Here we are at the end of my translucent study! In addition to these last three images in the series posted above, I entered 2 photo challenges (trees and beauty). And over the past few weeks I have shared parts of the study (1, 2, 3, 4).

While shooting this fall, I really didn’t want to shoot cliched images. In light of feedback on the images selected for AWAKE that they were “just pretty” and many could not stand alone in a frame on a wall in a gallery or museum, I sort of went up against myself and my voice. The challenge was for me to take pictures that carried the spiritual connotations without a lengthy philosophical explanation AND that were technically proficient AND that were aesthetically attractive. I did not meet my own criteria on all of these images, but I posted them anyway! One of the greatest life lessons learned is imperfection. Allowing slightly out of focus images and untouched images to be posted next to my favorites is one way I practice my spirituality through art.

I faced the cliches strongest during voting periods of the two photo challenges. I found that people were taking and posting images that were touristy or pedestrian. This critique is not meant to be condescending or to place my view in a superior ranking. The majority of the popular images were indeed very beautiful, some even professional in technical photographic skill. Yet, I still see a lack in artistic expression in that forum. Considering the host site is very clearly a hobbyist/enthusiast site I don’t know why I still analyze this feature so heavily. I am finding these differences more and more as I compare my work to other photographers’. It is as simple as my self-referencial title: artist. I see myself as an artist and not a photographer even though a dSLR is my primary art-making apparatus. My intuition and guidance indicates that I am so sensitive now to these differences because my artistic voice is still forming and I will be able to clearly delineate my style and my approach to my art.

As for what I do like from the Translucent study, these images speak strongest for me:

Translucent Study - Frame 6 © 2012 NATE METZ

Translucent Study 19 © 2012 NATE METZ

Translucent Study 29 © 2012 NATE METZ


Anything that communicates it’s message in a nanosecond is disposable by nature. This advice is really the first that I digress from in my experience as an artist and a creator. The caveat here being that good art has a hook, a message, some joiner spark that ignites interest in the piece. Whereas, an ad would stop there, art needs something to hold the viewers interest. After all, we don’t print giclees of a McDonald’s big mac add for over the fireplace! If you do, e-mail me. I would love to talk to you more!

Sure, in a crowded gallery or winding museum walls, my work needs to make a statement and communicate a BIG IDEA in that nanosecond. How else would the viewer stop walking? The real kicker is that in addition to the BIG IDEA, it should look like NATE METZ. Branding is important even with art–we call it finding our voice. What I like most about using my voice is talking about truly big ideas about life, philosophy, spirituality, light–not cold medicine or fast food. Let’s be honest, products generally do not fall into the category of being a big idea for the human race. Henceforth, when I refer to BIG IDEA it shall be broader in theme than capitalistic endeavors, products, inventions, and marketing. I am striving for a greater consciousness in my understanding of my work and our world: a truly BIG IDEA.


Here is the fourth installment of my translucent study. Combined with my previous set, these are some of my favorite images. I think the soft and layered light is really beautiful and renders great colors. The fallen leaves show the lack of luminescence with a diminishing life force and show a great contrast in color and dimension to the other leaves:

Translucent Study © 2012 NATE METZ

If you like any of these images, please feel free to click the Facebook button below and share it with your friends! I do enjoy getting feedback on my work no matter your level of expertise in photography as I don’t think you need an MFA or a 30 years career to enjoy great art!


Cold Fall Oak © 2012 NATE METZ

I entered the photo challenge again: BEAUTY. I opted for a beautiful subject often overshadowed for a loved one’s portrait, the flashy flower, and picturesque landscapes. The voting showed this preference, ranking my submission at 38 of 39. Once again, I do not feel that my technical skill or composition was off the mark, but it is my point of view as an artist. I am not a classic photographer; I do not shoot in a studio; I do not carry 3 flashes. I am grateful for a comment received during voting that complimented the technical aspects of the photograph and questioned my cropping. The balanced critique helped me to solidify my choices leading up to the final composition.

I really like my entry. It is consistent with my aesthetic of tight crops and use of color. I am studying translucent light, so I was happy to include my work there, here. And, as I stated with the photograph during the challenge, I think the understated colors of late fall are very beautiful. My solidarity, strength and staunch conviction of my work is captured beautifully by the oak tree!

As I see it: LIGHT BEAMS


Shot in the afternoon sun, shadows of beams and rays of light onto a brick wall.


This third installment contains more foliage, but much less translucent. I maintained a lightness about the leaves without strong backlighting from the sun or my high intensity flashlight. You can also see I clearly took advantage of the beautiful changes in the trees this time of year. Autumn is by far my favorite season to photograph trees because of the subtle changes from day to day in each leaf. It is constant new material for inspiration. I can always capture a new frame on the same tree as long as the weather patterns hold.

Translucent Study © 2012 NATE METZ