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Archive for the ‘photoblog’ Category

Moon Over Lake Nockamixon

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Palisades Gallery for my show opening last night – what a great time!  I didn’t get a chance to talk with everyone because it was so well-attended, so if I missed you, please forgive me.   Send me a note and let’s catch up!

Special thanks to those who came from quite a distance – especially the Hofmann boys! – and to my good friend, Moe Telsichs, for the flowers.  

Hope you caught the full lunar eclipse on the way home – it was gorgeous.

Here’s the statement that accompanies the 24 images in my show:

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Between 1982 and 1997, America converted over 25 million acres of rural land — primarily farmland, pastures and ranches — into subdivisions, malls, workplaces, roads, parking lots, et al. That’s about equal to the combined land mass of Maine and New Hampshire.

We’ve been developing 2 million acres of rural land per year for the last 20 years.

If the trend continues, America will develop an additional 85 million acres of countryside by 2050. That’s about equal to the combined land mass of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Virginia.

WHAT DO WE GAIN AND WHAT DO WE LOSE?

We gain infrastructure, homes, roads, shops, schools, parking spaces, hotels, resorts and jobs.

We lose wetlands, woodlands, hundreds of species of plants and wildlife, clean water, the ability to grow our own food, and as recent studies have shown, our mental & physical health, and our sense of well-being.

I want my photographs to help Americans question the worth of our land above & beyond its monetary value.

How much is an open horizon worth to us?

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Jakey’s Gloves and Jacket

I recently recommended an inexpensive but excellent lens to Becky over at Moontree Arts:  the Canon 50mm f/1.4.  Becky’s just getting into the art of photography and it’s a superb starter lens.  But after talking with her, I realized I haven’t used my own 50mm lens since I bought the Canon 85mm f/1.2L (mmm, mmm good) in July 2006! So I put the 50mm back to work to rediscover its charms.

If you’ve sold your soul (and waistline) to zooms and wide angles over the years, or if you’re on a budget, a 50mm lens is worth thinking about. If you need a nudge, consider that Henri Cartier-Bresson used only his 50mm lens for everything from portraits to landscapes.  I think I understand why: the 50mm offers a highly personal view of what’s being photographed.

The great color photographer Ernst Haas said, “The best zoom lens is your legs.”  Why?  Because a fixed focal length lens like the 50mm gets you immediately involved:  you must be entirely conscious of your place and your angle because you can only zoom with your legs.  You must think about your composition with your mind and your body.  The result has a delicious and natural subjectivity, further enhanced at 50mm because that’s the focal length most similar to what we observe with our own eyes.  

A 50mm shot is a personal, physical view — the very voice of a photographer.  That seems like reason enough to use a 50mm lens, but its natural look gives the observer a direct experience as well, as if he or she was there when the image was taken.

Most 50mm lenses are pretty fast (f/1.4 – f/1.8) and relatively cheap.  The ability to shoot in low light with a gorgeous, addictive bokeh and a price tag under $300 make most 50mm lenses a great value for the money.

I should mention that if you’re shooting with a typical DSLR (the Canon Digital Rebel XT, for example) you’ll need a 35mm lens to get the effect of a 50mm lens because of the digital sensor’s 1.5x crop.  Using a 50mm on the Rebel will get you a 75mm view, which is the ideal focal length for portraits.

By the way, here’s a landscape and a dog portrait I shot with the 50mm on my Canon 5D last Sunday.  And the shot of Jakey’s gloves that accompanies this article was shot yesterday with the 50mm on the 5D.

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House on Applebutter Road Near Bethlehem 

Last weekend I learned that some folks in Durham Township are “scared to death” of my photoblog and my photography.  My first thought was:   Is my work that bad?  🙂 My second thought was: That might be a bit naive.

There’s a misperception that my lovely photos of Durham are going to bring busloads of house-hunters and developers from around the globe, resulting in exhausted water supplies, higher school & property taxes and the destruction of the area’s rural nature, among other evils.  

Perhaps these well-intentioned folks don’t understand that my worldwide influence simply isn’t that great.  (Maybe after my first appearance on Oprah, ha!)  My photoblog traffic is pretty good for a photoblog, but it’s a tiny fraction of overall internet traffic. And I’ve been running the site for five years and still don’t know anyone who moved to Durham because of it.  (I wonder how many people would uproot their entire lives because of photos they saw on the internet?) 

Perhaps these well-intentioned folks don’t understand that my intent is to protect rural areas from development by raising awareness of the natural beauty we have here in Bucks County and the Lehigh Valley.  I want to inspire folks to save the land, to support urban renewal, to vote for open space initiatives and to update their townships’ Comprehensive Plans so when (not if) development comes, it is well-managed and sustainable.

What do you think?

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