Posted by: facetothewind | June 23, 2009

Some photos from Tuesday in Portland

I was inspired to shoot black and white in the forest up the Columbia River Gorge today. Why? Because I thought the green of the forest was overwhelming…just too green. The green was distracting from the patterns of light and the leaf structures I wanted to capture, so I cut out the color and focused on the play of light and the textures. I purposely underexposed them to make the shadows black. I was pleased with the results.

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FYI – people often ask what camera I use. It’s a slightly beat up, 2 year old Panasonic Lumix TZ3 7 megapixel, compact camera. Yes, it’s a compact – but a high-end compact. I bought it for the glass – a Leica wide angle (28mm equivalent) lens. At the time that was the widest angle in a compact. Now you can find them in 24 and 25 mm by Lumix.

I’m salivating over a new camera but it’s a bit pricey for me and out of stock at the moment: the Lumix LX3 which sports a 24 mm f2.0 Leica lens which is remarkably sharp and undistorted, shoots in RAW or JPG formats, HD video and can be thrown in my pocket. I’m hoping to scare up the money for this before my next big health care trip to Thailand.

I love the sensors on SLRs but honestly, 4 pounds of camera in my pocket doesn’t thrill me. I love the Lumix compacts b/c they deliver pretty extraordinary quality photos and are about the size of a pack of cigarettes.

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ONE THING I must say…I know this sounds arrogant and uppity and all…BUT…photography really is only minimally about the equipment. Photography, like sex is about what you DO with your equipment. MY ADVICE to budding photographers:

1. Start shooting in black and white – do it for a year before you add back in color. This will teach you the fundamentals of light, contrast and composition without the punch of color.
2. Slow down. Take time to compose your pictures. Get into your imagery and obsess about it. Stay in one place until you’ve got the best possible photo you can get.
3. Study the masters who worked before the digital era began.

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Sebastian on Belmont Street in front of the Laughing Planet restaurant at 10 pm on the first pleasant evening we’ve had. That deep blue sky at 10 pm is the ESSENCE of Portland. 😉

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