Monthly Archives: June 2014

What Makes a Black and White Photograph an Art Print? Part 1

What are the elements in a black and white photograph that make it an art print? There are numerous aspects to a shot that elevate it from just a photograph to an art print. I’ve decided to focus on three elements in part 1 and then three more in part 2.

The three elements I want to address are:

1.   Composition

2.   Depth

3.   Lines and Details

Using an art print “The Back of a Carriage” from my Black and White Photography 2 Collection as an example, lets take a look at each of those elements.

Composition

Simply put, the composition of a picture is the subject matter and the way you have displayed it in the picture. The subject matter could be numerous objects or a single object. How have you “composed” the picture to create a visual story. Looking at the example, this a singular subject and they way I composed the shot focuses in on the back part of an old carriage. In this case the composition is very specific and intentional to an area of the carriage.

Depth

The depth of a shot is important because it allows your eye to see additional dimensions and keeps the subject matter from being flat. Depth should allow the eye to see past the focal point, but pull back to it naturally. With the featured art print, you get a sense of depth as your eye looks past the back wheels to the front wheels which are slightly out of focus and then beyond to the street and the walkway across the street which are blurred. Your eye naturally comes back to the portion of the shot that is in focus.

Lines and Detail

I look for strong lines and intriguing details that I know will be highlighted by the black and white tones. The strong lines are the most obvious in this example as the back of the seat, leaf spring, axle and wheels are very defined shapes. An example of intriguing details would be a landscape where leaves on a tree are lost in a color version, but pop out in black and white. Losing the strong colors allows the shades of gray to bring out detail.

In the featured art print, “The Back of a Carriage” has a unique composition that immediately creates a story and pulls the eye in with interest. The depth keeps the interest as the eye scans the print and comes back to the focal point. The lines of the subject stand out as darker grays and pulls the visual immediately to the subject matter. The details within those lines add a level of interest as you explore them. Instead of being a flat, monotone, uninteresting photograph, you have an art print ready for framing and display.

Thoughts?

I invite you to come into the gallery to view the new additions to the collection in the Black and White Gallery 2.

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San Diego Sailing – Featured Art Print

From my Black and White Gallery 1, I want to feature “San Diego Sailing”. This particular print was done in a project I did for a San Diego company. They wanted the art work in their office suite to be San Diego landmarks in black and white prints. It was a specific request to compliment the decor element of the office and celebrate the San Diego story. The attached is one of the resulting prints. Nothing could be more San Diego than a sail boat on San Diego bay using the skyline as a back drop. When you start looking at the detail of the shot, you notice it also includes the USS Midway which is a permanent museum ship docked in port. Having this shot as a black and white allows the eye  to capture  the shapes and subject matter quickly without the use of color. Seems a little contra to not use color to depict a city as beautiful as San Diego, but it allows the elements to tell the story on their own. I have also attached the original shot as a point of reference in the final art print.

Notice the original shot…..it was a hazy day, which disappears in the black and white, plus the two elements of the sail boat and the skyline take different positions. In the color photograph, the sailboat is the focal point with the buildings a background and the blueness of the bay becoming another visual element. Again, if I was to use the color version, I would clean up the haze and crop the same, but the final product would be selling sunshine and outdoor sailing. In the black and white version all of these elements are equal, but the foreground and background are complimentary and there isn’t any competition visually from the blue of the bay. It all depends on what you want your final art print to say.

San Diego Sailing Color

San Diego Sailing Color

 

Thoughts?

I invite you to come into the gallery to view the new additions to the collection in the Black and White Gallery 1.

Please visit my main gallery: TheWallGallery (All domestic orders over $60.00 – free shipping!)

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Simplicity in Nature – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

One of the things I am always on the lookout for is simplicity in a potential photograph to focus in on. If I’m doing a photo shoot on a hike, it’s that moment of sunlight coming through the forest canopy framing a plant or log. It can be that simple touch of color in the undergrowth or the unique plant popping through the forest growth. I call that simplicity in nature. As I have mentioned, for me it can take a number of shots to get just the right one. I’ve attached a series of shots I took on a particular hike. I saw something that pulled all of the simplistic elements together for me…sunlight through the forest canopy shining on new growth sprouting from a moss-covered branch. From the attached 6 shots, I pulled one that I added to my galleries completely untouched…no cropping or color adjustments needed. Which one would you have picked and I will tell you which one made it to a final art print and why.

Simplicity 1

Simplicity 1

Simplicity 2

Simplicity 2

Simplicity 3

Simplicity 3

Simplicity 4

Simplicity 4

Simplicity 5

Simplicity 5

Simplicity 6

Simplicity 6

I chose number 6 as the final art print and here’s why. I like the two branches of new growth versus the one as in 1-3. Looking at 4-6, the focus on the two foreground plants was perfect in 5 & 6. Narrowing it down to these two, I preferred the background growth being centered in number 6…blurred as intended, but centered. It creates a visual balance between the foreground and background. Thoughts?

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Book reading in Hudson, Iowa

Just wanted to share…my stepmother wrote a book about her life growing up in Germany during WW2. She self published over a year ago and has been busy ever since doing book readings and signings around the midwest. I encouraged her to start a blog….

Anneliese Heider Tisdale

Stationary Header 2

I wanted to thank everyone involved in putting on the book reading last week at the Hudson Public Library in Hudson, Iowa. I also wanted to thank all that were in attendance. I was honored by the support and moved as more and more chairs had to be brought in.  The 7:00 PM reading went well, with a question and answer session and book signing afterwards. There was a nice reception following with refreshments interrupted only by the tornado sirens. After all it is Iowa and it is that time of year. Again, thank you for supporting my book, Christmas Trees Lit The Sky and allowing me to tell my story of growing up in Germany during World War II.

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Point Loma Lighthouse – Featured Art Print

One of the art prints I wanted to feature from my Black and White Gallery 1 is the Point Loma Lighthouse (this particular shot is one of my favorites…it’s framed and hanging in my office). The Point Loma Lighthouse is situated up on tall bluff overlooking the entrance to San Diego Bay. Located in what is now Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego, California this facility was built in 1855 and was used until it was deactivated in 1891 (it has been replaced with a modern version on the Pacific Ocean side of Point Loma).

I like this structure as a black and white version due to the lines and contrasting colors. It allows the various shades of grey to stand out and tell a story. With certain subjects, using black and white creates age or historic feel. It simplifies the look and allows the eye to focus on the subject without having strong colors dominate the picture. In this particular print, I have also created a white matte framing the central shot. For a comparison sake, I included the original shot. From the original shot, I straightened the image (I swear I must stand crooked), cropped it down and then converted to back and white.

In the original notice the weathered copper of the top and the deep blue sky against the white stucco. Nothing wrong with that, but I was after the shape and feel of history.  Thoughts?

Point Loma Lighthouse Color

Point Loma Lighthouse Color

 

I invite you to come into the gallery to view the new additions to the collection in the Black and White Gallery 1.

Please visit my main gallery: TheWallGallery (All domestic orders over $60.00 – free shipping!)

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God’s Grace – Featured Inspiration Art Print

Another art print recently added to the collection in my Inspiration Gallery is the attached “God’s Grace”. This is an art print done with the words as an overlay on an art print I had done using an abstract watercolor technique of Christ carrying his cross in front of an old Spanish Mission. As a Christian artist, I seek to make sure that the thought I am using is a good marriage with the art print I put it on. In this particular case, it was the art print that dictated the words. Using a statue in the yard of a chapel located in Issaquah, Washington as an inspiration, I created this watercolor. Due to the subject matter, it seemed obvious that it would make a good fit in the Inspiration Gallery, but with what words on it. I literally stared at this print for about 15 minutes really thinking about what it said to me. The words came, font was determined and positioning fell right into place. Once the words came to me, the rest went much quicker than most of the other prints. I liked the way it turned out with the subject matter, style of painting and the words.

God's Grace

God’s Grace

 

Thoughts?

I invite you to come into the gallery to view the new additions to the collection in the Inspiration Gallery.

Please visit my main gallery: TheWallGallery (All domestic orders over $60.00 – free shipping!)

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Red Bird of Paradise – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

Each week I share some shots from a photo shoot. Sometimes the shots are really good and sometimes not so good. I try to give you the good, bad and ugly from the shoot, because frankly when you shoot 30 –  40 pictures, all of them aren’t going to turn out stunning. This week’s share is the exception, I really had a hard time because all of the shots I did on this shoot came out beautiful. Really, Kirt…beautiful?? Yes, beautiful!! I did this shoot last year at this same time of year at my mother-in-law’s house. She was hosting us while we were house hunting in the Phoenix area.  I narrowed it down to five that I thought highlighted the beauty of this plant. The Red Bird of Paradise (that is the correct name for the red blooming plant, but most people around here call this the Mexican Bird of Paradise which is technically a yellow blooming plant slightly different…just a disclaimer) is  just coming into its own this time of year. Our spring blooms are gone and we are now in the trenches of summer in the desert. This is the time of year where we have temperatures just below 110 F every day with plenty of sunshine. While this begins to take its toll on a number of flowering plants, this species has spent all spring quickly growing into  bushes and are now starting to bloom (sensitive to frost and going dormant during the winter, they grow very quickly into 3 ft tall bushes packed with blooms).  Enjoy the beauty of the desert…..

Red Bird of Paradise 1

Red Bird of Paradise 1

To give you a perspective of the bush size…..and yes this shot could use some cropping, but the plant’s still beautiful 🙂

Red Bird of Paradise 2

Red Bird of Paradise 2

Red Bird of Paradise 3

Red Bird of Paradise 3

Red Bird of Paradise 4

Red Bird of Paradise 4

Red Bird of Paradise 5

Red Bird of Paradise 5

Beautiful plant isn’t it? Adds a strong touch of color to the desert landscaping. Thoughts?

 

Please visit my main gallery: TheWallGallery (All domestic orders over $60.00 – free shipping!)

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