Monday Missive — March 25, 2019

Quotes

Art isn’t about what others say about our art, but what we say through that art.” — David DuChemin

The first time, I usually skim off the outer layer and end up with photographs that are fairly obvious. The second time, I have to look a little deeper. The images get more interesting. The third time it is even more challenging and on each subsequent occasion, the images should get stronger, but it takes more effort to get them.” – Michael Kenna

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

Links

– August Sander: What this photo doesn’t show
– Omens and Predictions Some of these images were really creepy.
– Portraits of counter-culture NY youth The writer makes an interesting comparison of this work to that of Diane Arbus
– The establishing shot This applies better to a body of work than a single image, but potentially very helpful. Also references to W. Eugene Smith.
– Edge Dwellers: large format portraits and connection to individuals in marginalized communities in California
– Manhattan wilderness at twilight
– Simulating shallow depth of field with Blur Gallery in PS
– Australian street photographer
From Steve Oney:
– Irving Penn
– Paul Strand

“Slow surf” won second place in the Baltimore Camera Club long-exposure themed competition in March 2019. Taken at Assateague State Park on Feb. 5, 2019. 30 second exposure at f/22, 70-200@125, f/22, 10 stop ND filter.

Monday Missive — March 18, 2019

Quotes

We tried to present the ordinary in an extraordinary manner. But that’s the paradox because the only thing extraordinary about it was that it was so ordinary. Nobody had ever done it before, deliberately. Now it’s called documentary, which I suppose is all right … We just took pictures that cried out to be taken.” – Ben Shahn

I didn’t have any interest in traditional art. – Cindy Sherman

Weston’s life and his work are… simple, effective, and without ceremony… He was one of those who taught photography to be itself.– Robinson Jeffers

Links

– Photo essay/self-portraits on gender identity Award winner
– Removing fringes and halos
– Sometimes its about more than the images
– Using multiple exposures to simulate a long exposure without a ND filter
– Great study on the “Streets of Havana”
– Disturbing landscapes
– Adjusting per channel contrast This can make a HUGE difference to your images
– Madeline Cass I have uneven interest in her images, but really like what she has to say and wish that I had the courage to do what she is doing when I was younger.
– Set up your PS preferences
From Steve Oney:
– Good article on advantages and disadvantages of mild telephotos for street photography


Galanthus nivalis, the snowdrop or common snowdrop are among the first bulbs to bloom in spring and can form impressive carpets of white in areas where they are native or have been naturalised. Roland Run flood plain, Baltimore County.

Monday Missive — March 11, 2019

Quotes

“. . . Look how beautiful are all the things that He does. His signature
Is the beauty of things.” — Robinson Jeffers

And the photographs have a reality for me that the people don’t. It’s through the photographs that I know them. Maybe it’s in the nature of being a photographer.Richard Avedon

Pictures you have taken have an influence on those that you are going to make. That’s life!John Sexton

Links

– Interesting story and images about post-industrial America Strong art supporting social commentary
– Pro vs kit lenses This may be helpful to anyone still building their system
– About brushes with the intent of creating a digital signature or logo
– Southbound: Photographs of the new south Photo essay and analysis. Explores both truth in photography and southern culture and mores.
– Kirsty Mitchell’s Wonderland: A journey through fantasy and grief Amazing 7 minute video
– Story telling — Imagined Homeland: Documenting the magic of the Lisu culture of Asia
– Turn off PS snapping temporarily 1 minute video tip
– Create light rays Not something to use often, but pretty neat for the right image.
From Steve Oney:
– How to use windows for portraits That’s windows not Windows
From Carl Lancaster:
– International photo awards It is definitely worth taking a few minutes to scroll through these images.

Carl Grubbs band played jazz at the Govans Branch of the Enoch Pratt library on Saturday. Great crowd, great music. Ian played the bass fiddle.

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 11, 2019

Quotes

“… how did we come so quickly and so far from the time when a guy like Ansel Adams was happy with 12 good photographs a year? Where has the slower, more considered, less frantic approach to craft gone? Want to be happier as a photographer, more content? Slow your roll.” — David DuChemin

Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter. — Ansel Adams

Photography’s potential as a great image-maker and communicator is really no different from the same potential in the best poetry where familiar, everyday words, placed within a special context, can soar above the intellect and touch subtle reality in a unique way. — Paul Caponigro

Links

– This free ebook from Muench Workshops is very good for landscape composition and worth downloading
– How to shoot a product shot Both studio and post processing; 30 minute video.
– Quick way to remove blemishes, but you need a pen tablet
– A photo meditation on grief and healing Both real and surreal images from the north of Japan.
– 40 minimalist images Sometimes simplicity = elegance.
– Perspective Crop Tool This can help if you want to scan something, but don’t have a scanner.
– Dodging and burning to add depth This is how I lighten and darken areas non-destructively. I use it on nearly every image.
– Use Multiply blend mode to remove white background 2 minute video
– The Editorial Portrait
– Romanian witchcraft in the digital age  Photo essay.

Winter surfing at Assateague.

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 — January 28, 2019

Quotes

The more personal you make your work, the more universal it becomes.” — Katrin Eismann

The enemy of art is the total lack of limitations.” — Orson Wells

I chose nature photography as a way of capturing and sharing the beauty, power, and fragility of wild places and the life that inhabits them, so that those who have become mired in the man-made chaos may open their eyes to the real world.” – Guy Tal

Links
– Two special blend modes to control color and saturation Neat trick to subtly increase saturation and pop.
– Adjusting levels output (rather than input) to get more subtle BW images
– This Aftermath grant winner provides a much better understanding of a part of American subculture that I haven’t seen in Baltimore
– 13 creative exercises Surprisingly, constraints actually increase creativity. This a helpful selection of projects that will illustrate that point. Give it a try.
– The haunting beauty of ghost towns
– Easy way to cut out a subject to replace background
– Copyright fair use court case The “Lessons Learned” was helpful
– Dehaze: when not to use it and how to use it most effectively Matt K does a good job on this.
– Wildlife photographer of the year Some great images.
From George Spicer:
– 9 Portrait tips These were better than I expected.

Pet Expo at the Fairgrounds ran agility trials this weekend. Lots of fun for everyone. This German Shepherd made it look easy.
The weave poles generally seemed to be the most difficult, but the smaller herding dogs like border collies and Australian shepherds were incredible at weaving through the poles.
Superdog!
… And a composite just for fun.

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 — December 10, 2018

Quotes

You push the button, we do the rest.” – George Eastman

The key to artistic photography is to work out your own thoughts, by yourselves. Imitation leads to certain disaster.” – Gertrude Käsebier

More and more are turning to photography as a medium of expression as well as communication. The leavening of aesthetic approaches continues. While it is too soon to define the characteristic of the photographic style today. One common denominator, rooted in tradition, seems in the ascendancy: the direct use of the camera for what it can do best, and that is the revelation interpretation and discovery of the world of man and of nature. The greatest challenge to the photographer is to express the inner significance through the outward form.” – Beaumont Newhall

Links

– Great photo essay on youth in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland
– Japanese rope art in isolated areas of Finland Another interesting, but very different photo essay.
– Stretching an image to adjust the aspect ratio
– HDR toning in 1 minute 1 minute video. I didn’t know that these options were available.
– A River Journey
– Interesting photo essay on people in their bedrooms
– Everybody Street This is a full-length (1.5 hours) video shot in 2013 on NY street photographers by Cheryl Dunn
– Using 3D bump map to control contrast This is new and amazing. 11 minute video
– Colorized photographs from Auschwitz
– 7 photo stories capture adolescence

I had a recent conversation about National Park Artist Residencies, so I thought it might be nice to go back and look at some of my work during the several residencies I was privileged to participate in, to see if my photography has improved or changed. This image was from Acadia, at the Schoodic Peninsula in 2007. I don’t know that I would take different scenes today, or taken them differently, but I am pretty sure the processing would be different from the original. This was edited last night from an unedited image; I would not have edited it like this in 2007.

A year later, in 2008, I took this in the north Cascades, but reprocessed it last night to add signficiant contrast in the details and darken the sky. It can be hard to be creative and depart from the obvious the first time you see mountains like this.

This was taken in Jan. 2013. With only 3 images it is hard to determine if I have made progress, but I do believe the processing is better. Big Cypress in Florida.

Monday Missive — November 19, 2018

Quotes

Even if you’re not sure of where it will lead, today’s the day to begin.” — Seth Godin, November 3, 2018

Look at the acknowledged masters of this craft and you will see large bodies of work that focus on specific places, subjects, themes. Do masters only focus on a few things? No. Focusing on a few things is what gives us a chance at becoming masters.” — David duChemin

Do not adjust your mind, the fault is in reality.” — R. D. Laing

Links

– Developing personal projects A fairly long article but very consistent with David duChemin’s advice above.
– Interesting approach to street photography
– How to prepare your images for Instagram to get the best results Includes a tip on how to upload directly from your computer
– New content aware tool in detail
– One minute tutorial on removing dark areas under eyes
– Photo essay on mourning and friendship
– The problem with calling them black and white photographs
– Kost on exporting files or layers Less than 2 minutes
– One minute video on enhancing freckles
– Simple way to whiten teeth 4 minutes

I was taken by this still life, mostly by the warm late afternoon light on my wife’s potting table. Just after the first snow, spring seems so very far away.

A building along Pratt St., near the convention center. I was attracted by the extreme repetition and geometric shape. For some reason two panes stood out and I enhanced the blue with a BW/luminosity layer and a saturation adjustment layer. Left in the top of the tree for scale and to add a bit of “imperfection” to the image.

Monday Missive — March 26, 2018

Quotes

We make our own taste, and call it reality
Most of us say, “this is better, therefore I like it.”
In fact, the converse is what actually happens.
“I like it, therefore I’m assuring you (and me) that this is better.”
— Posted by Seth Godin on March 15, 2018

Research concluded, though, that a great deal of emphasis should be placed on the generous, social safety net that Icelanders enjoy. They summed this up with a quote from an Icelandic immigrant who collaborated on the study: “Never underestimate what knowing you will always have food, shelter, childcare, and education will do for your creativity.” –From an article by Casey Lesser, “Iceland’s Population Is Staggeringly Creative. Why?” at Artsy

“What does this remind you of?
That’s a much more useful way to get feedback than asking if we like it.
And while the emotions that are created by your work aren’t exactly like something else, they rhyme.
“What does this remind you of” opens the door for useful conversations that you can actually do something about.
— Posted by Seth Godin on March 17, 2018

Links

– Capturing the teenage experience
– Convert to .DNG?
– Shooting in snow
– Matting and Framing
– Photo essay: Women of Rural India
– 32 examples of long-exposure photography
– National Geographic explores its own racist past
– Amusing Alliterative Photo Tips
– Phony contest
– Links to the new Magnum site Links to 8 articles by Magnum photographers on different aspects of photojournalism, e.g., establishing a portfolio, long-term projects and telling stories.

View from the Blue Mesa Overlook just after sunrise at Petrified Forest National Park. Blue Mesa was my favorite place to photograph in the park during an artist residency in 2012. The landscape looks like another planet in a science fiction movie. The Artist in Residence Program in the National Parks is a great program.

Monday Missive — August 14, 2017

Quotes

Making stuff is great.
Making connections is even better.
” — Posted by Seth Godin on August 06, 2017

I love being alive, and the art is evidence of that.” — Jim Carrey

Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies.
Diane Arbus

Links

– Strange but innovative work from a young Japanese photographer
– Dinner time in different households This is an interesting concept that piqued my curiosity
– Black and white photography
– Tips
– Phlearn Magazine: 5 Photo stories
– Using the histogram correctly
– Printing from Photoshop
– National Wildlife Refuges
– George Lepp Tips
– Street photography and the law

Sunflower, Hugg-Thomas Wildlife Management Area, Sykesville, MD