Looking for light, color, and gesture – Acadia National Park with John Paul Caponigro

“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” – Jonathan Swift

Challenge yourself to see.

That was one of my many goals that I imposed upon myself before the workshop began. Having worked and created with a process over the past few years, I felt like it was time to take myself out of my own self created comfort zone.

As you probably know by now, I started this blog a few years ago as a place to share my journey through the lens (personally, professionally, and artistically) as well as a place to showcase my images I created with a process called HDR. That really doesn’t make sense now that I read it, so let me clarify what i mean. HDR or High Dynamic Range is simply the term meant to describe the range of light in a scene. Without getting too technical, the normal range of a DSLR camera camera sensors sensititity is about 5 stops or so of light. Our human eye, the masterpiece that it is, can see  over 14 stops. One only needs to hold up a camera to a scene like a sunrise or sunset and take a quick click to see what I mean. Expose for the sky and the foreground fades into a dismal black void of nothingness. Expose for those deep shadows right in front of you and notice the explosion of unusable light in the sky. A blown out wash of white…..255 255 255….nothing there!

So what to do?

To boil it down really quick, this process as we like to call HDR photography for short, is reality a few steps. First is capturing several exposures of the scene as to get all the detail in the shadows and highlights, then combining those in a program (there are a few), tone-mapping this huge and un viewable file as it is a 32 bit image that a monitor simply can not view, and then refining in Photoshop.

Man, this is getting WAY to technical here isn’t it?

Simply put…..capture, process, and refine.

More on that soon here on the blog…….but lets continue shall we?

Like I said, sometimes its necessary to challenge yourself!

So I set off on the journey of this workshop to try to see the world a little differently. When I normally head out to capture brackets for an HDR piece, I am looking for scenes with large light range, depth of color and detail, and just about anything that I feel from my experience might make a great image by using this process. Knowing that there will be a huge commitment of time on the back side putting all these steps in play can either be a gift or a curse (depending on how you spend your creative hours on the computer). For this trip, I strived to see what I could create by looking at life and the scenes in front of my through perhaps a different lens of sorts.

This workshop I am referring to by the way was one put on by the amazing photographer and artist known as John Paul Caponigro. This particular workshop was based around his home studio in Maine and was timed right around the peak of fall foliage last year. I can’t believe I am finally getting around to blogging about it!

Check out his site here as well as the next workshop coming up soon this fall here!

Also, here is a quick video of his from a Ted Talk he gave. He is an amazing instructor and photography aside, took us all to some pretty epic places to eat after the photo shots! Highly recommend it or at the very least, keeping him on your radar. You can follow him on twitter here! You can always count on him for a great daily quote 🙂

 Link to the video for my friends that subscribe via feed burner!

So anyway, I decided to display the work I created during the week in my own unique way. The group (a nice and small managable size I should add) got a chance on the last day to share on the big screen, a collection of about a dozen images that we created from the 6 or so sites we visited througout the week. As I had mentioned before, I had intended to take kind of an “HDR free” approach to this workshop journey, but found myself relying on the technique when I got frustrated. As the week progressed though, I decided to kind of play a 50 / 50 gave with myself. Capture a few brackets to process later as long as I gave equal time to looking for images that required minimal processing.

This seemed to work pretty well….

Equal time for both of me…

Like a deal you make with your 2 children that cant seem to agree on something…

(we get it Mike!)

So when it came time to share my work, I arranged my shots in order from the locations we visited, and showed 2 from each site….one as processed with my usual style, and one collage of shots that I think work well as a composite.

I’ll share the others here from time to time. The ones above are from a cool location ….. the first actually….that we explored in Acadia National Park.


As always, more to come!

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