Photographer Larry Busby is well known for his unique aluminum print photos that capture landscapes, sunrises, sunsets and Bay area landmarks. His love of photography began in the Navy where he served as a photographer – but it would be many years before he embraced it as a creative passion and learned to manipulate his photos into unique works of art.
Busby got the idea of transferring his prints to aluminum to retain their vibrancy, something he says paper does not do as well.
“Paper soaks up too much light. When you look at a photo on a computer screen it is bright; then once it’s printed, it’s not quite as bright,” he says. “Aluminum prints reflect the light back so well, it’s like looking at a computer screen.”
Busby’s more recent work is of the Skyway Bridge at night and a foray into black-and-white photography.
Gulfport Beach Bazaar displays his photographs, and he recently licensed some photos of Gulfport settings on postcards and coffee mugs that will be for sale at Stella’s Sundries. The first week in December, folks can see Busby’s work in the fourth Art Jones studio tour in Gulfport, at the Enroy Foundation, 5814 23rd Ave. S.
Busby’s newest and most personal work is a series of three photographs he created while attending this year’s USF Contemporary Art Museum’s Breaking Barriers, a five-week series of artist-led photography workshops provided free to military veterans. This year, there were more than 30 attendees, with classes added to accommodate more veterans. The workshops culminate in a portfolio review, curated exhibition and catalogue.
This year, USF’s Breaking Barriers was selected, along with four other organizations, to be part of Love IV Lawrence’s “The Art of Healing,” which provides art therapy programs for mental wellness.
“The program helps a lot of veterans, particularly those with PTSD,” says Busby. “USF started it for that reason. There was such a huge response that the VA got involved.”
Busby recalls his own difficulties leaving the Navy and how photography ultimately helped him make a successful transition to civilian life.
“As part of my therapy, it was suggested that I pick up art or get a hobby,” he says. “I hung up my camera when I got out of the Navy, but I used to be a good photographer back in the day.”
Busby discovered that not only had he changed since he left the Navy, but so had photography.
“The Naval photography cameras I used are now in museums,” he says. “Digital was just starting up and I didn’t know a JPEG from a Megapixel. It was a struggle.”
He learned about the Breaking Barriers program three years ago, and attended each year since.
“Professional photographers teach the workshops, so I learned about lighting, including the painted-light technique, which uses a moving light source to add light to a dark subject when taking a long-exposure photograph,” he says. “I also learned how to edit photos.”
This year, there was a new twist: Breaking Barriers told veterans to leave their cameras behind. The program focused on using cell phones to take professional-looking photos. Each attendee submitted a series of three cell phone photos using what they learned in the workshop.
“The photos I submitted used different techniques,” says Busby. “All were taken with a three megapixel camera, a Samsung Galaxy A20. Apps make the difference and can turn any cell phone into a great camera.”
Attendees wrote a 100-word caption for each photograph, and a longer piece for photos selected to be part of the Breaking Barriers catalogue. Busby’s photo, “Marina Blues,” was one of them.
Larry’s Tips for Great Pics with Your Phone
Most of us have a phone with a camera – but do you really know how to use it?
Larry’s got some pro tips:
“The most helpful tip for me was buying a cell phone mount for a standard photo tripod. This allowed me to use many different techniques such as low-light photography, timed settings for long exposure and professional self-portraits.
Most cell phones now have a Pro setting. This mode makes it possible to use a cell phone like a regular 35mm camera. It has manual settings that shutter speed and F-stop values as well as other manual settings, giving the photographer total control over the image, not just point and shoot.
Another thing that helped immensely was learning to use several apps designed for the cell phone to make creative, professional-quality photographs. There are hundreds of apps that do things such as creating photos that look like they were taken in the 1970s, and will time stamp the photo with a 1970s date.
One of my favorite, and most-used app is called Snapseed. It is a photo editor that allows the photographer to make corrections just like in a darkroom. It is a pretty sophisticated app for a cell phone.
Another app is called Camera FV-Lite, which is also free. This app allows for timed long-exposure photos and multiple exposures in a low-light setting. It also allows for many other techniques. If your thing is low-light photography, this is a must have app.”