Fun at the Berks County Photographic Conference

I just returned home from my first time presenting at the Berks County Photographic Conference in Kutztown, Pennsylvania which was an awesome experience on many levels. It is always great to be able to share one’s knowledge and experience with like-minded individuals. My presentations were on photographing abandoned buildings and iPhoneography.

Also rewarding was getting to hear the other presenters and meeting so many interesting people, several of whom I can now count as new friends. The icing on the cake, however, was being in a very special and beautiful place armed with a camera and new knowledge.

In the Shadow of the Pinnacle

My original plan on this particular evening was to photograph the sunset from one of the overlooks at the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. However, as I was driving, the rolling landscape just overwhelmed me. Then I saw the Pinnacle. The Pinnacle is the mountain in the upper left hand side of this photograph. The overlook on top of this mountain is one of my favorite places to hike to. I’ve photographed this scene many times from that overlook. It was  a neat experience to be able to look at it from the other direction, providing a new perspective.

Rural Pennsylvania Sunset by Richard Lewis

Rural Pennsylvania Sunset by Richard Lewis 2016

Lessons in Composition

Next I found this old barn. I’ve always had a hard time photographing simple subjects like this, so I decided it was a chance to utilize some of my new skills. A big lesson learned at this conference was not to look at simple scenes too simplistically. There is a lot involved in composing an image like this and it was fun to figure it out using such a beautiful structure.

Old Barn Near Kutztown Pennsylvania by Richard Lewis

Old Barn Near Kutztown Pennsylvania by Richard Lewis 2016

Some thoughts on the composition of this photograph. 

  1. Simple scenes should have simple color schemes, in this case the main colors are limited to Red, Blue and Green.
  2. To accent those 3 main colors, the stone wall was lightened slightly while the painted wood and foliage was darkened just a little bit in Photoshop.
  3. Odd numbers of elements make good compositions and this photograph has 3 wooden elements, 3 main colors and even 3 vines creeping up the stone wall.
  4. Balance in an image is important. Here the right side of the stone wall might knock the image slightly off balance but the clump of plants and the 3 vines tend compensate for that.

For me photography is a lone pursuit. I love being by myself while getting lost in the subject my lens is pointed at. As a result, my instincts are to shy away from large groups of photographers. However, learning is important, so it is good to be able to learn, network and have some fun with other photographers once in a while.


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