Monday Missive — July 15, 2019

Quotes

The biggest misconception in photography is still this: that better cameras and more knowledge make better photographs.” — David DuChemin

If limitation spawns creativity, is the limitless resource of the Internet a good thing?” — Alec Soth

I prefer to photograph people and try to capture an emotion which can be universally understood. Photography is the language I use to translate other cultures.” — Tina Manley

Links

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Lewis Hine: Photos that ended child labor
– Family secrets
– Excellent street photography from Melbourne, AU

Post-Processing
– Using and modifying duotones in Photoshop
– Saving color grades
– Using the selection tools effectively

Field/Studio
– Candid photography

Miscellany

The B & H newsletter had the three articles below on “historical processes” that preceded film. I found them to be very interesting. Artistically, the different processes have distinctive appearance. From an historical perspective they were critical to the development of photography.

– The Salted Print Invented by Henry Fox Talbot. Part of the history of photography
– Collodion and albumen prints John Nelson of Actinic Studio gave a presentation to the Baltimore Camera club earlier this year on how to make collodian prints; the collodion process is still actively being used by some photographers for its distinct character.
– Daguerrotype

Juvenile yellow-crowned night heron. Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Washington, DC.

Panorama near the intersection of the Black Marsh and Observation Trails.

Slaty skimmer (male). Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.

Monday Missive — July 8, 2019

Quotes

The best pictures differentiate themselves by nuances…a tiny relationship – either a harmony or a disharmony – that creates a picture.” – Ernst Haas

Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best.” – Henry Van Dyke

I photograph continuously, often without a good idea or strong feelings. During this time the photos are nearly all poor but I believe they develop my seeing and help later on in other photos.” –- Harry Callahan

Links

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Magic windmills The light and the fog in these images are fantastic!
– Vrettakos Alexandros: Passing by A Greek version of the decisive moment
– Finding relationships These images are very clever
– Chemigrams
– Irving Penn: Hippies and Hells Angels in the American West

Post-processing
– Using blend modes to mask hair Also goes into creating appropriate shadows and using Select and Mask. 20 minute video
– Adding texture Includes a free down-loadable texture to try

Studio/Field
– 10 Quick tips from Death Valley
– Geotagging with your phone: Part 1
– Geotagging with your phone: Part 2

Early morning Agastache.

Trees at Mt. Cuba arboretum.

Monday Missive — July 1, 2019

Quotes

[Poetry is] “an immense conversation of the soul.” — Joy Harjo, next US poet laureate of the US. Applies to photography as well.

The great geniuses are those who have kept their childlike spirit and have added to it breadth of vision and experience.” – Alfred Stieglitz

He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.
” — Francis of Assisi

Links

Photo essays/Bodies of Work
– Hanoi’s motorbike culture
– “Skygazing” Simple but elegant composites.
– Photography and text This really appeals to me as I am working on book of my poetry and images.
– The traveling dress collective From Vickie Gray via Facebook. But for me it was more about the different locations chosen than about the dress.

Post processing
– Light overlays Using gradients; also create an overlay as a preset.
– Removing halos from HDR images 2 minute video
– Smooth and soften skin

Field/Studio
– Outdoor portraits: using flash to balance ambient light

Miscellany
– The importance of sequencing your images
– Art of Photography: Creativity, process, technology, limitations

The Mill

Mill Machinery

Country Store Invitation, Airville, PA

Monday Missive — June 24, 2019

Quotes

Don’t cheat the world of your contribution. Give it what you’ve got.” – Steven Pressfield

A very subtle difference can make the picture or not.” – Annie Leibovitz

I want to make photographs whose very ambiguity provokes thought, rather than cuts it off prematurely. I want to make pictures that work on a more mysterious level, that approach the truth by a more circuitous route.” – John Pfahl

Links

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Monochromatic minimalism
– Re-examining “consent” in an age where neither the photographer nor the subject may control where an image shows or how it is used. This is an interesting discussion, but not sure that what Berman suggests is feasible or realistic.
– Widow/er A “poignant and elegant” portrait series

Post-processing
– Blur the background without halos
– Adding an image into text
– How to cut out hair from a busy background 37 minute video, but covers a lot about brushes, masking and selections.
– Create realistic skin texture

Studio/Field
– Packing your gear for air travel

Miscellany
– Be creative every day
– Modern photographic terms: What thoese acronyms mean.

male ruby-throated hummingbird. Taken at Patuxent North Tract Research Refuge, near visitor center. Sigma 150-600, 1/1250 sec; f/8; ISO 1600.

Female ruby-throated hummingbird. Same metadata except shutter =1/400.

Monday Missive — June 17, 2019

Quotes

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

To be more creative is to get closer to childhood.” — Sarah Moon

The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach.” — Henry Beston

Links

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Almost the North Pole
– Norway and the Sami culture
– Body of work on illnes and treatment Interesting and poetic title. Her manipulation of the images is also an intriguing approach and consistent with the topic.
– Obsessions of 10 Magnum photographers
– What it takes to become a Nat Geo photographer Includes winning images from this year’s contest and an embedded video of a Nat Geo Young Explorer that is worth watching.

Post-processing
– Change backgrounds but keep original shadows
– Adding a sun to an image Using the radial gradient and color dodge blend mode.

Miscellany
– 3D functions in PSCC This is not photographic, but if you have Photoshop CC you also have 3D which might be helpful on occasion. It is amazing what it can do. 30 minute video.
– If you hire an agency to sell your images, read the contract very carefully!
– What is photography? A very brief philosophical statement.

Trail Report: Black Marsh Trail at North Point State Park

North Point State Park is located at 8400 North Point Rd, Edgemere, MD 21219 (southeast Baltimore). You will drive in about a third of a mile from North Point Road to the gate booth. There is a $3 admission charge per car; sometimes on the honor system, sometimes the booth is manned. (Senior passes are available from the Department of Natural Resources). Just past the booth on the left there is a parking lot (with a portable sanitary station). The Park also has a visitor center, beach, picnic tables and other amenities and trails. After parking, walk back out past the booth. On the right is a turn around and then a vehicle fence at the trail head (about 50 feet from the booth). The trail can be muddy in spots, so wear appropriate footwear. It is about a quarter mile through forest to the beginning of a really nice marsh, which extends on both sides of the trail. I have seen Great Blue and Little Blue herons and white egrets so far this spring, also sighted an empty Oriole nest. No worthwhile images of the birds yet, but I have only walked the trail 3 or 4 times so far. I was told there was a good diversity of ducks in winter. Dragonflies and damselflies are numerous and probably keep the mosquitoes down, but low in diversity: I have only seen Blue Dashers, Pondhawks and Fragile Forktails. Bullfrogs are common and commonly heard. The trail continues past the marsh through coastal forest. You will eventually pass an old powerhouse building and end up at a beach. Although never crowded, most of the time you will see some birders on the trail, who have always been willing to share what they have seen. You will want to use insect repellent, although the bugs haven’t been too bad so far this season. Watch for poison ivy as well.
6/24/19: Added male Slaty skimmer dragonfly and green snake.

Intersection of Black Marsh and Observation Trails looking left.

Intersection of Black Marsh and Observation trails looking right.

Bullfrog

Eastern Pondhawk male

Eastern Pondhawk female.

Black Marsh Trail, North Point State Park

Monday Missive — June 10, 2019

Quotes

Interviewer James Robert Southard: What makes for your perfect day of shooting?
It is walking into a place, often a new place. It is being in that perfect moment when you see it and you know it and you capture it. Or at least you hope you did. … It is being in that photographic moment, just me and the viewfinder and it is as though there is nothing else around. Or at least it feels that way.” — Sarah Hoskins

Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.” — Matt Hardy

When you are looking to find photographs… open up your mind and be still with yourself. The photographs will find you.” — Paul Caponigro

Links

Photo essays/Bodies of Work
– Small town Kentucky
– A playlist of 94 videos on famous photographers From Ted Forbes who does the Art of Photography. People serious about photography can use this list to see the work of many famous photographers. Great bad weather activity. I highly recommend subscribing to the “Art of Photography” You Tube channel.
– Two Caponigros Really good video. I have met Paul C and he is a really nice gentleman. I’ve seen an exhibition of his work up in Maine and it was awesome. Paul C may be the famous photographer you have never heard of. This is a good video to get acquainted.

Post-processing
– Brief video on how to find previously worked on images in PS
– How to edit video in Photoshop This is great for family stuff even if you don’t use video for your “serious” photography.
– Mastering contrast Illustrated on portraits in both color and BW. Provides very subtle control at several levels of detail.
– Cut out trees without halos or fringes in Photoshop

Miscellany
– Lens compression

This past weekend was HonFest, celebrating Baltimore’s “Hons”. It is a tradition derived from “Whatcha need, Hon?” and involves beehive hairstyles and 1950s style sunglasses. Lots of fun and a great excuse for a 2 day street party.

Best Hon 2019

Singer in the band.

Monday Missive — June 3, 2019

Quotes

You are your own first and most important audience. That’s how you please your audience. By making your art for you.” — David DuChemin

‘“[He] encouraged me to let myself go, not hold anything back, try everything,” she recalled‘ — Helen Frankenthaler in praise of Paul Feely her mentor to Julia Brown, Guggenheim curator

Life rarely presents fully finished photographs. An image evolves, often from a single strand of visual interest – a distant horizon, a moment of light, a held expression.” – Sam Abell

Links

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Street photography from 1838-2019 20 minute video slide show. Very international, with one image per year.
– Volcano
– Life in rural Mexico: A love story
– Fascinating flower portraits
– From a graveyard to community conversation This is a very enlightening and interesting story of a Georgia community “Re-seeing” itself. Excerpt: “By installing my portrait banners in a community’s built environment, I have a chance to symbolically disrupt the power structure – the hierarchy of public visibility – that has come to define that community.

Post-processing
– Retouching a portrait in LR He shows some presets in LR that I didn’t know were there using”Teeth Whitening” as an example. The presets are not in Camera Raw, but you can still get the same results manually.
– Making smooth selections Also explains the “Minimum” filter which can be really helpful.

Field/Studio
– Macro photography with a white background This is the “Meet Your Neighbors” program about getting to know the critters in your neighborhood. It also produces some neat images.

Miscellany
– Fake Nikon batteries
– Future of photography This is not a technical analysis, more theoretical and from the “art” side.

Was in Pittsburgh this weekend with the Baltimore Camera Club. The city has a very interesting history.

These chimneys were from the steel furnaces used to heat huge billets of steel before they were modified.

There are two functioning “inclines” that carry people down the steep cliffs to the riverside. The two cars were going in opposite directions as they passed each other.

There is a really nice park called “The Point State Park” on a spit of land projecting into the river. You can see an incline in the background. People run, bike, skateboard and scooter along the river.

Monday Missive — May 27, 2019

Quotes

…the goal of art was the vital expression of self.” – Alfred Stieglitz

Trust that little voice in your head that says ‘Wouldn’t it be interesting if…’; And then do it.” – Duane Michals

Style has no formula, but it has a secret key. It is the extension of your personality. The summation of this indefinable net of your feeling, knowledge and experience.” – Ernst Haas

Links

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Images of the Central American migration

Post-processing
– Tim Grey defines and compares sharpening, the new texture slider in LR/ACR, clarity and dehaze
– Using the new texture slider to smooth skin and enhance landscapes
– Matt K on Texture vs clarity and sharpening
– Color grading in Lightroom
– Making basic selections in PS
– Dealing with a significantly over-exposed image in LR

Field/Studio
– Using negative space in photography
– A photojournalistic approach to wedding photography

Miscellany
– Color Psychology

Images from yesteday’s Sowebo festival in southwest Baltimore.

This bassist was really enjoying the music.

He was pretty happy too.

Artist display.

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.