Now that I’m working in downtown Greensboro, I’ve started taking the opportunity to walk around the Elm Street area before work, during lunch or after work. I expect this to be similar to my explorations of Winston-Salem the past several years. When you make your living outside of photography, you have to “shoot where you are”. Fortunately, the area is rich with photographic opportunities! So here’s the first in a series featuring mostly the downtown Elm Street area.
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I found some cool compositions in this abandoned scrapyard near downtown Albermarle, North Carolina. After squeezing myself, and equipment, through a narrow opening in the building (3rd image below), dozens of mosquitoes descended on me in an instant. I had to get my shots and get out quick!
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I need your help in picking the best composition below, horizontal or vertical. These were captured early morning at a local park. The horizontal image is were I’m leaning; it feels more balanced. I also like the contrasting tonality between the two structures.
The vertical image better isolates the interesting side lighting on the stairs and railing. Which do you like the best?
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The notion of “portals”, suggested by this composition, opens up a vast body of thought and science, particularly around the intersections of religion, philosophy and physics. How do we perceive what exists beyond our conventional notion of 3 dimensions? The ideas around this question are substantial. But here’s a quick summary of what I found along with some thoughts from my study on the subject.
In Hinduism, all matter is an illusion know as Maya, where our narrow perception of physical and mental reality blinds us from knowing the “one truth”. Conversely, Brahman as a metaphysical concept, is the single binding unity behind the diversity in all that exists in the universe. Maya is destroyed when we perceive Brahman with transcendental knowledge.
In philosophy, there is the dualist view of “mind separate from matter” (i.e. Descartes), and the monism view of a singleness to everything. While proponents of materialism and physicalism debate the metaphysic questions of “ultimately, what is there?” and “what is it like”, the science of theoretical physics seeks to describe a scientific understanding of our universe.
Einstein’s theory of general relativity and the 20 century evolution of quantum mechanics has led to a compelling, but sometimes contradictory view of the universe. At a string theory conference in 1995 M-theory immerged as the unifying “Theory of Everything” (ToE); its simplicity and mathematically elegant formula could fit on a t-shirt. An intriguing component of string theory is the existence of a multi-dimensional universe.
To me, experiencing art is a more monist perception of the type of artistic medium and its inherent physical attributes, along with the conscious attributes of feeling and interpretive understanding. For example, my composition above as seen in an art gallery, the viewer could perceive the physical aspects of the framed work along with physical aspects of the photographic subject – the stone textures, shapes, lighting and depth. Hopefully, they would also perceive possibilities of what the implied space means, and the associated feelings. Does the shadow imply the existence of a person within the space at a particular point in time?
I like the view of Max Planck, the father of quantum theory. He said, “There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.”
This composition has been on my to-do list for quite a while. I find it an interesting architectural abstract and street scene. There is actually a 5th bridge which is hidden behind the two far bridges in the lower left. Perhaps I should change the title to 5 Bridges on 5th Street Scene.
In United States, today’s holiday reminds us of our obligation to remember the countless men and women who died to protect their fellow man and maintain our precious democratic freedoms. Democracy is not easy, it requires compromise! The recent mood of absolutism, and rejection of government/public institutions dishonors those who have sacrificed so much to protect them.
A year ago, my family visited the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. This is my fourth post from that visit. Such a beautiful place! The first image features the Grand Staircase. The weight of the exterior staircase wall creates a cantilever force which supports the weight of the large granite steps. I used a “glow” filter in Filter Forge to add a subtle glow effect to the highlights.
The next four images feature the Biltmore Conservatory. Part of the Biltmore’s Walled Garden, the Conservatory was designed by the Biltmore House architect Richard Morris Hunt. It was built to provide flowers, plants and shrubs for the house and surrounding gardens.
I captured this young fella on the playground at the Biltmore Winery and Farm Village. Is he focused on balancing himself, or is he intrigued by his shadow?
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When I first noticed this scene, I was intrigued.There was something interesting, but I couldn’t quite clarify what I was reacting to.So I composed a few shots based on what I thought I saw.Maybe it was the flowing branches contrasting against rigid brick wall.
A few days later, towards the end of my typical b&w workflow, the composition began to reveal itself.For me, I now understand the beauty experienced from this composition comes from the way it makes me feel.Sure, there may be some cool textures, patterns, shadows and contrasting abstract elements.But these individual elements all seem to combine to create a unique alternative experience, greater than the sum of the parts. Click on the image to see a high-res version from my portfolio site and see if you have a similar reaction. View full screen on a desktop monitor to get the best experience.
Of course, I could just be full of crap. Perhaps I’m too close to the work.
I’m gonna go with what I feel, and then what I see.And I do feel a strong engagement with this composition.Especially when I don’t try to analyze, but instead just “experience” what it has to offer. How does it specifically make me feel? Intrigued, but more than before. What’s more important, is “how does it make you feel?’