Vermont – How does one truly capture a sense of place in photograph? That’s a good question with no definitive answer. There are no camera settings or com-positional rules that guarantee one will come back with a photograph that captures the essence of a place. But there is I think an ingredient in the recipe that is universal and that is time.
I’ve visited this old barn compound in Windsor, Vermont on many occasions in all different seasons. It’s one of my favorite spots to return to and work out the various compositions afforded by this interesting spot that most would simple drive by on their way to the “top ten” tourist spots.
To truly start to understand a place and then transfer that feeling to others in your photography required spending time in a place. When photographers fail to capture a place in their images, with the result being “ho-hum” or dull photos, its typically because they show up at a spot, say on vacation, and start snapping away before even actually seeing.
When the camera is raised to the eye before the brain actually has time to take in what is being scene, the results are typically uninteresting. Too often we photographers have limited time at a certain place and are rushed to cram in as many “hot spots” or Kodak Moment locations in a day, that we fail to return with a single excellent shot.
Capturing truly excellent images usually requires more intent and planning then what is afforded say on a bus tour through a national park. The most memorable photographs are taken when the light is at its best rather than when you happen to arrive at the location.
And I’ve found that visiting a site over time and through out the year is the best way to truly start to understand what it is you are seeing and trying to capture. Some tips for capturing the essence of a place:
Leave the camera at home on your first trip to a place. (I know this one is tough). Walk around, study all the angles, thing about where the sun is and what type of lighting will look best.
Return to a spot throughout the year.
Return to a spot at different times of the day.
Go on sunny days, go on overcast days.
Don’t set up a tripod right away. Walk around and look. See the image in your mind before selecting a lens and angle.
Bring a step ladder and view the spot from up high, bring a towel and lay down on the ground for a low angle.
Look beyond the obvious, over done shots. When the crowd looks one way, turn around and see what they are missing.
The life of a super dog model is not all bones and biscuits. Sure some days the kibble rains down and luck shines but some days its a bad hair cut and stupid wardrobe.
“Just Chillin'” is just one of hundreds of photographs that Tiki the Westie has modeled for in fine art photographer, Edward M. Fielding’s series of dog photographs.
Some of the best Tiki the Westie supermodel photographs have been collected in this small gift book called “the Quotable Westie” and is available on Amazon and direct from the publisher CreateSpace – https://www.createspace.com/4070210
“This modeling thing, it’s pretty easy, but actually it’s also really tough” – Cara Delevingne
“I was successful and I enjoyed modeling, but it got to a point where I felt like I had ‘been there, done that.’ I wanted something that would inspire me and challenge me. I needed something that required more creativity. I started writing and I started auditioning. Simply posing in front of the camera was no longer enough.” – Julia Voth
“Modeling, for me, isn’t about being beautiful but creating something interesting for people to look at and think about.” – Kylie Bax
“I think the only reason I wanted to do modeling, really, was because I knew I wasn’t ready to act; I knew I didn’t have enough life experience, and I knew that doing photo shoots was a way of acting. Playing a character each shoot and being able to just emerge yourself in these awkward experiences – it was amazing.” – Dree Hemingway
“I didn’t mean to be a TV presenter, I just hated modeling. It feels very odd that it’s turned into this ‘It-girl’ thing. What does that even mean? I wear clothes and I go out. It’s so weird.” Alexa Chung
I have a number of fine art photographs in my portfolio that feature red doors and they are popular. Recently I sold this one which contains one of my favorite compositions, over lapping structures that create a twisting path into the image with a foreground, middle ground and with the “pay off” in the back of the image, in this case a red door. This scene was captured in Windsor, Vermont. More red door photos.
Shown – recently sold framed and matted print. This order was for a 16″ x 20″ print of The Red Door going to a buyer from Albany, GA.
The composition is similar to this composite shot I created from a collection of buildings in Historic Deerfield, MA and an old car photographed in Vermont. Same kind of “what’s around the corner” composition which adds a bit of mystery and leads the eye into the image. Barn Find link
This photograph of at the Wayside Inn, specifically the old grist mill with its bright red door and rustic stone walls has sold a number of times. Red Door at the old grist mill.
A dramatic red door on an old stone grist mill. Wayside Inn, Sudbury, MA
Red Door – The Mount
Here is another red door in the portfolio. An old arched red painted door on a building from the gilded age with grungy, peeling, cracked paint. Outbuilding at The Mount – The Mount is the home of Edith Wharton in Lenox, MA – the Berkshires.Fine art photography by Edward M. Fielding
Is it just a striking color for a front door or does a red door mean something more? Well it all depends. It can be loaded with meaning or it can simply appeal to the owner of the house. Remember in the Ten Commandments when the Hebrews put blood on their doors so the creeping fog of death would not come to kill their first born sons?
Egyptian soldier: Out! Out, all of you!
Dathan: Why do soldiers come here? I put no blood on my door!
Egyptian soldier: Then stone bleeds!
Dathan: Your stonecutter did this to me!
Lilia: All your gold cannot wipe that mark from your door, Dathan, or from my heart.
Dathan: Just for that, you’ll walk all the way to… Where are we going? Do you know where we’re going?
Egyptian soldier: To hell, I hope!
Red doors have been know to have a variety of other meanings besides don’t kill my first born son:
WELCOME – In early American tradition, a red door symbolized to tired horse and buggy travelers that a home was a safe place to rest and stay.
REFUGE – During the civil war, “safe homes” that were part of the Underground Railroad supposedly painted their doors red to guide escaped slaves to places of refuge and safety.
MORTGAGE FREE – Scottish tradition holds that homeowners paint their front door red to signify that they had paid off their mortgage.
GOOD LUCK – Chinese consider red to be a lucky color and therefore many Chinese put a fresh coat of red paint on their front doors as part of their New Year celebration.
ENERGY – The principles of Feng Shui state that bold colors invite positive energy and that bold colors like red invite opportunities and abundance.
REMINDER – Although many claim Albert Einstein to be one of the most brilliant minds ever, he had his blind spots. Apparently, Einstein painted his front door red because he couldn’t remember which house was his without the red door.
The Rolling Stones – “Paint It Black”
Of course when Mick Jagger sees a red door he wants to paint it black. Something about those colorful red doors just makes him want to be dark and moody.
“Red Door…open it…”
Then there is always the fragrance “Red Door by Elizabeth Arden which is down right scary.
Lobster Landing is a traditional looking lobster shack in the harbor of Clinton, Connecticut on Long Island Sound.
This is one of those “lucky shots”. Driving around with my parents, showing me some places I hadn’t been before – photography gives one great excuses to explore. Timing just happened to be perfect. I just love all the junk around this place and the sunset was perfect.
Buy A Print or Product of Lobster Landing
“Lobster Landing Sunset” is available in a variety of fine art, museum quality prints on paper, metal, acrylic, canvas and even wood surfaces as well as on products and gift items such as mugs, tote bags, throw pillows and more! See all of the options here.
Best Lobster Roll according the Shoreline Times which said “A perfect New England lunch doesn’t require much prep, and the ingredient list is so short even the most forgetful can remember it — lobster, butter, roll, lemon. But there’s one element that can’t be found at the store — lobster shack magic.”
Clinton’s Lobster Landing, readers’ pick for Best Lobster Roll, owned by Enea (who just goes by ‘Bacci’) and Cathie Bacci….The Baccis have owned the century-old shack for nearly 20 years and combine their Italian tradition of eating lobster warm, with melted butter and lemon, and thus began the Lobster Landing legend.
The lobster roll is the main attraction of course is the lobster roll, described by local author Mike Urban in his book “Lobster Shacks,” )as “…chock full of buttery, fresh-picked meat…loading up the oversize bun until the lobster crowns out of the top.”
I didn’t go looking for this near tornado, but it found me! The storm chased us.
It was getting dark and cloudy but the storms looked far off the distance so we decided to take a bike ride down to the beach near the cottage we were renting on Prince Edward Island. About half way down to the beach we decided the storm was looking a lot worse so we biked like the dickens to get back to the cottage.
I took this shot from the porch. You can just see the Cape Tyron light house in the distance, just poking its head over the wheat field. I think if this cloud touched down it would have been a tornado. When the rain finally hit it was so intense it started pouring in the closed windows!
The bottom section stared out as a long cloud tube and then when it reached the end of the island it started bending back and wrapping into a more circular shape and the upper section started to join it. Crazy!
This month I find myself featured on the home page of Arcangel. My partnership with the image agency and boutique stock agency has lead to my photographs gracing the covers of a whole host of International book cover, novels and illustrating magazine articles.
This little video created with Adobe Spark highlights some of the book covers my photographs have appeared on.
Sometimes the image is taken as is, other times its used as one element in the over all composition. Book cover designers and image buyers can view my complete portfolio of over 800 atmospheric, moody and intriguing images as picked by the editors of Arcangel at: http://www.arcangel.com/C.aspx?VP3=SearchResult&VBID=2U1HZO14HCW8
Or simply put “Edward Fielding” in the search box.
My portfolio contains a wide range of diverse topics from still lives to models to cars to environments to landscapes to interiors.
Arcangel was founded in 2004 with the aim of supplying clients with the types of images that previously could only be commissioned. With offices in the UK, US, France and Spain they continue to offer a first class service with the primary objective of helping our clients find the right images or creative stock footage for their projects.
Their clients include international book publishers, record labels, advertising and design agencies and magazine publishers.
They represent some of the most imaginative and talented international photographers and videographers working in the industry today. The collections contain over 300.000 online searchable images and footage clips with new ones added daily.
Arcangel are full members of PACA (Picture Archive Council of America), BAPLA (British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies) and BVPA (The German Association of Picture Libraries).
This short video highlights selections of my fine art photography offerings shown on display in homes and offices.
Fine Art Photography
The video shows large metal prints and framed artwork suitable for making an impact in a living room or office environment. Sizes from small to large as well as various framing styles from metal prints to framed and matted gallery style artwork is available. You can customize your order with paper, matt and frame choices or order prints rolled in a tube to be framed by yourself or at a local frame shop.
Here are links to the fine art photography examples shown in the video.
Classic neon sign outside of O’Rourke’s Diner a landmark on the North End of Middletown, Connecticut’s main street. Fine art photography by Edward M. Fielding
The diner was established in 1941 by John O’Rourke, who later brought the 1946 Mountain View diner car that anchored the diner’s distinctive appearance into Middletown.
About the image: Here the delicate and innocent flower is represented in white while the background of rough, old wood is allowed to go dark. The background is a find from a local barn restoration company. They tell me that it is a raccoon stretcher used to skin raccoon. Just one of the many interesting things the barn company finds when salvaging old barns in New Hampshire and Vermont. The wood has wonderfully deep cracks and is shaped kind of like a small ironing board. You can see nail marks in it from where the held down the animal. Nice huh? And you thought it was all just about a pretty flower.
A pair of classic Adirondack chairs on the shore of Mirror Lake in the town of Lake Placid, NY in the heart of the Adirondack park in New York state.
A yellow lifeguard tower stands watching over an empty beach on Maui, Hawaii.
The famous surfboard fence just off the Road to Hana on the island of Maui in Hawaii. Photography Hawaii born photographer Edward M. Fielding
It’s that time of year again! End of school, start of summer, Father’s Day and the annual hot air balloon festival in Quechee, Vermont.
Now in its 37 year, the Annual Quechee Hot Air Balloon Craft and Music Festival will be held on Fathers Day Weekend – June 17th, 18th, 19th, 2016.
70 Village Green Circle
Quechee, VT United States 05059
Father’s Day Weekend
Number of balloons: 20
Year began: 1979
The longest continuously running Hot Air Balloon Festival in New England features over 20 hot air balloons, with 5 flights, over 60 craft artisans and commercial vendors. Children’s activities, festival food, a beer and wine garden!
Gates open at 3PM on Friday and at 5:30AM on Saturday and Sunday!
PARKING INCLUDED IN ADMISSION!
Only $15.00 for adults, $5 for children ages 6 yrs-12 yrs and free for 5 yrs and under!
Admission Tickets for the festival grounds are good for the entire weekend.
About Hot Air Balloon Festivals in general
Watch the weather and be ready to wait for the winds to die down. Hot air balloons in the U.S. can only take off in winds of ten miles per hour or less by regulation. If wind speeds exceed this there is no point in going to the site as no launching will occur. Note that in some countries balloons can take off in windy weather.
In the US spectators are allowed to approach the balloons, and many balloonists will allow you to approach very closely. Even though balloons are typically tethered when they are being inflated, there are tremendous forces present. These forces can make approaching too closely dangerous as wind speed increases, so use good judgment and follow ground crew directions carefully.
Balloons do not normally take-off in the afternoon since wind speeds and gusts are normally higher in the afternoon than at sunrise. They also do not take off if there are thunderstorms within 50 miles of the launch site.
I’ve been to the Quechee Hot Air Balloon fest once where there was no wind at all and some of the balloons actually landed back down on the launch field! I’ve been to another one with more wind and the balloons were out of site very quickly! Best to plan to be at all the launching during the weekend. Don’t think you’ll just show up at the last one of the weekend – it might get cancelled due to weather.
What does it feel like to be in the middle of a hot air balloon launch?
Tips for Hot Air Balloon Photography
Its extremely difficult to take bad photographs at a hot air balloon festival! I mean seriously folks! Usually the launches are at the golden hours of the day – early morning or evening. The subject is BIG, COLORFUL and FUN! The background is typically blue sky or puffy clouds. That said here are some tips.
Things happen very quickly during launch and landing and you need to know how to operate your camera and be prepared to adjust quickly to changing light or opportunities. Mobility is important. Forget your landscape skills like shooting manual, mirror lockup, manual focus, timer remote, … They won’t help you.
Arrive early when the balloons are just starting to be set up. This will allow you to view the balloons as they arrive and select one or two attractive ones to focus on. If you are shooting commercially you may need model releases for any identifiable people. Editorial use like for a newspaper is ok.
If any balloons have annoying advertising on them, try to purchase a ticket for THAT balloon. This way all of your photographs will include all of the other balloons.
More Tips for Photographing Hot Air Balloons
DON’T GET IN THE WAY OR HEAVEN FORBID STEP ON A BALLOON!
Limit your photography to a small number of balloons and follow them through the flight process. I prefer yellow or orange colored balloons as these colors complement blue skies, and look best during the balloon glow.
Leave the tripod at home unless you are shooting video. You need to be mobile to get the best angle and to get out of the way of the balloons.
If the flights occur right at sunrise you might need to boost your ISO to keep your shutterspeed fast.
Get in close. Shoot some abstract shots. Shoot some details. Its only electrons. Bring a big SD card and fill it up!
Normal zooms work best during the launch and landing. For shots of balloons in the air a long telephoto is best. Move around to compose and look for the best light. Pack light so you aren’t saddled down with a bunch of equipment. If you are busy changing lenses, you will miss the take offs.
Even more photography tips for Balloon Festivals:
Shoot from low so you can, you can eliminate extraneous background by doing so.
Use a polarizer to improve blue skies and eliminate glare. Blue skies can easily be improved using a digital polarizing filter, and glare sometimes reduced with a digital haze filter. Digital enhancing filters can also improve the yellows and reds effectively.
Try shooting some backlit shots by placing the sun behind a balloon. Even though balloons move slowly in the sky, you’ll need to work fast and anticipate where the sun will be.
Include the surroundings. Look for framing elements.
At the Balloon Glow event light levels will be low. Boost your ISO to 1600 and use a tripod or monopod.
If you go on several nights, look for other vantage points. Everyone is shooting at the launch site. What about a more scenic area near the festival which would be enhanced with a colorful balloon in the scene? It all depends on the wind but many balloons like to dip in nearby water as a thrill to the passengers.
The beginner photographer approaches a scene, raises their camera and “takes” the picture. A seasoned photographer “works” the scene, studying all the possibilities of composition from various angles. Unless you work out all of the possibilities of a scene, you don’t come away with the best possibility. Often this requires revisiting a scene more than once, perhaps in different seasons.
This old barn complex in Windsor, Vermont is eye catching when driving by with its complex arrangement of buildings, weathered boards, red painted doors etc but capturing the feeling of the place is different than snapping a shot from the road. You have do actually engage in the landscape and explore the various angles and arrangements of the composition. Bottom line is to get into the scene and make an photograph rather than take a snapshot.
Below are some photographs of this area taken at different times of the year as well as some thoughts by other photographers on how to work a scene in photography.
“Making a picture just right takes time, even when the thing you’re photographing isn’t moving. Instead, you do the moving — closer, not so close — change lenses, commit to a tripod, micro compose some detail, step back, reconsider, recompose, repeat. And when it looks right it also feels right — just so.” — Sam Abell, from The Life of a Photograph
“The compositional dance is about figuring out a way to move you and your camera, which in turn moves the smallest of details inside your viewfinder for maximum visual impact. You can make use of all photographic techniques to create the atmosphere or emotion you are feeling and want to transmit. It’s about recognizing and understanding what it is that attracted you to the subject matter in the first place, and then determining — through concentration and instinct — how best to communicate those feelings through the photograph.” – Steve Simon
“We don’t always have the time or opportunity to revisit a given scene many times in order to make ourselves happy; however, we should at least be convinced that we have produced the best possible image given the limitations of our own visit. This means that even if a scene is immediately interesting/ arresting, the first image may not necessarily be the best one. Sometimes our instincts are right, sometimes our timing is lucky, and it is; more often than not, there’s always something to be improved.
If you take a look at the work of great photographers immediately before and after a famous image – the Magnum Contact Sheets book is highly recommended for this because it puts the chosen frame in context of what happened immediately before/ after by showing the rest of the frames on the roll – you’ll see that they all have something in common: they spend a lot of time experimenting with variations on the same basic idea, exploring options, and usually end fairly soon after getting the shot they want.” – Ming Thein
“If you’re walking around a city or village and you stop to take a photo, that means something caught your eye (enough to make you stop and photograph it, right?). Don’t just take one shot, shrug your shoulders, and move on. Remember, something made you stop, so there’s probably something there, and taking one quick snapshot probably won’t uncover it.
Your job as a photographer is to “work that scene” and find out what it was that captured your attention. The first step is simply to slow down—stop, look around for a moment, and see what it was that drew your eye in the first place. Was it the color, was it a doorway, an archway, was it some little feature, or something big? If you can figure it out, then you’ll know what to shoot, but more often than not, we can’t exactly describe what it was that made us stop and shoot, but it definitely was something.
Your job is to find it, and to work that scene by trying these techniques: (1) Shoot the area with different focal lengths—shoot a few shots in really wide angle, then try 100mm, then zoom in tight, and see what you find. Stop and look at your LCD to see if you’re getting close. If you see something that looks like it has possibilities, then (2) try changing your viewpoint. Shoot it from a very low angle (get down on one knee) or try shooting it from above (look for stairs you can shoot from or a rooftop angle). This can make the shot come alive. If that looks really good and you’re getting close to nailing the shot, then (3) try varying your white balance (try changing it to Cloudy and see if having the shot look warmer looks better, or try Shade for a warmer look yet). Try all these things (work the scene) and my guess is one of those shots will bring a big smile to your face.” – Scott Kelby