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Contest at#love-new-artists

Collaboration Contest by ZeeShiKing 1 day ago Hobbyist General Artist
Hi, this is Syed from love-new-artists group. We are affiliated with you.
We are having a contest called "collaboration contest" which is about people writing poem about the artwork that they like (after getting the owner's permission of course). You can find more about it here:…

Since, it is allowed for the members in the affiliated group to take part in the contest, we would really appreciate if you write about it in your group profile to let your members know.



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Features and Journals

Contrasts of a Curious Mind #1

Journal Entry: Thu Feb 4, 2016, 6:05 AM
I'm introducing an occasional series on the idea of contrast in images by looking at the work of two most excellent photographers here on Deviant Art: thewolfcreek and metalbender. Talk to most photographers about contrast and you will here all about light and shade, the zone system, local versus global contrast and much much more. We photographers like to think of contrast in terms of variations and differences in the light values of adjacent parts of an image - pure black versus pure white being the ultimate photographic contrast. However, some considerable time ago, a Swiss expressionist painter called Johanes Itten… introduced to his students at the Bauhaus the idea of another type of contrast - contrast between characteristics and properties of objects, such as rough and smooth, narrow and wide, horizontal and vertical, curved and linear - was just as important in image making as the concept of variable light values. I wrote a short forum article about this a few years ago.… Itten's idea can be taken even further; we can look for contrasts in style, content, intent, methods, media, and all such ideas are what these Features are going to be about - contrasts of a curious mind. (Itten will crop up again in future Features in this series.)

Let me look at five works by thewolfcreek :iconthewolfcreek:, Steven.

 This house of broken dreams... by thewolfcreek    Deserted and forlorn... by thewolfcreek

Something wicked... by thewolfcreek

These woods of dread and fear... by thewolfcreek            Black lake... by thewolfcreek

Steven is a well travelled photographer, particularly through the United States. He normally uses two Canon Rebel 2000 EOS 35mm cameras, one fitted with a Canon 75-300mm zoom lens and the other camera with a Canon 35-80 mm lens. He tells me he also uses a red or yellow filter and graduated filters with both cameras and lenses, and a tripod.

What do you think of these monochrome (black and white) images? I bet a lot of folk think...Hmmmm... they are all a bit grey and dull, and not that interesting. Well, if you think that, you are absolutely wrong, and if you follow this article you will come to see these shots in a completely different light. Nevertheless, in one respect our imaginary critic is correct - the images are a bit grey. In terms of classic photographic contrast they do not use the full tonal range available. The lightest tones are only slightly above mid-tone grey - look at the first image - the boarding of the house walls should be whitish, but they are not - they are grey. Look at the last image - nothing is above mid-tone! Why has Steven done this? Cannot he not see or read a histogram? The answer is that Steven's style of using a low contrast and an abbreviated tonal range is to create mood. The mood varies from image to image, sometimes chilly, sometimes melancholic, sometimes lonely or solitary, sometimes mysterious, threatening, odd... The titles he chooses reinforce the mood  - "Something wicked...", "These woods of dread and fear...", "Black lake..." Even the use of ellipsis (the three dots in the titles) adds to the ominous mood.

Despite their slightly chilly nature, these are contemplative images. They don't fall into the modern "Wow" categories that rely on transient visual impact - seen today, forgotten tomorrow. The more you really look at these works, the more they reveal, the more you start to think - they as much an intellectual challenge as an emotional one. What went on in that house in the first shot, "This house of broken dreams..."? What histories, what lives, what agonies and joys were there? More prosaically, who built it?  And, that barn, "Deserted and forlorn..." in the second shot - it must have been an important building, functional and solid, but now dead and decaying. Sombre contemplation from use of restricted contrast.

Many of Steven's works are also testaments to bygone rural architecture, as seen in the first two images. So, as well as the contemplative and melancholic nature of the images, they are a record of scores of disused rural buildings across many a State in the US. These images are valuable in this wider context This is an example of a contrast between the personal and the historic or public interest. 

My second photographer is Metal-Bender :iconmetal-bender:, Peggy.I know Peggy work with a Canon 5D Mark III, thus displaying her talent of picking excellent cameras! (OK - so I use one as well.) Peggy also works mostly in monochrome, and again I have chosen five works.

Heartbreak Hotel by Metal-Bender     The Time Will Never Come Back by Metal-Bender

  Closer Look by Metal-Bender

Converging Lines by Metal-Bender   Bending Time by Metal-Bender

I've chosen the first two of Peggy's images as contrasts to those of Steven. Similar in style and subject, Peggy's view of the "Heartbreak Hotel" is in very marked contrast to Steven's portrayal of buildings. For a start, the photographic contrast range is from black to white, the trees and bushes are deliberately darkened to silhouettes, and the style is approaching that of a high key image. While Steven's buildings are within the landscape, this decaying hotel has a halo of clouds, bright and white, perhaps reflecting previous exciting times. The subject stands out from its surroundings.  Yet, the sense of decay is there with those tendrils of creepers clasping and crushing the structure. The river with its bridge, too, is similar to Steven's "Black Lake...", but Peggy has used a full contrast range, although keeping the trees as silhouettes. She has also used a black vignette to focus or attention into the frame - a very useful technique in photography. The overall mood is brighter, even though the scene is dark.

In a huge contrast to Steven's work, Peggy likes people in her shots. In fact, Peggy likes Peggy in her shots in what might be a homage to Cindy Sherman! And, nothing wrong at all with that!… I've chosen, "Closer Look" with the magnifying glass and very carefully controlled pose, as an example with so many contrasts in it - black dress, hair, gloves, white background; see-through gauze, impenetrable black, vertical arm, horizontal arm; big V shape on the neckline, little V shape on the brooch; little round dots, big round glass... Itten would loved this. The use of high photographic contrasts adds to the startling presentation.

I think the last two of the images I've chosen for Peggy really do bring home some of the ideas of contrasts - that industrial building with its converging lines is so modern and man-made the contrast with the amorphous cloud-swept sky needs hardly a mention; the rattling rhythm of the metallic ridges opposing the rolling softness of the clouds. And, finally, I could not resist "Bending Time" for an exercise in Itten contrasts: legs human (Peggy's?), bent clock, inanimate; thick diagonal stripes, rectangular patterns; angles and lines, warped curves; and "piece de resistance" red shoes in a monochrome image!!! I'm a believer in colour splash work when it works well, and this works a treat.

Overall, what conclusions can we make, particularly with respect to contrasts? My two photographers both work in monochrome, and there are similarities in some subject matter, but Steven uses a low contrast style to create mood and contemplative images whereas Peggy uses a higher contrast approach for dramatic effect. Steven's work not only hints at deep personal meaning, but also has a public value as archival record of bygone times; Peggy's work has a personal side, but also looks outward with more visual impact to excite attention. Steven's work has some of the Itten ideas inherent in the way he presents his work, whereas Peggy uses Itten contrasts (consciously or unconsciously) to full effect.

Both are very fine photographers who deserve as much attention and praise as we can give them.

David aka Okavanga :iconokavanga:

This Journal Skin was designed by Night-Beast modified by Okavanga

At Last, The Leopards!

Journal Entry: Wed Jan 27, 2016, 6:05 AM
This is the last in my Tanzanian series of photo essays.

When we embarked on our Tanzanian safari in late October last year, I desperately wanted to see and photograph a leopard (Panthera pardus). I had seen one at Sabi Sands in South Africa years ago in the pre-digital age when I had little photographic gear, and certainly no long lens. Despite repeated attempts in various game reserves over the years, including two days tracking at Phinda Vlei, no further leopard had entered the viewfinder. An experienced guide, Dan Mackenzie, I met on RedBubble, where I maintain an alter ego, gave me the useful advice to keep especially sharp eyes around the kopje in the Serengeti. This turned out to be admirable advice. He might also have mentioned to keep an umbrella handy - as we shall see! In fact, we ended up seeing at least seven (7!) leopard, possibly a record for a small party, and this was in very large part because of the remarkable abilities of Alfred the Great our guide and driver, who wears a lucky belt adorned with a leopard image buckle - one young woman offered him considerable favours should he part with this for a day, but he was unmoved, and the said lady went home disappointed, nor did she see any leopard :laughing:.

On with the show: Ooops - that can't be correct, the first shot is of a tree! With some zebees sheltering from the midday Sun, see how the shadow is entirely under the foliage of the tree, as the Sun is directly overhead. However, this is an umbrella tree (Acacia tortilis), and you should always study umbrellas in the Serengeti, because like as not there will be a leopard there! Can you spot her? (I say "her", as Alfred said this leopard was female.) In fact, she had been asleep, and the zebra were unaware of her in the tree. She woke up as we were observing, the zebra heard her and moved off pretty quickly. The second image shows the leopard awake and on the look out. Note the tail, swung out to the right as we look, in order to balance as she walks along the branch.

Umbrella Tree with Zebra and Leopard by Okavanga  Leopard in Umbrella Tree by Okavanga

Leopards like trees, and seem to be able to adopt any posture for resting, as seen in the next shot. I'd swear that this fellow has a crossed-eyed look to him, but maybe that is because he has just woken up. Leopards are not the only Big Cat to like trees, with the next image, captured a few minutes later, showing two lions hanging about on a tree about 500 metres from the leopard. The lions were part of a small pride of five, the others lying at the base of the tree.

Sleepy Leopard by Okavanga    Tree Lions by Okavanga

Why do leopards and lions do this? For leopards this behaviour is part of their evolutionary survival mechanism. Leopards are not an apex predator, lions being happy to kill them when given the chance. Thus, trees offer safe refuge, high above the grassland. In addition, leopards are adept at hauling their dead prey into the branches (we saw instances of this) keeping it safe from lions who would steal it, and the scavengers who would easily distract a sole leopard to pilfer the carcass. A further advantage of trees for leopards is the view that such a high position affords, looking for prey becomes easier. Finally, as well as shade, trees offer the chance of cooling breezes and some respite from ground dwelling insects. For lions, tree climbing can be done, but is unusual - too much energy expenditure. They would also be at a disadvantage if trying to climb a tree that already has a leopard in it. Leopards win out on agility and would not let a more poderous lion have any purchase. That brings me to leopard No. 3 the one in the tree taunting the lions that we saw in  The Leopard and the LionsJust South of the Lemala Camp, in the central Serengeti, stands a solitary statuesque sausage tree (Kigelia africana) Rising to 15 meters, with its convoluted branches covered in dense foliage and with its large sausage-shaped fruits hanging ripe to fall, this tree casts a wide shadow over a dry gulch of an ephemeral river that floods the land in the rainy season. Parched land covered in long but dessicated grass lies all around, an occasional thorn bush breaking the local monotony. This is where we found the lions that morning. I say "we" found the lions, rather our amazing guide/driver Alfred the Great, he of the lucky belt (more of which in a later Feature) had found the lions after a careful study of tracks and patches of flattened grass. Standing up in the Land Cruiser, scouring the landscape, my wife and I saw nothing until Alfred whispered, "There, in the gulch - a paw!" Carefully manoeu. Here's a reminder:
The Leopard and the Lions by Okavanga 

Leopard No. 4 was asleep in a tree, woke up, and decided to go for a jaunt. In the blink of an eye he was down from his perch and away, although I managed one reasonable shot of his descent before he vanished into the grass.

 Leopard Waking by Okavanga  Leopard Descending by Okavanga

About 500 metres along from that leopard we came across a mother and two cubs. As I managed to capture only the mother and one cub, they are Nos. 5 and 6

Female Leopard on Guard by Okavanga  Female Leopard with Cub by Okavanga

The mother was resting beside a fallen tree in the grassland, while one cub crossed over to a tree a couple of hundred meters away. The mother followed, leaving the second cub hidden from our sight behind the fallen tree. We had hoped that the mother and cub would climb, but no, the cub disappeared into the grass, and the mother settled down.

And so to the last leopard, No. 7. We met this young female in the first of these Journals "Jambo, Jambo"  Jambo, JamboThe cheerful Tanzanian greeting of "Jambo" or better still "Jambo, Jambo" seems sadly out of place given recent events in Paris, and the continuing deterioration in the Middle East. This is meant to be a happy return to DeviantArt following my recent safari through some of the National Parks of Northern Tanzania. The irony is that Tanzania, a country of scores of different races, tribes, and cultures, is an African success story with more or less complete harmony between its inhabitants, and a developing economy that promises great things for its peoples in the next decades. The slight disharmony comes from - dare I say it - but you know already - Islamic fundamentalism - on the island of Zanzibar.
Anyway, we had a marvellous time on safari, and I shot several thousand photographs of wildlife from huge baobab trees to tiny birds and flowers, via elephants, lions, leopards, wildebeest and more and more... My intention is to post the best of these shots over the next few weeks, and I am
. I used her as one of my animal portrait shots.

Animal Portraits - Leopard by Okavanga

We encountered her on that memorable day of seeing the wildebeest crossing the Mara River when we headed away from the river up into the rocky hillside of a kopje. She was on the hunt for food for two cubs, according to a local guide, and we followed her for about an hour as she watched, rested, listened, moved, and trotted among the trees, rocks, and grassland. She was not successful in killing any prey while we were there, and I thought that our presence, and the arrival of 5 or 6 other Land Cruisers was interfering with her task.

Kopje Leopard 1 by Okavanga Kopje Leopard on the Move by Okavanga 
 Kopie Leopard on the Move 2 by Okavanga

She was the most beautiful of all the animals that I saw, sleek, silent, sensuous, and I wish so so much that I was back there right now, back where the wildebeest trek through their never ending migration; where the zebras dance to the tune of the Earth; the lions lazily dine on their dish of the day; the elephants harrumph and bathe in dust and mud; where the vultures circle cawing and cackling; where the Great Plains roll and roll over the horizon, and where we humankind learn to know our place.

Here she is, one last time.

Kopie Leopard on Alert by Okavanga


So, after 3 months we are at the end of these safari sketches. I hope you have enjoyed them. The statistics of faves and views suggest you have - just over 4000 faves to date, and 15,000 views of the 15 Journals. (This is the sixteenth!) Many, many thanks to all of you for looking reading, commenting, and supporting this project.

Finally, I must thank my long-suffering wife, Anne, for her patience, and our driver guide Alfred the Great for his skill, knowledge, professionlism and unending good humour.

The Dynamic Duo by Okavanga

Best Wishes to All.


David aka Okavanga :iconokavanga:

This Journal Skin was designed by Night-Beast modified by Okavanga
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ArtWorldToday is a Group for anyone who enjoys art. You don't have to make it to be a member. Art comes in all forms and what is art to one person might not be art to another. So you must be kind to other members. We will have beginners as well as established artists in this group, so there is a variety to look at.

My husband and I used to live in a town that had a active Art Walk. We enjoyed going on the First Friday of every month. There were so many talented artists in the town we lived in, and this was a way for people to notice them. We have since moved and the town we live in now doesn't have a Art Walk that show cases artists the way our old town did. I miss the environment of the Art Walk, I miss the getting to know the artists and I miss seeing all the new artwork.

I thought fine I will make my own First Friday Art Walk here on the web. I hope that we will build a fun group with lots of networking, interaction and support amongst artists of different types and abilities.

Not everyone can go to an Art Walk but here on the internet we can have our own form of Art Walk. On the First Friday of every month we will feature new artists for the month!
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SnowInHades Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for the request :heart:
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Thanks a lot my friend :icondiamoneyes: and all the group for the request Envers et contre tous... by Ikonokl4st secret handshake 
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Thanks a lot my friend :icondiamoneyes: for the request Think, think, think always . by Ikonokl4st secret handshake 
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