The great thing about being able to make a “living” as a jazz musician and educator is being constantly immersed in a free thinking, spontaneous, and open environment which is inherent to jazz musicians, and this becomes intrinsic. This is precisely why my personal transition from professional jazz musician to nature photographer (initially), except for the required gear, was practically seamless (intellectually, emotionally, and creatively). What was apparent from my first exposure to jazz was that every time a tune was played, it was different. The song form was unchanged, of course, but improvised arrangements occurred, ideas expanded, and solo improvisations were always different.
So, from my beginning in photography, I was inclined to constantly return to a favorite location (like playing a song over and over again) many days in a row throughout the year. From the beginning, thinking as a jazz musician, I would find myself looking for different subject material every time….looking deeper into the area.
This past weekend with a group of photographer friends, was my 13th and 14th visit to the silk mill in Lonaconing, MD. The light was spectacular for both days. Every time I go, I find new compositions, angles, perspectives, subject material and just general thinking differently as a result of trying to avoid shooting the same scene over and over again. It’s challenging and liberating. Getting rid of any preconceptions is the easiest and most powerful way to find new compositions. However, easier said than done. Being there and not caring about anything specific. Just walking around and seeing what presents itself. Apathy can tend to free the mind.
And then there’s processing, which is constantly evolving, even day to day. Processing a similar image made from an earlier visit can transform a familiar subject.
I thought this would be my last visit, but decided that (after 14 visits) there is much more still there to photograph. I’m planning a return trip in the spring.
Software-wise, although I use various software to optimize and texturize specific images, every image I make is touched by NikSoftware: Viveza on everything, Nik’s HDR Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro for B&W, and Color Efex Pro for various special effects and further fine tuning. (Clicking on a link leads to a discount code purchase page!)
Here’s a gallery of images from Lonaconing and a surprising evening trip to Cumberland, MD.
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