Monday Missive — January 20, 2020

Quotes

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

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

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

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

Post-processing
– Creating composites and collages

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

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

Sunset at Chinde Point in Petrified Forest National Park.

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

Monday Missive — January 13, 2020

Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stream at Ferncliff Nature Preserve, PA

Ferncliff Nature Preserve, PA

Monday Missive — January 6, 2020

Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

Field/Studio
– Cole Thompson: 5 steps

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

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

Continuing my experiments with adding color.

More foggy mornings.

This one used antique sepia.

Monday Missive — December 30, 2019

Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

Field/Studio
– Fun winter projects

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

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

Monday Missive — December 23, 2019

Quotes

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

Only photograph what you love.” — Tim Walker

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday Missive — December 16, 2019

Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

Miscellany
– Finding a direction for your photography

Foggy Morning in the Marsh

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

Monday Missive — December 9, 2019

Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

Miscellany
– Wildlife images

US Steel facade, Pittsburgh, PA

Monday Missive — December 2, 2019

Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

East River Skyline, NY, Thanksgiving 2019

Monday Missive — November 25, 2019

Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday Missive — November 18, 2019

Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

Field/Studio
– Shooting motocross

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

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

Monday Missive — November 11, 2019

Quotes

Ideas, bread and books are all the same–they’re better when they’re shared.” — Seth Godin

Staring out the window to me is very constructive time. I bounce off the walls of my imagination and, every once in while an idea gets dreamed up that actually becomes a picture.” — Joe McNally

. . . photography is a craft that requires experimentation, risk and growth, and that getting better at photography is a journey that never ends.” – Chris Orwig

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Single tree photos Courtesy Steve O.
– 15 photographers reveal what is hidden in their work
– Interesting color street photography from India

Post-processing
– New selection and gradient tools in PS
– Six new features in Photoshop 2020
– 20 New features in Photoshop 2020

Field/Studio
– Amy Touchette: Developing a career and approach to street photography
– All of the basics for street photography

Miscellany
– How to write your artist’s statment
– How to fine-tune your artist statement

Adirondack Lake in the early morning fog. Oct. 9.

Two boats, early Adirondack morning.

Monday Missive — November 4, 2019

Quotes

I work in color sometimes, but I guess the images I most connect to, historically speaking, are in black and white. I see more in black and white – I like the abstraction of it.
–- Mary Ellen Mark

Basically there are informational photographs and emotional photographs. I don’t take informational photographs. I am not a journalist. I am an author. I am not interested in facts. I want a photograph you can take out of context and put on your wall to read like a poem.” —- Leonard Freed (Worldview, Steidl 2007)

When I was a boy, I used to pretend my little bed was a one-man spaceship. It was a place to simultaneously explore my dreams and hide from the world. In some ways that’s how I now think of my camera.” —- Alec Soth

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– 2019 Wildlife competition winners
– Dogs
– Interesting story and photoessay on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
– Nikon 2019 Small World competition winners

Post-processing
– How to cast a shadow in PS Creating believable shadows is important in composites, but also shows how to use gradients and other effects.
– How to remove a color cast from your images
– Change a daylight image to night
– Adding a pattern or logo Neat technique that may be good for street as well as commercial work.
– Transform panel in LR: Correcting perspective of your images

Miscellany
– Model and property releases
– Heads up: Adobe data breech

Juvenile little blue heron eating a frog. Black Marsh Trail, North Point State Park.

Splash landing in the sand. Cape May, NJ

The pier at Avalon, NJ at sunrise.

Monday Missive — October 28, 2019

Quotes

Inquiry is more important than answers, for it is the questions we ask and the way in which we ask them that defines us.” – John Paul Caponigro

Arriving at a plateau in any art form, and staying there forever, eventually stagnates both the artist and the art.” — Al Weber

Rules are foolish, arbitrary, mindless things that raise you quickly to a level of acceptable mediocrity, then prevent you from progressing further.” — Bruce Barnbaum, from the book, The Art of Photography

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– What it means to be a National Geographic photographer
– Portraits from Papua New Guinea
– NY architecture
– Rosemarie Yang: Whimsical images

Post-processing
– Advantages of a tablet and a great tablet for $30

Field/Studio
– The Benefits of Woodland Photography
– Sports and action photography Thanks to Steve O.
– Juxtaposition in street photography

Miscellany
– 8 Questions to ask a prospective art dealer
– Six tips for artist residencies I did several residencies at the National Parks and found it to be a wonderful experience.

Dragonfly (tentatively identified as Ruby Meadowhawk). Black Marsh Trail, North Point State Park.; Oct. 2019.

Great blue heron with fish. Black marsh trail.

Gray catbird. Black Marsh Trail.

Monday Missive — October 21, 2019

Quotes

I do not understand how anyone can live without some small place of enchantment to turn to.” — Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Pilgrim leaves crowd the air with their falling every October. The journey is always the same.” — Linda Pastan

The tree has been green all summer, but now it tries red…copper… even gold. Soon leaf after leaf will be discarded, there will be nothing but bare tree, soon it will be almost time to start over again.” — Linda Pastan

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Alabama Hills
– 15 all time iconic images
– Super cool food composites

Post-processing
– The mixer brush and puppet warp
– Four steps to editing your images in PS These steps are all applicable to LR
– Telling a visual story through light and shadow Really good architectural photography
– Great tips on masking and selections
– 2nd part on masking and selections

Field/Studio
– Photographing in the rain
– Law and Ethics in Street Photography

Making a glass pumpkin.


Fall color in Montour Falls, NY.

Long Lake, Adirondack Mtns., NY.

Monday Missive — October 14, 2019

Quotes

Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how’, while others of a more curious nature will ask ‘why’. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information.” – Man Ray

Well you can’t teach the poetry, but you can teach the craft.” – David Hockney

All the technique in the world doesn’t compensate for the inability to notice.” – Elliott Erwitt

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Cig Harvey’s current exhibition
– Katerina Christina: Quiet moments in chaos
– For the dog-lovers: Dogs in mid-air Thanks to Steve O.
– Wendi Schneider: Evenings with the moon Really interesting images and effects.

Post-processing
– Reality, Believability and creative satisfaction
– Add a rim light in PS
– Hidden, but simple control of highlights and shadows
– How to understand and use brushes in LR and ACR

Field/Studio
– Street photography process: lots of shots, lots of losers to get a few keepers
– A more sophisticated look at composition

Heavy morning fog on Long Lake, NY in the Adirondack Mtns.

Making a glass swan at the Corning Museum of glass.