While most of us are dedicated to capturing fleeting moments by slicing seconds into ever smaller fractions, Michael S. Miller has a different tale to tell. In a project he calls Long Light, he takes the time to let the moments simply accrue.
Long Light began with Michael’s viewing of historic view camera images. One in particular—a Mississippi riverboat, blurred by the camera’s slow shutter speed—caught his attention. “The water had this mystical kind of feeling to it because of the long exposure,” Michael says, “and I thought, all right, let’s see what happens if I do some long exposures of rivers.”
All the elements were right for Robert Beck to try something different. Shooting for Sports Illustrated at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Robert’s coverage included both the qualifying and medal rounds of the men’s aerials event in freestyle skiing, so there was plenty of opportunity for him to capture not only the razor-sharp peak-action images that typify SI coverage, but also to modify his technique to take a shot or two at turning prose into poetry.
Who: Robert Beck, staff photographer for Sports Illustrated.
What: Infrared (IR) photography.
When: “The editors give me some leeway,” Robert says, “but I’m not going to be using it for a decisive putt.”
Where: Golf courses all over the world.
Why: Although the job calls for capture of the peak moment, the turning point, the key play, the tense concentration, the moment when the athlete’s body language gives it all away, there’s always the professional and personal challenge to do something different.
How: With a Nikon D700 modified for infrared photography.
Ron Magill is a trained zoologist and the communications director of the Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens—Zoo Miami for short—and if you think that gives him an advantage when it comes to taking outstanding wildlife images, you’re right. But don’t turn the page. What’s needed to get a share of the wildlife “Wow!” factor is technique, access, and information that’s available to all. You will also need dedication and persistence. Above all, be sure to pack your patience along with your camera and lenses.
The intriguing thing about lightpainting is you never know exactly what you’re going to get. And whatever you get, you won’t get it again. That’s part of the technique’s appeal: you’re creating a one-of-a-kind photograph.
Simply, a lightpainting photo is an image made with a handheld, constant light source in a dark room or environment. The camera’s sensor captures only what you choose to illuminate. Lightpainting images can range from relatively simple to fairly complicated. Striking photos can be created indoors with nothing more than a still life subject, a tabletop to put it on, and a small LED penlight to light it. Or you can think big: how about a mega-powerful spotlight illuminating prairie land in the Grand Tetons or a mesa in Monument Valley?
In 1987, my friends Julie and Jim bought the 12-room, three-story Victorian in which they’ve raised their daughters, Megan and Emily. Early on they researched the house and the Connecticut mill town in which it’s located. They found maps that indicated the house had been built between 1870 and 1875; town records revealed much of the chronology of ownership. Over the years they renovated the kitchen and one of the bathrooms, stripped layers of paint from woodwork and doors, replaced wallpaper and made restorations and repairs. They came to realize that the original floor plan of the house was pretty much intact, though there seemed to be some changes they couldn’t quite figure out. And Julie, Jim, Megan, and Emily—they like to figure things out. Often they thought, if only there were photographs of the old house.
That picture always held a fascination,” Michael Crouser says of an image he took in Paris in 1986. “It was just after college, and I hadn’t come to the point of understanding what my own aesthetic tastes were, but in that picture there was a hint of things to come…a bit of foreshadowing of the things I would go on to do.”
Outdoor and nature images are Michael’s specialty, and he’s been photographing for over 20 years in two of the world’s best locations for great outdoor imagery: Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. In fact, his images appear on posters sold by the National Park Service in their visitors centers. He also runs Visions Photographic Workshops, which regularly journeys to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.
Years ago Dale Huncovsky, owner of the only grocery in Cuba, Kansas, had a heart bypass operation. Since then several men from town show up once a week at Dale’s store to unload the semi that brings the week’s supply of groceries. That’s how the personal and the practical play out in Cuba.