Monday Missive — June 20, 2022


    A little something extra for Father’s Day

I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.” — Umberto Eco, medievalist and philosopher

No matter what drama I deal with at work, when I get home and hear them scream, ‘Daddy!’ I forget whatever it was I was stressed about.” — Mario Lopez, actor

Being a great father is like shaving. No matter how good you shaved today, you have to do it again tomorrow.” — Reed Markham, author

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program

We put the thought of all that we love into all that we make.” — Galadriel, The Fellowship of the Ring, JRR Tolkien

I sometimes think of photographs as a diving board into a pool of imagination.” — Alec Soth

Creativity is an energy. It’s a precious energy, and it’s something to be protected. A lot of people take for granted that they’re a creative person, but I know from experience, feeling it in myself, it is a magic; it is an energy. And it can’t be taken for granted.” — Ava DuVernay

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— British Industry: When things could only get better Good images
— Hands
— Black power and pride in NY
— Glasgow 1870

— John Paul Caponigro details what to look for in great prints
— Blake Rudis: Using rulers to assure symmetry

Field and Studio
— Lindsay Adler: Burlesque style portrait with 5 lights

— Exploring gender identity
— A dozen of the best nature images I have ever seen Also excellent text explaining what you are seeing and why it is signficant.
— Photography lessons from Robert Frank

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Monday Missive — June 13, 2022


They powerfully reflect her conviction that she has something to say and her own way of saying it.” — Roberta Smith in the NY Times about sculptor Louise Bourgeois who now has a show of paintings at NY’s Metropolitan Museum of Art

Step out of the history that is holding you back. Step into the new story you are willing to create.” — Oprah Winfrey

Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too. If she doesn’t show up invited, eventually she just shows up.” — Isabel Allende


Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— August Sander Well known for his portraits.
— The spirit of black Egypt
— Strange Future About our impact on earth, especially climate change. The images do a good job of illustrating the issue.

— 3 Photoshop editing mistakes Halos from excessive sharpening, saturation/vibrance and resolution issues
— How to make eyes pop in portraits Not pop out! Just attract your gaze.

— Photo conversations This is a long list of conversations with photographers of all kinds and a more moderately sized list of tutorials. You will want to keep this list handy for those hot or rainy days when you just don’t want to go out. Thanks to Dave M.
— Photo Festivals are a good way to get your work seen by people who are recognized in photography and get comments that can help you improve your work.
— Pitcairn Island An interesting project in the way the book is structured and the stories about living on an isolated island in the Pacific. Worth the read.
— Ralph Gibson

— The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has opened submissions for its annual photo contest Thanks to Steve O.

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Monday Missive — June 6, 2022


It is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis, that we get at the real meaning of things.” — Georgia O’Keeffe

That’s the way I work: I try to imagine what I would like to see.” -— Sofia Coppola

I think doing something creative is the most important thing to me, and I think it’s probably just good for the soul for anyone, whatever it is … I think everyone needs to create something.” -— Ricky Gervais

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— Interesting urban twilight images
— Festival for documentary photography
— Italian psychiatric hospitals The images are not particularly striking, but the story is interesting and the photojournalism is good.

— Colin Smith of PhotoshopCAFE: How to create and use textures I always wondered how textures were different from just a single layer file. It’s a pattern!
— Dealing with difficult selections
— Sean Tucker: Creating dramatic BW images

Field and Studio
— Abstract nature photography

— Ted Forbes talks about the earliest Leicas and how they changed photography
— A fun ramble If you are reasonably fit!
— Is moving from Instagram to Twitter more productive for photographers?

Blue dasher dragonfly, female. Pachydiplax longipennis. Black Marsh Trail, North Point State Park. Very common at this location.

Blue Dasher male.

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Monday Missive — May 30, 2022


I always get to where I am going by walking away from where I have been.” -— Winnie the Pooh in the film “Christopher Robin” (written by Alex Ross Perry, Tom McCarthy, and Allison Schroeder)

I believe that the (distorting) mirror which is photography holds an intrinsic, even elemental, relation to writing.” — Tod Papageorge

We have an insatiable appetite for what is new, but it’s not new subjects for which we hunger, but rather new experiences. New combinations of old things. New perspectives. New voices. . . . Voice is about your taste, not theirs—though that doesn’t mean we need to be contrary about it. Voice is not found when we try to be unlike others, but when we get closer and closer to being most like ourselves.” — David DuChemin

Photoessays/Bodies of Work

— Jin Lee: Three projects One on prairies, one on weeds and the photograms
— Jeanloup Sieff
— Arkansas: Heartbeat of the land
— Lynn Saville: The El at Twilight Images from and of the NYC elevated train system at twilight. Interesting concept, well-done.

Field and Studio

— On location fashion photography in an old hotel
— How to select your best images


— The Polaroids of Linda McCartney
— American Silence with Robert Adams hour long discussion with Sarah Meister head of Aperture and Sarah Greenough, senior curator at the National Gallery of Art who lead the current Robert Adams exhibit and book
— Alec Soth: On filmmaking and photography A bit different for this blog, but Soth does a good job of pointing out differences and similarities using several relevant books. Worth the 20 minutes.
— A very different take on Putin

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Monday Missive — May 23, 2022


Just because you haven’t found your talent yet, doesn’t mean you don’t have one.” -— Kermit the Frog

Some artists have an idea in mind, and make the art to fit the vision.
Others shoot whatever they see, over months or years, then build a jigsaw puzzle out of the resulting edit.
Neither way is “better,” but in my copious experience, I’ve come to believe groups of images that are pre-conceived, or made to cohere to a concept or structure, often have a slightly enhanced sense of intent.
” — Jonathan Blaustein, May 13, 2022

The biggest changes you will ever experience as a photographer will happen as a movement toward more independent thinking.” — David DuChemin

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— Images from the breakup of the Soviet Union taken in the 1990s by Shepard Sherbells. Exhibit/sale of prints goes to independent photojournalism in Ukraine.
— Black and white abstract photography Neat images, some are a bit spooky
— Edouard Boubat: A Velvet Gaze

Field and Studio
— Drone photography tips

— Sean Tucker: Accomplishing life’s goals The story behind a project to photograph the Royal National Lifeboat Institute with collodion wet plates
— George Tice

Images from a club trip to Starlight Lake, PA, in the northeast corner of the state.

Clearly bear country.

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Monday Missive — May 16, 2022


You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” -— Maya Angelou

I always like to have another story, another introduction, another work, and I’ll just go and work on that, while somewhere in the back of my mind I’m churning over why I’m stuck and what went wrong and figuring out how to go forward.” -— Neil Gaiman

With a camera and computer, I create worlds that don’t exist.” — Carol Erb

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— Carol Erb: Small wonders A very interesting collection reflecting Erb’s thoughts and emotions in response to isolation during the pandemic. I found that the text and titles were critical to comprehending the images.
— War photography
— Jennifer Thoreson I found the story of how she came to art interesting. The images are unique.
— Judith Joy Ross: Portraits She has a fairly unique approach using an 8 x 10 Deardoff in the field.
— Elemental Forms

— Sean Tucker: Finishing an image with color, contrast and sharpening Very nice subtle improvements. Demonstrated on a portrait, but generally applicable to all sorts of pictures.
— Lightroom: Intersection is great tool to improve your images

Field and Studio
— VMHT: A strategy for better images

— Daido Moriyama
— Janis Joplin

Testing out a new project called Drips & Drops.



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Monday Missive — May 9, 2022


It is important that the musician just lets the music be written.Björk

Bare attention, no distractions, pure awareness, noticing only what is in the moment.” — Natalie Goldberg in “Three Simple Lines.”

The gratification comes in the doing, not in the results.” — James Dean

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— Interesting architectural work in Japan Both the color and graphics/structure are interesting
— George Hoyningen-Huene: Fashion

— MattK: New edge lighting in sky replacement Helps get rid of halos.
— Simon Baxter edits a snowy forest scene.
— Colin Smith: Build a collage in photoshop Shows the basics at a good pace with good explanations. Great place to start if you would like to start doing collages and composites.

Field and Studio
— 5 tips for better pet portraits

— An olive tree epidemic The idea of this type of project is appealing.
— A bear in the lowlands This photostory is about a circus animal trainer, but more broadly it is about how changing social conscience can leave some relationships stranded.
— NFTs: Step two
— Courage in photojournalism award Some amazing images from some very brave and skilled women.

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Monday Missive — May 2, 2022


Nobody knows what you have in you until you’ve done it, so I just keep pushing those boundaries, and I figure it will all come out in the wash.” -— Greta Gerwig

What you have to make secure and guard with your life — because it is your life — is the same pure creativity that brought you here, and that brought me here too.” -— Martin Scorsese

Creativity is an energy. It’s a precious energy, and it’s something to be protected. A lot of people take for granted that they’re a creative person, but I know from experience, feeling it in myself, it is a magic; it is an energy. And it can’t be taken for granted.” -— Ava DuVernay

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— Exceptional composite images by Nick Brandt of the impact of climate change on people Great story-telling too.
— Puglia
— Hip Hop
— Luminous visions of landscapes
— David DuChemin asks: Is a body of work your next step?

Field and Studio
— Sean Tucker: Overcoming fears about street photography
— Alan Walls: Macro photography First in a series about the basics of macrophotography
— Meaning in street photography

— Portfolio Reviews: PhotoNOLA
— Marcus Leatherdale dies: New York art scene in the 1980s

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Monday Missive — April 25


It is not enough to know your craft — you have to have feeling.” — Édouard Manet

. . . considering how we commodify the visual identity of strangers is a tricky topic.” — Jonathan Blaustein

I can’t give you a recipe for success, but I can give you a recipe for failure: try to please everybody.” — Frank Langella

I couldn’t resist: “I quote others only in order the better to express myself.” — Michel de Montaigne, philosopher

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— Raymond Depardon landscapes
— Letizia Battaglia photographed the Mafia

— Blake Rudis: Sky replacement with Blend-If compared to PS Replace Sky
— Black and white conversions in LR
— Banding, editing and resolution in Photoshop Good explanations and illustration of why you want to edit 16-bit files rather than 8-bit.

Field and Studio
— Lindsay Adler: Using mylar for creative effects
— Compelling compositional tools Illustrated with excellent examples

— The coming coast A great example of using photography for a social cause.
— Supporting photographers with NFTs
— Best settings for IPhone photography

View my Adobe Portfolio site

Tulip, stacked focus, Sherwood Gardens.

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Monday Missive — April 18


The work of most artists will be dust sooner or later. The important thing is to keep the work going, to live and work with dignity and some gaiety, to get as much out of life as we can and to earn the gratitude of those who view our work.” — Kent Winchester, Albuquerque Photo Gallery

Of course, in order to make art, the frustration of not working has to be greater than the frustration of working.” — Jerry Uelsmann

There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.” — Richard Avedon

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— America in Crisis
— Wow Surf images! These are really creative and capture motion in an exceptional way
— Finding images in deep snow

— MattK: Select sky vs graduated filters
— Sean Tucker: Add texture and color to your portrait backgrounds
— Whole bunch of plug-ins and filters

Field and Studio
— Crystal ball photography
— Good advice for getting the sharpest possible images

— Jerry Uelsmann dies His work was really amazing
— Panos Just pretty pictures

During the winter I keep my camera with a telephoto lens mounted on a tripod at the back window looking out on a big maple with a feeder. I randomly take a look to see if there is anything interesting. I liked the early morning light on this sparrow.


Pintail duck, Bombay Hook.

Oops! Sorry. Tree swallows.

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Monday Missive — April 11, 2022


They say everything looks better with odd numbers of things. But sometimes I put even numbers — just to upset the critics.” — Bob Ross

However you think it should be, that’s exactly how it should be.” — Bob Ross

In addition to documenting the news and capturing the first visual draft of history unfolding, many photojournalists hope and think and believe that the work they do will provoke some kind of change.” — Kathy Ryan, NY Times Director of Photography

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— Jeffrey Wolin: Faces of homelessness Includes an interesting discussion of photographic ethics with regard to photographing people who aren’t at their best.
— Ukrainian railway in the dark
— Jakob De Boer: The sounds our ancestors heard This has arrows on left and right, and alternates text and image.
— Shadows in the city
— Philip Montogemery’s coverage of the pandemic We’ve seen a lot of images of the pandemic, but this goes deeper and broader.

— Creating workflows in Bridge This could work really well to automatically re-size and change formats for competitions, upload to social media or other submissions.
— David DuChemin: Selecting your best images Some thoughtful discussion on what your selection process could look like and how it can improve your images.
— Adobe Super Resolution Also compares AI Gigapixel and ON1 Resize

Field and Studio
— Cityscapes

— 5 images from David Hume Kennerly Only 5 images but . . . WOW!

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Monday Missive — April 4, 2022


. . . what a project looks like at the end and what it looked like at the very beginning are usually very different. Our work grows and changes, as does how we look at that work.” — David DuChemin

I didn’t especially like candid shots,” [John] Banasiak says. “I like people looking at me. It lets me see more in the eyes and remember more of what, maybe spiritually, the people looked like.” And so he shot them straight-on, figuring when viewers looked at the images, “it would be like they’re looking at these people at the bar, and they’d feel more of a connection.” — From “Inside George Brown’s Bar” by Bill Shapiro

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— 1980s NY art scene
— Peter Turnley: Exodus from Ukraine Many excellent images with excellent and emotional commentary by the photographer.
— Inside John Brown’s Bar

— Change the focal plane in Photoshop
— Remove a fence from a nature image

Field and Studio
— Making portraits to honor people
— A photographer’s account of the war in Ukraine
— An insect photographer who is scared of insects Lots of images of really unusual beetles from the tropics and elsewhere.

— In defense of the selfie
— CFExpress formats explained

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Monday Missive — March 28, 2022


Art is about finding creativity in the gutter next to you.” —Olafur Eliasson

Don’t just make photographs; make something with the photographs.” — David DuChemin

Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say.” — Barbara Kingsolver

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— Moody twilight cityscapes
— John Dyer: Edge of Texas
— Phyllis Galembo: Sacred Space

Field and Studio
— Timothy Fadek: How to cover the war in Ukraine Brief article but very serious stuff!
— Face-to-face with wildlife
— Tom Heaton: White Wilderness

— In-game photography This is new to me and not something I would ever have thought of doing.
— David DuChemin: That was fun, but now what?
— How Kodak’s Estar film base is made
— Understanding NFTs

Continuing “What do you think/”
These images were taken during an artist residency at Big Cypress preserve in SW Florida. The scenes are all about the sky, where the clouds are the subject and the foreground gives context or scale. The first question I asked myself was “vertical” or “horizontal”? In general, I prefer my landscapes to be “landscape” (horizontal), because the scenes are usually more horizontal than vertical.
In the first image, the balance emphasized the sky over the marsh, but not by much, especially when you consider the reflections of the sky in the water. In the second, the dramatic sky dominates at about 80% of the image and the foreground trees are silhouettes. However, at the very top of the image there is little detail and I could have cropped down to make a less vertical image. For both of these I think the portrait (vertical) orientation was appropriate despite my general preference for landscapes to be horizontal. Do you think I should have cropped the image down from the top? What do you think?

In the third image the foreground is given minimal mass, and the image is clearly about the clouds. But the trees do give scale. However, the lack of trees on the right seem to me to unbalance the image. Should I have cropped this square to focus on the most dramatic part of the clouds, balanced by the trees as a complete foregound?

Finally, the 4th and 5th images are the same image, except that the fifth image is cropped square with a little off the bottom, and I cropped the empty sky at the top. I though this would improve the image, but now it looks cramped and compressed. What do you think?

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Monday Missive — March 21, 2022


Optimism is a perfectly legitimate response to failure.” — Stephen King

Am I good enough? Yes, I am.” -— Michelle Obama

Your life is already a miracle of chance waiting for you to shape its destiny.” -— Toni Morrison

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— Sarah Hadley: Story lines
— Vibrant Green: Drone photography in Poland
— Through the eyes of Ukrainian refugees
— War Diary: From a basement in Kyiv This one is powerful.

— Sean Tucker: Shaping the light in your portraits

Field and Studio
— Street photography tips
— Marc Koegel: BW Landscapes Marc uses a monochrome medium format camera, and the images are striking. He also has an interesting approach and philosophy about his photography.

— A photo book: Lost and found
— Denis Brihat: An ecologist before his time.
— City anonymity I don’t generally like out of focus or blurry images, but these work with concept.

For the next few weeks I am going to try something new. I will present some images that I thought at the time I took them, that I saw something special, but looking back, I ended up not capturing it effectively.

For the first image of cypress trees taken in 2018 at the newly established Congaree National Park in South Carolina, I was trying to capture the depth, density and mystery of the cypress trees, so I set my f-stop at f/2.8 on a 70-200 mm lens at 150 mm focal length thinking that the out of focus foreground would give that impression. Instead, now I find it is just distracting. I think I would have a better image if I either (1) set the f-stop to f/11 or higher and increased my ISO OR (2) did a stacked focus set so that everything was in focus. What do you think?

For this picture of a small house snuggled at the base of a huge live oak, I think the basic premise was good. It is uncommon to see a scene like this. One thing that could have been better is to come back at a different time of day. The bright sky and highlights of the branches could have been diminished earlier or later. A polarizer might have helped as well. The cropped BW is I think an improvement on the color image because it removes the worst of the excessive highlights. The image was made with a 24-120 at 24 mm, f/4.5, 1/100 sec, ISO 125. I wonder if the image would have been improved with a wider angle lens (I have a 14 mm) that would have let me get closer and still include the whole tree, while diminishing the bright foreground. What do you think?

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Monday Missive — March 14, 2022


I photograph everything that surprises me. If nothing surprises me, I photograph nothing. It’s still a surprise when I go back to my negatives.” — Graciela Iturbide

I took the pictures in this book so that nostalgia could never color my past. I wanted to make a record of my life that nobody could revise: not a safe, clean version, but instead, an account of what things really looked like and felt like and smelled like. I don’t think I could, at this age and in this body now, live the life that I lived then. It took a certain level of fearlessness, a wildness, quick changes—of clothes, of friends, of lovers, of cities.

The book gave a mirror to kids who had no reflection of themselves in the world around them. They knew that they weren’t alone.

Photography has been redemptive for me, it’s helped me chart my descents and my reconstruction. ” — Nan Goldin on her book “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency”

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— How Ukrainian photographers are covering the war
— Children of Togo
— Graciela Iturbide: Photography is a living matter

— MattK reviews tips and tricks with layers
— Piximperfect: Removing jpg artifacts quickly and easily

Field and Studio
— Alister Benn talks about shooting in flat light and how to process afterward. Scottish coast during stormy weather.
— Street photography tips
— Monochrome landscapes

— Rowland Scherman: The day Bob Dylan became Bob Dylan
— Ted Forbes talks about layering in constructing your compositions

This is probably my favorite image of the whole trip. I was standing hip deep in snow as I took it. Shade from the hillside and the trees maintained the snow until late May. I feel like I got the shutter speed exactly right to blur the moving water, but not turn it into milk.

Stehekin is a small community and each spring they held a pot-luck community picnic, and I was invited. It was a beautiful day and everyone was having a good time. . .

When tragedy struck. A float plane, bringing five people back to Stehekin for the picnic, over-turned in Lake Chelan. The Stehekin school superintendent and a doctor did not survive.
These two articles provide more details.

Two of the five people on board died. Apparently the wheels were down which should not happen for a water landing. I felt so bad for the community that what began as such a positive, happy day ended with sadness and loss.

My residency was almost over and I had to get back for my son’s graduation, so I left 3 days later.

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