Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cohesive Idea

My cohesive idea for nature photography is about getting close to the ground and photographing what I find there. Sometimes when we are surrounded by beautiful waterfalls or majestic trees, we forget to notice what's beneath our feet. I'm hoping to capture mini landscapes as well as the details of the ground level with these photographs. Some of the photos cover a wider area (such as the snow photos from Presque Isle and Trough Creek) while others are focusing more on the little details (the leaf and the water drop from Frankfort Mineral Springs). I'm also really drawn to focusing on an area somewhere in the middle of the frame, as a way to draw the viewer into the image. I hope that through these images people will take a closer look at the beauty in nature that can be found on the ground. We sometimes to forget to look at the little details beneath our feet.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

McConnells Mill

McConnells Mill State Park is somewhere I've been to a few times, so on this trip I was hoping to explore some unknown areas in the park. I did a little research on the park beforehand and realized there's several waterfalls on various trails. Chris pointed me in the direction of the Kildoo Falls, which was a real treat to stumble upon on our hike. Although I did not get a full shot of the falls, I explored a flatter area of the stream of the falls. There was a lot of interesting little branches, stones, and a little ice here and there. I brought my tripod to try long exposures with the water, but it was difficult setting it up in the water.
Another area I really enjoyed photographing was nearby the mill, on the edge of the water. The light at that time of day was lovely and the water looked so peaceful.
This was one of my favorite trips for nature photography so far. Even though I had been here several times, I explored new areas and I really liked the photos I came away with. I also think I added quite a few new possibilities for my cohesive portfolio. These photos below are a few more ground level shots that I found along the different trails at the park.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Trough Creek

Next up on our trips for nature photography was Trough Creek State Park. We woke up on a snowy day and made the three hour drive to the park. The snow stuck with us and it continued to snow during our time in the park. At first I was excited about the pretty snowfall, but at times the snowfall was heavy and got in the way of photographs. But when it was falling just right, it looks lovely in the background of some of my photos. Plus it covered the trees really nicely. 

Trough Creek seemed pretty massive to me which made it difficult to decide where to start. We headed toward the ice mine but the rushing water below the path caught my attention. After crossing a bridge, I began capturing the water and snow covered branches. I was really trying to stick with my cohesive idea, which is focusing on what's on the ground level. I think it was good to be in this mindset, but I probably missed a lot of other good photo opportunities too. These next three photographs are similar in composition, so I would probably only use one in my final portfolio. I'm not sure which one I like best, though. 

Another problem I had was I felt like I walked forever, only to find the same scenery. I think snow had a lot to do with this as well as the size of the park. However, I think I definitely got at least one photo that will work well cohesively. And I always enjoy taking photos of snowy wooded areas. Everything looks so peaceful and pristine. 
Next time I want to focus on using my tripod a little more. I have yet to really capture long exposures of water. But I do really like the harshness of the water in the photograph below.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Manufactured Landscapes

My response to the film Manufactured Landscapes:

     I really like how this movie opens with scenes inside of a manufacturing plant. Rather than through narration, the movie let's the footage and sounds of this industrial scene speak for itself.
     The photographer, Edward Burtynsky, talks about a different kind of landscape. Although he used to delve into nature photography, he moved into photographing mines and quarries and then eventually into the more industrial side of things including e-waste dumps and large factories in China.
     It's really interesting to hear how a photographer started in one particular area and still using the same idea, was able to transform it into something new. It makes one think about nature a little more in-depth, which was a great inspiration for this class. We often take "pretty pictures" of flowers or leaves but don't always look for a deeper meaning. This film makes you realize that you can take your nature photography (or any kind) in a totally new and exciting direction.
     I like how he incorporates people into his shots as well, which adds another dynamic to his work. I also like how he uses a lot of repeating elements that create patterns in his photos. The use of repetition makes his images that much more powerful.
     I enjoy that there's not a lot of talking in this movie because that really makes you focus on the images. Also, the movie heavily relies on sounds such as the machines and the clanging and pounding of metal. It makes you feel like you could almost be there.
     Overall, I enjoyed this movie because I think it makes a photographer take one idea and transform it into something new and different.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Frankfort Mineral Springs

Our third nature photography trip brought us to the remains of what was known as Frankfort Mineral Springs Health Resort. The somewhat hidden area is located in Raccoon State Park and features a small waterfall, cave-like rock features, and orange mineral deposits flowing from some of the rocks. I live pretty close to Beaver County so I'm not sure why I've never been there, but I'm really glad we took this trip. I definitely want to see this area after a good snowfall or once ice has formed.


On the wooded path toward the springs, I first encountered a small house that was empty with some graffiti here and there. The inside of the house was pretty boring, but I enjoyed capturing some of the nature looking through the windows. Also, the roof of the house was covered in moss, which when photographed up close, reminded me of little forests.

I probably spent more time in the wooded area surrounding the mineral springs rather than where the waterfall was, which I regret a little. At the time, most of the class was in that small area, making it hard to avoid getting people in the shots. 

Once we got to the waterfall area, I found it hard to present the waterfall in a unique way. Most of my shots were pretty boring and basic. I did really enjoy photographing the orange deposits on the leaves and rocks. Since it was warm that day, a lot of the ice was melting, causing dripping water everywhere.

One thing I've been trying to do on each trip is get low to the ground. I usually don't do this with my photography, but I've discovered that I really like some of the pictures when I try this. Sometimes we forget to take a closer look at what's beneath our feet.

I decided to include this last image because I really liked the contrast of the bright green moss with the muted blues and browns in the background. Although the main attraction was the mineral springs, the surrounding forest area proved to be full of good photo opportunities.