Monthly Archives: January 2014

New review of Monochromatic HDR Photography by Harold Davis

The following short review of Monochromatic HDR Photography appears in the January 2014 issue of Rangefinder Magazine (page 32):

Monochromatic HDR Photography
By Harold Davis

Among his multifarious skills—photographer, author, publisher, post-processing whiz, blogger, teacher and workshop leader—Harold Davis is the acknowledged maestro of HDR imaging. (See Rangefinder September, 2012).

In Monochromatic HDR Photography, Davis brings another technique for dynamic range manipulation: taking color out and putting artistry in.

His comprehensive and readable creative tips, his workflow regimen and his powerful imagery will ignite (or reignite) your interest in black-and-white conversions with any subject you shoot. You’ll see Ansel Adams’ tonal spectrum appear in your landscapes and Edward Weston’s luminosity in your portraits.

Welcome to yet another Davis title that belongs in your digital darkroom.

Harold Davis-Monochromatic HDR book cover

Flowering Quince

The red flowering quince are particularly gorgeous this year in my neighborhood, and I can’t resist putting some of them on my light box. These flowers have a simple elegance that is really special.

Flowering Quince © Harold Davis

Flowering Quince © Harold Davis

Flowering Quince with Moon © Harold Davis

Flowering Quince with Moon © Harold Davis

Do you prefer the version of this image with the moon (above) or just the branch of flowering quince (far above)?

Harold Davis “Red Poppies” on Awagami washi at Paperworld Frankfurt

My friend Hermann Will of Fine Art Printer Magazine sent me a snapshot, shown here on Facebook, of my Red Poppies print on kozo washi at the Awagami exhibit in Frankfurt.

Red Poppies by Harold Davis on Awagami washi in Frankfurt

Red Poppies by Harold Davis on Awagami washi in Frankfurt

Click here to see the Facebook Post by FineArtPrinter. It’s wonderful for me to see the conjunction of my work in Germany with Hermann and Fine Art Printer Magazine, which has featured my Botanique and reviewed my Monochromatic HDR book, and also with Awagami and my friend Aya Fujimori, who was so kind to me when I visited Japan recently.

There is truly something very satisfying about this conjunction of worlds—with work by an American artist (that would be me!) on traditional paper from Japan that has been modified for modern inkjet printers exhibited in Germany, and sent to me by a German friend!

Photographing Flowers for Transparency: Only four spots left in February session

There are only a few spaces remaining in the February 22-23, 2014 Photographing Flowers for Transparency workshop here in Berkeley, Ca. Don’t miss this unique opportunity!
As one participant in the 2013 weekend workshop noted, “Learned a new photographic technique that I can apply not only to flowers, but to other subject materials.” Another workshop photographer added, “Thank you for an amazing weekend workshop. Have waited a long time to take this workshop. The weekend flew by. Have much to digest and process. Highly recommended.”
There are no plans to give this workshop again in the United States until 2015, and there is nowhere else you can learn the techniques I have pioneered for photographing and processing flowers for transparency on a light box.
As workshop size is strictly limited, to avoid disappointment don’t delay. Here’s the registration link for this opportunity.

Also please note two free presentationsThe Art & Craft of Photography in Berkeley, CA on February 8, and Making the Botanical Photo: The Digital Print as Artifact at PHOTO Fine Art Photography in Oakland on June 7.

You can also join my ongoing Photographing Flowers online workshop via this link (and get $10 off the normal full price of $59.95).

Finally, registration is now available for my two courses over the summer in Heidleberg, Germany at the Heidelberger Sommerschule der Fotografie. Click here for Creative Flower Photography, and here for Creative Black & White Masterclass. Please consider joining me for some exciting photography in charming Heidelberg.


Due to many requests I have added a new session of the Photographing Flowers for Transparency workshop, Saturday, February 22—Sunday, February 23, 2014. Click here for information and online registration for the February Photographing Flowers for Transparency workshop

Synopsis: In this unique workshop offering master photographer Harold Davis shows the techniques he uses to create his floral masterpieces. Arrangement, composition, photography, post-production will all be covered, as will Harold’s special techniques for shooting on a lightbox.

Harold Davis Vibrance Poster

Here are some details about the workshop:

Master photographer Harold Davis is well-known for his often imitated—but seldom equaled—digital images of luscious transparent and translucent flowers.

In this unique workshop offering master photographer Harold Davis shows the techniques he uses to create his floral masterpieces. Arrangement, composition, photography, post-production will all be covered, as will Harold’s special techniques for shooting on a light box.

Who is this workshop for?

Papaver and Iridaceae
Papaver and Iridaceae © Harold Davis

The workshop is intended for photographers of all levels with an interest in flower photography.

Harold is only planning to give this workshop once this year. There is no better way to learn the floral transparency techniques that he has pioneered. The two-day format will give participants the chance to complete their imagery using the techniques that Harold will demonstrate.

Here are some comments from the 2012 and 2013 Floral Transparency Workshops:

  • “Loved the pace, in-depth instruction and generous sharing.”
  • “EXCELLENT PRESENTATION AND COVERAGE OF MATERIAL. MR. DAVIS WAS PATIENT TO ANSWER ALL QUESTIONS.”
  • “Harold, thank you for the time, expense and effort it took to put on a great one-day workshop….You are a wealth of information and share it so graciously.”
  • “Outstanding workshop!”
  • “A very packed day! Harold is very clear and organized; an outstanding photographer who is also an outstanding teacher.”
  • “Thank you for an amazing weekend workshop. Have waited a long time to take this workshop. The weekend flew by. Have much to digest and process. Highly recommended.”
  • “Learned a new photographic technique that I can apply not only to flowers, but to other subject materials.”
  • “A great workshop! Learned about creating translucent flower photographs and also about important features of Photoshop.”
  • “Great workshop with a good balance of instruction and practical application. Plenty of opportunity to ask questions and more importantly get answers.”

Where: MIG Meeting Place, 800 Hearst Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94710

When: Saturday February 22, 2014, 9:30AM to 5:30PM and Sunday February 23, 2013, 10:00AM to 5:00PM

Tuition: The cost of the workshop is $695 per person. Workshop limited to 16 participants.

Red Poppies © Harold Davis


2014 Harold Davis Workshop and Event Offerings 

2012.02.08—Free event at The Lighthouse in Berkeley, CA. Harold Davis presents “The Art and Craft of Photography.” Click here for more information.

2014.02.22—2014.02.23—Photographing Flowers for Transparency: Two Day Workshop with Harold Davis—a unique opportunity to learn Harold’s techniques, workshop location is Berkeley, California (Limited space availability, click here for information and registration).

Tulip © Harold Davis
Tulip © Harold Davis

2014.03.15—Achieving Your Potential As a Digital Photographer: A Multi-Modal Ongoing Six Month Workshop

This workshop provides a platform for ongoing mentoring in the context of a supportive group environment. Customized individual assignments will be given. After the initial intensive two-day in-person session, we will keep in touch with monthly private group online webinars and individual phone or email consultations. A final dinner to review work and celebrate our progress will be provided at the conclusion of the workshop. Limited to 12 photographers. A portfolio review is required—Limited space availability, click here for info and instructions on how to apply.

2014.04.12—2014.04.13—Advanced Black and White Photography and Photoshop—This workshop includes field photography in several Bay area locations, monochromatic HDR shooting techniques in the field, black & white conversion in Photoshop and Nik Silver Efex, and monochromatic HDR processing. Click here for information, curriculum and registration.

2014.04.262014.05.04—Photograph Paris with Harold Davis featuring Paris at night, the gardens at Giverny, black & white, and more. Click here for detailed information and itinerary, and click here for online registration. Here’s what one participant in a previous Harold Davis Photograph Paris workshop had to say: “Had an awesome time with Harold, Mark, and the workshop participants.  Itching to go back.  If you’re a photographer, Paris at night is a ‘Must Do!’.  Put it on your bucket list ‘cause you may not see this in Heaven.”

2014.05.31—2014.06.01Mastering Creative Photoshop: The Way of the Digital Photographer—This workshop covers developing a personal digital Photoshop workflow. Topics explained in detail include archiving and checkpoints, RAW processing, multi-RAW processing, HDR, hand-HDR, stacking, LAB color creative effects, using backgrounds and textures, layers, layers masks, working with channels, Photoshop filters, and plugins from Nik Software and Topaz—Click here for information and registration.

2014.06.07—Free event at Photo Oakland: Harold will show his botanical prints and discuss “Making the Botanical Photo: The Digital Print As an Artifact.” Click here for more information about the event.

2014.6.27-2014.6.30—I will be teaching Creative Flower Photography at Summer School in Heidelberg, Germany from June 27 – June 30, 3014. Click here for more information about Heidelberger Sommerschule der Fotografie, here for workshop information and curriculum,  here for nearby hotel information (with special participant discounts), and here to register for enrollment.

2014.7.04-2014.7.07—I will be teaching a Creative Black & White Masterclass at Summer School in Heidelberg, Germany from July 4 – July 7, 3014. Click here for more information about Heidelberger Sommerschule der Fotografie, here for workshop information and curriculum, here for nearby hotel information (with special participant discounts), and here to register for enrollment.

2014.08.01-2014.08.03—Night Photography in the Big Sur Landscape sponsored by the Center for Photographic Art in Carmel, CA. Link for details and registration to follow.

2014.08.08-2014.08.10—Creative Landscape Photography in Point Reyes sponsored by the Point Reyes Field InstituteLink for details and registration to follow.

2014.11.04-2014.11.20—Photography Caravan to Morocco (with Bill Bachmann). Details and registration link to follow.

Also of note: We are in the planning stages for two destination workshops: Morocco Photographic Caravan in November 2014, and off-the-beaten track Japan in the spring of 2015.

The adventure to Morocco will start in Barcelona, head down the southern coast of Spain, and with a pause to take in the Rock of Gibralter will cross over to Africa. Highlights will include a stay in the Sahara under the stars with time for night photography and camel rides. The group will be co-led by well-known commercial and travel photographer Bill Bachmann, who will help partipants learn how to make money from the photos they shoot.

Wanted: A few photographers for serious fun! 

Can you handle photographing Paris in April? Are you serious about your photography and looking to have fun with it in an environment that has nurtured artists over the centuries? Are you ready for a great learning experience in the company of a master photographer and educator in a group of dedicated colleagues? Are you ready to have fun with your photography??

I am looking for a few photographers to join me and my wonderful group in Paris this year from
April 26 – May 4, 2014. Click here to register now!

Photography begins with the medium of light, which the artist captures and applies to the canvas in endlessly surprising ways. And what better place to explore this medium than in Paris, the City of Light, and one of the birthplaces of photography?

Paris City of Light © Harold davis
Paris City of Light © Harold Davis

When we work together to photograph Paris, you’ll experience firsthand the places and sights that have inspired artists for centuries, and find new creative and unusual ways to make photos of the City of Light!

We’ll focus our lenses on Paris in bloom, Paris at night, and Paris in black & white, reinterpreting for ourselves some of the images that have been captured in paint and on film by many great artists, including Daguerre, Monet, Atget, Picasso, and Erwitt. We’ll have a grand time photographing and we’ll return home with many priceless shots to treasure!

White Chrysanthemums Japonicum at Giverny © Harold Davis
Giverny © Harold Davis

We’ve included many of the highlights from previous workshops, such as the visit to Monet’s garden at Giverny with after hours access (a personal favorite!), as well as new places to explore.

If you check out the itinerary, I think you’ll find many wonderful locations, such as the view from the top of the Tour Montparnasse at night, Père Lachaise, and Vaux-le-Vicomte.

As one of the participants in last year’s workshop said, “Put Paris on your bucket list ‘cause you may not see this in Heaven.” Another workshop participant added, “I already admired Harold Davis, and had confidence that he would lead us to fantastic places – and he did!”

The workshop cost is $5,639.00, excluding airfare. The workshop fee includes eight nights in a delightful 4-star hotel as well as numerous excursions and extras. We’ve got great deals on the hotel and excursions—if you reserved these on your own you’d pay more—even without Harold’s teaching fee for eight days and nights!

Click here for the complete itineraryterms and conditions, and online registration.

 

What folks have said about Harold Davis workshops and events:

  •  “A great artist and speaker!”—W. Anglin
  •  “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- his workshops shows the depth of his connecting with others in a very real and personal way.”—P. Borrelli
  • “Awesome! He patiently addressed questions from the audience which contained photographers of all levels , molding his answers to the level of understanding for each of us. His presentations covered a wonderful range of technical knowledge as well as emphasizing the need for images to have an emotional quality. The images he shares are breathtaking and he is generous in sharing many facets of how he captures such beauty.”—J. Phillips
  • “Not all photographers are good verbal communicators. Harold is someone who can DO and TEACH. A rare combination of talents.”—B. Sawyer
  • “Inspiring!”
  • “You were very giving of your talents and time. The course was very organized and thorough. Loved it! Learned so much! … I also wanted to let you know that I have more than paid the cost of the workshops I’ve done with you by selling some photos! I have sold three prints already.”—L. Beck
  • “Very creative and a marvelous instructor.”—Kay S.

For information and registration links for Harold Davis workshops, please go to http://www.digitalfieldguide.com/about/workshops-events.

papaver and iridaceae

 


About Harold Davis

Harold Davis is an internationally-known digital artist and award-winning professional photographer. He is the author of many photography books. His most recent titles are The Way of the Digital Photographer (Peachpit) and Monochromatic HDR Photography (Focal Press).

In addition to his activity as a bestselling book author, Harold Davis is a Moab Master printmaker and a Zeiss Lens Ambassador. Harold Davis’s work is widely collected, licensed by art publishers, and has appeared in numerous magazines and other publications. His black and white prints are described as “hauntingly beautiful” [Fine Art Printer Magazine] and his floral prints have been called “ethereal,” with a “a purity and translucence that borders on spiritual” [Popular Photography].

Harold Davis leads popular technique and destination photography workshops to many locations including Paris, France; Heidelberg, Germany; and the ancient Bristlecone Pines of the eastern Sierra Nevada.


More information: BotaniqueHarold Davis websiteHarold Davis blogbooksworkshops.

Graced with Light in Grace Cathedral

Heading into Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, my idea was to practice HDR photography on the vaulted ceiling of the church. I had done this once before in Grace Cathedral, and also in other churches, such as the Cathedral in Chartres, France (shown here in monochromatic HDR).

Often the best laid plans of photographers “go awry,” which is the best reason I can think of for living one’s life to carpe diem, or to seize the day, which all photographers should do as often as they can. In this case, the interior of Grace Cathedral was taken over by “Graced with Light,” an art installation by Anne Patterson that features some twenty miles of multi-colored ribbons dangling from the church’s ceiling.

Graced with Light at Grace Cathedral © Harold Davis

Graced with Light at Grace Cathedral © Harold Davis

Clearly, the image I had envisioned was not going to be possible because the ceiling was hidden by the colorful ribbons. For photographers, right up there with carpe diem is another cliche: if you are given lemons, make lemonade. Another way of thinking of this is to be open to grace, particularly appropriate in Grace Cathedral when confronted with “Graced with Light.”

I sat down in a pew, and attached my camera to the tripod. The legs were collapsed, so the tripod was low to the ground. I positioned the camera and tripod in the center of the center aisle, and pointed it up and back towards the rose window above the entrance to Grace Cathedral. I wanted the image to be entirely in focus, so I needed a fair amount of depth-of-field. This implied stopping down (to f/18), which in turn compelled a fairly long duration of time (15 seconds) for the shutter speed.

Still seated in the pew, I tripped the shutter using my intervalometer, and gave thanks for the grace that allows me to see images that interest me and show the beauty of the world, and of places that people hold sacred.

Exposure data: Nikon D800, 28-300mm lens at 28mm, 15 seconds at f/18 and ISO 100, tripod mounted, RAW file multi-processed in Adobe Camera RAW and finished in Photoshop.

Special thanks to Jake, without whom I would not have been at Grace Cathedral to make this image.

Advanced Black & White: Photography and Photoshop

Learn to create extended tonal range black and white images

Saturday April 12 and Sunday April 13, 2014

This workshop includes field photography in several Bay area locations, monochromatic HDR shooting techniques in the field, black & white conversion in Photoshop and Nik Silver Efex, and monochromatic HDR processing.

Click here for registration!

When folks think of HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography, they tend to have color imaging in mind. But the fact is that HDR techniques are just as applicable to monochromatic photography as to color.

Ruined Stair by Harold Davis

Ruined Stair © Harold Davis

In both cases, the point is to extend the dynamic range of the resulting image beyond what is normally seen in a single exposure—and, indeed, beyond normal human perception. When working in digital black and white, the tonal range is extended from the lightest lights to the darkest darks. This results in images with great graphical appeal that make for splendid monochromatic prints.

Harold Davis-Monochromatic HDR book cover

In this workshop, Master Photographer Harold Davis guides participants in both aspects of the monochromatic HDR process: shooting and post-processing.

Workshop participants will take advantage of several San Francisco Bay area locations, with field destinations to be determined depending on weather and group predilections. Possibilities include the Cable Car Museum, Fort Point, Marin Headlnds and the Golden Gate Bridge.

In the classroom, hands-on guidance will explain techniques for extending dynamic range, monochromatic conversion methods, and best practices where the two technologies intersect.

Nautilus in Black and White

Nautilus in Black and White © Harold Davis

In addition, the workshop will provide extensive coverage of the creative vision required to successfully create monochromatic HDR images as well as the workflow necessary to make art prints from this specialized image-making technique.

When: Saturday, April 12 and Sunday, April 13, 2014

Where: The classroom session of the workshop is hosted in Berkeley, California, in a convenient location near the upscale Fourth Street shopping district and close to the University Avenue exit from I80. We will car pool to field shooting locations.

Cost: Tuition is $695 per person. Workshop is limited to a maximum of 16 participants.

Click here for registration!

Curriculum

Saturday, April 13

9 am:   Orientation

9:30am:   Black & White Photography in the Digital Era

10:30 am to 12:30 pm:  Classroom session on multi-RAW processing and shooting and processing HDR sequences

12:30 – 1:15 Lunch break

2 to 7 pm:  Field photography session(s) (Car pool, possible locations include San Francisco Cable Car Museum, Fort Point, Marin Headlands, Golden Gate Bridge, tbd)

8 pm:  “Dutch Treat” Group dinner (optional, location tba)

Sunday, September 14

9 am:  Classroom session, individual assignments

10 am to 12 pm:  Individual assignments and field photography

12:00 – 12:45pm  Lunch break

12:45 to 3:00 pm:  Assignment review, classroom session covering monochromatic conversion techniques

3:30 to 4:00 pm:  The high tonal range monochromatic print (special considerations and techniques)

4:30 pm:  Workshop wrap-up

Kira at Passy Station © Harold Davis

Kira at Passy Station © Harold Davis

Click here for registration!

Broken Arrow and Creating LAB Patterns

Wandering the pedestrian walk on new San Francisco Bay Bridge span in the waning days of the year, I shot this directional arrow, intended to guide foot and bike traffic, straight down and broken up by strong shadows from the railing.

Broken Arrow © Harold Davis

Broken Arrow © Harold Davis

Before I converted Broken Arrow to black and white, of course, it was color (shown below). (The monochrome version is still an RGB color file technically speaking—but that’s another story!)

Broken Arrow - color © Harold Davis

Broken Arrow – color © Harold Davis

It’s astoundingly easy to use Photoshop adjustments in LAB color and blending modes to create intricate patterns out of something like the color version of Broken Arrow. Here’s one example:

LAB Cross Pattern #1 © Harold Davis

LAB Cross Pattern #1 © Harold Davis

To get to the pattern from the color photo,  in Photoshop I duplicated the image, and converted the duplicate to LAB color mode. I next used Image > Adjust > Invert to invert the LAB color values within the file, and then converted the entire image back to RGB, with results shown below:

LAB Inversion (all channels) © Harold Davis

LAB Inversion (all channels) © Harold Davis

Next, I made another duplicate of the original image file, converted it to LAB, selected the L channel only, and inverted the L channel. I flipped the image horizontally, with results shown below:

L-Channel Inversion (Flipped) © Harold Davis

L-Channel Inversion (Flipped) © Harold Davis

The last big step is to align the two LAB inversions as layers in one image, and set the Blending Mode to Difference (by the way, they have to be back in RGB, or the Difference mode isn’t available).

There are many possible variations on this technique of course, depending on what channels you invert, how you flip the image, and what blending modes you use. Here’s another variation from the same original image:

LAB Cross Pattern #2 © Harold Davis

LAB Cross Pattern #2 © Harold Davis

To learn more about the LAB color techniques for creative image making I have pioneered, check out The Way of the Digital Photographer  (pages 156-163) and The Photoshop Darkroom (pages 148-201). If this really intrigues you, you may want to consider my Mastering Creative Photoshop workshop (January 25-26, one last minute spot available, more space in the second session, May 31 – June 1, 2014).

Photographing Flowers Course (with discount link)

I am proud of my online Photographing Flowers course at Craftsy.com, which by now has more than 500 students. The variety, exuberance and quality of the student projects shows that I (and the production team that worked with me) did something right in this online offering. Click here to check out my Photographing Flowers course (the course cost is normally $59.99, but by using this link you can get $10 off!).

Rose center curves © Harold Davis

Rose center curves © Harold Davis

Here are some of the benefits of the Craftsy platform for online courses:

  • Craftsy classes are yours to keep–watch any time and as many times as you like. My course won’t expire, and you can watch it piecemeal, when you like, and when you want to learn about a specific subject.
  • Classes are interactive, so you can ask me and your classmates questions.
  • The Craftsy production team did a great job of making high quality videos.
  • Craftsy classes are filmed in high definition so technical details are easy to see.
  • Every class is equipped with helpful features like video notes and 30-second repeat.
  • You can share projects for feedback and tips,or browse for inspiration.
  • If for any reason you aren’t satisfied, return your class and Craftsy will refund your money.

When all is said and done, if you like to photograph flowers and want to learn more photographic technique, for $60 I think this is a pretty good deal!

Click here to check out my Photographing Flowers course (the course cost is normally $59.99, but by using this link you can get $10 off!).

Learn Photoshop This Year!—Second Session by Popular Demand

The first session of Mastering Creative Photoshop is sold out…and so many people have asked for another session. Here it is!!! The dates are Saturday May 31 – Sunday June 1, 2014. To avoid disappointment, please register well in advance.

Make this the year that you finally learn Photoshop!

It’s time to bend Photoshop to your creative will. Whether you want to enhance your existing digital workflow, create black and white images with high tonal range, or composite incredible and fantastic landscapes from disparate elements, stop fighting Photoshop—and make Photoshop your creative ally and partner!

Kick off this resolution by reading Harold Davis’s acclaimed books about Photoshop’s creative side: Monochromatic HDR PhotographyThe Way of the Digital PhotographerThe Photoshop DarkroomCreative Black & White, and other titles.

And if you’re really ready to go for it, bring your creative Photoshop ideas to Harold’s unique seminar in January, Mastering Creative Photoshop: The Way of the Digital PhotographerThere will be plenty of time for individual attention. Guaranteed: you will learn Photoshop. And your photography will never be the same!

So enough dithering! Make your Photoshop resolutions come true! If not now, when?

Workshop Description: Mastering Creative Photoshop: The Way of the Digital Photographer—This workshop covers developing a personal digital Photoshop workflow. Topics explained in detail include archiving and checkpoints, RAW processing, multi-RAW processing, HDR, hand-HDR, stacking, LAB color creative effects, monochromatic conversions, using backgrounds and textures, layers, layers masks, working with channels, Photoshop filters, and plugins from Nik Software and Topaz. If you’ve ever wondered how Harold does it, or wanted to learn how to incorporate his techniques in your own digital workflow, this is the workshop for you!

Dates: The January session of Mastering Creative Photoshop is sold-out. This newly added session will be held Saturday May 31 – Sunday June 1, 2014

Location: Berkeley, California. The workshop will be held at the MIG Meeting Room, which is a very nice space co-located with a well-known green urban design firm in Berkeley, CA and conveniently located near the Fourth Street shopping district, the Berkeley Amtrak station,  and the University Ave exit from Interstate 80.

Space Availability:  Class size is strictly limited to 16 to permit individual attention. To avoid disappointment please do not delay.

Tuition: $695.00 per person for the entire weekend.

Registration: Click here for more information and to register.

Church at Auvers © Harold Davis

About this image: One of my heros, the great painter Vincent van Gogh, spent his last days in the village of Auvers-sur-Oise outside Paris, France, where he painted many of his great works. Wandering the streets of Auvers-sur-Oise, now a suburb of Paris, I found many signs reproducing a van Gogh painting in front of the literal scene that he painted.

It seemed to me that it would be fun to create an image that showed an impressionistic image like the ones that van Gogh created on one side of the frame, along with a photographic capture of the signage showing the image. To implement this thought, I created a bracketed sequence of exposures, which I combined and manipulated using Photoshop and plugins from Nik Software and Topaz.

About Harold Davis: Harold Davis is an internationally-known digital artist and award-winning professional photographer. He is the author of many photography books. His most recent titles are The Way of the Digital Photographer (Peachpit) and Monochromatic HDR Photography (Focal Press).

In addition to his activity as a bestselling book author, Harold Davis is a Moab Master printmaker and a Zeiss Lens Ambassador. Harold Davis’s work is widely collected, licensed by art publishers, and has appeared in numerous magazines and other publications. His black and white prints are described as “hauntingly beautiful” [Fine Art Printer] and his floral prints have been called “ethereal,” with a “a purity and translucence that borders on spiritual” [Popular Photography].

Harold Davis leads popular technique and destination photography workshops to many locations including Paris, France; Heidelberg, Germany; and the ancient Bristlecone Pines of the eastern Sierra Nevada.

Working with my mobile “fun” camera

Saturday was a gray and moist day in Berkeley, California. I took the kids out to a playground up higher in the coastal range, and all of a sudden we were in the middle of a cloud, with light but persistent precipitation. While the kids played in the sand, I used the camera app on my iPhone to snap a photo of the eucalyptus trees in the fog.

Virage © Harold Davis

Virage © Harold Davis

Standing under a sheltering tree, I processed the image on my iPhone in about five minutes, using Filterstorm, Plastic Bullet, and the 60s Square Virage filter from Lo-Mob.

I don’t think my need for high resolution, an optical viewfinder, and a variety of “real” lenses is likely to be satisfied anytime soon by my iPhone camera—but what you can do on a mobile “fun” is great and pleasing in its own right!

About the time I finished processing, the day grew even wetter—and by parental fiat we decided to bag the playground before everyone got soaked to the bone.

Through a glass lightly

I lit a passion flower (passiflora) from the rear and left, so that the light reflected off the flower onto the neck of a glass bottle with a rather tall neck. I used a telephoto macro lens (200mm) to shoot the passiflora through the neck of the glass bottle. My idea was to focus on the refraction of the flower projected onto the glass rather than the flower itself. I used a moderate aperture (f/10) for some depth-of-field—enough to make the refraction of the flower in the glass seem to be in focus, but not enough for the actual flower in the background to seem sharp.

Passiflora through a bottle © Harold Davis

Passiflora through a bottle © Harold Davis

What makes this image interesting is the inversion of normal visual expectations. In other words, the contrast between the “straight” flower in the background—which is normal and ordinary, but not in focus—and the distorted flower in the glass—which is contorted and extraordinary, but in focus—is unusual. We normally expect to see our “straight” things crisp and in focus, and our weird, dream-like things out-of-focus and, well, dream-like.

Temple Flags

The temple flags shown in this image are along the steps leading up to the grand shrine of Kumano Hongu Taisha located in Tanabe, Japan on the Kii peninsula in Wakayama Prefecture. This temple has been one of the most important centers of the Shugendo Buddhist faith for more than 1,000 years.

Temple Flags © Harold Davis

Temple Flags © Harold Davis

My idea was to create a mystical, ghost-like image. I wanted to use the natural motion of the flags in the wind to create a soft effect, with the forest landscape in the background partially “peeking” through. To make this image, in the gathering twilight, I put my camera on my tripod, and dialed down the ISO as low as possible (to ISO 50).

With my ISO set low, I next picked a small aperture (f/22). At ISO 50 and f/22, an eight second exposure was about right—which created the flowing and soft otherworldly effect I wanted.

Coming into the new year with my books

The Way of the Digital Photographer by Harold DavisComing into the new year, I’m delighted that my recent titles are doing well. The Way of the Digital Photographer from Peachpit has been named a best photo book of 2013 by Photo.net. Over on Amazon, there are many positive reviews. For example, Charlotte McBroom writes, “Chock full of excellent information. There are many useful tools and methods of usage. I recommend this book to everyone interested in photography.”

Monochromatic HDR Photography from Focal Press has also been well received. A Fine Art Printer Magazine review calls attention to “the very high image quality and the excellent text. The subject of the book is the combination of two photographic trends: HDR photography and black and white….These insights are illustrated by hauntingly beautiful black and white images.”

On Amazon, reviewer Larry Goldfarb notes that “while the title invokes the world of HDR photography, this book is really bigger than that, it’s about light and tonal depth. Other than subject matter, that’s photography. The author presents a variety of methods for exploring and expanding your ability to adjust both.”

Monochromatic HDR Photography by Harold DavisIn Horizon, a computer users newsletter, Mark Mattson writes, “When I read through this book for this review, I learned a lot about how I should be doing things, to get the images I really want to show. A lot of the concepts I’ve known now for some time, but just haven’t made the connection to monochrome. With Harold and this book I now have a guide to show me the way on this new journey.”

I’m glad many photographers have found my books inspiring and useful. Thanks everyone who has taken the time to write a review, it is greatly appreciated—and helps me to continue doing what I do!

My best of 2013

As an exercise, and also to participate in a compendium of “best of” blogged photos, I’ve put together what I think are my best photos from 2013. This has been an exciting and varied year of photography for me, with locations both abroad and at home.

It’s never an easy job editing one’s own photos. My favorite photo is always my next one! I love them when I make them, but then they fall out of favor, and it takes a while before I can see them clearly. You have to let go of the feelings you had when you took the image, and begin to view them objectively: often not the easiest thing to do.

I also had a problem of definition: does an image made in 2013 count, or does it have to be photographed in 2013? This is an issue for me because many of my images are made from photos shot in earlier years. For the sake of this collection, I am sticking with images using only photos shot in 2013 (I have no shortage of those!), but this does mean omitting some composite imagery that I like.

How do you compare apples to oranges? Are you in the mood for botanicals or landscapes? This is all very subjective, but basically these are my picks (with a little input from Phyllis). I also used favoriting on Flickr as a data point (but certainly didn’t rely solely on Flickr feedback). What do you think? Which are your favorites? Have I omitted an image of mine that should be included (or vice versa)?

Herewith, the Harold Davis best of 2013 (in alphabetical order):

Anemones 1 © Harold Davis

Anemones 1 © Harold Davis

 

Bixby Bridge by Starlight © Harold Davis

Bixby Bridge by Starlight © Harold Davis

 

Cayucos Pier © Harold Davis

Cayucos Pier © Harold Davis

 

Chateau des Nazelles © Harold Davis

Chateau des Nazelles © Harold Davis

 

Church at Auvers © Harold Davis

Church at Auvers © Harold Davis

 

Dawn in the High Fields © Harold Davis

Dawn in the High Fields © Harold Davis

 

Dawn of the Dragon © Harold Davis

Dawn of the Dragon © Harold Davis

 

Eiffel Tower from Sacre Couer © Harold Davis

Eiffel Tower from Sacre Couer © Harold Davis

 

Flowers of Late Summer © Harold Davis

Flowers of Late Summer © Harold Davis

 

Kumano Sanzen Roppyaku Po © Harold Davis

Kumano Sanzen Roppyaku Po © Harold Davis

 

Lights of Paris © Harold Davis

Lights of Paris © Harold Davis

 

Kira at Passy Station © Harold Davis

Kira at Passy Station © Harold Davis

 

Red Tulips in a Glass Vase © Harold Davis

Red Tulips in a Glass Vase © Harold Davis

 

Rose Center Curves © Harold Davis

Rose Center Curves © Harold Davis

 

La Basilique du Sacré Cœur © Harold Davis

La Basilique du Sacré Cœur © Harold Davis

 

Story of O © Harold Davis

Story of O © Harold Davis

 

Tulip Within © Harold Davis

Tulip Within © Harold Davis

 

Waves on Drakes Beach © Harold Davis

Waves on Drakes Beach © Harold Davis

Kate Rose is doing fine!

From time to time I get asked for a follow up on the story of Katie Rose from people—both strangers and those I know—who remember how she was born. Katie Rose is doing just fine, which counts as a major miracle in my book, considering that she was born at one pound with complete cardiac and lung failure. She’s shown here via a recent iPhone capture in the playground.

Katie Rose in the playground via iPhone © Harold Davis

Katie Rose in the playground via iPhone © Harold Davis

For me, whenever things seem hard in the world or I am unhappy, I remember that miracles do indeed happen in real life—and Katie Rose is here to prove it!

Related: The Story of Katie Rose book; Katie Rose category on my blog.