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Saturday, September 7, 2013

" From Their View " 1, John Voss,Walt Stricklin,H.William Lewis

This is the first of this series open for discussion via the comments below.

Fine Art Photographers introduces 

The lone tree by the lake is a subject I've returned to in different seasons and times of day.  This was taken at sunrise.  The rood in the field with sunlight was pure serendipity.  I had also photographed the cross before, but without much drama or interest.  As I passed this field one morning, though, the fog, the sun, and the cross composed themselves for me, and I merely had to press the shutter!  For more of my work, you may visit 
It's not a website with selected images, but rather an ongoing presentation of images more or less when I make them.  
Thank you for looking. 

Country Churches, is autobiographical project and  exploring rural churches was ingrained in me from growing up the son of a country preacher. Never seeing eye-to-eye with my father’s orthodoxy, I did discover in the quiet simplicity of these churches a truer meaning of faith.

Rambling through the back roads of the rural south brought up feelings I had not expected. There is something special about these church buildings—they have a sense of community and comfort in their architectures that grounds the soul in the common sense that went into their construction.

I try to capture the universal “Us” in everyday situations, connecting the viewer to our shared experiences. I believe our environment shapes us as much as we shape our surroundings and I want my images to celebrate the common characteristics of places and people and how they all fit together.”

Almost every morning and evening I take our dogs out for their walks. It had been raining in the night and I was looking for something to photograph that would show the after effects of the rain. I was struck by this leaf and the way the water droplets were arranged large and small. I converted the color raw image to black and white. 

Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ35 in raw + jpg using the following setting: F/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO 100, Exposure Comp -.7, 27mm focal length,
The raw image was processed in Photoshop CS6 and converted to black and with with either Topaz Black & White or Nik Silver Effects 1.0.


  1. John, lovely evocative image. Choice of tone was great. Timing can be everything, and you were definitely in the right place,right time.

    Walt, the church images are strong, and I think they'd remain so if the images were stitched together into the panorama, rather than overlapped. I'm not sure this effect contributes to the subject matter.

    William, I love this image and your choice of tone. Less is waaay more in this shot.

  2. Hello John, I do like your image, the rules of thirds is certainly a strong compositional element with great exposure control. This image can tell an interesting story

    I love both images Walt, I too believe the images may have a stronger impact if stitched. I find myself focusing on the style of the photographer as opposed to the image, which in itself is not a negative!

    William, you certainly captured your intent. Tone, texture, subject matter, triangles and perceived triangle all worked well to make this a very strong image

  3. I love the first image, but it confuses me.I can't see what the subject is. Is it the foreground, the cross, or the sunlight? My eye just keeps moving around the image and doesn't know where to stop, but I still like it.

  4. The transfer of the sunlight to the fog ending with the high point of the cross is a typical religious motive; kudos for the 3-D. But the eyes do wonder too much.
    I am a fan of American rustic settings, but the churches appear way too new and neutral; circa 1930 Xmas cards.
    The leaf is a puzzle because I know the raindrops reflect the light and surroundings when in focus opening up another dimension. An accomplished study with much more to follow.

  5. The first image has two primary components, the ground and the sky, separated by the line of fog horizontally. I can see the moodiness in the image but the balance is a problem. Three elements dominate the image, the sun, the cross, and the tree. The sun is at the top and dominates that which is below, but the other two elements below are bunched together. This would not be a problem except for the face that below these elements resides a third of the image. The inclusion of this information does not appear to contribute to the feeling of the rest of the image and serves merely to draw my eyes into the void. Were this area removed and a bit taken from the left then the ground and sky elements would much better relate to one another.

    The two church images are quite nice and well done. However, I wonder about the multiple overlapping planes. In what I would expect to be a comforting scene there is an image of broken images, and those breaks command my attention. Instead of looking at these and seeing your intentions, I am looking at them and wondering why they are broken apart. Perhaps these are churches that appear calm but within is dissention and conflict, thus the broken image. Outside of that direction, I think that the approach takes away from what I would expect the image to be about.

    The image of the leaf with water drops is something I have seen ... well, let's say more than once. My guess is that the photographer saw this as special and I would have liked to understand why this may have been, but half of that opportunity was spent telling me which camera was used, the exposure, and the fact that Photoshop was used, which seems a shame. I think that this image must be more than simply about creating a pretty image, so perhaps a follow-up comment will fill in the gaps.

    1. George, Often when I am out with the dogs I am concentrating of interesting objects rather than the landscape as a whole. I look for patterns or objects that may look like something more than they are, if that makes sense. And sometimes I see something and don't quite realize why I chose to photograph that particular image until I actually review it later. It's like my subconscious takes over at those times. I think this photograph is a result of that. I hope that helps a little bit

  6. For those who may be confused, the first two sentences beside my photograph refer to one that was not posted. "The rood..." is the beginning of my comment about the posted 'graph.

  7. John, The atmospherics and mood are nice. The one thing that stands out too me is the sunburst on the edge of the frame. I've been taught not to place elements on edges as such, I would have no problem with a tighter crop, without the sun.
    Walt, I like the idea of the country church as subject. I think, IMO, that the multi image layering is a distraction. I'd rather see a single great capture of an interesting building with character at the best time of day/season.
    H.William, I love the tones and textures. I am a fan of macro nature. There is not "something special" about this image that keeps me engaged for a while longer than a brief look. The diagonal line from the leaf to the corner of the frame is a compositional distraction. Removal while shooting or post may help remove that eye grabber. IMO

    1. Jack, You are right about the diagonal line. Thanks for the comments.

  8. I find the lone tree by the lake fascinating in its mystery. The fact that I'm not sure what the subject is here, or that there seems to be no one main landing point for one's eye, only adds to my interest in this image.
    The black & white leaf with raindrops is very well done. Some will see more in it than others. It will speak to some and not to others, but obviously it spoke to the photographer, and I think he did a fine job of conveying it.
    The church photos are for me the most revelatory of the group. I am not normally a big fan of photos that require a written explanation to be posted along with them. At least not in fine art photography. Documentary or photojournalism is another story. But I found Walt's story so compelling and interesting that it has me re-assessing my prejudice against written explanations. Without the words, I too, wondered about the value of breaking these photos into pieces and then putting them back together again. But after reading Walt's explanation, the photos take on much greater meaning and raise much deeper questions. I like that very much and would recommend he always include his words with these photos if he should exhibit them anywhere. Thank you for showing them.

  9. John, evocative image with a strong spiritual dimension. Lots of room for the viewer to bring their personal beliefs and inferences to the image, and thus increase its impact. I agree that the corner sun pulls the eye up there a little too hard. A slight cropping of the sun down to about the top of the rays could solve the tug of war issue, but still keep the important implied reference to some spirit above.

    Walt, the overlapping rescues the image from what may otherwise be a conventional picture. I like it because it implies the layers of reality a church represents: an architectural structure, the varying aspirations and life situations within the congregation, and the spiritual dimension that's its purpose.

    H.William, the leaf with raindrops is a technical achievement and makes an appealing graphic. Beautiful color tone!

  10. Thank you Paul, Carlos, Joe, David, George, Jack, Randy, and Jim for your interesting comments. It's always worthwhile hearing other's opinions, and I appreciate your sharing yours.

  11. John, there's much to delight in but the cross is clearly the "centerpiece" of your image. To me it has echoes of Frederic Church's paintings with crosses. Curious, I visited your blog and have subscribed to it. I live in the Hudson Valley (Harriman) and am sorry you had to move from it.

  12. Thank you very much, Nancy. I'm sorry I moved away too, but... Where I am now (Jacksonville, Fla.) will take getting used to, but it's an area rich in subjects very different from the mountains, lakes, and streams of 'home'. You'll see! ;-)) (If you look through the blog at 'older posts' you'll see some photographs that I made here over the past few years.)


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