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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

HDR

I have been trapped inside all day; there is nearly 1/4" of snow on the ground outside. That's not what is trapping me, it's more that I haven't changed out of my pajamas yet because my kids' school was cancelled and since we're not going anywhere, why get dressed? I am planning on eating one of them later on though, just for effect.

In the meantime, I watched Harold Davis' talk about creative vision and digital photography another installment to my B&H education. HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography is apparently a sensitive subject among photographers. Of course, you have to remember that artists are a sensitive lot and so sometimes you can hit a nerve in discussions about socks, daisies, or candelabras too. I understand some of the debate though, some of the HDR images can look really gaudy, but that's really more a problem of bad craft that it is anything inherent in HDR. Harold Davis showed his work and I could really see how it could be used with care, intention, and skill. He has written a ton of books about PhotoShop and offers an online course on flower photography through Craftsy's Photography offerings. I've still got enough free stuff that is basic to run through before I'm ready for anything like that, but his flower photos are beautiful and he uses HDR to bring out all of the detail without it looking like a cartoon.

Looking up the mineral falls at Hierve
I went back through some more of my photos from Mexico and worked on a couple more from this place called Hierve el Agua in Oaxaca. I find more and more that I like black and white in almost all cases over color versions of the same image; even when I thought I was taking the picture because of the colors. After I look at the black and white version of an image, the color version almost always looks gaudy. I don't know if that's because I'm really into structure or if it's because I'm not skilled enough at controlling color and so it's better when it is removed. After all, it's yet another variable to factor in and simplification is, well, simpler. It also could be because I am so accustomed to looking at black and white photography as the 'art' photography that I feel like my work looks more like art if I do it in black and white. In that case, it would be more akin to pretending that just because your writing doesn't make sense, that it is poetry rather than just acknowledging that you need to improve your writing. It is probably the case that these things are true for different photos to different degrees.

One challenge I am confronting now is how to find a link between my passion for photography and my progress through the PhD program in Geography at UNCG. I think I've had a bit of a break through in that area - I am exploring the idea that photography has played a certain role in geographic exploration and in its popularization (National Geographic for example) and that there might be something to look into their regarding attitudes about geography and its processes that would give me the opportunity to look at photography in depth in terms of the history of geographic thought. It seems like this would be an excellent way to combine these two areas, now I just have to figure out something a bit more specific (like a question I'm trying to answer, for example…) although maybe that requires a lot more familiarization before it becomes apparent. 

Looking out over the site of Monte Alban in Oaxaca
Now, back to checking my email every 4 seconds to see if I've been notified about acceptance/rejection to the Positive/Negative Exhibit at East Tennessee State University. The juror's notifications are supposed to be sent out between the 17th and 22nd of January, so I can't tell if I should already give up hope or if there is still a possibility. My batting average is pretty below par at this point and I know that I'll be pretty bummed if I get rejected. However, I'm sure I will turn it into a moving testament of my endurance…right after I have several martinis to help me remember to endure...