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Author Topic: Owens Valley  (Read 1584 times)
tom w
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« on: February 06, 2012, 02:56:42 PM »
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From a trip to Owens Valley just before Christmas.
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Isaac
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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2012, 01:54:43 PM »
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I wonder if it's just that the best we can hope for from a muted palette is a muted response? (Definitely not - "You give us those nice bright colors. You give us the greens of summers...")

I do like the muted palette east of the Sierra Nevada. I like the texture and color of osiers.

What is it that you like in this particular scene, that prompted you to make this picture?

It doesn't seem to be intended as a snapshot, unlike this -

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tom w
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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2012, 10:34:37 AM »
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I have no simple answer as to why I like this image. When I make a photograph I often stand and watch and try to absorb .  For me, it's a wordless process and results more from an emotional response to a scene rather than an intellectual evaluation of details. But, having said that, it would be a benefit to my sense of esthetics if I could formulate reasons for making an image. I'm not much of a pre-visualizer. Often a picture comes together in PhotoShop. This is a significantly cropped picture as I was limited to closer access by a fence. In this image I enjoy the color of rust against the blue mountains and the starkness of the bare trees. For me, it is a bit of muted beauty in a slightly saddening environment.
Coincidentally, before I read your post, Isaac, I had just read a description of a photo gallery in San Francisco in which there is  written information presented with the photos. The images must stand on their own without explanation.
I am reminded of an incident in which a famous poet (Frost?) was asked to explain one of his poems. His response, in paraphrase was, "Did you want me to explain it worse".
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jalcocer
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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2012, 11:47:52 AM »
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I like it, it's a nice shot, would like a bit more of the grass, but it works for me! good job
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tom w
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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2012, 11:58:07 AM »
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In my reference to the Photo Gallery in San Francisco (Pier 24), I should have written there is NO written information presented with the photos.
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Isaac
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« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2012, 12:30:53 PM »
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a famous poet ... was asked to explain one of his poems
Well if I'd asked for a polaroid that explained your picture :-)

For me, it is a bit of muted beauty in a slightly saddening environment.
Is the slightly saddening environment conveyed by the image standing on its own or by what you had seen that isn't in frame or by the baggage the words "Owens Valley" carry for anyone passingly familiar with the California water wars?

For me, it's a wordless process and results more from an emotional response to a scene rather than an intellectual evaluation of details.
Due to the wonders of technology, always working with a tethered large-screen laptop might allow a fast enough iteration between response to a scene and response to the image.
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tom w
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« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2012, 06:23:58 PM »
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Umm… I'm not sure how to respond or if I should respond. Baggage?  Tethered large-screen laptop? The picture is what it is… It's only a photograph.
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Isaac
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« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2012, 07:17:40 PM »
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Now I'm not sure how to respond, perhaps the photograph is intended to be a snapshot.
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rambler44
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« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2012, 08:32:06 PM »
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First, a word about Robert Frost.  He spoke to a group of us at college, reading some of his poems.  After reading about the  stone wall, a student expressed her love of the poem and did he mean it to be this message of life as she interpreted it?
Her description of the meaning of the wall was quite extensive.  When she finished, he thanked her, but said that his poem was just written about a wall!

Now, a note about "emotion" and photographs.  When we take a photo of a beautiful landscape, we are surrounded not only by the light, but sounds and colors, and winds and all that our eyes can take in.  We are filled with the emotion of the outdoors and our surroundings and the efforts perhaps expended to get to that point. But, can someone viewing that photo share or "feel" that same emotion?

What we see is a photo on a flat page, maybe on a computer in the kitchen.  Where is the emotion?  Is the photo strong enough to convey the emotion of the photographer?  How can it do that?  That is where composition plays its role.

I see lots of good elements of composition in the photo of Owen's Valley.  The position and shape of the trees, the strong foreground, the interesting background of mountains.  This is a successful photo.

But, what about  a "muted beauty in a slightly saddening environment"?   I definitely see a muted beauty, but a saddened environment?  Where does that come from?  I have never heard of Owen's Valley or California water shortages that might be involved.  I had no emotion of sadness.

Beware of adding your own emotions into a photograph.  For example, I could show you a photo of some beautiful snow capped peaks.  Oh um...but they mean a lot more to me.  I had hiked over them to get where i was to take the photo. I felt the old emotions come back when I look at them now in a photo album.  Can I expect you to have the same emotion...of course, not.

There are photos that work, however.  Hopefully we have all seen them from the work of the photojournalists, many, unfortunately from war zones, but so many others from the streets and back roads of our towns and neighborhoods.  And, I have seen plenty of 'wow' photos on websites like these.
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