Monday Missive — May 20, 2019

Quotes

My work is inviting, hopefully, it’s also evocative and tells a story.  Ultimately, the goal in my work is to elicit emotion, be it wonderment, joy, silliness, happiness, solitude.  I think because I shoot for feeling rather than just for a scene, perhaps that makes my vision of the world and thus my photography, different.” — Marianne Drenthe

If you are really listening, if you’re awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly.” – Andrew Harvey

When you photograph a face . . .you photograph the soul behind it.” — Jean-Luc Godard

Links

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Surreal beauty out of the everyday
– Andre Kertesz
– Striking landscape images

Post-Processing
– Luminosity Mask This video explains a lot about masks in general, selections, color grading and how to use them and how to use color range for similar results.
– Color adjustment with curves
– All of the blend modes explained
– Editing photos in LR Great basic LR course in 17 minutes
– Fine art architectural editing
– Adjusting the colors of your highlights, midtones and shadows i.e., color grading

Field/Studio
– 15 Tips for better train and railway images

Snapping turtle, taken this weekend at Huntley Meadows in Alexandria, VA. Sigma 150-600 handheld but prone on the boardwalk.
Great Blue Heron. Taken at Huntley Meadows Park, 5/18/19; Sigma 150-600; f/8; 1/640; ISO 1250.

Monday Missive — May 13, 2019

Quotes

“…  I look for the unguarded moment, the essential soul peeking out, experience etched on a persons face.” — Steve McCurry

Knowledge is preferable to ignorance.. Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable.” – Carl Sagan

Be unafraid of your imagination.” — Joe McNally

Links

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Allowed to grow old: Portraits of aging animals For those who care about animals
– Fascinating story of 50-70 year old Korean women who free dive to catch seafood for a living
– Sapeurs: Fancy dressers of the Congo Interesting story, excellent portraits, but take special notice of the backgrounds and how they contrast with the dress
– “You and Me on a Sunny Day Interesting project with a 135 large prints taken of an older woman over 5 years

Field/Studio
– The Photographic Process Twenty minute video that takes you through the process in the field for the inital capture right through final post-processing with a continuous explanation of what the photographer is thinking
– Making better portraits

Miscellany
– Winners of an international nature photo competition
– Fine art marketing
– 29 unpopular opinions about photography I agree with many of these, so I should probably keep my mouth closed
– Memory cards explained

Iris bud.

Male cardinal testing out my new 150-600 sigma.

Monday Missive — May 6, 2019

Quotes

I decided to accept as true my own thinking. I have already settled it for myself, so flattery and criticism go down the same drain, and I am quite free.” — Georgia O’Keeffe via Cole Thompson

Sometimes you have to be able to listen to yourself and be okay with no one else understanding.” — Christopher Barzak via Cole Thompson

Bread feeds the body indeed, but flowers feed also the soul.” — The Koran

Links

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Indigenous cultures of the Phillipines
– The oldest trees by starlight Some of these images are truly magical.
– Exploration of North Africa by a French photographer
– Jordanna Kalman A little avant gard for me, but some interesting approaches in photographing photographs but also using natural objects

Photoshop/Lightroom Techniques
– Great tip to quickly open copies of large PSD files 1 minute video
– Picking a color from outside of photoshop 2 minute video
– Compositing two images and matching color with color match

Field/Studio
– Three things to know as a photographer

Miscellany
– You cannot claim “fair use” just because an image was on the internet
– Great video of Smith Island From Steve. Not strictly about photography but images by Dave Harp and some historic images, narrated by Tom Horton. Worth the time to watch.

Spring is here and it is time to play in the garden again. Early Saturday morning, heavy overcast. I played until the wind came up. Newly opened Clematis.
Budding blue flag iris.
A water droplet trapped between two iris leaves. The reflection is the clump of iris.
The color on these columbine is fantastic.

Trail Report

Choat Mine and Red Run Trail at Soldier’s Delight Natural Environmental Area

The main entrance to Soldiers’s Delight is at 5100 Deer Park Rd, Owings Mills, MD 21117 (restrooms are available at the visitor’s center). About .3 miles north on Deer Park Road, on the left, is an overlook and pull off where you can park. The trailhead for the Choate Mine Tail is across the street and about 50 feet south. This is definitely not a runners’ trail as sections have loose rocks and I would recommned against walking it in sandals. The natural area is largely a serpentine barren with open fields; 39 rare, threatened or endangered plant species have been found there. Photographically it wasn’t particularly interesting at this time of year. There were clumps of small flowers and the occasional butterfly. The old mine openings are fenced and flooded and obvious on the right side of the trail several hundred yards in. Prickly briar plants edge the trail until you get into the forest a bit further on. The forest areas have little understory. About one third mile in, the Choate Mine Train connects with the Red Run Trail just at the back of some apartments and the trail heads up hill in open forest; trail maps are available online. The serpentine barrens can be interesting if you are into the rare plants, but participating in a guided tour with a ranger/naturalist is definitely recommended initially.

Four species found at Soldiers Delight. All identifications are tentative. Confirmations or corrections via comment on the identifications are much appreciated.

Monday Missive — April 29, 2019

Quotes

That’s why I fight against the notion of rules. . . They don’t encourage the kind of questions that will get us to making better photographs. They don’t ask Why. As in, ‘Why am I making this photograph and what do I want to say?‘” — David DuChemin

I was not schooled in photography, I didn’t know what the rules were, and I broke a lot of them. I think it made my work more intriguing.” — Franz Lanting

It takes the passage of time before an image of a commonplace subject can be assessed. The great difficulty of what I attempt is seeing beyond the moment; the everydayness of life gets in the way of the eternal.” — George Tice

Links

Photo essays/Bodies of Work
– For animal lovers
– Photographing the most remote places on earth
– Creative self portraits

Photoshop/Lightroom Technique
– A complete workflow for a BW image (from Steve) Mostly LR processing
– Pencil sketch effect
– Better cutouts and crisp edges
– Exploding people using PS 3D tools

Field/Studio
– DNG vs Raw
– Capture emotion in your landscape photography A thoughtful analysis in 13 minute video with some excellent images from Scotland. Made me want to get up to Dolly Sods again this spring.

Miscellaney
– Adobe test for what type of creative you are This is a really fun 16 question self-test that everyone should try — and then get someone who knows them well to take it for them and see the difference

Lighthouse at Campobello Island, Canada. Trying out one of my new Photomorphis textures.

Monday Missive — April 22, 2019

Quotes

To be playful is to allow for unlimited possibility.” — James Carse

Art is the stored honey of the human soul, gathered on wings of misery and travail.” — Theodore Dreiser

“. . .  it’s not knowing how to use the camera; it’s knowing what you want to do with it.” — David DuChemin

Links

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Mexico between life and death
– Portraits of southern musicians
– Goats and Sheep
– Best photojournalism images of 2018
– California wild fires

Photoshop/Lightroom Techniques
– Make your subject pop with a spot light effect This is a great way to vignette as well; it lets you have asymmetrical darkening
– Creating the “Avengers Dust Effect”

Field and Studio
– How to clean your lenses and filters
– 12 rain or shine photography ideas
– Making the most of flat light in landscape photography

Trail Report


Glen Ellen and Sam’s Grave Trail Loop is a 7.2 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland that I found on AllTrails. Unfortunately their location for the trail head is totally inaccurate. Traveling east on seminary, on the north side of the street there is a wide shoulder just before Dulaney Valley Road. Park there and cross Dulaney Valley Road. The trail begins right at the end of the cross walk. The trail will hit Seminary Ave again and make a U-turn to the left to pick up the trail again. Today I took the side trail that is the first left after you return to the trail (about 50 feet past the graveled part of the trail. Pleasant trail, with moderate use that intersects with Loch Raven at several locations. Kind of early for spring flowers, but might be nicer toward summer. Because of the proximity to the water, it will likely be a bit buggy.

Young fiddlehead (baby fern) along the trail (about 1.5 inch tall).

I only went about a mile down the trail, but there was one area of lake access that I thought could produce some good images in the right weather with the right lens:

I had the absolutely wrong lens for this shot, a 200 mm micro, but wanted to remember the area because I think it could produce some good bird images if you can catch one resting on the branches or a good landscape with a wider angle lens and some stormy weather. Even though I wasn’t prepared for this location, I wanted to give the reader some sense of what could be available, so I did a 12 shot pano to do the best I could.

Monday Missive — April 15, 2019

Quotes

– 10 quotes from writers that will make you a better photographer — From Steve

Links

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– A lifetime of work on 152 acres Interesting concept and execution, although some of the images are so abstract or minimalist, I don’t know how to relate to them.
– Exploding Lamborghini For the car fans among us
– Images of the 1970s
– Lessons from life on the road Great images too
Photoshop/Lightroom Techniques
– Cut out impossible images in PS
– Create presets in PS and Import them to LR
– Creating brush presets in LR Also how to use the ALT key to change opacity of the brush.
– Two little known filters to remove halos and fringing
Field/Studio
– 5 camera settings you should turn on

Union Mills well. The buildings were closed, but it was an interesting walk around the grounds.
Union Mills mill wheel.

Monday Missive — April 8, 2019

Quotes

One of the greatest barriers to creativity and to life is fear. That fear manifests itself in many ways but one of the more destructive is the perfectionism so many of us are paralyzed by.” — David DuChemin

Being a photographer is making people look at what I want them to look at. – Ruth Orkin

One very important difference between color and monochromatic photography is this: in black and white you suggest; in color you state. Much can be implied by suggestion, but statement demands certainty… absolute certainty. – Paul Outerbridge 

Links

Photo essays/Bodies of Work
– Exploration of the urban landscape With emphasis on Vietnam
– Messy studio –> creativity?
– “Inverse panoramas” and x-rays
– Van Der Zee and the Harlem renaissance
– Very dark, moody street photography

PhotoshopTechniques
– Equalize skin tones
– Workflow for a difficult image
– Basics of layer masks Really good 15 minute video that gives you all the basics of masks in a very straight forward way

From Steve Oney:
– How to safely use smoke bombs
– “Other worldly” images from White Sands, NM

Team effort on the Pride of Baltimore.
Neatly coiled rope on the Pride of Baltimore.

Monday Missive — April 1, 2019

Quotes

The tool so many of us use to make our art—the camera—is also a way to see the world; to be more alive in this world. It can be a tool that brings such joy, and a means of saying things about the world, and ourselves, that we might not have otherwise. … It holds you to no obligation except that you hold it to your eye and see things anew.” — David DuChemin

Most of the pictures you see, you actually miss. So inevitably, what you end up doing is taking a lot of rubbish. In fact, the basic theory is, the more rubbish you take the better the chances of a good photo emerging as well. So, keep on taking the rubbish.
Martin Parr, Magnum Photographer, from The Art of Street Photography

Saturate yourself with your subject, and the camera will all but take you by the hand and point the way.” — Margaret Bourke-White

Links

Photo essays/Bodies of Work:
– Nick Brandt: This empty world Incredible realistic composites addressing the constant habitat destruction from “progress.”
– Abstracts on print paper using beer cans The idea is interesting. From the process description I’m unclear on how exposure takes place unless it is simply light leaks.
– Alec Soth: A year meditating and new approaches
– Andrea Modica. An interesting mix of street, documentary and portraiture

Photoshop Techniques:
– Making reflections Uses blend modes, blur, wave and Blend-If
– Fix banding in your images

Camera/Field Techniques:
– Choosing the right neutral density filter Think in advance of what effect you are seeking. Too long, and the effect is overdone, i.e., I don’t like milk in my streams, but smooth water can be very nice.

From Steve Oney:
– Alan Schaller street photography
– How to light glass There are more videos in this series about lighting shapes, dimension and texture, separation, color, etc.
From George Spicer:
– Night Photography Events Calendar

The Stad Amsterdam, a three-masted clipper design, was in town this week. It takes the best qualities of clipper ships, but has some improvements to make it safer like having a steel hull. She is quite fast for a sailing ship. Her normal speed is 15 knots. Her crew is Dutch, but the language on board is English.
Rigging of the Stad Amsterdam with the World Trade building in the background.
Off loading the gang plank.

Monday Missive — March 25, 2019

Quotes

Art isn’t about what others say about our art, but what we say through that art.” — David DuChemin

The first time, I usually skim off the outer layer and end up with photographs that are fairly obvious. The second time, I have to look a little deeper. The images get more interesting. The third time it is even more challenging and on each subsequent occasion, the images should get stronger, but it takes more effort to get them.” – Michael Kenna

If it makes you laugh, 
if it makes you cry, 
if it rips out your heart, 
that’s a good picture.
 – Eddie Adams

Links

– August Sander: What this photo doesn’t show
– Omens and Predictions Some of these images were really creepy.
– Portraits of counter-culture NY youth The writer makes an interesting comparison of this work to that of Diane Arbus
– The establishing shot This applies better to a body of work than a single image, but potentially very helpful. Also references to W. Eugene Smith.
– Edge Dwellers: large format portraits and connection to individuals in marginalized communities in California
– Manhattan wilderness at twilight
– Simulating shallow depth of field with Blur Gallery in PS
– Australian street photographer
From Steve Oney:
– Irving Penn
– Paul Strand

“Slow surf” won second place in the Baltimore Camera Club long-exposure themed competition in March 2019. Taken at Assateague State Park on Feb. 5, 2019. 30 second exposure at f/22, 70-200@125, f/22, 10 stop ND filter.

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.