Monday Missive — February 24, 2020

Quotes

…aesthetic harmony means very little unless the photography reveals a personal, emotional truth. I want a viewer to feel like they’re inside the experience rather than looking at it.” — Curran Hatleberg

Originality lies in the embrace of one’s own voice, not in the reaction to others’ voices.” — Peter Kayafas

I create situations that do not exist. I seek the truth from fiction.” — Sarah Moon

Links
Photoessays/bodies of Work
– “House Music” Reminiscent to me of Sally Mann, only indoors.
– WOW! Repeating patterns

Post-processing
– All of the capbilities of “Export As” More than you might realize
– Creating reflections and reflections in puddles
– Create realistic shadows

Field/Studio
– Why you should do projects
– Composing wide angle landscape shots
– Charlie Waite: Great images with small cameras

Miscellany
– Joe Pugliese: Interesting interview and images
– On Photoshop’s 30th birthday (Feb. 19), some stories of its birth

I spent a bit of time this weekend experimenting with different BW processing methods. This was my “traditional” method using a BW adjustment layer in PS and adding tonal contrast and detail extractor in COLOR Efex Pro.

For this image I converted to BW with a gradient map and then added a black layer and white layer and locally masked the layers to get deep blacks in particular.

Finally on this image I used Image > Calculations, with levels, curves and some added noise. Would like to hear comments and what you liked best.

Monday Missive — February 17, 2020

Quotes

. . . it isn’t a visual diary, as with so much contemporary photography; it’s an autobiography of feelings and impressions, not of facts and events.” — Russell Hart on Cig Harvey’s work

I have date nights with my photographs. I put them all up on the wall, look at what I’ve made and try to see what direction the work is taking. This understanding influences the pictures I do from that point on. What the work is about slowly rises to the surface.” — Cig Harvey

I think that emotional content is an image’s most important element, regardless of the photographic technique. Much of the work I see these days lacks the emotional impact to draw a reaction from viewers, or remain in their hearts.” –- Anne Geddes

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Modern Boyhood In my opinion, not fine art, but certainly more than family snapshots.
– Stephen Shore: Unorthodox photography Possibly the best explanation I’ve seen for this type of photography. As record, it has value, as art, all I see are, at best, well-chosen snapshots.
– Street photography in Bengal India

Post-processing
– Accurately re-color your images with gradient maps

Field/Studio
– Macro photography tips
– 7 tips on BW Street photography from Alan Schaller

Miscellany
– Emotion in Landscape photography
– Writing your artist statement

Baltimore skyline from Harbor East promenade.

A dock along the promendade at Harbor East.

Monday Missive — February 10, 2020

Quotes

What I respect, and at times envy, about painting is that it never claims to be anything other than a purely subjective vision. And we place no false expections on it in terms of its truth value. Photographs, on the other hand, are never entirely fiction or nonfiction.” — Gregory Halpern

Photography is serial in nature, and oftentimes a group of pictures becomes a much deeper thing than a gathering of single images.” — Todd Hido

. . the photographs gain much of their power and meaning from being seen together, in groups that don’t so much suggest a narrative as they do the rhythms of a family life in rural Maine and a continuing search for beauty in small things that might otherwise go unnoticed.” — Russell Hart on Cig Harvey’s work

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Thomas Alleman: Social Studies
– Hokkaido winter landscapes
– David Freese: Mississippi River
– Cig Harvey: State of Being

Post-processing
– Compositing tips and tricks This is a really good session, with great details on persepctive, color and luminosity matching, levels, curves, smart objects and more.
– Fixing distortions from wide angle lenses
– Using the difference blend mode to color grade and tone A very interesting approach

Field/Studio
– Mindfulness to succeed at street photography
– Creating mood in street photography

Miscellany
– Creating a Portfolio From Steve O.

I was at Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida (just northwest of the Everglades), photographing in a swamp and concentrating on the trees and moss across an open stretch of water when I looked up to see this guy just a few feet away. I backed up pretty quick. It was amazing how quietly an animal that size can move. After my heart slowed down, I shot this at 300 mm with an 80-400 lens.

Monday Missive — February 3, 2020

Quotes

. . . the best public photography was about building relationships. It was about creating connections between elements that in the world had no real relationship to each other, but which did within the confines of the photographic frame. It wasn’t just about the creation of a pleasing composition, but the potential of the photograph to do more than just document what was in front of the camera.

It created context while implying narrative. It could elicit surprise or laughter. While a sense of the beautiful could be conveyed through the photographer’s use of light and color, it wasn’t always a requirement for a successful “street photograph.” The inherent strength of the photograph was rooted in the unique and personal way the photographer observed the scene and that particular moment in time. The photographer succeeded when they conveyed that sense of discovery and recognition in the photograph.” — Ibarionex Perello

“As most people now have photo editing tools on their phones, there is no longer a belief that the captured image is anything more than a record of personalized fictions.” — Christopher Russell, Lenscratch, 1/24/20

Links
Photoesssays/Bodies of Work
– Remembering the holocaust You may need to be a Times subscriber, but they usually allow a few free views per month. This is worth one of your views.
– Street vs “Public” photography Interesting analysis; the quote above is from this link.
– Pseudo-night
– Polar changes
– London after dark

Post-processing
– Two-step process to reduce compression artifact from small jpg files
– Creating dramatic BW
– Make a boring white/gray sky blue
– Shooting panoramas

Field/Studio
– Re-think how to find time to shoot street

Whitehouse Overlook, taken Sept.. 2012 at Canyon de Chelly, AZ, in between several artist residencies out west.

Monday Missive — January 27, 2020

Quotes

The work precedes the idea, and the idea initiates the work. I don’t think one necessarily comes before the other — it’s a conversation.” — Doug DuBois

The act of taking pictures is often an intuitive or unconscious one, but the intuition and unconscious are fed by intellect and the conscious mind. So there is a feedback loop — looking at contact sheets informs the conscious mind about what the unconscious is attracted to.” — Gregory Halpern

Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships.” – Ansel Adams

Links
Photoesssays/Bodies of Work
– Saul Leiter
– Regard: Daily life

Post-processing
– Enhancing colors
– Removing fringes from selections
– Get better BW with split toning This video uses Capture One, but LR will do most of the same thing.
– Perspective warp to make buildings look taller.
– Editing photos taken in direct sunlight Direct sunlight often gives very high contrast and featureless shadows or blown out highlights. Here is how to recover the highlights and shadows in LR or ACR. Also good basic processing for beginners. Most aps that come with digital cameras would also work.

Field/Studio
– The rule of thirds is over-rated

Miscellany
– Camera pricing Interesting story on how camera manufacturers think about pricing and the various pricing strategies
– When do you need a model or property release?

Thinking of summer: Lotus.

Monday Missive — January 20, 2020

Quotes

“There’s something corny about it,” Soth says of road trip photography. “I’m embarrassed of using that structure. But I keep returning to it.” — Alec Soth

“After I snap the shutter I never know if a photograph is truly special. Even months later I usually don’t know. Great photographs are a mix of light, time, and magic.” — Alec Soth

“I do think my work is as much about exploring the possibilities of picture-making as it is about the subjects I’m interested in.” — Dawoud Bey

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Women Serving Life Sentences The combination of images and text is very emotionally powerful.
– Duane Michals
– An Invented World

Post-processing
– Creating composites and collages

Field/Studio
– Photographing winter waterfalls With a segment on how to dress to stay comfortable in winter weather
– Composition and Foreground
– Mermaid and plastic

Miscellany
– How Lightroom actually works with your files
– Nikon symphony About as “miscellany” as it gets. Just a minute and a half.
– Dealing with online criticism

Sunset at Chinde Point in Petrified Forest National Park.

I have been mostly working on my Foggy Morning Marsh pictures, so I decided to give you all a break and look backwards. It can be embarassing, but also comforting to know that I have made at least a little photographic progress since about 2016.

Monday Missive — January 13, 2020

Quotes

Art is when we can go deeper, and think, and feel, and understand, and analyze. And laugh and cry. And then go even a little deeper.” — Elinor Carucci in Photowork: Forty Photographers on Process and Practice, Sasha Wolf (ed.), p 32.

Photographs somehow feel unfinished if they are not part of a completed project. In fact, I’m haunted by particular images that I haven’t been able to connect firmly to others yet.” — Matthew Connors, ibid., p 51.

The photobook is the perfect form for me because, through sequencing, it allows us to tell the story exactly as it should be told.” — Sian Davey, ibid. p 59.

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Peter Dawson landscapes
– Andrea Bruce: Democracy
– Alec Soth: Reframing the American photographic road trip From Steve O.

Post-processing
– Remove a fence Also some blur and sharpening applications
– Improving the color in your images with the calibration palette
– Matt K processes a basketfull ofimages in LR You can learn a lot from these.

Miscellany
– Best images of 2019 John Paul Caponigro has compiled a list of the best photos from 2019 from numerous sources.
– Best photography contests for 2020
– Consistency?
– Famous first photographs

Stream at Ferncliff Nature Preserve, PA

Ferncliff Nature Preserve, PA

Monday Missive — January 6, 2020

Quotes

You just do what you love, and then a style happens later on.” –- David LaChapelle

I’ve never been comfortable photographing people I know, myself included. I guess I prefer the mystery of strangers.” — Alec Soth

The way to get unstuck is to start down the wrong path, right now. Step by step, page by page, interaction by interaction. As you start moving, you can’t help but improve, can’t help but incrementally find yourself getting back toward your north star. You might not end up with perfect, but it’s significantly more valuable than being stuck. Don’t just start. Continue.” -– Seth Godin, 11/4/12

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Kramer O’Neill: Where they fall
– Creative soul photography
– Pretty cool industrial photography
– Swallowed by Darkness: Fine Art/Street Photography
– Keith Carter: 50 years on

Post-processing
– Look-up Tables (LUTS)
– Getting really sharp cut outs

Field/Studio
– Cole Thompson: 5 steps

Miscellany
– Women conflict photographers
– Favorite books of 5 famous photographers

Hand-made brooms won 4th place last week at the camera club. Processing included using a gradient map.

Continuing my experiments with adding color.

More foggy mornings.

This one used antique sepia.

Monday Missive — December 30, 2019

Quotes

I want parameters narrow enough to make the work compelling and cohesive, but broad enough to allow myself, and my viewer, the pleasure of being able to find their own way through the work.” — Gregory Halpern in PhotoWork: Forty Photographers on Process and Practice

There are some locations I go to and they scream black and white to me because of the ambiance. For me, great black and white images fall into two categories: very dramatic with stormy skies and bold compositions and at the other end of the spectrum a calm and minimalist composition.” – Helen Rushton

Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.” – Harriet Braiker

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– People matching art works
– Photojournalism’s most powerful moments of 2019
– Photographing the white horses of the Camargue

Post-processing
– Advanced color toning
– Six sneaky ways to adjust color in PS
– Black and White Artistry, Part I
– Black and White Artistry, Part II

Field/Studio
– Fun winter projects

Miscellany
– Do the colors in your image seem to change on export? Here’s why.
– Conceptualizing New Projects

For the last several weeks I have been experimenting with adding washes of complimentary colors to images using techiques such as split toning, gradient maps, color balance adjustment layers and others. These images were taken on a foggy morning and were virtually monochromatic before processing. I feel that the colors make for more interesting images, but I am also partially color blind, so I tend to overdo colors that I probably don’t see as intensely as others. Would appreciate getting feedback.

Monday Missive — December 23, 2019

Quotes

Consulting the rules of composition before taking a photograph is like consulting the laws of gravity before going for a walk.” – Edward Weston

Only photograph what you love.” — Tim Walker

The best critiques I’ve seen are not about the image’s technical properties. The best critiques question why the photograph was created in the first place.” — CJ Chilvers in A Lesser Photographer

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Doug’s Gym
– Lewis Hine: Social Reform
– Gary Bieber: Passages

Post-processing
– Removing color fringing from hair and fur
– Realistic glass window reflection effect This is a bit complicated, but also very interesting in how to create a realistic perspective.
– Time blending images A bit of British joking around, but a really cool location, and I hadn’t heard of “time blending” before, but it can make a lot of sense in the right scenes.

Field/Studio
– Unique images of popular locations
– Fine art printing

Miscellany
– Understanding depth of field and focus and the interaction between them
– How to preserve one of the oldest pictures in the world, a Daguerrotype

Sorry no images today. Finishing up my work for the Odyssey Portfolio class and addressing final comments on the book that will result.

Monday Missive — December 16, 2019

Quotes

We’re more likely to learn from diversity than we are from homogeneity.” — Seth Godin, 12/12/19

Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder, wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting…besmirching, grinding, grinding, grinding away at yourself. Stop it and just DO.” — Sol LeWitt to artist Eve Hesse

If pictures cannot be understood without knowing details of the artist’s private life, then that is a reason for faulting them; major art, by definition, can stand independent of its maker.” – Robert Adams

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Stephen Wilkes: Day to Night

Post-processing
– Move two sliders to create dreamy fog
– Broken glass effect with displacement maps
– Selective color for better tonal values Blake calls it “nerdy and dorky” but it is really pretty simple.
– Shape the light and shadow with dodge and burn

Field/Studio
– Finding Balance in Your Composition
– Extreme macro insanity

Miscellany
– Finding a direction for your photography

Foggy Morning in the Marsh

I spent a foggy morning in Black Marsh and then (very) late that evening, started to play.

Monday Missive — December 9, 2019

Quotes

I see my photography as the expression of a perpetually inventive mind, and all that goes with it, including the doubts and fears, but above all the strong sentiment of never being in the right place.” — Alistair Magnaldo

What would happen if you gave a camera to the Afghan girl in Steve McCurry’s iconic photo? How different would those photographs be? Not to replace the Steve McCurry’s, but rather to create another chair at the table of the dialogue of what it means to be human. It’s not an either/or. It’s not a good or a bad. It just simply is.There are voices out there that have incredible vision, and we aren’t accessing them enough.” – Chris Rainier

“You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you’re working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success – but only if you persist.” ? Isaac Asimov

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Vee Spears: Fine Art photography
– Cig Harvey: State of being
– Alistair Magnaldo: Introducing dreams into the realm of the ordinary Some very good composites.

Post-processing
– Best way to turn black into any other color
– Everything you ever wanted to know about the warp tool
– Extract shadows
– Blending exposures
– New feature in PS2020 to save patterns, color themes and gradients from your images Probably more helpful for graphic artists, but the color themes and gradients could be useful for photographers
– Color theory/color grading Could you improve your images by adding subtle colors with a gradient?

Miscellany
– Wildlife images

US Steel facade, Pittsburgh, PA

Monday Missive — December 2, 2019

Quotes

The question is not, “Should I manipulate a photograph?” Since the invention of photography, all kinds of things have been done to photographs. The question is, “What happens when I do or don’t manipulate a photograph?” — John Paul Caponigro

Be yourself – not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.” – Henry David Thoreau

That’s one of the interesting things about photography – we all get to play and our voices all get a chance to be heard.” — David DuChemin

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Street: Cool juxtapositions
– Very interesting approach to family photography
– Niphisi: Minimalist Thank you Cheryl A. Good follow on to the 2 mimimalist links from last week.
– Judy Iranyi: Remembering Michael
– Incredible birds

Post-processing
– Sky replacement
– Missing presets or brushes after updating PS? This is how to fix it.
– 25 tip and tricks Many of these are really good, especially the calculations for creating a BW image at 27:25.

Miscellany
– How much editing is OK? Simon Tucker is a thoughtful photographer, who addresses photography “philosophical” issues quite well. I was surprised that the issue he discusses is actually still an issue. Maybe more in Britain than here?
– Conceptual images of the life of an artist This is different from anything I have seen before.

East River Skyline, NY, Thanksgiving 2019

Monday Missive — November 25, 2019

Quotes

“I tend to question photography, not regurgitate it.” — Duane Michals

I think photographs should be provocative and not tell you what you already know. It takes no great powers or magic to reproduce somebody’s face in a photograph. The magic is in seeing people in new ways.” – Duane Michals

A photograph is an invitation to look – and to look at looking.” – John Paul Caponigro

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Street photography with a good use of shadows and silhouettes
– Duane Michals
– Conflict Photography: Lynsey Addario

Post-processing
– Dramatic BW processing
– Using gradient maps for BW
– Black and white processing
– Convert flat 2D to 3D in Photoshop This was really neat but complicated. Using 3D is learning a whole new set of tools and options; it is like learning a whole new appliction. Still – worth watching just to know what is possible.
– Comparison of the new 1-click selection tools in PS 2020

Field/Studio
– Minimalist photography: 6 tips learned from Michael Kenna
– Simplification and negative space

View from the head of the Observation Trail off of the Black Marsh Trail.

Black Marsh, North Point State Park, MD, shortly before Thanksgiving.

Monday Missive — November 18, 2019

Quotes

I became wary of simple interpretations that assumed fixed and final meanings.” – John Pfahl

Great photography is always on the edge of failure.” – Garry Winogrand

My photographs are not pure: they are a seething wealth of imperfection.” – Frederick Sommer

Links
Photoessays/Bodiesof Work
– Nocturnal New York
– Urban Nature
– Greek self-portraits
– Julia Fullerton-Batten: Old Father Thames Great story-telling and very natural implementation

Post-processing
– How to fix the glitches in the first release of PS 20202
– Black and white conversions using calculations
– High contrast BW
– Creating a depth map in PS 2020 and blurring the background with lens blur This is a lot of work, but may be worth it for some photos where a blurry background really improves the image.

Field/Studio
– Shooting motocross

Miscellany
– TED talks by 24 famous photographers
– Overcoming creative burnout

Green snake. Black Marsh Trail, North Point State Park.