PINK LADY II (THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY)
Oil on Panel / 6 x 6 inches / ©John Farnsworth
Here’s the opposing view I promised you yesterday. This time the backlight is from the kitchen window, and the lesser reflection on the near side of the apple is from the kitchen door, probably divided in two by my standing between the door and the apple. Well, that was fun. And they make a nice pear, er pair hanging together. Or maybe they should be hung facing each other on opposite sides of a room.
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EL PRADO EVENING
Now here’s an image that should never have been. According to most experts, anyway. But I like taking photographs when I should know better. Fact is, I do know better. But I shoot anyway. And usually I get nothing. Sometimes, though, I get something I really like. Something I wish I could have done deliberately. Who knows? Maybe it was more deliberate than my conscious self knows. At any rate, I like this image. I know. It’s not “tack sharp”, it’s extremely grainy, a bit motion blurred, especially in the upper left. It’s not even exactly as shot, though it isn’t heavily Photoshopped, either. Just a tiny trim off the right side to eliminate a jarring bit of neon, and some of the roadway to keep the proportions the way I wanted.
Remember dodging and burning from the time of film? I did a slight burn of a couple of “eye traps” caused by bright cloud surrounded by dark, dark foliage. Actually, I didn’t use Photoshop at all. Only ACDSee Pro 5, which is often all I use. That’s not a plug, just a fact.
The cross did happen to fall right about in line with the rule of thirds; that should keep the experts happy, for a while, at least. But what is that annoying little orange light to the right of the church? I prefer to think of it as that intriguing little orange light. Is it a reflection? Firelight? A light in a window? What do you think it is? Is it a distraction? Or is it something that gets the eye moving; off the cross, across the road, up into the trees, the clouds, into the dark and along the faint line of the top of the fence that takes us back to the church?
I know. I shouldn’t have taken this shot. I was using an iPhone, it was too dark, I had no manual control of shutter or aperture, no DSLR, no changeable lens. It was too dark. I was driving. It was too dark. What on earth was I doing with my camera out after the “golden hour”? It was too dark. But I did have it out, and I saw something coming up and I responded by holding my breath for an instant, then clicking the shutter at what I hoped was just the right moment. And it was. I got lucky. I didn’t get a great, or even a good photograph. But I got a picture, an image, that I can look at and enjoy for a long, long time. An instant captured. I can accept that.
Oh, by the way, if you click on it you’ll see a larger version, complete with all that no-no grain.
A couple more thoughts…
One other reason I shoot when I shouldn’t. I get images that are like sketches. They give me just enough information to suggest a painting. A hint. A starting point. Too good, too much information, and, like this image, they don’t need to be painted. They’re good just the way they are.
And a word about composition. I don’t believe in it. Not the way it’s usually taught. Rules are good. Especially when you know them well enough to break them to good effect. But rules in composition I think are deadening. A crutch. They lead to monotonous repetition. Rule of thirds. Bah, humbug. Where’s the emotion, the thrill, the excitement in placing the subject on a grid? Shoot the damn thing. Then make a composition that works, that serves the subject, not the other way around, by trimming, adjusting. Making a photograph, not just taking a photograph. Making art, not mere “tack sharp” replication.
Or let me put it this way. Make an image that looks, that feels right. That is right. Then, if you need to, I promise, you can find a rule that will fit. That’s much better than trying to force the image that’s in your mind, your heart, to fit some arbitrary rule.
OK, that’s what I think. What do you think?