Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I am taking a photography class focusing on travel photography.  On Saturday, July 23, the class took a field trip to Milwaukee's Lakefront.  Our goal was to take photos that demonstrate a "sense of place," that show creative composition, and that evoke a response in the viewer.  I recognize that these are not strengths of mine, which is one of the reasons I am taking the course.

As a group, we started at McKinley Marina and then worked our way down toward the Milwaukee Art Museum before ending in Milwaukee's Third Ward.  I took a lot of photos and will break this up into a number of posts.

I had never spent much time at the McKinley Marina and was impressed by the number of boats that are docked there.  In keeping with the idea of creating a sense of place, I took a number of shots that gave information regarding location, at least.  Here is one of those:

I was attracted by the Milwaukee name and the yellow plastic cans and their reflections in the water.  In the end, the picture is too cluttered, but at least it gives a sense of place.

There were any number of cliche shots, such as this one of three sailboats:

I liked the balance of this shot, including the rocks in the foreground.  But I would have liked the morning to have been calm so that I could get better reflections of the boats in the water.

Here's a shot of the ubiquitous life preservers:

I continue to prefer showing only a portion of the life preserver.

I was also attracted by the reflections of the sailboat masts in the waters of the marina.  Here is the best of those shots.

I do feel that this shot provides a good sense of place, and I like the wavering lines that the reflections make in the water.  For some reason, it was not going to work to show the boats casting the reflections.  That would have made the image more powerful.  I do feel that the image works as a "recognizable abstract," though the overall balance could have been better.

Here is another reflection shot that is even more abstract--perhaps too abstract.

Here the water was very quiet.  I toyed with the idea of turning this shot upside down.

I have been working on the use of "negative space"--the use of expanses in the image that do not contain much, if any, content but that focus attention on the remainder of the image that does provide content.  Here are two of those shots:

In both shots the water occupies more than 50% of the frame, and the more or less featureless sky represents another 30%.  Nevertheless, the balance of content in the images is, I believe, adequate to give a sense of place and to evoke a response in the viewer.  The morning was overcast, making the photography more challenging, but I was able to capture some warmth in the color of the water.

On the stroll south from the Marina toward the Milwaukee Art Museum, we passed the lagoon, which I believe is a manmade feature created many years ago.  It affords recreational activities, such paddle boat rides, and serves as a pleasant foreground for a portion of Milwaukee's less than stunning skyline.  Here is a cliche shot of the lagoon:

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