self-portrait

The Long Shadows of Autumn

Shadows of Autumn. Montjuic, Barcelona, 2017 (iPhone 6)
Shadows of Autumn. Montjuic, Barcelona, 2017 (iPhone 6)

 

Yes, fall has been felled. But, in my view that gives us outdoor photographers yet more opportunities to create. You really have to love the quality of light with the sun so much lower in the sky. (Well, for many of us–apologies to my Southern Hemisphere friends!)

And, the bonus: We don’t have to get up so early to be there and square with our tripods for sunrise!

Bar Fight, Aftermath

BCC Post-Moh's Surgery. Boulder, Colorado, 2015
BCC Post-Moh’s Surgery. Boulder, Colorado, 2015 (Photo: MRFusté)

 

Not really, as I don’t hang out in bars.

This is actually my woeful countenance the day after the removal of a basal cell carcinoma from my schnoz. On the general cancer scale, it’s about the “best” version you can get–very easily treatable by simply digging it out.

Let this be a lesson to you immortal young people: use sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat. Everything will eventually catch up to you.

Here is my quick iPhone selfie version…even better:

Basal Cell Removal, Day After. Boulder, Colorado, 2015
Basal Cell Removal, Day After. Boulder, Colorado, 2015

Manipulating the elements

Moll de Gregal #3. Barcelona, 2014
Moll de Gregal #3. Barcelona, 2014

Yep, I do it whenever I think it necessary.

In the case above (pixilation not seen in enlarged print, by the way), the beer bottle was close by, but not exactly right. I had to go down and place it in what I thought was just the right spot to balance out the composition I had in mind. Oh, and the rolling sea only looked like this after about a three minutes exposure using a 10-stop neutral density filter. So, elements were quite manipulated!

Does this photograph tell a story or make a commentary, after all this fiddle-fuddling around? To you, maybe…maybe not. I like it, though, so there you go.

I will also remove trash that might be in the way–it is much easier than cloning it out in Photoshop. I might even fold down a few blades of grass…move small rocks…open a door…or move a table or chair a few inches one way or the other.

I don’t really have a problem with doing such things as I figure I am creating art, not a forensic documentary photograph for CSI. If I am painting–“painting with light” in photography jargon–I get to place the elements where I want them, no?

“But that’s not what the scene looked like!” (Some might exclaim in indignant righteousness.) I don’t really care. What I do care about is how it looked to me in my mind and in my bones and in my feelings.

Another technique…when I need a human (or coffee) bean in the image but can’t find a ready volunteer (often my wife or a friend), I’ll use myself, as in the example below. I make way too many images in which I have created a stage but left it empty. A self-portrait can sometimes work to put an actor in the scene. I try not to do it too much, though…the technique can get as old and smelly as those old socks you inexplicably wore five days in a row (hope not!).

Whatever works to bring your vision to fruition is fair game, I say.

Moll de Gregal #8 (End of the World). Barcelona, 2014
Moll de Gregal #8 (End of the World). Barcelona, 2014