Monday Missive — June 22, 2020

Quotes

Inside you, there’s an artist you don’t know about.” — Rumi

No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.” –- Ansel Adams

When subject matter is forced to fit into preconceived patterns, there can be no freshness of vision. Following rules of composition can only lead to a tedious repetition of pictorial cliches.” –- Edward Weston

Links
Photoessays/bodies of Work
– Sites of public executions Interesting idea and technically very well done.
– Havana

Post-processing
– Cutting out trees without halos or fringing
– Adding two colors to highlights
– Are you Under-editing your images?
– Understanding curves
– Create motion in Photoshop
– Re-sizing images in PS

Field/studio
– How to attract wildlife and set up a blind at home.

Miscellany
– Why camera makers are going to keep adding video

Day Lily anthers.

The blue dasher dragonfly is a very common dragonfly at the Black Marsh Trail. The diagonal stripes on the thorax and the black tail tip are distinctive. Females also have the thorax stripes but the abdomen is not the same pale blue.

Chipmunk (backyard photography).

Monday Missive — June 1, 2020

Quotes

Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.” — Toni Morrison

You don’t need to explain yourself. Shoot what makes you happy.” — Sean Tucker

Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.” — Matt Hardy

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Ruth Orkin

Post-processing
– Changing day to night in PS One more lesson on Lighting Effects
– Removing shadows
– Double exposure effect
– When to use PS over LR
– Photoshop layers for beginners

Field/Studio
– Camera settings for wildlife photography
– Getting started with landscape photography
– Using lace as a GOBO for creative portraits

Miscellany
– The beauty of platinum/palladium prints Tillman Crane uses a hybrid process taking digital images with a medium format camera but printing Pt/Pd in the darkroom.

Clematis. 200 mm macro in mornng sun.

Tiny mushrooms. 200 mm micro lens with 74.5 mm extension.

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 — September 2, 2019

Quotes

Three rules of work:
Out of clutter find simplicity.
From discord find harmony.
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
” — Albert Einstein

It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” — Leonardo da Vinci

What have I done wrong?” -he said later.” Nothing, I think. I am steadily surprised that there are so many photographers that reject manipulating reality, as if that was wrong. Change reality! If you don’t find it, invent it!” –- Pete Turner

Links
Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Simon LaChapelle: Some really cool architectural images

Post-processing
– 3 step process to add great color to landscapes This is a little like split toning, but much more flexible
– Removing a shadow in PS

Field/Studio
– David Yarrow: Incredible BW Wildlife photography Thank you George S.
– If you liked David Yarrow above also see his TedX talk
– Is consistency important in your work?
– Escape to landscape photography

Miscellany
– Photographing Woodstock
– The Death of Photoshop?
– How to clean a lens

Little Blue Heron, Black Marsh Trail, North Point State Park.

Life in the marsh: turtle, little blue heron, blue dasher dragonfly.

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 — January 7, 2019

Quotes

In a world filled with empty noise, the most important slots are reserved for the poets we seek to listen to, and the poet we seek to become.” — Seth Godin, December 25, 2018

 “Our ideas regarding success should be our own, and I urge you to pursue it simultaneously from both the inside and the outside. I agree completely with Georgia O’Keefe, who thought that “whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing.” ” 

  • Nobody reads artist’s statements. Learn to tell an interesting story about your work that people can relate to on a personal level.
  • Not every project will survive. Purge regularly, destroying is intimately connected to creating. This will save you time.
  • Edit privately. As much as I believe in stumbling, I also think nobody else needs to watch you do it.  

— Teresita Fernández excerpted from On Amnesia, Broken Pottery, and the Inside of a Form, seen on Lens/cratch

Links

– Henri Prestes: Using weather and darkness to control the mood
– Hakan Strand: Silent Moments
– The most influential artists of 2018 Includes photography but also fashion, culture, architecture, etc.
– Removing fly-away hair from portraits
– Anne Brigman: pioneering nude self-portraits
– The woman behind the first photo gallery
– 52 Photography techniques to try In a winter rut, creativity down? Try some of these to get the juices flowing.
– Environmental animal portraits
– 5 photographers to follow
– How meditation can improve creativity

Part of an ongoing series on “Divided Self”, this was taken at Sandy Point, December 2018.
Another for “Divided Self” which will contain both poetry and images.

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.

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 3, 2018

Quotes

I often think of that rare fulfilling joy, when I am in the presence of some wonderful alignment of events. Where the light, the colour, the shapes and the balance all interlock so beautifully that I feel truly overwhelmed by the wonder of it.” – Charlie Waite

To me, pictures are like blintzes – ya gotta get ‘em while they’re hot.” – Weegee

Creativity with portraits involves the invocation of a state of rapport when only a camera stands between two people…mutual vulnerability and mutual trust.” – Minor White

Links

– Bokeh The out of focus highlights behind your subject.
– Interesting interview and approach from an emerging Angolan photgrapher
– One minute video on how to upload to Instagram from your computer
– The Freezing Land: A photo essay on Northern China
– Canadian Far North Wildlife photographer Michelle Valberg I doubt I would ever go, but this article on a totally unfamiliar part of the world was very interesting.
– Sky replacement using Blend-If Simplified way to replace sky. 17 minute video
– Wildfire photographer
– Rituals of fraternity life in photos Photoessay
– The photographer, not the camera, makes the picture
– How to use a BW layer to control your colors

Went out on Sunday for wet dead flowers. You can find visual poetry and beauty anywhere and anytime if you just look.

Monday Missive — November 26, 2018

Quotes

Most people go through life dreading they’ll have a traumatic experience. Freaks were born with their trauma,” she once wrote. “They’ve already passed their test in life. They’re aristocrats.” — Diane Arbus

I’m trying to please myself; certainly that’s a big criterion… though in a sense, I don’t take images just for myself. I take images that I think other people will want to see. I don’t take pictures to put in a box and hide them. I want as many people to see them as possible.” – Mary Ellen Mark, Mary Ellen Mark : 25 Years by Marianne Fulton, Page: 14

I was never much of a promoter of my work—I’ve probably given away more prints than I’ve sold.” – Herb Quick

Links

– Revisiting Diane Arbus’ most controversial most controversial series Very interesting article about how Arbus empathetically viewed the people she photographed.

– Hyperfocal focusing
– Some hidden changes in PS 2019 9 minute video
– Napping is a creative tool
– Vivian Maier’s never before seen color photography
– Photographing critically endangered mountain gorillas Photo essay
– Dogs catching treats These are just too much fun! Photo essay
– Basics and compositional aspects of depth of field Article
– All about curves 23 minute video. I learned a lot from this video.

Original link from Steve Oney:
– How to create luminosity masks in Photoshop Luminosity masks essentially select a narrow part of the luminosity (brightness) histogram and allow you to modify your image very precisely. So, if you wanted to select and darken only the light/lights you can do that without trying to brush what may be small or intricate areas. You can buy a program that automatically produces luminosity masks from Tony Kuyper or other locations. These programs may break the luminosity histogram into as many as 32 segments for great precision in modifying your image.

Thanksgiving table at my sister’s house. Food was great too.

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 — June 25, 2018

Quotes

I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.” — John Cage

No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.” — Ansel Adams

Don’t ask “‘Should I …?’. Instead, ‘Ask what happens if I …?’” -– John Paul Caponigro

Links

– Focus stacking
– A quick primer on color gamuts
– “Philosopher’s Tree” by Michael Kenna
– Use water to add light to your landscapes
– Lightroom tricks to improve your workflow
– 25 Technical terms for beginners
– What’s new in LR 7.4
– Wildlife action
– Fine art architectural photography
– Good article on the basics Read this article and practice over the summer to win competitions next year.

Dianthus.
It has really been a pleasure to head out to my little garden first thing in the morning to capture the early light on flowers.
Normally I don’t care about metadata, but it can be helpful for macro work: 200 macro lens, f/10, 1/160, ISO 400, tripod.

Coneflowers. 105 mm macro lens. f/16; 1/80; ISO 400; tripod.

Coneflower.
105 macro lens.
1/100; f/16; ISO 400; tripod.

Monday Missive — June 18, 2018

Quotes

But Kandinsky did not intend for his theories to be prescriptive. Artmaking, he insisted, was about freedom.” — From How to Be an Artist, According to Wassily Kandinsky, by Rachel Lebowitz, Jun 12, 2017, Artsy.net

Quitting merely because you’re behind is a trap, a form of hiding that feels safe, but isn’t. The math is simple: whatever you switch to because you quit is another place you’re going to be behind as well. It’s not a race, it’s a journey. And the team that scores first doesn’t always win.” — Seth Godin, June 13,2018

It’s true that you’re not good enough yet. None of us are. But if you commit to trying hard enough and long enough, you’ll get better.” — Seth Godin, June 16, 2018

Links

– 6 Great artists on how to be an artist
– Pumas of Patagonia
– Nighttime landscape photography
– Controlling color and tonal edits with blend modes
– Adding an artistic element in nature photography
– More on photographic intent with McCurry’s “Afgan Girl” as an example
– More background on intent and the iconic “Afgan Girl”
– Seeking color and enhancing creativity 45 minute video from B & H Optic 2018, but definitely worth the time. Many great examples on how light, color, position, shape, repetition impact the emotion and perception of the image.
– Showing a sense of place in your travel photography
– Three tools that are more capable in Photoshop than in Lightroom

My Asian Lilies are finally open and are gorgeous in the early morning light.

Monday Missive — May 21, 2018

Quotes

Every day you play with the light of the universe.” — Pablo Neruda

To those of you who … have a frustrated streak of anarchy within you: f*ck the rules. Colour outside the lines. Fill your canvas with blazing colours and leave the muted browns for Leonardo DaVinci. He had his chance. Find your own way. You have one life: do you really want to spend it imitating others? … It takes courage to point the camera the other way, to trust your own taste, to do more than what is expected. To open yourself up to the world through your art by saying, “Here it is—here I am—take it or leave it,” knowing that far more people than not will choose to leave it.” — David duChemin

A photograph has a soul in its own right, incorporating numerous elements which range from the books one has read, the music one has heard to the people one has loved.” — Kita Etsuko from Adore Noir, Issue 40

Links

– Getting unstuck when the image just isn’t working
– Making masking easier
– Art of Photography video on Fan Ho, a fantastic Chinese street photographer
– Your camera is better than Ansel’s Gear matters but is a small part of your photography.
– Good story on photographing foxes which I occasionally see in my backyard.
– How art auctions work
– Creative white balance
– Part 2: Greenland in winter See April 30 for Part 1
– Informative article on night photography Discusses several different situations
– Very interesting description of a creative process

Iris

Iris

Iris

Iris

Monday Missive — April 2, 2018

Quotes

Critics are useful, but remember that the first to believe in your work must be you.” – Lorenzo Meloni

Sometimes there’s a unique picture whose composition possesses such vigour and richness and whose content so radiates outward from it that the single picture is a whole story in itself.” — Henri Cartier-Bresson

I prefer people to look at my pictures and invent their own stories.” – Josef Koudelka

Links

– Photographing in the far north
– Glare
– Bottom weighting when matting
– Aspect ratios This short video specifically references filming but provides food for thought when cropping.
– Candid photography
– Flash modifiers
– Curing dehaze color shifts
– 10 post-processing terms every photographer should know and understand
– Long exposure photography

From Steve Oney:
– Protect your highlights

Long’s Peak from the White cabin at sunrise, Rocky Mountain National Park.