Monday Missive — April 8, 2019

Quotes

One of the greatest barriers to creativity and to life is fear. That fear manifests itself in many ways but one of the more destructive is the perfectionism so many of us are paralyzed by.” — David DuChemin

Being a photographer is making people look at what I want them to look at. – Ruth Orkin

One very important difference between color and monochromatic photography is this: in black and white you suggest; in color you state. Much can be implied by suggestion, but statement demands certainty… absolute certainty. – Paul Outerbridge 

Links

Photo essays/Bodies of Work
– Exploration of the urban landscape With emphasis on Vietnam
– Messy studio –> creativity?
– “Inverse panoramas” and x-rays
– Van Der Zee and the Harlem renaissance
– Very dark, moody street photography

PhotoshopTechniques
– Equalize skin tones
– Workflow for a difficult image
– Basics of layer masks Really good 15 minute video that gives you all the basics of masks in a very straight forward way

From Steve Oney:
– How to safely use smoke bombs
– “Other worldly” images from White Sands, NM

Team effort on the Pride of Baltimore.
Neatly coiled rope on the Pride of Baltimore.

Monday Missive — April 1, 2019

Quotes

The tool so many of us use to make our art—the camera—is also a way to see the world; to be more alive in this world. It can be a tool that brings such joy, and a means of saying things about the world, and ourselves, that we might not have otherwise. … It holds you to no obligation except that you hold it to your eye and see things anew.” — David DuChemin

Most of the pictures you see, you actually miss. So inevitably, what you end up doing is taking a lot of rubbish. In fact, the basic theory is, the more rubbish you take the better the chances of a good photo emerging as well. So, keep on taking the rubbish.
Martin Parr, Magnum Photographer, from The Art of Street Photography

Saturate yourself with your subject, and the camera will all but take you by the hand and point the way.” — Margaret Bourke-White

Links

Photo essays/Bodies of Work:
– Nick Brandt: This empty world Incredible realistic composites addressing the constant habitat destruction from “progress.”
– Abstracts on print paper using beer cans The idea is interesting. From the process description I’m unclear on how exposure takes place unless it is simply light leaks.
– Alec Soth: A year meditating and new approaches
– Andrea Modica. An interesting mix of street, documentary and portraiture

Photoshop Techniques:
– Making reflections Uses blend modes, blur, wave and Blend-If
– Fix banding in your images

Camera/Field Techniques:
– Choosing the right neutral density filter Think in advance of what effect you are seeking. Too long, and the effect is overdone, i.e., I don’t like milk in my streams, but smooth water can be very nice.

From Steve Oney:
– Alan Schaller street photography
– How to light glass There are more videos in this series about lighting shapes, dimension and texture, separation, color, etc.
From George Spicer:
– Night Photography Events Calendar

The Stad Amsterdam, a three-masted clipper design, was in town this week. It takes the best qualities of clipper ships, but has some improvements to make it safer like having a steel hull. She is quite fast for a sailing ship. Her normal speed is 15 knots. Her crew is Dutch, but the language on board is English.
Rigging of the Stad Amsterdam with the World Trade building in the background.
Off loading the gang plank.

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 — 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 — 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 — 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 15, 2018

Quotes

The conversations are exasperated, the verdicts swift, conclusive and seemingly absolute. The goal is to protect and condemn work, not for its quality, per se, but for its values. Is this art or artist, this character, this joke bad for women, gays, trans people, nonwhites? Are the casts diverse enough? Is this museum show inclusive of enough different kinds of artists? Does the race of the curators correspond with the subject of the show or collection? Increasingly, these questions stand in for a discussion of the art itself.” — Wesley Morris, in an article titled The Morality Wars in the NY Times Magazine, Oct. 3, 2018

But criticism isn’t about saying what’s bad — well, not only. It’s partly about situating a work in the world, in your feelings, in your collection.” — Wesley Morris, ibid.

There are as many photographs possible from a single negative as the artist can imagine. I can never bear to finish with a negative, to say, ‘This is it.’ Tomorrow I can come and make new pictures from that negative. This is the thing I love most of all: the making of the final picture. No one else can do that for me, nor do I ever completely satisfy myself.” – Nell Dorr

Links

– Extreme, extreme photography
– Milky Way panorama
– Is your agent really your agent?
– Seven important landscape lessons Acquired wisdom
– Fine art still life, setup and lighting
– Street photography with a twist
– Underwater macro: incredible colors and shapes: animals that look like they come from another planet
– Underwater in the the Inside Passage
– Joel Meyerowitz

From Steve Oney:
– Street shooter in NY
– 10 photographers who immortalized city streets

Dew drop in in the morning.

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.

Monday Missive — September 10, 2018

Quotes

I believe that the essence of photography is black and white. Color is but a deviance.” — Sarah Moon

We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us.” — Ralph Hattersley

Great photography is about depth of feeling, not depth of field.” — Peter Adams

Links

– A bunch of incredible selection techniques
– Adobe not supporting some older OS’ Take note if you are running an older Mac or Windows OS
– The August Lightroom update
– Jewish Streets
– Travel tips This is partly in support of duChemin’s new course, but the quotes, lessons and images are worth the time.
– Unconventional approaches to landscape and nature
– Hard drive file systems for Mac and Windows
– Interpreting memory cards

From Steve Oney:
– Two minute trailer on upcoming video on Gary Winogrand
– Really great series of monochrome pairs by Czech photographer Alicja Brodowicz

Skipper butterfly. Taken with 200 Nikon micro lens and diffused flash. 1/200; f/13; ISO 500.

Taken at 2018 MD State Fair. Two images taken from a tripod as the ride dropped. Composited in Photoshop.

September 3, 2018

Quotes

Your photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees.” — Paul Strand

Results are uncertain even among the more experienced photographers.Matthew Brady

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

Links

– More than snaphots and postcards
– Foregrounds in focus
– Paul Roark His work is very good (the best BW photographer you never heard of) and worth a visit to his website as well.
– Avoid distracting backgrounds in street photography
– Landscapes
– Getting great maternity images
– Soulful pictures of sanctuary animals
– Hidden wetlands
– Saul Leiter’s pioneering color work

Sally Mann
– Interview with curator of Sally Mann’s Thousand Crossings exhibit The exhibit at the National Gallery closed May 28, 2018.
– A list of NGA holdings of Sally Mann including 16 images from Thousand Crossings and a short video of her photographing dancer Bill T. Jones

From Steve Oney:
– 6 ways to remove distractions in Photoshop
– Astrophotography tourism for those who were inspired by Robert Fawcett’s presentation last week.

Boat lineup at the dock, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Cabot Beach Provincial Park, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Monday Missive — August 27, 2018

Quotes

Creativity works best when we have constraints.” — David duChemin (Have Camera Will Travel video)

Fear is the single greatest obstacle in our creative lives. … The magic happens… in the unexpected.” — David duChemin

It will be about the feel and emotion. You need to take those adjectives and translate them…onto your image.” — Claire Rosen, Imaginarium

Links

– Capturing east LA
– Great explanation of Photoshop blending modes by Julianne Kost who always gives great explanations. Very complete and includes two free videos, links to 4 more videos and a list of keyboard short cuts.
– A bit more on blend modes
– Ultra-wide angle lenses
– On the road with a film photographer
– Refine any mask with a brush
– Basic guide to taking long exposure images
– Big Sur So many wonderful images and stories came of Big Sur from Adams, Weston and others. Truly a magical place.

From Steve Oney:
– Range masking in LR
– Lynn Davis, portrait photographer

Spent a little time at the Fair last evening with some friends. My arteries clogged and acne returned as I walked past this booth.

Just for the color.

Monday Missive — August 20, 2018

Quotes

Experience has shown that the more fascinating the subject, the less observant the photographer.” – Andreas Feininger

The picture is like a prayer, an offering, and hopefully an opening through which to seek what we don’t know, or already know and should take seriously.” – Emmet Gowin

Some speak of a return to nature. I wonder where they could have been.” – Frederick Sommer

Links

– Be patient and adapt to conditions
– Learning from “bad” images
– Get better HDR results in PS by using 32-bit not available in LR, but here is a followup from Adobe to Kelby explaining his results and showing an advantage for LR.
– Urban landscapes
– How to add color to your images
– Latin American nature photo ops
– Franklin and Nantahala: Not just the National Park
– 2 minute tip on doing the “Orton Effect”
– What do photographeres owe their subjects? This was an exceptionally interesting discussion.

From Steve Oney:
– TED talk by Sabastiao Salgado In my opinion Salgado is the most accomplished BW photographer practicing today. He is in the same league as Cartier-Bresson, Eugene Smith, Lewis Hine, Jacob Riis, and Dorothea Lange.

Stone cairns on a beach at the North Cape of Prince Edward Island, Canada on a drizzly day.

Monday Missive — July 30, 2018

Quotes

Photography offers so many different ways to tell a story.” — Fiona Struengmann in an interview with Cat Lachowskyj in Lens Culture

Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.” – Paul Klee

Creativity isn’t about wild talent as much as it’s about productivity. To find new ideas that work, you need to try a lot that don’t. It’s a pure numbers game.” — Robert Sutton

Links

– Nature conservation and BW Photography
– Horizons
– Interesting approach to street photography
– The tripod ban in Zion
– Experiment
– One LR feature to turn off a second to turn on
– Enhance lighting in LR
– Photographing shorebirds
– Natural Light/Open Shade
– Flash

Lighthouse on Prince Edward Island, Canada


Cabot Beach Provincial Park, Prince Edward Island, Canada. The area is known for its red sandstone beaches.

Summerside Lighthouse, long exposure, Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada.