Monday Missive — March 18, 2019

Quotes

We tried to present the ordinary in an extraordinary manner. But that’s the paradox because the only thing extraordinary about it was that it was so ordinary. Nobody had ever done it before, deliberately. Now it’s called documentary, which I suppose is all right … We just took pictures that cried out to be taken.” – Ben Shahn

I didn’t have any interest in traditional art. – Cindy Sherman

Weston’s life and his work are… simple, effective, and without ceremony… He was one of those who taught photography to be itself.– Robinson Jeffers

Links

– Photo essay/self-portraits on gender identity Award winner
– Removing fringes and halos
– Sometimes its about more than the images
– Using multiple exposures to simulate a long exposure without a ND filter
– Great study on the “Streets of Havana”
– Disturbing landscapes
– Adjusting per channel contrast This can make a HUGE difference to your images
– Madeline Cass I have uneven interest in her images, but really like what she has to say and wish that I had the courage to do what she is doing when I was younger.
– Set up your PS preferences
From Steve Oney:
– Good article on advantages and disadvantages of mild telephotos for street photography


Galanthus nivalis, the snowdrop or common snowdrop are among the first bulbs to bloom in spring and can form impressive carpets of white in areas where they are native or have been naturalised. Roland Run flood plain, Baltimore County.

Monday Missive — March 11, 2019

Quotes

“. . . Look how beautiful are all the things that He does. His signature
Is the beauty of things.” — Robinson Jeffers

And the photographs have a reality for me that the people don’t. It’s through the photographs that I know them. Maybe it’s in the nature of being a photographer.Richard Avedon

Pictures you have taken have an influence on those that you are going to make. That’s life!John Sexton

Links

– Interesting story and images about post-industrial America Strong art supporting social commentary
– Pro vs kit lenses This may be helpful to anyone still building their system
– About brushes with the intent of creating a digital signature or logo
– Southbound: Photographs of the new south Photo essay and analysis. Explores both truth in photography and southern culture and mores.
– Kirsty Mitchell’s Wonderland: A journey through fantasy and grief Amazing 7 minute video
– Story telling — Imagined Homeland: Documenting the magic of the Lisu culture of Asia
– Turn off PS snapping temporarily 1 minute video tip
– Create light rays Not something to use often, but pretty neat for the right image.
From Steve Oney:
– How to use windows for portraits That’s windows not Windows
From Carl Lancaster:
– International photo awards It is definitely worth taking a few minutes to scroll through these images.

Carl Grubbs band played jazz at the Govans Branch of the Enoch Pratt library on Saturday. Great crowd, great music. Ian played the bass fiddle.

Monday Missive — February 25, 2019

Quotes

If it’s a likeness, alone, it’s not a success. If, through my portraits, you can come to know the subjects more meaningfully, if it synthesizes your feelings toward someone whose work has imprinted itself on your mind–if you see a photograph and say, ‘Yes, this is the person,’ with a little new insight–that is a beautiful experience. — Yousuf Karsh

I have always been a firm believer in photographic experiments. Only by attempting everything personally can a photographer begin to understand the scope of photography..…No picture, verbal description or how-to-do-it article can supersede first-hand experience. — Waclaw Nowak

As photographers we sell ’emotion not emulsion.’ the tools are immaterial, the resulting piece is all important.” –– Jeff Adams

Links

– Iconic portraits by photographer Nickolas Muray of artist Frida Kahlo
– Focus stacking in Photoshop
– Sara Silks Two different types of images. I liked them both.
– Is the “decisive moment” too limiting?
– Enhanced details function in Feb 2019 ACR update
– Color matching subject and background in composites Also uses blurs to make it look more real
– Unexpected slider for BW
– 40 inspiring examples of street photography
– Wishing for creativity
– 11 tips for street photography

Faye (at Grafitti Warehouse).

Monday Missive — February 18, 2019

Quotes

The unconscious obsession that we photographers have is that wherever we go we want to find the theme that we carry inside ourselves.  — Graciela Iturbide

The hardest thing in photography is to create a simple image. — Anne Geddes

Photography, as we all know, is not real at all. It is an illusion of reality with which we create our own private world. – Arnold Newman

Links

– Where the magenta tint on your prints comes from This is a common problem with Epson printers. This is very helpful.
– Adjust skin tones with one button
– Dora Maar, muse of Picasso and surrealist photographer
– Color Range Masking in LR and ACR 15 minute video
– Graciela Iturbide, great Mexican photographer
– Complete landscape edit, start to finish Helpful 20 minute video.
– Visual storytelling winners
– How to add snow to your photograph
– Multi-shot techniques
From Steve Oney:
– Basics of Astrophotography

Reaching back to my artist residency at Petrified Forest National Park. I chose this one because I like the orange/blue color palette.
Such a strange and wondrous landscape. Also from Petrified Forest NP. This was taken from the rim trail right behind the Painted Desert Inn.
Petroglyphs at Puerco Pueblo, also at PetrifiedForest.

Monday Missive — February 11, 2019

Quotes

“… how did we come so quickly and so far from the time when a guy like Ansel Adams was happy with 12 good photographs a year? Where has the slower, more considered, less frantic approach to craft gone? Want to be happier as a photographer, more content? Slow your roll.” — David DuChemin

Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter. — Ansel Adams

Photography’s potential as a great image-maker and communicator is really no different from the same potential in the best poetry where familiar, everyday words, placed within a special context, can soar above the intellect and touch subtle reality in a unique way. — Paul Caponigro

Links

– This free ebook from Muench Workshops is very good for landscape composition and worth downloading
– How to shoot a product shot Both studio and post processing; 30 minute video.
– Quick way to remove blemishes, but you need a pen tablet
– A photo meditation on grief and healing Both real and surreal images from the north of Japan.
– 40 minimalist images Sometimes simplicity = elegance.
– Perspective Crop Tool This can help if you want to scan something, but don’t have a scanner.
– Dodging and burning to add depth This is how I lighten and darken areas non-destructively. I use it on nearly every image.
– Use Multiply blend mode to remove white background 2 minute video
– The Editorial Portrait
– Romanian witchcraft in the digital age  Photo essay.

Winter surfing at Assateague.

Monday Missive — February 4, 2019

Quotes

Fear of failure is the saddest reason on earth not to do what you were meant to do” — J.K. Rowling

I focus on the photographic object, the print, or the artist book, as a keepsake of my experience in the world. It provides me in a very tangible and tactile way of recording the discoveries and holding on to the memories that I am trying to preserve. Photographing gives me a way to capture my impressions and writing and making books lets me distill and reexamine that experience.” — Sal Taylor Kydd

What matters is that you make your art, in whatever way your muse beckons you to make it.” — David DuChemin

Links

– Frequency separation Frequency separation is often used in portrait retouching to smooth out skin without losing detail or changing color.
– Page curl composite
– Retouching lips for better portraits 25 minute video
– Adding Bokeh To add bokeh or soften the background to bring out the subject I usually just use Gaussian blur – this gets much better results.
– Comic book effect
– Story and photo essay about how the Danish people saved Jews from a Nazi round-up Unfortunately this seems to me to be particularly relevant at this time.
– 10 images that changed history Every serious photographer should know something about these images
– Recovering gigabytes of hard drive space in LR
– 12 confessions of an amateur photographer Brief, amusing list of issues to get you on the right track
– A sermon for the amateur

After the snow.
Liked the light.

Monday Missive — January 28, 2019

Quotes

The more personal you make your work, the more universal it becomes.” — Katrin Eismann

The enemy of art is the total lack of limitations.” — Orson Wells

I chose nature photography as a way of capturing and sharing the beauty, power, and fragility of wild places and the life that inhabits them, so that those who have become mired in the man-made chaos may open their eyes to the real world.” – Guy Tal

Links
– Two special blend modes to control color and saturation Neat trick to subtly increase saturation and pop.
– Adjusting levels output (rather than input) to get more subtle BW images
– This Aftermath grant winner provides a much better understanding of a part of American subculture that I haven’t seen in Baltimore
– 13 creative exercises Surprisingly, constraints actually increase creativity. This a helpful selection of projects that will illustrate that point. Give it a try.
– The haunting beauty of ghost towns
– Easy way to cut out a subject to replace background
– Copyright fair use court case The “Lessons Learned” was helpful
– Dehaze: when not to use it and how to use it most effectively Matt K does a good job on this.
– Wildlife photographer of the year Some great images.
From George Spicer:
– 9 Portrait tips These were better than I expected.

Pet Expo at the Fairgrounds ran agility trials this weekend. Lots of fun for everyone. This German Shepherd made it look easy.
The weave poles generally seemed to be the most difficult, but the smaller herding dogs like border collies and Australian shepherds were incredible at weaving through the poles.
Superdog!
… And a composite just for fun.

Monday Missive — January 21, 2019

Quotes

Art is a response to our humanity and the challenges it brings, not a break from it; it shouldn’t be an obligation.” — David DuChemin

I have been a witness, and these pictures are my testimony. The events I have recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated.” — James Nachtwey Quote taken from his homepage (www.jamesnachtwey.com)

My job as a portrait photographer is to seduce, amuse and entertain.” — Helmut Newton

Links

– Crystal ball photography I just bought a small ball to experiment.
– HSL adjustment   38 minute video, everything you need to know
– Full-spectrum conversion 8 minute video on using a full spectrum camera on a balloon ride. Great BW images. A full spectrum camera has filters removed from the sensor so it is seensitive to UV, Visible, and IR. What the sensor sees is then controlled with filters.
– Profile with images of Eleanor Owen Kerr “On the Batture” between levees and the Mississippi River
– Feel free to break the “rules”
– Create long shadows using Photoshop 3D There is probably a lot of capability in 3D that most people, especially me, are unaware of. New Year’s resolution to learn more?
– Overcoming creative block I thought these were some of the better ideas I have seen on this topic
– How to compare two images in photoshop
– Snow Moods
– Getting accurate exposure

Crop 1. Three crops of the same image. Which do you prefer and why?
Crop 2.
Crop 3.

Monday Missive — January 14, 2019

Quotes

The difference between RC-paper and fiber-based paper is the same as the difference between vinyl and leather. — John Sexton

We tried to present the ordinary in an extraordinary manner. But that’s the paradox because the only thing extraordinary about it was that it was so ordinary. Nobody had ever done it before, deliberately. Now it’s called documentary, which I suppose is all right … We just took pictures that cried out to be taken. — Ben Shahn

“Small, portable digital cameras that exceed the performance of an off-the-shelf Nikon using 35mm slide film are further away from current reality than the proposed NASA manned Mars mission, although I expect both to happen sometime during my lifetime. — Galen Rowell

Links

– Photoshop extensions Many are free and can add to what you can do with PS.
– Pictures from descriptions of dreams
– Creating and using a saturation mask to increase colors realistically 1 minute video.
– 5 common mistakes in PS
– Increase control over sharpening with High Pass and Brightness/Contrast adjustment
– How creative people find their best ideas I thought this was really interesting.
– LaChapelle: modern religious imagery This is way out there, but sometimes looking at extremes can be interesting.
– Artists we lost in 2018 Photographers Laura Aguilar, David Goldblatt, Cui Xiuwen and Jacqueline Hassink.
– Really neat scifi/landscape images
From Steve Oney:
– A non-destructive and straightforward way to dodge and burn

Proud Native American women at the PowWow in Belair on Jan 12.

Monday Missive — January 7, 2019

Quotes

In a world filled with empty noise, the most important slots are reserved for the poets we seek to listen to, and the poet we seek to become.” — Seth Godin, December 25, 2018

 “Our ideas regarding success should be our own, and I urge you to pursue it simultaneously from both the inside and the outside. I agree completely with Georgia O’Keefe, who thought that “whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing.” ” 

  • Nobody reads artist’s statements. Learn to tell an interesting story about your work that people can relate to on a personal level.
  • Not every project will survive. Purge regularly, destroying is intimately connected to creating. This will save you time.
  • Edit privately. As much as I believe in stumbling, I also think nobody else needs to watch you do it.  

— Teresita Fernández excerpted from On Amnesia, Broken Pottery, and the Inside of a Form, seen on Lens/cratch

Links

– Henri Prestes: Using weather and darkness to control the mood
– Hakan Strand: Silent Moments
– The most influential artists of 2018 Includes photography but also fashion, culture, architecture, etc.
– Removing fly-away hair from portraits
– Anne Brigman: pioneering nude self-portraits
– The woman behind the first photo gallery
– 52 Photography techniques to try In a winter rut, creativity down? Try some of these to get the juices flowing.
– Environmental animal portraits
– 5 photographers to follow
– How meditation can improve creativity

Part of an ongoing series on “Divided Self”, this was taken at Sandy Point, December 2018.
Another for “Divided Self” which will contain both poetry and images.

Monday Missive — December 31, 2018

Quotes

…follow the quiet nudges of your intuition.” — Ursula von Rydingsvard

“...I can doubt pieces before making them, but I have to jump into the unknown to get somewhere. I have to dare to make them.” — Paola Pivi

But most [photo] books will then use end text, or some form of additional context to answer those questions. To make the cause of the tension, or the roots of the intention, known.” — Jonathan Blaustein on Dec 21, 2018

Links

– San Juan Mountain image and story Very short story on the making of a particular image
– Color correction and compensaton 20 minute video
– Fixing edges of cutouts in Photoshop This was very helpful for a common problem.
– Cutting out complex subjects 15 minute video
– Color grading in camera raw 6 minute video
– How to build confidence as an artist
– Portrait approaches
– Wildlife Photography: How to get better and better
– Adjusting luminosity without effecting color
– Best National Parks for landscape photography

 

A small boat on the beach with the Bay Bridge in the background.
Stranded by the Bridge. Taken at Sandy Point State Park.
Boat on a beach with Chesapeake Bay Bridge in the background.
Sandy Point State Park. Would like to get comments on which you perfer.

Monday Missive — December 24, 2018

Quotes

Why don’t you put that old print on the floor and I’ll step on it for you and make it even more vintage.” — Brett Weston to Scott Nichols

A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.” — Eudora Welty

I just love to work on something until I get it right. To me, what’s important and what I enjoy is not the finished photograph but the process. The photograph is a record of that process.” — Kim Weston

Links

– Cut out shadows easily for new backgrounds or compositing Also includes matching depth of field blur, color matching and more.
– Realistically colorize BW with gradient maps
– Photographing presidents
– How the stock photography market has changed
– Why you shouldn’t do street photography Very interesting take in a 9 minute video
– Shooting for black and white
– Interesting way to split tone to add color and drama to your images 6 minute video
– A simple guide for working with models
– Better beach pictures

From Steve Oney:
– Master selections and masks using channels Hour and 20 minute video that is fairly complete from basics to advanced. Selections and masks are one of the key advantages of Photoshop over Lightroom.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron taken on Dewees Island , SC.

Monday Missive — December 17, 2018

Quotes

Art Is Not About Understanding. Or Mastery. It is about doing and experience.” — Jerry Saltz

Hide secrets in your work.” — Jerry Saltz

Never just say, “You tell me what it is.” That’s pompous bullshit. When it comes to your work, you’re the best authority there is.” — Jerry Saltz

Links

– How to be an artist Article by Jerry Saltz. Anyone who feels reluctant to go their own way or share what they have done should read this article. Anyone who is in a rut should also read this.
– Fix skin tones in one minute
– Lightroom brush tip
– Panoramas
– A project on ancestry that also reveals a simple way of life Photo essay about a Russian woman’s roots in a small hunting village in the Russian taiga.
– Svetlana: A very special place where people with disabilities are just part of the community.
– Photographing birds in flight
– Putting texture in text
– Portrait lighting with LEDs
– How photography helps an autistic 5 year old understand the world

Still feeling a bit nostaligic about my time out west during and between artist residencies. Pueblo ruins from the Antelope Canyon overlook.

This is the Long House Pueblo at Mesa Verde.

Monday Missive — December 10, 2018

Quotes

You push the button, we do the rest.” – George Eastman

The key to artistic photography is to work out your own thoughts, by yourselves. Imitation leads to certain disaster.” – Gertrude Käsebier

More and more are turning to photography as a medium of expression as well as communication. The leavening of aesthetic approaches continues. While it is too soon to define the characteristic of the photographic style today. One common denominator, rooted in tradition, seems in the ascendancy: the direct use of the camera for what it can do best, and that is the revelation interpretation and discovery of the world of man and of nature. The greatest challenge to the photographer is to express the inner significance through the outward form.” – Beaumont Newhall

Links

– Great photo essay on youth in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland
– Japanese rope art in isolated areas of Finland Another interesting, but very different photo essay.
– Stretching an image to adjust the aspect ratio
– HDR toning in 1 minute 1 minute video. I didn’t know that these options were available.
– A River Journey
– Interesting photo essay on people in their bedrooms
– Everybody Street This is a full-length (1.5 hours) video shot in 2013 on NY street photographers by Cheryl Dunn
– Using 3D bump map to control contrast This is new and amazing. 11 minute video
– Colorized photographs from Auschwitz
– 7 photo stories capture adolescence

I had a recent conversation about National Park Artist Residencies, so I thought it might be nice to go back and look at some of my work during the several residencies I was privileged to participate in, to see if my photography has improved or changed. This image was from Acadia, at the Schoodic Peninsula in 2007. I don’t know that I would take different scenes today, or taken them differently, but I am pretty sure the processing would be different from the original. This was edited last night from an unedited image; I would not have edited it like this in 2007.

A year later, in 2008, I took this in the north Cascades, but reprocessed it last night to add signficiant contrast in the details and darken the sky. It can be hard to be creative and depart from the obvious the first time you see mountains like this.

This was taken in Jan. 2013. With only 3 images it is hard to determine if I have made progress, but I do believe the processing is better. Big Cypress in Florida.