April 28, 2009

Couplet

Near the beach at Fort Bragg, CA I spotted several clusters of white Calla Lilies growing in a field and down the cliff. Enchanted, I stopped to enjoy the sight and take some photos.

The Calla Lily is one of my favorite flowers. Their form is simple, yet strong and elegant. And not only is the flower worthy of note but the deep green wave of its foliage is also visually appealing. As I admired the overall balance of the clusters I couldn't help but be impressed by the unique beauty of each individual flower stem. I came away with a collection of interesting snapshots.

This particular image features a pair of Calla Lilies. I found the relationship of their open blossoms intriguing. Like two open hearts casually curving into one line they struck me as particularly lovely in the way they support and contrast each other while gently resting in one visual form.

To bring the texture of the image into alignment with the form I increased the brightness and softened the detail. Then to clean up the background I found some leaves that echoed the curve of the lily's shape and arranged them in layers, highlighting the rich color and the contrasting edge.

The process involved was a little different than anything I've done before. I think the outcome is simply poetic.

April 25, 2009

Shades of Spring

Not long ago I hiked the Cape Horn Loop Trail. It was a beautiful day and a wonderfully scenic hike. Not only were there broad vistas of the Columbia River Gorge to enjoy but along the trail, in the woods, there were also beautiful things to see. Dotted along the trail were lovely clumps of Trillium in shades from white to crimson.

I captured this image along the trail. These Trillium blossoms seemed particularly watchful stationed along the path. The background is bright with filtered sunlight and a glorious shade of spring green. The twigs radiate poetically from where the trillium keep watch.

To enhance the image I saturated the colors and highlighted the contrast between light and shadow. I like the lush feel of the final product.

April 16, 2009

The Calm of Morning

Original photo by JE
This image of the glassy reflection on the surface of calm water is a study in peace.  The shoreline gently and lyrically defines the curving boundaries of the water's reach.  The surface mirrors the dynamic nature of the changing clouds without disturbance.  The morning light gilds the low grasses and the trees softly punctuate the skyline.

The peaceful ambiance of this morning view is subtle.  The natural colors are muted and the details in the original image tend to distract the eye from the simplicity of the scene. 

 To highlight the peace I contoured the edges, lowered the bit depth and enhanced the hue definition. As a result the shape of the clouds are defined in the reflection as are the soft shapes of the trees and warm glow of the grasses. My eye rests at the center and yet is inevitably drawn toward whatever might lie ahead in the distance as I begin the day's journey. 

April 12, 2009

The Pulse of Morning

This image of a mighty sunrise was taken last summer.  From my window the rising sun was cradled in the crook of two silhouettes, the rooftops across the street and the foothills in the distance. The morning air was fresh and the sky was feathered with streaks of wispy clouds.

As the sun peeked over the hilltops the sky exploded with color as the sunbeams radiated filling the horizon with light. I captured this image from my window as I watched the sunlight stretch out to announce the beginning of a new day.

To conform the image to my impression I enhanced the colors and sharpened the contrast, blending the foothills and rooftops into one horizontal stretch. Then I contoured the image, filtering it so that the colors radiated from the sun like a strong and steady pulse, calling the world to its singular beat. 

Rummaging through photos this weekend I was drawn to this image as an expression of a world transformed on Easter morning. As Christ rose from the darkness of the grave, he dawned and rose as the Light of the World.

John 1: 4-5  In him was life , and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. 

Happy Easter!

April 9, 2009

Bridge View

Original Photo by JE
The Astoria-Megler Bridge... again. This time the image was captured by a friend on a slightly brighter day than the one I spent in Astoria some time ago, studying the shape of my fears.

I like the angle of this image.  The bridge reaches out across the water in a rather straightforward way as it approaches the Washington shore.

In the distance the sky is composed of gentle shades of gray playfully arcing above the water, framing the line of the bridge and balancing it. 

I simplified the lines of this image and defined the shades of gray with a filter. Then I intensified the color to add distinction. The result is somewhat austere but resolute and hopeful too.  While the subject matter remains serious and functional the tone is brighter and more conversant than my previous impressions of this daunting structure. 

April 6, 2009

Light Through Redwoods

Last week we drove along the California coast and through Redwood National Park.  The sun shone brightly on the surf and through the towering trees.  The trees shaded the fragrant carpet of soft earth and the high canopy of leaves guided rivers of light that cascaded through the foliage.  It was beautifully atmospheric but difficult to capture in a single image.

I brought back hundreds of images but many missed what I sought to capture.  While many adjustments can be made to balance light and shadow or to add contrast to the degrees of shading, few captured the essence of the light falling through the high branches and the feeling of protected spaciousness beneath the towering redwoods. 

This was one of the images I liked the best.  The sunlight pierced the grove at an angle, highlighting the texture of the bark on the tree trunks and falling in patterns on a few moss covered branches. The light enters just above the center of the image, an image that does not reach the ground, suggesting the tremendous height of these giant trees. Brightening the image a bit to adjust for shadows and to define the creases in the texture of the bark, the focus is on the light and its persistent ability to enter the deepest recesses and reveal the rich wonder of this sheltered space.