Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Photographing Metal Sculptures and Art Objects

I had the opportunity to photograph metal artwork for an artist friend who lives near Lynhurst Ontario. For those unfamiliar with this little village, it is about 45 km north of Kingston Ont. along Hwy 15.

Noah, the metal-sculpture artist, has a large manicured estate with a man-made pond that is just perfect to have his animal based artworks scattered all about. Almost like seeing a herd of deer in the fields. In fact I did mange to see one deer at the edge of his lawns. But having a couple of Noah’s dogs playing around me meant that I could not get close enough to the deer for a great shot.

The reflections on the screen worked to create great contrast with the darker pond water, which meant I didn’t have to do much to have the artwork stand out. Just moving about for greatest contrast. I cropped the right wind since it's a mirror of the other and including it would make it appear smaller.

Most of his sculptures are made out of scrap metal parts and therefore, for the most part, tend to have a dull rust color. Dark and mid-tone oranges do not usually stand out well against bright green fields.

Even the biker (bicycle and motorcycle) sculptures that have figures on them have muted tones in their clothing. To make them stand out better I desaturated the greens, as with the above example, to an almost grey tone to give the figures more prominence. There are 5 of these along the front near the road.

Some artworks, like the bug series below, are painted, but even here we still need to have darker background (hedge in shade) to give more punch to the colors.

Even in the above image with its strong yellow and reds, the green has been slightly muted.

Most of the bug pieces have long insect like legs but if you include the whole art piece then the main body parts become very small in the photo. Focus on the main sections but include just enough of other parts to give context to photo.

For some images I wanted the distortion created by a wide angle lens, where objects nearer are larger and distant objects becomes smaller than reality, to change the perspective in how we view the artwork.

I had to use HDR on the photos where I was looking up and a bright sky was behind the sculpture. In the above photo the rust is made more vibrant and the green and blue colors muted a bit.

I now know that I need to come back again when the sun is near the evening horizon so that for some sculptures the shadows will add to create a larger subject.

Who couldn't love this old Flintstones type car.

Some close-ups to focus on the texture of the artwork.

And finally a photo for the biker in all of us.

Many of his artworks can be seen on Noah's Metal Art and he also has a link with the Frontenac Arch Biosphere

And here's the photo of the deer in the field.

Niels Henriksen

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sections of Buildings in San Miguel de Allende

The photos displayed in the blog article focus mainly on parts or sections of buildings in San Miguel. While some photos, such as the image below, are clearly understood.  The rest have more of an abstract genre and for these the lines become the main compositional elements.

Within the city, the walls along with the sidewalks are continuous, except for the odd entrance to an inner courtyard or alley way.  In the photo above, this wall is most likely not part of a house, but used more as a high fence to an inner courtyard. Inside could be a rubble heap or a grand garden and fountain. Never knowing what you'll find behind these walls is one of the intriguing aspects of San Miguel.

On the  walls in the courtyard of Bellas Artes (the National Institute of Fine Arts)  these lanterns hang on the abutments on the adjacent walls. The darker brickwork along these abutments were darkened and made more gritter to enhance the texture of the lanterns.

This image is from the same courtyard of Bellas Artes, the photo above with the lanterns, but here I'm looking from across the street and the 3 curved protrusions are form the top of the outer wall.

Atotonilco is a UNESCO world historic site (church) about 20 mi out of San Miguel. It's only a short distance from here to the Hots Springs which is a favourite spot for many people in San Miguel. On Saturdays in the village (50 people)  there are many street vendors  selling unique religious objects.

Within the core of San Miguel is a Bull Fighting Ring. Only a few blocks from the central square (el Jardin) of the town. In the photo above you can just see the top the homes which abut to the walls all around the Bull Ring.  There were no events or spectators on this day and this allowed me to take photos of the beautiful curved lines of a circular bull ring.

While walking around I just couldn't resit this bit of abstraction with the 2 different lanterns and their corresponding shadows.

Niels Henriksen


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