To be Simple

To be Simple is to be Great!

While on Christmas vacation, this sign caught my eye in a restaurant. It isn’t a great image but I liked the message. This is a meaningful message to me in life as well as in photography.

I have posted messages about simplicity before but the sign at the top of this post reminded me again of the importance of simplicity in your photos. The picture below is very simple but allows me to wonder what is the story behind this deserted homestead. I ask questions like “did anyone ever live here?’, “where did they go when they left,?”, or “do their descendants live in a newer house and farm the land in the background?”

Deserted Homestead - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2009- All Rights Reserved

In a simple photo, the viewer gets the message of what you feel is important in the image. If they want to they can fill in the blanks or read between the lines. When you look for simplicity many times it is just as important to know what to leave out of the composition as it is to know what elements to include.

Remember, keeping the concept of simplicity in mind as you create your compositions may provide you with stronger message in your images.

Be Excited about Your Photography

Cold Day in January - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2010 - All Rights Reserved

As we start the new year of 2010, we all tend to make resolutions. My mentor Scott Bourne wrote a short article that I think gives us food for thought as photographers. It is entitled “Are You Excited about Photography?”

I think the message is very appropriate as we shoot any subject at any time. I know I have a feeling of joy and excitement as I create images and always am hopeful that I can share my experience through the finished product.
As you are looking for resolutions as you start this new year, incorporate the ideas that are presented to help you create the best images you can to share with others. As I travel the Palouse and others venues, I am constantly aware how fortunate I am to visit these wonderful places and the opportunity I have to capture the moment and share it with others.
Have a Happy New Year!

Tips for Shooting in Cold Weather

Cold Day in January - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2005 - All Rights Reserved

Here is an article by Scott Bourne that talks about shooting in cold weather. I find the tips to be extremely useful as I like to shoot in winter conditions.

The image at the top of this post illustrates one of these times to use the tips. It was taken in January in the Palouse with the temperature at 15 degrees.

Follow the advice and your shooting will be a lot more productive and enjoyable.

Views of Winter

Gazebo in the Snow - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2005 - All Rights Reserved

As winter is upon us in the Pacific Northwest, I thought I would show a couple of my favorite images from eastern Washington. I lived in Walla Walla for about 34 years and one of my favorite places to visit was Pioneer Park. The images in this post were talen in January a couple of years ago after a pretty heavy snowfall.

Icy Swim - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2005 - All Rights Reserved

One of the things I like about the Palouse region and all of eastern Washington is that there are definitely four seasons of the year. This creates a great opportunity to photograph the same area with a totally different view

As I have suggested in the past and would like to remind you again, photographing the Palouse can be beautiful at any time of the year.

Visit One of the Many Wineries.

Evening Light on Vineyard - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2009 - All Rights Reserved

When you are visiting the Palouse, take the time to head south to Walla Walla County and visit the wine country. There are many beautiful vineyards and wineries    in that region. Many of the wineries have tours and it is interesting to see the grapes in different stages of growth depending on the season.

The photos in this post are actually from a very exclusive winery near Walla Walla. I feel fortunate to know one of the owners and have had access to visit and photograph the vineyards and interior of the winery.

The photo at the top of this post was taken in January last year when it was very cold and just a hint of snow was on the ground.

Winn Road Barn - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2004 - All Rights Reserved

The owner of the vineyard bought one of my images of Winn Road Barn (see above) and liked it so much that he decided to build his winery patterned after that barn except to three times the scale. The completed winery is in the photo below. The winery itself is try a work of art built out of imported granite with a slate roof.

Garrison Creek Winery - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2009 - All Rights Reserved

Below I have included some images of the interior of the winery. The first shows the tasting area. Also I have included an image of one of the beautiful granite counters.

Tasting Room - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2009 - All Rights Reserved

Tasting Area - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2009 - All Rights Reserved

The final photo shows the winemaker with a friend as they taste wine from one of the imported French oak barrels in the cave area of the winery. This is an exceptional place to visit, but can only be accessed with special invitation.

Tasting with the Winemaker - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2009 - All Rights Reserved

In addition to this exclusive winery there are many other wineries that conduct tours on a daily basis. Take the opportunity for a visit and see a rather recent addition to the agricultural scene around the Palouse.

Creating Depth in Your Landscapes

Fog on a Winter Morning - Copyright Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

When shooting landscapes in the Palouse, I like to use the layers of the rolling terrain to add depth to the image. As you can see in the image at the top of this post the contours of the hills help to show that the fog is in the distance. To me it is important to create as much depth as I can in a landscape by showing foreground as in the first layer of the field,  midground where the barn is located and finally the background where the fog is viewed.

Using layers to create more interest in your landscapes gives your eyes the chance to keep moving through the image. The contours in the Palouse allow you to utilize this technique very effectively.

Use Your Images to Brighten Your Day

Yellow and Green Fields - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2009 - All Rights Reserved

During the winter when days are cold and bleak, I like to remember the beauty of the Palouse by looking at images from another season. The picture at the top of this post was taken last summer when the canola fields were in full bloom. The temperature was in the 90’s, I was dressed in shorts and enjoying the sunshine.

As I heard the news this morning, it was reported the temperature was 7 degrees with a possibility of snow in the Palouse. In Seattle where I live it is in the low 20’s. It definitely did me some good to look at the images from this summer to brighten my spirits and warm my inner soul.

Enjoy your images and see if it works for you.

Ideas for Effective Composition


Red Barn in Fresh Snow - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2009 - All Rights Reserved

I was very interested in an article by Scott Bourne on Photofocus that discusses what to include in the composition of an image. I found the suggestions to be useful and hopefully they will help you as well as you develop not only your photo skills but also your ability to see what makes a good composition.

Read, learn and enjoy.



Tutorial on Sharpening

Old Truck Hiding in the Weeds - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2009 - All Rights Reserved

I would like to share a tutorial by Nicole Young on building an action to sharpen images that I found on Photofocus. She provides a good explanation and easy to follow method. Try it and see how it works for you. Thanks Nicole.

The image at the top of this post was taken in the Palouse. Many times you see abandoned vehicles near an old farm house. I like to shoot them as they tend to show a bit of history about the environment. It seems to me that very few farmers ever get rid of a vehicle. They just seem to add them to their “vehicle boneyard” somewhere on their property.

Photograph the Transition between Seasons

Textured Snow with Red Barn - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2009 - All Rights Reserved

I have always loved to shoot landscapes during transition times of the year. These periods usually only last for a few days at most. In the Palouse the time between winter and spring can give some great venues

I was visiting in the Palouse last February and ventured out in the early morning to explore the countryside around Colfax, Wa. The images in this post are the result of that early morning trip. The air was crisp and cold with the temperature in the high 20’s.

February Morning in the Palouse - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 209 - All Rights Reserved

The picture at the top of this post shows a lot of texture in the snow as the day before it had been raining and windy. The other two images were taken on my way to Steptoe Butte. By the way as I arrived at Steptoe Butte a little later, the road was still snow covered and not passable to the top even with my 4 wheel drive.

Snow is Vanishing - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2009 - All Rights Reserved

If you are in the Palouse during February or early March remember to take advantage of the fleeting time between seasons. As always the terrain provides beautiful landscapes.