It Takes More Than Optics; It Takes Vision
If indeed you must be candid, be candid beautifully.--Kahlil Gibran
The Candid Frame (http://thecandidframe.blogspot.com/index.html) is an online podcast where you can meet image-makers from the world of photojournalism, fashion, landscape, documentary, sports, wildlife, travel, and commercial photography. Some of the photographers interviewed include fine art photographer John Siskin, photographic genius Pete Turner, and nature shooter William Neill, among others. Recently Jefe Ibarionex R. Perello interviewed me for The Candid Frame and if you've already heard me jabber about photographing cars the interview may be old news. If not, check it out if you have the time.
Lovers of nature photography will find nirvana at John Hyde's website. The splash page says it all; this is a showcase for Hyde's 20 years experience in still and motion picture photography. The site's classic design includes translucent drop-down menus that, on the Portfolios menu, can occasionally be difficult to read, depending on what's in the background, but you should be able to see a list that includes 15 collections, ranging from bears to whales. Clicking on a collection opens a large window with a scrolling column of thumbnails on the right-hand side.
All of the bears, even the cubs, are real-life carnivores--not Yogi--and are captured in sharp focus with Hyde's striking compositions. One black and white shot of a brown bear in a driving rainstorm that was originally shot on film is especially notable. There is only one word to describe the "Whales" collection--Wow! Want to see more beautiful seagoing mammals in all kinds of spectacular lighting and scenery? Check out the sequel, "Whales 2." Here you'll also find some remarkable monochrome images. Unlike most sequels this is better than the original, if that's possible. There's even a partially submerged shot showing an Orca swimming with mountains visible in the frame above the waterline.
Hyde is not only a great photographer but he is also ready to go above and beyond to get the shot, and not just any shot. Just when you think you've seen everything, click on the "Eagles" collection and be prepared to be amazed. His photo of two eagles, one sitting on an ice flow and the other just taking off, left me speechless and out of superlative to describe it. While exploring this site, look, learn, and enjoy wildlife photography created by Hyde, a modern master of this oh-so-difficult discipline.
Christian Stepien is a renaissance man. He is a musician, poet, filmmaker, and photographer with an emphasis on black and white landscapes. His well stocked website offers five photography collections, including nature and manmade landscapes. Before you go there, check out some of Stepien's short films, including Day Trippin'. (Remember skateboarding is not a crime.) What you'll discover in Stepien's still photography is just the opposite of his loosey-goosey filmmaking style. His architectural photography in the "Buildings" gallery is tight, controlled, and elegantly formal. Surprised, huh? Similarly, "Objects" that revolve around architecture and buildings are an important component of images such as "La Porte et la Bicyclette."
What is striking about Stepien's landscape photography is his sense of space and a Last Year at Marienbad sensibility that shows somebody or something was just there, but now they're not. Proving that great photographs are often made in bad weather, his foggy landscapes are extremely powerful and a lack of detail emphasizes the overwhelming sense of emptiness or loneliness. The "Nature" and "Animals" collections, while occasionally displaying an interesting and even color photograph, lack the power of Stepien's other work, but include "audio comments" on how some of the images were made. I can't be too hard on the guy about these other collections; he's only been making still photographs for a short time. In 2006 he entered his first photography contest and won the top prize. Big surprise, huh?