About Me

My photo
Ansel Adams once said that a true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words. He then went one to write volumes about his photographs, and he would apparently talk about them to anyone who would listen. So much for pithy quotes. Since this is my blog, I will ignore Ansel Adams, and I will use this space to share the stories behind some of my favorite photographs: what I saw when I created the images, how the photos came to be, and why they are important to me. Consider this a behind-the-scenes look at my creative process. If you like what you see here, please visit my photography website: RobertBurnsPhotography.com

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Portland Head Light (Maine) 10-3-06

Ansel Adams once said that there are two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer. The viewer of a lighthouse photograph often experiences a visceral reaction based on whatever meaning he or she attributes to the subject. Depending on one’s perspective, a lighthouse can be a metaphor for God, a spiritual leader, a teacher, a mentor, a parent, a trusted friend, a set of values, a guidepost, a ray of hope, a beacon of safety and stability, and even a symbol of male fertility.  As a photographer, I am a bit more pragmatic. I see a lighthouse as a visual focal point: an element of the photograph that is guaranteed to grab the viewer’s attention. A lighthouse is usually constructed and placed so that it towers above the surrounding landscape. This ensures that it captures, unencumbered, the first rays of the rising sun and the last rays of the setting sun. In this photograph, the late afternoon sun illuminates the lighthouse and makes it stand out from the surrounding landscape. Because the lighthouse is the brightest element in the image, the viewer notices it first. From there, the eye follows the S-shaped curves of the rocky coastline to the bottom of the photograph and then back up toward the lighthouse. The S-curve pattern is repeated in the clouds, mimicking the pattern of the shoreline. This is an HDR photo from three exposures processed and tone-mapped in Photomatix Pro. Topaz Adjust Mild Color Pop filter applied at partial opacity. Nik CEP Sunshine Filter applied at partial opacity. Final image adjusted in Photoshop. Canon 20D f/8 ISO 100 28-200mm lens @32mm. RobertBurnsPhotography.com