An Early Fall

This is a picture we made last fall for a class on studio lighting. We don’t have battery powered lights, so the lighting setup was powered by extension cords and placed just to the left of the image. The apples were suspended using “invisible” threads. The idea for the photo was inspired by the work of Magritte.

An Early Fall

Head of Franz Kafka

This is our entry in Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #59 – Angles.  The challenge is to photograph something from different angles. While the photographer in our case was standing in the same place, the object being photographed was changing angles.

David Černý’s Head of Franz Kafka stands behind the Quadrio shopping center in Prague, Czech Republic.  The head plus base stands almost 36 feet tall.  The head is composed of 42 stacked stainless steel “slices” that can rotate independently, but are choreographed to deform and reform the face repeatedly.  The slide show below shows the state of the head at 5 second intervals; a complete reforming takes 45 seconds.

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The ten images in the slide show were taken on April 14, 2019. Specs are:

Fuji X100T, ISO 800, f/16, 1/30 sec, 23 mm

Locks on the Canal Saint Martin

This is our entry in Dutch goes the Photo!’s Tuesday Photo Challenge – Lock.

This past April in Paris, France, we cruised  The Canal Saint Martin from the Port de l’Arsenal to the Bassin de la Villette, passing through four double locks and two swing bridges. The photo below shows the first of a double lock fully open as our Canauxrama boat passes through on the way to the second lock.  From the water pouring over the top, we can see that that lock has begun to open for our boat. One of the six pedestrian bridges over the canal provides an excellent viewing point for two passers-by, while other viewers stand behind a railing at the side of the canal.

For some very good photos of the locks and cruise boats from a pedestrian viewpoint, please visit Bushboy’s post Negotiating the Lock.

Old, New, Borrowed, Blue

This is our entry in Lens-Artists Challenge #58 – Something Old, Something New…...

In June, we visited the  America’s Presidents exhibit in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.  Here we found the extraordinary portrait of William Jefferson Clinton,  the 42nd U.S. President (1993 – 2001), created by the artist Chuck Close in 2006.  From a distance, this portrait looks like any other traditional portrait, but up close it is quite different.

 

 

According to the plaque beside the portrait,

“Chuck Close begins all of his paintings by taking a photograph of his subject, in this case an image made during a photo session in August 2005 for a New York magazine cover. He then creates grids on both the canvas and the photograph to replicate the information contained in the photograph with a series of abstract modules.”

In describing Chuck Close’s unique painting technique, Jessica Backus says in The Art Genome Project,

“Over the years, Close’s grid got looser, the squares larger and filled with more intuitive shapes. Close has compared them to Byzantine mosaics, ‘where an image is built out of discrete incremental marks – chunks of stone or glass – that fit together. I want people to see what made the image. I like dropping crumbs along the trail like Hansel and Gretel.'”

We believe that this portrait fits the theme “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” perfectly:

  • Something old: Portraits have been painted since ancient times.
  • Something new: The technique used in this painting has evolved to its current form during this century.
  • Something borrowed: The portrait is on loan to the Gallery by Ian and Annette Cumming.
  • Something blue:  Close’s most frequently-used colors are red, yellow and blue.  The color blue is especially apparent in the portrait in Clinton’s eyes and hair.

This photo was taken on June 14, 2019. Specs are:

Olympus TG-5, ISO 500, f/2.3, 1/30 sec, 5.5mm.

 

Multiverse by Leo Villareal — Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Lighting

This is our entry in Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Lighting.

Recently we visited the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.   After viewing traditional art in the West Wing, we used the moving walkway through the Concourse to the East Wing, where modern and contemporary art is displayed.  The Concourse is enveloped by the 200-foot long light sculpture Multiverse by the American artist Leo Villareal (b. 1967).  According to a National Gallery of Art webpage,

“[T]he work features approximately 41,000 computer-programmed LED nodes that run through channels along the entire 200-foot-long space… Once the appropriate hardware was installed in the existing architecture, the artist programmed sequences through his custom-designed software to create abstract configurations of light. His programming both instructs the lights and allows for an element of chance. While it is possible that a pattern will repeat during a viewer’s experience, it is highly unlikely. Still, the eye will seek patterns in the motion, a perceptual effect of the hypnotic trailing lights.”

While this sculpture was only intended to be on display for one year, until November 2009, it is still in place and mesmerizing visitors every day.

 

This photo was taken on July 3, 2019. Specs are:

Olympus TG-5, ISO 800, f/4.9, 1/30 sec, 18 mm.

 

38 Seconds Over Paris

This is our entry in Dutch goes the Photo!’s Tuesday Photo Challenge — Tower.

The Montparnasse Tower juts above the Paris skyline. Its elevators are the fastest in Europe: 38 seconds between the ground floor and the 56th.  A countdown clock in the elevator — where you would expect to see floor numbers — flashes rapidly as the elevator ascends or descends.  38 seconds of elevator plus three more flights of stairs takes you to the 210 meter high Observation Deck hovering above Paris. It provides a 360 degree panoramic view extending 40 km in all directions (on a clear day), including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, Montmartre, Sacre Coeur, the Pantheon, the Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe — in fact, everything but Montparnasse Tower.  The photo below shows the one view you can’t see from the Observation Deck.

 

This photo was taken on April 24, 2019, with a Canon 200D.

A Delicate Waterdrop Umbrella

This is our entry in Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #46 – Delicate.

Colliding waterdrops create a delicate umbrella — here for a brief instant, then gone forever.   The photo below was created using our tripod-mounted Canon 50D and an ancient 100 mm macro lens in front of a paper background. The shutter was opened for two seconds while two drops of water were released into a martini glass filled with water. A flash, perpendicular to the camera, was triggered when the waterdrops collided. It illuminated the scene for 1/8000 of a second.  In the “umbrella” shape seen in the photo, the “shaft” is created as the first drop plunges into the water in the glass and then rebounds into the air. The “canopy” is created when the second drop collides with the rebounding first drop. (Technical note: It doesn’t really matter how long the shutter remains open as long as an image taken without the flash is black).

This photo was taken on March 29, 2017. Specs are:

Canon 50D, ISO 100, f/22, 2.0 sec, 100 mm.