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!


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


Catching translucent light in leaves has proven to be much easier. While the snake plant is in front of natural light, these fern leaves show my usage of a high intensity flashlight. A fill flash even when used remotely does not produce a great effect. Typically I rely on light filtering through tree branches to create a mottled light that would illuminate the subject (seen here). I am working to maintain a naturalness about the images and prevent any formal appearance or staging that could interfere with the integrity of my art. When I view a deliberately crafted photograph, I lose touch with the actual moment because it all looks just too perfect. So, I try very hard to maintain the realness quality. I have two more sets in the study to share with you. Please let me know what you think so far. I would love to know your thoughts on translucent light, spiritually or artistically.

Translucent Study © 2012 NATE METZ

For The Love of Trees – GUEST BLOG

The lovely tree, glorious and humble all at once.

For millions of years, the tree has been the most relevant plant on our planet. Whole species have evolved and survived among the protective embrace of its branches, peoples have worshipped it, and societies have thrived on its gifts of food and shelter. However, in the last 200 years just in the United States, our society has launched an all out war on one of the very elements of our own survival. Systematically destroying millions of acres of forest and cover for industry and development, we have disconnected from an anchor in our own evolution.

In my introverted childhood, I would seek out the comfort of trees to calm my mind, to escape from a turbulent household, and to claim great unknown adventures. The quiet friendship offered to me by trees has shaped me as a person and as an artist.

Some of my most cherished memories include deeply inhaling the thick smell of pine during a summer day at Cape Henlopen, witches noses and monkey balls, fresh apples, the mane of the willow my husband and I were married under, climbing under the branches of a Magnolia tree in Georgia so old my mother and I were able to stand underneath it, Dr. Seuss’s “The Lorax”, falling out of a treehouse my brother and I built, climbing to the very VERY top of the same tree within a few weeks and hiding from the taunts of a neighborhood boy, so many more that it breaks my heart to think that not everyone knows the same kind of love I have for trees.

The Tree 1 © Pamela Slaton

“The Tree 1″ was an attempt at honoring the very living thing that breaths with us. Every branch was painstakingly rendered, line by line, in several colors to reach the reddish brown of its bark and each cluster of leaves burnished and layered many times. It is by far my favorite piece, and has become a signature image for me.

As I finished the drawing, the weeping cherry trees along my road began to blossom. It was intoxicating, and the flowers were of such an exquisite beauty, I nearly wept. I took hundreds of reference photos, but they barely captured the delicate and ancient glory of thousands upon thousands of flowers suspended overhead against the clear blue sky.

Cherry Blossoms © Pamela Slaton

Cherry Blossoms © Pamela Slaton

The process of drawing this will be long and difficult, with each mark on paper a step back into the moments that served to form me as an artist. I hope with every day that conservation is not left just to the people like myself, but to everyone, because everyone benefits, everyone and everything’s survival depends on the survival of the trees.

About our guest blogger:

“Completely self taught, I have only taken a high school art class. Through many years of reading, experimenting, and practicing, I have taken the humble graphite pencil, charcoal stick and colored pencil, as well as other mediums, and learned to create beautiful portraits and illustrative drawings. What I enjoy most is how often the personality of the subject can be read through a portrait. A certain smile or glance, how one sits or holds their head, among other things, are all subtle ways the subjects individuality comes through.”

To learn more about Pamela:

Website: Expressive detailed portraits and art in graphite, charcoal, colored pencil and mixed media
Facebook: Portraits and Art of Pamela Slaton

Don’t forget to like, comment, and share with your friends!

Damn Good Advice – EIGHT

It is time for some honest reflection on the ideas behind my digital photography. My captures do not always go for the Big Idea. While it’s true, I have been able to get some amazing work together, the bulk of it is safe and “pretty.” I can say all of this because I have not pursued my craft with much seriousness, about all that was required of a good hobby. My more recent work is finding it’s voice and making a statement, for which I am very grateful! And, more importantly, my book AWAKE is a Big Idea. That is one project that really penetrates the mind, touches the heart, and elicits a reaction.

In deeper reflection, art should have purpose. My acrylics and collage work is some of my most pointed work. My spirituality and philosophical musings are much more apparent here, for example:

A Tree of Life © 2010 NATE METZ - acrylic on canvas

A Tree of Life © 2010 NATE METZ

The connection between body, mind, and spirit / heart, brain, and aura is apparent within the context of a tree. The image easily pulls the viewer around the canvas exploring our personal connectivity.

I can look at my photography and see the deeper themes, but it certainly takes more work on the viewer’s part to explore them. In working with a critique of AWAKE, I can see how some pictures lack intention and purpose. The book works, though, because of the accompanying text. This image is a great example:

From Prince Charming for Snow White © 2007 NATE METZ - digital photograph of peony

From Prince Charming for Snow White © 2007 NATE METZ

This peony if framed on a wall would like some context. The title is ambiguous, although the story is just a personal memory: in a school play, I was Prince Charming and on opening night, I picked a bouquet of white peonies from the garden and gave them to the girl playing Snow White. Isn’t that sweet? I took a different approach though when I published this image. In AWAKE, this is frame 49, stating

We have the power and responsibility to transcend anything in our lives that keeps us from accessing the magnificence of our being.

The soft fullness of the petals create a mystical atmosphere where contemplating transcendence works. Personal power is a Big Idea.

My goals now are to transition from exploring the subjects themselves to exploring artistic concepts. I will not rely any longer on clever titles, backstories, or spiritual text to provide the necessary working context of my photography. I am in the pursuit of higher work: inspiring images without limitation and truly Big Ideas! This is what I’m referencing:

I Prefer the Unfurling of a Rose © 2012 NATE METZ

I Prefer the Unfurling of a Rose © 2012 NATE METZ

Here the translucency is unexpected, and one of the next concepts I am exploring. I purchased a high-intensity flashlight to help me capture this magical lighting when not naturally available. I will surely share my progress here, so be sure to bookmark my blog!

What if? Why not?

Last night I spent a very inspiring evening with 25 other local artists. We sat down for dinner and conversation exploring some very colossal ideas about the next stage of our art careers. While we are all at various stages from beginners with no sales to seasoned artists that travel and have a large rolodex, we are all following the guidelines and stipulations for making and selling art set forth by other people in the industry. Dare we make our own art movements? Can we legitimately put forth our work and our ideas, and establish our own relevance and importance? This shift for me is very radical and very enticing. As much as I have urges to rebel and create revolution and change the world, I don’t have a skill set or experienced history to make a great impact in the art community. Belonging to a group of like minded individuals wanting to be game changers and really elevate the quality,meaning and impact of our collected works is a very powerful manifesting energy. At some point, the momentum would carry us and work for us without each of us individually working overtime to market and sell.

In addition, I met some new people, networked and learned from their experiences. I also got to show off my book, AWAKE. I am looking forward to nurturing these new relationships and sharing more of my work. One of the great conversations started by my book was about my photography. I have ZERO formal training, not even a course at any level of schooling on how to use a camera. I am an autodidact. But where and how did my eye develop? I have a pretty established point of view and style to my photography that has not changed much. I’ve said it before how great it was to peruse 10 years of photography and see how in taking pictures from the first couple of months with my first digital point-and-shoot are stylistically similar to what I shoot now that I have a dSLR. I am convinced that the art comes from my soul. It is who I am. I have the talent and the skill…all the raw ingredients if you will. Where I am today is learning how to share my work, my message, my ideas with the world. It has been a short 4 1/2 months since I decided to take my art to the next level. Thank you for sharing the journey with me!

CHALLENGE: Portrait of Grounded Beings

Portrait of Grounded Beings(left) and Portrait of Grounded Beings in Profile(right)
© 2012 NATE METZ

The latest challenge that I entered was for portraits of people or animals without capturing faces. As I had predicted most entries were of artisans using their hands or some clever silhouetting slash messy hair slash object just covering the face to capture the portrait. My entry was the one on the left (above). If you remember before I didn’t place too well, and that was the case again: 26/27. I received some constructive criticism about my lighting choice and barely blown highlights, but I don’t understand the comment that said the foot should have been on a ball or something to add interest. Maybe my title reference to the ground was not understood. I prefer to give little explanation of my work and let viewers interpret and see what they may, but perhaps my abstracts with metaphysical leanings could benefit from a quick note:

Trees illustrate many spiritual truths. Here, I captured a tree’s exposed roots to show how it is grounded. One of the greatest grounding experiences we can have is walking or standing barefoot on the earth. Portrait of Grounded Beings captures a simple frame of two beings grounded on a beautiful sunny day.


I unexpectedly ended up on the cape at sunset and captured these serene moments. Further down on the beach a young violinist was playing out on a sand bar. It was one of those magic moments that sent my inspiration into overdrive!

Beauty All Around © 2012 NATE METZ

Taking Refuge

I went out today to scout and brainstorm some ideas for a photo competition. Next time I’ll have all my gear for some sharper work and not quick snaps. These are just a teaser:

Taking Refuge © 2012 NATE METZ