Archive for the ‘Impressions of Light’ Category

Impressions

Saturday, September 15th, 2018

Autumn tree reflections on Bubble Pond, Acadia National Park, Maine 1992

Impressions
(revised from 2003 essay published in Outdoor Photographer.)

I enjoy impressionistic art. As a teenager, my mother worked as a docent at the National Art Gallery when we lived near Washington, D.C., so I often had the chance to visit the exhibits.  I was captivated by the en Plein air approach of Monet and by the pointillism of Van Gogh I viewed there.  Art soon became my favorite class during my high school years. My intrigue with the Impressionist movement led to my experiments with blurred many images years later.

The sensation of light and the emotion of seeing a beautiful moment are the qualities of the style I like.   Impressionism, the French school of painting that developed in the late 1800s, has been defined as a method of depicting transitory visual impressions. One early adherent advised other painters to “submit to the first impression” of what they saw.  This idea, in part, can be attributed to the invention of photography in the previous century.  The Impressionist painters saw the enormous potential of revealing the frozen moments of time as seen in photographs.

In their work, the Impressionists chose to emphasize their direct sensory and emotional responses devoid of intellectual thought.  Painters such as Claude Monet were fascinated by the ever-changing lighting conditions outdoors, and they would return to paint the same scene at different times or weather conditions.   More traditional painters of the day painted only in their studios.  The Impressionists painted on location, working quickly to capture the moment before the light changed.  How similar this sounds to landscape photography!

A critical photographic idea grew out of, at least in part, from Impressionism’s sensory method. The concept of the Equivalent, developed by Alfred Steiglitz, relies on the photographer’s intuitive response to a scene to create an emotional equivalent.  Mentored by Steiglitz, Ansel Adams and Minor White taught this approach to their students.  They used the idea in their own work, applying it using straight photographic technique rather than altering reality.  Reflecting on his own path, Adams once wrote, “If I feel something strongly, I would make a photograph, that would be the equivalent of what I saw and felt…. I’m interested in expressing something which is built up from within, rather than just extracted from without.”

Freeman Patterson, in his book Photo Impressionism and the Subjective Image, discusses another approach, writing “the “impressionist” photographer deliberately abandons physical exactitude in the belief that he or she can convey the reality of feeling more effectively by doing so.”  Patterson wishes to “help photographers venture into some aspects of the non-literal world of photography and to create (or, for that matter, to record) impressions that convey a truth of feeling or spirit.”  If you are frustrated creatively with traditional methods, you might explore this option.

Most of us photograph the landscape by attempting to capture special events in nature, such as mountains in dramatic light, in a realistic and documentary style. Such literal imagery, if composed well and heartfelt, can speak powerfully about the beauty of the land and express the photographer’s unique perspective.   The danger in this straightforward approach is that images can be so blandly descriptive that the viewer is left unengaged and the artist’s viewpoint unapparent.

For the most part, I photograph directly and realistically.  There is usually little doubt that the subject existed as seen in the photograph.  Ideally, the scene is transformed in a magical way, via composition or light, to make an extraordinary image.  When I make abstractions of nature, the reality of the image is only a question because the exposure itself has altered the reality, such as with blurring water, or that I have isolated the object from surrounding clues, not because I have changed reality.

It seems to me that there is a continuum of possibilities between realistic photographs and photo impressionism, a gray (middle gray?) area where photographs have the attributes of both.  “Autumn tree reflections on Bubble Pond, Acadia National Park, Maine 1992″ is a photograph that depicts reality impressionistically.  I exposed the image with my 4×5 camera with a single exposure.  The only factor that “distorts” reality is that the shutter speed used blurred the reflections.  Is blurred water reality?  Is it more real if a fast shutter speed stops the water’s action?  The answers are less important to me than being open to exploring artistic options and having the willingness to experiment in hope for creative inspiration.

My photograph here was made using straight photographic technique, yet evokes an impressionistic feel, returning me to that brilliant autumn afternoon, when harmonious colors blurred in water, like a painting!

______________________

For information about William Neill – Photographer, A Retrospective, private workshops and to connect via social media, visit WilliamNeill.com to sign up for his newsletter updates.

Open Studio Tour coming soon! Sierra Art Trails – October 5, 6 and 7!

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

The photo above shows what my living room looks like during Sierra Art Trails.

We are very pleased to announce that we will be open again for Sierra Art Trails 2018, which is celebrating 16 years of supporting the Arts in the Yosemite Foothills! Mark your calendar for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, October 5th, 6th and 7th from 10 AM to 6PM. My home studio will be full of my fine art prints, books, and posters. Come visit me, and you can also visit Yosemite while in the area!

NEW BOOK

Featured this year will be my new retrospective William Neill – Photographer, a Retrospective. The first printing is now in limited supply so consider coming to my studio for your own signed copy. To learn more about the book, to read what “others are saying” see here:

 

Book Reviews
TERRA GALLERIA BOOK REVIEW
ON LANDSCAPE BOOK REVIEW
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY MAGAZINE BOOK REVIEW
THE ONLINE PHOTOGRAPHER

Book Essays
THE LUMINOUS LANDSCAPE
OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHER


INVENTORY SALE!

Once each year, I offer discounts on a large number of prints in inventory.  The good news is that I have so many photographs, but not enough space in my office, so CLEARANCE is the key word!

I hope to see many old friends and meet new ones too!  Let me know if you think you can make it, and ask any questions if you have them. Also, please share this with friends who you think might be interested. Thanks!

See the official website for more details.
http://www.sierraarttrails.org/index.html

Cheers,  Bill

The cost of admission is $20.00 for all participating venues and includes the Sierra Art Trails Catalog, your “ticket for two” for the event. The catalog includes a list of participating artists, examples of their work, and maps to the locations of artists’ studios, galleries, and other viewing locations.  Artists are scattered throughout our mountain communities. Your catalog and map will guide you to each artist’s venue.

See the official website for more details.
http://www.sierraarttrails.org/index.html

Open Studio – Sierra Art Trails on Sept. 30, Oct. 1 and Oct 2!

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Neill Open Studio

We are very pleased to announce that we will be open for Sierra Art Trails 2016, which is celebrating 14 years of supporting the Arts in the Yosemite Foothills! Mark your calendar for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, September 30th through October 2nd from 10AM to 6PM. My home studio will be full of my fine art prints, books, and posters. Come visit me, and you can also visit Yosemite while in the area!

INVENTORY SALE! Once each year, I offer discounts on a large number of prints in inventory.  The good news is that I have so many photographs, but not enough space in my office so CLEARANCE is the key word!

I hope to see many old friends and meet new ones too!  Let me know if you think you can make it, and ask any questions if you have them. Also, please share this with friends who you think might be interested. Thanks!

See the official website for more details.
http://www.sierraarttrails.org/index.html

Cheers,  Bill

The photo above shows what my living room looks like during Sierra Art Trails.

The cost of admission is $20.00 for all participating venues and includes the Sierra Art Trails Catalog, your “ticket for two” for the event. The catalog includes a list of participating artists, examples of their work, and maps to the locations of artists’ studios, galleries, and other viewing locations.  Artists are scattered throughout the area. Your catalog and map will guide you.

 

Photographs by William Neill, slideshow by PhotoShelter

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

I have been preparing for a new advertising campaign targeted at art consultants, galleries, and collectors. In order to increase the impact of my William Neill Photography web site’s home page, I went to my PhotoShelter account and created the slideshow below.  Many new images are shown, as well as some of my classic nature photographs.

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Enjoy, and please share with friends and add your comments below. Do you have a slideshow you’d like to share? Add your links below!

See any photographs that you would like to see on your wall at home or office?

William Neill’s photographs may be viewed at these
fine art galleries:

The Ansel Adams Gallery
Yosemite National Park
On The Village Mall
Yosemite, California 95389
800-568-7398
E-mail: evan@anseladams.com

Susan Spiritus Gallery
3929 Birch Street
Newport Beach, CA 92660
949-474-4321
E-mail: susan@susanspiritusgallery.com

Mountain Light Gallery
106 S. Main Street
Bishop, CA 93514
760-873-7700
E-mail: gallery@mountainlight.com

The Weston Gallery
6th Avenue & Lincoln
P.O. Box 655
Carmel, CA 93921
831-624-4453
E-mail: info@westongallery.com

The Focus Gallery
15 Depot Court
Cohasset, MA 02025
781-383-0663
E-mail: vallinophoto@comcast.net

 

My Favorite Photographs from 2014

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

Happy New Year!  I finally put together my favorite photographs from 2014.  It is always helpful to take the occasional assessment of our own creative progress. You might be interested in reading an essay I wrote on the subject five years ago in my On Landscape column for Outdoor Photographer on this subject.  Since I started teaching private workshop sessions in Yosemite, I’ve been visiting Yosemite Valley much more often so you will see a batch of new Yosemite images taken this past year.

If you have been following my work this past year, you know that my big trip of the year was to Antarctica last January. Click here to read my Outdoor Photographer magazine On Landscape column, and recent Antarctic Dreams portfolio in OP and see below!

I have numbered each image, which will make it easier for you to let me know which ones are your favorites.  It will be fun and helpful for me to have your feedback.  I will value a list of favs, or general thoughts on what work you respond to the most.  After I assess your feedback, I will then make a final edit of 10-15 that are my top selects of the year.  My criteria for that final selection will be based on which images I feel best represent my personal vision and style rather than the most popular ones.  If you have your own post of top images for 2014, please add your link in your comments below.

I look forward to your comments and favorites for my 2014 portfolio.  Enjoy and please share with your friends!

I wish you a year full of the gifts of nature, peace and love,  Bill

PS  The photographs  below are in chronological order.

Yosemite Private Workshops

 

wpid4923-Clouds-and-Shadows-Bransfield-Strait-Antarctica-2014__Copyright-©-2014-William-Neill.jpg
1.  Clouds and Shadows, Bransfield Strait, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +2x III,
1/8000 second at f/9.5, ISO 800

 

 


2.  Morning light, Gerlache Strait, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +2x III,
1/1000 second at f/11, ISO 1600

 

 


3.  Icebergs, Cierva Cove, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +2x III,
1/350 second at f/16, ISO 1000

 

 


4.  Ancient crystal Iceberg, Cierva Cove, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1/750 second at f/16, ISO 1600

 

 


5.  Blue Icebergs, Cierva Cove, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1/750 second at f/22, ISO 1600

 

 


6.  Two Humpback Whales and Iceberg, Cierva Cove, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/1500 second at f/11, ISO 800

 

 


7.  Iceberg Caves, Cierva Cove, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/4000 second at f/11, ISO 800

 


8.  Chinstrap Penguin, Hydrurga Rocks, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/180 second at f/19, ISO 800

 

 


9.  Iceberg formations, Pleneau Bay, Antarctic Peninsula 2014 January 30, 2014 05:54:08
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/350 second at f/8, ISO 400

 

 


10.  Iceberg Towers at Dawn, Pleneau Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
January 30, 2014 05:58:54
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/4000 second at f/2.8, ISO 400

 

 


11.  Iceberg Arch, Pleneau Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1/500 second at f/9.5, ISO 400

 

 


12.  Sculpted Iceberg Wall, Pléneau Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/2000 second at f/13, ISO 400

 

 


13.  Crabeater seal resting on an iceberg, Pléneau Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/350 second at f/9.5, ISO 400

 

 


14.  Sunset, Pleneau Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014 January 30, 2014 22:04:34
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/1500 second at f/6.7, ISO 800

 

 


15.  Glaciers, Scontorp Cove in Paradise Bay, Antarctic Peninsia, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +1.4x III,
1/1500 second at f/19, ISO 800

 

 


16.  Mountains and Glaciers at Scontorp Cove, Paradise Bay, Antarctic Peninsia, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +1.4x III,
1/1500 second at f/16, ISO 800

 

 


17.  Gentoo Penguin and two chicks, Cuverville Island, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +2x III,
1/1000 second at f/9.5, ISO 400

 

 


18.  Gentoo Penguin colony, Cuverville Island, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/250 second at f/32, ISO 400

 

 


19.  Chinstrap Penguins, Baily Head on Deception Island, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +2x III,
1/350 second at f/16, ISO 800

 

 


20.  Seastacks at Sunset, Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park. Washington 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
3 second at f/22, ISO 100

 

 


21.  Ferns, Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM,
15 second at f/19, ISO 100

 

 


22.  Avalanche Lily, Olympic National Park, Washington 2014
iPhone 5, iPhone 5 back camera 4.12mm f/2.4,
1/200 second at f/2.4, ISO 50

 

 


23.  Lavendar Fields, Sequim, Washington 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, TS-E90mm f/2.8,
1/90 second at f/16, ISO 400

 

 


24.  Aspen Forest Impressions , June Lake Loop, Inyo National Forest, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1 second at f/19, ISO 100

 

 


25.  Backlit Aspen, June Lake Loop, Inyo National Forest, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM,
1/250 second at f/16, ISO 640

 

 


26.  Autumn Reflections, Lundy Canyon, Inyo National Forest, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/15 second at f/32, ISO 400

 

 


27.  Last Light, Conway Summit, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/15 second at f/19, ISO 200

 

 


28.  Aspen Forest Impressions , Lee Vining Canyon, Inyo National Forest, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
3 second at f/9.5, ISO 100

 

 


29.  Aspen Leaves, Lee Vining Canyon, Inyo National Forest, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
3 second at f/32, ISO 200

 

 


30.  Autumn Elm and Sunbeams, Cook’s Meadow, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/180 second at f/22, ISO 200

 

 


31.  Yellow Maples, Cedar and Pine, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1.50 second at f/16, ISO 640

 

 


32.  Cottonwoods reflected, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/6 second at f/22, ISO 100

 

 


33.  Maples Leaves and Merced River Reflections, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM +2x,
1/1 second at f/45, ISO 400

 

 


34.  Grasses and El Capitan reflected in the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/6 second at f/32, ISO 200

 

 


35.  Autumn Leaves and Ripples, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, TS-E90mm f/2.8,
1/250 second at f/2.8, ISO 800

 

 


36.  Grasses reflected, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/1000 second at f/2.8, ISO 800

 

 


37.  Grasses and reflections in the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/350 second at f/2.8, ISO 200

 

 


38.  Maple leaf and autumn reflections, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/60 second at f/4.5, ISO 320

 

 


39.  Thimbleberry Leaves, autumn, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
2 second at f/32, ISO 400

 

 


40.  River otters, American River, Sacramento, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM,
1/350 second at f/5.6, ISO 1250