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During my recent Fall Foliage / Acadia Maine Workshop we explored many of the highlights of Acadia National Park; Cadillac Mountain, Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Monument Beach, Sieur de Monts, Wonderland and more …  including an overnight stay on the Schoodic Peninsula at The Schoodic Institute).

We had great color, great weather, and great light. Great weather means a little bit of everything; clear sunny days with direct light, overcast days with soft indirect light, fog and mist, even a little rain (perfectly timed, mostly over night). It was an almost perfect study of weather, the many lights it brings, and the many moods it creates. We oscillated between two powerfully magnetic poles, the colorful forests and dramatic seacoast.

People ask me if it’s challenging to make images in a place I’ve visited so many times. I tell them its like reconnecting with an old friend; the relationship gets deeper. What’s most challenging is that many of the subjects don’t complement and even challenge key aspects of my life’s work, so I take a lighter more personal approach and rather than rushing to finished professional results I engage in deep play, asking many questions and trying many things, both new and old, to find more clarity in my creative life.

Here are a few of the sketches I produced on sight with my iPhone.

You can enjoy many more images on Google+.

Find out about my next Fall Foliage / Acadia Maine Workshop here.

Email info@johnpaulcaponigro.com to receive advance notice on our next Acadia Maine Fall Foliage Workshop.

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We made many memories during our recent boutique (limited to 6) workshop in Amalfi, Italy. The coastal towns of Amalfi and Positano (famous for making world class ceramics, paper and limoncello), the international concert series in Ravello, the sunny Isle of Capri, the Greek ruins of Paestum, and the ruins of Pompeii once buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius are a few of the places we visited. Of course, the food and wine was fantastic!

You can enjoy my images of from our recent adventure on Google+. They’re an assortment of spontaneous sketches, rather than a collection of fully finished pieces that develop a cohesive theme. They’re not likely to become a body of work, but a few of them will influence other bodies of work.

Find out more about our recent Amalfi workshop here.

Email info@johnpaulcaponigro.com to receive advance notice on our next Amalfi workshop.

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While visiting friends at their new house in Carmelo, Uruguay I enjoyed making photographs to help me savor the experience more. Muchas gracias Marinuccis!

Visit larger images on Google+.

View more Contact Sheets here.

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Click here to enlarge.

I enjoy seeing the flow of thought that becomes visible in contact sheets. One idea builds on (or diverges from) another. Some moves are repetitive; some moves introduce one or more significant variations. As I work, I ask questions like, “On what level does an image work?”, “What is a significant variation?”. “When do two or more images reinforce each other?”.

Will these images make the cut? It’s unlikely. But themes within them will resurface in future finished work. In fact they already have. These themes have been with me ever since I began photographing; they look very similar to two images I made for my first exhibit and are related to images in several existing series like Illumination, Refraction, and Resonance.

Even if these images and what I learned from making them bears no fruit, it was time well spent. I truly enjoyed the better part of an hour savoring and playing with light.

View more Contact Sheets here.

View finished images here.

Recently, during an African safari, I spent several days photographing animals. We saw all of the big five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, cape buffalo) and many other animals in one day. It was the first time I made a concerted effort to make wildlife photographs, which was excellent practice. I gained an increased appreciation for how moments of peak action (or lack thereof) can make or break some photographs. I made many competent photographs that entertained my family at home, which I have no intention of using professionally.

In between these sessions, I spent a few hours photographing the skulls of animals displayed in the camp. Initially, I photographed very freely, exploring many ways of photographing them. As I reviewed the images, I learned from both the successes and the failures, gradually refining my the point of view of the collection. I appreciate the images that go beyond direct representation and become suggestive of something more through abstraction and metaphor. Ultimately, these images, which I consider sketches, will lead to final results, which will result in professional products.

Unexpectedly, I found that these sessions helped me develop my thinking on how to incorporate the process of sketching, both with words, drawings and photographs, into the development and presentation of future professional work. In the right contexts, I might even publish, display or sell select sketches.

This session also helped me explore longstanding personal themes within my life and work. These images expand my understanding of the power of photography to transform our perceptions of a subject through close observation. They highlight for me the limitations of vision (and photography) to see beneath or beyond surfaces. They confirm how I frequently try to suggest the often unseen foundations of the things I photograph. They remind me of how much I love to draw bones, especially the human skeleton. They reinforce my longstanding desire to create sculptures, many influenced by these forms. They resurface my artistic influences; in particular Georgia O’Keefe and Henry Moore. I’m sure there are other valuable resources I can mine from this experience, if I give both the process and these results further thought.

Explorations often have many unintended consequences; often these become the discoveries we’re looking for when we engage in experiments. You’ll learn more from simply observing your creative process, without judgment, than from anything else. Awareness is everything. What makes a process of experimentation even more successful, richer and more relevant is subsequently reviewing our results and continually refining our lines of inquiry.

How could experimentation help you reveal, connect with and develop your influences?

What experiments would be most helpful to you?

These images were made in Mala Mala, South Africa during my recent South Africa Photo Safari (sponsored by NIK).

Apps used were PicGrunger and Snapseed.

See more images and find more posts on The Huffington Post.

I often like to use props to make photographs. One of my favorite props to use is images. Photographing other images, in many cases, photographing other photographs, adds layers of complexity and offers many poetic opportunities. Images ask you to look and to look in certain ways. Two images ask you to look and look again and to look in multiple ways. I find this extremely stimulating. Making images with other images in them can be a fantastic creative wellspring.

Here’s a selection of images with postcards in them that I made during my 2011 Iceland workshop.

Find out about my 2012 Iceland digital photography workshop here.

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