A Nurse with a Gun

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Dance of Light

Saturated colors and high contrast are two elements of photography that will grab me every time. I admit it. I'm a sucker for eye candy. AssylumOne of the more interesting informative articles written by Ken Rockwell is his methods for capturing the colors in his images.

There is a time at sunrise and at sunset when hues become intensely saturated in the fading light. At twilight, the light from mercury vapor street lamps and incandescent and neon lights add to the music. I am finding myself prowling the streets with my camera more and more at these times of day to catch the dance of the fading light across buildings and structures.

When I was in Japan, I was stuck by what I called the colors of Nippon. Pink bulldozers, lavender bridges, and other pastel colors on strong, masculine things created a softness that was unusual, unexpected, and somewhat amusing to my western eyes. Jesus is RisenNow that I am landlocked back in the Southern United States, I am finding the familiar prevalence of religious icons interesting. When combined with the saturated colors attainable at twilight, the combination can be rather bizarre and unsettling.

I find myself taking the long way home to evaluate another set of decorated crosses beside the road, another facade on an itinerant preacher's refuge, or the symbolic professions of faith that a farmer might erect beside the road. The South is ripe with such spirituality.

Although they have been photographed to a cliche, old Louisiana cemeteries are another source of this type of spiritual symbology. Among the Woodsmen of the World tombstones and disintegrating marble crypts stands proud statuary meant to immortalize those who have long turned to dust. These monuments to spiritual beliefs interest me as well, even if they have been photographed over and over again.

It's my hope that I can photograph them in a new way, and that I can do so in a manner that shows respect, but also illuminates and causes the viewer to ponder the belief systems that join people together. If nothing else, perhaps the images will simply be a reminder to myself that a person is made up of more than flesh and bone.

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Anonymous beth said...


5:47 AM  
Anonymous HankH said...

Awesome pictures, really special.


10:26 AM  
Blogger Chris Byrne said...

Great pics, but you need to change your exposure compensation a bit to get more shadow detail.

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the cross picture... eerie in a Texas Chainsaw Massacre kind of way, haha

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Midget said...

Why care about shadow detail if the detail doesn't add anything?

11:18 PM  
Blogger Chris Byrne said...

Midget, it's about options.

If you change your exposure compensation, you capture the detail that's there; and then readjust the curve back down once it's on the computer.

You can't do that if the detail never gets captured in the first place.

The same goes for overexposure. If you turn your exposure compensation down, you can capture the highlight detail, and then adjust the curve back up once the shot is off the camera.

As I said, it's not that the pictures don't look great, they do.

The point is, Xavier is used to film photography, and digital isn't film. It gives you more control and more options (sometimes to the detriment of making great photos).

It's just more tools in the toolbox. I know that Xavier is new to digital photography as a whole, and to this camera in particular, and probably doesn't know the options that are available to him. He may not choose to use them, but he should know that they are available.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Actually Chris, there was a lot of unnecessary and contradictory texture and imagery in the black areas. I dialed down the exposure on the computer, after the shots were taken, to make them into what I feel are stronger images. It's no different than I would have done in a darkroom.

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Gregg in Texas said...

You and I share the same eye!....I would buy any of those photos in a second. In fact If you are interested in selling a print of the "Jesus is Risen" photo, I'll take it!

8:56 PM  
Blogger Jarubla said...

Love the colors of the old warehouse shot


9:51 PM  

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