Monday Missive — Jan. 17, 2022


You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.” -— Octavia E. Butler

Imagination is a force that can actually manifest a reality. Don’t put limitations on yourself. Others will do that for you.” — James Cameron

Creativity is an energy. It’s a precious energy, and it’s something to be protected. A lot of people take for granted that they’re a creative person, but I know from experience, feeling it in myself, it is a magic; it is an energy. And it can’t be taken for granted.” -— Ava DuVernay

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— Architecture of North Korea
— Robert Cumming: Playfully pushing the boundaries of image and narrative

— Better hair selection
— Sean Tucker: Natural skin editing for portraits

Field and Studio
— Lindsay Adler: Creative white balance and tint to enhance your images
— Macro subjects for winter

— Changes in lens design will follow use of mirrorless cameras
— Duane Michals and his father Very interesting. Actually written by Duane Michals, with photographs and Michals’ captions.
— Convergence of writing and photography A topic currently of particular interest to me.
— Blake Rudis: Artistic vision The first 7:30 has some good discussion. Then he talks about an upcoming free, three-part seminar on the topic. I almost didn’t include this link because of the ad, but Blake is pretty good and the seminar is free.

Our feathered friends are having a difficult time. This past summer there was disease going around that caused many bird deaths with eye infections and other problems. People have their yards sprayed with insecticide if they even think they saw a mosquito, damaging not only the insect populatons, but decreasing food sources for birds as well. Continuing loss of habitat and climate change also are a burden on bird populations. When snow covers the ground and makes seeds harder to find, we should do what we can, like stocking bird feeders, to help maintain bird populations.


Female goldfinch, winter plumage.

Red-bellied woodpecker

Monday Missive — Jan. 10, 2022


There is no such thing as rule-governed creativity.” — Frank Herbert

Everyone looks at what I am looking at, but no one sees what I see.” — Félicité Lamennais (From Cole Thompson’s newsletter)

I think doing something creative is the most important thing to me, and I think it’s probably just good for the soul for anyone, whatever it is … I think everyone needs to create something.” -— Ricky Gervais

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— Pittsburgh
— Underwater photography

— Jesus Remirez: An hour on blending modes

Field and Studio
— Tom Heaton: Scottish shoreline but Tom also discusses some subtlties of composition and his mistakes.
— Get lucky with your photography

— 7 tips on improving your photography
— Robert Mapplethorpe
— Why should photographers buy photo books?

My New Year’s Resolution: Do a much better job of keywording and titling my images.

As the snow melts, thinking of Sherwood Garden tulips in the spring.

Great egret (randomly chosen image from 2021).

Monday Missive — January 3, 2022

Reminder: Check that the date in your camera has updated to 2022, and if you didn’t do it in the fall, check that you are on the correct daylight savings time.


I want to kick-start your imagination and let you discover the places it can take you.” — Terry Brooks

A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.” -— Frank Capra

That’s the way I work: I try to imagine what I would like to see.” -— Sofia Coppola

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— Julie Hamel: Altered negatives I haven’t seen anything like this before. To me it seems reminiscent of a combination of pinhole camera, photogram and collage.
— Sara Cuce: Memory of the eyes Somewhat surreal representation of what it feels like to be “in between.”

Field and Studio
— Making the best use of shadows
— Understanding the histogram to get perfect exposures.
— Simon Baxter: Interpreting the scene At the beginning of the video I appreciate the way he discusses composing the image. Also an example of “hair ice” a very unusual occurrence.
— Lindsay Adler vs Dani Diamond : Artificial vs natural light

— Tom Heaton: How many good images should you get in year?
— Paul Miguel: My best nature images of the year

“I’m not just seeing the world differently; I’m seeing myself differently. I’m seeing new possibilities. If that’s what you need in 2022, I wish that for you as well. Maybe it’s time to shake things up. Maybe it’s time to create a body of work that’s different from anything you’ve done before. To be a different kind of photographer than the one you’ve become so comfortable with. Maybe the way to make more photographs in 2022, if your options have to remain limited due to the pandemic, is to make different photographs. I have a feeling it is for me.” — David DuChemin

This might be a good time to look back over the images you have taken during 2021 to ask yourself if you are satisfied, and if not, what you could do differently in 2022.

— Alistair Benn talks about great landscape photography using the work of Galen Rowell and Marc Adamus as a source
— Richard Benson at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

December 27, 2021


Recently, photogrpahy has become almost as widely practiced an amusement as sex and dancing–which means that, like every mass art form, photography is not practiced by most people as an art. It is mainly a social rite, a defense against anxiety, and a tool of power.” — Susan Sontag in “On Photography” [I add personally, that if you accept this premise, it has been greatly magnified by cell phone photography since the book was written in 1973.]

Success is sometimes the outcome of a whole string of failures.” — Vincent van Gogh

I’ve tended to use my imagination to confront reality, rather than escape it.” -— Michael Moorcock


— Exporting, file settings and sizing Followup to a link from last week.
— Color matching when compositing
— Adding shine to jewelry

Field and Studio
— Taking street photos at night
— Getting better sunrise images

— Hiro (Yasuhiro Wakabayashi) died this past August A protege of Richard Avedon, he was the only photographer on contract to Harper’s Bazaar. He was known for elegant use of bold colors, unusual lighting and perspectives, and surprising juxtaposition of elements.
— Tonalism
— Photobooks
— Beginner’s guide to street photography etiquette

When I updated PHP for WordPress, I apparently lost access to the the gallery software used for my website (as opposed to my blog). However, I have just added a new project to Adobe’s “MyPortfolio” which comes free with Adobe’s photography package. So this week, instead of including a couple of images, I refer you to my “MyPortfolio” website, in particular the page for “Senescence” that I just posted.

Monday Missive — December 20, 2021


. . . there is something predatory in the act of taking a picture. To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed.” — Susan Sontag

Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.” — Martha Graham

Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you are looking at, then you are never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.” — Donald McCullin

— Colin Smith: Luminosity masks in Photoshop This explains how to actually create luminosity masks to any degree of precision you desire. Luminosity masks let you select areas to modify according to how dark or light they are.
— Jesus Remirez: Masking

Field and Studio
— Making the best use of shadows
— Risks and responsibilities of street photography A thoughtful analysis, definitely worth reading.
— The Photographic Eye: Minimalism + composition tips

— Lensculture BW photography award winners
— The Art of Visual Storytelling Presentations by Sarah Leen, former Nat Geo photo director and JP Caponigro sponsored by Sante Fe workshops. Some good stuff about visual storytelling and why you should create personal work.
— A brief history of lens making
— David DuChemin: What lens should I bring?
— Aperture: Four stories of becoming a photojournalist

I did a double take when I saw the pigeon. The vendor readily agreed to let me take a picture and was clearly delighted that someone noticed his frient.

Monday Misive — December 13, 2021


First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won’t. Habit is persistence in practice.” — Octavia E. Butler

A person without imagination is like a teabag without hot water.” -— Alan Fletcher, acclaimed British graphic designer

I like an empty wall because I can imagine what I like on it.” -— Georgia O’Keeffe

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— R.J. Kern: The Unchosen Ones Interesting concept, well-done.

— Jim Welninski: Understanding the channel mixer This is pretty technical.
— Blake Rudis: Avoiding excessive saturation
— Sean Tucker: Choosing between Black & white and color

Field and Studio
— Alec Soth: A Pound of Pictures How Soth approaches a new project
— Paul Miguel: Solving some common autofocus problems
— What to do when visiting a new place to photograph wildlife

— Alec Soth analyzes “American Pictures” by Jacob Holdt Soth always does an amazing job of going deep into the book, the images and the underlying issues. Note there is some nudity.
— Sharing your photos: file formats, resolution and color space This article has lots of good basic information
— The cost of film isn’t going up as much as you might think Well-written article with general applicability

A little jazz goin’ down this summer at the Guiness Open Gate Festival.

An assortment of architectural styles on Charles St.

Monday Missive — December 6, 2021


Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.” -— Yoda

If you are a photographer who works with life, then you have to put yourself into the territory where that imagery and your thoughts might coalesce, because you need the vital lesson that first key image provides. Not the first image, but the first key image, the one that unlocks the door. The one you stumble over. It might surprise you by coming in from left field, taking things in a completely different direction, but that’s the beauty of working with the world, with the moments that time hurls your way. It’s a collaborative dance between the artist and life itself, so embrace the partnership. Often the world’s complexity is far more interesting than your concepts. If you can have the humility to admit that, you’ll do well.” — Paul Graham

I know when a body of work is finished when the charge drops, and the thing that pulled you along is no longer there. You can feel yourself lose your connection to the narrative. At this point, the story has been told and is now in danger of repeating itself. It’s about knowing when that time has come and having the courage to let it go.” — Sian Davey

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— Ecuadorian Photographers, Johis Alarcon For me, these images are a mixed bag: some are too cryptic or had to interpret, others quite good images of family and culture.
— Owen McCarter: Student film photo award

— New quick actions in PS including blur background
— Automatic color correcton This could be helpful for your Thanksgiving photos that are too yellow from normal household lighting.
— Blake Rudis: Masking in Camera Raw vs Photoshop

Field and Studio
— Photographing horse jumping A bit more than I would like about the camera, but also good recommendations on positioning yourself, shutter speed, focal length and f/stop.

— John Sexton on Polaroid film
— Ted Forbes talks about film
— All you need to know about USB ports
— Stock photography certainly isn’t what it used to be, but can still be an opportunity to sell your images. This is an interesting presentation, with some real earnings numbers.

The pandemic has transformed many things in our lives from masking to traveling, to socializing. One of the more obvious physical changes is that many NY restaurants have created outdoor dining venues each in their own way. A few examples below:

Monday Missive — November 29, 2021


You are not offering testimony to the existence of something, you are bringing something into existence—something that did not exist before, and that would not exist if it were not for you.”Guy Tal

Your perceived failure can become the catalyst for profound reinvention.” -– Conan O’Brien

When someone tells me “no,” it doesn’t mean I can’t do it, it simply means I can’t do it with them.” -— Karen E. Quinones Miller

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— When the sun meets the fog
— Magda Biernat I find the fathom images most interesting.
— Lydia Panas: Sleeping Beauty

— Colin Smith shows how to use the new “colorize” neural filter in PS

Field and Studio
— Ted Forbes: On exposure
— Alistair Benn on Expressive photography

— The commercial images of Ansel Adams
— Sean Tucker: the amazing dog photography of Ben Burfitt

New York City, East River, early Thanksgiving day, 2021

The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, NYC.

November 22, 2021


The more time you make for whatever you’re photographing, the more possibilities you have.” — David DuChemin

The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.” — Conan O’Brien

Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” -— Stephen King


— Colin Smith: advanced masks in Camera raw

Field and Studio
— Erez Marom: Originality in landscape photography Interesting discussion.
— Lindsay Adler: Create the look of sunlight in the studio
— Simon Baxter: Empathy and awareness of what is around you is the key to better images I think the important part starts around3:45
— Photographing from a car with a bean bag.

— 80,000 image timelapse of the sun over a month You may not want to watch the entire 45 minutes, but it is pretty cool.
— Richard Avedon: Darkness and Light Thanks to Steve D.

Monday Missive — November 15, 2021


I crop for the benefit of the pictures. The world just does not fit conveniently into the format of a 35mm camera.” — W. Eugene Smith

Inspiration usually comes during work, rather than before it.” — Madeleine L’Engle

Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.” -– Tina Fey

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— Judith Joy Ross portraits
— Rashid Haq: Art & Science I found some of these images to be quite disturbing. You need to read the article to understand.
— Bremner Benedict: Hidden waters I don’t find the images particularly artful, but it is an interesting ecological story.
— Benjamin Dimmitt: Primitive Florida Excellent BW landscapes. Images are paired, showing the impact of climate change and environmental degradation.

— Unmesh Dinda: New features in Photoshop 2022
— Unmesh: New depth blur filter in Ps

Field and Studio
— Sean Tucker: It’s not all about single images
— Nigel Danson: Better thoughts on composition Balance, Flow, Energy and Depth

— Development of digital photography
— But Beatiful – The photographs of Robert Adams

Sleeping out at Patterson Park.

Hollywood in New York: Health, Wellness and Pleasure

Monday Missive — November 8, 2021


Discovering the truth about ourselves is a lifetime’s work, but it’s worth the effort.” — Fred Rogers

You only struggle because you’re ready to grow but aren’t willing to let go.” -– Drew Gerald

This is the same problem I have with digital photography. The potential is always remarkable. But the medium never settles. Each year there is a better camera to buy and new software to download. The user never has time to become comfortable with the tool. Consequently too much of the work is merely about the technology. . . For good work to develop the technology needs to become as stable and functional as a typewriter.” — Alec Soth

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— 1 year, 1 town, 1 lens German street photography and music; no text or speech.
— Stephanie Shih: Still life Not really into still life myself, but these are well done and I know someone out there will appreciate them.
— I think these are some of the most artful wildlife photos I have ever seen.
— Koo Bohnchang: Silent weapons Both an interesting project and consistently exceptional minimalist images.

— Colin Smith: Photoshop update

Field and Studio
— Photographing mushrooms Thanks to Steve O.
— Newfoundland I really want to get up there when the pandemic is fully over
— Creating dreamy, ethereal light.
— Bayou Josh: American dipper and gorgeous Idaho scenery

— Photobooks

Fall in New England, near Shelburne Falls in northwestern Massachusetts.

Shellburne Falls on the Deerfield Rivere in W. Mass.

Monday Missive — November 1, 2021


I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.” -— Harper Lee

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

By the time I was fourteen the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing.” — Stephen King

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
-Haunting/scary images
-Walker Evans
-Han Sungpil Not sure why, but I found Sungpil’s images very interesting.
-Hwang Gyutae The first two images didn’t do much for me, but the street images, especially the girl with the noodles and the boy catching snow, were exceptional.

-MattK: Photoshop update New selection tool to select “objects” with one click; new neural filters; select sky is now available in ACR in addition to LR & PS.
-Julianne Kost: New masking features in the LR update

-PS will get a “prepare as an NFT” option by November Possible source of income?
-Finding the better YouTube photography channels
-The real secrets about how professional photographers create great images
-The photo book as an art form

Second try. Last week I posted an image of this gas pump taken with a wide angle. This week I tried a telephoto. Still don’t think it is exactly right– but better. It seems to be leaning, which is very possible, but the walls of the structure are straight. Tried perspective control, but that messed up other parts of the image. Which do you prefer?

Dining Room of the Dancing Bear Inn. Both images used the Vintage 01 Adobe profile.

Monday Missive — October 25, 2021


Art without content is like sex without intimacy: technically sufficient, but emotionally empty.” -– Judy Chicago

You will either step forward into growth, or you will step backward into safety.” — Abraham Maslow

I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.” -— Sylvia Plath

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
-Hannah Kozak: He threw the last punch too hard Tragic story

-Searching for the British red squirrel Good example of photo project. Also some good views of British countryside. Interesting note that if you put down whole nuts the squirrels immediately leave to cache them, but if you leave pieces, they stay and eat them and you have more time for pictures.

-The first of a multi-part article on building a photo-editing PC Eventually you will need to replace your current computer. This will help you understand what factors may be important, even if you don’t want to build your own computer, if photo-editing is something you spend time on.
-Alec Soth reviews two books in an ongoing series on “Pictures and Words” Soth does a really good job on these and shows the images very effectively; his reviews always go back to basic photographic philosophy
-Sean Tucker: Get small and tell the truth

Saw this old timey gas pump; liked the blue against the red.

Mohawk Trail in a light rain.

The Flower Bridge, Shelburne Falls, MA

Monday Missive — October 18, 2021


The herculean task of a photographer is to capture a momentary frame as beautiful in reality, as it would be in a dream.” -– Ansel Adams

A creator needs only one enthusiast to justify him.” -– Man Ray

Great art is if you can’t stop thinking about it, then it becomes a memory.” -– Damien Hirst

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Interesting photoessay on the Inuit peoples
– Sharing indigenous culture through photography
– If you go all the plants will die I included this, in part, because it is reminiscent of my current book project on “Senescence.”

– MattK: Getting the best fall colors

– Tom Heaton: How does the scene look three months later?
– Great bird shots with amusing dialog
– Simon Baxter: Photography with one man and his dog Simon has a great eye for woodland compositions and his images seem to come from a fantasy time. It is also fun to watch Meg.

– BW street photography award winners For my camera club friends who participate in competitions, I suggest you view the work of Australian Sam Ferris who took 2nd place. Camera club judges would almost certainly throw his work out as being too busy and with blocked up shadows. But it is great work if you approach it from an artistic rather than technical point of view. If a judge doesn’t like your submission, remember it is only one person’s opinion.
– Daido Moriyama on vision and motivation, context and information
– Street photography tips

Hibiscus and Coneflower from my “n progress book “Senescence.”

Monday Missive — October 11, 2021


The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.” — Neil Gaiman

I learned a long time ago that there is something worse than missing the goal, and that’s not pulling the trigger.” — Mia Hamm, American soccer player

The monographs I make give me a focus. I think too often as a younger photographer I missed telling a bigger story by focusing on single images and not bodies of work. Bodies of work and thinking in terms of a series forces us to go deeper, to mine the possibilities, to create unexpected themes or connections between images. And pragmatically, they help me sort through my edits.” — David DuChemin

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
-Photos can save the world


-Greater precision in masking using B(brightness) in the color picker rather than opacity or flow
-How to sharpen by blurring
-Simon Booth processes a forest floor shot I agree with the order and approach Simon uses for this image. My processing is similar except I use camera raw and PS. The order is critical, including lens profile correction. One difference: I nearly always add a bit of contrast with the texture, clarity and/or dehaze sliders.

-Using direct sunlight for creative results with portraits
-Sean Tucker: Setting up portrait studio lighting
-Forest macro basics
-Nigel Danson explains how he plans his photo trips to get the best images

Recently did my fall mulching and look what popped up overnight. Tentatively identified as Coprinus sylvaticus. It is apparently pretty common, but I like its delicate appearanc.e.

These guys came up the same morning. Probably also Coprinus. It is amazing how ephemeral they are — they had basically fallen apart by mid-morning. Might be worth considering a time lapse.