Monday, April 30, 2012

Final Nature Portfolio

While spending the whole semester shooting nature photography I really started to appreciate the up close beauty of nature.  This project follows the theme of getting up close with nature, trying to focus on details and unique perspectives that is not always captured or appreciated through the naked eye.  One can certainly truly appreciate the beauty of nature through traditional scenic shots, but I like to get really close to things and show everything that is beautiful, magnificent, unique, etc... on its own.  

This project is supposed to help the viewer focus on one thing per photograph, instead of overwhelming the viewer with a wide angle scenic shot, in these photos I have isolated the subject by getting close to it and allowing it to fill most of the frame.  

I also tried to get unique angles of the subject.  While photographing I was often crouched down in often slightly painful and uncomfortable positions to get the angles I wanted.  I did not want to take the typical downward facing photograph of things, I wanted to mix it up, force the viewer to imagine and think about the context of these photographs.  From immersing myself into a plot of tulips, to laying down next to a stream, to crawling in the mud, I did whatever it took to get interesting angles for all of my photographs. 

The purpose of this project is to get the viewer to realize that nature is not always what is right in front of you.  Nature is not just beautiful HDR scenes of mountains and valleys.  Nature is crawling in the mud, and there is so much unique beauty around us all the time, but you have to search for it.  You have to tilt your head at a 45 degree angle to see the beauty sometimes, you have to get in uncomfortable positions sometimes, but when you take the time you can find that there are so many extraordinary visions that are so often ignored or missed.  

I want people to be inspired to look more closely at nature, and to find new perspective in seemingly normal things.  I want people to be inspired to not ignore the beauty that can be seen when you are not afraid to get a little muddy.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Abandoned Turnpike

On Saturday April 21 my nature photography class took its final trip of the semester.  We went to the Abandoned Turnpike which is near Breezewood, PA.  This trip was different than all of the other trips we have taken.  We got to the turnpike, parked, and proceeded to walk about a mile on the abandoned road to the tunnel.  Along the road was "nature" and that provided photo opportunities.  Once we got to the tunnel we saw that a lot of the outside and the visible inside was covered with some rather profane graffiti.  But it was completely abandoned.  Walking through the tunnel was an experience, it was cold, dark, and kind of wet, and very echoey.  The tunnel itself was a little over a mile long.  Once we got to the other side we saw more graffiti, and some of us went upstairs in the tunnel, which was pretty cool.  

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mt. Davis

On Saturday April 14 we took a trip to Mt. Davis, the highest point in Pennsylvania.  I was kind of uninspired by Mt. Davis however.  The view from the observation tower was beautiful, but other than that everything will still kind of dead and dreary, and I was not able to get really strong photos.  I wanted to get more pictures to use for my final portfolio, so as usual I was trying to get really close to things.  Since most everything was dead at this park I was on the look out for life, something green.  I did find a few living things, and came out with some decent photographs.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Brookfield Zoo

I knew I was not going to be able to attend the Zoo trip with my Nature Photography class, so while I was at home for a weekend I went to the zoo with my cousin and her nephew.  I've photographed at the Pittsburgh Zoo plenty of times, so I was not really excited for this assignment, I figured I would end up getting a lot photos similar to what I already have.  While a few of my photographs were similar to past zoo photos I've taken, I did get some photos that I was impressed with.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Waukegan Beach

For the photograph on your own assignment I decided to get away from the PA State Parks and Pittsburgh Urban Parks and try something different.  So while I was at home in Waukegan, Illinois for a few days I ventured down to the beach, which is just a short drive from my house, to take photos.  I went as the sun was setting, hoping it would give a different look to my photos since all of our trips happen in the morning when the sun is coming up.  The original intention was to try and see the moon rising over the lake since it was a full moon, but unfortunately it was too hazy after the sun was set.  Nevertheless I got good photographs on the beach. 

The Waukegan Beach is full of all these sand dunes, and looking at the beach it looks like a bunch of sand mountains, I have never been to another beach with these sand dunes, so I really like the uniqueness of this beach.

Since I was there at dusk I was able to get these really warm tones in my photos, which I liked because they look so different from all the other photographs I have taken for this class.  

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Stephen Chalmers

On Friday March 30, photographer Stephen Chalmers came to speak at Point Park University about his project titled “Unmarked.”  When I heard about what this series was about I was immediately intrigued.  Chalmers takes photographs where serial killers have dumped their victims.  I thought this was a really interesting project to do, and something I had never heard of, so I was excited to see his images and hear him speak.   In talking about his work Chalmers said that he likes to see how sites of trauma or where trauma happened can heal from that trauma.  He also said with his photos he is trying to dey information to the viewer through the photo, he wants the viewer to think.  
While I really like the idea of his project, I was not terribly impressed with the photographs themselves.  A lot of them look like just snapshots, and they were not really remarkable.  I was really hoping the photographs would be really intense and intriguing to go along with his purpose for shooting them, but to me they just weren’t.  

Here's a link to his work:

Monday, March 26, 2012


Early on St. Patrick's Day my nature photography class took a trip to Ohiopyle State Park, a little over an hour away from downtown Pittsburgh.  The weather for this trip was absolutely gorgeous, our best weather yet I think.
                                                                                                                                                                  The first area of the park we were at was the cascading falls, a pretty magnificent water fall.  Instead of dedicating all my time photographing the waterfall I was getting close up to the water moving along various rocks in the river.
 I really liked photographing the water up close, I think it gives it a unique look.  I did not have a tripod with me to make the water look silky so I took the opposite approach and shot at a pretty high ISO and used a high shutter speed.
 There were a lot of muddy spots at Ohiopyle which actually made for great photographs.  The reflections in the mud were beautiful and the sunlight was just right.  I liked contrasting the dirty mud with the green tuft of grass in the photo below, and I was able to get really close to get the water droplets, the photo below is my favorite from the whole trip.

And of course there was spring in the air, and an area of grass that was filled with these flowers.