Finding the Picture Spot

sunset

I take a lot pictures. Mostly with my iPhone, but since I traveled a bunch this summer I was using my digital camera and my Holga film camera a lot too. Taking pictures starts when you see something you want to capture, but the first question I always ask is where is the picture spot.

In popular areas like National Parks there are always obvious picture spots. You see people standing on a certain rock to get the right view. I find myself either avoiding trees or aligning trees to perfectly frame a picture.

I watch the sunset every night from the roof deck of my building. I don’t need to find the picture spot. I just face west. And maybe I move a little north or south. But the spot is pretty set.

I took the above picture in Florida with my iPhone. It took me about four days to find the picture spot. I wanted to see the sunset on our first night there (and take a picture), and we were driving as the sun was sinking in the sky. I didn’t know where the picture spot was to see the sunset. Over the next few days I tried to find it. I went out into the road. Too many trees. I went down to the river. No clear view of the horizon. I stopped along the golf course by a lake. The angle was all wrong.

The key to finding the picture spot for a sunset is to start about 30 minutes before the published sunset time. This gives you time to move, but it also gives you the chance to take more pictures of various stages of setting. One night I walked across the street, between two houses, around the green on the golf course to the edge of a pond. I found what I thought was the spot and took lots of pictures. Not the one above.

I went to the same spot the next night. The clouds were better. And I took lots of pictures. As the sun was just about to sink below the treeline I noticed a bridge across the pond. I walked out on the bridge to catch one or two more fleeting moments of daylight. I didn’t know it, but I found the spot.

Even though the horizon line was one-third the way up the picture, the natural convergence point of the scene was centered. I shifted it to the right, so it was on a vertical third line. Snap. The perfect picture from the picture spot.

Summer Nights at the Dollar Tree

Dollar Tree

I recently attended an art exhibit opening at the David Owsley Museum of Art on Ball State’s campus and was struck by one amazing piece. While this was a photo exhibit, it was a video that stood out.

On the occasion of Aperture’s sixtieth anniversary in 2012, a select group of contemporary photographers each respond to an Aperture publication that has been influential in forming their work, paying it artistic homage. Each commissioned artist in Aperture Remix has created a new work, inspired by the ideas that they have found most influential or of greatest concern in the earlier work.

Alec Soth encountered Robert Adams’s 1985 monograph Summer Nights as a young photographer, and the book was, in his words, a “gateway drug” to the “harder stuff” in Adams’s body of work. When asked to participate in Aperture Remix, an exhibition for which artists were commissioned to create new work in response to Aperture publications that were influential in their artistic development, Soth chose Summer Nights. This video is Soth’s response to Adams, and is featured in the Aperture Remix exhibition.

Alec Soth – Summer Nights at the Dollar Tree

The video is a series of still life photographs, most with only small movements that reveal it as video. A car drives past on a distant highway. The leaves wave gently in the breeze. And life goes on in these scenes.

Sony: Around The World In 80 Seconds

from Creativity

Photographer Alex Profit and Rapp Collins creative Romain Pergeaux created this stop-motion tour of the world in three weeks using the Sony Cyber-shot HX5V camera.

Here’s Profit on the making of the Around the World in 80 Seconds:

How did the project come about?
Romain Pergeaux, creative with Rapp Collins Paris had the idea for this project, he told me about it and we decided to direct it together.


What was Sony’s involvement?
(Pergeaux) proposed it to Sony, who loved the project. They therefore financed the operation. We were very free in creative production of the film.


What were the technical challenges of doing the video?
Only three weeks to realize this project, 2 persons, without locating points. Released into 8 frames per second, the tour lasts exactly 80 seconds between the GO and the FINISH (640 images), 11.5 seconds per country (92 images). The globe (shot in real life) turned all the 32 images. We had to make a very precise tracking to estimate the distance of entry and exit. Another challenge was to build the bridges between the different cities without knowing what we would find later to continue.

Go to their site tourdumonde80.fr for more information.