UCSC ARBORETUM

May 15, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Although My early years as a photographer focused on landscapes I have always been more of a generalist...I'll aim a camera at anything I find interesting.  In the last few years I've gone to architecture, street photography, portraiture, travel, wildlife, and even flowers.  Maybe this broad spectrum of interest has cost me renown because I don't consider myself necessarily an expert at any of these genres, and my photo gear isn't geared to a particular type of photography, but I am capable of assembling an adequate kit at a moment's notice to do just about anything at least competently.  

When I originally set up this site I used the term "fine art photography", not because I consider myself a great artist but because I tend to play around with my images far beyond what is possible to produce in camera.  This may be blasphemy to some hard core traditionalists still using film; get over it.  The camera is a tool that renders an image; nothing more.  If that image satisfies you artistically that's great.  I want something more.  I don't think even Ansel Adams was satisfied with what came out of his camera.  He was known for spending as much time, if not more, in his dark room, developing, dodging, burning, etc., until the result met his satisfaction.  His craftsmanship at technical settings, composition, and post processing is what made him an artist.

There are some subjects I don't mess with too much.  Certainly if doing documentary photography I do very little outside the camera.  But flowers lend themselves well to artistic expression and what I end up with may be very different from the original image.  That concerns me very little.  The original image is but a starting point.  What I am doing is giving my personal interpretation and expression to a particular subject.  Sometimes I have something in mind that the subject triggers and I try to produce it; often I surprise myself when something emerges that sets me off on a completely new thread.  It's all part of the creative process and today we are fortunate to have many tools to help us create an image.

I am also fortunate to have a world class botanical venue within five miles of my home, the University of California, Sant Cruz (UCSC) Arboretum.  It is a teaching and research facility specializing in plants of differing ecological origins from places like New Zealand, Australia, Africa, as well as the Central Coast of California.  One can actually photograph California's golden poppy then walk a few steps and work with Proteas from South Africa.  I know of no where else one can do that!  

The new portfolio that accompanies this blog is a "painterly" rendering of floral images created at the Arboretum over a period of roughly five years.  I usually make one or two trips each year across town to photograph in the Arboretum.  It's an opportunity to break out my macro lens and specialty Lensbaby optics and just have fun.  Over that time I've assembled thousands of images, most of which never leave my computer.  But I thought it would be fun to work on a few of those to see what happens.  I wound up with images that might have inspired Monet and some that might have been painted by Georgia O'Keefe, and a couple that resemble the Expressionist paintings of Joan Mitchell.  Most of all it's just fun.

 

 


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