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The Challenges of Photographing in 115 Degree Desert Heat

April 2nd, 2019

The Challenges of Photographing in 115 Degree Desert Heat

We sit down to talk with fine art photographer Edward M. Fielding, back from the desert with a new set of fine art photographs from the American Southwest.

“Do these photographs make you feel warm?” jokes photographer.

“Do they make you feel a bit hot under the collar?” he laughs. “Do they make you feel thirsty?”

Fielding hands me an ice-cold craft beer out of the mini fridge outside his office as we look over his new portfolio of fine art photographs from American Southwest.


“I think every bar owner should consider installing a few of these photographs in their bar – beer sales will skyrocket!” he chuckles flipping through the prints of sun-baked, oxidized vintage cars in the desert.


“It was 115 degrees the morning I took these photos. Just think how hard it was for the owners of these cars and trucks to live under these conditions and put in a full day digging to rock in search of gold. The cars and buildings are still there but the people have mostly gone, and those who remain can only survive with modern air conditioning.”


Fielding shows a photo from his phone that shows a sign for a HEAT WARNING. The sign says “Hiking in hot weather is dangerous and not recommended. Please be smart and safe”.


We flip through the large scale photographs with sharp detail that brings out every inch of the weathered, rusty old vehicles. The paint isn’t worn off as much as it is oxidized by the sun. The unrelenting sun basically cooks the paint into vapor that blows away in the sand fill winds.
Rubber is particularly susceptible to decay in these conditions as evident by the tires that literally melt away, exposing the steel belts within.
Fielding takes a thoughtful sip of the vanilla porter and recounts the dangers of shooting in the remote desert under these conditions.


“There were factors to keep in mind during this shoot. Things you wouldn’t normally encounter on a photo shoot. You had to watch your step because this is rattlesnake area. At any point, you could put your foot down on a rattlesnake using a rock for shade. The local guide had four of them in the freezer back at the old miner house.”


“Then there was the “Teddy Bear”, doesn’t that sound harmless? — cholla cactus that was all over the place. Back your butt into one of these suckers and it means a long wait for the ambulance to take you at least an hour to the hospital. These nasty things have barbed hooks that don’t let go, and they are designed to break off on anything that touches them.”


“Of course there was the danger of heat stroke or heat exhaustion. I had to pace myself. Wearing a broad hat, sunscreen, full length clothing. Under 115 degree heat one can only work out in the sun for about 20 minutes before being totally exhausted and having to seek shelter with plenty of cold beverages.”


“In this heat you don’t even sweat. It just sort of evaporates immediately” he says about photographing in 115 degree desert heat.
I ask Fielding how his equipment held up under these conditions.


“Well, I was using a Canon EOS 6D that I’ve used for a long time. It had been in freezing cold weather in New Hampshire, Vermont and even Iceland. It worked for me in the pouring rain. It has worked after being in hot car in the summertime. It’s a solid, weather-sealed Canon camera made for abuse, so it worked. At least the battery life wasn’t affected like it is in the cold. But it did get too hot to touch after a while!”

“The problem is camera equipment is all black.” explained Fielding, “I had the Canon EOS 24mm Tilt-shift, my trusty Canon EOS 35 mm f/2 and a Canon EOS 24-70 f/4 as I wanted to try various angles – I wasn’t planning to come back any time soon so I wanted to capture all I could. But the black plastic on this stuff got so hot it was likely to burn your fingers!”

“I wasn’t fiddling around pointing and shooting. I was looking to capture well thought out compositions so I first went around the location with the 35mm handheld to get an idea of some compositions and then went back with the 24mm Tilt-shift and a sturdy tripod.”

“The Canon 24 millimeter Tilt-shift the tripod gave me the ability to shoot seven exposure HDR images and combine them later like with this shot of the old gas station.”

“I also was able to use the shift function to create highly detailed panoramic like this one of the old International Harvester Metro Van.
It took three overlapping shots at close range to get this final image which shows every inch of the weathered old car especially when printed to it’s max at 48 x 48 inches.”

Fielding’s photographs from the American Southwest can be found at https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/southwest

Trouble in San Diego

April 2nd, 2019

Trouble in San Diego


Above: Stairs leading to the Beach Trail at Torrey Pines State Park - the next day. Prints available - https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/beach-trail-torrey-pines-state-park-edward-fielding.html





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A couple months ago I was in the San Diego, California area. My wife had a conference to attend in La Jolla so I tagged alone and traveled around the area creating photographs.





One day I decided to explore Torrey Pines State Park. It was a warm February day, a quite balmy 60 degrees which felt amazing having just left the fridge Northeast that covered in snow and ice.





I was enjoying myself hiking the sandy trails and taking in the beautiful scenery. Looking down from the cliff at the dolphins and seals playing in the water and enjoying some sunshine.





I wasn't taking many photos as the sun was high in the sky and the cloudless sky was producing a lot of harsh shadows. Instead I shot some time-lapse video on my GoPro Hero 7 and simply enjoyed the fact that I was outside in the middle of winter with only a t-shirt.





I made my way down the cliff to the beach trail. The beach trail is a direct return trip back to the parking lot along the water and underneath the tall cliffs. I only went about a few yards before having second thoughts.





It was high tide and the waves were coming up close to the edge of the cliffs leaving only a few feet of dry yet slipping rocks. I saw a guy coming around the bend.





"Is it passable ahead?" I asked.





The guy said "How new are those shoes?" looking down at my new sneakers I bought for the trip.





He said his wife volunteers at the local hospital and after he drops her off he comes over to Torry Pines State Park to walk and to pick up trash. He had a bag of water bottles, hats and wrappers tied to his belt.





Looking at his wet feet and wet trousers, I decided not to risk going further with my camera bag.





Heading back to the stairs near the cliff I came upon a kind of comical scene. A young guy was struggling with a spindly travel tripod trying to get it to stay still in the wet sand.





The big waves were rolling up the beach and undermining one of the tripod legs. As soon as he adjusted the tripod, the wave would roll back to the ocean, the sand would dry and the tripod would settle into another cockeye position.





At this point it was high noon. The sun was beating down creating the worst light of the day.





"Oh shoot" he muttered.





His wife looked on helplessly from up on a large rock above the water, clutching his camera bag.





"I forgot the filter" he cursed to himself as he struggled to attach his large Canon camera and red L lined lens to the tripod plate. At this point the tripod looked like it would topple into the surf at any moment.





I got the impression that there was some shot he saw on Instagram that he had traveled all this way to capture. Seems "the shot" must have included a long exposure which would require a heavy duty ND or Neutral Density filter of at least six stops in this full sun.





Since the tide kept coming in, I decided to high tail it up the stair case before the entire beach disappeared. Watching from my vantage point I watched the scene unfold below.





Sure enough, the camera was set on the small skinny tripod, the shutter was pushed and then a giant wave rolled in an knocked the whole thing into sand.


Art for Art vs. Art for Decor

April 9th, 2018

Art for Art vs. Art for Decor

This past weekend my wife and I attended the silent auction at a local arts center. I teach kids robotics there and my wife is on the board. Our jobs for the night were to mingle around with the patrons and engage in conversations about the work for sale.

It struck me that there were several great pieces that were great art but not getting any bids. They have meaningful things to say but perhaps were not considered something someone would want to look at everyday in their living room.

For example I was talking with another board member about one of the photographs. I was this perfectly composed image of a double wide trailer split in half due to flooding. I saw all kinds of storytelling and ideas in work - defeat, forces of nature, folly of man etc. I comment that is was something I'd stop and photograph if I saw it. It got no bids and was kind of chuckled at as people said they couldn't image hanging it on their wall, too depressing. All they saw was a run down trailer, the kind they whiz by all the time in this neck of the woods.

The board member even told me I should check out a certain road near his lake house if I'm interested in seeing such run down trailers to photograph. In other words, he just didn't see what this photographer and I saw. You can't just find subjects like this that easy. I guess it takes another photographer to see the value as it got no bids during the evening.

Meanwhile something like an abstract would, gather a ton of bids. We even bid on a won a few small abstract prints.

I guess it just goes to show that not all art is bound for the living room. Some of it is created for a higher calling and is probably more appropriate for a book or museum. It's also hard to judge a single image on its own. If this image was part of a larger theme, like you see in a book or a one person art show, perhaps it would get more respect.

Signs of Our Past exhibit celebrates vintage neon signs

February 27th, 2018

Signs of Our Past exhibit celebrates vintage neon signs

SIGNS OF OUR PAST – In a new fine art photography show, visual artist Edward M. Fielding explores to old neon signs from the old American west.

SIGNS OF OUR PAST

Get the Farmhouse Look with Retro Farm Country Decor

February 26th, 2018

Get the Farmhouse Look with Retro Farm Country Decor

Farmhouse Decor


Get the farmhouse look with this artwork from fine art photographer and designer Edward M. Fielding.



Farmhouse pieces have a casual and unfussy style that makes a home feel inviting and comfortable, while modern design features simple curves and straight lines that delight the eye.  The wall art can have modern references to farm life as well as a retro vintage vibe.  Old tractors, farm signs hawking eggs, milk, cheese, bacon, vegetables and other down on the farm products.



Shabby chic (/ˈʃæb.iˈʃiːk/) is a form of interior design where furniture and furnishings are either chosen for their appearance of age and signs of wear and tear or where new items are distressed to achieve the appearance of an antique. At the same time, a soft, opulent, yet cottage-style decor, often with an affected feel is emphasized to differentiate it from genuine period decor. Old signs and retro artifacts look great with this style.



Any of the art and photographs in the FARM LIFE collection can be purchased as prints to frame on your own or as ready to hang wall art in the matting and frames you choose from simple modern looks to rustic barn wood frames. Or go frame-less with canvas prints, metal prints, or acrylic prints.

How I achieved 900 Followers on Fine Art America

February 26th, 2018

How I achieved 900 Followers on Fine Art America

Hundreds of Followers See My Artwork


My portfolio on Fine Art America and Pixels recently reached a milestone of 900 followers.  To earn hundreds of followers attention among the hundreds of thousands of artists on Fine Art America and its flagship site Pixels and to be found among the millions of images in the sites database required years of consistent work and work that catches people's attention.




My Current Online Portfolio Stats

  • Joined:  2011

  • Followers: 904

  • Visitors: 2,325,927

  • Artwork sales: 1702


How To Get Hundreds of Followers to Your Artwork


Since joining Fine Art America and Pixels back in 2011 with 0 photographs for sale and 0 followers, I steadily build up my portfolio over these past seven years as well as gained followers.  Since the beginning my portfolio greatly expanded, my work got better, my equipment got better, my skills got got better and my offerings expanded to include new locations such as Hawaii, Iceland as well as more photographs from around New England especially the back roads of Vermont and New Hampshire.



I've also expanded my marketing and networking to reach more people and potential buyers with my artwork and fine art photography as well as giving back to the community by producing how to and tip videos and blog articles.

During these past few years, I started and built bodies of work around specific subjects such as my vintage tractor series and my famous series of dog photography.

My collection of vintage cars caught in their native environment continues to grow as I seek out classic old cars to photograph around New England.



As you can see, it is all about creating great photographs and artwork and then building a community around your work.  Segmenting your portfolio into interest groups and then finding those communities to support your efforts.

If you have dog photographs, find dog lovers.  If you have old car photographs, find car enthusiasts.

Free Photography Resources

February 26th, 2018

Free Photography Resources

Free photography resources including free photography guides, free photography courses, free photography classes, free photography tips and more to help you improve your photography skills, get better pictures and have more fun with your photography.

Photography 101 Series of Free information About Your Camera and Photography


Photography 101: ISO - Understanding how your camera's sensor reacts to light.  https://spark.adobe.com/page/L4Gko3TgTnAP7/


Photography 101: ISO

Photography 101: Understanding Aperture - https://spark.adobe.com/page/IxjossQAFF5TB/

Photography 101: Understanding Aperture

Photography 101: Understanding Shutter Speed https://spark.adobe.com/page/6nYe2mxkU0wDY/
Photography 101: Shutter Speed

Advanced Photography Subjects


Still Life Fine Art Photography - https://spark.adobe.com/page/iD0TO9dAuNEdJ/

Still Life Fine Art Photography

Thoughts on the Challenges of Black and White Photography - https://spark.adobe.com/page/YLAhqcBv0VSsC/

The Black and White Challenge

11 Examples of Surreal Photography

February 4th, 2018

11 Examples of Surreal Photography

Taking a look at some recent surreal imagery from the portfolio of Edward Fielding, some of the most biazarre and unreal photographic works. Surreal means have the disorienting, hallucinatory quality of a dream. It is a very creative style of photography as you have to have a good sense of vision and creativity to create things others wouldn’t normally see.

Enjoy these 11 examples of surreal photography and see more in the collection at: https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/surreal

Photographing Fog

January 26th, 2018

Photographing Fog

Deep, thick fog is an exciting weather event to photograph. Fog reduces contrast, mutes colors, eliminates backgrounds and puts everything in a mysterious, atmospheric, even lighting.

When we lived on Mount Desert Island Maine next to Acadia National Park, fog was an almost daily fact of life. You’d get reports from friends about one side of the island being fogged in while the other side was sunny. Often people on summer vacation would travel along a road that is right next to Somes Sound or the ocean daily not even realizing that it had an incredible ocean view on sunny days.

Read the rest of the article here - http://www.dogfordstudios.com/photographing-in-the-fog/

Better Photography with a Tripod

January 23rd, 2018

Better Photography with a Tripod

Tripods slow you down, help you compose, allow you to use lower ISO, smaller aperture, slower shutter speeds and shoot in less light than you can hand held. Tripods also allow for magic tricks such as blurring motion. Follow the link to learn more - http://www.dogfordstudios.com/blurry-photos-get-tripod/

 

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