisted ankle or worst a broken leg can be quite the detriment even to the adventurous in a wilderness area. Granite boulders were stable but uneven so I took my time. The two hundred yard crossing still took almost half an hour.

The scenery is magnificent with landscape photos in all directions. Small puffy cumulous clouds raced ferociously over the plateau so low I could almost touch them. I continued my trek above the headwall and cirque of the glacially carved bowl that forms the head of the canyon.

It was mid August and most wildflowers were already gone for the season. A few tiny sago lilies and sagebrush buttercups were still in bloom along the borders of three small receding snow fields. Instead of hiking across them I glissaded down slope effortlessly, saving my strength.

I crossed the grassy plateau searching the cliff faces for mountain goats on the Hellroaring Canyon side. Wind gusts kept me from standing still while I glassed the glacially carved cliffs. I had to sit with my arms propped on my knees. But there was no movement out there.

I continued down crossing another slushy snow field and several small running creeks ending up with the sky blue Twin Lakes at my feet. The wind picked up I sought shelter scrunching down by some large boulders that were sunk into the slope.

Of course I opted not to carry my tripod in order to secure sharp images. However I am not sure it would have helped this time because of the thirty mile per hour steady wind with surges well above that speed. I propped up my camera as best I could but couldn’t stop the sway.

So it was lunch, rest and personal thoughts regarding another year of life. I have experienced many life changes recently and there was much to contemplate. The only constant has been my continued pursuit of photography and the art of seeing.

I promised myself to further my efforts in pursuit of fine art photography and establish a writing style that communicates with and touches readers of my articles and blog posts. The rest of life will fall into place. I have faith.

After a couple of hours and a numb butt I packed up and began the long tough climb up and out of the canyon. Some days are just not for making new images. But the efforts in trying are forever worth the challenges. I am always ready for more.

For further information on the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness please read: https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/03/14/absaroka-beartooth-wilderness/

Images used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2009, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography.  Print décor catalog and galleries can be viewed at www.rangeofvisionphotos.com Contact: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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Many of my clients have been asking me how best to mount and display their Giclee prints. Of course going archival is the best.  For this kind of maximum permanence this means that everything that touches the print itself should be acid free.

Bearded Iris 11x17 Giclee Print

Bearded Iris 11x17 Giclee Print

To begin with inkjet prints have a tendency to scratch easily. Consequently, it is advisable to use cotton gloves when handling prints to protect them from scratches and fingerprints. For fine art papers and canvas, you can also use a spray to protect your print. It is best to let your print set for at least 24 hours before using them.

Lumijet Protective Spray from Hahnemuhle and Premier Art Shield from Premier Imaging Products are both very good options. They will seal and protect your print from moisture, scratches, and fingerprints and they will not yellow as your print ages.

Heat can also damage a print so it is advisable not to heat mount your print to any kind of backing board, especially foam core. The mount board should really be acid free as well. I use a minimum amount of museum quality acid free linen, hinged mount tape to secure the print.

Pulse, Snapdragons, 12x12 Giclee Print

Pulse, Snapdragons, 12x12 Giclee Print

 For the fine art nature reproductions that I do, for both Giclee and digital prints, I prefer non-glare matte finish papers.  I feel they look better under glass than a gloss finish paper. This is just a personal opinion. It makes me feel that my prints do not communicate as well when viewers struggle to read a print because of reflections.

 I do use a gloss finish paper for some of my photojournalism prints, depending on how they will be displayed or for client requirements.

Non-reflective glass has a tendency to dull the print colors. It is also much more expensive. Giclee prints have a great range of subtle colors and sometimes non-glare glass does not do the image justice. While at times with regular glass the viewer still has to move around some to read a print the distraction is kept to a minimum. Non-glare UV glass will however add a few more years to the prints lifespan.

Additional print protection should continue with storage and display methods. For storage, it is best to keep your prints flat. It avoids unwanted curling, bending or warping and it makes handling much easier. Use a protective acid-free tissue sheets between each print. This tissue is available at most art stores or you can get it online at Light Impressions, is an inexpensive way to keep your prints from rubbing against each other.

So in review, for the best longevity, use archival acid free mounting and matting materials. Frame your print and place it under glass, not touching it. Keep it away from heat, moisture and direct sunlight. Your Giclee or digital print should last 90 plus years.

Images used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2009, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography.  Print décor catalog and galleries can be viewed at www.rangeofvisionphotos.com Contact: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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