Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Shooting the Mums by F.M. Kearney


Chrysanthemums are fun flowers to photograph. As one of the last flowers to bloom before winter, they come in many different colors and styles, allowing for a variety of creative options. Some of the most common are garden chrysanthemums, which usually grow in neat, tight clusters. Sometimes, I'll move in close and fill the frame with them as I did in the horizontal image of the solid red flowers. However, these types of shots can become very boring very fast. To break the monotony, I look for wayward blooms trying to "make a run for it." Using a shallow depth of field, I focused on the light pink and yellow buds rising high above the fray. This placed the center of attention squarely on them, creating a much more interesting shot.
The uniformity of garden chrysanthemums somewhat stifles creativity. Korean chrysanthemums, on the other hand, grow in a random manner amongst multi-colored blooms, opening the door for a lot more creative (and colorful) compositions. I used an even more shallow depth of field for the verticals of the pink and yellow mums. The lack of order made it easier to strategically place blooms in the foreground and/or background of the main subject. These little compositional gems, however, take time to visualize. What may, at first, appear to be a haphazard cluster of flowers, will gradually reveal a multitude of interesting angles after a few minutes of careful observation. You'd be amazed at how many images you might be able to coax out of a relatively small area.

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F.M. Kearney is a fine art nature photographer, specializing in unique floral and landscape images. To see more of his work, please visit

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Life Before Death by Jayme Catalano


Memorial photography and Victorian post-mortem photography are popular subjects among bloggers, especially around this time of year.  It seems we can’t get enough of this seemingly morbid and alien cultural practice.  If you’ve been living under a rock or would like more information, click here.

German artist Walters Schels and writer Beate Lakotta have resurrected the practice of post-mortem photography with their project “Noch Mal Leben” (Life Before Death:  Portraits of the Dying).  A collection of portraits taken while the terminally ill subject was alive and again after death, the images and text explore the experiences, hopes and fears one encounters at the end of a life.  As one subject says, “I’m going to die!  That’s all I think about, every second when I’m on my own.”   Another subject says, “I’m surprised that I have come to terms with it fairly easily.  Now I’m lying here waiting to die.  But each day that I have I savour, experiencing life to the full.  I never paid any attention to clouds before.  Now I see everything from a totally different perspective:  every cloud outside my window, every flower in the vase.  Suddenly everything matters.”  To see the complete collection and read the interviews, visit the exhibition website here.

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-Jayme Catalano
Graphic design and site creation


Monday, October 28, 2013

See What Franz Creigo is Creating!


Art Piece: 
11”  x  14”
About the Artist
Franz Creigo
Franz Creigo is a natural light photographer, and he tries to never stage his pictures. Beauty is a subjective viewpoint that is shaped by what people experience ,and in return, Franz’s images exude a multi-lingual facet that mirrors American society. Franz’s hope is that his pictures speak to the experiences and in the languages of all who encounter them.

Franz is currently in his last year of law school, with no intention of practicing law. His passion is art and the photographs he captures.
Artist Philosophy:
Franz Creigo’s philosophy echoes a thought from Helen Keller. "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved."
 To view more of Franz’s work and the work of all our fine artists, visit us at   Also check out our monthly art competitions.

Friday, October 25, 2013

See What Anahit Burke is Creating!

Art Piece: 
“Sunset View”
16”  x  20”
About the Artist
Anahit Burke
Anahit Burke currently resides in Texas, where she enjoys painting in the abstract style as well as painting landscape art.    Anahit believes painting landscapes is the best way to underline the beauty of the nature we were so fortunate to inherit.  The medium she uses mostly is acrylic as she finds that acrylics brighten the painting more than any other mediums.  Anahit also specializes in ancient iconography.
To view more of Anahit’s work and the work of all our fine artists, visit us at   Also check out our monthly art competitions.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Autumn in the City by F.M. Kearney


Fall is one of my favorite times of year. With brilliant shades of reds, yellows and oranges exploding all over the place, there certainly isn't a lack of material for northern nature photographers to work with. Even in a major metropolitan area like New York City, the beauty of autumn is never far away. One year, I set out to Wolfes Pond Park to capture the magnificence of this colorful season. Located in the southern region of Staten Island, Wolfes Pond is one of the city's lesser known and least visited parks. That's very good news if you're trying to capture nature scenes without the presence of buildings or people in the shots.

I found a use for almost all of my lenses on this visit. My 50mm normal lens perfectly framed the horizontal shot of the upright, broken tree stump at the water's edge. I switched to a 28mm wide angle lens for the other horizontal of the tree laying prone in the foreground. The winds were calm, so I was able to obtain strong reflections in the lake. I used my zoom lens for the vertical image, which allowed me to compress the space between the trees and the distant background for a tighter composition. Although fall foliage can be successfully photographed in any lighting condition, these images definitely benefited from the diffused, overcast light. Direct sunlight would have produced a sea harsh shadows and contrast – effectively robbing them of color saturation.

Wolfes Pond Park is one of New York’s best kept secrets. It's also very easy to get to at just a quick hop on the subway, a skip on a ferry and a jump on a bus away. Well, okay...unless you happen to live on Staten Island, it might not be that easy. But, it's certainly worth the trip if you want to capture "real" nature images within city limits.


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F.M. Kearney is a fine art nature photographer, specializing in unique floral and landscape images. To see more of his work, please visit

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

That Girl from Girls by Jayme Catalano

Fine artist Jemima Kirke is best known for her roles in Tiny Furniture and the HBO series Girls, both created by friend Lena Dunham.  In the second season of Girls, Jemima’s character Jessa paints a portrait of her then-husband, a scene which miffed Kirke, “I was a little pissed at the moment, when I saw that painting as a prop…It’s just a little close to home.  And only because I have been been very vocal about the fact that I make artwork, so I don’t want this to be seen as mine.  Not that there was anything wrong with it; it just wasn’t me.”  Kirke’s paintings are influenced by the work of Edouard Mamet and Lucian Freud and one can sense a bit of Francesco Clemente in her portraits.  As her website describes the work, “By turns both heart-breakingly intimate and ultimately entirely distant, Kirke flees from obvious representations of her subject matter to focus on underlying darkness and the interplay of pathology that exists between artist and the person studied.  Her practice highlights the uncanny moment of fusion between the sitter’s projected identity and the internal character that the artist imposes upon her subject.”  She is currently signed on to portray Jessa in season three of Girls.  For more information regarding Kirke’s fine art, please click here.

Article Submitted by:
-Jayme Catalano
Graphic design and site creation

Monday, October 21, 2013

See What Betty McGlamery is Creating!


Art Piece: 
“Outter Edge of the Swamp”
18”  x  24”
About the Artist
Betty McGlamery
Betty McGlamery lives in Marietta, Georgia and works primarily in oils and acrylics.  She enjoys plein air painting and has been spending half of her time painting in South Georgia. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Art Education from Florida State University and has been painting for most of forty years.  She is a member of Gallery 4463, Acworth, GA. And is a member of Oil Painters of America.
To view more of Betty’s work and the work of all our fine artists, visit us at   Also check out our monthly art competitions.


Friday, October 18, 2013

See What Ashley Peters is Creating!

Art Piece: 
“Stacking the Odds”
Lincut, Acrylic Wash and Pen
5”  x  7”
Ashley’s  Personal Statement:
“The Process of Growth”
Growth is the changing and developing of one form, body, or unit into a similar but further developed and evolved version of the original.  It is a necessary and an unstoppable part of life.  Even through avoidance, it will ultimately win.  Like the crashing tide against sheer rock cliffs; erosion will conquer.  In taking part of this inevitable metamorphosis; what do we leave behind? What do we lose? What do we become? Growth is an ever-developing event that never truly ends. No one and nothing actually stops. Growth is change. Change, both resisted and embraced initiates refreshment, reverberations and recognition. In my printmaking illustration I look at the process of growth, what it means to grow, the emotions we feel during these shifts in life and the sacrifices that are made along the way.  I look often in a bittersweet, semi cynical but consistently nostalgic manner.  I show this in two styles through the imagery of the human form and the imagery of our surroundings; specifically trees, flowers, foxes, and deer.  I believe that people and these specific choices can visually and symbolically hold similarities and their stories are similar.  It is my thought that growth can be both wonderful and sinister, but more so amusing.  To sit back and realize the gears are turning, at the very instant is a moment of awe.  In these moments you have the ability to value and affect the course at hand.  I want people to be able to look at my work and empathize with images they see. To recognize the feelings they have once or maybe currently have felt.  I want to provoke a sense of empowerment over others growth and encourage  the embracement of their constant evolution. I do not fear growth nor am I intimidated by change. Embrace the events before you. Recognize what is happening, and then take it a step further to enrich what you value most. Growth is change. It will not stop for me and it certainly will not stop for you.
To view more of Ashley’s work and the work of all our fine artists, visit us at   Also check out our monthly art competitions.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Always Something There to Remind Me by F.M. Kearney

I often talk about the difficulties of being a nature photographer in a major metropolitan area like New York City. Unless I have the time and the means to escape city limits, most of my work will be restricted to local parks and botanical gardens. Even though I may be able to frame a photo to appear as if it was taken in the middle of nowhere, man-made elements are always nearby.

Late one afternoon, I glanced out my window and saw the most amazing cirrus cloud formations. I grabbed my camera and trusty polarizing filter and took a series of photos. As beautiful as the clouds were on their own, the filter enhanced them even more by darkening the blue sky. In most cases, a wide angle would probably be my lens of choice when shooting the sky. However, I needed to use a zoom lens in this situation in order to eliminate all surrounding distractions. To illustrate this, I took one last photo with a considerably wider view – including what I normally strive to exclude. It made me think of a 1982 hit from Naked Eyes. No matter how well I might be able to compose a nature photo within the city,  there's "Always Something There to Remind Me" that I'm never too far away from signs of civilization.

Article Submitted by:
F.M. Kearney is a fine art nature photographer, specializing in unique floral and landscape images. To see more of his work, please visit

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Confections by Jayme Catalano

Nick Cann began his career as a set illustrator at MGM Studios during the Golden Age of cinema, later branching out to set and credit designs for television and film.  Using  
Sharpie markers and pens, Cann creates whimsical worlds with a unique style reminiscent of Naiad and Walter Einsel or Aubrey Beardsley.  Cann, perfecting his art for more than sixty years, says “I like to draw.  I have been drawing for as long as I can remember.  My interests are fantasy people and detailed architectural confections.”    Based in Napa, California, his works are available for sale through his website.

Article Submitted by:
-Jayme Catalano
Graphic design and site creation


Monday, October 14, 2013

See What Sarah Swisher is Creating!


Art Piece: 
“Autumn Leaves Suite 1”
8”  x  10”
About the Artist
Sarah Swisher
Sarah has loved art all her life and has been painting and drawing since a very early age. After high school Sarah decided that art was something she wanted to pursue professionally.  So Sarah studied at The Art Insitute of Chicago and earned her B.F.A in 1998.   Since then Sarah has been in Indiana working and painting.  Sarah loves botanical forms, mythology and surface design and all of these things play a big part in her art.  Sarah makes everything from cameos and pyasnky eggs, to needle lace and watercolor paintings. Lately Sarah has been thinking about new ways of drawing.  How to use line and color in a new way, so Sarah’s latest work involves lace making and knit images.
 To view more of Sarah’s work and the work of all our fine artists, visit us at   Also check out our monthly art competitions.

Friday, October 11, 2013

See What Zave Nelson is Creating!

Art Piece: 
Marker and Colored Pencil
25”  x  19”
About the Artist:
Zave Nelson
Zave was born in Atlanta, Georgia.  He never met his mother.  As a child Zave was a problem child, and stayed in trouble.  Zave was introduced to art and in his words “art changed his outlook on life and has brought him closer to God.  He now looks upon his life and talents as a gift, for which he is very thankful.
The Artist’s Personal Statement:
“I am of the father, as the father is of me; therefore I do the will of him, through the expression of my craft.”
To view more of  Zave’s work and the work of all our fine artists, visit us at   Also check out our monthly art competitions.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Creative Flower Photography Tip #9: Place a Picture Within a Picture by F.M. Kearney

Double exposures are a fun way to add a little creativity to your flower photographs. Sometimes, I’ll shoot a close-up, then pull back and shoot a much smaller version of the same flower – giving it the appearance that it’s “nestled” within itself. Other times, I’ll combine two totally different images.

The basic concept is simple: shoot one large image and superimpose a smaller one on top. The problem is being able to clearly distinguish one from the other, and to not have everything meld together into one big cluttered mess. I tried various methods to accomplish this and the best way I found was to simply underexpose the bigger image. However, if both images are shot in the same light, even underexposing isn’t always enough. It’s for that reason that I like to shoot on sunny days. By completely shading the larger image, and then, shooting the smaller image in direct sunlight, I’m able to achieve an even starker contrast through the different lighting conditions. Coupled with the overall underexposure, both images are now sufficiently offset from each other – creating a unique effect, whereby, the smaller image will appear to “float” in the center of the larger one.
The photo opportunities are endless, but they do require a certain degree of pre-visualization. For proper composition, it’s important to remember the exact location of the images within the frame. Personally, I find it easier to shoot the smaller image first. That way, I’m able to ensure I have an adequate amount of “dead space” around it. So that the smaller image (and only the smaller image) is superimposed onto the larger one, everything else needs to be “masked” out. I use a 3X3 square foot black cloth that’s laid on the cloth on the ground behind the flower.
When shooting double exposures, the exposure for both images must be halved in order for the two combined images to add up to the correct exposure. One of the easiest ways to do this is to set your exposure compensation to -1. Because the subject is so small and surrounded by so much black, it’s imperative to meter very carefully by spot metering the flower. This will avoid overexposing the shot.
Set your camera up for a double exposure and take the first shot.

When shooting the larger, underexposed image, move in close and try to fill the frame as much as possible. Spot meter the brightest part, then, underexpose by about 1/3 stop. This should give you just the right amount of underexposure – dark enough so that it doesn’t compete for attention with the smaller image, but not so dark that its features become unrecognizable. Next, block any direct sunlight from falling on it.
If taking pictures of two different flowers, try not to choose two of the same color. The effect will always look more dramatic if the colors of the two images are just as different as the exposures.
This picture-in-picture technique is a great way to introduce something a little different in your flower portraits.

Article Submitted by:
F.M. Kearney is a fine art nature photographer, specializing in unique floral and landscape images. To see more of his work, please visit

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Worry Doll by Jayme Catalano

In Guatemalan folklore, a person can express their concerns to a small worry doll so that the doll may worry in the person’s place.  Artist Renee Laferriere Cinderhouse has created her own series of ceramic worry dolls embodying the twelve most recurrent human concerns:  health, trauma, death, fertility, lust, companionship, love, loneliness, hostility, time, aging, and money.  “A physical manifestation of worry, the dolls are empathetic to our own concerns, our health, our lust, aging, death.  Each doll is a willing audience for the taxing ephemera of our daily toil, they are meant to carry our anxieties for us, so we do not have to.”

For more information, visit the artist’s website.

Image Titles:  Love, Death, and Surgery

Article Submitted by:
-Jayme Catalano
Graphic design and site creation

Monday, October 7, 2013

See What J. Carlos Cruz is Creating!

Art Piece: 
“Evening at Ridge Creek Lake”
About the Artist
J. Carlos Cruz
J. Carlos Cruz was born in a small village in the Mexican state of Puebla.  When he was eight, his family moved to Pachuca, the capital city of Hidalgo, where he first began his studies.  As a child Mr. Cruz did not receive any formal artistic training, though he always had an affinity for painting and drawing.  It was during his time studying Humanities at the Unversida Autonoma de Hidalgo where he really discovered his artistic skills, particularly in painting and drawing.   J. Carlos continued to educate himself in the field of artistry by expanding his knowledge of many mediums.  Mr. Cruz eventually moved to Houston, Texas where he currently resides.
To view more of  Carlos’s work and the work of all our fine artists, visit us at   Also check out our monthly art competitions.


Friday, October 4, 2013

See What Shelley Wheeler is Creating!

Art Piece: 
“Pennywise the Clown”
Pastel and Ink
9”  x  11”
About the Artist
Shelley Wheeler
Shelley grew up in the Midwest, along the Missouri river, and she carries with me that small town attitude.   She claims to be part of the last generation in America who did not have all the technology we have today while growing up.   I was forced to use my imagination and I thank the universe for that every day. I am lucky enough to have a wonderful husband who has supported me both emotionally and artistically making the starving artist part of my story a struggle but giving me the freedom to pursue my dreams.
Personal Statement:
When you are an artist, all you can think about is art. I am either creating some kind of art work, or I am thinking about creating my next piece of art. I don’t know if it's good art, that's not for me to decide... I leave that to the art critics. I am only racing myself in this game, and as long as I am giving it my all, the rest of it is out of my hands.
To view more of Shelley’s work and the work of all our fine artists, visit us at   Also check out our monthly art competitions.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Best Laid Plans... by F.M. Kearney

I recently took a trip to Orlando, FL. to visit family. As a nature photographer, I'm always planning for the possibility of photo opportunities wherever I go. Being land-locked, I wasn't too thrilled about Orlando. I would have preferred a more coastal locale to capture dynamic sunrise or sunset photos. I wasn't at all sure about what to expect in Orlando, so I referred to my favorite little toy...Google Earth. I find this tool absolutely invaluable for familiarizing myself with just about anywhere I want to visit. Even if I'm not planning an actual trip, I can't even begin to count the number of virtual trips I've taken around the globe just for fun.
I was happily surprised when I Google-Earthed Orlando. A huge lake was located behind a resort directly across the street from where I would be staying. I would be on the west side of the lake facing east – perfectly positioned to capture stunning sunrise photos under a beautiful Florida sky. Well...that was the plan. When I got there, I immediately headed to the lake to scout out the best vantage points for my next few days of early morning shoots. I went behind the resort, but found the lake totally fenced off. I saw a lot on Google Earth, but I sure as heck didn't see that fence. When I asked the front desk personnel how I could gain access to it, they told me it was a private lake only accessible to guests of the resort.

In the words of John McEnroe: YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS!!

With nothing else but streets and strip malls in the immediate area, my camera equipment became little more than a heavy paper-weight.
As it turned out, the only photos I got on the entire trip were the ones I took on the plane ride to Orlando. The view out the window as we climbed above the cloud layer was spectacular. As I would normally do on the ground, I placed a polarizing filter on my lens to make the clouds pop. When I looked through the camera, I saw a kaleidoscope of weird colors overlaying the scene. Not knowing exactly what was causing it, I removed the filter and the colors returned to normal. (I later learned that most airline windows are already polarized and will create a rainbow effect if you shoot through them using a polarizing filter). To block out reflections, I placed the lens as close to the window as I could without actually touching it – the plane's vibrations would have caused too much camera shake. I was also concerned about shooting through such a greasy, scratch-covered surface. I normally abhor shooting through vehicle windows, but I didn't really have much of a choice in this situation. I cleaned it as best I could and used a moderate depth of field to render the scratches invisible.
Hopefully, my plans won't fall through on my next trip as badly as they did on this one. It would have been nice to come back with more than just an ad for Southwest Airlines. But, in retrospect, I guess it's more important to spend quality time with family than it is to take pictures. It is...right?

Article Submitted by:
F.M. Kearney is a fine art nature photographer, specializing in unique floral and landscape images. To see more of his work, please visit

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Mohawk Project by Jayme Catalano


Austrian artist Andreas Franke has just launched a ground-breaking underwater art installation off the coast of Sanibel Island in Florida entitled Mohawk Project:  The Life Above Refined Below.  Using sunken World War II battleship the USS Mohawk, magnets attach the twelve photo exhibition to the iron hull.  Exploring themes of love, loss, and youth at a time when the world was at war, Franke has evoked a sense of life and love transcending death, a defiance of the devastation and suffering experienced during that period.  Most importantly, it reminds us of just how young and optimistic those sailors and their sweethearts were all those years ago, and how quickly lives were changed and loves were lost.
The USS Mohawk, or “Mighty Mo,” was sunk last year to act as an artificial reef.  The ship that helped carry off the D-Day invasion in Normandy, France also survived 14 Nazi attacks and rescued more than 300 sailors from torpedoed ships during WWII.  Franke first photographed the ghostly ship swarming with fish while diving in August.  He then shot a second series of photographs featuring contemporary models in 1940s styling that were then superimposed over the original shots.  Franke says, “I imagined these sailors waiting in the North Atlantic for a German sub to attack them, so in these images I tried to make their lives a little bit nicer with the girls on board.  If I was there, what would I want?  It’s a dream, a fantasy land for sailors.”
This Mohawk Project is another exhibition in a series of underwater exhibitions by Andreas Franke.  He also displayed retro images on the WWII ship USNS General Hoty S. Vandenberg and photos of Renaissance aristocracy frolicking on sunken freighter ship SS Stavronikita.  The Mohawk Project underwater exhibition will be attached to the ship until September, where it will then be exhibited in more conventional, land-bound galleries.  For more information, please visit the artist’s website here.
Article Submitted by:
-Jayme Catalano
Graphic design and site creation