Category Archives: Photography

digital photography: techniques: thoughts: photographs

Print Prices to Rise; Special Print Offer

Our print prices are set to rise modestly in 2015. For example, a 20″ X 24″ print is now $1,600; the price will rise to $2,000. See the table below for some other price increases.

We will hold current pricing for orders placed by December 31, 2014.

In this connection, we are pleased to make special print offers from time-to-time, on a “good while supplies last” basis. The subject of this offer is Bounty of the Garden, shown below, printed on Awagami Kozo washi, in a 20″ wide and 12″ high print, hand-signed in pencil. This is a glorious and unique image that makes a spectacular print, it is our way of saying thanks for the blessings of the earth and for a great year!

The special print offer price is a great deal at $295.00 plus $30 shipping!

Special offer print shipping within the continental United States only please. Please place orders by contacting the studio for the special offer. For Christmas delivery, please be sure to place your order for the special offer print (or any print) by December 10.

Bounty of the Garden © Harold Davis

Bounty of the Garden © Harold Davis

Please note the following print price increases below. Current prices will be held for orders places before December 31, 2014. The indicated sizes are paper sizes, actual image sizes vary and are usually smaller. Special substrates in some cases may incur higher costs. For prints in a panoramic proportion, pricing is by the longest dimension (so a 24″ X 60″ print is priced the same as a 40″ X 60″ print).

Size Current Price 2015 Price
11″ X 14″ $900 $1,000
16″ X 20″ $1,200 $1,400
20″ X 24″ $1,600 $2,000
30″ X 40″ $2,900 $3,000
40″ X 60″ $4,500 $5,000

Terra Incognita

It is the job of the artist to plunge into Terra Incognita. This means exploring unknown country both literally and figuratively. When artistic territory seizes to be unknown and verges on the repetitious, then the work ceases to be exploration and becomes an exercise in marketing the known “trademark look.” It’s a sad fact that this artistic truth diverges with conventional advice for making a living as an artist—which is to find an iconic style, and to stick to it.

Burning off the Fog, Marin Headlands, CA © Harold Davis

Burning off the Fog, Marin Headlands, CA © Harold Davis

For me, plunging into the artistic unknown is like swinging on a rope high above deep water. When the leap begins it is both exhilarating and frightening, and part of what makes life worth living. I will not be shoe-horned into a narrow category. I will go “under, over and through” to discover the lands beyond, returning enriched with experiences and insights that I can bring into genres I have plumbed before.

Bamboo Forest, Kyoto, Japan © Harold Davis

Bamboo Forest, Kyoto, Japan © Harold Davis

On the eve of literal travel, these thoughts come to mind. This journey is a bit of a wild adventure as well, with stops in New York, Spain, Morocco and Portugal. The point, of course, is always the journey and not the destination—and it is a truism that neither I nor my imagery will return unchanged. My plan is to blog my photos, stories and adventures, so please “stay tuned.”

Saint-Roman, Dordogne, France © Harold Davis

Saint-Roman, Dordogne, France © Harold Davis

Children’s book author E. Nesbit got this right for art and for travel in one of my all-time favorites The Enchanted Castle, when she put these words in a character’s mouth: “‘I don’t understand,’ says Gerald, alone in his third-class carriage, ‘how railway trains and magic can go on at the same time.’ And yet they do.”

Today we have airplanes rather than Victorian carriages—but the concepts of escape from the mundane details of class structure and the struggle to make a living via art and magic remains the same.

Great Hall Heidelberg University

The Great Hall is Heidelberg University’s magnificent historic auditorium, located on the first floor of the old University building in the old part of Heidelberg. It’s in the same building that houses the Heidelberg Student Jail.

Great Hall Heidelberg University  © Harold Davis

Great Hall Heidelberg University © Harold Davis

When my local friend took me to see the old University building, the attendant told us that the Great Hall was closed to the public as they were preparing for an event “unless one of you is press.” I reached for my wallet, and started to pull out my Nikon Professional Services (NPS) card—not exactly press, but good enough I guess to get us into the Great Hall!

Cinque Terre one of the best places to photograph in the world

According to the Photoshelter blog, Cinque Terre in Italy is one of the 24 best places to photograph worldwide (along with Havana, Cuba, the Wave in Arizona and Marrakesh, Morocco, etc). Photoshelter quotes photographer Inge Johnsson, “Cinque Terre is such an inspiring place to both visit and photograph. It’s the perfect marriage of landscape and architecture with its dramatic cliffs hugging the ocean, and the buildings in turn hugging the cliffs. And then there is the unbelievable palette of colors on the buildings, the Mediterranean waters, and even the foods. No matter which of the five towns you find yourself in…there are always photographic subjects wherever you look and whatever the time of the day.”

Check out the 24 Best Places to Photograph Worldwide (opens in a new window). Although I have photographed in many of the locations on this list, definitely Cinque Terre is on my photographic “bucket list.”

Please consider joining me to photograph Cinque Terre in October, 2015. Click here for the Prospectus and Itinerary, and here for Registration details & instructions.

New Harold Davis posters from Editions Limited

I am very pleased to have a new series of fine art posters based on my work published by Editions Limited. There are four botanical images, and two landscapes from the Kumano kodo pilgrimage trail on the Kii peninsula in Japan.

Nature's Palette, art poster published by Editions Limited © Harold Davis

Nature’s Palette, art poster published by Editions Limited © Harold Davis

Tulip Panorama art poster published by Editions Limited © Harold Davis

Tulip Panorama art poster published by Editions Limited © Harold Davis

Tulips 1 art poster published by Editions Limited © Harold Davis

Tulips 1 art poster published by Editions Limited © Harold Davis

Tulips 2 art poster published by Editions Limited © Harold Davis

Tulips 2 art poster published by Editions Limited © Harold Davis

Misty Mountains art poster published by Editions Limited © Harold Davis

Misty Mountains art poster published by Editions Limited © Harold Davis

Kumano Sanzen art poster published by Editions Limited © Harold Davis

Kumano Sanzen Roppyaku Po art poster published by Editions Limited © Harold Davis

Dasha

I photographed the beautiful model Dasha as part of my Multiple Exposures sequence in Variations, I never know which me, Quo Vadis and Dance of the Seven Veils. I was asked recently whether I had any images of Dasha that weren’t part of a multiple exposure sequence. Well, of course I do. This one was supposed to be part of a multiple exposure, but I forgot to set the camera to combine the images, so I got eight individual exposures—also explaining the in-motion look of the model.

Dasha © Harold Davis

Dasha © Harold Davis

Exposure and post-production information: Photographed against a black background using studio strobes, Nikon D810, Otus 55mm f/1.4, at 1/160 of a second and f/8 using ISO 100, post-processed to black & white using Nik Silver Efex Pro and the Infrared preset as a Photoshop Black & White Adjustment Layer. I then added Flypaper Etched Copper from the Metallic collection as a texture overlay, and reconverted (converted a second time) to black and white.

Botanique on exhibit at Awagami Gallery

I am honored that my limited edition artist book of botanical art, Botanique, and several of my prints are on exhibit at Awagami in Japan.

Harold Davis' prints on AIJP coupled with his book dossier

Awagami Factory: Harold Davis’ prints on AIJP coupled with his book dossier

We do have a few copies of Botanique remaining, starting at number 16 (out of an edition of 25). Please contact my studio if you are interested.

Blind

Photography is about light. You can’t photograph an actual thing, only the light reflected or emitted by the thing. What does this come down to at its irreducible minimum?

Blind © Harold Davis

Blind © Harold Davis

Perhaps it is bright morning sunlight coming through a “Venetian” blind, leaving only darkness and light in its wake—and us to consider grace, being blind and then seeing and the fact that one does not have to travel far to find photographic material that is of interest. One only needs to shift the way one sees that small amount to find the wonder in the ordinary that is always around us.

Capturing hand held using a Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 at 1/250 of a second, f/11 and ISO 400 (underexposed according to the light meter by about 3 EV).

Please keep in mind my series of webinar recordings, including most recently Converting to Black & White and Making Memorable Travel Photos.

Exhibition in Heidelberg, Germany

I am very excited to be exhibiting at Arts & Friends, a photography gallery in Heidelberg, Germany. The show is Harold Davis: An Eclectic Collection. The exhibition title suits me fine because I am definitely eclectic in my photographic tastes!

My understanding is that there will be two really large prints, one on Slickrock Silver and one on metallic pearl. There are roughly twenty other prints in the show of varying sizes, printed on Awagami Kozo washi, Slickrock pearl and Lasal Exhibition Fiber. All the prints are monochromatic. Special thanks to my sponsor Moab Paper, who has helped to make this exhibition possible, and to Zeiss whose fine lenses I used for most of the work in this show.

My exhibit runs from October 18 through November 16, 2014. If you happen to be in Germany, the opening is on Saturday October 18 at 6PM. Here’s the invitation card:

Invitation postcard

 

Variations

Here are some variations on I never know which me. The upper variation has been flipped, and a texture added to make the model appear to be coming out of the background. The lower variation has been converted to black and white.

Pygmalion Redux © Harold Davis

Pygmalion Redux © Harold Davis

This is an in-camera multiple exposure, consisting of ten individual exposures combined in the camera. I used a Nikon D810 mounted on a tripod with a Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 lens. The background was black seamless paper, and two studio strobes triggered by wireless were used for lighting.

Black and White Variation  © Harold Davis

Black and White Variation © Harold Davis

For the entire cycle of images see Multiple Exposures.

Credits—Model: DashaStudio: The Lighthouse Berkeley.

The end of the Berkeley Pier

The Berkeley Municipal Pier stretches almost a half a mile out into San Francisco Bay. Along the way out to the end there are views of San Francisco, the Golden Gate, Alcatraz, and Mt Tamalpais. The pier used to go even further, so the end is boarded up with the slats you see here, which look decorative in the sunset light. By the way, the view from under the Berkeley Pier is also pretty cool!

End of the Berkeley Pier © Harold Davis

End of the Berkeley Pier © Harold Davis

This image was shot on a tripod, and used three blended exposures. I used a Nikon D810 and Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 set to f/22 and ISO 64 (the native ISO for the D810). The shutter speeds were 2.5 seconds, 8 seconds and 25 seconds. Post-production included HDR blending and minor perspective correction.

Ghosts in the Enchanted Garden

On May Day, a national holiday in France, the fountains were going full force in the Parc de Sceaux. Of course, on a holiday weekend, the park was full of people, who showed up as “ghosts” in this bracketed exposure sequence, combined using HDR. I removed most of the ghosts in post-production, but if you look closely you’ll see I left a few ghosts to wander in this enchanted garden.

Ghosts in the Enchanted Garden © Harold Davis

Ghosts in the Enchanted Garden © Harold Davis

Another technical point: my usual recommendation is to bracket shutter speed by one EV increments, keeping the other settings in the exposure triangle constant. But in this case I essentially created two bracketed sequences at differing ISOs and apertures, one sequence intended to provide long exposures and a smooth effect on the water in the fountains, the other intended to capture the water as it sprayed crisply.

Both sequences were then combined into one image. I used a 70mm focal length on a tripod. The three fast-shutter-speed exposures were at ISO 320 and f/8, and ranged from 1/80 of a second to 1/500 of a second in duration. The four slow-shutter-speed exposures were at ISO 50 and F/32, and ranged from 1.3 seconds to 1/6 of a second.

The point of this process was to show both silky slow-motion water along with crisp spray from the fountains.

Ghosts in the Enchanted Garden (Black & White) © Harold Davis

Ghosts in the Enchanted Garden (Black & White) © Harold Davis

Of course, there is something decidedly old-fashioned about this kind of view, almost like a digital version of Eugene Atget in his photography of parks and gardens such as those at Versailles. So I decided to make this appeal explicit in the monochromatic version shown here. You can still see the ghosts if you look closely, but they are wandering around in black and white.

Learn more about my techniques for monochrome in this webinar recording: Converting to Black & White with Photoshop and Nik Silver Efex and also please consider my Black & White Weekend Workshop in March, 2015.

 

Stairway to Heaven

On a rainy spring day I was photographing under the bridges in Paris, trying to keep my camera dry. The bridge shown in this image is the Pont Solferino, a pedestrian bridge over the Seine. My position is with the Tuilleries at my back, looking across the river at the Musee D’Orsay on the left.

Pont Solferino (Black & White)  © Harold Davis

Pont Solferino (Black & White) © Harold Davis

The image shown here in black and white (above) and color (below) is composed from a bracketed sequence of five shots at exposures from 6 seconds to 1/60 of a second. I used my 15mm f/2.8 Zeiss lens, with a little post-production work to correct the perspective distortion. The HDR blending caused the people climbing the stairs to “ghost”—an effect that adds to what one person viewing my images has called a “stairway to heaven.”

Pont Solferino © Harold Davis

Pont Solferino © Harold Davis

Want to learn more about how I convert to black and white? The recording of my webinar Converting to Black & White with Photoshop and Nik Silver Efex is now available for unlimited access ($19.95).

Nachi-san

Japan, as someone put it to me, is the most exotic place one can go that is absolutely safe. Nachi-san, shown in this image, is one of the ends of the Kumano kodo pilgrimage trail. It is a religious Shangri-la above the ocean with an impressive waterfall behind the temple complex.

Nachi-san © Harold Davis

Nachi-san © Harold Davis

In my initial story on this image, I noted that “while some pilgrims do it the hard way and walk the ancient stones of the Kumano kodo up to mountain passes and down through valleys to arrive in Nachi-san, most visitors arrive by scheduled bus, or by tour bus. Like Lourdes in France, or Mt Koya in Japan, Nachi-san is a destination for religious tourists, almost all of whom are Japanese.” There’s more about the location in the story about my long exposure photo of the Pagoda at Nachi San.

When I first processed the image I straightened the lines of perspective, but my mistake left a little of the amrgin in the finished image. The version shown here fixes my earlier mistake.

Please consider joining me in the spring for a photographic trip to Japan, which includes a visit to Nachi-san.

Falling

Falling is a single, in-camera multiple exposure using the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 and a Nikon D800 on a tripod. There was a black backdrop, and I used a studio strobe on either side, facing the model who was posing on a suspended hoop. The mechanics of in-camera multiple-exposure photography aren’t too tough to master provided auto-gain is enabled. But creating these images does require precision choreography and communication with the model to get the posing positions right, otherwise the composition doesn’t come together.

Falling © Harold Davis

Falling © Harold Davis

You can see some of the other images I’ve made using this technique in these stories: Wheel of LifeDance in the RingsA Rorschach for MFAs and Multiple Exposures. Also check out the Multiple Exposures portfolio page of these images!