Week No. 15. Guardians of the Planet

In honor of Earth Day and of the show opening tonight at Studio B in Boyertown, PA, Local by Local, this gallery focuses on trees and other vegetation — including crabgrass — the stuff on which animal life depends. Included in several images are bits of trash left in forested areas.

I’ve included information with each picture about the camera used to capture the picture and the software used to develop it including the company that converted my Pentax K10D into an infrared camera — Kolari Vision. Most of the other outfits that convert cameras that I found, or were recommended to me, only deal with Canikon cameras.

For those interested in understanding better understanding Infrared photography, false colors, and the surreal effects it produces read my 2009 article here. The article, which includes a basic summary of the physics of light, should be read by all landscape artists whatever their medium. I hope readers won’t get lost in the science, but it’s what makes me appreciate the magic of it all.

Much of the content is based on my early experiments using an old point and shoot that I converted myself in addition to using IR filters on other cameras. The article has been slightly updated with a cursory look at processing IR files shot in camera RAW and channel swapping to produce the blue sky effect. I recommend Laurie Klein’s Infrared Photography: Artistic Techniques for Brilliant Images for a more in-depth (and less technical) look at the art form.

Jay M. Ressler

Jay Ressler Composite Photography and Encaustic Art He is an outstanding location photographer, with an eye that can capture the soul of a Havana back street as beautifully as the sip of a hungry hummingbird, often with compelling black and white images. But Jay Ressler is best known for artistic expression that lives in layers between opposites. “I like to explore boundaries,” he explains. “Boundaries between consciousness and the unconscious, between reality and imagination, between certainty and skepticism.” He does this by compositing his own photography in multiple layers to produce stunningly original, interleaved images. Using Photoshop, other image manipulation software and a variety of digital effects, he paints one photographic layer on top of another. He takes advantage of textures he's captured along with an array of processes for manipulating light, contrast, and color to tell the story. “Distorting and reinterpreting the literal 'machine moments' captured by the camera is as old as the art of photography,” he insists. Jay occasionally extends his multi-layered approach to encaustic mixed media creations. Based on ancient techniques, the process begins with cooking his own recipes of beeswax and damar resin and applying this medium between the layers of photographic images, along with various pigmented compounds and materials to add color, texture and expression. Either way, the results are riveting. The viewer is drawn into an unfolding, dreamlike scene that might be heart-warming, haunting, gritty, poignant or magical. Sometimes, within the various layers, all of the above. The award-winning photographer/artist has many dimensions himself. He studied advanced digital photography at Pittsburgh Filmmakers and advanced encaustic techniques with leading instructors in the field. He worked as an underground coal miner, steelworker, machinist, labor and civil rights activist, copywriter and commercial printer. He has a BS in Psychology from Albright College.

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