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WORD-A-WEEK: BLUE / SUNDAY POST: CONCEPT

“Impressionism – an artistic style that seeks to capture a feeling or experience rather than achieve accurate depiction.

GREAT BLUE HERON
WINGS OVER WATER

Sue’s Word-of-the-week challenge “Blue” combines nicely with Jake’s Sunday Post Challenge “Concept” . To address both challenges, I’ve chosen the “concept” of Impressionism in photography, and have illustrated it with some very “blue” shots to begin.

The great masters like Monet and Renoir understood that art is meant to evoke emotion, and does not necessarily have to depict subjects precisely. Rather, they chose to paint in soft, moody colors those scenes which caught their attention, and consequently, ours.

CLOUDS ON THE MARSH
CALM AFTER THE STORM

“Impressionism means taking inspiration directly from nature, trusting your senses rather than what you think you know.”

Michael McClure

Photography offers many techniques to create similar moodiness in our art. For example, the great blue heron in the opening photograph above seems to be floating in space because of the softness of the water all around him – created using a wide open aperture. The marsh scene which follows it was done simply by shooting the reflection of the clouds in the water rather than the sky itself.

BENNETT RIDGE, ASHEVILLE NC
LINES

Panning, used to create the mystical hillside scene above, is done by moving the camera very slowly using a long shutter speed. It can be done horizontally (above), or vertically (below) depending on how the photographer “feels” the scene.

LIGHT THROUGH THE TREES
CATCHING THE LIGHT

“The power of the suggestive is much greater than the statement of reality.”

C.W. Mundy

One final method, a bit more challenging, is to swirl the camera while taking a long shutter-speed photo. If you press the shutter release just before beginning the swirl, you can create the feeling of a ghostly image such as the pinecone below.

EPHEMERAL PINECONE
EPHEMERAL

Technique not-withstanding, most important is the feeling the photographer has for the scene, and hopes to elicit in the viewer. Here then, a few additional impressions for your viewing pleasure.

VINEYARD ON A CLOUDY DAY
ON THE VINE
EARLY FALL
AUTUMN

The job of the impressionist is to say just enough without forcing the story on the viewer… detail kills imagination.”

Colley Whisson

TRANQUILITY
TRANQUILITY

“For an impressionist to paint from nature is not to paint the subject, but to realize sensations”

Paul Cezanne

A SINGLE DROP
JUST A DROP
SONGBIRD
SONGBIRD

And finally, in addition to the all-important quality of light, the impressionists sought to capture the feeling of motion in their art. Although not a nature shot, this last is one of my favorites photographs. It was shot from a car window as we were driving through a forest fire and for me evokes the commitment and determination of the firefighters rushing to their work.

WARRIORS
WARRIORS

Here’s to the courageous among us, not only the obvious (such as the firefighters), but also those like the early impressionists, who throughout history have shown that rules are made to be broken, and that beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder.

  1. Wings Over Water – Nikon D/300s, Nikkor 18-200 @150mm, f/5.6, 1/5000, ISO 2000
  2. Calm After the Storm – Nikon D/300s, Nikkor 18-200 @120mm, f/5.4, 1/400, ISO 400
  3. Lines – Nikon D/300s, Nikkor 18-200 @95mm, f/36, 1/10, ISO 100
  4. Catching the Light – Nikon D/300s, Nikkor 18-200 @44mm, f/29, 1.3 sec, ISO 200
  5. Ephemeral – Nikon D/300s, Nikkor 18-200 @170mm, f/10, .8 sec, ISO 200
  6. On the Vine – Nikon D/300s, Nikkor 18-200 @70mm, f/32, .8 sec, ISO 100
  7. Autumn – Nikon D/300s, Nikkor 18-200 @80mm, f/9, 1/100, ISO 800
  8. Tranquility – Nikon D/300s, Nikkor 18-200 @200mm, f/5.6, 1/500, ISO 500
  9. Just a Drop – Nikon D/300s, Nikkor 18-200 @105mm, f/5.6, 1/15, ISO 250
  10. Songbird – Nikon D/300s, Nikkor 18-200 details unavailable
  11. Warriors – Nikon D/90, Nikkor 18-200 @120mm, f/4.8, 1/6, ISO 400
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33 thoughts on “WORD-A-WEEK: BLUE / SUNDAY POST: CONCEPT Leave a comment

  1. Reblogged this on For the Love of Clouds and Living Things and commented:
    I was so happy to find this post yesterday.. it expresses my desire for For the Love of Clouds and Living Things, ” to capture feelings or experiences rather than achieve accurate depiction.” (from the definition of Impressionism in this post).. it seems that the backgrounds of most of my photos are as important to me as the subject matter. I hope that this re-blog will touch others as it touched me.

  2. thank you very much for this post. it really spoke to me as to my own blog.. your photographs are wonderful and I look forward to your new posts..

  3. You keep outdoing yourself and we reap the rewards of sharing your talent. These are amazing and wonderful! Any chance of a workshop? Mary Lynn

  4. Wings over Water, Tranquility, Autumn, Songbird just fabulous. Of course remembering driving thru the very close fire makes Warriors extra special.

    Lucky Husband

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