Sweet Pea after O’Keeffe

After seeing some of my photos mistaken for O’Keeffe’s luscious flower paintings, I took another look at the wondrous botanical art of Georgia O’Keeffe. The sensuous, indeed sexual, nature of the O’Keeffe portrayal of flowers is a pretty obvious characteristic of her paintings.

Flowering Sweet Pea © Harold Davis

Flowering Sweet Pea © Harold Davis

What wasn’t clear to me until I took this further look was the extent to which O’Keeffe plays with magnification and scale. Essentially O’Keeffe is often painting extreme macro compositions, although they do not always seem that way to the viewer because of how they have been magnified and sometimes distorted. In its own way, this is a very photographic approach to painting, as I like to think I approach photography in a painterly way.

Click here to see some of O’Keeffe’s sweet pea paintings (opens Google images in a separate tab/window).

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Dogwood & Friends

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

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.

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Floral Fantasies

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

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

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

Flowers Will Reach the Black Empire © Harold Davis

 

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Historic D Ranch, Point Reyes

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

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.

Posted in Monochrome, Photography, Point Reyes

Mona Lisa wants to photograph Italy with Harold Davis

Harold Davis-Mona-Italy

Prospectus and itinerary: www.digitalfieldguide.com/learning/workshops-events/italy

Registration details: www.digitalfieldguide.com/italy-registering

Click here to download graphic as e-Card PDF

Posted in Workshops

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

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

Coastguard Boathouse Window © Harold Davis

Posted in Landscape, Monochrome, Point Reyes

An angel watching out for me

The barista at Farley’s in Emeryville, California makes the nicest designs in the Latte foam!

Coffee © Harold Davis

Coffee © Harold Davis

Posted in iPhone, Photography

Flickr and a perfect trifecta of tagging errors

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

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!

Posted in Flickr, Photography

Mallow

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 in IR © Harold Davis

Mallow on Black © Harold Davis

Mallow on Black © Harold Davis

Mallow on White © 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.

Posted in Flowers, Monochrome, Photography

Floral Square

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

Floral square © Harold Davis

Posted in Flowers, iPhone

A Short Course in Translucency

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).

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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).

01-title-LAB

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.

01-title

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!

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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

Translucency of Rosa © Harold Davis

Posted in Flowers, Photoshop Techniques, Workshops

Pre-Publication Review of Achieving Your Potential As a Photographer by 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).

02-04-2015-Achieving-Cover

Translucency of Rosa on Black © Harold Davis

Translucency of Rosa on Black © Harold Davis

Posted in Writing

Pont Valentre

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

Pont Valentre © Harold Davis

Related stories: Valentre Bridge; Impregnable.

Posted in France, Monochrome, Photography

Essays in Translucency

Translucency of Rosa © Harold Davis

Translucency of Rosa © Harold Davis

Practicum Perluciditatem © Harold Davis

Practicum Perluciditatem © Harold Davis

Miraculum Flores © Harold Davis

Miraculum Flores © Harold Davis

Veil of Roses © Harold Davis

Veil of Roses © Harold Davis

Clematis © Harold Davis

Clematis © Harold Davis

Related stories: The Virtues of Translucency; Clematis; Miraculum Flores.

Posted in Flowers, Photography

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 © Harold Davis

Miraculum Nigrae Flores Ultrarubrum © Harold Davis

Miraculum Nigrae Flores Ultrarubrum © Harold Davis

Miraculum Flores © Harold Davis

Miraculum Flores © Harold Davis

Posted in Flowers, Photography, Photoshop Techniques