Sainte Croixe de Beaumont

Way off the beaten track in the southwest of France, I stopped to photograph the ancient church at Sainte Croixe de Beaumont. This complex belonged to the Knights Templar, and is mostly abandoned. The interior of the church is still in decent shape, but the other buildings are heading for ruin.

Oncoming Storm over Sainte Croixe © Harold Davis

Oncoming Storm over Sainte Croixe © Harold Davis

All morning it had been threatening to rain, with swiftly moving clouds overhead. As I wandered through the fields with my camera on the tripod, the oncoming storm burst, and I made haste to take refuge in an abandoned building where I could protect my gear.

Posted in France, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography

Photographic Odyssey to Japan with Harold Davis

Please consider joining me on a photographic odyssey to Japan in the spring of 2015. This is my dream trip to Japan, a once in a lifetime exclusive eighteen-day opportunity. This is an absolutely unique trip. Group size is limited to a maximum of twelve people. The dates are March 29 – April 15, 2015, selected so as to have the best chance of being in Kyoto for the cherry blossoms.

If you look at the detailed itinerary, I think you’ll be amazed at all we’ve managed to pack into this Photographic Odyssey to Japan, from big cities and luxury hotels, to temples on pilgrimage routes, rustic ryokans, 17th century castles, and much more. The route of the trip follows a meandering path south from Tokyo round Mt Fuji, the Japanese alps, and the mountainous Japanese interior.

Misty Mountains
We’ll pause for a few days in Kyoto and photograph cherry blossoms, then visit the ancient capital of Nara, and head on for the terminus of the famous Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail. From there, a trip to Shikoku Island will feature the Naruto whirlpool, a washi paper making workshop at the famous Awagami factory, and a visit along the Shikoku 88 temples pilgrimage circuit.

Continuing south, we’ll stop to photograph Himeji Castle, pay our respects to the Atomic Dome in Hiroshima, and take our time photographing the giant Torii built over the inland sea on the sacred Island of Miyajima. From there we’ll fly back from Hiroshima to Tokyo (airfare included).

Please consider joining me in Japan! You can check out the detailed itinerary by going to http://www.digitalfieldguide.com/japan-workshop. I’ve included links to the hotels and ryokans where we’ll be staying. Also there are many links to locations on Google maps so you can get a better sense of the route.

Dawn in the High Fields © Harold Davis

When you look at the itinerary you may be surprised at how much we’ve managed to pack into this photographic trip, with excursions, night photography in Tokyo and Kyoto, temples and so much more. We’ll have the services of an English-speaking guide throughout the tour, and many meals are included in the trip. You can find pricing and registration information here: http://www.digitalfieldguide.com/japan-registration.

Group size is strictly limited (the maximum size is 12, with a minimum of 6 needed to run the trip). If a photographic tour of Japan under my guidance intrigues you, please take advantage of this offer, and don’t delay.

Click here for detailed information. Please drop me an email and let me know if you have any questions.

Gion at Night © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography, Workshops

Hohenzollern

Hohenzollern Castle, located in Swabia about 80 kilometers south of Stuttgart, Germany was home to the family that eventually spawned the emperors of Germany. Destroyed and rebuilt a number of times since its construction in the 11th century, the current version dates to the mid-19th century, where it was a conscious architectural folly and anachronism, modeled in English Gothic revival style, and after the chateaus of the Loire.

Hohenzollern © Harold Davis

Hohenzollern © Harold Davis

It had been raining all week. On a gray day, I parked in the parking lot below the castle, and paid my 5 Euros fee. I ignored the shuttle bus, and schlepped my camera and tripod up to the entrance to the castle, maybe a twenty minute walk. It was sprinkling lightly, and as I entered the lower levels I looked up at the swirling mist with a few beams of sunlight coming through, and proceeded to capture a number of views with monochromatic HDR in mind.

Posted in Germany, Monochrome

Scanning a Purple Flower

I was reminded of the very high resolution you can get from an inexpensive flatbed scanner recently when there was interest in a large print from one of my scanned flower images. With both the images shown here, the basic image was created on the scanner but I also photographed the flower, and blended the files from the camera and scanner.

Purple Flower Scan © Harold Davis

Purple Flower Scan © Harold Davis

Generally, flatbed scans can give you a very high resolution, but depth-of-field is very shallow. There’s no way to adjust depth-of-field, as you do by stopping down a lens. The ability to capture depth is also limited. If you try this technique, expect to spend a great deal of time spotting out dust, which almost always accompanies scanner images, particularly if you use a black (or dark) background. Combining a scan with a photo in some ways gives me the best of both worlds!

Purple Flower Dance © Harold Davis

Purple Flower Dance © Harold Davis

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Creative Use of LAB Color Recording Now Available

Creative Use of LAB Color Webinar Recording

01-title-LAB

Understanding the creative use of LAB color in Photoshop unlocks a vast treasure trove of under-utilized and under-explored possibilities. Truly one of the secrets of spectacular color in Photoshop, if you know how to work creatively with LAB color you will far ahead of the game in terms of getting the results you want from Photoshop.

This webinar explains the structure of LAB color, and demonstrates inversions and LAB equalizations for both image optimization and creative fun. You will learn how to combine Blending Modes with LAB equalizations for an unlimited and powerful palette.

This is information you will learn nowhere else. With access to the recording you can replay selected portions of the webinar recording as many times as you’d like.

Harold says, “When I discovered LAB color, and how to use what has been called ‘the most powerful color space,’ I knew I was on to one of the great secrets of Photoshop.”

The Creative Use of LAB Color with Harold Davis webinar covers:

  • Understanding LAB Color
  • LAB Color in Photoshop
  • LAB Channel Inversions
  • LAB Channel Equalizations
  • Downloading, installing and using Harold’s free LAB color action
  • Combining adjustments with blending modes
  • Creative LAB in a workflow
  • Examples and case studies

Here’s a comment from one viewer of the webinar: “Totally exciting creative process, Harold! I am looking forward to bringing these techniques into my own work.”

Click here to register for access to this webinar recording.

Posted in Workshops

When is a photo not a photo?

When is a photo not a photo? For many people in the photography and art worlds the answer to this question seems to depend on the aesthetics of the image and the intent of the creator—even when the technique of creation is overwhelmingly photographic.

Passion © Harold Davis

Passion © Harold Davis

In the eyes of important gatekeepers, the distinction is not merely semantic or taxonomic. I was reminded of this when I met with a very important photography collector a while back, who concluded our interview by telling me that “nothing you’ve shown me is a photograph.”

As many people who follow my work know, I consider much of my work “post-photographic.” It has rightly been said that I use digital painting, with photography as my source material, to create a new category of art that combines photography with digital technology, and also references artwork of the past (for example, Japanese art, impressionist and post-impressionist painting).

That said, Passion (shown above) is essentially photographic, and created using an in-camera studio multiple exposure.

Related images in the same series: Multiple Exposures, Kali and Les Desmoiselles, Being and Becoming; Solace for the Wild Rest, Duos and Redos.

Posted in Photography

Katie Rose and the ice cream cone

What fun to pick Katie Rose up at her pre-school, and wander down the coastal range by footpaths, steps and stairs. To watch her pleasure at an ice cream treat, and to sit on a bench in downtown Kensington, California near the big ice cream cone as she enjoys every last lick and crumb!

Katie and Cone © Harold Davis

Katie and Cone © Harold Davis

She starts Kindergarten in a matter of weeks, and it is always appropriate to remember her beginnings, and to be happy with gratitude for her compelling life force.

Meanwhile, Mathew isn’t exactly happy with his braces, but he understand the necessity, bears them with surprising fortitude, and enjoys showing off their color coordination.

Mathew © Harold Davis

Mathew © Harold Davis

Posted in Katie Rose, Kids

Photographing the Paris Skyline

Photographing the Paris skyline at dusk would seem to be pretty straightforward. The rooftop observatory on top of the Tour Montparnasse is open late, and there are gaps in the plexiglass allowing one to shoot without worrying about reflections. With a camera on a tripod, what then could be the big technical issue?

Paris Sunset 2 © Harold Davis

Paris Sunset 2 © Harold Davis

Not so much if all you need to do is display your images at a small size, but plenty it turns out if a large reproduction (print size 60″ X 40″ or 150cm X 40cm and up) is the requirement.

In the spring of 2013 I shot Paris City of Light and Les Lumières de Paris from the top of the Tour Montparnasse. By the way, the Tour Monparnasse is a hideous high-rise built in the 1970s that doesn’t fit in with the elegant Paris skyline in the slightest. The joke is that the best thing about the Tour Monparnasse observatory is that you can’t see the Tour Montparnasse from it. Bus loads of Chinese, Korean and Japanese tourists ride the elevators up to the Tour Montparnasse observatory, but most of them stay on the floor below the plein air top deck.

Anyhow, my 2013 shots were good enough for a couple of publications, but there was “trouble in Paradise” when an art publishing client of mine ran some really large test prints. These images just weren’t sharp enough.

What can cause lack of sharpness under these conditions? First, in any landscape shot that includes a distant vista diffusion due to atmospheric conditions is always a factor, and there isn’t much you can do about it except wait for a really clear day (not always possible). Paris is often moist, and has some pollution from cars and other sources, so this limiting factor is a real consideration.

From the viewpoint of photographic gear and the craft of photography, the issues are camera motion, optical sharpness, resolution (sensor size) and sensitivity settings.

Paris Sunset © Harold Davis

Paris Sunset © Harold Davis

As I’ve noted, my camera was on a tripod. But my observation and analysis was that the real problem was slight camera motion, caused by the wind coming through the gaps in the plexi, even using my tripod. Absent the ability to come back with a heavier tripod, which wasn’t possible, the fix in 2014 seemed to be to use a faster shutter speed.

So in the two images of Paris Sunset (far above, above and also shown here) I shot at 1/100 of a second for a relatively short duration shutter speed. This implied bumping the ISO, to 1250 in each case.

The good news: my files this time stand up to the blow-up that is required!

Posted in France, Paris, Photography

San Francisco Weekend Photography Workshop with Harold Davis August 23-24

Saturday August 23 and Sunday August 24, 2014

The San Francisco Bay area is one of the places on our planet most visited for photography. If you live here, why not spend a weekend photographing San Francisco as if you were seeing it for the first time for the wonder it is?

If you have always wanted to photograph San Francisco but are coming from far away, what better way to go about it with the guidance of master photographer and Bay area resident Harold Davis?

Click here to register for the Harold Davis San Francisco Photography Weekend Workshop

100 Views cover

Following a brief orientation, we will carpool and photograph around the Bay area in an exciting and fun weekend with locations depending on weather, lighting and group inclinations. Group size is limited to twelve photographers. There will be time for image review, and Harold will make suggestions for image improvement and creative thinking about image making.

There will be a night shoot on Saturday, and Harold will present material on photographing San Francisco in both color and black & white.

Why not get the imagery of San Francisco you have always wanted?

City as Landscape © Harold Davis

City as Landscape © Harold Davis

When: Saturday, August 23 and Sunday, August 24, 2014

Where: The orientation and classroom sessions of the workshop will be hosted in Berkeley, California. We will car pool to field shooting locations.

Cost: Tuition is $745 per person. Workshop is limited to a maximum of 12 participants.

Registration: Click here to register for the Harold Davis San Francisco Photography Weekend Workshop

Full Moon Rising © Harold Davis

Full Moon Rising © Harold Davis

Posted in Workshops

Workshop Demo on a Light Box

The Gloriosa Lily is a notoriously poisonous—and extremely beautiful—flower. We had the Gloriosa and many other exceptional flowers to play with at the recent  Creative Flower Photography workshop sponsored by the Heidelberg Summer School of Photography in Germany. I shot the image shown here as an in-class demo using the excellent Zeiss Makro-Planar 50mm f/2 macro lens. This was a great workshop with excellent participants, and much fun was had! Special thanks to Carl Zeiss for lending the superb lenses for participants to try.

Gloriosa Lily © Harold Davis

Gloriosa Lily © Harold Davis

Want to learn how to photograph flowers on a light-box, and process them for transparency? Please consider the October 4-5, 2014 session of Photographing Flowers for Transparency.

Gloriosa Bouquet © Harold Davis

Gloriosa Bouquet © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography, Workshops

Creative Use of LAB Color Webinar

Please consider joining Harold Davis for this exciting, new live webinar offering that will help you unlock the creative potential of floral imagery (and more)!

01-title-LAB

Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 3PM PTCreative Use of LAB Color (the cost is only $29.95, and includes unlimited access to the post-session recording)

Understanding the creative use of LAB color in Photoshop unlocks a vast treasure trove of under-utilized and under-explored possibilities.

This webinar explains the structure of LAB color, and demonstrates inversions and LAB equalizations for both image optimization and creative fun.

You will learn how to combine Blending Modes with LAB equalizations for an unlimited and powerful palette.

 The Creative Use of LAB Color with Harold Davis webinar covers:

  • Understanding LAB Color
  • LAB Color in Photoshop
  • LAB Channel Inversions
  • LAB Channel Equalizations
  • Combining adjustments with blending modes
  • Creative LAB in a workflow
  • Examples and case studies

Learn how LAB is structured in Photoshop, and how to use the incredible toolkit that LAB unleashes to add a world of practical and creative effects to your imagery.

Each live webinar session has ample time for questions and is limited to twenty participants, so seating is very limited. The $29.95 fee includes unlimited access to the recording of the session.

Photoshop layers throwing you for a curve? You may also be interested in our upcoming (Saturday, August 16, 2014) live session, Photoshop Layers 101with Harold Davis. Demystify Photoshop for once and for all.

Check out our webinar recordings ($19.95 each for unlimited access):

Click here for more info about Harold Davis webinar recordings.

Posted in Workshops

Afternoon of the Faun

Faun © Harold Davis

Faun © Harold Davis

Captured in the castle garden at Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.

Posted in Germany, iPhone

Speyer Cathedral Dome

I spent my last night in Germany at a hotel near Frankfurt airport in a somewhat depressing industrial neighborhood. A few blocks from the hotel I found a nice place for dinner, and ate outside at the communal tables. While I waiting for my food I worked on this photo of the Speyer Cathedral Dome.

Speyer Dome © Harold Davis

Speyer Dome © Harold Davis

The interior space in the Cathedral in the imperial city of Speyer, Germany is built to a huge scale. Although mostly reconstructed rather than original, the sheer magnitude of interior volumes is worth experiencing, and this city along the Rhine River is steeped in history.

Posted in Germany, iPhone

Heidelberg Student Jail

Mostly aristocratic students at Heidelberg University were not under the jurisdiction of the normal authorities. The University handled disciplinary matters. Facilities in the old University buildings included a jail (now a museum), with one of the cells shown here.

Heidelberg Student Jail © Harold Davis

Heidelberg Student Jail © Harold Davis

For the most part, sojourns in the Heidelberg student jail were the result of frat-boy pranks, and treated as something that was part of the accepted tradition of student behavior. Part of the tradition was to add one’s name and maybe some art—so in later years as a “good old boy” one could come back and point to the scene of one’s incarceration.

It was all one big lark. But making things a little more poignant, note that I photographed the cell shown here in a state of “arrested decay” (just as I did with the California ghost town of Bodie in Arrested Decay and Gone with the Wind). At the Heidelberg Student Jail, “arrested decay” means most of the carvings and painting date from the decade before the first World War—where many of these pranksters must have perished.

Special thanks to Francis, who showed me the jail and explained its background.

Posted in Germany, HDR

Castle Stairs and Glass with Candle

It was a rainy drive from Heidelberg to Aalen, Germany. Once I got off the autobahn, the countryside was lush with  moisture, but going was slow. I stopped for lunch in a small town, and ate at an informal place across from the train station with German food but a Greek chef and Greek music.

Castle Stair © Harold Davis

Castle Stair © Harold Davis

While I waited for my food to arrive I processed the two images shown here. The image above is of a spiral staircase in the castle at Heidelberg. The staircase happens to be next to a giant beer barrel. Go figure! I always say, grab your photos where you find them—even if it means ignoring context, such as one of the world’s largest beer barrels.

Glass with Candle © Harold Davis

Glass with Candle © Harold Davis

The image above was shot at a meal a few days ago, and is an abstraction of a candle refracted in a drinking glass, as you’ll see if you look carefully. The glass was green and held some kind of fancy drink. The shape of the green glass occupies the rights side of the image.

Posted in Photography