Places

Today’s images

We were driving back from Meschen a couple of days ago when I saw these beautiful cloud formations where the light was breaking through the thick cover and creating these beautiful effects that resemble light pouring through cathedral windows. I suspect the reverse is true, which is to say that cathedral architects were inspired by this natural phenomenon when they designed buildings where the light comes in like this at certain times of the day. Enjoy the photos!

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It’s not often I wake up early enough to see the dawn. I usually work late into the night, because I find that’s when I can gather my thoughts and be at my most productive — when I’m alone, the noises of the day have subsided and the only sounds I hear are the reassuring churning of the hard drive platters in my Drobo and my own breath.

When I do manage to wake up early (or work through the night and into the dawn), I get these gorgeous, glorious views of the Earth waking up as that huge fireball called the Sun starts to light things up. Mind you, I’m not talking about the sunrise. It’s the dawn, also known as the daybreak. It’s when the darkness of the night starts to fade away and shapes begin to form out of the mist. It’s when things unseen become seen.

I thought I’d publish a gallery of various photos I’ve taken in recent years of the dawn. Some of the photos are from places where I’ve lived, others are from places I visited and most are from the road. My wife and I would often just get in our car and drive to some town where we had business in the middle of the night, so we’d be there in the morning. The roads were quiet and it was an experience unto itself to be in the middle of nowhere, our car a capsule of civilization and warmth in an otherwise cold place at a cold time, its headlights eyes, peering out into the darkness and making sense of it. Now that we have a small daughter, there’s no night driving. We’re too exhausted. We’re happy to take any and all sleep we can get. Which is what I’m going to do after publishing this post, because it’s way past midnight here.

This gallery isn’t exhaustive, it’s a work in progress (I hope I’m around for a long, long time to capture countless more dawns on bits and bytes) but I think it’s beautiful to look at and I hope you do too. Enjoy!

Places

The dawn

Gallery
Thoughts

Fun with shadows

You can get wonderful photographs by playing with shadows. They’re used to great effect in portraiture (which is a subject for another post) and you can use them to the same effect when photographing objects or shapes, in effect sculpting the image with light. Here are a few examples.

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Thoughts

Fun with everyday objects

Continuing along the same lines as my previous post, you can have lots of photographic fun with everyday objects you’ll find in your kitchen or your living room. You just have to slightly re-imagine them in a different light or a different angle. Here are a few photos that do just that.

 

A simple round ceiling lamp can be reimagined like this, emphasizing its glow by overexposing it and vignetting the corners.

Even something as banal as a furniture surface or a carpet can be photographed in such a way that it would make for an interesting desktop wallpaper.

I hope you’ll take a bit of time to experiment and have some fun with your cameras!

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Places

Watching the skies

I count myself blessed for living where I live. Our community is a beautiful place, and even though it’s in the middle of a city, surrounded by major roads, great care has been taken in its planning and maintenance over the years. It feels more like a park than a residential community, and the fact that we’re bordered by forests on either side helps a lot. We have an open view of the horizon that looks out toward Rock Creek Park, and as a result, I get to see a lot of beautiful skies. Here are a few recent photos taken right from our terrace.

I couldn’t believe how beautiful these clouds were. They look hand-painted, don’t they?

Quilted for extra softness

A recent dusk featured a gorgeous light show that painted the clouds in all sorts of hues.

Heavenly light show

We had a full moon last week, and I “captured” it.

Shoot for the moon

These two buildings are quite far apart, yet the long focal range compresses the distance between them, making them look as if they’re superimposed.

Superimposed

Planes often fly above. We get plenty of supersonic jets and military aircraft, since we’re very close to Washington, DC. Sometimes we also get these planes. I think they’re doing aerial photography that later makes it onto Google Maps.

Aerial photography

Lots of Canadian geese choose to winter in our area. I see them in the nearly frozen water, swimming along as if it’s summer. I don’t know how they do it. I guess it’s warmer than Canada, but still… These three geese (one of them is obscured by the tree) were flying in to bed for the night.

Sojourners

This is my week 4 submission for the 2008 Community Challenge.

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Places

Swept away

I’m a sucker for light breezes blowing through any sort of swaying plants. They make for very interesting compositions. They’re a bit challenging to capture because the subject keeps moving, but if you get it right, the result is really nice. Taken at the National Arboretum in Washington, DC.

Swept away

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Thoughts

The promise of something better

The wonderful thing about using a fast lens is that you can get photos like this in low light. Sure, the depth of field may be thin because the aperture is maxed out, but it’s very liberating to be able to walk around and take handheld photos without having to do long exposures on a tripod.

The promise of something better

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Thoughts

Resolute

I really like this photo of mine. It’s so grainy you might think I took it with a cheap digicam, but I didn’t. I used my Exakta EXA Ia SLR, and I think I had 100 ISO film inside. Yet it is this excessive grain that I like here. It lends a wonderful atmosphere to the photo, and when you superimpose that silhouetted tree against the moody, slightly glowing sky, you get something wonderful. I identify with this photo more than I’d like to admit. In truth, I find a lot of myself in it.

Resolute

This other photo doesn’t look good in a smaller size like this, so I encourage you to click through and view it in full size. There’s something wonderful about shedding light on darkness. It’s that moment of truth when you expose what’s been hidden… Here light barely touches the tops of the trees, but I know it’s going to come pouring down soon, filling the entire view. It’s hope, distilled.

Await the dawn

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Thoughts

Patterns in everyday objects

I really like to find patterns and shapes in everyday objects. Whenever I get a few free moments, I look around me to see what I can spot. It’s fun, and it’s oddly relaxing. There I am, frowning, concentrating, making sure I get the right lighting, angle, exposure and focus (or lack of, depending on my preference), yet I’m relaxed. I tune everything else out and focus on the little patch of something in front of me. I even adjust my breathing, sometimes not breathing for 20-30 seconds while I get the shot.

This is a polished aluminum drawer handle:

Speed of light

This is the mesh vent above our stove top:

Grille

This is a detail from a painted, handmade earthen vase:

Well rounded

These are the spindles of a lamp shade. The center black knob is visible in the top right corner.

Game on

This is a macro of a bamboo leaf:

The dream

We all know what this is. The cool thing is that I shot this at 1600 ISO, and yet there’s no noise. The Canon EOS 30D does a really good job, doesn’t it?

iSee

This is a ceiling lamp, and I love the patterns of light and shadow it projects onto the ceiling:

Those dark shadows that haunt us

Finally, this is a detail from a neon light cover:

Tired is as tired does

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Thoughts

I have this idea

It’s big, and bright, and very… orange… 🙂

I have this idea

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