Photographer in his Natural Environment

That simply means: wielding a camera, making art



Over-compensating for my last, wordless blog could back-fire, but let's see what happens.


You know that I've been photographing several times for Lance Besharah, owner/artist at Turning North, and we both seem to have landed in the happy position where we feel that the other makes us look good. Among many inspired and amazingly-skilled works, he has been asked recently to do a few custom urns, and they are achingly beautiful.


I haven't deduced how he uses a lathe to make the screw-caps.

Lance not only knows more about how to work the wood than most of us could imagine, but spends a great deal of time and effort on choosing his material. The patterns which emerge may never be completely predictable, but neither are they totally random.


Different day, with the last light of dusk fading away, and in the area for other reasons, I strolled the cemetery at St. James Anglican Church in Maitland, Ontario. I don't find cemeteries funereal, but I do find them visual treasure-troves.


It is unusual to place the focus mid-distance in a composition. It works for me here.

Surprising to me, some of the monuments from the mid-1800s have recently been refurbished.


I remind clients from time to time that I don't need much light. I just need light. Leave the shutter open longer, and it will eventually register an image. My well-used tripod (because the camera conventionally should not move during long exposures) owes me nothing.


On my way back to the studio, I swung through Blockhouse Island, and ended up unexpectedly working again, getting several of which I'm quite fond. My favourite is, as often of late, a bit understated, less dramatic, but I like the ghosting of moving people, in our world-famous Railway Tunnel, with a slower shutter speed (4 seconds for those who want to know).


Oldest railway tunnel in Canada, so they say.

I adjusted my settings to increase their motion, rather than the converse.


Downtown Brockville, known for its church steeples, has them a bit spread out. This doesn't bother the eye, but it does make them hard to include all in one photograph. As far as I can tell, these are all from the First Baptist Church (made from where I was standing, in front of the tunnel), with just the barest gloaming of evening light remaining.


Here is a church, and this is the steeple ...

A few from my global fan-base have said, "Gee, it's awfully dark." Yes, I know. Couple of things: i) it was very dark, and I liked how that looked, realizing that anyone who wasn't there won't have that association; ii) the sky seems richer, to me, like this, and (without doing exotic editing, although I could) that leaves the towers mostly silhouetted. Also, digital device screen calibration is a tough one; I happen to know that this looks very different on different monitors. Try brightening your screen.


(Try darkening it.)


Now, my pandemic-era photography-pattern has been to glance out the window at about 4:00 a.m.—don't ask—and if the light is right, drive down to the St. Lawrence River to catch the sunrise, which at its earliest occurs here around 5:15. I like to be on station about 45 minutes before then, because within minutes there will be enough light to work, and I feel the possibility of magic happening.


(The first coffee, back at the studio, sometimes at the late hour of 6:00, is transporting.)


Plus it's quiet - essentially no people and very little traffic.


Dawn. Often by five minutes after sunrise I'm packing up and heading home. This is my light.

Note the gull, easily removable in editing, but I left it.


However, I knew that I risked getting in a rut, and although always finding new challenges, and no two dawns ever being quite the same, I've been on the lookout for other appealing subjects. Enter the textures and irregular angles of the Rural Barn.


Barn in rain

This was nearby, middle-of-day, during a light rain (and the wet brings out colour in a way not possible with mid-day full sun). I made three trips to get it the way I wanted.


But when doing some recent work a bit further afield, I had seen some outbuildings, far off the highway, and intended to return to them sometime at dawn or dusk. When I did so, they didn't feel as alluring as I had remembered, but ...


... something else did: another old barn.


Old barn, fog, dawn

I could not have ordered up the evocative fog, rolling in off the fields.


"The Old Barn" has been an artist's topic since the beginning of topics, so I hope to have added something worthy to the amassed oeuvre.




And I think I'll stop there.


Prints available. Check out other photographic services.


Thanks so much for reading.


Charles T. Low

Photographer

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