Monday Missive — July 6, 2020

Quotes

Photography is a window to place, time and memory.” — Soomin Ham

If you want more creative photographs, you need to learn to think more creatively: not different gear, but different thoughts.” — David duChemin

The decisive moment is a great concept, but we don’t experience the world that way. Life is a montage of occurrences that comes together over time. By spending several hours shooting a scene and merging elements from each into a single frame, I create, in some way, a truer depiction of that space because I’m not capturing an outlier moment.” — Sean J. Sprague

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Seeing double
– Very well done ongoing photoessay of a young woman with Down’s

Post-processing
– Editing a composite
– Select and mask crash course
– A quick way to remove numerous dust spots
– 10 hidden tools in the new Camera Raw

Field/Studio
– Making more meaningful portraits by connecting with your subject
– How to safely update PS and correct things that seem to be missing

Miscellany
– Henri Cartier-Bresson

Day lily in morning light. It was the light at the base of the blossom that captured my eye.
f/45 with 105 macro lens.

Winter Marsh. From a new body of work that I am working into a book.

Monday Missive — March 16, 2020

Quotes

I don’t like to be called a “female photographer”. We don’t refer to Salgado or Cartier-Bresson as “male photographers”. I feel that calling us “female photographers” perpetuates the idea that we are “lesser than”, in some way. It defines us by gender rather than by the quality of our pictures.” — Jane Evelyn Atwood

From a phenomenological viewpoint, in the Photograph, the power of authentication exceeds the power of representation.” — Roland Barthes

I communicate with the world by creating visual narratives of composited photographs, often illuminating that in-between moment in time. It is how I explore dreams deferred, connections to prior generations, the natural world and our place within it. Making art is my psychological release, my obsession and my salvation.” –- Fran Forman

Links
Photo essays/Bodies of Work
– Roxanne Darling: Nature and Nurture
– Pioneering women photographers Thanks to Steve O. This is fantastic assemblage of photographs taken by women. This really sheds light on an aspect of the history of photography that is often ignored. Make the time to scroll through this link and follow some of the included links.
– The collector’s eye A collection of some really interesting and creative approaches by multiple photographers
– Waving Farewell
– Trees Really well-composed BW
– Fran Forman: the rest between two notes Very creative and great use of color.

Post-processing
– The Slinky Rule
– Creating mood in your images
– An assortment of tips

Field/Studio
– Recognizing good light in street photography

An older image (2005) from my files. May even have been a scanned slide.

Monday Missive — February 10, 2020

Quotes

What I respect, and at times envy, about painting is that it never claims to be anything other than a purely subjective vision. And we place no false expections on it in terms of its truth value. Photographs, on the other hand, are never entirely fiction or nonfiction.” — Gregory Halpern

Photography is serial in nature, and oftentimes a group of pictures becomes a much deeper thing than a gathering of single images.” — Todd Hido

. . the photographs gain much of their power and meaning from being seen together, in groups that don’t so much suggest a narrative as they do the rhythms of a family life in rural Maine and a continuing search for beauty in small things that might otherwise go unnoticed.” — Russell Hart on Cig Harvey’s work

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Thomas Alleman: Social Studies
– Hokkaido winter landscapes
– David Freese: Mississippi River
– Cig Harvey: State of Being

Post-processing
– Compositing tips and tricks This is a really good session, with great details on persepctive, color and luminosity matching, levels, curves, smart objects and more.
– Fixing distortions from wide angle lenses
– Using the difference blend mode to color grade and tone A very interesting approach

Field/Studio
– Mindfulness to succeed at street photography
– Creating mood in street photography

Miscellany
– Creating a Portfolio From Steve O.

I was at Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida (just northwest of the Everglades), photographing in a swamp and concentrating on the trees and moss across an open stretch of water when I looked up to see this guy just a few feet away. I backed up pretty quick. It was amazing how quietly an animal that size can move. After my heart slowed down, I shot this at 300 mm with an 80-400 lens.

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 — 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 — 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 — August 19, 2019

Quotes

Your first task is not to figure out what “art” means, or to have an exhibit, write a book, or get business cards that say “artist” on them. It’s to be (and to become) you. . . . “You” is not something you look for, or find, but something you own. I don’t mean you possess it, but that you accept it, without apology for the rough edges and the ways in which you don’t match the template, or how the squishy bits overflow the mold into which you feel we should all fit. The best artists in history, and by this I mean those who made art with their lives, on canvases of many different kinds, share only one thing: they were boldly themselves and no one else. Monet, Picasso, and Warhol asked no one for permission to follow their whim, their muse, their own voice.” — David DuChemin

You have to do stuff that average people don’t understand because those are the only good things.” — Andy Warhol

It’s essential that we make new mistakes. We don’t make nearly enough of them. Not enough original effort, not enough generous intent, not enough daring in search of something better.
But at the same time, we need to stop making the old mistakes again and again. What did you expect to happen when you did the very same thing that didn’t work last time?
For some of us, it’s more frightening to do something new than it is to retry something that failed.
” — Seth Godin

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Hasselblad heroines Celebrating female photographers
– Art School Confidential Portraits of students at an art school in London.
– Documenting the vanishing history of Appalachia

Post-processing
– Art of composite photgraphy Part1
– Art of composite photography Part 2
– Create magic with solid colors 1 minute video
– Removing glare from glasses
– What’s new in Lightroom

Field/Studio
– Shooting (and driving) steam engines in winter Lot’s of images.
– Cold, windswept and dramatic

Images this week were taken from the Black Marsh Trail at North Point State Park. Chow down time: a Little blue heron eating an immature bullfrog. Note the remaining tadpole tail. Also a eastern forktail damselfly eating another damselfly.

Little blue heron eating a bullfrog.

Eastern forktail damselfly eating another damselfly

Little blue heron eating a bullfrog.

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 — 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 — 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 4, 2019

Quotes

Fear of failure is the saddest reason on earth not to do what you were meant to do” — J.K. Rowling

I focus on the photographic object, the print, or the artist book, as a keepsake of my experience in the world. It provides me in a very tangible and tactile way of recording the discoveries and holding on to the memories that I am trying to preserve. Photographing gives me a way to capture my impressions and writing and making books lets me distill and reexamine that experience.” — Sal Taylor Kydd

What matters is that you make your art, in whatever way your muse beckons you to make it.” — David DuChemin

Links

– Frequency separation Frequency separation is often used in portrait retouching to smooth out skin without losing detail or changing color.
– Page curl composite
– Retouching lips for better portraits 25 minute video
– Adding Bokeh To add bokeh or soften the background to bring out the subject I usually just use Gaussian blur – this gets much better results.
– Comic book effect
– Story and photo essay about how the Danish people saved Jews from a Nazi round-up Unfortunately this seems to me to be particularly relevant at this time.
– 10 images that changed history Every serious photographer should know something about these images
– Recovering gigabytes of hard drive space in LR
– 12 confessions of an amateur photographer Brief, amusing list of issues to get you on the right track
– A sermon for the amateur

After the snow.
Liked the light.

Monday Missive — December 24, 2018

Quotes

Why don’t you put that old print on the floor and I’ll step on it for you and make it even more vintage.” — Brett Weston to Scott Nichols

A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.” — Eudora Welty

I just love to work on something until I get it right. To me, what’s important and what I enjoy is not the finished photograph but the process. The photograph is a record of that process.” — Kim Weston

Links

– Cut out shadows easily for new backgrounds or compositing Also includes matching depth of field blur, color matching and more.
– Realistically colorize BW with gradient maps
– Photographing presidents
– How the stock photography market has changed
– Why you shouldn’t do street photography Very interesting take in a 9 minute video
– Shooting for black and white
– Interesting way to split tone to add color and drama to your images 6 minute video
– A simple guide for working with models
– Better beach pictures

From Steve Oney:
– Master selections and masks using channels Hour and 20 minute video that is fairly complete from basics to advanced. Selections and masks are one of the key advantages of Photoshop over Lightroom.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron taken on Dewees Island , SC.

Monday Missive — November 5, 2018

Quotes

“If you are bored and disgusted by politics and don’t bother to vote, you are in effect voting for the entrenched Establishments of the two major parties, who please rest assured are not dumb, and who are keenly aware that it is in their interests to keep you disgusted and bored and cynical and to give you every possible reason to stay at home … . By all means stay home if you want, but don’t bullshit yourself that you’re not voting. In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote.” — David Foster Wallace, Up, Simba!

“Every election is determined by the people who show up.” — Larry J. Sabato, Pendulum Swing

“A man without a vote is a man without protection.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

Links

– Michael Avedon’s photo essay on School Shooting survivors These are powerful and emotional stories. Don’t forget to vote.

– Easy export from Photoshop
– The believable surreal work of Robert Jahns
– Kyrgyzstan
– 25 great tips for street photography
– Black and white and color images don’t mix in the same project
– Conservation photography in Africa can be a dangerous life. A husband and wife team were badly injured by a buffalo, but continue their work after recovery.
– Processing fall colors in LR More helpfully, this article also gives a very good explanation of the difference between vibrance and saturation.
– Macro photography All of the set-ups shown can be done in winter and indoors.
– Using textures in Photoshop Includes some modifications and ways to make your own textures I never thought of.

The Rhonda Robinson Trio played some really nice jazz at the Erdman Branch of the Enoch Pratt Library on Saturday. The device she is holding is a “rain-maker” that makes a sound like gentle rain.

The Trio included Rhonda on flute and vocals, Rodney Kelley on keyboards and ….

Shawn Simon on stand-up bass.

Monday Missive — October 29, 2018

Quotes

The mystery isn’t in the technique, it’s in each of us.” — Harry Callahan, More Joy of Photography by Eastman Kodak (Editor)

Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.” — Salvador Dali

In a photograph a person’s eyes tell much, sometimes they tell all.” — Alfred Eisenstaedt, Eisenstaedt: Remembrances by Bryan Holme, Doris C. O’Neil, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Barbara Baker Burrows

Links

– Working with available light
– Flash
– The Art of Movement
– Frames – new in PS 2019
– Compositing transparent objects This video is noteworthy because of all of the details he addresses for the most realistic image.
– Google Images now displays copyright information
– 5 great nature photographers who love what they do
– Mission Monochrome

From Steve Oney:
– Poverty and mythology in America A very insightful and well-done Magnum photoessay.
-Surrealist Hussam Eissa

Farm in Pennsylvania.

A farm in Pennsylvania.

Staring into space at the 9/11 Memorial. I liked the raised foot and unfocused stare.