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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Monday Missive — March 7, 2022


Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.” — Isabel Allende

The photographer’s work is documentary in spirit but it doesn’t carry an explicit commentary, leaving it up to the viewer to draw conclusions, and to people to see themselves.” — Blind Magazine about the photographs of Brian Finke

Imagination is a force that can actually manifest a reality. Don’t put limitations on yourself. Others will do that for you.” -— James Cameron

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— Exhibition/Harold Feinstein: Life as it was
— Laurie Peek: In lieu of flowers

— Most effective way to sharpen I have used this method and works well, but it will only work in Photoshop.
— Editing with the histogram Blake Rudis first discusses the basics of the histogram and then shows how to actually edit your image with the histogram. I didn’t know you could do that. Works with LR and PS.

Field and Studio
— Gavin Hardcastle: Long exposure landscape photography Flooded trees in Abraham Lake, Alberta at dawn
— The story behind 7 great nature shots from Art Wolfe
— Tom Heaton: North Yorkshire, BW film, Trees

— David DuChemin: What is missing from your photography?
— Ted Forbes: Don’t call the curator — A real eye-opener
— Self-publishing Photobooks

Continuing the story of my artist residency in the North Cascades.
The Buckner Orchard was no longer in business, but this old truck remained.

Old Truck, Buckner Orchard.

Lake Chelan is a natural lake, but a dam was built in 1927 to raise the water level. During winter the water level is lowered, to make room for spring snow melt without flooding. As the lake is lowered, the river bed is exposed and dries, dust gets raised whenever the wind blows. After I left they did have some flooding.

Dust from the exposed, dry river bed get blown around as the bed dries out during spring.

Although I didn’t work closely with the National Park staff, they did invite me over to lunch one day. The park supplied me with a bike and when they weren’t using it, which was most of the time, a small pickup, which was tremendously helpful.

This image is typical of the landscape in the North Cascades.

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Monday Missive — Feb 28, 2022


But the bottom line is that if we don’t define ourselves and our desires, someone else will. . . . the biggest issue with my type of work (or really any photography) is consent. If the most erotic explicit imagery is done with joy and consent, it’s a lot less objectifying than, say, Winogrand stealing images of women on the street without their consent.” — Renee Jacobs

You must be imaginative, strong-hearted. You must try things that may not work, and you must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul.” — Auguste Gusteau, “Ratatouille”

A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.” — Frank Capra

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— Arthur Drooker: Light on the land
— Exhibition: Pairs and Diptychs Lots of images, many very well-done. Interesting idea for a project.
— John Bernhard: Diptych Another in the Lenscratch diptych series. Some of these are very interesting pairings–a few I don’t get.
— Roger Kasparian: The birth of the swingin’ 60s
— Queens of country life Portraits of French “peasants” all born in the first half of the last century. Interesting series.
— Renee Jacobs: Sensual and provocative images in Paris Note: This article has nudity.

Field and Studio
— Tom Heaton: Photographing in the White Desert of Egypt Never heard of this place.

— Evan Benally Atwood: Native American views on gender
— Ted Forbes talks about inspiration
— Sean Tucker: Finding your visual voice

The story of the North Cascades residency continues. I tried several times to climb part way up Rainbow Falls to get a better view of the upper part of the falls. It was May and the snow melt really made for a very strong flow. It was also too steep and there was too much spray on the camera and the lens to get a better image. This was the best image from the foot of the falls. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to get back a week later to see if the flow was still strong, but somewhat milder.

Rainbow Falls.

One of things I liked best about the residency was finding natural things, flower, fungi, bears, birds that I never seen before. These mission bells were new to me. As I printed images, I would post 5 x 7s in the visitors center.

I was proud of myself for getting this image from the Lakeshore Trail that included the flowers in the foreground as the sun came up over the mountains behind me to light the mountains of the opposite shore.

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Monday Missive — February 21, 2022


I am not a documentarian; I make photographs that reflect an experience, perhaps a mood or an impression. I don’t presume to photograph the ‘spirit of a place’ (if such a thing exists) as much as I hope to photograph my encounter of it.” — David DuChemin in “Savannah”

We want to go down the paths our idols walked down, but the thing that we forget is that they didn’t walk down paths, because those paths weren’t there yet. They created them.” — Hank Green, author

When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.” -— Jean Shinoda Bolen, psychiatrist

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— Gloria Baker Feinstein: A search for beauty and serenity
— Gregory Crewson: Post-industrial America
— James Van Der Zee: A portrait of Harlem
— Debe Arlook: Surrealistic landscapes

Field and Studio
— Cool water drop images
— Negative space in landscape photography
— Know when to press the shutter to capture the decisive moment

— Bayou Josh muses on whether it is the picture or the story
— What gear to take and how to get it on the plane

If you remain interested in the story of my North Cascades residency, a contemporaneous diary and imagery is available at my old blogspot blog. The newest posts are at the top, so you have to scroll down and then scroll up to keep the time sequence.

The kitchen in the Imus cabin was certainly not fancy, but was entirely functional and pleasant.

Kitchen in Imus cabin.

On a day-to-day basis the landscape was fairly dramatic.

North Cascades Artist-In-Residence

There was an old log school house that was maintained, but no longer used.

Old Stehekin school.

At one point this one room school house served all of the children in the community.

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February 14, 2022


The formula for doing a good job in photography is to think like a poet.” — Imogen Cunningham

I don’t want no drummer. I set the tempo.” -– Bessie Smith

No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you — just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.
” — Shel Silverstein “The Voice” from “Falling Up”

Photoessays/Bodies of Work
— Sun City
— Turkish “drifters” This is about a group of young men who drive to show off.
— Arlene Gottfried I was equivocal about including this link, but the story is interesting.
— NY Street life 1982

— Sean Tucker: Enhancing eyes in your portraits

Field and Studio
— Learning to do street photography
— Bayou Josh just got a new camera for bird photography (Quite)a bit tongue-in-cheek, but some very good bird photography

— Eve Arnold
— Simon Baxter: Look back to find inspiration and creativity
— India

Continuing the tale of my artist residency in the North Cascades from last week: I was assigned to the Imus Cabin. I have no idea who Imus was, but I had his cabin all to myself. This is the glorious view from the front porch.

View from Imus cabin.

This is the cabin itself.

North Cascades Artist-In-Residence

The aptly named Castle Rock was one of the more impressive peaks visible from Stehekin.

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