Monday Missive — October 5, 2020

Quotes

What I have learned in art school is that art cannot be taught. You can learn techniques, but no teacher or school can make an artist. That comes from the deepest self. That comes from long battles with your ego and the honest reshaping of your consciousness.” — Joel-Peter Witkin, interview with Ken Weingart

There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.” — Ernst Haas

Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing is a meditation.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Striking photographs of Bedouins
– Interesting assemblage of street images from London boroughs by an Italian photographer Usually I prefer a more consistent set of images, but these were interesting in their variety.
– Shoes on the street It is often hard to select a photographic topic that generates sufficient images. This was very simple and creative.
– Icons of Activism

Post-Processing
– Turn black objects white in PS
– Getting the best fall colors
– How to combine images in photoshop Basic steps

Field/Studio
– Stunning landscape photos in boring locations
– Critiquing creative portraiture
– 7 tips for amazing autumn photos

Harbinger of fall.

Fall coneflower.

Monday Missive — June 8, 2020

Quotes

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

In terms of art, the only real answer that I know of is to do it. If you don’t do it, you don’t know what might happen.” –- Harry Callahan

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

Links
Post-processing
– Change background color Also includes several selection and masking methods
– How to re-light a scene in Photoshop Using camera raw so it can also work in LR
– Color grading
– Layer masks for beginners
– How to light a portrait in camera raw

Field/Studio
– Single light critiques Lindsay Adler explains how to improve portrait/glamor lighting using only a single light.
– 7 techniques to improve your composition

Miscellany
– Clyde Butcher and the quarantine
– Eileen Rafferty: Seeing in BW Almost 2 hours
– Using a 110 year old camera Thanks to Steve O. This was interesting if not practical.

Found a spider in the house. He agreed to pose for a portrait to show off his gold grill. He is kind of cute, sort of makes you want to scratch behind his ears (if he had them). This is probably a jumping spider, although he didn’t jump, but was really fast.

I just really like the reflected emerald green. All I did to this was lens corrections and darken the light tree trunks.

Monday Missive — May 25, 2020

Quotes

“. . . creativity is about doing the work rather than waiting for inspiration or talent to kick in.” — David duChemin

“inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us show up and get to work.” — Chuck Close

“Do you want to be more creative? You’ve got to be willing to fail and start ugly, sometimes really ugly, and figure it out–refine it–as you go. . . . You need to be relentlessly you, to choose courage and persistence, to embrace your constraints and do something astonishing with them, to let those first efforts be ugly on their way to being beautiful. The only way to be more creative is to create more. We can all do that.” — David duChemin

Links
Photoessays/bodies of Work
– Federico Feliciotti – Italy
– Interesting series of single walkers

Links
Post-processing
– Adding sunset color to landscapes
– Montage portraits a la David Hockney Coutesy Steve O.

Links
Field/Studio
– Long lens macro photography
– 1 light beauty setup with graphic make-up
– Night and Astrophotography: A conversation with Rachel Ross

Links
Miscellany
– Three fantastic photography locations
– Sally Mann and the collodion process Thanks to Steve O.
– How to clean your lenses

Great blue heron with an itch.

Great Blue Heron. Over the shoulder “come hither” look.

Monday Missive — May 4, 2020

Quotes

I have been obsessed for years with finding new projects to work on. … At times, I have purposely let go of that frame of mind and gone with, what I would tell myself, is the pleasure of just taking pictures. Sometimes it has worked out, sometimes it hasn’t.” — Alejandro Catagena

While images are strong individually, the experience of reading the accompanying text is integral to shaping the overall meaning.” — Kelli Connell

To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts – such is the duty of the artist.” – Schumann

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– American Bedroom
– Corona virus around the world
– Stephen Garza: Arriving 2020 One of the more interesting Corona related portfolios.
– Shapes and shadows of Scotland Very nice low key landscapes

Post-processing
– Injecting mood and emotion into your landscape images
– Lighting a portrait in Photoshop

Field/Studio
– Fun with Bokeh
– Simple water drop photography

Miscellany
– Using Instagram to become a better photographer
– The most important lessons for your photography

Finally getting out of the “pandemic funk.” Made it out to Black Marsh on Friday in a light rain. One car in the parking lot; saw two people on the trail, but easy to physically distance. Parts of the trail were completely flooded, with water flowing from one side to the other. Trail leading to the marsh was very muddy in some parts.

Great blue heron on the Black Marsh Trail. Color graded with Teal-Orange LUT at 50%.


Columbine from the front yard.

Monday Missive — April 27, 2010

Quotes

– 20 photography quotes

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Really excellent nature composites
– Story telling with pictures
– Vietnam Portraits

Post-processing
– Using color properly in landscape photography
– Using gradient maps to increase the luminosity of portraits
– Mind blowing lighting effects filter in PS

Field/Studio
– Lighting a beauty image

Miscellany
– Preparing your images for Instagram
– Abstract with only paper and light
– Making your first photo book Some advice from Thomas Heaton, British landscape photographer. Unlike an exhibit, a book can be available to many more people, over a longer period of time. It is worth considering.

I’m working on a new book called “Winter Marsh: An exploration of color” with images and verse:
The warm sunrise flowed like liquid gold over the marsh
And swirled with the cool shadows of night
To gently overwhelm them,
Slowly taking control of the day.

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 — July 1, 2019

Quotes

[Poetry is] “an immense conversation of the soul.” — Joy Harjo, next US poet laureate of the US. Applies to photography as well.

The great geniuses are those who have kept their childlike spirit and have added to it breadth of vision and experience.” – Alfred Stieglitz

He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.
” — Francis of Assisi

Links

Photo essays/Bodies of Work
– Hanoi’s motorbike culture
– “Skygazing” Simple but elegant composites.
– Photography and text This really appeals to me as I am working on book of my poetry and images.
– The traveling dress collective From Vickie Gray via Facebook. But for me it was more about the different locations chosen than about the dress.

Post processing
– Light overlays Using gradients; also create an overlay as a preset.
– Removing halos from HDR images 2 minute video
– Smooth and soften skin

Field/Studio
– Outdoor portraits: using flash to balance ambient light

Miscellany
– The importance of sequencing your images
– Art of Photography: Creativity, process, technology, limitations

The Mill

Mill Machinery

Country Store Invitation, Airville, PA

Monday Missive — June 24, 2019

Quotes

Don’t cheat the world of your contribution. Give it what you’ve got.” – Steven Pressfield

A very subtle difference can make the picture or not.” – Annie Leibovitz

I want to make photographs whose very ambiguity provokes thought, rather than cuts it off prematurely. I want to make pictures that work on a more mysterious level, that approach the truth by a more circuitous route.” – John Pfahl

Links

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Monochromatic minimalism
– Re-examining “consent” in an age where neither the photographer nor the subject may control where an image shows or how it is used. This is an interesting discussion, but not sure that what Berman suggests is feasible or realistic.
– Widow/er A “poignant and elegant” portrait series

Post-processing
– Blur the background without halos
– Adding an image into text
– How to cut out hair from a busy background 37 minute video, but covers a lot about brushes, masking and selections.
– Create realistic skin texture

Studio/Field
– Packing your gear for air travel

Miscellany
– Be creative every day
– Modern photographic terms: What thoese acronyms mean.

male ruby-throated hummingbird. Taken at Patuxent North Tract Research Refuge, near visitor center. Sigma 150-600, 1/1250 sec; f/8; ISO 1600.

Female ruby-throated hummingbird. Same metadata except shutter =1/400.

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 13, 2019

Quotes

“…  I look for the unguarded moment, the essential soul peeking out, experience etched on a persons face.” — Steve McCurry

Knowledge is preferable to ignorance.. Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable.” – Carl Sagan

Be unafraid of your imagination.” — Joe McNally

Links

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Allowed to grow old: Portraits of aging animals For those who care about animals
– Fascinating story of 50-70 year old Korean women who free dive to catch seafood for a living
– Sapeurs: Fancy dressers of the Congo Interesting story, excellent portraits, but take special notice of the backgrounds and how they contrast with the dress
– “You and Me on a Sunny Day Interesting project with a 135 large prints taken of an older woman over 5 years

Field/Studio
– The Photographic Process Twenty minute video that takes you through the process in the field for the inital capture right through final post-processing with a continuous explanation of what the photographer is thinking
– Making better portraits

Miscellany
– Winners of an international nature photo competition
– Fine art marketing
– 29 unpopular opinions about photography I agree with many of these, so I should probably keep my mouth closed
– Memory cards explained

Iris bud.

Male cardinal testing out my new 150-600 sigma.

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 18, 2019

Quotes

The unconscious obsession that we photographers have is that wherever we go we want to find the theme that we carry inside ourselves.  — Graciela Iturbide

The hardest thing in photography is to create a simple image. — Anne Geddes

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

Links

– Where the magenta tint on your prints comes from This is a common problem with Epson printers. This is very helpful.
– Adjust skin tones with one button
– Dora Maar, muse of Picasso and surrealist photographer
– Color Range Masking in LR and ACR 15 minute video
– Graciela Iturbide, great Mexican photographer
– Complete landscape edit, start to finish Helpful 20 minute video.
– Visual storytelling winners
– How to add snow to your photograph
– Multi-shot techniques
From Steve Oney:
– Basics of Astrophotography

Reaching back to my artist residency at Petrified Forest National Park. I chose this one because I like the orange/blue color palette.
Such a strange and wondrous landscape. Also from Petrified Forest NP. This was taken from the rim trail right behind the Painted Desert Inn.
Petroglyphs at Puerco Pueblo, also at PetrifiedForest.

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 — 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 31, 2018

Quotes

…follow the quiet nudges of your intuition.” — Ursula von Rydingsvard

“...I can doubt pieces before making them, but I have to jump into the unknown to get somewhere. I have to dare to make them.” — Paola Pivi

But most [photo] books will then use end text, or some form of additional context to answer those questions. To make the cause of the tension, or the roots of the intention, known.” — Jonathan Blaustein on Dec 21, 2018

Links

– San Juan Mountain image and story Very short story on the making of a particular image
– Color correction and compensaton 20 minute video
– Fixing edges of cutouts in Photoshop This was very helpful for a common problem.
– Cutting out complex subjects 15 minute video
– Color grading in camera raw 6 minute video
– How to build confidence as an artist
– Portrait approaches
– Wildlife Photography: How to get better and better
– Adjusting luminosity without effecting color
– Best National Parks for landscape photography

 

A small boat on the beach with the Bay Bridge in the background.
Stranded by the Bridge. Taken at Sandy Point State Park.
Boat on a beach with Chesapeake Bay Bridge in the background.
Sandy Point State Park. Would like to get comments on which you perfer.