WorkshopsClick here for more information about Harold Davis photography workshops.
Online Photo CourseCheck out Photographing Flowers, an interactive multi-featured online course by Harold Davis
- Recipe for a Refraction
- Painting in Transparency Using a High-Key Layer Stack Webinar with Harold Davis
- Using Backgrounds and Textures with Harold Davis Webinar
- Selective Sharpening with LAB Color Webinar
- Abroad at Home
- Isuien Garden
- Harold Davis Portfolios—current availability
- This way is not the way
- Solar Flare
- Using Light for Emotional Impact
- Looking back and thinking forward
- Iris Friends
- Apartments on the Boulevard Haussman
- Something Fishy
- Nature’s Palette
- Zeiss Lens Ambassador – Harold Davis
- Banks of the Seine
- Sunday in the Park with George
- Adventures in a higher key
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- Hip to be square
- Photographer as Poet
- Awagami Video with Botanique
- Rose after Delauney and O’Keeffe
- Where in the world is Harold Davis?
- Flowers for the vernal equinox
- Curated—A Different Version of Harold Davis
- The feeling is mutual: my Otus lens
- Kaleidoscope of Flowers
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Monthly Archives: December 2012
Thank you for taking a look at my photography blog! It means a great deal to me, and I greatly appreciate it. Let me take this opportunity to wish you a happy and photographically spectacular 2013!
I also wanted to give you a heads-up regarding my workshops and events that I’ve scheduled so far in 2013. As you may know, most of my workshops fill-up quickly, so if you are interested please register without delay to avoid disappointment.
Harold Davis 2013 Workshops and Events
- 2013.01.04—2013.01.05: Midwinter Print Fair, hosted by PHOTO, Fine Art Photography in Oakland, CA. Click for more information.
- 2013.01.12—HDR (High Dynamic Range) Bootcamp: Full Day Workshop with Harold Davis. This is a hands-on workshop that lays the foundation for many different kinds of photography.
- 2013.01.26—San Francisco Moonrise Adventure: hands-on workshop with Harold Davis (We have only two spaces left in this workshop, which is limited to five participants and a great place to get individualized photographic tutoring.)
- 2013.01.29—Presenting my work to the San Jose Photoshop Users Group at Adobe HQ; details TK.
- 2013.03.10—2013.03.15—Photograph Wildflowers in the Anza-Borrego Desert (click here for more information) Note: this workshop is full, a waiting list is available.
- 2013.04.28—2013.05.05—Photograph Paris with Harold Davis: Night, Black & White, and Spring Flowers Workshop (We have a few spaces left in this exciting workshop in Paris.)
“He who contemplates the depths of Paris is seized with vertigo. Nothing is more fantastic. Nothing is more tragic. Nothing is more sublime.”—Victor Hugo
- 2013.05.25—Full Moon Workshop: Photograph the Golden Gate Bridge Like You Never Have Before: hands-on adventure with Harold Davis (workshop full, waiting list available)
- 2013.05.26—Full Moon Workshop: Photograph the Golden Gate Bridge Like You Never Have Before (second session): hands-on adventure with Harold Davis
- 2013.06.07—2013.06.09—Monochromatic HDR Masterclass with Harold Davis in the Big Sur Landscape, Center for Photographic Art, Carmel, CA. Details TK.
- 2013.08.2—2013.08.05—Dark of the Moon Night & Bristlecone Photography (click here for more information and here for registration). Workshop with co-teachers Steven Christenson and Eric Harness. Note: this workshop is filling up fast.
- 2013.12.07—2013.12.08—Photographing Flowers for Transparency: Two Day Workshop with Harold Davis—a unique opportunity to learn Harold’s techniques, workshop location is Berkeley, California.
I am asking for feedback on a couple of points. Please drop me an email with your input.
(1) I’m hoping to be able to give one or two free photographic events in the Bay area in 2013—where would you most like to see me lead a free shoot?
(2) Regarding the second half of 2013, what workshop topics and/or destinations would you most like to see me offer?
Based on feedback from Photography with Harold Davis members I am seriously considering (a) Advanced Composition; (b) Taking Your Photography to the Next Level; (c) Flower transparency workshop with more than one day so folks can fully complete their work; (d) Online (website) presentation of photography.
(3) If you could go anywhere in the world with me, where would it be?
(4) What would your level of interest be in a photographic workshop in China?
Very best wishes in photography,
My very best wishes for a happy and wonderful 2013! May you find peace, love, and magic—both in photography, and in life.
I’ve heard the saying that if you want to be a better photographer, place yourself in front of more interesting things. But art comes from within, and photographs are expressions of our artistic selves. So by all means seek the dramatic scene, but also look for the drama within the everyday—the kind of subject that if you don’t learn to look with eyes that see differently you may miss altogether. For example, a pepper from the supermarket, photographed above on a black velvet background.
May your muse take you from the mundane to the magnificent, and back again, and help you to see the drama, power and magic in both.
I lead a night photography workshop in the Bristlecone Pines in the White Mountains in eastern California every year. So of course I shoot night images while I am there. But it is worth bearing mind that there is so much more to shoot in the Patriarch Grove, like the textures of these ancient trees.
The White Mountains of California are themselves part of a fascinating landscape. In the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada Mountains they verge on the great deserts of the American west. With White Mountain Peak topping out at over 14,000 feet it is a stark land of contrasts and alien majesty that is not very well known to the outside world.
Rainy season in Northern California can seem endless, and when it does rain for days the windows on the inside of my house steam up with myriad waterdrops. These droplets burn off quickly as soon as sunshine returns, but in the meanwhile they can create an interesting and exciting photographic opportunity—if, as I do, you like to see the magic in the mundane.
My first glyph image (above) shows the sky above and the earth below, both behind a steamy curtain of droplets, with vertical lines of clarity indicating the areas that are drying out first.
The second glyph (below) was shot closer in, of droplets on the glass in front of a screen window, with trees and foliage behind.
A final glyph shows the view in a different direction from another window, facing a driveway across the street. The driveway is surrounded by foliage and beginning to be lit by the morning sun.
It has been said that, if you want to be a better photographer, place yourself in front of more interesting things. But art comes from within, and photographs are expressions of our artistic selves. So by all means seek the dramatic scene, but also look for the drama within the everyday—the kind of subject that if you don’t learn to look with eyes that see differently you may miss altogether.
A monster low tide occurred at the same time as the early winter sunset. Taking advantage of this conjunction, a friend and I wandered out on Duxbury Reef. Duxbury Reef, shown in the linked story from above, is one of the largest shale reefs in North America. It lies west of Bolinas in Marin County on California’s north central coast, and north of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, within Point Reyes National Seashore.
Like Atlantis lost beneath the waves, the landscape you see in this image is usually far beneath the water. In fact, as sunset quickly turned to darkness we hurried off Duxbury Reef ahead of the massive oncoming tidal surge. Our route off the reef took us through arched tunnels normally hidden by the ocean, and past the feet of massive cliffs to the footpath at Agate Beach Park.
Exposure data: 35mm, four exposures at shutter speeds from 2 seconds to 2 minutes, each exposure at f/22 and ISO 100, tripod mounted; exposures combined in Photoshop.
Comment: I used the 2 second exposure to capture the sunset colors, and the 2 minute exposure to capture the much darker foreground of the reef. The exposures were combined using layers, a layer mask, and a gradient. The longer exposure also allowed me to create the attractive fog-like effect, derived from the action of the water in motion.
Best wishes from Harold, Phyllis, and the Davis family for a happy holiday and a wonderful 2013!
Come say hello to me at the Midwinter Print Fair hosted by PHOTO, Fine Art Photography in Oakland, California. I’ll be there Friday, January 4 and Saturday, January 5 along with many of my portfolios and prints that you won’t see elsewhere (hours and more information below).
January 4 is an Oakland First Friday Art Murmur, an energetic and authentic festival that the New York Times has called a “rambunctious art crawl and street bacchanal.” Saturday Stroll on January 5 is a related, but somewhat quieter, art-focused event for “art enthusiasts who prefer a lower profile scene.”
You are sure to enjoy your visit whichever day you decide to come. Proving that there is definitely a there there when it comes to art in Oakland.
Friday, January 4, 2013, 6 – 9pm
Saturday, January 5, 2013, 1 – 5pm
PHOTO, Fine Art Photography is hosting our first print fair. Please join us for an intimate look at six of our photographer’s portfolios. This is a unique opportunity to meet the artists and to buy and take home original prints.
Location: 473 25th Street, between Telegraph and Broadway, Oakland, California, 94612.
Check out the Midwinter Art Fair.
Harry Potter has his platform 9 3/4 in King’s Cross Station and New York City has its Avenue 6 1/2. As you might expect, Avenue 6 1/2 lies between 6th and 7th Avenues. It runs from 57th street south to 51rst street. The image shown here was taken in the atrium that forms the block between 51rst and 52nd streets on 6 1/2 Ave, and is one of the many places in New York City that my tripod and I managed to get ejected from.
How this image was made: I used my 10.5mm digital fisheye lens, and shot nine exposures from 4 seconds to 1/125 of a second. Each exposure was made at f/13 and ISO 200. As I’ve noted, I used a tripod to keep the image sequence aligned. The images were processing in Nik HDR Efex Pro and Photoshop.
Want to learn to make this kind of image yourself? Check out my book Creating HDR Photos: The Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Photography, and consider attending my HDR Bootcamp workshop.
A collector just ordered a copy of my Hellebore Stems (shown below). Originally, I shot the hellebores on a white background. To print the image on Moenkopi Kozo Washi I added a scanned paper background with a texture overlay. The technique is explained in my forthcoming book, which is tentatively titled The Way of the Digital Photographer and due to be published in mid-2013.
When you have four kids like I do, shopping for food occurs frequently. The one thing you want to do when you take the kids into the supermarket is to encapsulate them to prevent general madness, mayhem, and terrorizing of the civilian population.
What better way to encapsulate them than in a honey trap, like this shopping cart? Katie Rose and Mathew are shown in the “cab” and Nicky is riding on top.
It’s times like these that I am grateful for my iPhone camera because it is the camera I always have with me!
One of the most powerful tools we have as photographers is the ability to manipulate the viewer’s sense of scale. Why does this matter?
When the viewer first looks at an image they look to think they have have correctly assessed the contents. If, in fact, they realize they have not, or they sense ambiguity in the subject—as in, “What exactly am I looking at?”—the result is a double-take.
This double-take leads directly to a clean slate. By misdirecting the viewer, we have given them the chance to view some portion of the world with new eyes. This means showing people something in a way they haven’t seen before—which is the goal of much photography.
Case in point: I shot the image above on a rock at low tide in the intertidal zone at Drakes Beach in Point Reyes National Seashore, CA. For all the world it looks like a vast landscape from above, but as soon as the caption is noted the viewer will automatically adjust scale and visual expectations.
The idea behind Within the Canvas (below) is to show the model emerging from a background. It is not clear where the model begins and where the model ends. Model and canvas seem to flow together. The fabric the model is wearing is part of the canvas. Or, is it?
Even as an issue of three-dimensional spacial relationships consider: Is the model is in front or in back of the canvas? Depending where you look in the image, both are possible—leading to potential paradox and visual impossibility. A potential solution is to assume there is a slit in the canvas, but this doesn’t really work (observe her hand).
To make this image I shot the model on a white background. She was wrapped in sheer, white gauze. In post-production, I placed the model image as a layer on a canvas background, then added a series of textures on top of the Photoshop composite.
For the past several days we’ve had very wet and windy weather—the epitome of winter’s rainy season in the San Francisco Bay area. During an interlude in this weather I saw the Japanese maple leaf shown in the image plastered to the outside of an upstairs window.
To shoot the wet maple leaf, I positioned the camera on a tripod inside looking out—so the image is looking through a wet window to the leaf on the exterior. I used a macro lens, and shot two exposure sequences, one at moderate depth-of-field (f/10) for the window glass, and one stopped down (to f/22) to get the leaf itself maximally in focus.
The image you see combined four of the low-depth-of-field exposures (using Nik HDR Efex Pro) for the window pane. I then painted-in two exposures of the f/25 leaf exposures using layering and the Brush Tool in Photoshop.
Exposure data: 40mm macro, six exposures, all exposures at ISO 200, 4 exposures shot using shutter speeds between 1/15 of a second and 2.5 seconds at f/10, 2 exposures shot at shutter speeds of 2 seconds and 5 seconds with an aperture of f/25, tripod mounted, exposures combined using Nik HDR Efex Pro and Photoshop.
I shot Kirsten using a large, strobe-powered softbox as the single source of illumination. The softbox was on a low setting and positioned above and to the right of the model. You can see the reflection of the light in Kirsten’s beautiful eyes. The low-level of very diffuse lighting, and the position of the single light, account for both the overall attractiveness of the light and the radical light fall-off on the left side of the image.
To process the image in Photoshop, I used a number of textured overlays on top of the background image of Kirsten. For example, one of these overlays was of linen canvas with a very definite texture. Another was the scanned papyrus that I’ve used in my Floral Tapestries (the background shown in Thistle While You Work is an example that uses this scan of a piece of papyrus).
The trick with this kind of post-processing is not to overdo it. As Oscar Wilde put it, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” I wanted Kirsten to look as gorgeous as she is naturally, and slightly abstract—but I didn’t want the post-production work to make her look artificial.
See Like a Titian for a related post-production treatment of a model.