Reflections on a year in 365 photographs

Posts Tagged ‘graphic


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A backyard image of marsh grasses.

Marsh Grasses

This marsh grass image came from my back yard.  I am working on images for a photo critique/contest where the subjects must come from the photographer’s back yard.  At this time of year, the project presents some challenges since there are no flowering plants, and much of the vegetation is dead or dormant.

As I contemplated the project, and walked my back yard, I knew I would have to focus on a simple, graphic composition due to the lack of strong subjects.  I saw this grass in the warm late afternoon sun, with a dark green background some feet away.  I knew I could isolate the grasses with shallow depth of field and that would become a strong graphic.  Because there is some strong color in the image, I decided that a diagonal composition would work and further the dynamic impression.

Had the light been softer, I might have composed straight up and down with the grasses and desaturated the image a bit.  That would have been a more serene type of image.

All from the same subject!

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Written by Brian Fancher

February 19, 2010 at 8:28 pm


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One reason I undertook this project is to stretch my photographic horizons in hope that I’ll settle on a style or even just a genre to focus on and master.  Of the thousands of photographs I’ve taken in my life, the majority have been travel or event related, usually in conjunction with a military deployment of some sort.  I have shot the twin towers in New York from the flight deck of the USS Kennedy.  I’ve traveled the length and breadth of Japan and other countries, capturing the unique cultures and peoples.  I have photographed miles of U.S. scenic roads and trails.

But in all that time, I don’t recall ever taking a photograph like this.  Photographer Chase Jarvis has found fame with his iPhone photography book “The Best Camera Is The One Thats With You.”  I have passed ruined tobacco barns on the back roads of down east North Carolina and not had a camera at hand.  I’ve inspected rotten buildings scheduled for destruction overseas that the military somehow renovates into expeditionary quarters or housing and not had a camera at hand.  For every image I have on film, print or slide, there are two or three missed opportunities I hold in my mind’s eye.

So today I determined to photograph in an abandoned building that I pass every day on my commute.  By appearances of the heavy construction equipment around it, I may have found it not even standing by the end of next week.  I may have taken the last photographs that will ever be taken inside this decayed old plant building.  This time I have the photographs!

As for this image, I have seen photographs of this type of urban decay quite often.  Many are graphically disturbing.  Some produce a profound sense of nostalgia.   Several convey a sense of lost beauty surrounded by a sea of modern plastic and glass.  A few, perhaps even this one, elevate the mundane to works of art.  I doubt that I’ll take up “urban decay” as my photographic muse, but I’m pleased with this shot.

As always, comment and critique are welcome.  When was the last time you passed a photo opportunity?

***Updated:  Check out my Flikr photostream for more images from this shoot, including a remarkably 3D-like HDR composite.***

Written by Brian Fancher

January 9, 2010 at 12:48 am


with one comment


Today is a graphic image of a building near my workplace.  The strong lines and monotone nature of the concrete structure lend themselves nicely to this sort of image.  Shooting from a diagonal added drama to what might otherwise be a boring image.

Lesson for the day:  Look at old things in new ways.  One of the benefits I hope to gain from this project is learning more about what my camera sees of the world.

Critiques are always welcome here.  I welcome dialog on any aspect of this project.  Thanks!

Written by Brian Fancher

January 5, 2010 at 10:52 pm