Just Half the Story | Tell Me More than Camera Settings

Early March at Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills Ohio by Jim Crotty
Early March at Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills Ohio by Jim Crotty

A photographer can describe a photograph in two ways.

Or a combination of both.

There is the description of the mechanics of the image – the camera and lens used and the camera settings as well as any accessories or filters applied during the exposure. I was reminded of such a description while reading the latest issue of Nature Photographer Magazine. Many beautiful images, and technically sound.

For this image such a description would read as follows – Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF24-70mm f2.8L USM lens. Exposure mode was aperture priority at f/16. Focal length was 27mm. ISO 50. Evaluative metering mode. Wait a minute, something I’m forgetting . . . oh yeah, shutter speed was one second. Oh, and I used a Giottos carbon fiber tripod, Kirk BH-1 ballhead and Kirk L-bracket. And a Canon RS-80N3 remote switch. And I was wearing my Vasque St. Elias GTX hiking boots too, which are pretty awesome by the way. Location was Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio. Date was March 6 2016. Capture time as 1:15:26 PM.

Still there? Good.

Bear with me.

There are many who prefer such a description below an image, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being more technically concerned with such information. But for me it is too defining, too closed-in, to withholding of the full potential of a photograph as both art of expression and extension of the photographer.

Truth be told it doesn’t take much to duplicate the image using just the technical information and the location.

But I always desire to go further, out beyond the mechanics of merely recording a second in time at a particular location. I want to see and contemplate how and why the presentation of moment and setting resounded in the photographer’s mind and heart to stop and record light in how it was being FELT, by first making use of his or her knowledge and experience of both equipment and exposure, and then letting go of preconceived expectations of what a particular audience wants to see and allow the vision and personality of the soul take priority.

That’s what an audience craves, whether they realize it or not.

It takes a bit more effort, and courage. There a comes a time when the growth of a photographer when he or she MUST place him or herself in every image and not just demonstrate technical proficiency. I think that’s exactly how I would describe the difference between beginning/amateur and experienced pro. There’s nothing to prove anymore other than the artist’s desire and joy in free expression unhindered by a lack of basic technical skill and experience (which I admit is necessary).

Unfortunately it feels as if everything in today’s world of instant entertainment and shallow appearances works against the full nurturing and crafting of artistic vision, and I fear so much of what truly makes an excellent image stand-out and tell a story is getting lost among all the noise.

Art is our treasure, a treasure that transcends time, for in art we see both the soul of the artist and a reflection of our own divine nature that strives to reach the uncommon and higher road.

Here’s how I prefer to describe the image posted here with this article –

Early March in Hocking Hills, Ohio, along the trail to Cedar Falls. A longer time exposure to convey the movement of water flowing from the first signs of winter’s release and a wider focal length to compose both foreground and background so that I could communicate both source and flow. This is a reawakening of life in the woods and the first signs of movement toward change in seasons, in both the landscape and within me personally. It was a challenging winter and a soon-to-be even more challenging spring. Changes had to come for new, vibrant growth to take place. I desired to part of that flow, to something greater, something better, and in the deepness of that pool I felt my soul and spirit move under the direction of a loving and guiding hand.

Yeah, I think I life that description better.

Enter November | Regaining Your Soul in the Change

The quiet of November. The cold of night slowly releasing to the remaining warmth of the day. Morning mist filling the valleys. Frost-covered leaves and bare branches silhouetting the oranges and purples of early sunsets. There’s a calmness to November; an ease of being, a peaceful disposition before the arrival of winter.

November has always been a welcome respite; that quiet and beautiful month of transition. It is an opportunity to return to my photographic roots among the towering Hemlocks of Hocking Hills and along prairie trails in twilight.

There’s a soft and slightly melancholy feel to the early nightfalls and horizons set to hues between orange and pink and migrating flocks overhead. I welcome the change and I’ve learned not to dread the arrival winter for it is in all the seasons and the in-between months when we are reminded that life is in a constant state of change. The soul was never designed to be a stationary object but flows with tides and the waxing and waning of the Moon.

Change is to be embraced. It’s good. It’s necessary. It’s how we grow. What remains consistent is the energy of love and grace that stays with all the winds of change. Let us all be fully and completely present in all that change brings us and during the calm beauty of November to stop and be grateful for all we’ve be blessed with in our lives.

The Super Moon of November 14 2016 rising above the woods in Sugarcreek MetroPark near Dayton Ohio by Jim Crotty
The Super Moon of November 14 2016 rising above the woods in Sugarcreek MetroPark near Dayton Ohio by Jim Crotty
Dusk in November from Sugarcreek MetroPark near Dayton Ohio by Jim Crotty
Dusk in November from Sugarcreek MetroPark near Dayton Ohio by Jim Crotty
The Super Moon of November 13 2016 rising above the woods in Sugarcreek MetroPark near Dayton Ohio by Jim Crotty
The Super Moon of November 13 2016 rising above the woods in Sugarcreek MetroPark near Dayton Ohio by Jim Crotty
Late fall evening in Conkle's Hollow State Nature Preserve Ohio by Jim Crotty
Late fall evening in Conkle’s Hollow State Nature Preserve Ohio by Jim Crotty
Early November sunset along the Bridle Trail in Hocking Hills State Park Ohio by Jim Crotty
Early November sunset along the Bridle Trail in Hocking Hills State Park Ohio by Jim Crotty
Misty morning in November near Bellbrook Ohio by Jim Crotty
Misty morning in November near Bellbrook Ohio by Jim Crotty
Misty morning in November near Bellbrook Ohio by Jim Crotty
Misty morning in November near Bellbrook Ohio by Jim Crotty
Misty morning in November near Bellbrook Ohio by Jim Crotty
Misty morning in November near Bellbrook Ohio by Jim Crotty
Misty morning in November near Bellbrook Ohio by Jim Crotty
Misty morning in November near Bellbrook Ohio by Jim Crotty
Misty morning in November near Bellbrook Ohio by Jim Crotty
Misty morning in November near Bellbrook Ohio by Jim Crotty

Explore Night Sky Photography in Hocking Hills Ohio on November 4-5 2016

There’s now a “workshop only” option for the Night Sky Photography Workshop set for November 4-5 2016 at The Inn at Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills Ohio. $50 for Friday evening only and $89 for Friday evening and Saturday morning. The full package that includes meals and two nights accommodations at The Inn starts at $524 for two people. I’m looking forward to returning to the ‘Hills and sharing my love for nature photography and the beautiful, dark sky of Hocking Hills. To reserve your spot please call The Inn @ 1-800-65-FALLS.  For more information please visit https://innatcedarfalls.com/group-events/workshops/ThroughtheOpeningbyJimCrottyFW

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A Photographic Moment | The Bridges of Preble County Ohio

Discussing the regaining of creative momentum, positive energy, covered bridges and the Canon 5DS. I also mention my two upcoming workshops – “Find Your Creative Zone” on Saturday, August 27 2016 at Cox Arboretum and the “Shoot the Stars/Night Sky” workshop on November 4-5 at The Inn at Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills, Ohio.

A Photographic Moment | The Bridges of Preble County from Jim Crotty on Vimeo.

Transcend | Dare to Believe

Only by peace can the human heart gain sovereignty over the darkness of fear and the desires of the ego. The world grasps and holds at what is only temporal, as if life is a mere game of competitive oneupmanship. The winners. The losers. The accounting and counting of what eventually amounts to nothingness. But the truth of the soul is a love that transcends this world, where the only measure is the heart’s capacity for the sheer honesty of its beauty and being and destiny. We are not sent to our fates by a cold and uncaring God. It is rather by our own choosing do we recede into darkness or proceed into light. Only by peace can the heart lead the way forward. The conscious decision to follow that path is a holy power, a divine gift. In the years that fall behind us may we all gain the awareness that is peace and acceptance and join our hearts in the grandeur that is love everlasting.

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Find Your Creative Zone | Summer Photography Workshop in Dayton Ohio

Saturday August 27 2016 @ Cox Arboretum MetroPark near Dayton Ohio. Full day workshop. 8AM to 5PM
Cost: $89 per person which includes Panera box lunch and refreshments. Transportation and overnight accommodations are not included. Payment is made the morning of the program, by cash, check or VISA/MC. All that is needed for registration is your email address for pre-workshop notifications. Email jim@jimcrotty.com.

Full day photography workshop at Cox Arboretum in Dayton Ohio on Saturday August 27 2016 presented by Jim Crotty
Full day photography workshop at Cox Arboretum in Dayton Ohio on Saturday August 27 2016 presented by Jim Crotty

Late summer in the gardens at Cox Arboretum offer a wide variety of nature subjects, from butterflies to sunflowers and tall wildflowers of the Ohio meadow. With this workshop I will be providing my best tips and tools for capturing nature and landscapes images for fine art photography using the DSLR camera, guiding students in the journey toward gaining more creative control with their cameras versus relying on automatic settings. This workshop will be a balance between classroom instruction on digital editing in the MeadWestvaco Theater room and field instruction on the trails and in the gardens of Cox Arboretum. We will be photographing both wide and intimate landscapes as well as natural details discovered within the park.

The Takeaway:

* My top ten tips for best results in landscape photography

* Pro techniques for optimal results with close-up (macro) nature photography

* Move into the creative zone and away from full auto

* The “zen” of fulfilling nature photography

* Learn to “see” the light

* How to “work” a location with proper approach and patience

* Best tools and lenses for pro results

* The benefits of working from creative angles

* Best practices and software for outstanding digital editing

* How to get your images noticed and ultimately sold and published

Plus my workshops are just plain FUN. Learning the art and craft of nature photography does not have to be tedious and stressful. Far from it. It should always be a fun and rewarding experience.

Fine Art – Stock – Commercial – Portrait – Workshops