Monday Missive — February 22, 2021


It takes the passage of time before an image of a commonplace subject can be assessed. The great difficulty in what I attempt is seeing beyond the moment. The “every dayness” of life gets in the way of the eternal. . . . Taking a picture is indeed stopping the world.” — George Tice

Look, I’m not an intellectual – I just take pictures.” — Helmut Newton

“It is light that reveals, light that obscures, light that communicates. It is light I “listen” to. The light late in the day has a distinct quality, as it fades toward the darkness of evening. After sunset there is a gentle leaving of the light, the air begins to still, and a quiet descends. I see magic in the quiet light of dusk. I feel quiet, yet intense energy in the natural elements of our habitat. A sense of magic prevails. A sense of mystery. It is a time for contemplation, for listening—a time for making photographs. – John Sexton

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Roll and tube collective This one is definitely fun and creative.
– Covid LA in infrared

– Painting with light to improve your landscapes
– How to focus stack in Photoshop Really good, very straighforward explanation and directions for focus stacking landscapes.

– Exploring a medieval woodland
– David DuChemin: Make more interesting images Includes a link to a free monograph on Hokkaido
– How to plan when photographing a new location
– The Scottish Highlands: Expressive decisions
– How high can you raise your ISO before seeing noticable noise

– Tom Heaton: How did I end up with so many cameras?

Tide Point industrial.

Monday Missive — February 15, 2021


A work of art is not to instruct, not to edify, but to awaken an emotion.” — George Innes

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” — Scott Adams via Sean Tucker

A great photograph is a distillation, a reduction of the chaos of our wider experience to a visually satisfying essence where what is excluded is as important as what is included.” – David Ward

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Covid pictures

– Extraordinary color with the linear light blending mode I particularly liked the way he moderated the blue snow with a bit of yellow at about 3:40. Includes link to video on making brushes and for a free brush pack of “blender brushes.”
– How to add more space in PS

– Telephoto lenses for landscape photography
– Scouting ancient woodlands
– Minimalist photography

– Tonalism Although about a painting style, this should appeal to those who use textures.
– Sean Tucker: Escaping your creative rut
– Saul Leiter
– George Tice Thanks Steve O. Never really liked Tice’s work, but this greatly increased my appreciation for what he has done.

Winter Marsh, from the Black Marsh Trail at North Point State Park.
Harsh winter sunlight can be difficult to work with. So I used a crisp-warm color lookup to add bit of warmth in the sky and the reflection and a crisp winter lookup to maintain coolness in the shadows in the foreground. What do you think?

Monday Missive — February 8, 2021


“Alone time is when I distance myself from the voices of the world so I can hear my own.” — Oprah Winfrey

“At the root of creativity is an impulse to understand, to make sense of random and often unrelated details. For me, photography provides an intersection of time, space, light, and emotional stance. One needs to be still enough, observant enough, and aware enough to recognize the life of the materials, to be able to ‘hear through the eyes’.” — Paul Caponigro

“Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.” — Bob Marley

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Britland Tracy: Focus on appropriation Interesting concept and execution.
– Spaceborne: Astronaut/artist Donald Pettit

– Paint with light to transform your photo Make the light you wish you saw.

– Nigel Danson: Critiquing my own images: Why the composition didn’t work
– Fog and the Zen of Art
– Abstract winter nature on your doorstep
– Ultrawide landscapes Great Scottish landscape

– Clyde Butcher
– Japanese ghost photos

Snow patterns. This image won 2nd place in last week’s Baltimore Camera Club competition. Unfortunately I could’t stay for the Unlimited category judging. If anyone remembers the judge’s comments, please pass them on. Independent thoughts welcome as well.

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis).

Monday Missive — February 1, 2021


” . . . grizzly bears in northern British Columbia, and curious, gentle giant Pacific octopus in the emerald waters of the Salish Sea, and the Kermode (or spirit) bear in the Great Bear Rainforest—all encounters so intimate that it now shocks me to think I ever lived so disconnected from the wild, green, mossy world outside my door.” — David DuChemin

“Passion is the log that keeps the fire of purpose blazing.” — Oprah Winfrey

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

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Lindsey Ross: 24 x 36 collodion plates
– Salon studies

– Gradients
– Better Vignettes
– Simple solution to avoid corruption on export
– A better way to blur backgrounds

– National notice for the Black Marsh Trail and North Point State Park one of my favorite “go to” places for a half day trip.

– The camera as witness Narrated by Joel Myerowitz.
– Understanding how diffraction reduces resolution
– Takeaways from Alec Soth’s storytelling course For me, one of the more interesting aspects was how the project evolved. There was a clear thread, but you would never independently connect the initial idea to the final project.

A female cardinal at a backyard feeder. In surburban areas where so much land has been planted in grass and ornamentals in place of native plants that provide seeds and winter berries, providing a consistent food source can be critical for local bird populations. In winter those food sources help the birds maintain body temperature in cold weather.

White-throated sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis).

Monday Missive — January 25, 2021


When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
. . .
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace
. . .
But while democracy can be periodically delayed
it can never be permanently defeated
In this truth
in this faith we trust
For while we have our eyes on the future
history has its eyes on us
. . .
We will not march back to what was
but move to what shall be
A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation
Our blunders become their burdens
But one thing is certain:
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy
and change our children’s birthright
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with
. . .
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it
” — Amanda Gorman, 2021 inaugural poem


– Cyber punk style
– For beginners: How to remove a background
– Everything you can do in Levels you can do in Curves, and more More creative possibilities than I ever knew.

– Shoot a surreal flower scene
– Hiking for better photography
– Moody telephoto foggy landscape photography
– Expressive Photography: Scottish Rain Forests

– When the passion dies
– Meaningful photography

European starling (Sturnis vulgaris), nonbreeding adult.

Blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata)

House finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)

Monday Missive — January 18, 2021


I photograph things for people to look at 100 years from now. But we’re such a mediated society that things become historical the next day.” – Catherine Sue Opie

I try to photograph people’s spirits and thoughts. As to the soul-taking by the photographer, I don’t feel I take away, but rather that the sitter and I give to each other. It becomes an act of mutual participation.” – Yousuf Karsh

Getting photographs is not the most important thing. For me it’s the act of photographing. It’s enlightening, therapeutic and satisfying, because the very process forces me to connect with the world. When you make four-hour exposures in the middle of the night, you inevitably slow down and begin to observe and appreciate more what’s going on around you. In our fast-paced, modern world, it’s a luxury to be able to watch the stars move across the sky.” – Michael Kenna – in “Photographer’s Forum Interview”

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Misty Roads

– Tom Heaton takes a step back from epic landscape photography Includes a bit of philosophy, post-processing and printing.

– 20 landscape photographers
– Analog people in a digital world Thanks Steve D. Excellent survey of several analog techniques.
– Film manufacture
– Looking to art for inspiration Rather clever images and a lot of problem solving and thinking about colors and lighting. 1 hour video with lots of examples. Thank you George S.
– Sean Tucker: How to self-publish your work.

Tufted titmouse.

Carolina wren.

Monday Missive — January 11, 2021


Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.” — Jonathan Swift

I believe one has to escape oneself to discover oneself.” — Rabih Alameddine

I’m not a nice girl; I’m a photographer.” — Berenice Abbott – On being told by a Federal Art Project official, after she photographed the Bowery, that “a nice girl should not go into such neighborhoods”

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Art & Science: Combine insects with degraded artifacts
– Art and Science Includes several images from Norm Barker, JHU scientist.

– Duotone for “insane” color
– Get better BW images by adjusting your colors

– Learning to “see” Follow up from David’s video last week.
– Improve your seascape photography
– Winter photography in an ancient woodland

– Small claims copyright infringement now in effect

House sparrow, male.

Black-capped Chickadee.

Downy woodpecker.

Monday Missive — January 4, 2021


For more than a century, certain extraordinary men and women have worked in photography with the unmistakable authority of genius. Each of them has produced unforgettable images, and not once or twice, but again and again, and often throughout the change and evolution of a lifetime. Each is like an eye which, once opened on the universe, cannot be closed again. One after another, they tell us of the curious, intense and vital experience of working in photography, of its challenges, of the stages of growth it demands, the sudden revelations it presents. From their testimony there emerges a concept of photography as a medium that is very different from the casual and rather stereotyped impressions most of us have held till now.” — Nancy Newhall

The greatest challenge to the photographer is to express the inner significance through the outward form.” — Beaumont Newhall

I beleive in self explanatory pictures…” — Moses Oliver

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Kat Bawden: Perceptual Isolation The theme is certainly apropos, and several images perfectly reflect the title.
– The best of 2020 from the Lenscratch staff This is not all photogaphy, there is music (von Bingen with a gorgeous voice for 12th century music, Louis Armstrong with the Ballad of Davey Crockett, and Johnny Cash, Lizzo, and Laura Pausini singing a gorgeous anthem that ended a movie with Sophia Loren), music videos, an hour long movie, books (even a book on fungi), Lenscratch posts). Widen your horizons on some really good art of different types. You can easily spend a morning exploring all of this.
– Madhur Dhingra: Very distinctive street photography processing Thanks Steve O.
– The moon, creatively

– 3 ways to improve your compositions David DuChemin is always worth listening to.

– How to finish a body of work
– Two exceptional books One pairs birds eggs with their habitat and the story of reduced populations and the other on Karakoram and mountain photography. The underlying story is following your muse.
– Covid restrictions and photographic mood
– Lenscratch collection of favorite 2020 images Multiple photographers, many genres. If you scroll all the way down there are links to more chapters.
– Best photography of 2020

Curious alligator wondering if photographer tastes like chicken. Taken during my artist residency at Big Cypress Preserve in 2013.

Black and white #55: Black vultures and great egret, Big Cypress Preserve 2013.

Monday Missive — December 28, 2020


Christmas marks the time when the light starts to come back.” — Heather Cox Richardson

I believe in wonder and look for it every day.” –- Keith Carter

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” – Antoine de Saint Exupery

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Night street photography from Norway
– France’s forgotten towns A fairly complete survey of architecture throughout France. Although only a few images are shown at this link, there is a link to many more. The images are documentary rather than creative, but still worthwhile.
– Forest Finns I found the explanation of the approach more interestng than the images, but some of the images are exceptional.

– Saturation and Vibrance: Which one to use and how to use them together

– Exposure bracket vs ETTR (expose to the right)
– Long-exposure landscape photography
– A poetic approach to woodland photography This can be really complimentary to the principles of composition.
– 6 things to photograph before you die

– Japanese Photographer Nobuyoshi Araki Warning: some nudity, but also tremendous creativity and variety. Also self-exploration.
– 30 new images from Hubble on its 30th birthday With commentary by NASA scientists

Frosted leaf

Domino Sugar from Tide Point.

Monday Missive — December 21, 2020


I think that every photographer should try lots of different kinds of photography, and then listen deep down to what feels right; what’s really resonating within them.” — Alec Soth

I found I could say things with colors that I couldn’t say in any other way – things that I had no words for.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” – Edgar Degas

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Nowhere to go but everywhere Ken Kesey family style.
– Japanese Torii These are really wonderful!
– Stephen Bierkman: Predicting the past Some really good fantasy/surreal composites.

– Pre-visualization and the editing process in Capture 1
– Using the Linear Light blend mode to bring out detail in your images
– Changing specific colors in PS This is largely about masks and selections.

– Shooting and processing winter landscapes

– Japanese photographer Moriyama Daido But also a good explanation of wabi-sabi and Ukiyo-e. Thank you Steve O.
– Roger the Rat Absolutely the most bizarre and surrealistic photography I have ever seen.
– Minimalism

Susquehanna River bridges from Port Deposit.

Outdoor dining, Port Deposit.

Susquehanna River bridges from Marina Park in Port Deposit.

Monday Missive — December 14, 2020


Sometimes imperfections make something even better – which is one of the reasons why I still enjoy shooting on film.” — Alec Soth

Anyone can shoot chaos. But the most perceptive photographers can make compelling pictures out of uninteresting moments.” –- Alex Tehrani

There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment.” -— Robert Frank

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Alec Soth on learning from failure
– Landscapes on the edge
– Daido Moriyama Very distinctive noir work. Thanks Steve O.
– Portuguese photography: Catarina Osorio de Castro
– Burning Man

– Landscape photography: Success with repeat visits

– Short video on “focus breathing”
– Content Authenticity Initiative This developing technology adds information to your images’ metadata.
– Another analysis on the impact of AI in image processing software Key is really at about 13 minutes.
– Sean Tucker: Getting Good Feedback – Review, mentors and travel companions

Fuel storage at Tide Point.

Sitting on the dock of the Bay, watching the tide roll away.

Monday Missive — December 7, 2020


Pick a project. If you are feeling a little bit bereft, pick a project. Make it revolve around your own life; make it revolve around the three square blocks where you live. Pick a project. Go make 35, no let’s make it 36 photographs. See what it might do for you. After all, it’s your autobiography. It’s your work and it’s your life.” — Keith Carter, Optic 2020

Most of the old moles I know wish they had listened less to their fears and more to their dreams.” — John Mackesy, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

It is our choices that show who we truly are, far more than our abilities.” — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Collodion tintypes of front line health workers Excellent images, scary story. Thanks Steve O.
– Karen Miranda Rivadeneira
– Joel Meyerowitz waxes poetic over Melissa O’Shaughnessy

– Selective color adjustment: natural intense color boost
– 7 tips for more realistic composites

– Catadioptric?
– White background macro photography

– Jullia Fullerton-Batten: Creating a Photography Project of the River Thames

Unloading sugar at Tide Point. Notice the sugar falling from the bucket.

Large industrial building, Tide Point.


Monday Missive — November 30, 2020


Flow is a state of being that is possible when the challenge of what we do and the skill level with which we do it are high and equal to each other.” — David duChemin

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

Photography for me is an exciting and personal way of reacting to and commenting on one’s environment and I feel that it is perhaps a great pity that more people don’t consider it as a medium of self-expression instead of selling themselves to the commercial world of journalism and advertising.” — Tony Ray-Jones

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Conversations with dad

– The new color grading panel in LR and ACR David Duchemin does a real good job on the basics. This is a download link for a 10 minute video. My October 26 blog had more on this with a more detailed explanation by Blake Rudis. Color grading is common for video and this new panel provides increased flexibility.
– Using luminance in the color grading panel to increase/adjust tonal values

– Landscape photography with film
– Composition: Cartier-Bresson, Ribaud and Mad Men
– Manual focus techniques

– Video recordings of 26 B & H Optic presentation Optic is an annual seminar series. Some of the more famous names this year include Frans Lanting, Keith Carter, Sam Abell, Art Wolfe and Brooks Jensen. Something for everyone. If you have time for only one, watch Keith Carter.

Tomorrow is the last class for Maine Media’s Text & Image class taught by Sal Taylor Kydd. I took this course because I wanted to combine writing with my images more effectively. The two covers below will be for my third and fourth books. I have found that books, rather than gallery exhibits, are more consistent with the way I want to work. They provide a way to share my work at any time with friends and family, and over time they provide a diary of how my photographic inclinations have changed. Getting a small number of copies printed is probably no more expensive than preparing 10-15 images for exhibit and the product is available until you sell them or give them all away. I may end up back at Blurb to publish these books, but the class also provided other options to explore over the next weeks. Although hopefully things will improve quickly this spring with the availability of effective vaccines, currently people are more likely to stay home and read a book than risk attending a gallery opening. One can hope, that the book reading may even continue for the long term even as other things improve.

Cover of “Winter Marsh.”

Cover of “Rising Atlantic.”

Monday Missive — November 23, 2020


A world where we, as a society, reckon with our flaws and redirect our collective inertia down a different road.” — Elliot Ross, NY Times, America 2020, in Vision and Verse

Different people can photograph the same things with the same tools and create such different images.” –- John Paul Caponigro

Black and white photography erases time from the equation.” -– Jason Peterson

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Collage Mostly I don’t think of collage as either a form of photography or very artful, but these imags incorporate photography and are very well done.
– Not your typical collages

– Five useless tools in Photoshop
– Using linear light layer for dodging and burning
– New color grading panel in LR/ACR

– Mastering forest photography
– Joys and hazards of photography

– Back to basics and inspiration
– The two halves of your creative journey
– Mary Ellen Mark Great link from Suku.

Rocks in a river.

Alone on the beach.

Monday Missive — November 16, 2020


There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.” — Brene Brown

No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.” — Helen Keller

I believe the world is incomprehensively beautiful–an endless prospect of magic and wonder.Ansel Adams

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Harvey Stein: Mardi Gras
– Hi-res snowflake images
– Idaho: Interesting series of portraits
– Over coming female illiteracy in Arab countries
– Iran: After the revolution and war
– Lockdown through the window Very interesting approach to the lockdown with consistently excellent images.
– Rustic Cabins

– Thomas Heaton: How I edit my images

– Snowy woods and dramatic seascapes

– Landscape photographer of the year