new art from a new camera

Locket, an abstraction of a fallen leaf by Daniel Sroka
Purchase a print of Locket, an abstraction of a fallen leaf by Daniel Sroka.

I created this photograph by staring straight down into the heart of a tightly curled leaf. I love the pattern of circles draws you in closer and closer, almost like a coffee stain on your napkin. I have a number of leaves that have a similar tight curl, and I want to create a series exploring this pattern of rings and swirls.

This photograph is my first with a new camera, a Nikon D800e. Getting a new camera is always an fun but nerve-wracking time. I’m excited about the possibilities of the new technology, but quickly realize how long it will take me to learn to use it properly. New features, new capabilities, and yes, even a new personality. It’s true! Although some may just see a mass-produced machine, each camera has its own personality, its own feel. Each has a unqiue way of seeing that you must get to know and learn how to work with. To be a good artist, you need to be patient and build a relationship with your tools, and enter into a partnership of creation. Already, I can sense this camera’s potential and excitement.

The feature of this camera I have most looked forward to is its resolution — at 36 megapixels, it is more than double that of my last camera. It’s like when I first got my glasses and the world suddenly came into focus. However, this increased power doesn’t make my job any easier! The more I can see, the more I want. I now find myself chasing cracks and textures in leaves that might end up being only a couple pixels wide in the final file, and might not even be visible on the final print. But sometimes, those nearly invisible details will add a texture or depth that transform the photograph into something special. My challenge will be to make sure that I am not missing the forest for the trees: to seek out the details that make the photograph sing, without wasting my time chasing meaningless pixels.


There’s so much movement in this image, Daniel! It really does draw you in.

I have a plain Jane Nikon D40 and it’s been so good to me. It’s 5-6 years old and I’m starting to worry that when I need to replace it, I’ll never find one that is quite so patient with me.