Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Antarctic Dreams essay in Outdoor Photographer Magazine

Thursday, March 27th, 2014
My latest Outdoor Photographer column has been posted to their website:

Antarctic Dreams The exhilaration of being out of the comfort zone

Enjoy and please share!

Iceberg Arch, Pléneau 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

My Top Ten Images from 2013

Friday, January 17th, 2014

I have finally assembled my top images of 2013. First, I am listing the Top Ten voted by the readers.

Top Ten Images by Vote:
33.  Autumn Sunset, El Capitan and the Merced River
35.  Dogwood and Forest, autumn 18.  Morning Mist at dawn, Yosemite Valley
29.  Autumn Oaks and Snowstorm, El Capitan Meadow
1.   Frozen bubbles and grasses along the Merced River
8.   Cottonwood Impressions
27.  Sweetgum tree in autumn
11.  Sunbeams and waterfall
4.  Stone and Pine Needles
34.  Black oaks and granite wall, autumn
TO REVIEW My Favorite Photographs of 2013, CLICK HERE.

Below I have included my personal Top Ten, shown in no particular order.  There is some overlap between the two lists, but I decided to depend on my own sense of image success from four decades of making images.  As I mentioned in my last post, “My criteria for that final selection will be based on which images I feel best represent my vision and style.”  Picking out these ten images is like picking out what to print for an exhibit.  That is not to say I won’t use the others in posts or online galleries.  In fact, the Black and White image of roses has already been selected for publishing as a poster. One of my more popular photographs on Facebook was excluded from my original list of 37 images I don’t feel that it “transcended the cliche” of its location.  You can check it out on my Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/1gMoeop.

Thanks to all of those who voted, and to all of you who follow my photography.  As some of you might know, I am frantically getting ready to go to Antarctica in a week!  Here is more info on the trip:  http://www.luminous-landscape.com/workshops/antarctica_by_air_2014.shtml.

Cheers,  Bill

35.  Dogwood and Forest, autumn, Yosemite National Park, California 2013 Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM, 1/3 second at f/8, ISO 100 Copyright © 2013 William Neill

 
2.  Ice patterns and grasses along the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2013 Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM, 1/2 second at f/32, ISO 100 Copyright © 2013 William Neill

 

18.  Morning Mist at dawn, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2013 Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM, 1/90 second at f/16, ISO 100 Copyright © 2013 William Neill
22.  Corn Lily Leaves, Yosemite National Park, California 2013 Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III__50 mm__EF50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro 2.0 sec at f / 32__ISO 200 Copyright © 2013 William Neill

 

11.  Sunbeams and waterfall, Sierra Nevada, California 2013 Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM, 1.50 second at f/16, ISO 100 Copyright © 2013 William Neill
17.  Morning Mist over Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2013 Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM, 1/10 second at f/16, ISO 100 Copyright © 2013 William Neill

 

19.  Dogwood and Morning Light, Yosemite National Park, California 2013 Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM, 1/1 second at f/32, ISO 200 Copyright © 2013 William Neill

 

29.  Autumn Oaks and Snowstorm, El Capitan Meadow, Yosemite National Park, California 2013 Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM, 1/15 second at f/6.7, ISO 400 Copyright © 2013 William Neill

 

31.  Cottonwood leaves and cloud reflections, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2013 Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM, 1/60 second at f/16, ISO 400 Copyright © 2013 William Neill
33.  Autumn Sunset, El Capitan and the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2013 Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, 2 second at f/13, ISO 100 Copyright © 2013 William Neill

 

 
 

 

 
 

 

 
 
 
 

Open Studio at William Neill Photography – Sierra Art Trails Oct. 4, 5 & 6

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Sierra_Art_Trails_Flyer_2012

 

 

Once again, I am participating in the Yosemite Foothills Open Studio Tour – Friday, Saturday and Sunday, October 5, 6 & 7, 2012. My home studio will be full of my fine art prints, books and posters.

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

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

 

Here is what my living room looks like during Sierra Art Trails.

Neill_Studio

Happy Earth Day / Inner Landscape

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

 

The mind is an amazing thing.  One of the great unknowns when making a photograph is how the viewer will respond.  Once the artist has made an exposure and then edited it for presentation, a new life begins for any image shared with others.  Each person who looks upon the image brings his or her own mind full of personal and photographic history to the process.  When a scenic landscape photograph is shown, we know where the sky is, and where to “stand” in the image.  But on the other end of the spectrum, when we make abstract photographs of nature, questions about orientation or scale or subject come immediately to mind. I don’t have a degree in psychology, but the subject of perception and the human mind is fascinating.

I have an ongoing series of nature abstractions, starting when I received my first camera in 1974.  When I have shown these images over the years, I have enjoyed people’s reactions.  The first instinct is to define the content.  “What is that?”  It is as if understanding the content is required to appreciate the artist’s effort.  “Ah, so it’s mud.  Well then, it is beautiful, isn’t it?  I had no idea what it was at first.”  If I don’t tell the viewer what the subject is right away, then the imagination is activated.  The mind works to solve the riddle and in the process, gets more involved in the composition.

The fascinating part is how differently people see an abstract photograph.  “I see a face.”  “I see silk fabric.”  “I see an elephant!”  If the questions are answered quickly, then the viewer disengages sooner.  I have often watched people flip through photography books.  “Ah, lovely view of the Grand Canyon…”  Flip the page. “Wow, what great light on Half Dome that day…”  Flip the page. “Now what is this?  Is it a rock or a tree?”  If the caption is readily visible, the reader looks urgently for the answer.  “Oh of course, it is rock detail!”  Flip the page.

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines the word abstract, related to art, as “having only intrinsic form with little or no attempt at pictorial representation or narrative content.”  Photographic abstractions of nature are based in reality but composed to give no clear reference to it.  Abstract painting suffers no such confusion since the abstraction comes from the artist’s mind, and is not photographic or representational.  Seeing an abstract painting does not make the viewer want to define the subject in terms of reality.  The mind simply imagines.  With an abstract photograph, we know the subject is real.   The mind wants answers!

Hopefully, you haven’t looked ahead in my ramblings to find the “answer” to my image here!  The object is rounded, yet appears flat.  Its depth is not clear as the lighting was even with little shading at the top and bottom of the frame where the shape recedes from the camera.  My use of a small aperture keeps the entire subject sharp, maintaining the effect of flatness.  I used the panoramic format to imply the shape of the subject without having to show the entire object.  The texture and cracks provide clues, but the horizontal orientation aids the ambiguity.  The color is monochromatic, so no real clues there.  I made the exposure with my tripod and 4×5 camera, minus its center post, low to the ground.  The scale is about 10 x 24 inches, so my bellows was extended to focus closely.

The photograph here is of a fallen tree decaying on the forest floor one fine autumn day in Ohio in 1993.  Does knowing the entire context help with your appreciation of the image?  I wonder…


Fallen tree trunk, Tinkers Creek State Nature Preserve, Ohio 1993

I find the process of making abstract imagery an exciting challenge, and the results are an important addition to the overall portrait my photographs make of the landscape.  I want my portrait to be like an orchestra sounding the many notes of the land’s diversity, and that it reflects as many ways as I perceive it, which includes my abstracts.  As you develop your own perspective and body of work, think carefully about what you want to say, how you want to develop your own artistic portrait of the earth.

The above essay, written in 2001, came to mind recently when I posted some abstract photographs made recently in my home that I posted on Facebook.  In response to the comments, I added these words, which serve as an addendum to my 2001 essay.

Thanks to all of you for your comments on my last post! I love the way abstract photographs engage the viewer. I have always been inspired to photograph by a strong sense of wonder about the world around me. I look for and find beauty around me everyday, often making photographs like this one. I especially love patterns, often abstract, since I got my first camera in 1974. Whether it is fine art or not is for others to decide. I made this image in my living room a couple of days ago. We use a wood-burning stove to heat our home, and at night I turne down the vents so that the coals last until the morning. Sometimes, depending on the wood burning, some creosote builds up on the front glass of the stove door. So the subject is a pattern of creosote on glass while a fire burned inside the stove. I added an extension tube to my 70-200mm so that I could focus closely enough to show the pattern without burning up the lens and camera! Loved the imaginative guesses. I didn’t mean to frustrate anyone, but just wanted to share my sense of wonder.

The following images were the ones posted recently.


Creosote #2, Ahwahnee, California 2013
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, TS-E90mm f/2.8,
20.00 second at f/11, ISO 100
Copyright © 2013 William Neill

 


Creosote #1, Ahwahnee, California 2013
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
15 second at f/16, ISO 100
Copyright © 2013 William Neill

Please give me your feedback, and enjoy!

 

Cheers,  Bill

Here are two more of my favorite nature “abstracts.”  Care to guess the subject matter?

 

 

Oaks and Fog, Ahwahnee, California 2012

Thursday, December 6th, 2012


Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III__EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM__0.3 sec at f / 22__ISO 100

 

On Monday morning, after a strong series of rain storms came the the Sierra, there was heavy fog in the Oakhurst/Ahwahnee area. I photographed this quiet grove of oaks. Here is one new image, made from three horizontal frames stitched together in PS6.

Enjoy! And let me know what you think!