Photo Challenge

Part of the reality of The Life Creative is that the other parts of our lives get in the way. I’ll talk some more about that in the future. In the meantime, I took advantage of a day off and set out with my camera. I don’t get as many photo days as I’d like, so a warm, sunny day in February was not to be wasted!

Recently, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) had a show of photographer Ansel Adams. Adams’s style fascinates me. The vision, the technical prowess, even the use of black and white. Black and white film was the realm of the student photographer when I began. Because I didn’t have access to a darkroom, I skipped that step and moved directly to color film. The first time I saw the iconic images from Yosemite, I was caught. So when I planned my latest excursion, I decided to take that inspiration with me. I don’t have anything as dramatic as Yosemite to shoot, but I could change my usual approach and go black and white.

So, black and white urbanscapes of parts of the Fan, and Jackson Ward in Richmond was the plan. Here’s some of what I got. None of these have been manipulated (yet, lol!). Without a darkroom, I learned to do as much manipulation as possible “in the camera”. (All images are copyright 2022 by Jay Phillippi)

It was the converging perspective that caught my eye, the light wall against the dark. I did not see the reflections till I got home! Maybe I saw them subconsciously.
This alley was the first place I saw. The varied textures of the hedge, cobblestones and garbage cans struck me.
Most of my work is landscapes. Fields, trees, the occasional mountain. There is an allure for me for the classic urban photograph. The combined images surrounding city dwellers at all times. I played with a couple croppings of this image in my viewfinder, and like this one best.
I love old houses, and Richmond has lots of them! Here’s another one with multiple croppings. I’m still not sure which one I like best. In writing this post, I’ve several of them in the slot above. This is the tightest of them. I like the details that are visible here and less so in the others.
Here’s a close as I can get to one of Adams’s mountain shots. This is an apartment building that has always fascinated me. There’s nothing else like it in the neighborhood. It rises like a mountain above all around it.

I shot for about 3 hours, taking 80+ shots. One of the great advantages of digital photography is that there is no limit to the number of pictures you can take. With film, I might have a couple rolls which meant I had to be much more selective about hitting the shutter release. I still struggle with that mindset at times!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the photos. How do you challenge yourself in your own creativity?


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