Tag Archives: fine art photography

  • New Article On The PhotoCascadia Blog: Searching For What Is Not Literally There

    My most recent article on the Photo Cascadia blog explores the challenge photographers face in translating experience, inner vision and "voice" in a way that they still resonate within the static, two dimensional photograph. Ansel Adams' advice to look beyond what is literally there and instead identify something from within you that draws you to the scene has been very helpful to me. To make our photographs more than just pictures of things it helps to identify the qualities of a scene that stimulate us and allow that information to guide what the photograph should really be about.

    You are invited to read the entire article on the PhotoCascadia blog.

  • Digital Image Processing Video Tutorials

    Digital cameras and image processing have revolutionized photography. There was a time when photographers had a holistic view of photography, mastering both the technical skills with a camera and the artistic skills in the darkroom to develop and process their images to perfection. Embracing the two sides of photography, capture and processing, allowed them to showcase their personal vision in their images. The advent of 35mm color slide film photography shifted the focus away from processing and placed greater emphasis on camera technique, with certain limitations. While camera technique is as important as it ever was, digital image processing has provided a path for photographers to get back in the "darkroom" and regain the creative control of developing and processing images.

    In three separate video tutorial series I share knowledge, philosophy, guiding workflow and specific techniques that I use to process and develop my photographs.

    Photoshop Basics For Nature Photographers Price: $39.99
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    New to Photoshop? Learn to apply Photoshop to your outdoor, landscape & nature photography including Bridge and Camera Raw, plus the basic layout, tools, palettes, adjustments and filters you need to know to get started processing your outdoor photographs using the power & precision of Photoshop CS.

    This tutorial series is for Photoshop beginners or those who want to fill in gaps in their skills. Based in CS5, almost all of the content is also applicable to earlier versions of CS and Photoshop Elements.
    Includes 23 video tutorials with over three and a half hours of content.

    Digital Processing Workflow For Nature Photographers Pre: $44.99

    Add to CartView Cart

    This tutorial series helps you establish an organized, best practice, non-destructive workflow . The workflow progresses through image organization, raw processing, and non-destructive Photoshop techniques. Topics include image clean up, color and contrast, selections, adjustment layers, masks and soft proofing for print as well as creative processing techniques that I use.

    These tutorials are based in Photoshop CS5 but most of the workflow is also applicable to earlier versions of CS and Photoshop Elements.

    Includes 30 video tutorials with over four hours of content.

    Processing For Extended DynamiRange Price: $44.99

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    These advanced tutorials provide instruction in powerful techniques that will help you overcome the limitations of cameras to properly record high dynamic range light. Techniques include raw processing, Photoshop adjustments, exposure blending and luminosity masking.
    These tutorials do not teach how to use HDR software. The techniques are all based on Photoshop adjustments and layer masking techniques. Proficiency with Photoshop CS is essential. Not compatible with Photoshop Elements.
    Includes 29 video tutorials with over four and a half hours of content.
    Digital Workflow And Extending Dynamic Range Set Price $79.99 Add to CartView Cart
    Get Digital Processing Workflow For Nature Photographers and Processing For Extended Dynamic Range together at a special price.

    Tutorial Samples

    Photoshop Basics

    Processing Workflow

    Extending Dynamic Range

  • On Landscape Photography, Digital Image Developing and Artistic Expression

    One of the mindsets that guides my photography is that the human eye and the camera don’t experience the world in the same way. Photographs are more limited than human sight in many ways, but can also see in ways that we can not. It is my goal to understand what the camera sees so I can manipulate and coax it to capture a photograph that reconciles with my own view of the landscape. To some this goes against tradition. We have been conditioned to believe that a photograph portrays, or at least should portray, an accurate record of the world and we must accept what the camera gives us. In truth, the very act of taking a photograph significantly alters a scene from how we perceive it in any number of ways. I'm less interested in the literal and more interested in what I can communicate and create. Artists have always endeavored to express themselves, their experiences and their impressions through their medium. A camera is a tool to do just that, to paint an artistic vision of the world. I want to capture something that excites me and hopefully resonates with others. In a recent interview my friend, professional musician and fellow photographer, Chip Phillips said, "The main thing to make the [musical] performance successful is to stir up an emotional response in the listener, and the same is true with a photograph."

    Both the way that we capture and develop our images have entered a new and exciting phase. Early on I embraced the changes digital technology brought to the art form. The digital age has allowed photographers to overcome many shortcomings and limitations of cameras that have frustrated them from the beginning. The new tools of photography enable me to be more creative and to express my experiences and vision more fully than ever before. I will always be fan and a student of traditional landscape and nature photography, venturing into the land to work with the raw materials of light, form, color and texture. And while the photographic tools and techniques are evolving, the motivation and the thought processes of the nature photographer remain unchanged. If anything, I find that it is more important than ever to be on top of my game. It takes skill in traditional photography techniques as well as skill in digital developing to get my images to approach what I hope for them.

    There are those who worry that digital photography has lowered the bar. I can say my experience has been just the opposite. All the principles of light and composition continue to apply and proper camera technique is still essential. In fact, the way that I work with the camera in the field these days is more involved and creative than it ever could have been with film. I shoot thinking several steps ahead to how I will want to develop the image later on. In just a few seconds I might capture a range of frames utilizing different exposures, apertures and focal points in order to collect all the visual information in the scene I'll need to develop the finished piece. Learning how to think and work with so many variables while simultaneously pre-visualizing the future processing has been far more interesting and challenging than working within the confines of a single frame of film ever was. Far from being a shortcut or a creativity killer, digital photography allows us to express a new and exciting vision, not unlike the way film photography did when it was introduced over a century ago.

    For further musings on the topics of photography, artistic expression and where current digital developing techniques come to bare I would point you toward Guy Tal's recent article: Lie Like You Mean It.

    There are so many great activities one can be involved in in life. For many of us, one of those activities is the magic of exploring the world with our cameras in hand, capturing moments and trying to make lasting memories of the scenes that impress upon us.

    Links that might be of interest:

    Upcoming image processing classes and outdoor photography workshops.

    Instructional videos on fine art image processing.

    In my photography I am aware that the human eye and the camera don’t see the world in the same way. Photographs are more limited than human sight in some ways, but can also see in other ways that we can not. Since its invention we have been conditioned to accept that photography portrays a “literal” record of the world. However, as an artist, I'm less interested in the literal and more interested in how I can communicate my own experience and personal artistic vision. Artists have always endeavored to express themselves, their experiences and their impressions through their medium. My challenge is to use the camera to do just that, to paint an artistic vision of the world as I see it. I strive to do it well enough that it resonates with others.

    I am a fan of traditional landscape and nature photography. I derive great pleasure from venturing into the land and working with the raw materials of natural light, form, color and texture. The earth is my palette. But I also want to go beyond photography as a mere technical pursuit or objective record of natural history. In my photos I struggle to express something beyond a literal representation of the scene. Through the use of traditional photography techniques as well as careful digital developing I struggle to project my own human impressions, experiences and imagination. I hope that those who view my images are able to experience the same sense of adventure, mystery, drama, exploration and beauty that I do when I am out in the world.

    Photography has entered a new and exciting era. Early on I embraced the changes digital technology brought to the art form. The digital age has allowed photographers to overcome many shortcomings and limitations of cameras that have frustrated them from the beginning. It is an exciting time to be a landscape artist. The new tools of photography enable me to be more creative and to express my experiences and vision more fully than ever before.

    For those wondering if digital cameras have lowered the bar in photography, I can say my experience has been just the opposite. All the principles of light and composition continue to apply and proper camera technique is still essential. In fact, the way that I work with the camera in the field these days is more involved and creative than it ever was or could have been with film. I shoot thinking several steps ahead to how I will want to develop the image later on. In just a few seconds I might capture a range of frames utilizing different exposures, apertures and focal points in order to collect all the visual information in the scene I'll need to develop the finished piece. Learning how to think and work with so many variables while simultaneously pre-visualizing the future processing has been far more interesting and challenging than working within the confines of a single frame of film ever was. Far from being a shortcut and creativity killer, digital photography allows us to express a new and exciting vision, not unlike the way film photography did when it was introduced over a century ago.

  • March Show At Illahe Gallery - Earth Palette

    Last summer I had a private exhibit of my latest photography show entitled Earth Palette in the gallery at Rogue Valley Manor. I am excited to invite you to attend the opening of the first public showing of this body of work. The show will be featured at Illahe Gallery in Ashland, Oregon opening on Friday, March 4, 2011 from 5 to 8 PM.

    Illahe Studios and Gallery is located on the corner of 4th and B Street in Ashland. The show will be on exhibit for the entire month of March so if you miss the opening stop by any time.

    The show consists of a series of my landscape and nature images from locations in the western US that all share a focus on color, light, texture and form. The title of the show, Earth Palette, comes from my experiences photographing in the Painted Hills of central Oregon. The images are vibrant, surreal, dramatic and perhaps in many ways represent my romantic impressions more than a literal representation of the world.
    In keeping with my ongoing interest in moving beyond the traditional in landscape photography, I have created this entire show on a medium that is somewhat new to the art form, namely canvas. All of the images in this show have been printed in large format, some as large as 60 x 40, on gallery wrapped canvas. This gives them a painterly quality very different from what we usually expect from photographs. It is also a more raw and simple presentation, allowing one to view the images without competition from frames or separated by a layer of glass.

    I hope to see you there!

  • My Favorite Images From 2010

    Despite their ubiquity this time of year, I always look forward to year end reviews in which we, as a society, look back at the previous year and what came of it. There is something intrinsically valuable about the practice of remembering the year gone, both personally and as a community. I appreciate the sense of closure it gives; a sort of taking stock and clearing of the air, a brief pause before barreling toward the future again. We do this for all aspects of life. The media loves to inundate us with lists and images recalling the year in politics, movies, economics, environmental crises and sport. Many of us take stock of what our personal lives brought in the past year as well.

    Like many of my photographer colleagues, much of my year is wrapped up in the places I traveled and the photographs I made. Much effort and time is spent in pursuit of those few defining images that rise above the rest. They alone tell the story of my success or failure to communicate the vision I strive to capture and share. Despite success or failure, it is really about going for the ride. Whatever the outcome I take heart in adding another year to my photography story.

    With those thoughts in mind I share some of my favorite images taken in 2010. Enjoy.

    Camino de Oro

    Camino de Oro, Guanajuato, Mexico

    Lost In A Winter Forest, Crater Lake, Oregon

    Copper Coast, Puerto Escondido, Mexico

    Shasta Lavender, California

    Sparks Lake Columbine, Oregon

    Twilight Grove, Redwood National Park, California

    Unforgettable Fire, Cascade Pass, Washington

    Mineral de Pozos Doorways, Mexico

    Teardrop Of Sky, Bandon, Oregon

    Starvation Creek, Columbia Gorge, Oregon

    Thanks for looking. I'd love to read any comments questions you might like to share, so please post those below. If you're feeling it, please share this blog on your social media site of choice. Here's to 2011!

  • Photo Cascadia Q&A

    Last week a team of Pacific Northwest photographers, including myself, launched the website for and officially announced our group photography project called Photo Cascadia. The launch of Photo Cascadia was met with excitment and interest from friends, colleagues and the photography enthusiast community in general. If you missed it, you can read my previous post for the basic introduction to the Photo Cascadia team.

    The launch of Photo Cascadia also generated some great discussion and several questions about the future plans of the group. Group founder, Adrian Klein, has posted answers to the most common questions about the group that we have recieved to date. Perhaps they are questions that are on your mind as well. Questions include:

    • There are few groups out there already that have collaborated on websites and other efforts in relation to Nature Photography.  What makes your team different and how was it started?
    • Why is the Photo Cascadia team all males? Where are the female photographers?
    • Does the Photo Cascadia team have Photo Cascadia specific workshops available?
    • How can I buy fine art prints of images I see in the Photo Cascadia galleries?
    • When will the Photo Cascadia team have additional products available for purchase such as calendars, books, cards, etc?

    Read Adrian's Q&A for answers to these questions and to submit any other questions you might have about Photo Cascadia.

  • Subterranean Guanajuato

    Guanajuato, Mexico is as visually interesting as any city I have photographed. What many visitors might not realize, however, is that to find some of the most surreal parts of town you have to go underground.

    The entire city sits atop an extensive subterranean tunnel system. The tunnels were originally dug by mining operations starting in the 16th century to divert the river and keep the town and mines from flooding.

    From its beginnings in the mid 1500s the city was built to maximize useable space on the steep hillsides. Houses were stacked on top of one another with only the narrowest of alleys between them. Much of the charm of Guanajuato comes from the fact that it was never intended to accommodate cars.

    But cars were inevitable. In a huge engineering project in the 1960's, as car traffic in the narrow streets became more of a problem, the river was diverted yet again and the tunnels were converted into an underground system of roads. New tunnels have since been added, creating an ever expanding underground even Batman would be envious of. Drivers who know and understand the complex catacombs can quickly get from one part of the city to another. There are many entry and exit points making it possible to dive underground in one neighborhood and surface in another the next valley over.

    Most of the tunnels are deep underground, dark and full of car exhaust, but in places they break out to the surface where they are lined with buildings, bridges and arches.

    The subterranean channels and tunnels create an entirely different and mysterious dimension to a town that already has so much interesting character. It is a little hard to locate the best parts of the subterranean tunnels at first, and it can also be very disorienting trying to navigate through the tunnels. Often I'll emerge in a part of town that I have never been in before.

    If you enjoyed this photo essay consider sharing it on your social media network of choice using the handy links below.

  • Doors And Windows of Guanajuato

    One of my favorite photography projects in Guanajuato is exploring the callejons (narrow alleys) in search of interesting doors and windows. Many of the home owners in this town take great pride in their houses. Bright colors are popular and particular attention is paid to doors and windows. While some doors are kept carefully, other doors are neglected and have an authentic patina of time.

    With a rumored two thousand callejons in the city, all lined with buildings, there is no lack of doors and windows. Every door is different. Some are pristine, with carved and crafted hardwood and hand forged metal parts. Others are weathered and full of character. Some are precariously set in crumbling stone and brick and covered with graffiti. Each one tells its own story.

    As a photographer, I love the way light is reflected at different times of day in Guanajuato. The alleys are narrow enough that they transmit light in a way similar to a desert slot canyon. Direct sun striking the upper reaches of a deep alley can bounce back and forth off of the buildings, projecting a soft, radiant light deep into the shadows. A fully lit alley wall can also reflect a very strong glow onto the adjacent wall or around corners.

    The light is constantly changing, so part of my challenge is to find doors and windows that have special character and then return to photograph them when they are illuminated by particularly intriguing lighting conditions.

    These are just a few of the door and window photos I have taken on this visit so far. I also took a bunch last time I was here and I'll probably photograph some more before I leave. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with all the door photos. Photographing them is mostly a compulsion. I suppose I'll publish some of the best ones on greeting cards. I have also had requests for a "Doors of Guanajuato" poster, which I think is a pretty good idea.

    If you enjoyed this photo essay consider sharing it on your social media network of choice using the handy links below.

  • Peeling The Moon

    0581166-20091026-Edit

    Peeling the Moon - Cracked desert mud near Escalante, Utah.

    David Cobb and I came across this cracked, peeling mud layer in a wash while hiking in the desert along Hole in the Wall Rd in Utah. We were drawn, not only to the curled and cracked patterns, but the pock marks that must have been left by a rain shower. Without the cracks it would be hard to tell apart from a high altitude view of the moon's surface.

    There was harsh 10 o'clock light at the time, so I shaded the area with my jacket and noticed a great warm glow on the curled portions which was reflecting from the brightly lit bank of the wash. There was also a very slight blue cast in the flat sections which were reflecting the sky. The RAW file has pretty low contrast, but after working a bit in both RAW conversion and in PS to draw out the histogram and increase the contrast, this is the result. I often look for low contrast scenes to photograph knowing that the effect of enhancing the contrast later will give results that I find visually exciting.

    Canon 5DII, 24-105mm f/4L IS, 1/6 sec @ f/22, ISO 100

  • Outdoor Exposure iPhone App

    Outdoor Exposure for iEnvision iPhone app

    While a fine art photographic print is still my favorite way to enjoy great photography, technology is rapidly changing the ways it is possible to view, access and share art. The images that move and excite us no longer have to be confined to a wall or the pages of a book. I love to share my photographs and want people to be able to access them in a way that best suits their needs and purpose. A large fine art print will always be available to those who have the resources and space, but size, cost and location are no longer limiting factors to accessing photography and other visual art.

    The iPhone is one of the most innovative pieces of technology to recently come on the scene. It can be very valuable as a tool for communication and storing and accessing information, but it also has great potential in entertainment, education and access to media and imagry, includinig art.

    iPhone app graphic

    I recently partnered with the folks at Open Door Network in creating an iPhone application of my photography. The application is like a collection of slide shows that allow iPhone users to have a portable art gallery of my photographs right in their pockets. Photographs in the Outdoor Exposure for iEnvision app are organized into three collections including Landscape, Nature and Travel. Landscape includes photos of canyons, deserts, forest, lakes, mountains, oceans, streams and waterfalls. Nature displays abstracts, fall color, flowers, trees and winter. Travel takes you to Hawaii, Mexico and Nepal.

    iPhone app graphic

    In addition to viewing the gallery shows, the images can also be saved for use as iPhone wallpaper and each image links to the Outdoor Exposure Photography website for more information.

    iPhone app graphic

    Open Door Network's flagship iEnvision web image browser, as well as their line of Envi iPhone image applications access and organize images from the Web into fun to view and share slide shows for the iPhone. Other iEnvision "Envi" apps include Art, Earth, Space, Mountain and Yosemite.

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