Thanks to the membership of the Charleston Camera Club for voting me the Intermediate Photographer of the Year. Getting there does not come easily, yet it has been a joy! What was the last step to put me over the hurdle? Learning to print my own work. Here are the pictures that got me there:
First is Germany Valley. I took that photo because I had recently learned that this was the place in West Virginia that my ancestors had first settled. I went looking for this place and this photo to say welcome home. When printed on the back side of photo paper, the ink puddles and it comes out in a modernist painted kind of look. Some prefer it just the way you see it though.
Then there was the Monochrome Beauty. I learned a very important lesson with this one: display matters. A 90 degree turn would have moved it to first place.
Sometimes serendipity rewards you. Ernie Page had led me to these Pink Ladies Slippers in the Smokey Mountains on my birthday. After shooting them for about a half hour, I had to get up and stretch. When I turned around, there was a butterfly taking advantage of the pollen of this beautiful little orchid. In itself, this tells the story of the Delicate Balance in nature that literally is the hinge of life. Thanks be to God for camera remotes!
One of the best ways to find pictures is simply to ask. Last summer, I decided to head east and explore the area around Richmond, Virginia. I really did not know what was there, let alone what would be photogenic. I stopped at a little diner that had a great reputation and asked my waitress. Of all the possible places to go, she recommended a cemetery. I thought it was a little weird, but when I got there, I quickly understood why she recommended the Hollywood Cemetery. I would also commend this place to your photographic adventures. You can see the blog post that I did back in December on Remembering.
Almost every great photographer I know, have heard about or read will remind you that "luck favors the prepared." That quaint saying has born itself out in my pictures as well. When I have taken the time to do a little research, it sometimes pays off. Such was the case when I was asked to photograph this little church in Williamsburg, WV. What could have been just another boring picture of an old building ended up being a dramatic statement about the effectiveness of the institution and one of my personal favorites.
Other times, it pays to just stop and look around. Over Thanksgiving, I had taken my nephew out shooting around the Blackwater Falls area. It was a cold, wet morning, and his first visit to the area. While he was busy with the big water coming over the canyon wall, I looked at the intimate details.
Other times, you might be rewarded with more dramatic lighting effects in nature. This tree in the Tygart River Valley is lit by the late afternoon sun as the mountain behind it falls to darkness. Some want to see more of the detail behind the tree, but the natural lighting highlighting the tree itself is what made the scene stand out in my mind. Sometimes, mother nature provides the best lighting to separate subject from background!
Finally, All of the elements come together to make the picture of the year. Being there to press the shutter made this photo worthwhile even if it never came out of the camera. But how much more joy comes from being able to share it with you!
Now begins the journey to the next level!