Sunday, February 19, 2017

Color or B&W?




As I was playing around with my photographs, I focused on a shot I'd taken of an old airplane at Castle Air Museum in California.

I created a series of color images and then, just to see how they'd look, converted them to black and white.

I wanted to upload them to Fine Art America, but didn't know which to select: the color images or the black and white.

Although I think the color version looks pretty cool, the colors throughout weren't consistent enough to make an effective series.

All the black and white ones (seven of them) "worked together" to make a stronger whole. For me, they have a sort of masculine, contemporary vibe, and I could see them in an upscale apartment or condo that has a relatively monochromatic color scheme.

It's interesting to see the mindset change when we begin marketing our work. I like the color version, but as a series, believe that the black/white/grey combo is more marketable.

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day!

A special day to show love and affection and kindness.

May it last forever.

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.©Carol Leigh

Monday, February 13, 2017

Walking to Port Townsend







It was a fine, fine day on Sunday, so we got in the car, drove a few minutes over to the ferry landing, parked, then walked aboard the Kennewick to Port Townsend, a cute town where there’s always something to see, to photograph, to admire.

There’s a very large, very old building on the waterfront that’s being completely redone and outside they’re selling old, grungy bottles they’ve found while excavating. Two bucks and one’s yours. Very cool to see, but as much as I like old, grungy bottles, not this time . . .

Farther down at the marina, a little sailboat caught my eye, looking clean and crisp with the Olympic Range way in the distance.

And then over to a small boatyard where, of course, I photographed all sorts of textures and patterns and then, feeling I was being watched, I turned to see this little cutie on the side of a boat.

Yet another example of “faces in unlikely places,” an assignment I give my students. And for the rest of their lives they’re going to notice little things like this. Heh, heh . . .

While in the boatyard, I talked with a guy who was refurbishing a 1936 Berthon Gauntlet 41 named Syrinx. It’s been sitting in the boatyard for years, uncovered.

He’s got a lot of work ahead of him, especially since the masts have been ruined by woodpeckers. Told him next time I’m over I’ll check out his progress. He hopes to have it in the water by August.

Back aboard the ferry for the trip home, the tall ships Pacific Grace and Pacific Swift were not about to give way to the ferry, no matter how often and long the captain blew the warning horn. This is the Pacific Grace; the Pacific Swift (slower, despite the name) was still blocking the captain’s departure.

The tall ships are from Canada. Sigh. You just don’t expect those friendly Canadians to be so rude and pushy . . .

Great day spent with a great guy. I’m so lucky.

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.©Carol Leigh

Friday, February 10, 2017

Faux Poste: Fish Postcard from Indonesia

I've not been making any weird postcards lately, but this one's been waiting in the wings since last April, so it's time to get it off the table and show it here.

I created a "faux poste" collage using a photo of a fish I took in South Carolina, a piece of paper money from Indonesia, a postage stamp with a contrived cancellation stamp, and a scrap of paper from an antique Japanese book.

This was fun to create -- inspires me to get back into making more of these.

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Monday, February 6, 2017

What I'm working on: Ledger Book

I have an old ledger book, full of empty pages, and it sits on my work counter.

As I'm making other things, leftover bits and pieces of scrap paper go onto the pages in this book.

The fun of it is that it doesn't have to be perfect, that I'm free to put things just anywhere without thinking it to death.

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Nipping it in the bud

Okay. It seemed like a good idea, but it's only day #3 and I am bored with the project. I have all the 2's I need, nothing new is being created . . .

THIS WAS A BAD IDEA!

Thus I'm not going to continue. There are so many other new things I want to do, to eventually show, that to post a 2 a day is just a waste of time and mental energy, you know?

The writer Annie Dillard said, "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." I do not wish to spend however many days I have left posting photos I'm not jazzed about.

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

2017-02-02

This 2 is part of a series of 10 that I did for Fine Art America, each number a different color, with a different background, and then I made a sweeping line of colored dots at the bottom that, to me, makes the number look like it's floating in water.

Hence the title for the series: "Numerical Flotation Devices."

Have any of them sold? No more than one, if that. Ah, well. One keeps trying . . .

Here's a link to the gallery of 10.

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

February -- the 2nd month of the year

Last year I decided to post a picture of the number 3 every day during the month of March. Toward the end I was wondering what the heck was I thinking.

But February is a shorter month. How hard could it be?

So my plans are to post a picture of the number 2 every day this month.

Wish me luck!

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Balance and artistry

I've got a "Photomotivation" group over on Facebook consisting of about 60 former students and friends. Every month I give them a new assignment -- some frivolous, some more serious. They post their photos and we talk about a variety of things, not just about the assignment, but about art.

I can't seem to leave the teaching stuff alone, and this helps me keep my brain in the game, as well as interacting with people who have, over the years, become my friends.

Here's something I posted to the group this morning which I believe has overall interest and works well as a blog post.

Balance and artistry.

What you see here is a photomontage that features two immediately recognizable circles. Your eye probably went to them first.

To balance those circles, which are sort of huddled in the upper left, I added a “stack o’ sticks.” Those dark horizontal lines create a vertical rectangle, which leads your eye up and down. The horizontal lines in the stack also lead your eye over toward the right.

My collage, even though it’s technically top-heavy toward the upper left because of the big circle, works (for me) because I’ve balanced that circle with a block of dark, repeating shapes lower right.

Notice, too, how I’ve linked the smaller circle to the larger one, and then how the smaller circle intersects with, or links to, the vertical block of “sticks.” Do you see the movement that creates? Those subtle connections lead your eye along a subliminal diagonal line from upper left to lower right.

When I create a collage or a photomontage, it’s different, in a way, from taking a “regular” photograph with a camera. With a camera I deal with the subject at hand. I work with what’s been given to me.

When I create a photomontage, I pretty much begin with a blank canvas. Or perhaps a canvas that has one thing on it, such as the big circle. I add a texture, perhaps a photo I’ve taken of a painted piece of paper. I keep on adding, subtracting, moving, blending, rotating, etc., until I’ve created something that’s pleasing and meaningful to me.

With a camera, even though I’m working with what I’m seeing in front of me, there are similar decisions to be made. What was I initially attracted to? Is that “good stuff” therefore filling the frame? Am I eliminating all the unnecessary elements, elements that will distract my viewer from what I thought was important? What about the light? Is there so much brightness behind my subject that I run the risk of creating a silhouette? A black blob against the bright light? What if I move to the right, or to the left? Is the background too sharp? Is it not sharp enough?

Whether we’re drawing, painting, weaving, quilting, we, as artists, are constantly making choices. Where’s the balance? Where’s the focal point? Are we including enough? Too much?

Those choices, whether done consciously or subconsciously, are what sets us apart from the casual snapshooter and are what makes us artists.

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Things I love . . .


Wandering around Anacortes, Washington, I made two photographs that incorporate things I love:

Boats! As a Navy brat, things nautical have an appeal. I love being around boats, don't want to be ON boats (except for little harbor cruises), but I hyperventilate when I find things like this.

Diagonal lines. They imply movement and power. They lead your eye from one part of an image to another. Both these photos contain diagonal lines, and, in the top image, repeating diagonal lines.

Quick note: The second photograph is of a "pilot ladder" hanging off the side of a ship. They're built to strict specifications, and every four to eight steps there's a "spreader." Why? To keep the ladder from twisting around in wind and weather as the pilot makes his/her way up or down. Never knew that.

Numbers. Numbers have intrigued me since I first began in photography.

Abstract simplicity. I'm not especially a "big picture" sort of photographer, but rather a "move in close, see what others don't, and keep it simple" person. So, voila! Weird pictures.

And there you have it. Two souvenirs from a wonderful time spent just wandering around and looking.

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Saturday morning on Whidbey

We had a great morning yesterday, beginning with seared oatmeal at Braeburn restaurant in Langley, and then a walk around the town, camera at the ready.

At the Star Store, we ended up talking about photography, art, composition, design, etc. with two of the store employees — Kelsey and Margaret. The conversation was fun, inspiring, interesting, with a wonderful sharing of ideas, nobody hogging the time, an even give and take.

Respect, humor, intelligence, curiosity. No politics. What a refreshing change.

I bought a sweatshirt.

Next, we drove down to the marina, walked out onto the docks. The mountains in the distance were lovely, but the overall light was drab and dreary. A dozen cormorants on the next dock over were hanging out together, as cormorants do. My 70-200mm lens too short to do anything exciting with them.

Then we hear the chortling of an eagle. Maybe two eagles. Maybe three! Two adults and what I presumed was a juvenile approaching from the north. They were fast. I wasn’t ready. I shot as they approached, one going right overhead.

Not frame-filling at all, so I combined two versions of the same eagle here, one with him farther away, and the other as he passed overhead. (Neither is enlarged, but individually they didn't fill the frame.) The shots are two seconds apart, but I thought comparing the wing angles was interesting.

The marina manager came out with his binoculars and a “Birds of the Puget Sound” book. He was thinking the juvenile bald eagle might actually be a golden eagle. Which of course wasn’t in his book, because golden eagles don’t hang around up here, apparently. A photographer down the dock, with a 200-500mm lens, said nope, juvenile bald eagle, not a golden.

Again, a very enjoyable conversation talking about what we were seeing, sharing the information, curious about the birds (who nest nearby). And the marina guy had great eyelashes...

I wanted a copy of that bird book, so we headed back up the hill to talk to Josh at Moonraker Books (no website). Nope, they didn’t have the book. “Does it have a red cover?” “I don’t know. There’s a bird on the front, though.” She gives me a look that implies “smartass,” leans over and whispers something very snarky in my ear. We laugh. She goes downstairs to order it for me.

I bought “House at Pooh Corner” by A.A. Milne.

We walked over to a terrific store called Artisan Crafted Home. There’s a new window display featuring the most interesting floor and table lamps. We chit-chat with the owner. The lamps are handmade by two sisters. One on the east coast, one here on the west. One makes the glass and metal stands and the other makes the exotic silken shades. They’re lovely. (The lamps, that is. But the sisters probably are, too.)

Time to head home. We drop off some things at the Senior Services thrift store en route.

That was our morning. We were outdoors and in. Talked with a variety of people. Saw cormorants and eagles, heard a kingfisher. Looked at lovely artworks and learned about the artists. And I got one photograph that isn’t very good, but I’m sure that sometime soon it will appear in a photomontage and will be just perfect.

Wishing you all days like this.

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh.