Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Noise is Not Evil–More Examples

Abu Dhabi Bike-1

In my last post “Noise is Not Evil” I made the case that noise can be used as an important artistic element of your photography and is not the evil scourge many seem to believe.  My view is in contrast to those in the photography world who appear to be obsessed with the idea that we should only accept what the best of today’s digital cameras are capable of.  In other words, new versions of cameras are increasingly capable of shooting high ISO, low light, and low noise photographs – this group of people believe because we can effectively eliminate noise in many circumstances , we should accept nothing less.  “They” are the people who believe noise is evil.

Pentagon from the Air

I don’t intend on pressing my case here, but thought to provide a few more examples of noisy photographs that work.

waiting at JFK

Today’s shots include a bike on the streets of Abu Dhabi, the Pentagon from the air, a man waiting at JFK, and finally, the beaches in Aqaba Jordan.

Aqaba Beaches

Have fun and go make some great photography.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Noise is Not Evil

Tunnel Curve

There are many people in the photography world that would have you believe that noise in a photograph is and undesired evil.  I disagree.  To put it simply, noise is the digital revolution’s equivalent to film grain.  Why was grain in film considered acceptable, an artistic choice, and even desirable in many cases?  Yet the noise in digital photography is considered a technical flaw?

Psychodelic People Mover

I will concede that noise is not a characteristic one should routinely pursue.  But there are unquestionably times when noise not only fails to distract, but actually offers a desirable artistic element to the photograph.

Waiting for the Bus

Each of the photos I offer here as examples contained noise when shot.  I then leverage the noise through sharpening, increasing contrast, and addition of grain in post processing.  The noise/grain in each of the shots plays a different role, but I believe the noise works well in all.

Aqaba Marina

If you want to consider avoiding noise as one of “the rules” of photography, fine.  And just like any other “rule”{ in photography, it is OK to break the rules as long as you know the rule and break it with intention and purpose.

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


Monday, February 14, 2011

The Beauty of Minimalism–Just a Little More


As a follow-on to my last couple of postings “The Beauty of Minimalism” and “Three Eggs over Minimalism” this article wraps up my minimalism “finds” discovered while finishing up the post processing of 2010 photographs.  Like the photographs in the first article, the these feature simple subjects without distracting elements in the balance of the composition.

Aqaba Clouds

An interesting question to ask with respect to minimalist photography is “what do you experience when you look at the photograph?”  More specifically, what do you experience in contrast to viewing non-minimalist photography?  I find my personal reaction interesting.  Even more so than a “normal” composition, with minimalist photographs I find myself completely drawn into the scene.  I wonder what the artist saw.  I search the details of what little there is to discern.  I wonder why the composition works.  In other words, minimalist compositions raise a bunch of questions…which draw me into the work to a much deeper level.

Bill Landing

Finally, I find the minimalist approach refreshing after viewing so many photographs that are overflowing with activity, textures, color, and general distractions.  If you have read any of my past articles on choosing black and white over color, you will see a trend – for me, many times color means distraction from my predisposition to simplicity.


So here is my challenge to you.  Go shoot something simple.  Then enjoy it.

Have fun, and go make some grate photography.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Three Eggs Over Minimalism

Three Eggs

I am on a bit of a minimalist roll lately and decided not to fight it.  Yesterday I was walking through my living room and saw this wonderful light coming in through the window.  I’m not sure how the mind works and makes a connection between natural light through a window and eggs, but it did.

Three Eggs-1

I’m guessing that my mind was already in minimalist mode – and what could be more minimalist than white eggs on a white background?  The beautiful thing about white on white is that it is the perfect archetype for a common saying amongst photographers – “it’s all about the light.”  With white on white, the light is the star of the show.  You are presented with light and shadow – nothing else.

Three Eggs-2

The setup for these shots could not have been more simple.  I rolled a cart in front of the window, placed the eggs on a piece of standard copier paper with a book propping the back side of the paper to form a continuous ground and background piece, and attached my 70-200 f/2.8L.  The shots were taken at ISO 100, f/2.8 and a shutter speed in the area of 1/2500.

Three Eggs-3

So the next time you are bored, or want to play around with light as a single element, go photograph some eggs.  The simple light and shadows can be remarkably beautiful.

Finally, I wish to invite all of you to visit my new blog – Craig’s Grape Adventure – featuring discussions of food and wine pairings along with food photography.  I think you will find it both fun and useful.

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Beauty of Minimalism

Circling the Sun-1
Some of the most visited articles I have posted are those featuring descriptions and examples of a minimalist approach to photographic composition.  I won’t list all the articles here, but if you search on minimalism in the handy search bar at the top left corner, you will find them quickly.
Fishing in the Grand River
In addition to responding to your “voting by visits,” I have a second reason for more minimalism posts – I found more photos that fit the genre.  More precisely, I had a milestone event yesterday when I completed the processing of all 2010 photographs.  While this may not seem a big deal, I completed 2009 in July of 2010.  During my processing of the final photographs for 2010, I found a number of minimalist photographs.
Sky Tow
Each of the photos in this series features the common theme of a simple subject and an uncluttered background.  This form of minimalism uses composition to eliminate or minimize distracting elements thereby giving the subject the opportunity to take the spotlight without competition.
Practice Green
Visit again later this week for another visit with some minimalist photography.
Have fun, and go make some great photography.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Photography Without Commentary

Sometimes, it is better to let the photography speak for itself.

Insect Porno

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Stand by for the Launch of a New Blog

Deerfield winery caves

For those of you who have been keeping up with my latest posts, you know that I recently returned from a trip to California.  My wife and I spent a good part of our visit in Sonoma and Napa Valleys enjoying the spectacular wine, exquisite food, and stunning scenery.  One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.  We participated in a cooking class that featured nine Greek dishes…and of course we were rewarded with the fruits of our labor.

Hills at Deerfield Winery

After the class, we visited the campus store where I found a brilliant spark of inspiration: A book titled “Decanting Napa Valley; The Cookbook.”  As I began to thumb through the book, I became more and more excited.  It features 100 Napa Valley wines each paired with a recipe created expressly for that wine by the best chefs in Napa Valley.

Vines in the Fog

My first thought was “Wow!  I have 100 phenomenal meals to look forward to!”  Later, I had another thought (actually prompted by my daughter) “why not write about it and blend the experience with photography?”  I am very excited about combining two of my passions.  If I could only find a way to add in golf and top it all off with a good cigar and glass of Port – food, wine, golf, photography and a cigar.  It may be possible!

Vineyard Horses

So the bottom line is that I will soon be launching another blog focusing on pairing wine and food.  The new cookbook I bought at CIA Greystone will certainly take center stage (at least for the time it takes me to cook 100 meals and try 100 wines – these wines are generally not inexpensive, so I will not be racing through 100 recipes in 100 days), but I do not intend this to be a rip-off of Julie and Julia.  The cookbook is simply a convenient vehicle for getting started.  I will be writing about the “why’s” of pairing wine with food, discussing recipes and pairings we have encountered or devised, and sharing recipes/pairings you may want to try.

So now I have a favor to ask.  I need some help with devising a name for the blog.  I would be grateful if you would send any suggestions (craig.a.corl@gmail.com), or leave a comment with your suggestion.  I hope you are as excited as I am.  When the new blog goes live, I will let you know.

Have fun, and go make some great photography!