Tag Archives: Nature

Beginners’ Photography Retreat

Springtime at New Skete ©Gail S. Haile

A couple of weekends ago, I got to spend some wonderful time with six other photographers, leading another Seeing with New Eyes Beginners’ Photography Retreat at New Skete Monastery.

Despite torrential rains, 65 mph winds, and a brief power outage we enjoyed this wonderful setting that is so rich in images.  Actually some of those conditions created some unique images.   No matter where you are or what the conditions there is always something to be seen, to be noticed.  Spring had just arrived on the mountain that holds New Skete Monastery and the earth was waking up from it’s hibernation.   New life, potential, and hope surrounded us.

We spent a lot of time going over the basics of how photography and our cameras work. When you know how they work, you can make decisions about what type of image you want to create rather than letting the camera decide for you.  Understanding the basics allows a photographer to create images with intention.

A video of some of the photographers’ images summarizes the weekend far better than I could with words:

And of course, this was New Skete Monastery so there were puppies and dogs!  They got their own video of images that the photographers created:

 

If you are interested in a future  photography retreat, sign up for my newsletter and you’ll be the first to know.

 

 

 

 

Adirondack Colors

Fall is currently putting on a spectacular show in upstate NY.  We’ve had warm sunny days and incredible colors.  The only thing that is not good about Fall is the long winter that comes after.   We went on a little adventure to savor these amazing days and took a drive on the Powley-Piseco Rd. in Fulton County, NY.   It’s in the southern portion of the Adirondack Park.

If you live in the area and have an opportunity, I highly (Haile, get it?) recommend exploring this bit of paradise.

Here’s a few of my favorites from our day.

Powley Piseco Rd-1-©GailSHaile Powley Piseco Rd-2-©GailSHaile Powley Piseco Rd-3-©GailSHaile Powley Piseco Rd-4-©GailSHaile Powley Piseco Rd-5-©GailSHaile Powley Piseco Rd-6-©GailSHaile

This says it all.

“To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.”                                                                                                                 Henri Cartier-Bresson

I’m busy taking a wonderful online class with Laura ValentiThis quote from famous French photographer, Cartier-Bresson, was used in one of the lessons.  Despite my predilection for quote collecting, I had never read this one before.  When I first read it, I was stunned as it sums up precisely what photography is for me.

That “great physical and intellectual joy” is so so true for me when I am creating with my camera.  This image, from an afternoon of creating with water and color and movement, is a result of that joy.

“Fleeting reality” is also what I work to capture, those moments that are here for a split second and then gone.  But then, isn’t that all of life?

I hope you find some joy in those fleeting moments this week.

 

Fall Water Abstract-03_©Gail Haile

Fall Water Abstract-03_©Gail Haile Prints available.

Always seeing something

The end of summer always seems a time to stop and pause before moving on with the year.  In that spirit, I’m going to do “Blog Lite” for the next few weeks.  I’ll simple share a few of my images and some quotes that inspire me.

“Always seeing something, never seeing nothing, being photographer”

Walter De Mulder

marina-reflections-2_gailshaile

Abstract of colorful water reflections at the marina. Prints available. Click on image.

 

Impressionism and Photography

One of my favorite art movements has always been Impressionism.  This quote sums up what appeals the most to me about Impressionism, the methods served to “emphasise the artist’s perception of the subject matter as much as the subject itself.”

It’s no surprise, then, that I enjoy capturing  the feeling of a scene rather than documenting how it looks.  One of the ways I do this is by a fancy technique I call “swooshing”.  There’s a more technical term for it, Intentional Camera Movement or ICM.  I much prefer to call it swooshing.

The basic technique involves slow shutter speeds, in the range of 1/30 of a second up to 1 second.  As you press the shutter you move the camera.  The results depend on how fast you move, what direction you move the camera, what the shutter speed is, your subject, the light, and more.  The resulting image depends a great deal on the play of light and color, just as in Impressionism in painting.

With photographic impressionism, there is skill to it but also a bit of serendipity.  You never exactly know what you will get.  I enjoy the combination of skill and surprise.

The more you practice, the better you get at judging what will work best but there are always surprises.  It’s definitely not a one shot and done technique. Often it takes at least 4 or 5 shots to get one that is pleasing.

For me, these images evoke an emotional response much more than static, documentary type images ever can.

This is not a new technique for me but I’ve been playing with swooshing a lot in the past few months and thought I’d share just a few of my favorites.

Fine art photograph of water reflections.

Reflections on a stream.

Fine art impressionistic photography of tree branches.

Looking up at the trees and swirling the camera while it takes multiple exposures.

Fine art impressionistic photograph of water.

Shoreline along the canal.

Fine art photograph of Yellowstone Lake.

Yellowstone Lake.

Fine art impressionistic photograph of fire ravaged trees in Yellowstone National Park.

Vertical swoosh of fire ravaged trees in Yellowstone National Park.

Fine art impressionistic photograph of aspens in Yellowstone National Park.

Dappled sunlight in a grove of Aspens captured with a vertical swoosh.

When you look at a scene, think of how it makes you feel rather than what it looks like, even if you don’t have a camera in your hand.  Record the feeling in your soul. 

Thriving in difficult spots: Flowers of Yellowstone 1

We usually think of flowers in lush gardens that overflow with an abundance of blooms.  Sparse, barren soil does not usually bring to mind thriving plant life. While some areas in Yellowstone National Park did present that sense of lush abundance, more often, at the time we were there in early June, that was not the case.  I was struck by the presence of blooms in quite harsh environments, appearing to be thriving.  They were such a stark contrast to the surrounding ground.

I’m sorry that I did not pick up a book or pamphlet that identified the flowers in the park.  I, mistakenly, thought that I would be able to Google them when I was home but that has proved difficult at best.

The main message, though, that I took away was these flowers’ abilities to thrive in seemingly difficult spots.  

Next week, I’ll share some more of the flowers that were in bloom in early June.

Fine art photography of flowers in Yellowstone National Park.

YellowstoneNP_Flowers-01

Fine art photography of flowers in Yellowstone National Park.

YellowstoneNP_Flowers-02

Fine art photography of flowers in Yellowstone National Park.

YellowstoneNP_Flowers-03

Fine art photography of flowers in Yellowstone National Park.

YellowstoneNP_Flowers-04

Fine art photography of flowers in Yellowstone National Park.

YellowstoneNP_Flowers-05

Fine art photography of flowers in Yellowstone National Park.

YellowstoneNP_Flowers-07

Fine art photography of flowers in Yellowstone National Park.

YellowstoneNP_Flowers-07

Patterns of Yellowstone – More Water

Did you see the water patterns last week?  I told you I couldn’t choose, so here are some more for you to enjoy.

The water flowing out of the hot springs often causes elaborate and unique patterns in the rock and sand as in the first four images.  Some of the colors result from the minerals and thermophiles in the water and others are reflections from the sky.

Strong sunlight striking a mountain stream created the abstract patterns in the final four images. When you first look at the stream, it’s easy to overlook how many colors are actually there.

Do you have a favorite from this group?  Which one? and why?

Wildlife abounds in all forms in Yellowstone.  I’ll share some of those images next time.

Patterns of Yellowstone – Water

My favorite patterns in Yellowstone were those made by water.  In the last couple of posts, I’ve shared images of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, both panoramic images of the grand scenes as well as images of patterns created by the trees of those parks.

I am a water person.  Everything about water fascinates me and being near water connects with something deep in my soul.  Water is found in all forms in the parks from the snow and glaciers that cover the high peaks, to the rushing streams and waterfalls, to the steam rising from the hot springs.

Those hot springs provided some of the most interesting colors and patterns.  Some of the colors were present due to the minerals in the water, others were evidence of thermophiles that thrive in hot environments.   Whatever the source, I was fascinated with the gorgeous colors and patterns I saw.

I had a hard time choosing just a few water patterns, so next time I’ll share a few more.

Can you choose a favorite?

Seeing the Difference – Part 2

Last week I shared some fun, colorful mandalas that I created using several different mandalas, layers, and blending modes.  (See the post here to read what I did.)

It was so much fun and I loved the results so much that I almost couldn’t stop. There were so many that I decided to split them up and share some with you this week as well.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Do you have a favorite?  I’m having a hard time choosing a favorite!

Layered Difference Mandala-09©Gail S. Haile

Layered Difference Mandala-09©Gail S. Haile

Layered Difference Mandala-10©Gail S. Haile

Layered Difference Mandala-10©Gail S. Haile

Layered Difference Mandala-12©Gail S. Haile

Layered Difference Mandala-12©Gail S. Haile

Layered Difference Mandala-13©Gail S. Haile

Layered Difference Mandala-13©Gail S. Haile

Layered Difference Mandala-14©Gail S. Haile

Layered Difference Mandala-14©Gail S. Haile

Layered Difference Mandala-15©Gail S. Haile

Layered Difference Mandala-15©Gail S. Haile