Blinded By Formality

This image was originally tucked away in a folder, because when I was editing it, I was attempting to recreate the same levels of contrast and darkness as other photographs I was working on. At the time, I was very much looking for a certain criteria, and as a result, I didn’t see the qualities in this image. When I came back to this one weeks later, the calming, understated nature of this beach scene really appealed to me. I wonder how many other good photographs I pushed aside because they didn’t look like I thought they should at the time. Anyone else find a gem after they first dismissed it? Let me know! Thanks for stopping by. –Shawn K. Pagels11887949_1152661301414806_3576335558865739618_n

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Square Root

Square RootWeb

Down To The Ground

As with most things in life, changing your perspective can make all the difference. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, as the proverbial advice suggests, broadens our understanding of the world around us. In photography, changing perspective is a powerful tool we can rely on to strengthen our artistic muscles.

After years of shooting pictures and art making, I still sometimes find myself walking around expecting pictures to make their way into my lens at my convenient, eye level, legs straight, non-tripod mounted,  lazy way of shooting pictures. Many times, simply pointing and shooting will suffice. Often times, you have no choice in the matter. You have to shoot when something presents itself. What I am referring to are those moments when the subject matter is fantastic, but for some reason you can not capture it’s essence. Those spectacular round river rock are white flecked, the water is hitting them midway, and you know it’s a lovely sight, but your pictures are dull and uninspiring. Or, there’s is a wonderful repetition in the way some boulders are placed in a pond, but for some reason the pictures you take are boring. My advice? Get down low.

Shooting from a lower perspective adds overlap , an important visual cue, to more elements in your photograph that you wouldn’t get otherwise. It also gives your images drama by placing more objects in the foreground, strengthening the depth of the image. It also allows for more compositional possibilities, and for me this really gets my creative juices flowing. Suddenly, I tiny leaf becomes a focal point and a major compositional anchor. A tiny piece of root directs the eye towards the focal point. A leafy twig springs up in the foreground providing a strong sense of space in your photograph.

Here are some examples of how I positioned my camera real low, sometimes a few inches, to the ground in order to capture the essence of my environment. Thanks for reading and keep in touch!

SpookyTree

 

peeka BooWeb

 

Hidden Treasures

I came across this shot I took at Clark’s Point last year. I never published it or had it printed because there was always something I didn’t like about it. Today I made it a square format picture, converted it to black and white, did a little dodge and burning, and I am pleased! I am currently working on an online shop to sell some of my photographs…and I think this one wil be included. Thanks for stopping by, happy shooting! -Shawn Pagels (artSEEguy)

Spooky Rockweb

 

Oregon Dreaming

One of my favorite places to vacation is the Oregon Coast. Since the coast of Oregon is entirely park, there are a lot of great spots to visit and explore, and for artists, there is an endless amount of inspiration. I found this shot on file from the summer of 2013. A silvery kind of picture with lots of mid-tones, this misty shot is one of the reasons I love the coast so much. Depth can be conveyed so easily. You can really bring something out in your foreground when just 50 fifty feet away, objects become slightly obscured by the atmospheric conditions of places like this.

OregonCoast

Thanks for stopping by,

Shawn Pagels

(artSEEguy)

Taken at a pumpkin patch west of Mt. Vernon Washington.

Pizza, Pumpkins, and Pagels

On one of the most beautiful October days in memory, my family and I made our way down to Gordon Skagit Farms. They had everything you would want in a pumpkin patch. They had a corn maze, fresh apple cider, plenty of pre-picked gourds in all shapes and sizes, and of course a great big field of pumpkins. I was originally hoping for a nice overcast day to capture the color of the fields, but It was so gorgeous I really didn’t mind.

Taken at a pumpkin patch  west of Mt. Vernon Washington.

Taken at a pumpkin patch west of Mt. Vernon Washington.

Couldn’t resist this colorful still-life.

OctoberBounty

..and as always, some black and white conversions (see older post for tutorial)

Patch2

…and one more:

Plenty

Thanks for stopping by,

Shawn Pagels

(ArtSEEguy)

Changing perspective

Last Friday, I had a small window of time to get out to one of my favorite lakeside beaches before the sun went completely down. Desperately setting up my tripod and attaching lenses, I managed to get a few shots before the sky became completely dark. Out of a dozen pictures I shot, These two are the strongest, and as I was sharpening them in photoshop, I realized the driftwood in both pictures are the same. When pressured by time and the weather I simply look through my view finder and find the best picture possible and am not concerned with using the same objects in multiple pictures. In fact, this is a great lesson in self editing and honing your objective eye.

Putting It Out There:

DSC_0472 DSC_0473WEB

If you fall in love with something you are photographing, remember; the subject doesn’t hold the image together. Find a way to make your pictures really work by trying different angles, placement of the object, exposure settings, and all those other tricks you’ve been learning on your photography journey.

Please contact me with questions, and don’t forget to follow me to get more photographic tips and inspiration.

Happy Shooting!

Shawn Pagels

(artSEEguy)

River Ghost

Here is a photograph I took near Maple Falls, Washington. There is something about large birds I find compelling and mysterious. After getting about knee deep in smelly river mud, I was able to get just close enough to frame this shot.

heronburn_by_starbirdsky-d75oe4v

Thanks for stopping by.

Happy Shooting!

Shawn Pagels

(artSEEguy)

Time to Rock!

No tutorial today, but please enjoy a few rock photographs!

CRACK!:

crack__by_starbirdsky-d6j6v90

Left Overs:

left_overs_by_starbirdsky-d76cfos

Rock Hut:

rock_hut_by_starbirdsky-d6ifz62

Sand Castles:

sand_castles_by_starbirdsky-d6j6wih

Happy Shooting!

Shawn Pagels

(artSEEguy)

It’s All A Fog

Use fog and misty conditions to create photos with depth and moodiness. In understanding that objects closer to the camera will be darker, tonality, or darkness and lightness, can be exploited to make highly expressive photographs.

Sea mist aided in the creation of space in this black and white coastal shot.

mistysquare_by_starbirdsky-d6j5z04

In this cliff side photograph, the fog helps define the form of the rock walls and directs the eye to the closer, more detailed surfaces..

around_clark_s_point_by_starbirdsky-d6lscqb

In this minimalist photograph, the foggy conditions were crucial in separating out the few elements that were in the composition. This was an exercise in the less-is-more approach to picture making.

silver_spirit_by_starbirdsky-d6mhty6

For the most part, fog and misty conditions are a photographers friend. Remember to take a tripod along for those darker days. Let those hazy conditions prime your imagination!

As always, contact me with questions, pointers, article requests, or just to say ,”You’re awesome!”

Happy Shooting!

Shawn Pagels

(artSEEguy)

 

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