Sunday, March 11, 2012

David duChemin's triptych (Within the Frame, Vision & Voice, Photographically Speaking

I just finished David's last book which I consider to be the third book of his comprehensive modern version of Ansel Adam's: "The Camera", "The Negative", and "The Print". I didn't read Ansel Adam's books but I am sure they would apply even in today's digital age, the tools have changed but the outcome is the same... A work of art.

David's true third book (VisionMongers) is on how to make it as a professional photographer and make an earning at it. Which is why I don't consider it part of his actual triptych and I have yet to read it. I am considering making the jump from amateur to professional, but to David there is an extensive discussion on what the definition of a professional is, that can be applied to any chosen profession. What truly makes a professional a professional. I am a controller of a school division my profession requires strong management and business skills. However when I am assuming the role I am not a different person. I would think the same would apply when you consider yourself a professional photographer it comes naturally and you don't sense being different or superior to someone who is just starting out in their profession.

There might not be strong similarities between David's books and Ansel's books but David's approach provides a step by step thought process into the photographic process the same approach Ansel took during the writing of his books. Judging solely on Ansel's book titles I can only guess it might be more on the technical side of photography with some artistic insight thrown in for good measure. Ansel was perfecting his craft while David is using the tools at his disposal to make an artistic statement with his own unique Vision while Ansel was doing both at the same time.

David has a strong following and readership. After reading his books and his blog it's easy to understand why he has such a strong readership. He is well grounded and takes a simple approach to his craft and has the ability to communicate his knowledge of his craft in a unbiased approach without too much jargon. The point of his discussion is the end product and the thought process used to arrive at the end product. Occasionally there will be some technical minded people who will make comments on his blog that steers the conversation to an area that has little impact on the intended outcome.

Like most artists learn enough about the craft and the language so that you can communicate through your photographs. The technical aspect of photography is only to get us there. In fact like most technologies that hasn't matured yet it is constantly changing. To quote David it's not about the gear. But having the latest gear helps you communicate through your photos more effectively and give you the ability to realize your vision.

I purchased my first camera at 16 years of age, even back then I knew I had found something I enjoyed so much I had to buy a SLR. Working on a farm in Northern Alberta I had an eye for things natural. I had some exposure no pun intended, on doing the entire photographic process from the camera to the negative and finally the print when I took photography in high school. I never thought of photography as an art form when I was learning it, I was more concerned learning the technical. I was stumbling along taking pictures like most users of a camera to document life as it unravelled.

Things have changed technology wise but the exposure formula ISO vs F-Stop vs Shutter Speed exists today. Stating the obvious but there are still people who use professional DSLR's and are still using the automated.

I have to thank David helping me in refining my own vision and my quest to find my own vision. Reading David's books provides a boost of motivation to keep pursuing the refinement of this goal. I don't think any one person truly reaches this photographic nirvana as a person changes through life experiences and a person's vision changes along with it.

Thanks David for delivering materials on a topic that is hard to put into words.

Listing of David duChemin's photography books available on Amazon

Mike Le Photographe

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Early Morning Photography

My first attempt at early morning photography is just an hour away. The night before I consulted the weather reports hoping it would be overcast and determining when the sun would crest the horizon. I set my timer so I wouldn't miss this opportunity to take "the shot" that I have envisioned since I started working in Swift Current. The sunrises are incredible here more so when there are clouds present. The clouds add extra drama to any shot and especially sunrises and sunsets.

I have been reading in bed and browsing the Internet since 5 am. I usually sleep in but because I set a goal of taking a sunrise shot my mind is extremely excited and has blocked me from any type of sleep. At most I slept for 5 hours I guess I will be taking cat naps during the day. Maybe my girlfriend's cat "Matisse" will join me.

I have gone through different scenarios and pictures I want to take. But the one I envisioned is on the road to work. There is a grain elevator on the way to work that I want to superimpose over a sunrise giving that golden glow I also hope that the birds that like to congregate at grain elevators work their magic and fly above the grain elevator. The other shot I want to do is a sweeping panoramic that is if a train is stationed next to the grain elevator. Using my 50 mm F1.4 I would take several concurrent photos and splice them in photoshop to make a print that could eventually grace someone's wall sometime in the future. I am being hopeful. But I am mostly doing this for myself.

I might do a time lapse of a sunrise maybe a sunset but that is a story for another blog post.

I'm jumping out of bed as my sweetie still sleeps and getting my cold weather gear out hoping there is also a light coating of frost on everything. I am also prepping my equipment ensuring I have my tripod.

To be continued...

Mike "Le photographeur"

Location:Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Canada