Featured Photo: Balancing Rock, Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree

Balancing Rock, Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree

Balancing rock, Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree National Park. Changing this photo to black and white heightened the drama and the strength of the composition, so I went with it darkening the blues when processing the photo to heighten the contrast.  And yes, that sliver of white in the sky is the moon.

I also just recently purchased a wide-angle lens by Tokina.  When I shot film, I shot largely with a wide-angle, and found myself really missing that, so for this trip, I shot exclusively with this, a kid with a new toy.  So far, it’s responsive and sharp, and unlike the 18-200mm, retains a consistent aperture all the way through, which is quite nice.

Equipment:  Nikon D90, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens


Featured Photo: How Black and White Photos Are More Captivating

The Poignancy of Black and White Portraits

Portrait of a Tibetan Man

Portrait of a Tibetan man, originally shot in color but changed to black and white (technically, duotone since it’s tinted slightly, but you’ll give me a pass on our discussion of black and white now, won’t you?).  Although a strong portrait when viewed in color, the photo takes on an added poignancy by eliminating distractions and focusing on the man’s kind visage and the lifetime of events seemingly etched on his face. Naturally, as discussed in a previous blog, I focused on the eyes.

There’s simply some times when an image feels stronger in black and white.  Not everyone feels this way.  Some feel it’s limiting.

But there are times in which a black and white photo can be more captivating, poignant, and emotional than its color counterpart.  Black and white photos can refocus the attention on the subject by eliminating colors that may serve to distract more than enhance. By eliminating colors, black and white photography can place added emphasis on shape, form, texture, contrast or pattern.

With digital photography, one may not even have to “think” in black and white when photographing, although I do feel this is a fantastic exercise in strengthening one’s awareness and appreciation of shape, form, texture, contrast or patterns.  Or even lighting.  Try experimenting with the monochrome settings in your camera so you can receive instant feedback in your LCD screen.  If you shoot in RAW, you can even switch your image back to color.

Or if working in an image editor such as Photoshop, try viewing the image in black and white.  As with all photography, lighting and composition and attention to form all still matter, and in some instances, perhaps more so.

Earlier blog about focusing on the eyes.

Equipment:  Nikon D90, 18-200mm VR Nikkor lens

You can see more of these photos here  on my Ken Lee Photography Facebook Page (poke your head in, say hi, and “like” the page if you would, uh, like).

And you can go to the Ken Lee Photography website, which has more photos from Ken Lee.  And you may purchase prints, framed or unframed, at my photo store.  Thank you very much for visiting!

Please consider using the links below from amazon.com to support this photography blog.  It doesn’t cost you anything but helps keep the blog going.  Thanks!

Nikon D90 12.3MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)

Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S ED VR II Nikkor Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon DX-Format Digital SLR Cameras

Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

Featured Photo – Human Rights Day

The Light Of Hope:  Human Rights For Tibet

The photo is entitled “The Light Of Hope” and shows a Tibetan man preparing for a candlelight vigil to mourn those in Tibet who have been recently been killed, and to pray for peace and human rights for Tibetans and all people. This photo has been shown at various events, Tibetan support group websites, The Smithsonian website, and the Lonely Planet website.

International Human Rights Day
December 10th is the date that was chosen to honor the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation, on 10 December 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the first global proclomation of human rights.

Stop Torture In Tibet
Stop Torture In Tibet – Human Rights For all

Human Rights Day is also the anniversary of Nobel Laureates His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Lui Xiaobo being awarded their prizes (although Liu was unable to accept his in person, being in prison in China)

In what has been called by some the worst single human catastrophe since the Jewish genocide during World War II, Tibet has been under Chinese occupation for nearly 50 years. Tibet has often been erroneously portrayed as a mysterious “Shangri-La”; unfortunately, the harsh reality is that this remote Himalayan country has been the victim of the worst of China’s well-documented human rights atrocities, having faced over four decades worth of Tiananmen-like agony since the Chinese invasion in 1949. China’s human rights violations were brought to light to the majority of the world in 1989 due to the infamous shooting of the unarmed student protesters in Tiananmen Square. The following is a small list of some of the documented atrocities that have befallen Tibet and its people:

  • Over 1.2 million Tibetans, or one-fifth of the population, have been killed as a direct result of the Chinese invasion and occupation.  Most of the Tibetans killed have been unarmed.
  • China has been dumping nuclear waste on the Tibetan plateau, polluting the headwaters of many of Asia’s major river sources. China has admitted to this, confirming the existence of a 20 square mile dumpsite for radioactive pollutants near Lake Kokonor, the largest lake on the Tibetan plateau.
  • China has established a massive resettlement policy of Chinese to Tibet, causing the Tibetans to become minorities in their own country. Chinese is the official language, and Tibetans are frequently barred from education, or if admitted to schools, are educated in an attempt to make them “Chinese” in their way of thinking. Tibetans are regularly subjected to a dizzying array of Chinese propaganda, including movies, newspapers, and radio. Tibetans who help to promote The Chinese cause are rewarded monetarily, and gain rights that most Americans take for granted.
  • One out of every ten Tibetans has been imprisoned, usually for merely exercising free speech in a non-violent manner.
  • Religious freedom has been abolished. More than 6,000 monasteries have been destroyed, with only a handful remaining, having been restored for the benefit of tourists. Media people who are allowed to visit China are taken to sections of Tibet made to look like a movie set.
  • Strip-mining in Tibet’s forests, depletion of natural resources, and the extinction of wildlife are chief results of China’s environmental policy.
Equipment:  Nikon D50, 18-200mm VR Nikkor lens, black and white processing in Photoshop CS4. The effect was created simply by creating another layer, turning that black and white, and then erasing the effect everywhere except by the candle.  The photo is entitled “The Light Of Hope” and has been shown at various events, Tibetan support group websites, The Smithsonian website, and the Lonely Planet website.
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