Thursday, 10th March 2011
Ice Mushrooms on Lake Michigan
by Stefan Hofer
As the ice starts melting, the heat starts taking back its Summer beaches. Although it still has a long way to go considering all the sand is like tundra. I was strolling along Fullerton beach looking for interesting angles with the skyline in the back, and wanted to keep the morning glow with the beautiful clouds in the background. I found some interesting ice banks, but couldn't quite get that compositional feeling when you're like "OH YEAH!!!". Unsatisfied, I continued walking and found this. At first it looked surreal, these weird mushroom like structures jutting out of the lake. I searched for a good angle to frame the photo and felt this was the best, even though I wish I could have gotten closer but the ice was super slippery and one wrong move and there goes loads of money down the icy toilet. I really liked this photo most because it emphasizes the weather torn wooden gate that is gnarled up, and also shows the unrelenting waves crashing into it and spilling through, and to the side of the gate. And my favorite part is the sunlight wrapping around each piece of ice. A very cool capture for a fun and surreal winter scene of Chicago.
Equipment: D700, Singh Ray 3 stop neutral grad
My passion for photography began during a 40 day tour throughout Europe. Wielding a Canon Powershot SD800 point and shoot, I ran down narrow medieval passageways, through piazzas, and around ancient ruins to find unique and interesting perspectives to capture through the lens. Although just a novice at the time, I was able to successfully translate my direct experiences with the camera, even if my initial success rate was very low. I became hooked on photography, and with a better understanding of the art and science, I knew practice and execution would develop my skills even further to create emotional images with higher probability.
Borrowing my parents Nikon D100, I began learning the Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR). I learned the science behind photography, absorbing as much technical information as possible. By testing my equipment in the field, I solidified my understanding of how the camera records scenes and how I can use its functions to produce photos unique to my personal vision. Shortly after, I realized it wasn’t necessarily about how technically perfect the photograph is. What mattered most was an amalgamation of science and art. It took time to learn that a great photo is not achieved by just technical perfection. What separates an excellent photo from a bad photo is the artistic interpretation of the experience the photographer has, and how they can translate that to film to create an emotional response with the viewer. This was the art of photography, and I wanted to learn more. I started studying composition, perspectives, and inclusion vs. exclusion. The learning process opened my eyes to new dimensions of photography, and expanded my creative vision of the scene I was photographing. After ongoing studies and continual refinement, I’ve incorporated what I learned into creative photographic expression.
Currently I am photographing every chance I get. I wake up early in the morning before sunrise and commute to a specific destination to catch twilight and the soft pink colors of morning light. The same is true for sunset. These are the 'golden hours' for photographing land and city scapes. Waking up early and going to sleep late is a daily occurrence, as my passion for photography propels me to 'be there' at the scene unfolding in front of my lens. I also travel often, photographing exotic cultures or taking weekend trips to Canada. Every weekend I am photographing something new and interesting. My portfolios will continue to expand, so please come back often for updates.
My photographic journey has been enlightening and rewarding. Without my camera in tow, I would not have as many interesting and memorable life experiences. By searching and finding the extraordinary in everything, photography has guided me to become who I am today. By viewing my portfolio I thank you for your time and energy! I hope you enjoy each piece of art as much as I enjoyed photographing it!