I do love photography but in my heart of hearts I think I always wanted to be a painter. My father and older brother were commercial artists (people who can really draw, paint or sketch but have to find a way to pay the mortgage) and my younger brother has quite the eye for design. Those artistic genes have continued to flow to my nieces and nephews. So how did I wind up in surveys and statistics?
Anyway, many of you know I like to take my camera to the Presby Iris Gardens in Montclair, NJ just about every year during the month of May. While there this past week, I encountered at least a dozen en plein air artists with their brushes, easels, palettes and floppy hats, capturing the brilliant floral beauty. Sneaking peeks at their work, I discovered that most of them were of the impressionist school – painters seeking to capture the open-air magical light and feeling of these intricate blooms, in the present moment. Their flowing, free brushstrokes were not about accurate depictions.
Which gave me an idea. What could I do with my camera to channel Van Gogh, Renoir, Monet and Manet? (It’s beyond me to appreciate the fine differences between Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and Expressionism.) In the field I could try jiggling the camera, using slow shutter speeds, zooming zoom lenses, intentional defocusing, flash adjustments, and playing with color settings deep in the menu. And, of course, at home on the computer, there’s all the post capture software to play with.
Below is an image I made with some impressionistic adjustments in camera to paint on the sensor in real time. Additional Iris images can be found on the website Gallery “Iris Impressions.” Some images were created with in camera changes, some were done post capture, and some impressive on their own.