Tuesday, November 25, 2008

You need to think about more than just tripping the shutter.

How many times do you come across an eye popping scene? I mean something that you really stop to look at and just stand there awestruck? You get out your camera, bring it up to your eye, and depress the shutter...Hey! that image is really lacking the impact of the scene here that I am staring at....

Your eyes see differently than a camera. They have a different field of view, and they react to the light differently, so you need to be more than just a shutter snapper. You need to be a PHOTOGRAPHER. One of the skills you need to exercise is being a translator. You need to translate the scene for the photograph. There are many other senses involved in what you see than just your eyes.

What you hear, what you feel, what you taste, and what you smell all go into the overall presentation of what you are seeing. "How is that possible?" you might be thinking. Bear with me here. I'm going to exaggerate for effect.

You are at the seaside, and witness a beautiful scene of some flowers on a dune. It's incredibly beautiful to you at the moment and worth capturing to your CCD or film. Wait. Think for a second. What else is making the scene so darn "scenic" to you? You smell the salt air.You feel the ocean breeze on your face. You feel the sand compressing under your feet. You hear some gulls squawking as they ride the breezes overhead.You taste the salt in the air. All of these things are contributing to how you feel about what you are seeing.

Now what you need to do is translate this feeling to your image. Have you ever wondered why some images that appear to have such great potential look so "sterile"? No feeling. No passion. No vision. No heart. They just don't stir anything inside of you. Lousy translation.

Your next question is "OK Mr. Smarty Pants, how do I do this "translation" thingy you are talking about?"

I'm not telling you. I'm not telling you because I can't tell you. I don't know what you are feeling and seeing and hearing at these moments of epiphany. Only you know that. It's your job to tell me.

You're the artist, so art.

You need to be more than just a mechanic.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


The last several times that I had planned a morning walkabout, my hopes had been squashed by unwelcome precipitation. Even though rain had settled in on us for the last couple days. I had my alarm set for zero dark thirty this morning in hopes that the mist and drizzle would subside for just a little while.

Just as the black outside my window was starting to turn to a slightly less black, my four year old strode into the bedroom to tell his mother that he was up. She very nicely reminded him that daddy wanted to get up early today to go out with his camera, so he walked around the bed and put his little hand on my shoulder.

Gently shaking me, "Daddy, do you still want to get up early?"

I trained my ear to the outdoors and could hear the rain thumping on the roof of the shed in the yard. Like an unwanted house guest that didn't know when to leave, the rain was really starting to annoy me. I peeled my eyelids back, and sat up on the edge of the bed, contemplating a plan of action. "Get back under the quilt and go back to sleep" was leading in the polls, but "Get your butt up and go out shooting anyways" came up from behind to score the surprise victory.

I got myself dressed, and threw a few logs into the wood stove. Grabbing my camera bag and tripod, I stopped at the refrigerator for a can of Coke to infuse my system with some much needed caffeine. As I walked out the front door, I was greeted by the cold, wet, dark air. Going back to bed was sounding better, but I was already this far. No sense turning back now.

I haven't shot in three days now, and my trigger finger was getting itchy. Speaking of shooting, to top it all off, it's deer season too, and I'm out in the dark dressed in black. I'm going to have to be careful out in those woods.

Scott Bulger Photography

Scott Bulger Photography

Scott Bulger Photography

“I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”
Thomas Jefferson 1762-1826

Monday, November 3, 2008

We Now Return to our Regularly Scheduled Programming

Halloween is over, so we can put aside the silliness for another year. No more Trick or Treating, haunted hayrides (or hayrides of any sort), wearing goofy costumes, or being forced to listen to "The Monster Mash". It's nice to have the brief respite every year where kids of all ages are allowed, and even encouraged, to act ........ well ....... silly, but it's time to get back to the business at hand.

There is a certain elegance to autumn. The air is clean and crisp, you have to wear an additional layer or two of clothing, and the smell of wood burning in fireplaces permeates the air. Life is winding down and preparing for the long New Hampshire winter. Root systems are recalling the life force from the vegetation to store it for next springs rebirth. Flowers and leaves dry out, shrivel up, and fall, finding their way back to the soil from whence the sprung.

I'm not real big on the leaf peeping foliage stuff, but I do enjoy a good shriveled up flower or leaf. You see so many spring and summer flower shots, and they are nice, but it's kind of like shooting fish in a barrel. "Ooooooooooooh, ahhhhhhhhhhhh, pretty flower". How can you go wrong? (I take that back, I see plenty of them go wrong.)

I challenge you to photograph something dead and make it into art. Stretch those artistic muscles. push the envelope on your creativity. Feel free to post your photographs of "Dead" in my blog comments. FAIR WARNING: Photographs of people will be removed.

Scott Bulger Photography


By the way, does anyone have an extra Kit-Kat bar? I'm all out of the small ones and the big ones won't fit through the hole in my Halloween mask.

UPDATE: There have been a few people take me up on the challenge. Here is what they have come up with:

Beth Peardon
"Death is Coming"

House of Six Cats

"Light Luck"
Judi Fitzpatrick

by Ashlyn

by Karen Casey Smith

"Broken Gate"
by CVH