Sunday, September 14, 2008

Not So Still Life

When compared with outdoor nature photography, which requires lugging equipment around, finding locations, waiting for the moment, (missing the moment), getting rained on, etc., creating still-life photographs seems like a no-brainer. Simply think of an interesting scene, acquire the pieces to put the scene together, put them together in a climate-controlled room in your house, light appropriately, snap a few shots, and voila! Great results! Right? Um, wrong.

Why not? Well for me, my brain just does not work that way. Maybe it's a deficiency in me, but I have a hard time creating an image from scratch. It's like staring at an empty canvas. I just have a hard time creating compelling still-life images, at least the kind that I have to assemble myself.

I guess my strength is what many people refer to is my "eye", as in "You have a great eye." I like having nature provide me with the starting point, from which I figure out what would make a great image. I can work around what nature provides, but I have a hard time replicating it on my own.

I thought of this as I was photographing a bunch of tomato filled baskets at a local farm. The shots I made reminded me of still-lifes, as if I could have brought the filled baskets to the farm myself and placed them in just the right spot. But instead I was fortunate to find about 15 baskets spread out along the edge of the field. This provided a number of possible image set-ups, and the one below is one that I like.

And I only had about 15 minutes before the pickers came back with their tractor to collect the tomatoes.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Calendar Contest

I received some good news that one of my photos has been selected for my company's 2009 corporate calendar. Honeywell is a company with over 120,000 employees worldwide, and the corporate calendar is created using submissions from its employees. The process this year included a voting component, in which employees could vote on images that passed an initial screening/selection process.

My image of a female cardinal was chosen for the month of December. I submitted this image because I felt it would work well as a calendar photo: Simple composition, clear subject, nice color. I like the range of colors in the female cardinal more than the male which is pretty much all red. Apparently the voters agreed with me.

Although there is no cash award (which I admit would be nice) I will receive a plaque and a number of complimentary copies of the calendar. Want one?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Dandy Doylestown

OK, that title is lame, but true.

Despite having the first day of the 2-day Doylestown Fine Arts Festival completely rained out by tropical storm Hanna, the second day was downright wonderful. Almost perfect weather. Very good crowds. Lots of interest in my work (that's the best part).

Doing the art-show "circuit" is a tough life, and I'm glad I only do it part time, i.e. I don't need to pay bills with it. Setting up and tearing down is hard work. Dealing with bad weather is downright nasty. Etc, etc. I constantly wonder whether it's worth it to continue. But the show today makes me realize how satisfying and fun it can be.

My next show is in three weeks, in Hew Hope, Pa. I truly hope we get a great weekend for this show - I think I deserve it. This will be my first year there, so I'm curious to see how the crowds there will take to my work.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Local Treasure - Moravian Pottery and Tile Works

One of least visited historical landmarks in Bucks County (in my opinion) is the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, in Doylestown. I think a lot of local residents have heard of the place, but not many that I've talked to have even actually gone inside.

This was once a tile factory run by Henry Chapman Mercer, one of the prominent figures in Bucks County History. We took the tour recently with our family and we all really enjoyed it. They continue to make tiles to this day, although there was a period when the factory was defunct.

Here is a link to their website:

Moravian Pottery and Tile Works