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 — August 12, 2019

Quotes

Toni Morrison: In Memoriam

Freeing yourself was one thing. Claiming ownership of that freed self was another.

If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.

At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint or even remember it. It is enough. No record of it needs to be kept and you don’t need someone to share it with or tell it to. When that happens — that letting go — you let go because you can.

The function of freedom is to free someone else.

Links

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Morgana McGee
– Chinese youth culture captured by 5 photographers
– 10 photojournalistic images from July

Post-processing
– How to blur a background
– How to add a golden tone to skin
– How to remove anything in PS
– Hidden color settings for landscapes Simple but sophisticated use of smart objects.
– Cloning along a curve

Field/Studio
– Upgrade gear or travel to shoot? Simon Baxter is a thoughtful woodland photographer
– Taking portraits of strangers 25 minute video

Used remote shutter release

Painted turtle.

Monday Missive — August 5, 2019

Quotes

If the white herons had no voice, they would be lost in the snow.” — Chivo

I am attracted to seemingly “unfinished” works, that are not so full of information that there’s little or no room for the viewer, for audience participation. When I’m not invited to participate I begin to feel disconnected, no matter how awesome the artwork or the artist’s genius might be.” — Michael Kenna

I write in order to express what the photo itself cannot say. A photograph of my father doesn’t tell me what I thought of him, which for me is much more important than what the man looked like.” – Duane Michals

Links

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Books where photos and text complement and enhance each other
– Photographs that defined 1969

Post-processing
– Reducing noise by getting the mean of multiple images Doesn’t work if there is movement in the subject
– Two ways to access content aware fill to remove distractions
– Get rich skin tones in PS
– Simple ways to color grade 30 minute video that covers muliple ways to adjust color and tonal values including HSL, curves, gradients, dodging and burning and more.

Field/Studio
– Valley of the Gods Sounds like an interesting location
– Why little birds attack big birds Not strictly photography, but any nature photographer has probably seen this happen. Here’s the explanation.

Miscellany
– The state of the camera/film industry From Tom F. Only Sony posted gains in profit and growth this year. The SLR/Pro camera market is rapidly becoming a niche industry.
– Why are camera lenses so expensive Includes two short, but fascinating videos, one on making a Nikon lens and the second Fuji.

Male goldfinch eating coneflower seeds. They are such a glorious yellow!

Egret. Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge[/caption]

Monday Missive — July 29, 2019

Quotes

We are all faking it. But that’s not a bad thing. Not when faking it means making it up as we go. Learning what it means to be us. To be alive in this world and to create whatever it is we make as our art from that place of vulnerability and humility.” — David DuChemin

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

It is one thing to photograph people. It is another to make others care about them by revealing the core of their humanness.” – Paul Strand

Links

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Emilio Nadales: Street Photography
– W. Eugene Smith: Country Doctor If you aren’t familiar with Smith’s ground-breaking photojournalism, you should definitely check out this article. It is mostly about his “Country Doctor” essay, but there are some links to Spanish Village and other work. His style was distinctive, the order of images critical, and his work always had tremendous emotional impact.
– Stories on Stockholm streets I like the images, but also like the idea that he keeps people annonymous, but still tells a clear story.

Post-processing
– Scratch disk Often Photoshop needs “work space” to complete commands. Sometimes the required workspace can be considerably larger than the size of the file. If your system is nearing its limits, PS can run out of space to complete the requested changes, especially if you are working with large files. This video illustrates three options for addressing this issue.
– Sharpening without halos Sharpening algorithms actually increase small scale contrast, they don’t actually sharpen the image, they just make it look sharper. When you increase contrast, the lights get lighter, and this can create halos and that “crunchy” look. This video shows how to minimize that effect.
– How to easily straighten buildings Works great for horizons too. (From Steve Oney)
– HDR panoramas
– Make your images pop Using a BW layer in Luminosity blending mode

Field/Studio
– Birding hotspots in the east

Miscellany
– Straight talk about Instagram

Didn’t get out much this past week, so this Monday Missive images are all from my backyard. The butterflies seem to be particularly active this week. I planted specifically to attract pollintors and the most attractive plants seem to be Joe Pye Weed, Butterfly Bush and Agastache.

Tiger Swallowtail on Joe Pye Weed; coneflowers in the backgournd.

Tiger Swallowtail, dark form, on butterfly bush.

Silver-spotted skipper. The skippers are small and often common butterflies that are typically hard to identify. I like the silver-spotted skipper because it is so readily identifiable by its size and distinctive white spot.

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 — July 15, 2019

Quotes

The biggest misconception in photography is still this: that better cameras and more knowledge make better photographs.” — David DuChemin

If limitation spawns creativity, is the limitless resource of the Internet a good thing?” — Alec Soth

I prefer to photograph people and try to capture an emotion which can be universally understood. Photography is the language I use to translate other cultures.” — Tina Manley

Links

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Lewis Hine: Photos that ended child labor
– Family secrets
– Excellent street photography from Melbourne, AU

Post-Processing
– Using and modifying duotones in Photoshop
– Saving color grades
– Using the selection tools effectively

Field/Studio
– Candid photography

Miscellany

The B & H newsletter had the three articles below on “historical processes” that preceded film. I found them to be very interesting. Artistically, the different processes have distinctive appearance. From an historical perspective they were critical to the development of photography.

– The Salted Print Invented by Henry Fox Talbot. Part of the history of photography
– Collodion and albumen prints John Nelson of Actinic Studio gave a presentation to the Baltimore Camera club earlier this year on how to make collodian prints; the collodion process is still actively being used by some photographers for its distinct character.
– Daguerrotype

Juvenile yellow-crowned night heron. Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Washington, DC.

Panorama near the intersection of the Black Marsh and Observation Trails.

Slaty skimmer (male). Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.

Monday Missive — July 8, 2019

Quotes

The best pictures differentiate themselves by nuances…a tiny relationship – either a harmony or a disharmony – that creates a picture.” – Ernst Haas

Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best.” – Henry Van Dyke

I photograph continuously, often without a good idea or strong feelings. During this time the photos are nearly all poor but I believe they develop my seeing and help later on in other photos.” –- Harry Callahan

Links

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Magic windmills The light and the fog in these images are fantastic!
– Vrettakos Alexandros: Passing by A Greek version of the decisive moment
– Finding relationships These images are very clever
– Chemigrams
– Irving Penn: Hippies and Hells Angels in the American West

Post-processing
– Using blend modes to mask hair Also goes into creating appropriate shadows and using Select and Mask. 20 minute video
– Adding texture Includes a free down-loadable texture to try

Studio/Field
– 10 Quick tips from Death Valley
– Geotagging with your phone: Part 1
– Geotagging with your phone: Part 2

Early morning Agastache.

Trees at Mt. Cuba arboretum.

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 17, 2019

Quotes

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

To be more creative is to get closer to childhood.” — Sarah Moon

The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach.” — Henry Beston

Links

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Almost the North Pole
– Norway and the Sami culture
– Body of work on illnes and treatment Interesting and poetic title. Her manipulation of the images is also an intriguing approach and consistent with the topic.
– Obsessions of 10 Magnum photographers
– What it takes to become a Nat Geo photographer Includes winning images from this year’s contest and an embedded video of a Nat Geo Young Explorer that is worth watching.

Post-processing
– Change backgrounds but keep original shadows
– Adding a sun to an image Using the radial gradient and color dodge blend mode.

Miscellany
– 3D functions in PSCC This is not photographic, but if you have Photoshop CC you also have 3D which might be helpful on occasion. It is amazing what it can do. 30 minute video.
– If you hire an agency to sell your images, read the contract very carefully!
– What is photography? A very brief philosophical statement.

Trail Report: Black Marsh Trail at North Point State Park

North Point State Park is located at 8400 North Point Rd, Edgemere, MD 21219 (southeast Baltimore). You will drive in about a third of a mile from North Point Road to the gate booth. There is a $3 admission charge per car; sometimes on the honor system, sometimes the booth is manned. (Senior passes are available from the Department of Natural Resources). Just past the booth on the left there is a parking lot (with a portable sanitary station). The Park also has a visitor center, beach, picnic tables and other amenities and trails. After parking, walk back out past the booth. On the right is a turn around and then a vehicle fence at the trail head (about 50 feet from the booth). The trail can be muddy in spots, so wear appropriate footwear. It is about a quarter mile through forest to the beginning of a really nice marsh, which extends on both sides of the trail. I have seen Great Blue and Little Blue herons and white egrets so far this spring, also sighted an empty Oriole nest. No worthwhile images of the birds yet, but I have only walked the trail 3 or 4 times so far. I was told there was a good diversity of ducks in winter. Dragonflies and damselflies are numerous and probably keep the mosquitoes down, but low in diversity: I have only seen Blue Dashers, Pondhawks and Fragile Forktails. Bullfrogs are common and commonly heard. The trail continues past the marsh through coastal forest. You will eventually pass an old powerhouse building and end up at a beach. Although never crowded, most of the time you will see some birders on the trail, who have always been willing to share what they have seen. You will want to use insect repellent, although the bugs haven’t been too bad so far this season. Watch for poison ivy as well.
6/24/19: Added male Slaty skimmer dragonfly and green snake.

Intersection of Black Marsh and Observation Trails looking left.

Intersection of Black Marsh and Observation trails looking right.

Bullfrog

Eastern Pondhawk male

Eastern Pondhawk female.

Black Marsh Trail, North Point State Park

Monday Missive — June 10, 2019

Quotes

Interviewer James Robert Southard: What makes for your perfect day of shooting?
It is walking into a place, often a new place. It is being in that perfect moment when you see it and you know it and you capture it. Or at least you hope you did. … It is being in that photographic moment, just me and the viewfinder and it is as though there is nothing else around. Or at least it feels that way.” — Sarah Hoskins

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

When you are looking to find photographs… open up your mind and be still with yourself. The photographs will find you.” — Paul Caponigro

Links

Photo essays/Bodies of Work
– Small town Kentucky
– A playlist of 94 videos on famous photographers From Ted Forbes who does the Art of Photography. People serious about photography can use this list to see the work of many famous photographers. Great bad weather activity. I highly recommend subscribing to the “Art of Photography” You Tube channel.
– Two Caponigros Really good video. I have met Paul C and he is a really nice gentleman. I’ve seen an exhibition of his work up in Maine and it was awesome. Paul C may be the famous photographer you have never heard of. This is a good video to get acquainted.

Post-processing
– Brief video on how to find previously worked on images in PS
– How to edit video in Photoshop This is great for family stuff even if you don’t use video for your “serious” photography.
– Mastering contrast Illustrated on portraits in both color and BW. Provides very subtle control at several levels of detail.
– Cut out trees without halos or fringes in Photoshop

Miscellany
– Lens compression

This past weekend was HonFest, celebrating Baltimore’s “Hons”. It is a tradition derived from “Whatcha need, Hon?” and involves beehive hairstyles and 1950s style sunglasses. Lots of fun and a great excuse for a 2 day street party.

Best Hon 2019

Singer in the band.

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 27, 2019

Quotes

…the goal of art was the vital expression of self.” – Alfred Stieglitz

Trust that little voice in your head that says ‘Wouldn’t it be interesting if…’; And then do it.” – Duane Michals

Style has no formula, but it has a secret key. It is the extension of your personality. The summation of this indefinable net of your feeling, knowledge and experience.” – Ernst Haas

Links

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
– Images of the Central American migration

Post-processing
– Tim Grey defines and compares sharpening, the new texture slider in LR/ACR, clarity and dehaze
– Using the new texture slider to smooth skin and enhance landscapes
– Matt K on Texture vs clarity and sharpening
– Color grading in Lightroom
– Making basic selections in PS
– Dealing with a significantly over-exposed image in LR

Field/Studio
– Using negative space in photography
– A photojournalistic approach to wedding photography

Miscellany
– Color Psychology

Images from yesteday’s Sowebo festival in southwest Baltimore.

This bassist was really enjoying the music.

He was pretty happy too.

Artist display.

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 — 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.