Make familiar look strange
When others stop shooting, I keep going
Some photographers think the only light to shoot in is early morning or late evening. When I go on a trip I want to make the most of every hour. Every photograph is a lesson. The more lessons you have the better your decisions. I always play a game I learned from my second photography teacher, Mark Flanders. He had an exercise to make a familiar object look strange. Even when I walk into a restaurant I get bored waiting for food so I take pictures. I am working on a book called "Three Cameras Walked into a Bar." Join the FREE membership and I'll let you know when it is done. All of the images below were taken mid day. All of them have sold at least once.
Now everyone, whether you are a photographer or not, can be taught to make the familiar look strange. You can be taught to see and understand other people's feelings and points of view, or learn to solve problems and be creative. The mind works from the five senses. That's how we learn. Sight is stronger than all the other senses combined. It is from our input that we "construct" our neurological pathways that create feelings, emotions and eventually actions. By expanding our capabilities we develop neurological muscles. That is the basis of my 38 section e-course "Photo-Storming." Join the FREE membership and I'll let you know when I open it up. It is also a pre-requisite to my signature course "Value of an image" which combines the image with neurology. Don't worry I make it easy to understand.
Scroll down to get to #1and don't forget to read the copy for an explanation and a few tips.
# 10 Down at the carwash
There's always an image right in front of you. This one was taken with my cell phone. The best camera to have is the one in your hand. In this case, I put the camera in Portrait mode that gave me a smaller depth of field. The quality of iPhones is getting so good I was able to make this a 20x30. If you ever want to quickly check the depth field on any camera simply cross your eyes and focus on your nose. It is actually fairly accurate. Just don't let your customer catch you doing that. They will think you are weird. I might have to put this is a New York art gallery for several thousands. The higher the price, the easier the sell. People want valuable things.
# 9 Backlit underbelly
This is another one taken at high noon. To bring out the vibrant green I shot the underside of the plant at a low camera angle. The sun was behind the plants.
I once knew a pet photographer who photographed pets on a sheet of plexiglass. With dogs and cats you could seen their paw prints. My favorite was the turtle. What an interesting underbelly. She made a killing on those prints. She would sometimes put a food under the plexiglass to get the pet to look down and stick out their tongue.
Always look at anything you do from different viewpoints.
# 8 This one floored me
This was the floor boards of a thrift shop on Route 66. The floor had been painted many times over the years, but not in the last 15. I had a heyday in that store. Think I had at least 15 keepers just in that store. Histrory is always an interesting subject. And you never know when something will disappear forever. Take it when you see it. These floor boards did not look as interesting from a 90 degree angle. That is why photographers always say one more shot - light and camera angle can change the feeling completely.
# 7 Blood from the window
Always ask yourself "What is the most important part of this image. When you see it, zoom in and take just that. This was a house in Burano, Italy. When I asked myself that question I came up with this. One of my mentors just out of college was Barton Atteberry. I used to spend hours at his house talking photography.
I was teaching high school photography at the time and he loved to come to my class and give talks on photography. Interesting that he eventually went into teaching and I went into full time photography. I remember him saying that anyone can get a great capture of an interesting subject, but a true professional photographer has to get a great capture from an uninteresting subject - like say an apple orchard. He was always looking for the essence. Bart had a big influence on my ability to see.
And now I ask you, who has a big influence on you, in whatever you do? We need that to keep our neurons firing on all cylinders. I am constantly looking for challenges. I focus more on what I will do, rather than what I have done. This way I always have something to look forward to. My plate is always full.
# 6 House of Blues
Sometimes I come up with the title BEFORE I take the picture. This was another house in Burano, Italy. I spent three days there while I met with some German Artificial Intelligence doctors on my Tomaras Image Theory (TIT) which basically says everything we do is a constructive formula traced back to our 5 senses, but primarily our sight. That happens to be the one sense AI has not been able to quantify. They offered me a seven figure 3 year contract but I turned them down because being close to my wife who has dementia was more important to me.
If you want to know more about TIT I discuss it in my courses on "Qualities of Light" and "Value of an Image." See you will never forget the acronym for Tomaras Image Theory, it is proof that my theory works. I have people swearing at me because they can't get my theory out of their heads. The bright side of it is, you will increase your respect for an image and it will improve your thinking capabilities.
So anyway this one is called The House of Blues for an obvious reason.
# 5 Chocolate Bark
This is actually the bark of a Madrona Tree. Now you can tell I am from the Pacific Northwest because it is the only place in the world they pronounce the Madrone Tree, Madrona. The bark flakes and peels in the summer. I took this close up shot and asked others what they thought it was. That is the fun of these "Make the familiar look strange" images. One person thought it was chocolate. Thus the title of the image was born.
# 4 Blues on the Water
I have always been fascinated with reflections and colors. This image has rough and smooth and the blue green color is the opposite of the red yellow. Plus it has a diagonal dividing line that creates action. That action along with the wave creates an imaginary sound of a gentle wave. That sound is one of the few sounds that create electromagnetic energy in our bodies. Something that scientist are just now discovering how important electromagnetic energy is to our health. That makes this a perfect image for medical buildings.
# 3 Hard Body
Have you every looked at the clouds and said; "That cloud looks like a flying bird?" We don't store an image, like Mom in a brain file cabinet. Neuroscientists have discovered that we break it down to the 9 Qualities of Light. Those qualities are stored in different part of the brain. We know this from fMRIs. Color may go to one spot and contrast may go to another spot and so on. When we want to think of Mom again we have to bring all those qualities back together. At any time we can mix and match those qualities. If we want to think of Mom with a mustache we can do that too. That is how we think, create and even dream those weird dreams.
So when we see something in the clouds, it is from a neurological pattern that our brain previously formed and we start to recognize it before we form a complete picture. We have called that imagination, but it is actually a strong neurological constructive pattern wrapped in a myelin sheath of the neurons axons. Our mind is constantly trying to fill in the blanks. Consequently, it's why I named this image Hard Body. Of course I could have named it Beauty Bark or Tomaras Image Theory.
# 2 History of The Steps
I'm not sure how long these steps have not been walked on, in this centuries old town of Rouge, France. But knowing how cells multiply you are looking at 2 to 4 years depending on the moisture content of the time. Anyway it created a form and texture that clients like, so who am I to argue. That is the advantage of being "Constructive," we are all different. Kind of reminds me of Bob Ross, "it's your canvas you can do what you want with it. If you want a little bird on the steps go ahead and paint it in.
Guess I am trying to influence you to take the Qualities of Light or Photo-Storming courses when they come out. Just sign up for the FREE membership site and I will keep you posted.
# 1 Are You Looking at Me
In this case, of Making the Familiar Look Strange, the focus is on the fountain, but the out of focus painted wall mural in the background brings attention to it. We try to mirror what the person in the background is doing - starring at the fountain. Don't worry, mirroring is a human function that we have all had since birth. Maybe before birth. That is one of our first learning tools.
And you should never stop learning if you want to keep your mind sharp. Never accept that's good or OK. Always go for excellence. Learning, strengthens
the myelin sheaths that protects axons and dendrites from black plaque and tangles. Invest time, effort, and money in education and learning. More so then material things.
OK I'm off my soapbox.