Prints That Win: Misty Morning

Last November, photographers Kathryn and Gary Meek were vacationing in China, when one misty morning, they spied a junk boat moored to just a little wisp of a dock on the Yangtze River. Even though it was at rest, Kathryn Meek said she was struck by the serenity of the scene. She pulled out her camera and started shooting. One of the images she captured would later become “Misty Morning,” winner of the Sunset Print Award – Illustrative category in the PPA Southwest District.

“It is one of my favorite shots. The trip was a cool experience and I was able to get a really cool shot,” she says.

To properly convey the ethereal feeling of the scene for the print, she used LexJet Sunset Photo Metallic Paper. “It really made the image pop,” she said of the award-winning paper.

Prints that Win: Rendezvous

Rendezvous by Gary MeekMaster photographer Gary Meek, owner of Gary’s Studio of Photography in Hot Springs, Ark., says that Ansel Adams’ concept of “pre-visualization” is one of the most important aspects of photography. Gary and his wife, Kathryn, also a Master photographer, were traveling through Florence in October of last year when they came upon the scene shown here.

Pre-visualization was vital in turning this scene into a Sunset Print Award winner at the recent Arkansas Professional Photographers Association annual competition.

“I envisioned a long, narrow image to enhance the doorway, the placement of the bicycles and repetitive shapes and forms in the stones. Here, I found the angle I wanted and called it Rendezvous because it might be the two bicycles or the two people who own the bicycles behind the closed door,” says Meek. “Pre-visualization is so important because the amateur eye sees selectively, but the camera sees objectively. The professional makes their eye see objectively, and through lens selection, camera placement and creative cropping, makes their final image see selectively. Back in the film days when we shot in the snow, which is rare in Arkansas, and by the time we got the film developed and printed the snow was gone forever, and all you saw was telephone lines and power lines. But the professional will see those and then through lens selection and camera placement they’ll make sure they’re gone or less obtrusive, because back in those days we didn’t ever say we’ll fix it in Photoshop. That’s one of the advantages of growing up as a film shooter; it had to be right in capture because you couldn’t do much in processing like you can now.”

Meek captured Rendezvous with a Nikon D800 at f-5.5 @ 1/45th ISO 400 and a 28-300 f 3.5-5.6 Nikon lens with a focal length of 92mm.

Post-capture, Meek added some texture and a copper wash to the image to enhance the masonry. Moreover, Meek seeks to create timeless images that aren’t dated, so he took out any extraneous power lines. After printing Rendezvous at 9 1/2″ x 20″, Meek added a textured mat as a border.

“I like to put an inch or so of matting around it, which enhances the image. It has to be right so you can’t just slap any mat on there. To complete the color harmony, I always try to pull something from the image itself for the mat and then add a texture to the matt. When you buy Crescent Mat Boards, for instance, you have a choice between smooth and textured, and if you have a textured image you want a textured mount board,” says Meek.

The judges were impressed by the balance and composition of the image, with the basket on one of the bicycles as a focal point. Meek says he wanted to ensure that the viewer’s eye is drawn to the basket first so it doesn’t wander aimlessly around the image.

Randy Taylor, Taylor Made Photography, Edmond, Okla., was a judge at the Arkansas competition and selected Rendezvous for his judge’s trophy. “It draws you right into the subject matter – the two bicycles right outside the doorway – and enlists your imagination to complete the story. The texture, contrast and color harmony – everything – came together to give the viewer a beautiful experience. I have all this beautiful photographic art I do, and my wife asked Gary if she could buy a copy of his,” says Taylor.