A Matilija Poppy pokes out in the middle of a covert of flowering dogwood, cosmos, old-fashioned roses, echinacea, and climbing mallows. Enjoy!
Flowering Dogwood & Friends © Harold Davis
Photographed straight down on my light box for transparency, and captured using my Zeiss 100mm macro lens, five exposures each at f/22 and ISO 64, exposure times from 1/5 of a second to 3 seconds; tripod mounted; exposures processed and combined in Nik HDR Efex Pro, Adobe Camera Raw, and Photoshop, with finishing touches added using Photoshop, Nik Color Efex Pro, Topaz Adjust, Topaz Simplify, Topaz Impression, and Nik Viveza.
These floral fantasies are created and photographed as collages on the light box, then processing in Adobe Camera Raw, Photoshop, Nik, Topaz, and using LAB color adjustments. What fun!
Bright As a Summer’s Day © Harold Davis
Photographed with my Zeiss Otus 85mm at f/16 and ISO 64 in two panels, each panel with eight exposures ranging from 1/15 of a second to 15 seconds. First I combine the captures in each panel using the techniques explained in my Photographing Flowers for Transparency FAQ. Then I use Photoshop to combine the left and right sides of this floral panorama, for an extremely high resolution file.
Shadow of the Solarized Moon © Harold Davis
The workflow for processing these images is laborious but a great deal of fun. Learn more via my books, my online webinar recordings, or in a Harold Davis workshop (there are only a few spaces left in my Flower workshop in Maine this August).
Flowers Will Reach the Black Empire © Harold Davis
Point Reyes National Seashore is probably unique among the American National Parks in that this public land is shared with working cattle and dairy ranches. These ranches date from the early 1800s and are very much a part of the history of Point Reyes. Many have been in the same family for generations.
D Ranch, Point Reyes © Harold Davis
Parking my car beside the road, I scrambled down a steep bank, crossed through a tunnel under the road, and found myself in the abandoned out-buildings of D Ranch. The scene shown in the image—a door within a door within a window—with stark contrasts between light exterior wood and dark interior was too good to pass up, so I stopped to make this monochromatic image with my camera on my tripod.
Related story: Monterey Cypress Row on Point Reyes.
On my way to teach a weekend Seascapes and Wildflowers workshop at the western tip of Point Reyes, California I stopped to photograph the well-known row of Monterey Cypress trees at the Marconi operations center. This tree tunnel is one of the largest in the world made up of these trees, and marks a historically significant wireless location. Certainly, there is something very dramatic about coming upon these trees standing by themselves in the windswept landscape of Point Reyes.
Memory Lane © Harold Davis
By the way, the workshop was great fun with a truly compatible group of photographers. Many photos were made, participants came from as far away as Florida and New Jersey, and the sense of community that marks the truly successful workshop was indeed present. The workshop base was the historic Coastguard Boathouse, where we were surrounded night and day by elephant seals and sea lions. Thank you Point Reyes Field Institute for hosting this—and many other—memorable workshops over the years!
Here’s an iPhone capture from the classroom window at the Boathouse of the ramp used to guide out rescue boats when the place was operational, with the window cloudy with salt spray.
Coastguard Boathouse Window © Harold Davis
The barista at Farley’s in Emeryville, California makes the nicest designs in the Latte foam!
Coffee © Harold Davis
Long-time readers of my blog will know that I am no fan of the perspicacity and wisdom of the powers-that-be at Flickr and their Yahoo masters. This is despite the fact that I have been a Flickr member since 2005, with at last glance a 5,647,849 view count on Flickr. A case in point I wrote about fairly recently is Flickr’s foolishly implemented attempt to venture into photo licensing (see Flickr and me, and stock photography: Adventures in Licensing in the Internet Era and The worst mistake you can make with customers).
Passion for Petals Painterly © Harold Davis
The latest Flickr foray into egregious idiocy comes with a Flickr site redesign. In all fairness, the redesign is actually pretty attractive and functional. The problem is with a feature that Flickr implemented, namely auto-tagging of one’s photos. A software robot analyzes images, and adds tags. The point of course is to make searching easier, because search engines mostly use words, not visuals. The problem is that the Flickr’s robot isn’t all that good at recognizing subject matter.
For example, Passion for Petals Painterly, the image shown above, created using photography of flowers, Photoshop, and Topaz Impressions is tagged on Flickr (opens in new tab, scroll down to see the tags) “pastel”, “drawing”, and “food”—a perfect trifecta of tagging error since none of the tags are correct.
The problems with the tagging feature could be chalked up to it being an early software version. Obviously, automated image recognition software is a hard challenge. But my frustration stems from the fact that there is no way to turn this feature off globally. I take a great deal of care with my work, and I really don’t like it being tagged incorrectly. To remove the incorrect tags from my images on Flickr, and there are many of them, would mean going through my photos one-by-one and clicking the little X above each errant tag. No thank you!
Like Clematis this is a single blossom, photographed on a light box, inverted to black in LAB, and then converted to monochrome using a virtual Infrared filter. The steps are shown here in inverted order (last is first, and first is last).
Mallow in IR © Harold Davis
Mallow on Black © Harold Davis
Mallow on White © Harold Davis
Post-production is so much part of my photographic art that I felt desolated when my production machine gave up the ghost last week. Admittedly, I’ve lived with it for many years, and made it mine. But it has taken me quite some time to get my new computer configured the way I like it—probably worth it, as it is up to handling the enormous files and sizes that I find myself often editing deploying.
Last week when I have a composition on my light box I photographed it with a high resolution camera on tripod. Then I thought, why not do it using my iPhone as well. The results photographed and processed on my iPhone are shown here.
Floral square © Harold Davis
Images that verge on the transparent and convey translucency can appear miraculous. If you want to learn my techniques for photographing flowers for transparency on a light box, but can’t attend an in-person workshop with me on the topic, please consider my sequence of informal webinar recordings.
Painting in Transparency Using a High-Key Layer Stack explains the photographic strategy and post-production (click here to register, and click here for more info).
Creative Use of LAB Color shows some of the techniques I use to add color effects, to invert the backgrounds from white to black, and more (click here to register, and click here for more info).
Using Backgrounds and Textures explains many of the techniques I use to create finished artwork from translucent images (click here to register, and click here for more info) by placing a translucent image on a background, or adding a texture file “above” the image.
Finally, if you are having a little trouble around working with layers in Photoshop, Photoshop Layers 101 may be for you (click here to register, and click here for more info) as I guide you and explain how I work with layers in Photoshop. It is really a great deal simpler than you may think!
Each webinar recording costs $19.95 for unlimited access. Please click here for more information about my webinar recordings.
If you are unfamiliar with my techniques, my FAQ explaining Photographing Flowers for Transparency is a good place to start.
Translucency of Rosa © Harold Davis
I’m pleased to see a positive pre-publication review of my new book Achieving Your Potential As a Photographer: A Photographer’s Creative Companion and Workbook in the May issue of Rangefinder Magazine. The reviewer, Jim Cornfield, notes that that Achieving Your Potential is “vintage Harold Davis: graphically lively, amply thought out, and informed by Davis’s unique sense of organization and creative vision.” Thanks Jim! Read the complete review by clicking here (opens in a separate window).
Translucency of Rosa on Black © Harold Davis
The ancient Pont Valentre crosses a loop in the Lot River at the city of Cahors in southwestern France. The tower in the middle of the river of this fortified and impregnable bridge was held even when the surrounding city was overrun. I recently converted the image to black and white (click here to see the color version and blog story) for a chapter on black and white workflow in a new book I have started to work on.
Pont Valentre © Harold Davis
Related stories: Valentre Bridge; Impregnable.
Translucency of Rosa © Harold Davis
Practicum Perluciditatem © Harold Davis
Miraculum Flores © Harold Davis
Veil of Roses © Harold Davis
Clematis © Harold Davis
Related stories: The Virtues of Translucency; Clematis; Miraculum Flores.
Flowers are a miracle! This is a spring in Berkeley, California that is wondrous in terms of blossoms, and I have been enjoying it and photographing up a floral storm, almost entirely with flowers Phyllis and I harvest in the neighborhood. The top image is an LAB L-channel inversion, and the middle image is simulated black and white infrared (“ultrarubrum” in Latin)—both images derived in post-production from the “straight” light box image at the bottom. More on these techniques in this earlier sequence of images of a lone Clematis, and more floral imagery to come when I have time to develop and process it.
Miraculum Nigrae Flores © Harold Davis
Miraculum Nigrae Flores Ultrarubrum © Harold Davis
Miraculum Flores © Harold Davis
I am offering a unique opportunity to join me and a very exclusive group as we photograph Italy this autumn (the dates are October 28 – November 11, 2015). If you are tired of being part of the photographic herd, then this is the trip for you! The group size is strictly limited to six participants. If you are interested, please inquire right away as there is very little space remaining (and arrangements have to be finalized soon)!
We will be photographing in Cinque Terre, Naples, the island of Capri, and in Positano and the Amalfi coast. Accommodations, transportation, and many meals are included. I will be working with a top-flight local Italian licensed tour guide with an art history background to make sure that we have the best experience possible. Please see www.digitalfieldguide.com/learning/workshops-events/italy for full details.
As a workshop leader, my goal is to is to facilitate a community of photographers, have fun photographing in interesting and exciting places, share some technical information, and—most importantly—encourage each participant’s unique and individual creative expression. As one of my workshop participants has put it, “Harold is genuine, generous, and gracious. He has a world of knowledge and expertise that he loves to share. His wonderful books show his monumental talents and skill set, and his workshops show the depth of his connecting with others in a very real and personal way.”
Please join me in Italy this autumn. I look forward to working with you one-on-one in exciting locations to realize your photography dreams and goals.