Friday, January 21, 2011

Sometimes, a lousy picture is a great place to start.

Sometimes, a lousy picture is a great place to start. One of my favorite channels of creative expression is digital painting. When I'm out and about shooting random pictures with my Blackberry, most of them don't turn out (well as pictures anyway).

A few comments I've received of late are concerned about me driving and taking pictures. Let me assure you my eyes are on the road. I literally just hold up my Blackberry and fire off several pictures hoping I get what I'm glancing at while driving. I'm not looking at what the camera is looking at, my eyes are on the road.

Either that or I'm stuck in traffic and for a moment I'm not moving at all. There's nothing fancy about the Blackberry camera. No f stops or shutter speeds to be concerned about. It's particularly hard at sunrise or sunset while you're moving. The shutter speed automatically wants to be slow because of the low light so any headlights, stop lights, or street lights end up being big bright blurry blobs in the photo.

What I've learned is sometimes a fuzzy dull glazzy looking photo is a great place to start a digital painting. It's a passion of mine and I love the experiment. I have several programs I use and over time I've learned to choreograph a kind of dance between programs as I work with the images. Some turn out, some don't.

I was leaving my office in the Eastlake neighborhood after work. You head south on Boylston to get on Interstate 5. While you're in line waiting for the greenlight I love to take in the fabulous view. You're on the west side of Capitol Hill where the freeway is on tall concrete pillars high above Lake Union.

You get a great view of downtown, south Lake Union, Queen Anne hill, and the Space Needle. I was enjoying that view this past Wednesday and the fact that the days are getting noticeably longer. It was about 5:10 PM and the sun was just setting. As I waited for my green light to get on the freeway I fired off about 30 shots from my camera. Most of them, as it turned out, were great pictures of my passenger seat door, my sunvisor, the dashboard, or black and gray fuzzies with streaks of light.

Ahh... but the last one. I got the sunset and the colors were splendid! What I've come to appreciate is the discovery of how the image is framed. There's a tension that would be very difficult to plan or set up. It just happens. You have to look beyond the raw image to see the possiblities. 

I have a few more up on my picasa site at: Amethyst Cotillion 

The Blackberry Chronicles
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