Monday, June 15, 2009

Water Study: Time Provides Perspective

This image and a color one to come, were both taken over one year ago near our home in the southern California mountain community of Idyllwild. I made about 40 exposures over the course of several hours, working on the waterfall flowing out of a small local lake. (Hard to call it a "waterfall" compared to one like this, but they can't all be epic:) The whole session has been languishing in my "digital negative cabinet" since then. I had looked through the exposures several times and played briefly with a few, but just had it in my mind that there was nothing really worth developing from this session. Something about the quality of light or color of the rocks just wasn't sitting right with me at the time.
As I've talked about before, it very often pays off to go back and rework things after some time has passed.. shots that you think great in the excitement of reviewing them while brand new, can be evaluated more honestly after the attachment we feel to them has faded. Even better, as in this case, you may find something very worthy that you completely overlooked. Just consider that whatever skill level you are currently at, your eye and technique are constantly changing and developing.

13 comments:

Amy Lilley Designs said...

That's a really good point:

'Just consider that whatever skill level you are currently at, your eye and technique are constantly changing and developing.'

Last summer someone said to me, I think you have gotten better (w/ the photography), and she was right...also very observant. We can be hard on ourselves...but, growth is inevitable if we stick w/ it...beautiful, peaceful photo Mark.

betchai said...

despite this may be hard to call a waterfall if compared to the Rainbow Falls, but this picture has its own unique beauty too. I study my shots too comparing the results with different exposures, but I believe I have not really studied them extensively, that until now I still struggle with waterfall photo. Now, learning you did 40 exposures over several hours without at first considering any photo worth processing, I know why I struggle a lot with waterfalls :)

roentarre said...

Mark, you are so right about photography. Even with current digital SLR technology ridding off most of exposure difficulty with film saturation, the skill of composition and proper timing of the long exposure are still art to master.

Based on personal taste, the exposure on water flow is the toughest. A lot of friends told me that the blurr shall be silky grey with "motion" in it. Not too fast and not too slow. Hard to master with varied lighting condition for a photographer. The biggest headache is always the leaves shadow in the water that make things even tougher. Talking about nature...

donnie said...

lovely capture - i think gentle water flow in dull light works best rather than a dazzling cascade in sunlight

Mook said...

Like this one sir, almost Scottish looking and the less EPIC the harder to capture I think... requiring more intricate work so excellent!!

Andy Richards said...

I love water, Mark -- especially moving water. I love to work with it and agree that because it is constantly moving, it is virtually impossible to "capture" it without each "capture" being unique!

Mark Alan Meader said...

Hi Amy.. thanks! Growth and change are indeed inevitable, but can be faster and better if we put aside a little time to step back and consider honestly where we are and where we want to go with our work. That could be any artist's greatest challenge, which is why I keep coming back to the subject.

Mark Alan Meader said...

betchai: Yeah.. when time and conditions permit, I sometimes spend a lot of time at one spot and really explore it from all angles and in different light, if possible. Of course, it all depends on your goal.. documenting a scene is not the same as trying to "get inside" it and find something deeper and with more universal appeal.

Mark Alan Meader said...

James & Donnie; I guess the bottom line is that moving water rarely looks good in freeze frame, right? (Although I find nice ocean waves can be an exception to that.) The lighting conditions certainly do affect your technique.. as Donnie says, low mellow light works much better than bright mid-day light... very tough. Last year I spent a lot of energy hiking several miles to a great falls in the Sierras, but it was mid-day with clear blue sky and nothing I could think of got me anything usable from that particular adventure:(

Mark Alan Meader said...

Mook: Cheers and good to hear from you.. how's the new gear hunt going?? Did the NY guys come through with the cash yet?

Mook said...

Hi Mark nearly there contracts have been sent, all that remains are for them to be signed (hopefully)nothing is sure until the ink is dry!

re new gear I was tempted by the Nikon D300 but am really drawn to the new Pentax K-7 all my old lenses will fit :) cheers!

Lynda Lehmann said...

Looks beautiful to me, Mark!

I'm late in getting around, mired in construction work and barely able to post.

Hope all is well in your world.

How do you like fotolia?

JaviZ said...

Love this and every work you posted, that's why I'm your newest follower! :)
I love waterfalls, even at this "humble size", specially if the photographer works hard on it (as you did) experimenting, looking for different angles, exposure times, etc.
In this particulare case I have a (somewhat) similar photo, if you want you can follow This link to see it.