Yesterday Niki took me on a walk along the upper part of the San Antonio River, and we were dismayed to find that the river has dried up. Gone underground; closer to the spring where it originates. Only a dry creek bed where water flowed in June. We were, however, rewarded by the brilliant orange of the Cypress trees. As I poked my camera up through the branches to get a better angle, I started to think about color balance and the optical mix of complements - when one complement must dominate the other in proportion, so that the composition works. I think in this image the bits of blue provide just the right amount of complement to the orange. Imagine how less brilliant - and how different - the image would be, if the background wasn't in such high contrast to the branches.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
December 2, 2008
Less than a month into this practice, and I am challenged. There are mornings when a photo doesn't appeal to me. Or I don't know what I think about it yet. Why it draws me, or doesn't. As with any practice, I recognize the importance of just doing it, as cliche'd as that phrase has become. Anything worth doing is worth sticking with? So sometimes there is a photo, but no text. No thought yet. The image needs thinking.
November 20, 2008
How does color set a mood? The soft gray and white of the carpet, the cat Marshall, and the sunlit window contribute to to the sense of calm repose. What does blue mean to you or me? We all have symbolic associations for colors; some based on personal experience and some instilled culturally.
The cobalt blue of the vase provides a point and counterpoint to the composition, in addition to providing elements that balance.
Keeping the cat in the lower third of the composition weights the image and is another visual door into the picture world.
November 19, 2008
This picture tells several stories. It references the human desire to order the world around us - the lettering on the wall establishes the alley as a No Parking zone, and the broken glass- jutting out at the top - is another message of fear and frailty. Whoever lives behind this wall wants to be left alone.
But there is beauty in the contrast of the rough brick surface and the smooth translucency of the broken glass bottles. A contrast of textures makes for an interesting composition. And the abstract nature of the printed letters against the structure of the bricks would be worth emulating in another sort of composition.
There is as much beauty in decay as there is in a bouquet of fresh flowers. And aren't decay and fresh growth just two different spots on the same continuum?
November 18, 2008
The Hydrangeas offer a lesson in the effective use of color. The pale blue and lavender are roughly the same value, so they balance each other beautifully. I am challenged to mimic that combination of analogous colors on silk Habotai!
This photograph would be considered beautiful even without the red-orange and yellow flowers at the bottom. But the addition of the complements to the blue and purple creates a focal point and generates some nice contrast because of the complementary pairing. And imagine how different this composition would be, were the red-orange and yellow at the top instead of at the bottom. The current placement adds important visual weight.
November 16, 2008
We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.
We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.
We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the space inside
that holds whatever we want.
We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.
Tao te Ching; Verse 11
Stephen Mitchell translation