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 — 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 — September 23, 2019

Quotes

Like a boxer trains for a fight, a photographer, by walking the streets, and watching, and taking pictures, and coming home, and going out the next day — same thing again, taking pictures,” Frank said in 2009. “It doesn’t matter how many he takes, or if he takes any at all. It gets you prepared to know what you should take pictures of.” — Robert Frank, who died on Monday 9/9/19 at age 94

Exposing your film or sensor is not the same as exposing your soul.” — David DuChemin

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

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Antarctica
– Community journalism and defining democracy
– Cowboy pix

Post-processing
– Easy way to add GPS data to your images in LR
– Using Blend-If like a luminosity mask
– Saturation
– 90 second video on using the Mixer Brush to create painings from your images.

Field/Studio
– Simon Baxter: Compose, capture, edit and print Simon is a British woodland photographer. This is a very thoughtful 30 minute video, with most editing in LR. Some really helpful approaches.
– 3 ways to improve your composition
– Learning to see photographically

Miscellany
– Image Inventory Management

Playing around with color and graphics.

Monday Missive — September 16b, 2019

Ooops. I published September 16 on September 9, but won’t change the dates because the URL uses the title and I am not sure what will happen to the posting. That’s why this is labeled “16b.” Sorry for the confusion.

Quotes

[There is] “a fundamental dichotomy in contemporary photography between those who think of photography as a means of self-expression and those who think of it as a method of exploration.” — John Szarkowski

“It would not be wrong to speak of people having a compulsion to photograph: to turn experience itself into a way of seeing. Ultimately, having an experience becomes identical with taking a photograph of it, and participating in a public event comes more and more to be equivalent to looking at it in photographed form.” — Susan Sontag

“In front of the lens, I am at the same time: the one I think I am, the one I want others to think I am, the one the photographer thinks I am, and the one he makes use of to exhibit his art.” — Roland Barthes

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– The ULTIMATE photo destination
– The photography of Margaret Bourke-White (Thank you Steve O.)

Post-processing
– How to create a long-exposure effect without a neutral density filter
– How to speed up LR
– Using Vanishing Point to add graphics to complex perspectives

Field/Studio
– Photographing when it is forbidden
– Stroboscopic portraits (Thank you Steve O.) Something to try when you are stuck indoors during winter.
– How to succeed at a photographic portfolio review

Miscellany
– Description of Leiter’s work– Biography of Saul Leiter, a seminal color photographer 1 hour 15 minute video
– How to get gallery representation

Renaissance wizard

Renaissance drummer

Renaissance archer

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 — July 22, 2019

Quote

Quotes

Success to me is being a good person, treating people well.” – David LaChapelle

Mysteries lie all around us, even in the most familiar things, waiting only to be perceived.” – Wynn Bullock

You are responsible for every part of your image, even the parts you’re not interested in.” – Jay Maisel

Links

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– This body of work is titled “Wild Spirits,” but I don’t really see that in the work. It is a somewhat dream-like portrayal of the less developed areas of the south; Ossabaw Island in SC being specifically mentioned.
– How six women photojournalists shaped photography

Post-processing
– Quick and easy way to copy dimensions and resolution from one image to another 90 second video
– Filling in hair gaps using the Lighten blend mode Blend modes are one of the advantages off Photoshop over Lightroom
– Sharpening with the High Pass Filter in PS 4.5 minute video. One of the easiest to follow explanations of this I have seen. Only issue for me is that she said the image was a bit noisy, and I would have reduced luminance noise before sharpening so you don’t sharpen the noise as well.
– How to add a texture to an image, apply it to only part of the image, but keep the color background on the whole image
– Understanding how Lightroom synchs to the cloud
– Simplified color correction

Field/Studio
– Landscape photography tips Some thoughtful general advice on landscape photography.
– Photographing Mountains

In the heat of the last week and a half, I have been thinking back to a trip to the Canadian Maritimes and remembering that it was a lot cooler up there.

Beaulach Ban Falls, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada

Kejimkujik Seaside Adjunct, panorama.

Kejimkujik National Park, Seaside.

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 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 — 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 — 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 17, 2018

Quotes

Art Is Not About Understanding. Or Mastery. It is about doing and experience.” — Jerry Saltz

Hide secrets in your work.” — Jerry Saltz

Never just say, “You tell me what it is.” That’s pompous bullshit. When it comes to your work, you’re the best authority there is.” — Jerry Saltz

Links

– How to be an artist Article by Jerry Saltz. Anyone who feels reluctant to go their own way or share what they have done should read this article. Anyone who is in a rut should also read this.
– Fix skin tones in one minute
– Lightroom brush tip
– Panoramas
– A project on ancestry that also reveals a simple way of life Photo essay about a Russian woman’s roots in a small hunting village in the Russian taiga.
– Svetlana: A very special place where people with disabilities are just part of the community.
– Photographing birds in flight
– Putting texture in text
– Portrait lighting with LEDs
– How photography helps an autistic 5 year old understand the world

Still feeling a bit nostaligic about my time out west during and between artist residencies. Pueblo ruins from the Antelope Canyon overlook.

This is the Long House Pueblo at Mesa Verde.

Monday Missive — November 12, 2018

Quotes

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

The ritual sadness of the season is more voluptuous than joy.” — Linda Pastan

Art is, or ought to be, a reliable refuge for idiosyncrasy in a society that increasingly views the idiosyncratic with suspicion.” — Colin Dabkowski

Links

– Auto functions in PS that quickly and easily get your post processing started
– Select subject With the use of AI, this has become a really helpful tool.
– Wildfife photographer of the year winners
– Update on copyright issues
– Improving fall color
– Should landscape photographers explore?
– Blend long and short exposures to make the best long exposure images
– Examples of Noir photography
– Removing fringes from a tree after a sky swap
– 50 images of gritty NY in the 1970s

Stigma and anthers of Asian Lily.

From an exercise with friends.

Monday Missive — October 22, 2018

Quotes

Art is not about consensus. We need not agree over our reactions or our interpretations. Art that forces itself upon us and has as its chief goal our submission to it is not art, it’s propaganda. … Popular photography culture is wildly culpable of encouraging or desiring our consensus and the only thing that’s going to lead to is homogeny, mediocrity, and a narrowing of thought and experience. We must be challenged and art can do that, but only if we let it. To be challenged we must first listen to it.” — David duChemin

Our job is to record, each in his own way, this world of light and shadow and time that will never come again exactly as it is today.” — Edward Abbey

For me the creation of a photograph is experienced as a heightened emotional response, most akin to poetry and music, each image the culmination of a compelling impulse I cannot deny.” — Ruth Bernhard

Links

– 3 ways to export from Photoshop
– What’s new in PS 2019?
– What’s new in LR?
– More instruction on the content aware fill
– The most complete review of new features in PS 2019
– Fall locations
– How to write about your images
– Sharpen your image by removing motion blur

From Cheryl Atkins:
– Interview with Sally Davies
From Carl Lancaster:
– Nikon Small World competition Even if you aren’t a scientist, some of these images are stunning and all are fascinating.

A bit of street walking:
Lombard St./Bromo Seltzer Tower. I like the dark shaded foreground against the light background and the spots of color from the tail lights and traffic lights in the shade.

These look like fun.

An incongruous juxtaposition.

Monday Missive — September 24, 2018

Quotes

What ultimately made The Americans a document with real staying power? ‘Frank revealed a people who were plagued by racism, ill-served by their politicians, and also rendered increasingly numb by the rising culture of consumerism,’ Greenough noted. ‘But it’s also important to point out that he found new areas of beauty in those simple, overlooked corners of American life—in diners, or on the street. He pioneered a whole new subject matter that we [now] define as icons: cars, jukeboxes, even the road itself. All of these things, coupled with his style—which is seemingly intuitive, immediate, and off-kilter—were radically new at the time.‘” — From the article on “The Americans” by Scott Indrisek noted below.

I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. … If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.” — Goethe

I don’t figure out my vision and my direction so I can make photographs, I make photographs so I can figure out my vision and direction.” — David DuChemin, Vision is Better, Episode 61

Links

– Why Robert Frank’s “The Americans” Matters Today
– Shadowy street photography
– Lighting tips from 5 top photographers
– Making the most of LR presets
– Removing tan lines in Photoshop
– Crafting high energy portraits in the studio
– Some of the rarest pictures ever taken

From Steve Oney:
– New content aware fill capabilities coming later this year
– Gordon Parks and the affliction of poverty
– Michael Kenna Article and podcast interview with several images and an interesting anecdote.

A view of God’s earth from the Baltimore Basilica. Ocean from the Ovens in Nova Scotia, path from Cabot Beach Provincial Park in Prince Edward Island, Boardwalk from Green Swamp Preserve in NC and night sky from Wisconsin.