Thursday, October 15, 2009

Photography Assignment #2 ~ Study of a Classic Car

Another assignment I fulfilled during my first set of photography classes was a study of a classic vehicle. The only requirements at the time were that the car be a model older than 1980, and that I take a picture of the headlight/fender, tailight/fender, and a wheel. Fine with me, classic cars are some of my favorite photography subjects.

1972 Ford Mustang Grande
Front Fender ~ Black & White
The other thing, of course, is that the film was black and white, which I firmly believe makes for more interesting pictures. The first time I did this assignment, my topic was a 1968 Ford Mustang. You have no idea how upset about not having those pictures I am. So for my second time around, I chose another Mustang.

Mustang Grande Tail ~ Black & White
This is a 1972 Ford Mustang Grande. It looks a little different than the '68, but it's still pretty. And since the car was originally gray, the black and white isn't hiding a beautiful paint job.

Mustang Symbol
The wheel picture didn't look that great, so I'm including this circular Mustang logo instead. Creative substitution is okay when you're making up your own assignments!

To see the color versions of these photos and the rest of the pictures in this set, please take a look at this 1972 Ford Mustang Grande photo set on Flickr.

Sara Duane-Gladden is a freelance writer and photographer in the Twin Cities area of the great state of Minnesota. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Snowy South Crow River

Saturday's snow disappeared fairly quickly. But the snow we had on Monday is still sticking in some places. I took some pictures while it was coming down.

Winter on the South Crow River
I snapped these photos because this isn't something we normally see around here. Usually all the leaves are on the ground before it snows. This time it was early, likely because of cool summer we had.

Heavy Branch

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fire and Ice: A Study in Contrasts

Contrasts are some of the most interesting subjects when it comes to photography. Contrasting colors, ideas, subjects, whatever, a photos attention-grabbing, conflicting or contradictory nature can mean the difference between just a picture and a masterpiece.

Winter is Here

I'm not saying this photo is a masterpiece, but I think the contrasts of the summery, sunny sunflower and the cold, white snow of winter is appealing. The composition as a whole reflects conflicting moods, vibrant colors against a plain white background, summer subjects with in a winter scene, warmth amidst the cold. A sad looking sunflower in the middle of a winterscape. It is images with that kind of dichotomy capture our attention.

Snow-Capped Sunflower

Contrast also has some more specific meanings in photography, and these are referred to as "tonal contrast" and "color contrast." One gets a photo with color contrast when the subjects include "complimentary colors". Even if we haven't thought about it in years, most of us were introduced to complimentary colors when we learned about the color wheel in grade school. Red and green, yellow and violent, blue and orange, colors that are "opposite" each other on the wheel are complimentary.

Tonal contrast, on the other hand, usually applies to black and white photography. High-tonal contrast photos have black and white tones with very little or no use of greys. Medium-tonal contrast photos have a blend of darks, lights and greys. Low-tonal contrast photos have similar shades, with very little difference between the darkest parts of the photo to the lightest. Though this picture may not have been a study in complimentary colors, but it made a perfect medium-tonal contrast example.

Snow-Capped Sunflower ~ Black & White

Sara Duane-Gladden is a freelance writer and photographer in the Twin Cities area of the great state of Minnesota. 

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Wicked Witch of the Mid-West

Sometimes, you have to take a trip specifically to take a picture. I tried to get these pictures two separate times, and either missed the turn or didn't have time to stop. So the third time, I made getting the pictures the point of my trip.

Crooked House
This witch probably should have planned her journey better. Wide open spaces all around, and she runs into this crooked little house. I love this kind of stuff. It's kitschy and fun. Halloween decorations, Christmas decorations, art installations, I am not picky.

Wicked Witch of the Mid-West
And because I like this crooked little house, I wanted to make sure I included the creator's website address. Especially since its posted on a sign in front of the crooked house. I couldn't fit the sign in, though. This house (and witch) were created and displayed by It's actually a cute little garden shed. So much more attractive than the wooden sheds you can buy at home improvement stores.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Taste of Buffalo

As I said before, I like food and photography. And I will combine the two. I had one of my first chances to do this properly when I covered the Taste of Buffalo a few weeks ago. The story has finally been published, so I posted the rest of the photos!

Apple Cobbler & Cream

This time, there was cooking, plating, and setting, but I didn't have to do any of that. HA! But I did get to eat lots of salty and sweet treats without having to put in much work. Is this one of the best kind of food photography? I think so.

Cheese & Meat Plate
I like the color in the cheese and meat plate. But the details on the bruschetta make it my favorite shot. It didn't make it into the printed article. That's okay, it's posted here!

All in all, I think this was a good project. The only real challenges were trying to catch good pictures while other people were milling around. I still liked the results. This will only encourage me! Watch out!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Experimental Chess Game

It has been wet and rainy outside to pursue the photo-hikes that I wanted to this week. It probably turned out better that way, because I got a lot of work done. Now I'm writing a new blog post while I wait until its time to go see the Minnesota Twins play one of their final games in the Metrodome against the Kansas City Royals. GO TWINS!

Anyways, earlier this week I took some pictures of chess pieces in a simple assignment I gave myself to practice the manual controls on my camera. Afterward, I thought it might be kind of cool to take pictures of a chess game. But chess games can take a lot of time and concentration as-is, no one is going to want to play with me if I tell them I'm taking photos of it. So I played a game against myself.

Light Captures Dark
The depth of field hints to the victor in each battle as the game progresses.

Dark Captures Light

It also hints to where the action is when a centered focus is used, with the foreground and background slightly blurry. I really liked how this experiment turned out.

Tight Battle
The only trouble I ran into is that in between thinking about the next moves I was going to make and taking the pictures in between, sometimes I would forget if I last moved a dark piece or a light piece. I think partway through the game, light was winning simply because it was closest to me and therefore ended up getting played more.

The End Draws Near
What's worse, it didn't end with a check-mate, it ended in a draw. But that wasn't as interesting of an ending, so I took some liberties.

Check and Mate
This was fun. I think I'll experiment with games more. I might have to play around with some others before I come back to chess, though.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Inspirational Photographers - Ian Talty / Joy of the Mundane

A new installment I'd like to do monthly is aptly named Inspirational Photographers. I'd like to highlight the work of other people who inspire me to take more pictures, to experiment, and to look for the unique angle for that perfect shot. I can't imagine a person more suited for the first installment than the late Ian Talty, otherwise known as Joy of the Mundane.

Tunnel Of Light

Ian was a good friend of mine. If you read my True to Words blog, you've probably read the press release I wrote for his art show premier, which is Friday at SpotArt in Minneapolis. If you haven't, read it, it explains a lot.

Painted Bridge
Anyways, he inspired me to pick up the camera again about 2 years ago after 10 years of on and off dabbling. He is partly responsible for my current path down the digital photography trail, because I used to be hard-core about film as a medium. Used to be.

Graffiti Space

Ian was an urban explorer as well as a photographer, and as a result he brought his camera into a lot of places in the Twin Cities that not many others would be willing to go. Abandoned, out-of-the-way, dare I say rough places.

Above It All
What he brought back were beautiful pictures of urban spaces gone wild.

Field of Columns
Sometimes they literally grew wild with trees, moss, and leaves.

Forest Ruins

Other times, they were taken over by the native youth, in which case he would end up capturing images of creations made by some of society's most under-appreciated artists.

The scourge of property owners and city officials, street art was one of his favorite topics. He paid homage to these street artists by taking pictures of their work, found deep in the tunnels and abandoned buildings of the metro, and posting it online, in the light, for the whole world to see.

And his recognition of their work was reciprocated. Obviously he inspired more than just myself, who knows how many he lives he has touched, as his pictures have been viewed thousands of times online.

Joy of the Mundane
Even if you don't make it to the premier on Friday at SpotArt, you can view 10 of his works on display for the entire month of October. Additionally, there will be works exhibited by other local artists that you may like.