Sunday, August 29, 2010

Art + Photography…

Today I got up way too early for a Sunday and had all of my typical household chores (groceries, cleaning, trash, dishes, laundry, etc.) done by around 9am. So I decided that it would be a good day to take the new camera out for some practice. Also since I recently became a member of the Dallas Museum of Art at a level that gets me into 130 other museums and galleries, I figured what a better way to practice than going to see the Ansel Adams exhibit at the Amon Carter in Fort Worth, TX.
Upon arriving at the Carter, the very nice and peppy young lady at the reception desk informed me of all of the areas where I could and could not use my flash (but I had come prepared to not use any flash at all, so this wasn’t a big deal). She also informed me that the Adams exhibit was on loan, and thus I was not allowed to take photographs in that gallery [thus why you will not see any Ansel Adams works below.]
I was lucky enough to walk into the Ansel Adams installation right before one of the curators offered to give a brief talk on the exhibit. I am always impressed by curators; the amount of seemingly endless stories they have about each piece of work is amazing…stuff you would never glean just by looking at the 4’x5’ plaque next to the photos.
Here are a few shots I took while at the Carter. First is a piece that I can’t remember the artist, but found it interesting that the work focused on the transmission lines near the Hover Dam. I think I shall carry this photo with me to all meetings I have with architects so them  that the systems I design as an electrical engineer are in fact worthy of being “art”.
These next images are all of the same Georgia O'Keefe painting. I was testing the exposure to see how best to photograph in low light without flash. None of these images do the work justice. I’m still learning how this works.
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After I left the Carter, I figured since I had driven all the way to Forth Worth, I might as well visit The Modern (also on my list of 130 reciprocal member museums and galleries with the DMA). The Modern not only has some great works, the building itself is awesome. Not to say that the Kimball (designed by Louis I. Kahn) or the Amon Carter (designed by Philip Johnson) aren’t impressive, they certainly are. But Tadao Ando’s use of rubbed concrete, Y-shaped columns and clean linear vocabulary is almost connected to what one visualizes when you use the word “Modern”
Outside The Modern is a towering work by Richard Serra called "Vortex". I tried to capture the clouds and the color of the sky. I tried shots without any filters and then with my UV filter to improve the glare. The photos below are the best of the bunch. First without a filter, the second with. Also messed with exposure on the second one to improve the trueness of the sky.
Once inside The Modern I again started to play with different features. The shots below are where I am adjusting the White Balance and exposure settings while shooting the same work in one of the lower level galleries.
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Like I said, the building itself is Art…here is a shot with clouds outside, clouds reflected off glass and clouds thru glass. If I had time I’d learn how to Photoshop out the incandescent lighting inside the gallery.
Next, trying to use reflection and blur to evoke the sense of movement. Not quite there.
Out of Focus tests
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I left I tried to play with the f-stop and zoom to blur objects in the background with varying levels of success.

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