Bill Exley Photography

Celebrating Color, Texture and Natural Beauty

Photo Blog


Photography Exhibit – May thru July 2013

Last modified on 2013-05-19 05:37:25 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Celebrate Color, Texture and Natural Beauty with photography from Bill Exley Photography.

Meet Bill Exley, a local Ashland artist, at Waterstone Salon on June7, 2013 during Ashland’s First Friday Art Walk. His photographs will be hanging from May 20, 2013 through July 20, 2013. The inspiration for this show comes from watching Mother Nature live and breathe. Over the years, Bill has grown to appreciate the uncommon perspectives of nature – Abstract art in a sense.

Come meet Bill and discover what inspires him to create such beautiful photographic art.

Photographic Art at the Oregon Caves National Monument

Last modified on 2013-05-19 05:44:43 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I am the Still Photographer for the SOPTV/Greg Frederick Production documentary “The Marble Halls of Oregon” and am currently selling images from this project at the Oregon Caves National Monument throughout the 2013 season.

If you get a chance to visit the Caves, please stop by the gift shop and purchase a wonderful piece of history – images from within the Caves.

Exploring HDR

Last modified on 2010-08-26 00:35:14 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I’ve been thinking lately about how best to optimize photographs without diving deep into the bowels of Lightroom or Photoshop.  I took a good look at what my eyes see vs. what the camera actually captures and decided to explore the world of HDR.

In a recent blog post to Photoshop or not to…, I talked about the limitation digital sensors have over what the eyes see – I remain in awe of the human eye and its ability to adjust exposure, so to speak, to such fine levels.  Consider in even the brightest days, the eye sees great details in even the darkest shadows.  In a nutshell, HDR involves combining multiple images together at varying exposures to convey a better representation of what we see.

Last week, a photographer friend and I went on a scouting trip which included a side trip to Golden, Oregon – a ghost town with an outcropping of a few buildings – so I brought my tripod and gave HDR a try.  The verdict…a wonderful experience encouraging me to incorporate more HDR into my photography.  Here is my favorite shot and below it the three exposure-bracketed images.

church_hdr
church_lowchurch_midchurch_high

HDR can include a number of images at varying exposures. For this project, I opted for 3 images, with an exposure bracket of -2, 0, +2. Click here to view more HDR images.

I guess I could have tweaked the normal exposure image in Lightroom or Photoshop to mimick what the combined HDR image revealed. I am much more please with the results that HDR provides and encourage others to take a look at this method to render a more realistic tonal balance.

When is a photo not a photo

Last modified on 2010-05-27 23:17:26 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I just picked up issue 95 of Digital Photographer and read an article about enhancing details of the sky. Hummm, I thought a little post processing, no harm, right?

Well I was shocked to find that the article proposed layering images from separate photographs to accomplish this task. WHAT? A photograph is one shot not a crummy sky shot layered with a better stock photo sky shot as the article suggested. This is not Photography, it is DIGITAL ART. Some may contest that HDR is digital art; however, I disagree. In using HDR, multiple shots of the SAME context is layered to imitate what the eye actually sees – see my blog post to Photoshop or not to…

To blatantly take a sky, or any other part, from one image, whether you took the shot or not and layer it into another image you may or may not have shot is a kind of plagerism. Call me a purist or whatever you want. Digital software is quickly blurring the line between photography and digital art and frankly don’t like it. I’m going to rant to the editor about my opinion – maybe you’ll see it in an upcoming issue. I do still like this magazine, just a little peeved at this particular article.

the Heart of the Matter

Last modified on 2010-05-22 05:02:03 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Ever ask yourself why you take pictures?

I suspect many of you do so to capture the moment of a vacation, party, family, etc. etc. etc. For professionals, it’s about bringing home the bacon. Recently, I spent some time with my sister and talked about what we like to shoot and why. My mind’s been churning on this for several days now.

A client hires a professional to take pictures, often with little or no leeway in what you shoot or how you shoot it. Blessed be the client who trusts in your artistic abilities. For those selling photographs in stores, at fairs or galleries (include me in this category), we are again asked to look at what others like more than what we want to shoot.

I find it difficult to balance this reality as I prefer to shoot what I like and hope it sells rather than always look at its income potential.

to Photoshop or not to…

Last modified on 2010-05-08 00:00:37 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

I remember the first time someone asked me whether I had enhanced one of my photographs. Without hesitation I answered, “What you see is what I saw”. Except in the fun, jovial moments of morphing images, my work involves recreating what I saw, the moment I chose to take the picture.

I’ve been reading a book on Light and Exposure and reading through the details helped me understand the idea of enhancing images. In a nutshell, technology cannot capture what the eye sees, those fine subtleties that only the human eye can convey. I don’t expect technology can ever recreate the wonders of our biological systems – scientists will continue to try – and believe there are some things we’ll never be able to recreate. The number of sensors in the human eye far outnumber those the best digital camera or slow-speed film can hold. Thank goodness though for that same technology that can give people sight.

At the end of my first photography class, my teacher invited Ansel Adam’s curator to show off some of that work. He flipped over Moonrise over Hernandez and pointed to at least 10 areas where the original image was altered (dodged and burned) during the development process. Since the dawn of photography, the development process has involved some level of human intervention, some radical, some subtle, but all in the pursuit of capturing some level of photographic emotion.

Enjoy those moments when an image speaks to you, independent of whether the image was altered or not. Appreciate how those images trigger feelings.

Photography as a business

Last modified on 2010-05-11 16:08:34 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I was talking recently with my sister, who is also a seasoned photographer. Beyond the usual conversations, we had an in-depth discussion on how to make money with photography. Wow, we discussed a whirlwind of ideas, pitfalls, approaches. The bottom line, being a photographer in this time and era, well for one who wants to make money at it, is a challenge – only those who herd cats can appreciate this comment.

The long and short of it is three little words, words I heard when first learning economics – Supply and Demand. This law is pretty simple.

if supply goes up with no change in demand, prices inherently go down
if demand goes up with no change in supply, prices inherently go up
yadi, yadi, yadi

Ever consider why gasoline prices rise during summer? Wonder why refineries go “offline” for maintenance at the same time? Could someone be influencing prices?

When I look at photography in relation to the law of supply and demand, I find the financial window opportunity shrinking more and more. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, only that a more refined approach may be needed.

Considering Supply
With the advent of the digital era and point-and-shoot cameras, the supply of photographs has grown considerably. Albeit most of these shots don’t really qualify as saleable art or images, there are a good handful of great images shot with point-and-shoot. Consider that Getty Images, who recently signed an agreement with Flickr, will now browse Flickr portfolios and sign unknown photographers. Introduce the DSLR, Photoshop, other software and the scores of great film photographers, and it’s obvious that the supply of quality images has grown exponentially. The law, tried and true will impact the photography market. I do though think images (aka supply) can be delineated to the point that some images higher in demand than others will inherently demand higher prices. The trick is how to differentiate yourself amongst a sea of budding photographers. My approach to differentiation is my Abstract Art.

Considering Demand
Who purchases photographs? In my own self-interest, I hope you purchase one or more of my pictures. But honestly, look at the market: magazines, tabloids ($$$), newspapers, families, art collectors (i.e. Ansel Adams quality images) and lovers of photography – the list goes on. Some buyers purchase directly, others may hire contract photographers – oh to be a National Geographic photographer. It now looks as though stock photography is a primary source. Nonetheless, there is demand for photographs. Considering my love for photography, the demand for my images is smaller than the demand for the latest celebrity photograph. I still believe there is a market for it – which products remain unclear. Alas, only time, and the law of supply and demand, will tell.

So why am I blogging about this. I guess being in the thick of creating demand for my product, my photography, my art, I find myself working hand-in-hand with this immutable law. Have you ever considered how this law affects your life? Everywhere I look, I see this law in action.

AAARRRGGH or Opportunity

Last modified on 2010-05-08 00:03:23 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

AAARRGGGHHH…I’m becoming a web developer!!!

These days, it looks like everyone with a website must have some level technical knowledge, unless of course you’re cash rich and hire out a web developer. I’m becoming more a jack of all trades, master of none as it involves website design. I’m glad I have some coding experience; otherwise, bringing this website up would be way behind schedule.

It brings up an interesting point. I love taking pictures, not debugging code. Yeah, creating IS fun, but reading into the bowels of WordPress, all of it’s plugins, and enough html and css to be dangerous. Hell, I want to create pictures, not develop websites. Oh, don’t forget to test your paypal accounts in the sandbox before going live. Add all this into the mix and doing what I love is getting lost in the mix of “things I have to do to create my web presence”.

There is fun in this, otherwise, I’d opt not to spend a lot of time learning html, css, php, syntax, operators, debugging, variables, looping code, GUI’s…phew. It’s kinda bringing me down dude. Damnit Jim, I’m a doctor not a nuclear physicist. Thank goodness for internet resources, like WordPress. While my first attempt at web design was pretty good, I a indebted to those who wrote the tutorials at W3Schools and those who create applications like WordPress and plugins, widgets that seamlessly integrate within.

Cameras and stuff

Last modified on 2010-05-08 00:06:04 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

So maybe you’re wondering what camera I use, what lens(s) and equipment I have.

My first SLR (1983) was an Olympus OM1, fixed 35mm lens. Learning on a fully manual SLR really taught me alot about light and exposure. I later purchased a macro lens whose focal length and aperture escape me.

Somewhere during the dawn of the digital age, I bought my first digital point and shoot, a Nikon Coolpix S5 – ooohhh so fancy. A great overall camera; however, the zoom and megapixel capabilities fell far short of my needs as I moved to shooting higher quality images. Soon thereafter, I purchased my Nikon D80 and Nikon 18-200m VR zoom f3.5-5.6. I have used this setup for the past 3 years.

Last year, my Coolpix took a swim in the Wild and Scenic Rogue River and I just recently replaced it with the Panasonic Lumix ZS3. I was hesitant on purchasing anything but Nikon or Canon, but reviews for this point and shoot was quite impressive. So far, those reviews represent this camera well.

I do own a tripod and monopod, but rarely use them. I guess the bulkiness and absence of a quick hook/release keep them in the trunk of my car. I’ve become quite adept at having a steady hand – and using VR capabilities.

I’m currently considering adding a fixed aperture short-range zoom as I’m finding many of the places I shoot have less light than my zoom lens can accommodate. I’m not a fan of artificial lighting, but am keeping my options open right now. It’s that or a high-speed macro lens. So many choices, so little money.