I have been going to work early and swimming in the ocean quite a bit lately. I bring my water-tight action camera with me sometimes… Here are three self-portraits taken while swimming in the ocean and holding the camera under the water.
I really wanted a wide angle lens to play around with but wasn’t sure how wide I wanted. I enjoy capturing vast landscapes, so I grabbed a 18mm. It was nice, but not as drastic as I had hoped. I then got a 12mm, and fell in love.
Sure, you can shoot straight and get very little distortion, but I try to embrace the weird. I love how I can fit so much into my frame, and then add a level of surrealism without any need for Photoshop.
I made this image to sum up what a majority of my life is these days… I’ll get into the details another time, but I have basically been spending hours and hours, days and days, rolling around the beach on a golf cart… If someone 5 years ago told me this is where I would be and this is what I would be doing – I would laugh them out the door.
I have always been so fascinated by fractal imagery because you can zoom in and in and in – and there is still more to explore. Fractals are self-similar mathematical patterns that shift slightly at different scales, and so they are infinite and can be viewed at different points. Though photography cannot do this, I realized that some of my pattern work has multiple levels of viewing as well.
This is a pattern created in photoshop by cutting a photograph of a sunset into an equilateral triangle, then repeating it around itself as a tessellation… Imagine seeing this printed HUGE on the side of a wall. As you walk in the room, you first see a bright and complex geometrical pattern. As you walk towards it you begin to notice a sky, the sun, and a few boats in the water. It may not be a fractal, but it does have more than one view point like a fractal.
On the edge of Charleston there are a bunch of historic houses in a line that have been painted different pastel colors, and because of this it is called “Rainbow Row”. The area is one of the most photographed spots in all of Charleston… but never quite like this.
This image is a form of Light Painting, all done in camera, using a tool called the Pixelstick by Bitbanger Labs… I created a simple BMP file of lines of color and loaded it into the PixelStick. Then I set my exposure for 30 seconds and walked thorough the scene with the device, creating a Rainbow sidewalk on Rainbow Row.
I am currently working on a few processes in Adobe Photoshop in order to distort and abstract photography. In doing so I have been testing various procedural image editing techniques and then thought – wait – this process can be turned into an animation!
I then began making a bunch of animated GIFs that melt photographs into what appear to be minimal abstract paintings… This is a photograph of flowers, melted with my (top secret) methods.
A photographer’s role goes far beyond simply making a correct exposure. We are visionaries. We are seers. Our mind’s eye can travel to multiple different locations in a second. We can see an image before we take it. We can feel the important ones.
This photograph was selected to be in the South Carolina Picture Project collection (linked HERE)… In the distance I saw a bunch of rocks around a puddle of water, and I had the vision of turning them into a giant seascape. Though the rocks were only about the size of my head, I knew a low perspective could make them look large. The lighthouse was far in the distance, but by closing down my aperture I kept it in focus, and by moving I placed it perfectly on the rocks… When I took this photograph I had that feeling, a strange feeling that you know you made something important.
Although I am creating patterns out of photographs to be used on textiles, I always enjoy experimenting with various other end products. I had the idea of taking a still image and animating it in Adobe Premiere.
This was a photograph of a leaf, edited into a pattern. I then brought it to life by shifting the hue and gently moving the image around. Premiere is a really powerful tool, for video footage or just messing around with images.
A lot of my work is about perception, complexity, and symmetry. Recently I have worked in Adobe Photoshop, then brought Adobe Illustrator into the mix, even a little Adobe Dimension… I figure, maybe I need to step back into video and audio with Premiere and Audition.
This is a quick test project for something bigger in mind. I had the idea of mirroring ocean waves a few years ago, made a piece, but abandoned the idea. Now that I live near the beach, I think I should get back to filming… This is my favorite part of Folly Beach where waves come from all angles – edited of course.
Some exciting news… A photograph of mine was recently purchased to be used on the “welcome” sign as you drive into Folly Beach! I feel honored to have my work featured at my favorite South Carolina beach.
This shot was done all in-camera, no Photoshop. I am using a Pixelstick by Bitbanger Labs which allows you to add graphics to a long exposure by walking through the image while the 6-foot device flashes dots of color… It takes some practice, but the results are eye-catching.