Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Guardian by the J.O.B.

Ryan Guardian

I am very honored by a recent invitation to continue artistic collaboration with The Jim O’Ferrell Band.  Lead guitarist Jason Crawford recently sent lyrics to the upcoming single Guardian – and once again swore me to secrecy.

The lyrics convey the image of an ever vigilant entity, a guardian angel, a superhero-like presence.  From a photographic perspective, this is a fun place to start.

Ghost Buildings

The two photos are a couple of the concepts I sent to Jason.  As always, I am excited about the artistic collaboration and am already enjoying the process.  The second single I will be working on is “Feel.”  Again, the lyrics invoke some fantastic imagery of light and shadow.

Stand by for more reports on this project and my work on “Feel.”

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Plan B 3.0

Plan B-1

Today is Thanksgiving - I  hope you all have a wonderful day and have the opportunity to spend it with your family as I am.  I chose the photograph for today because of the juxtaposition of our national day of turkey indulgence to this fellow engaged in a hunger strike to end carbon emissions in 2012 (or so his sign says).

I took this shot moments before sunrise as I was walking to the Occupy DC camp at McPherson Square.  It was the day after Halloween which accounts for the interesting lighting on the Whitehouse.  The West entrance and drive was decorated for Halloween with webs and other scary stuff along with the lighting which cast spooky shadows on the Whitehouse.

If the first shot is a Thanksgiving photograph, the next version is more aligned with the Halloween motif.  After processing in color, I decided to try another version in B/W to set a darker mood.

Plan B BW

If you happen to be meandering around the Whitehouse today, hand this guy a turkey leg or some leftover Halloween candy.  You can also let him know that while dramatically limiting carbon emissions is a good idea, it is not likely to happen in 2012 – so have some turkey.

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Lincoln Memorial – One Up, One Down

Up and Down at the Lincoln Memorial

Living in Washington DC, I am often challenged with photographing and processing subjects I have seen thousands of times.  Frequently I find myself asking how can I make something new and interesting of a subject I have shot hundreds of times.  In the case of this photograph, I was wandering around DC on a foggy morning and had no intention of shooting the Lincoln Memorial.

As I was walking to another location I wanted to shoot, I looked over and saw these two men – one walking up the steps and the other coming down.  This interested me for two reasons; 1) rarely is the Lincoln Memorial so devoid of visitors, and 2) the juxtaposition of one man going up and another coming down.

I cropped the photo to this panoramic composition to further accentuate the two subjects in front of the memorial.  I am a firm believer in cropping to suit your vision – don’t be afraid to crop, and don’t feel constraints of “standard” sizes.

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Barn in the Morning Fog–Southern Maryland

Barn the Mist-Edit

This photograph of a lonely barn in the morning fog blanketing Southern Maryland is a result of my mantra to always have my camera at hand.  I was off to play golf one weekend, and passed by this barn.  Thanks to anti-lock brakes, I quickly came to a stop without the drama of screeching tires.

The processing for this photo started with a three shot HDR and a round trip to Photomatix Pro.  I processed the photo in color, then sent it off to Silver Efex Efex Pro 2 for the black and white conversion.  This approach let me shoot directly into the sun while holding detail in the shadows (such as the shade side of the barn), and bring definition to the clouds, fog, and field.

The two lessons from this shot are 1) keep your camera with you if at all possible, and 2) don’t be afraid to combine post processing techniques to get the result you are looking for.

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Washington Monument in the Fog

Washington Monument in the Fog

It has been over a week since my last post.  My apologies.  I was working hard on finishing my eBook, Craig’s Grape Adventure – Loving Life with a Skillet and a Corkscrew.  I made the deadline, and the launch of the book exceeded my expectations.  With Christmas on the horizon, the book makes a great gift for the chefs and wine fans in your circle of friends.

With the book kicked out of the nest, I am ready to get back on my routine of photography adventures.  Today’s photo of the Washington Monument in the fog combines my attraction to minimalism with fog – two things that go hand in hand.

While mucking around DC in the fog, I also stopped by the Occupy DC camp.  I will be sharing some photos from the McPherson Square tent city later this week.

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Couple More Photographs of the U.S. Air Force Memorial

US Air Force Memorial Diptych

In my last post, “The U.S. Air Force Memorial–Can it be Made Interesting Through Photography?” I wrote about some common criticisms I hear about it.  In an attempt to moderate these criticisms I posted several photographs in the hope of bringing out some of the beauty of this memorial.

I am sharing a couple of photos in this post that did not quite fit with the first.  The title photograph is a diptych comprising two of the memorial spires.  Quite different than the previously shared photos, I thought to present this separately.

The next photograph also differs due to maintaining the color in post processing.

US Air Force Memorial

Have fun and go make some great photography.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The U.S. Air Force Memorial–Can it be Made Interesting Through Photography?

US Air Force Memorial-1

Among my friends, including many who are active duty or retired Air Force Officers, I rarely hear compliments for the U.S. Air Force Memorial located in Arlington Virginia overlooking the Pentagon.  On the contrary, I hear statements such as “too big,” “inappropriate location,” “inconsistent with other memorials,” and of course, “what a piece of post modernist crap.”

Personally, I am indifferent.  However, the one comment that draws my attention in small part is that of consistency with other military branch memorials.  Most people are familiar with the Iwo Jima Memorial, also known as the U. S. Marine Corps War Memorial.  This memorial honors the Marines who have died defending the United States since 1775. The Iwo Jima Memorial is located near Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC.

Maybe less familiar is the Navy Memorial located in Washington on Pennsylvanian Avenue NW between 7th and 9th streets.  According to the Navy Memorial website, “The United States Navy Memorial is home to the Memorial Plaza, which features Stanley Bleifeld's famous statue, The Lone Sailor. The Lone Sailor, a tribute to all personnel of the sea services, overlooks the Granite Sea, an exact replication of the world's oceans. Surrounding the Granite Sea are two fountain pools, honoring the personnel of the American Navy and the other navies of the world. The southern hemisphere of the Granite Sea is surrounded by 26 bronze bas-reliefs commemorating events, personnel, and communities of the various sea services.”

US Air Force Memorial-2-2

The Army is more complicated.  Apparently if the Army wanted you to know where the Army Memorial stands, they would have put it in one of their manuals.  The fact of the matter is that there is no single memorial celebrating the Army as a whole.  There are not one but two Army memorials near the White House. One depicts a winged figure of Victory and was dedicated in 1924 at 17th Street and State Place NW. The other is a gilded flaming sword erected on the Ellipse in 1936.

These monuments memorialize the exploits and soldiers of specific Army divisions: Victory honors the 1st Division, the sword the 2nd. Neither celebrates the Army as a whole, nor do any of the scores of other monuments at battlefields and Army posts across the country, which honor individual units or divisions.

Finally, we come to my proud service, The U.S. Coast Guard.  Similar to the Army, the U.S. Coast Guard does not have a single memorial celebrating the U.S. Coast Guard as a whole in the Washington DC area.  Rather, the U.S. Coast Guard is memorialized by smaller monuments, plazas, plaques and the like dispersed around the country and the world.  Included among these is a 36 x 32 relief at the Navy Memorial…thanks for the nod.  Like the Army, many of these memorials remember specific acts of heroism, historic events, or tragedies associated with a specific ship, aircraft, unit, or person.

US Air Force Memorial-3

Contrasting each of the service monuments to the U.S. Air Force memorial, those who taking the position of inconsistency may have a point.  I will leave the judgment to you.  For now, lets return to the starting point of this discussion.  If you are one of those in the camp who believe the U.S. Air Force memorial is a “post modern piece of crap,” I have included a series of photos here that will hopefully moderate your assessment.  Once again, I have to leave that to your judgment.  Stay tuned, I have a couple more to share later this week.

Have fun and go make some great photography.