Monthly Archives: September 2009

Dark Shore

Dark Shore

Dark Shore, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

In the dense fog and gathering night, the turbulent ocean definitely seemed a force to be reckoned with. Alone at the base of a cliff along the Big Sur coast, I felt puny in comparison.

With this 30 second exposure, I attempted to capture the white of the surf against a dark background. The color version shows blue light filtering through the dense, moist cloud of fog and spray.

When I converted the image to black & white, I processed it to emphasize the low-key lighting effect, and to bring out the chiarascuro lighting on the waves, rocks, and distant cliff.

View Large On Black

Steep Slope

Steep Slope

Steep Slope, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

Saturday night was serene, majestic and clear. I took the Carmel night photo workshop south to Bixby Bridge along the Big Sur coast. (You can see some earlier shots of Bixby Bridge under cloud cover here and here.)

It was a great night for shooting (some of the workshop participants can be seen in the left of this photo). A good time was had by all, and fortunately no one was lost down the steep slope. One of my definitions of a successful night photo workshop.

Speaking of which, please note another night photo workshop which should be much fun: Point Reyes, October 9-11, 2009; info; registration.

Photoshop Darkroom Is Shipping

The Photoshop Darkroom is available and shipping on Amazon. Ta-da! We are very excited.

You’ll find links and sample content below the cover image.

If you order my book, please let me know what you think!

Front and back cover (PDF)
Table of Contents (PDF)
Introduction (PDF)
Sample content (Expanding tonal range by using layers, a layer mask and gradient to multi-RAW process a landscape, PDF)

The Photoshop Darkroom on Amazon.

Red Pepper 2

Red Pepper 2

Red Pepper 2, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

Like my first red pepper photo, this is a simple image from a composition and design perspective, executed in the camera rather than in Photoshop.

I photographed the red pepper on a background of dark green peppers, using a single bounced light.

Hidden Worlds

Shadow Within 2

Shadow Within 2, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

One should be careful with everyday things. You never know whether the marble in your pocket contains hidden worlds.

Have a care! Or else you may transported in a dream into the shadow worlds cast by these Photoshop composites.

Shadow Within 1

View this image larger.

Seeds

Seeds

Seeds, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

I photographed these seeds on a white piece of paper. The idea was to use the lighting to create a whole new shadow effect. Like the egg yolk separator and Joseph’s glasses.

The result, I think, is really quite an elegant composition. Like seeds and their parachutes dancing in some strange ballet.

Becoming Echinacea

Becoming Echinacea 2

Becoming Echinacea 2, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

When I saw this Echinacea bud, I knew the image would have to be black and white because the flower was still an entirely monochromatic green. Spectacular colors would come later in the flower’s life.

I photographed the Echinacea in early evening with my 85mm macro lens and a 36mm extension tube for 1/2 second exposure at f/16 and ISO 200. I tried some longer exposures as well, with the lens fully stopped down, but there was always some slight movement to ruin the sharpness.

In Photoshop, I created three different color versions using LAB color before using adjustment layers to convert to black and white.

The version at the beginning of this story is based on an Equalization adjustment to the L channel. I like it best of the three.

The version below is pretty close to normally processed. The version far below is based on an Inversion adjustment applied to the L channel.

Becoming Echinacea 1

View this image larger.

Becoming Echinacea 3

View this image larger.

Tasty

Tasty

Tasty, photo by Harold Davis.

What do Katie Rose and Harry Potter have in common? They both survived.

Katie Rose on a Warm Afternoon

Photoshop Tutorial: Multi-RAW Processing

I’ve written a new tutorial on multi-RAW processing in ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) and Photoshop. This technique involves extending the dynamic range of a single RAW capture by processing the RAW file more than once, and selectively combining the processed versions as layers in Photoshop.

You’ll find my tutorial on Photo.net. Here’s the description from Photo.net’s newsletter: “Harold Davis embarks on the first of many future creative Advanced Photoshop Tutorials. If you’ve seen his portfolio, you may wonder how he gets such rich vibrant colors and almost a surreal feel to his images without a heavily processed feel. Harold breaks down the steps involved for using multi-RAW processing in your workflow—his secret sauce for creatively post-processing images. Download the example image and follow along.”

Read the Multi-RAW Processing Tutorial.

From the introduction to the article:

My first and biggest “aha” revelation about digital photography took place the day I discovered multi-RAW processing—processing a single RAW photo file more than once. For me, the ability to process a RAW file multiple times—taking the best of each processing job for the final image—is the most important advantage that digital photography has over film photography.

If you don’t multi-RAW process, you can take photos with immediacy—but you are losing out on a great part of the richness of digital photography.

Red Car Reflections

Knowing When to Quit

Photo.net has published a new article in my Becoming a More Creative Photographer series. This one is—somewhat provocatively—titled Knowing When to Quit.

From the Photo.net description:

Harold Davis’ fifth Becoming a More Creative Photographer column, to help inspire us with tips and ideas on exploring the creative side of photography. This installment is on Knowing When to Quit—and stresses the importance of working an image, or a potential photo opportunity, just to the point of completion. He even covers the Five Signs it is Time to Move On.

Take a look at Installment V: Knowing When to Quit.

Here’s something to give you an idea what you can expect from the article (besides the five signs that it is time to move on):

The clichés of our society are geared to not quitting. And it is a “true fact” that successful photography requires a great deal of hard work, persistence, and just plain old ornery stubbornness. As the great photographer Edward Weston wrote in his Daybooks, “A real artist is nothing if not a workingman, and a damn hard working one.”

Photography is hard work, and a demanding craft; creative photography is also fun. If you aren’t having fun, you are probably trying too hard.

Bixby Bridge

October Point Reyes Night Photo Workshop

My next weekend Point Reyes Night Photography Workshop (Oct 9-11, 2009) is only a few weeks away. There are still some openings left, and I’m alerting my readers to this situation so they have the opportunity to register before the workshop is closed. Here’s the registration link. I do expect the workshop to fill within the next week or so (after which names will be placed on the waiting list).
 
I think you’ll find this workshop value priced at $240.00 including dorm-style accomodations. Apart from the reasonable price, I believe the workshop presents some incredible opportunities: to spend time in the historic Coast Guard boathouse (where the workshop will take place) under the Chimney Rock trail near the western end of Point Reyes. There are no campgrounds, and no other reasonable way spend the night at the Western end of Point Reyes (itself the western most point in the continental United States). It will be great to be there in the night with a group of like-minded photographers.
 
October is a great time for clear night skies along the Point Reyes coast. If this isn’t good enough, we’ll be given access to the famous Point Reyes lighthouse itself at night (shown in my photo below), weather permitting.
 
 
 
Edge of Night © Harold Davis. All rights reserved.
 
Also note: there are still a few spaces left in my night photo workshop at the Center for Photographic Arts, September 25-27, 2009 in Carmel, California. Information and registration.

No Tyranny Can Endure Forever

Smart Weed

Smart Weed, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

However strong the walls they build, there are always cracks. Freedom is like a weed—in this case Polyganum, also called smart weed. It’s invasive, and will root anywhere, like in this crack in my stucco garden wall.

Katie Rose Presents

Advance Copy

Advance Copy, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

When the advance copy of The Photoshop Darkroom was delivered just now to our front door, Katie Rose couldn’t wait to get started with creative digital post-processing.

I didn’t see her computer anywhere, but she seemed to be having a good time trying to digest our new book, um, literally. Mom and Dad are also very pleased, the book looks great!

You’ll find more information about The Photoshop Darkroom, and links to sample content below the cover image.

Front and back cover (PDF)
Table of Contents (PDF)
Introduction (PDF)
Sample content (Expanding tonal range by using layers, a layer mask and gradient to multi-RAW process a landscape, PDF)

Mustard Green

Mustard Green

Mustard Green, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

In color, this leaf looked like some green and luminous sea creature, complete with curling tentacles. It was with some reluctance that I converted the photo to black and white, adding in elegance what I may be missing in startling color.

Ten Hanky Special

Allium

Allium, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

This is a close-up of a red onion cut against the grain. I photographed the onion on a black background using a single spotlight bounced off the ceiling.

Here’s the exposure data: Nikon D300, 200mm macro, 36mm extension tube, three exposures (20 seconds, 30 seconds, and 60 seconds), each exposure at f/25 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.