Jet Garden: Feeding Back

Jet Garden -- by Stephen Walsh

Jet Garden — by Stephen Walsh

During last week’s full moon I did some night shooting at the former Alameda Naval Air Station. I’ve shot in the area near the plane pictured above, but have focused more on shooting the nearby buildings. Not only was my friend Mr. Walsh testing a brand new Nikon D300, but he also managed to make a definitive image of this portion of the base.

The photo has a hyper-real day for night quality due to the combination of moonlight and bright streetlights. The exposure time was 2 minutes at f/5.6, ISO 200. I was quite astonished to see how sharp the shot looked on the D300′s extremely high resolution 3″ LCD screen. The live view feature looks quite promising for night shooting — you can zoom in and correct focus before shooting, potentially leading to less test exposures and greater productivity.

Putting all the gear and technique issues aside — this image captures something essential about a familiar location in a way I’d never imagined. The dry wit of the framing juxtaposes man against nature with bombs over flowers, and careful placement of the plane against the treeline in the background. The hard lighting gives a very intense dimensionality to the bombs. Pleasing combinations of triangle, circle, and square shapes abound in the composition. The decision to crop the nose absolutely makes the photo — this immediately grabs your attention and triggers the imagination to fill in the blank.

What was the last photo you saw that really grabbed your attention and triggered your imagination? Could you write a short paragraph explaining why? If we all skipped some of the gear talk and small talk, and spent a little more time really digging in to what makes a successful photograph, we might learn something pretty interesting. Meaningful, well considered comments also let the photographer know that someone is really paying attention and appreciates their style and vision.

My challenge to you this week is to leave a meaningful comment on an image — this could be on a blog, photo sharing site, or via email. Instead of spending 10 seconds with an image, spend a few minutes absorbing an image. You might be surprised what happens!

9 thoughts on “Jet Garden: Feeding Back”

  1. A fine post! A great photo, and comments on studying, absorbing, and reacting to photos (instead of gear) is well said.

  2. Thanks fellas. Gear is only one of a plethora of distractions that keeps us from being more engaged with images. My main point is to dig deeper, and to let your friends know exactly what’s great about their photos. Troy – your comments on Steve’s photo above are spot-on.

    – JR

  3. A pretty interesting interpretation of “how the world looks like when photographed”.

    “To boldly see what nobody has seen before ….”

  4. Excellent analysis, Joe. Very insightful, especially the part of the juxtaposition of man and nature in Steve’s shot.

    I think the main problem is that we are all bombarded with information, images, media every day. How many blogs, etc. do you follow? How many contacts do you have in Flickr? I look at pretty much everything posted by my contacts, and comment on a few of them. But even just looking can be time-consuming when there are so many images flying by.

    One photo that I saw recently that really grabbed me was by Lostsouls:

  5. Hi Scott,

    I hear you with the bombardment — part of the reason why I’m taking a break from all but the most important sites. A case where quantity or social obligations can hypnotize you, and quality can fall to second priority.

    – JR

  6. I agree with Troy. Anyone can geek out on gear and not have a bit of talent in photography. Some of my best shots, which I’ve sold even were taken on the fly without any noodling over f stop, ISO or test shots. I’m teaching art to kids and spent all last week running around outside with a crappy vivitar 3555T taking composition shots of their hands. Some cool stuff!

    I don’t feel this photo very much, but I do like the color levels.


Comments are closed.