after all

After

After the fall quickly leaves us we are left with the cold, the piles of dead leaves, the humbling realization that time is still moving forward with or without us. Winter, just around the corner, and for many of us, already well settled into place. It is a perfect time to reflect as the crisp air bites into our senses. I love the cold weather and as backwards as it may sound, my favorite part about the cold is getting warm. Is it not a wonderfully satisfying feeling to be bundled up and protected from the cold outside? I love the way a fire feels against my hands in the cold, the embrace of a good scarf around my neck, the chills that run through my body as I tense up and shiver when the cold sneaks in despite my efforts. It makes me feel alive, alert, ready. Then there is that overwhelming sense of calm that overtakes me when I get inside a warm building or under a blanket and the cold slowly starts to vanish from my senses.

Maybe I’m crazy but I have a lot of respect for the winter. If the fall is the season of change, then the winter is the season of reflection and rest. To me, it’s beautiful, a chance to get inspired, read, create, and recharge.  So here’s to a great start to the new season, I hope everyone can get as much love out of it as I manage to.

after

fell

Fell

The second photo from this years fall desktops is a classic in the sense that photographs such as this with a shallow depth have quickly become a defacto approach to shooting in an abstract or seemingly delicate way. To some cynics out there it is seen as taking a shortcut to getting a photo with apparent depth or a sense of awe. If you have been following 50ft for any length of time then you are well awaret that I have an affinity toward a shallow depth of field. I use it as a means to create negative space while composing an image where there often is none. I don’t think I have ever used shallow depth of field as a gimmick or because I was feeling lazy. For years now I have explored it as a means to simplify an otherwise complex world.

That said, I would like to share my point of view while shooting this way. If you stand and stare at an empty forest in the fall it is but a noisy, colorful blur, or to me, a blank canvas. As you wander forward through the leaves and branches, particles of light start to solidify and ideas bloom in your mind. Then as you explore different angles and viewpoints patterns begin to emerge and interesting shapes will form. You start to connect the dots into a beautiful self realized constellation of sorts and the forest comes alive. Using a wide aperture I can mimic this play of shape, light, and color with the lens and exploit the beauty that hides among the noise.

For years I have been discovering these sorts of hidden forms and using a wide aperture as means to pull forward details. Early on I came to realize that there is a large difference between abusing shallow depth simply to get all those pretty shapes and using it to a true advantage. The rules of composition still apply even when dealing with such abstract forms and a healthy amount of experience and exploration still has to go into the process to become refined. At any rate, pardon my musing on the subject, I hope you enjoy the fresh desktop!

autumn_daydream_desktopsmall.jpg

Autumn Daydream

As a photographer it sometimes feels impossible to resist the song of fall calling out to be photographed. It only comes once a year after all. This year has felt off somehow though, as if the trees are out of sync. Thankfully though, the past couple of days things seem to have started to fall into place. Trees are starting to glow their warm yellows and oranges and the light of the sun throug the trees combined with the crisp air seems to illuminate the calmness that the season brings. A season of transition and a time to relax and settle into the cold months of the year. This is the first of two or three fall images I will post before those last few desperate leaves manage to drift down.

The image was shot with my 5D along with my new Olympus 55mm lens, a fun combination that I am still only just now starting to explore. The only alteration from the original image was a boost in the highlights using a curve tool and a very slight tint in the shadows, further illustrating what you can accomplish without a heavy reliance on post processing.

west

West

To the East, the sun rises, days begin and the world winds itself up for another day. With the East we can find hope and a new beginning. To the West, however, the day cools with the setting sun and with it we find ourselves thrust forward into the darkness of the night. The West brings us closure, a time to reflect on what once was.

The image above could be seen in one of two ways, depending on you’re point of view. A glass half empty/half full sort of a vantage point. Ask yourself, do you see the beginning or do you see the end? For me, tonight, at the end of a busy few months showing one to many false impressions of slowing down to let me catch my breath, I am looking West.

This is another image shot with a fully manual Olympus OM lens on My 5D. It’s exciting to breathe new life into my old friend the 5D and I could swear I feel the same sense of nostalgia that I find when shooting film photographs through its soft, unique feel. I am also making available an alternate black and white image of the same scene because I enjoyed the way it altered the mood.

west bw

peel apart

Peel Apart

Last time you heard from me I mentioned my new Olympus lens and film camera endeavor and I have since had some time to mess around with the new lenses using a converter mount on my 5D. I find the possibilities of this really exciting and I can’t wait to explore it more. It has given me a number of great ideas and new things to explore which is something I adore about photography. It’s open ended mix of tech, chemistry, and art that I can continue to explore endlessly.

If you are a photographer and you are getting bored shooting I suggest you really think about why that is because there is just so much to discover within the medium. It’s so much more than just capturing the perfect moment and the same time its so much more than pixels or what new preset styles are trendy. For me its a lifestyle, it’s a part of who I am and its something I can feel proud of. Maybe it’s just the excitement of the ideas I have been working on lately but I am feeling pretty inspired.

The wallpaper this time around is from another few hours spent out at the lake. I had taken my land camera along to get a few more photos to experiment with polaroid transfers again. Its a lot of fun shooting with such a huge old camera and I love the polaroid format so hopefully it will become another source of great imagery in the future. I took this photo with my 5D and one of my new manual Olympus lenses mounted on the front. Surprisingly sharp and warm and as I mentioned above I can not wait to shoot more with these great old fully manual lenses.

55mm

55mm

I’m not sure what came over me but recently I made the decision to jump ship on my current main 35mm film camera, my Voigtlander R3M, and move over to an SLR. The decision was not because I don’t like shooting with the Voigtlander, I love that camera to death, I just felt it was time to try something new. Something fresh to experiment with. My first thought was immediately the Olympus Om series. I have had my eye on it for a long while now and after doing some research and deciding on a lens I went on an eBay hunt and ended up getting really lucky and found exactly what I was looking for in perfect shape for a fair price considering its condition.

I ended up with an OM-2n and the Zuiko 55mm f/1.2 lens seen above. It seemed unique and versatile and right up my prime loving alley. While I am still running through a couple of test rolls and the verdict is still out on how well of a fit it will end up really being I have a still have good feeling about it. I also ordered a simple converter for my 5D so I will be able to also use it with my digital work as well so all in all it’s a pretty exciting venture in my eyes. I will write more about the camera and my experience in the future but for now I wanted to leave you guys with a fresh wallpaper.

I was shooting the camera in its fresh new to me state at a coffee shop and sort of stumbled across this idea. The beautiful wide aperture and elements in the lens lent itself perfectly for the shot. The juxtaposition between the focusing ranges of the lens I shot the photo with and the 55mm lens as the subject is so perfect and my brother there, the always willing model for my little experiments, added a needed depth to the idea. It really does make for a great desktop because at its larger resolution you can see the details in both the close foreground focus as well as the distant room being engulfed the 55mm. I hope you enjoy it!

between_here_and_there_desktopsmaller.jpg

Between Here and There

Some of you may see the above photo and think, oh, an out of focus image, but look closer, or maybe further away. The way I see it, this image is very much in focus. It’s the way you automatically define it as out of focus upon first seeing it that insterests me. The photograph above is not of a landscape, it is of air in front of the camera, the space there but not seen. This is a photo for your imagination, your assumptions, and your skeptisism. The beauty of nothing should not be defined as a lack of visual focus, it’s the implied focus that makes it unique to each viewer.

So while you look at this dont look at it and try to focus your mind on what it appears to be but focus it on what isnt there. A face, a memory, your lunch, anything. It is open space there for your mind to assimalate with. It lets you visualize whatever it is you need to see there in front of you. Put simply, it’s not nothing, it’s not anything, it’s everything. Then again, maybe for you, the fuzzy memory of a lake may be just what you needed, either way, I hope you enjoy it.

I shot this while out at the lake again one afternoon, it was on my birthday actually, I was taking minimal photos of a stick of all things and this idea popped into my mind. The clouds and reflection of the water with the green all lined up with the great color of the late setting sun and just felt right. Thought it would be a nice one for all you minimal lovers out there.

here we wait

Here We Wait

When I noticed these chairs hiding behind a large abandoned truck trailer I knew I had to shoot them. Problem was that it was a work day and I was on my way to a concert with a fully loaded truck of audio gear. A quick split second glance is all it usually takes to know when you have something potentially interesting on your hands. Making your way through the network of tiny highways in the U.S. you find all kinds of interesting things to shoot, something admitadly I don’t do it often enough. I made a point on the way back home, where I had another event waiting for me, to stop for a couple of minutes to grab a few shots of the piles of colorful chairs.

While under the watchful arm of the minute hand I made a quick survey of the old chairs and was thankful for the decent afternoon light to work with. I shot my way through the piles grabbing as many different interesting viewpoints as I could manage in a short period of time and while I was left with a bunch of mediocre, rushed imagery in the end I did manage to salvage a couple of nice desktop images to share here.

here we wait again

I typically don’t lean on post work to heavily, this time around I made an exception and utilized a fair amount of bending to the curves, added a bit of color tinting, and a touch color specific luminance control to help a weird white balance saturation issue in my yellows. I realize it’s a bit on the heavy side but I felt it would be fun to lay it on a bit thick this go round.

I mention this because while I do encourage others to push out a reliance on post work to make images there are times where you just have to do what you have to do to grab a shot quickly and then use what tools you have available to you to clean things up later on. I have decided to post thumbnails here so those interested can see what I started with before cleaning these images up and helping them stand on their own. The images below are straight out of the camera, not horrible but because the sun had not quite reached its full potential I used post tools to help them get closer to what I wanted to capture.

here we before

distant

Distant

At the end of a day spent beside a lake near Seoul the landscape was kind enough to give us a wonderfully gentle sunset. The dim orange glow of the sun ducked behind a tree and things turned a dim, peachy grey. This combined with a still lake and quiet surroundings made for a great evening before heading back into the city. I left the colors to mimic the shade of the evening rather than exaggerating them becuase it makes for a more relaxed image in my eyes. I have had a number of inqueries lately about my color processing and the short answer is that I rarely make much of any adjustments to color and much of what you see among desktops around here come straight off the camera, no presets or tinkering outside of a little white balance and curve work and the occasional tint of color in the shadows to give a subtle nostalgia. I will be sure to write more about this in the future.

To whom it may concern,

IMAGES FOUND WITHIN FIFTYFOOTSHADOWS.NET ARE ©JOHN CAREY AND MAY NOT BE USED FOR ANY COMMERCIAL USE WITHOUT PERMISSION. 

DO:

• Enjoy the images! It’s a labor of love, thanks for your support!
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If you help me out with these I will be able to keep doing what I love to do. Thanks again, really, for your support and understanding. -J

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fiftyfootshadows.net

fiftyfootshadows@gmail.com