The Gardens of Eden: Blog http://www.thegardensofeden.org/blog en-us (C) The Gardens of Eden michael@thegardensofeden.org (The Gardens of Eden) Sat, 14 Apr 2012 13:06:00 GMT Sat, 14 Apr 2012 13:06:00 GMT http://www.thegardensofeden.org/img/s3/v8/u599948856-o471335869-50.jpg The Gardens of Eden: Blog http://www.thegardensofeden.org/blog 120 90 Why not flowers, kittens or puppies? http://www.thegardensofeden.org/blog/2012/4/why-reptiles I often get asked why do I shoot such strange subjects.....  e.g.,  snakes, spiders, lizards, etc....  Actually, I ask myself that at times too....  So, I figured for my own sanity and the curiosity of those who asked I would put down the answer..... Why??   after all this time do I still shoot these creatures....  I mean its been over seven years that I have been heads down doing this.... 

1.  As a kid I was fascinated by them.  Hell, I am still fascinated by them....  Seeing the amazingly beautiful and diverse collections, learning about them from experts in the industry..... just being part of the fabric of reptile community is in itself satisfying.....  I would enjoy spending time studying these creatures even if I didn't take their pictures.... 

2.  It's not a common photographic subject like landscapes, people, flowers, etc....    I like the fact that I work in a niche.....  Niches have always served me well.   I just can't see myself getting excited about being one of a million traditional photographers.....  This isn't a knock against photographers who work with traditional subjects/genres.... it's just that the passion I feel for the animals drives my want to photograph them..... 

3.  Like me, the general herper community is passionate about these animals.  This means there is a small but intense group of people who really appreciate the work...  I love being face to face with these people when they see my work....   The visual feedback I get in watching them react to the images is incredibly gratifying....

4.  The non herper community reaction to these images is also gratifying....   Helping people see thru their misconceptions and fears about these animals, and in most cases realizing for the first time contrary to their beliefs that indeed these animals can be beautiful....  brings me to a happy place....  makes me feel that I am an ambassador for mother nature .....  

5.  Wake up !  They actually make great fine art subjects..... line, color, texture, emotion.... it's all there to be captured....   so no matter what people think, I believe what I am doing is fine art... and one day, I will make believers out of you * 

6.  The herper community is not just passionate, they are a colorful group of people.....  I mean.... really..... perhaps if I didn't shoot reptiles, I might enjoy shooting reptile owners.....  I once heard that this group has a high T2T ratio (tattoo to tooth)  and I mean that in the nicest way possible....    just go to a reptile show in your home town, you will see what I am talking about.....  

7.  The photographic requirements are reasonable for shooting these subjects....  There are so many things you can spend money on in photography......if you aren't focused, you can spend a ton of money to cover all angles but risk not being the master of any....  My requirements are specific and relatively reasonable....  a good DSLR body, sharp macro lens, good lights, stands/clamps, interesting rocks and branches..... my world is a table top....  very manageable.....

8.  Most of the photographers in this space actually care about each other and are willing to share their skills and mentor those seeking help....  I think that is because all of us share the same passions for the animals...  I know many people who I respect as photographers in this space that went out of their way to help me when I started out, and in return, I too have helped others who wanted to learn more about how to shoot these animals......  

9.  I have a collector mentality.  Throughout my life I needed to collect things..... record albums as a teenager,  scuba diving destinations as a young adult, not to long ago, reptiles as pets....  For example, around five years ago I think we had over 50 cold blooded creatures in our house.  Thank god, through my photography, I have found I can satisfy my collector mentality without having to physically own and care for the animals....  When I post process these images, I sometimes am working at the scale level, cleaning up dirt or specular highlights....  I really get to know these animals thru this process.... and maintaining my image library is much easier then maintaining a household of living animals....   (although I think I rather spend an hour cleaning cages over keywording).  

10.  Reserved for future use.... (I am sure there are other reasons I do this, I just can't think of them right now.....)

Actually..... this process has helped me better understand myself..... I am pretty comfortable that when I find another subject that I care about as much as this, then I will be ready to expand my shooting to other areas.....  I just need to be sure that there is a passion inside of me burning to come out as I have for the exotics....  for maybe thats an important ingredient to get above a technically perfect image, to one that captures the beauty in the beast.....

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michael@thegardensofeden.org (The Gardens of Eden) http://www.thegardensofeden.org/blog/2012/4/why-reptiles Sat, 14 Apr 2012 03:54:40 GMT
Abstract Music - a new addition to my website http://www.thegardensofeden.org/blog/2012/4/musical-influences  

Music has always been an important part of my life.  One of my earliest memories was when I found my uncles old high schools trumpet and stash of 78 records under the stairs of my grandmothers house, this was a magical discovery and beginning of a journey of  musical discoveries that  still continues to this day.  

I always thought that music was the purest form of art....  our senses absorb it so quickly and we feel the emotion it offers almost immediately.  Imagery on the other hand usually takes more time to explore, question, appreciate....  so, my thinking goes, if you can combine the two you get an exponential impact....  where the sum is greater then the parts.... or so goes my theory and the basis a new set of projects you can find on the main menu of my website - Abstract Music.

Linking my abstract images to the major musical influences of my life.....    

Enjoy....

 

MDK

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michael@thegardensofeden.org (The Gardens of Eden) http://www.thegardensofeden.org/blog/2012/4/musical-influences Sun, 08 Apr 2012 15:05:45 GMT
Misguided quest http://www.thegardensofeden.org/blog/2012/4/misguided-quest What can I say..... I get lost in my work of abstractions..... I can tell many people think it misguided.  I am not sure, somedays I think them gems in the rough and another iteration or two and people will understand and see what I see.  On the other hand, sometimes I see the whole process as image masterbation.  Only time will tell.... In the meantime, I keep working on my reality images, but take visual journeys thru my abstractions.  I need both.

 

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michael@thegardensofeden.org (The Gardens of Eden) http://www.thegardensofeden.org/blog/2012/4/misguided-quest Sun, 08 Apr 2012 03:07:20 GMT
Blog Test Title http://www.thegardensofeden.org/blog/2012/3/what-you-may-learn-here What can you learn about by reading this?  Well, insights into my work, motivation, techniques, and adventures....

 

My journey photographing reptiles This test has been brought to you by the gardens of eden.  Thanks for the fish !

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michael@thegardensofeden.org (The Gardens of Eden) http://www.thegardensofeden.org/blog/2012/3/what-you-may-learn-here Tue, 06 Mar 2012 06:03:43 GMT