In the Land of Light and Shadow
In this episode I'm headed to the Oregon Dunes for some landscape photography, playing with light and shadow, in color and black and white, come along for the ride. youtu.be/Td5NrE7vxn4
Click below to view the images in this latest Riding The Edge video.
Bringing the color back to Riding The Edge
I don’t regret shooting just black and white for the last couple years, in fact it’s quite the opposite, I credit that deep dive into monochrome, to saving photography for me, for reigniting the passion I had in the beginning and exploring new ways to making art with a camera. It was that black and white journey that reintroduced film to my craft along with learning how to better utilize digital for making better black and white images. It may seem a bit extreme to limit one’s artistic choices so much, I just couldn’t see wasting my time doing photography I wasn’t that passionate about. It’s clear now that the limitations helped make better defined photographs, not trying to get a photo of everything helped me find what was most important to my vision.If you’ve been to my Riding The Edge website, YouTube channel or Instagram, you might have noticed something has changed. If you’re not familiar with the photography I do, to catch you up, I’ve been working in black and white exclusively for landscape and nature photography for the last couple years. That’s right, what you may have noticed is I’m bringing the color back to Riding The Edge.
What does that mean?
Before I go any farther let me just say I’m not abandoning black and white photography, no that’s still my passion, I’m just at a place where I feel I can do both.
How did I get to this point and why was I only working in black and white for the last couple years for all of my personal photography projects?
To answer these questions, I need to rewind to when I made the decision to focus on black and white. At the start of this sabbatical from color photography, the memories of working in photojournalism for 25 years was still fresh in my head, my association with color photography was seared into my brain by thousands of assignments, doing documentary photography in color day in and day out. I had a hard time seeing the artistry in my color photography and at that point it was the art of photography that I wanted in my work. I wanted desperately to see myself as an artist, something I felt a quarter of a century in journalism had all but ground out of me. I saw black and white as art, it was easy to wrap my head around that making black and white images felt like I was making art, like I did many years ago when starting my photographic journey. I state in the intro of many of my YouTube videos, “In the beginning I wanted to make art, I wanted to be a landscape photographer, but with bills to pay and a family to feed, I thought it would be better to be a working photographer than a starving artist, so I took a job as a photojournalist, 25 years and thousands of assignments later, it was time for me to get back to making art.”
I don’t regret shooting just black and white for the last couple years, in fact it’s quite the opposite, I credit that deep dive into monochrome, to saving photography for me, for reigniting the passion I had in the beginning and exploring new ways to making art with a camera. It was that black and white journey that reintroduced film to my craft along with learning how to better utilize digital for making better black and white images. It may seem a bit extreme to limit one’s artistic choices so much, I just couldn’t see wasting my time doing photography I wasn’t that passionate about. It’s clear now that the limitations helped make better defined photographs, not trying to get a photo of everything helped me find what was most important to my vision.
What’s different now? One thing I’ve learned as I get a few years on me, is to never say never, I new there could come a day when I might be excited by the thought of making color images, a day I could see the reason and the art in my color photography and that day came rather un ceremoniously not long ago
It all started with a comment left on one of my old YouTube videos by a subscriber to my channel who goes by Old Film Guy, I know him as Robert. Robert’s comment was simple and straight to the point, he said, “These are some stunning images! Color definitely has its place!!“ The video was a pretty old one, I couldn’t even remember what was in the video so I gave it a watch. My initial thought was, yes, color does have its place, in fact I rather liked the images that I used in the video. I thought on it for awhile then went to bed, in the morning while having a cup of coffee with my wife I told her I’m going to be doing color photography again, and that was that, no finish line to cross, no celebration, just quietly turning the page to a new chapter.
I really like some of the photos I’ve made over the last couple years. What could have possibly change my mind? I’ve come to the conclusion, enough time has past since a career in journalism, that I can now see the art in my color photography, it’s really as simple as that, I can see the art in my color photography.
I look forward to a less restrictive approach to making images, I still love black and white but now the color option will be on my pallet as well, as Old Film Guy said, “Color definitely has its place!!“.
Goblins Awake - The Goblins of Goblin Valley, Utah, rise from their slumber as the sun sets on the horizon. Photographing the hoodoos at Goblin Valley as silhouettes is an effective way to let the mind create a story, it’s a simple technique that can have a lot of impact, sometimes less is really more.
Camera - Nikon D5200
Lens - Tokina 12-24 @12mm
ISO 100, f/7.1, @ 1/250 second
Deconstructing a Photograph is a new blog series on this Riding The Edge Photography website. In this series, I will be breaking down how the image was made, information like what camera gear used, the camera settings and why I think this photograph works. Check back for more installments and if you find this content interesting then let me know so I can get some feedback to what people find useful.
In this first installment of Deconstructing a Photograph we're looking at an image made during some high winds in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. I think the strong panorama crop works well to show whats most important to this image, the power of the wind. I like how the poles are partially visible through the dust, being picked up by the wind, giving the sense of how powerful the wind can be, its nature verses man. The pastel color pallet seems to also work well in conveying the hot, dry summer climate in the Willamette Valley. The depth of field is fairly shallow in this image, which helps move the eye past the slightly soft grass in the foreground to the most important sharp middle third of the frame and the use of three power poles helps to make a strong composition.
Camera - Nikon D4s
Lens - Nikon 70-200mm 2.8 AF-S @ 200mm
Shutter Priority, 1/500 second, ISO 100, @ f/6.3
Welcome to the Riding The Edge Blog, here you will find posts from landscape/nature photographer David Patton, on photography topics and the latest news from Riding The Edge Photography.
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