My first exhibition...

My first photo exhibition was held in the Saratoga Springs Library, January 4th-30th, 2017, sponsored by the Saratoga Arts through its Art in Public Spaces Program. The purpose of this page is to provide some background for the photos I selected for display, as well as to offer visitors to my website a chance to see the photos if they were unable to see the exhibition in person.[Individual photos from this exhibition are available for sale from me, please contact].

 All Photos ©Sean Walmsley

A snapshot of one of the panels in the Saratoga Springs (NY) Library.

A snapshot of one of the panels in the Saratoga Springs (NY) Library.

1. Barley Grass in Winter. 

Canon EOS Rebel XT  f5.01/40  Saratoga Springs, NY, 11/8/2009. Canvas photo, 20"x 16"

When I moved to Saratoga, and built a new house, I planted barley grass, and while it starts out green, in the fall it turns brown. This was taken in early November after a light frost in my back garden.

2. Ice Cascade.
iPhone 6 f2.21/800  Rte 8, Sandisfield, MA 4/5/2015. Canvas photo, 20"x 16"

Traveling around the US Northeast, I was always fascinated by the ice that accumulates on steep rocks alongside highways, but there was never any opportunity to safely stop and photograph these cascades. But in April 2015, coming back from Boston, we turned off the Mass Pike, and just happened upon a superb example of an ice cascade along Rte 8 in Sandisfield, MA. It even had a parking spot!

3. Astilbe in the Winter.
Canon EOS Rebel XT f7.1 1/400 Saratoga Springs, NY 2/23/2008. Canvas photo, 20"x 16"

Another perennial I like to grow is Astilbe. Instead of deadheading the flowers once they've bloomed, I leave them on, their sturdy stems make excellent winter arrangements. But they also make interesting subjects for photography, especially against the snow. 

4. Plane Tree Bark.
Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS f2.8 1/640 London, UK  3/17/2012. Canvas photo, 20"x 16"

I have a fascination (obsession?) with tree bark, and one of my favorite trees is the plane tree. Not difficult to find in London and in France, these trees have bark that even in two-dimensional photos looks three-dimensional. It was hard to pick out one for the exhibition amongst the many I've taken in England and France. 

5. Chestnut Oak Tree Bark. 
Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS  f2.8 1/30  Saratoga Springs, NY  7/21/2011. Canvas photo, 20"x 16"

This bark almost looks like it could be cork.

6. Tree Bark.

Canon EOS Rebel XT f 5.6  1/30 Deerfield Academy, MA 6/25/2006. Canvas photo, 20"x 16"

I'm not sure what this tree is, but it was massive. I particularly liked the way it resembled a chart--declining sales?


Update on the tree. Here is a photo looking up the trunk (not in the exhibition):

7. Adirondack Treescape.
iPhone 6 f 2.2  1/120 Keene, NY 8/20/2015. Canvas photo, 20"x 16"

This is a scene I've visited often (the property belongs to close friends), but the late afternoon light catching both the trees in the middle distance, as well as some of the leaves close by was too much to resist. Moments later,  clouds intervened..


8. Andy Goldsworthy Wall.
iPhone 6 f 2.2 1/150 Storm King Art Center, New Windsor, NY 10/26/2014. Canvas photo, 20"x 16"

I have always been a great admirer of Andy Goldsworthy, and have visited many of his installations (the latest sighting being a sheep pen in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park). This one, in the 400-acre Storm King Art Center, meanders down a hill, into a pond, and through maple trees, curving around them. This was taken just after the wall emerges from the pond. What drew me to this particular shot was the contrast between the shimmering reflections and the completely still stones. 


9. Fall Maple Leaves.
iPhone 7+  f 4.0 1/60 Saratoga Springs, NY 11/22/2016. Canvas photo, 20"x 16"

This is one of the first photos I took with my new iPhone 7Plus, with its 'portrait/depth effect' feature. Normally, the only way to get this bokeh effect would be to use a telephoto lens. The iPhone 7Plus not only rivals my Canon Rebel, but exceeds it in these situations--especially since I have the iPhone wherever I go, always available. In this photo, the background is simply a patch of recently concreted pathway, carefully positioned so it occupied the entire frame.

10. Red Bud Tree Leaves.
iPhone 7+  f 2.2 1/100 Saratoga Springs, NY  11/22/2016. Canvas photo, 20"x 16"

My next door neighbor has a red bud tree right opposite my kitchen, across my driveway. In the fall, it sports these heart-shaped leaves, The iPhone 7Plus manages to isolate the leaves from a busy house background (it also chops of the stems--see the leaves on the left) making the leaves look like they are floating in mid air.

11. Maple Leaves in Autumn.
iPhone 7+  f 2.8 1/60 Saratoga Springs, NY  11/22/2016. Canvas photo, 20"x 16"

I wouldn't normally include two photos of fall maple leaves taken on the same day, but the panel in which I was displaying my photos was tall and narrow, and I thought the combination of these three photos would work well. Again, this one shows how well the iPhone 7Plus is able to create a foreground with just the right amount of blurred background. But I also like the contrast between the shape and color of the leaves, and the upright tree trunks and colors of the background. 

12. Just A Bite for Lunch.
iPhone 6 f 2.2  1/30  Williamstown, MA  10/6/2014. Canvas photo, 20"x 16"

Sometimes, you just can't resist a funny photo. I was trying to take a photo of this sculpture in the Clark Institute, and all of a sudden this gentleman on the far side appeared, and stood right under the sculpture's mouth. What was I to do?


13. Jen and day-old Cora.
Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS f2.8   1/20 Florence, MA  5/29/2012. Canvas photo, 24"x 12"

I normally wouldn't share a private moment in my family (Cora is my granddaughter), but this seemed to me to be such a peaceful moment after less than a day after Cora was born that I couldn't resist taking the photo, and then sharing it (with permission, of course).

14. Deke Contemplating Taking the Waters.
iPhone 4S f2.2 1/30 Saratoga State Park, NY  12/24/2015. Canvas photo, 24"x 18"

I have been much taken with the writings of Susan Sontag(On Photography, 1973), and Roland Barthes (Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, 1980), which have challenged me to think about what makes photographs convey not merely beauty or interesting compositions, but also what Barthes calls a photograph’s ‘punctum’—something in a photograph that ‘pricks’ the viewer, is ‘poignant’ or ‘resonates’ with him or her. I wonder if this photo, Deke Contemplating Taking the Waters, does that for you. If it does, then perhaps I have begun to understand what Barthes meant by ‘punctum.’


15. Fall Trees in High Rock Park. Saratoga. (digitized watercolor, using iOS Waterlogue App,  based on #17 below). 
iPhone 6 f 2.2 1/150  High Rock Park, Saratoga Springs NY 10/18/2014. Canvas photo, 20"x 16"

I'm not a great fan of applying filters to photos, other than converting color images to black-and-white, but I was intrigued by what Waterlogue did to the photo (#17, below), especially when printed on canvas. 

16. Nine Fall Leaves.
iPhone 7+  f 1.8  1/120 Saratoga Springs, NY 11/17/2016. Canvas photo, 12"x 12"

 I have a fascination for nature 'up-close', and these fall leaves captured my attention. I had photographed them on my garage floor, and then decided to create a composite. Along the way, I applied a filter called 'transfer'. So here's the result.

The one below isn't random leaves-- I picked individual leaves from an individual Bradford Pear tree within a five minute span. 

17. Fall Trees in High Rock Park.
iPhone 6  f 2.2 1/150 High Rock Park, Saratoga Springs NY 10/18/2014. Canvas photo, 20"x 16"

This is the original photo of the trees in High Rock Park. Perhaps a good example of photographing beautiful things, especially in nature.

18. Sunset over Saratoga,
 iPhone 7+ f 1.8 1/125  Saratoga Springs, NY  11/10/2016. Canvas photo, 20"x 40"

I took this photo in my back garden, using the iPhone's panorama photo feature. It's printed on 40" x 20" canvas, which gives it quite a presence when mounted. I don't know if the skies are becoming more photogenic with climate change, but they certainly are to me, since I joined the Cloud Appreciation Society in the U.K.

19. Evening Sky.  
 iPhone 6S f 2.2  1/350  Saratoga Springs, NY  11/1/2015. Canvas photo, 20"x 16"

Again, a shot from my back garden, which faces west, perfect for capturing sunsets.

20. Clouds over the Racino,  
Canon EOS Rebel XTf 10 1/400  Jefferson St, Saratoga Springs, NY  8/4/2015. Canvas photo, 20"x 40"

Again, much more impressive than it appears here, being a 40" x 20" canvas print. This photo is three individual photos stitched together with Photoshop. In upstate New York, we get some pretty intensive storms in the summer months, and the sky is very open just yards from my house, so I can show a large swath of clouds.

21. Detail of a wall. 
iPhone 4S f 2.4 1/700  Rousham House, Rousham, Oxfordshire, UK 5/5/2013. Canvas photo, 20"x 16"

The following six photos are arranged on one large panel, and represent a number of different kinds of stone walls. This one was taken at Rousham House, a stately home in Oxfordshire.

22. Clasp on Wall. 
Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS f 2.8  1/80  Robin Hood’s Bay, UK 5/5/2010. Canvas photo, 20"x 16"

Robin Hood's Bay is where my father, a novelist, and my grandfather, a painter, lived. I visit often, and am fascinated by the local stone used for building. I also find great pleasure in photographing patterns in  artifacts and nature.  

23. Detail of Wall. 
Canon EOS Rebel XT f 7.1  1/125  Robin Hood’s Bay, UK  5/14/2006. Plak-It mounted photo, 20" x 30"

This is part of a wall of a farm outbuilding, very close to where my father and mother lived in the 1920's, just inland from Robin Hood's Bay. As you can tell, I'm rather keen on the herringbone-faced stones used in this part of the country.

24. Herringbone Wall. 
Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS f 8  1/250  Robin Hood’s Bay, UK 5/5/2010. Canvas photo, 20"x 16"

OK, a bit obsessed with the herringbone...


25. Wall at Lichfield Cathedral. 
iPhone 5S f 2.2  1/30 Lichfield Cathedral, Lichfield UK  5/22/2014. Canvas photo, 20"x 16"

I am fascinated by very old houses (especially in Europe), and find that photographing details of their walls--especially up close--reminds me of the beauty and craft of their construction.  


26. Montage of Stone and Brick Walls. 
Stone Wall Poster (compilation of photos taken by Sean Walmsley in France, England, Switzerland, and the United States, 2004-2016). Canvas photo, 20"x 16"

All of these individual pieces of the mosaic remind me of places I've visited, and they certainly reinforce the idea that I find beauty in the details of walls wherever I find them.

27. Canada Geese Against Mottled Clouds. 

iPhone 6S f 2.2  1/1000  Richard Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY 10/7/2015 Canvas photo, 30"x 40"

I took this picture right outside my front door. What prompted it was a peek through the window revealing the mottled clouds, and I thought the pattern might make a good photo. I never saw the geese until I'd displayed it on my 27" iMac. 

This is the largest canvas print in the exhibition, measuring 30" x 40". Even so, the geese are tiny compared to the clouds, and for me, it says something about how large Canada geese look like up close, in relation to other birds, yet how small they are in relation to the vastness of the sky.


28. Horse in Pasture. 
iPhone 4S f 4.9  1/250 Robin Hood’s Bay, Yorkshire, UK  5/16/2015. Canvas photo, 20"x 16"

The society that was founded to commemorate my father and grandfather meets every May in Robin Hood's Bay in Yorkshire (just south of Whitby), and one of the traditions is a Sunday walk of 4-6 miles to nearby places of interest. This walk took us through pastures, where this farm horse was peacefully ignoring us while eating grass. That's Ravenscar in the background, you can just make out the Raven Hall Hotel perched above its golf course on the horizon.


29. Cow in Pasture. 
iPhone 4S f 2.4  1/300 Quainton, Buckinghamshire, UK  9/17/2013. Canvas photo, 20"x 16"

Again, on a walk just above a close friends' house in Quainton (near Aylesbury), we came across this cow, and realizing it was not a bull, I dared to get quite close to it, while it patiently posed for me. Later, I saw that there was a dollar sign on its side, which I've been accused of photoshopping it in. No, that's its own marking, and anyway it would have been a 'pound' sign, since the cow is a native of England. One of the things I like about this photo is that it's reminiscent of the oil paintings of cows that one often finds in stately homes and particularly in Agricultural Universities in England (the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, Gloucestershire has a fine collection).


30. Tree in Maplewood Cemetery. 
Phone 6S f 2.2 1/350  Weibel Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY 3/1/2016. Canvas photo, 20"x  40"

On my way to the supermarket, I've passed this tree in all seasons, and it has always struck me as a great subject for photography. I'm ashamed to say I don't know what the tree is (I'm hoping someone will tell me, since it's one that many Saratoga residents pass, too). It's very hard to photograph, since it's situated right on the corner of a cemetery, bordering a very busy intersection. Plus, it has electricity and telephone wires right in front of it. I've painstakingly removed the wires (although a recent iOS app called Touch Retouch does that almost magically), but getting the sky behind the tree to cooperate requires plain luck. My goal is to photograph the tree in all seasons. I just hope they don't cut it down before I've got all the seasons and the sky behind just right.  This canvas print is 20" x 40". The thumbnail here really doesn't do it justice.

31. Trees in Stowe Gardens. 
Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS f 4.5  1/500 Stowe Gardens, Stowe UK  3/11/2012. Canvas photo, 20"x 16"

Stowe Gardens is one of my absolute favorite places to visit, and these trees dominate the landscape of one part of the gardens. I love the way that the one on the right has allowed the one on the left to invade its space, yet the overall shape of the two of them is parabolic.

32. Tixall Gatehouse. 
iPhone 5S f 2.2  1/30 Tixall Gatehouse, nr Stafford, UK  5/23/2014. Canvas photo, 20"x 16"

This is the surviving gatehouse of a stately home made famous in part because Mary Queen of Scots spent a fortnight here just before she was executed. The gatehouse itself is a very substantial building, but it had been left in ruins before the Landmark Trust took it over, restored it, and rents it out throughout the year (you can also rent a building on the grounds of Stowe Gardens--just to the right of the trees in the previous photo). We stayed at Tixall Gatehouse for four days with friends, and I caught it just before sunset with the sun glinting in the window, and on the tops of the turrets.

33. Sheep Grazing under Tree. 
iPhone 6S f 2.2  1/2000  Yorkshire Dales National Park, Hawes, UK 5/10/2016. Canvas photo, 20"x 16"

No, that's a real sheep grazing under a tree. No photoshopping here. Staying for four days in the Yorkshire Dales National Park gave many opportunities for photography, but this is my favorite. Here, the two trees merge seamlessly into one, and the juxtaposition of the huge tree and the small solitary sheep was too compelling to miss.
   I'm reliably informed that the tree on the left is an ash, and the one on the right is a sycamore.