Category Archives: Photography

digital photography: techniques: thoughts: photographs

Totem and Taboo

The title I’ve given this image, Totem and Taboo, is in part a reference to Sigmund Freud’s collection of essays of the same name. Freud combined anthropology with concepts of psychoanalysis to compare the states of mind of “savages” with those of neurotics. My image makes no such grandiose claims, but visually it does seem to represent animism and a totem (the pole that is, if not in the totemic animal sense).

Totem and Taboo © Harold Davis

Totem and Taboo © Harold Davis

Totem and Taboo is a single in-camera multiple exposure that the model and I choreographed. Although the model is different, I processed the image to pair with Gates after Rodin. If you are curious, my blog story about Gates after Rodin has a more detailed description of how this kind of image is made.

Also posted in Models

Comparative Motion

Dead Tree, Seascape, and Sunset is an exercise in capturing comparative motion over the course of a fairly long exposure (ten seconds). The surf was rolling in below the bluff, and the motion caused it to blur; while the dead tree was standing fairly still, and is shown in stark outline without the motion blur.

Dead Tree, Seascape, and Sunset © Harold Davis

Dead Tree, Seascape, and Sunset © Harold Davis

Also posted in Landscape

Harold Davis Interview about Pixsy on the ASMP Business Blog

www.asmp.org/strictlybusiness/2016/02/an-interview-with-pixsy-client-harold-davis/

Once I began putting my work up on the Web, it didn’t take me long to realize that I was on the horns of a very serious business dilemma. Everything I posted was subject to image “appropriation,” a polite term for people using my images without compensation or a license. On the other hand, if I didn’t post images to my blog or Flickr stream, then no one would know about me, and I would lose a large part of my assignment and licensing business.

With no better choice, I decided that posting my imagery and accepting a certain amount of theft, just as retail storekeepers accept some “spoilage,” seemed like the best of the two options.

In early 2015, I was approached by Pixsy, www.pixsy.com, which uses automated image recognition software to discover infringements on the web, pursues commercial uses, and splits the eventual license fee with the photographer. I have to admit that I was originally somewhat skeptical but after evaluating Pixsy’s offerings, I decided to see how well the service worked on a trial basis, particularly since there are no upfront fees, and Pixsy only gets paid if they recover money on my behalf.

Read more!

Water Drop Selfie with Camera © Harold Davis

Water Drop Selfie with Camera © Harold Davis

What’s in Harold Davis’s Camera Bag?

Curious about what’s in my gear bag when I’m in the field? Check out this story from Zeiss! (Thanks Zeiss so much for the wonderful glass.)

Harold Davis - In My Camera Bag

Belying Apparent Simplicity

This image of Tulips in a Vase on White derives its power from its apparent simplicity. In fact, behind the scenes, I constructed the image with a certain amount of calculated deviousness. Let me explain.

Tulips in a Vase on White © Harold Davis

Tulips in a Vase on White © Harold Davis

Tulips in a Vase on White is actually two composited photos. The camera was fixed in position on a tripod for both exposures, and the tulips didn’t move between the photos. I used my extraordinarily bright 55mm f/1.4 Otus lens on a Nikon D800, and both exposures were shot at ISO 100.

Both captures were focused on the frontward tulip. One exposure was wide-open for minimum depth-of-field at f/1.4 (and 1/20 of a second). The second exposure was stopped down to f/16 (for high depth-of field). The exposure time for the second exposure was 1.6 seconds. Both exposures were made using natural light from the windows, with the vase placed on a roll of seamless white paper.

To make the final image, I used the low depth-of-field (f/1.4) exposure as the background. Using layers, a layer mask, and the Brush Tool in Photoshop, I selectively painted-in the tulip flowers (but not the vase or stem) from the in-focus, high depth-of-field exposure on top of the background.

The final effect, with the vase out of focus, and the rear flowers selectively in focus, is not optically possible in a single photo in the real world.

Fortunately, as artists we are not bound by the strictures of the real world. Part of my intent in constructing this image was to create something apparently simple and straightforward. The relative complexity of the construction—and optical impossibility of the results—should not be apparent to the lay person viewing my image.

Related images: Irises in a Vase (in Using Light for Emotional Impact) and Tulips on White (in We Happy Flower Few).

Learning to Photograph Flowers for Transparency (article on Pixsy blog)

I’ve written an article now posted on the Pixsy blog about my technique for photographing flowers for transparency on a light box:

What are the steps to mastering the process? Surprisingly, it combines classical photography and modern digital best practices. When applied with a dedicated, delicate, and skilled hand, the results can be luscious and luminous. Here’s how my Photographing Flowers for Transparency process works out, step-by-step:

  • Understanding the role of the light box
  • Selecting and arranging flowers on the light box
  • Photographing a high-key bracketed sequence of exposures
  • Combining the high-key bracketed sequence to express transparency
  • Finishing the image in post-production
  • Creating a high-quality print of the transparent flower image

Let’s take a look at each of these steps in order.

Read more of the article on the Pixsy blog.

Nature's Palette © Harold Davis

Nature’s Palette © Harold Davis

Also posted in Flowers, Writing

Blast from the Past: Travels with Samantha

Originally published November 24, 2014Editor’s update: After publishing this post, I received a number of inquiries as to what I was doing traveling with “another woman” (Phyllis seems to have many friends). Apparently these interlocutors had only skimmed the story, and not realized that Samantha was an “artificial intelligence” (e.g., nav system), rather than flesh and blood.

I’m normally a map, or a map-and-compass, kind of guy. But when I rented my car in Portugal I also rented a navigation system. Getting lost in obscure foreign parts where I didn’t speak the language was definitely getting old.

The man who set up the navigation system for me at Europacar wanted to know whether I wanted British or American English, and also whether I wanted the Jack or Samantha voice. I picked Samantha.

In some respects, Sam is a navigational prodigy, getting me places on a wing and a prayer that I would never have accomplished on my own. For example, the route Sam took me on to the door of my hotel in the historic district of Porto involved several one-way alleys, numerous roundabouts, the lower deck of the famous bridge in Porto, and—strangely—a vacant lot.

Porto at Night © Harold Davis

Porto at Night © Harold Davis

When she’s good, Sam is very, very good—but the price for her help is that she wants control. Occasionally she also gets things wrong, directing me up roads closed to traffic, or alleys that are only intended for foot traffic. In these cases, she gets repetitive, and there is clearly a shrillness to the directions, as if she’s asking, “Why can’t you even follow simple instructions?”

She’s also not very sympathetic to the stops I make for photography. She calculates an arrival time for each destination. Apparently, my photographic stops throw this off. “Recalculating,” she announces, and you can almost see the virtual eyeball rolling. “You are now fifteen minutes later than the original time-to-destination.” It certainly sounds like she gets more annoyed the more photographic stops I make.

Once today I reached a new highway that wasn’t in Sam’s database. Her display showed me and the car rolling across open fields, and her directions to correct my course were increasingly implausible, until at last the real world and her maps coincided again, and there was peace in the relationship once more.

Like any neurotic relationship there are communication problems, and as I mentioned, a battle for control. But I’ve grown accustomed to the strident, dulcet tones of my Samantha, telling me she is recalibrating, and to go right in 100 meters on a street whose name in Portuguese she has totally mangled—or often, turn in 250 meters on “Road” with no other name. It’s relaxing knowing I can blunder anyplace in this country, more or less, and Sam will get me to where I need to go no matter how lost I am.

Blast from the Past: Free Wrecked Blue Couch for House Guests You Hate

Originally published June 1, 2015. Editor’s update: Phyllis eventually had to pay to have the couch hacked into pieces and hauled away. The response to the Craig’s List ad quoted below did not garner any takers for the couch, but did result in a number of people contacting me to say how funny the ad was, and (in several cases) that they had a couch like the one described that could also send unwanted house guests packing.

Wrecked Blue Couch © Harold Davis

Wrecked Blue Couch © Harold Davis

Here’s an ad I wrote for Craig’s List recently about one of the two couches we are trying to get rid of:

Too many folks trying to crash at your place? Let them sleep on this couch and they’ll move on fast! All four of my kids have had their way with this blue couch, and wife now wants to upgrade. It’s not in great shape, note the tear on the right arm fabric, but with a throw over it it still looks half way decent, and I could see it in a man cave or something. Basically, you are getting a wreck—with a width of about six feet. Come take it away for free, and win our thanks!

Not very surprisingly, we’ve had no takers. But it was fun writing the ad copy…

Blast from the Past: Noriko Tries to Poison Me

Originally published November 4, 2013

Well, not really. In actual fact, Noriko took me to a wonderful, varied and seasonal dinner at a restaurant with no external signage in the Gion district of Kyoto. The kind of restaurant, and meal, that tourists can generally only dream of having in Japan.

Fugu via iPhone © Harold Davis

Fugu via iPhone © Harold Davis

I was half way through a tasty dish of some kind of baked fish with a subtle barbecue sauce when Noriko said, “Don’t worry, they are licensed here.”

I must have looked blank, because she continued, “This is Fugu!”

I must have still looked blank, because she said, “You know, Blowfish. It’s also called ‘Pufferfish.’ The poison fish.”

Licensed to what? Licensed to kill?

“There’s no danger,” Noriko continued. “The poison is near the intestines. The only people who die are those who eat the intestines anyway, because they are greedy people and the intestines taste so good. The government licenses people who serve this fish.”

At which point she translated our conversation for the immaculately clad-in-white, smiling and bowing chefs behind the counter, who thought it was hilarious. I pantomimed doubling up and keeling over from the poison, which they thought was even funnier, then allowed as I trusted them.

I told Noriko I wished I’d known about the fish before I’d eaten it so I could have photographed the dish with my iPhone. She said, “In that case, I’ll order it prepared a different way. But after you photograph it, you must eat it, you know.”

You can see in the iPhone shot above that the slices in the second dish of Fugu are so thin they are translucent.

Thank you, Noriko!

Blast from the Past: Between Earth and Sky

Originally published September 22, 2008

Between Earth and Sky

Between Earth and Sky, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

On our way home from a sunset-to-night hike on the Tomales Point fork of Point Reyes, Mark and I stopped at the wreck of the Point Reyes fishing trawler. Many people like to photograph this trawler, which is easily accessible outside of Inverness, California.

The week before, at my Point Reyes night photography workshop, I’d been stymied in my idea of stacking photos to produce circular star trails (stymied because it was cloudy). But this time it was clear. The stars were bright, although a little less than on Tomales Point, probably because of the ambient light pollution.

I pointed the camera north, and used a digital fisheye lens to maximize the celestial rotation of the star trails.

First I tested the light with a one minute exposure at ISO 800 at f/3.5. Then I made an eight minute ISO 100 exposure (with in-camera long exposure noise reduction enabled) for the foreground. This image in its entirety is found below (I think it is interesting in its own right, with the still stars at the center and circular star trails around the edges).

Next, I turned noise reduction off, and programmed my Nikon MC-36 remote for twenty exposures, each capture at four minutes, ISO 100, and f/5.6.

It was damp and a bit chilly in the dark, and for a while Mark and I left my camera on autopilot and sat some distance away in my car, listening to the superb and eerie music of Alison Krauss and Robert Plant. After twelve exposures (about 48 minutes) our patience wore out and weariness won. Mark had a plane to catch in the morning for a business meeting, and I’ve been going on fumes since Katie Rose was born. I stopped the automated exposure process, and packed it in.

This morning, I combined the thirteen images in Photoshop using the Statistics script, choosing Maximum as the method for combination. An airplane trail in one of the captures made it into the stack, and I decided to keep this apparent visual anomaly. Finally, I layered in the longer exposure for the detail in the foreground and boat.

[Above: Thirteen captures, all captures Nikon D300, 10.5mm digital fisheye, tripod mounted; one capture 8 minutes at f/3.5 and ISO 100; twelve captures 4 minutes at f/5.6 and ISO 100; star trails created by statistical stacking of 13 exposures; foreground created by layer with the 8 minute exposure using a gradient and layer mask. Below: Nikon D300, 10.5mm digital fisheye, 8 minutes at f/3.5 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Point Reyes Trawler at Eight

View this image larger.

Blast from the Past: Sacré Coeur Passage

Originally published June 26, 2013:

La Basilique du Sacré Coeur de Montmartre sits high on a hill overlooking Paris. Controversial from long before the start of construction, the design of Sacré Coeur was a response to the supposed “moral decline” of France in the century following the French revolution, with the more proximate cause the defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.

If this defeat represented divine punishment, as asserted by Bishop Fournier, then Sacré Coeur was an iconic response by the hard right-wing allied with monarchists and the Catholic church to the democratic rabble of Paris and the commune. This was not the first, nor the last, time that the forces of repression and the church were on the same side against their common enemy, the people when empowered—but it still was a bitter pill for some to swallow standing tall above the city of light.

Sacré Coeur Passage © Harold Davis

Sacré Coeur Passage © Harold Davis

Visited by millions of people a year, Sacré Coeur gets surprisingly little traffic up in the passage that circles the grand dome.  Perhaps the narrow and twisting stairs—all 280 of them—inhibit guests. The views are superb, as you can see in another image of mine from the dome that includes that other Parisian icon, the Eiffel tower.

Up in the passage around the dome of Sacré Coeur, the “rabble” has had its revenge. On the one hand, it is sad to see the elegant surfaces defaced by layer upon layer of graffiti and a general patina of neglect over time. On the other hand, this defilement—at least in part a deliberate statement—stands as mute testament to the true sentiments of many of those who visit: as much as a holy temple, Sacré Coeur is a political symbol created by those who would keep the people in their place.

Patina of Time © Harold Davis

Patina of Time © Harold Davis

Exposure data, Sacré Coeur Passage: 22mm, eight exposures at shutter speeds between 1/20 of a second and 3 seconds, each exposure at f/22 and ISO 200, tripod mounted; exposures processed in Nik HDr Efex Pro and Photoshop, and converted to monochromatic using Photoshop, Topaz Adjust, and Nik Silver Efex Pro; Patina of Time: 82mm, seven exposures at shutter speeds between 1/30 of a second and 1.3 seconds, each exposure at f/22 and ISO 200, tripod mounted; exposures processed in Nik HDr Efex Pro and Photoshop, and converted to monochromatic using Photoshop, Topaz Adjust, and Nik Silver Efex Pro

Also posted in France, Monochrome, Paris

Romanesco Broccoli

Browsing in the produce section of Berkeley Bowl I was transfixed by spiral nature of Romanesco Broccoli, an edible flower in the broccoli family.  The flower’s form approximates a natural fractal because each flower is composed of a series of smaller flowers, each arranged in a logarithmic spiral. This pattern is replicated in smaller sizes at different levels on the flower. The pattern is only an approximate fractal since the pattern eventually ends when the flower size becomes really small. The number of spirals found on the head of Romanesco broccoli is always a Fibonacci number.

Romanesco Broccoli © Harold Davis

Romanesco Broccoli (Black and White) © Harold Davis

I brought a nice head of Romanesco Broccoli home, and photographed it on white seamless using a macro lens with an extension tube to get close enough to show the spirals. The version above is in black and white, with the color version below.

Romanesco Broccoli (color) © Harold Davis

Romanesco Broccoli (color) © Harold Davis

By the way, I recently saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Some Romanesco Broccoli is featured in The Force Awakens. No, it is not the mystical, Fibonacci-driven world that Luke retires to (in case you wondered). The Romanesco Broccoli is a mere extraterrestrial garnish in the exotic drink Rey is handed in the scene in Maz Kanata’s Castle (along with a weird-looking fruit, a Citron, which coincidentally I also photographed recently). I guess the Disney stylists for The Force Awakens also wandered in the produce aisles at Berkeley Bowl!

Also posted in Patterns

Happy New Year!

2016-HD-NewYear

Words to Live and Create By

Being Creative => peace · joy · love · creativity · harmony · beauty · imagination · exploration

Being Loving => freedom · exploration · hugs · prosperity · harmony · happiness · love · friends · family · serendipity · hope · energy · passion

Working with Joy => clarity · persevere · love · courageous · dazzling · focus · fierce · bubbly ·

Being Passionate and Spontaneous => delight · change · electrifying · artistic · creativity · assertive · love · enthusiasm · growth · bounty · hope · brave · spontaneous

Click here for my website; here for my blog; here for workshop info; and here to learn more about my prints.

Best of 2015: Backwards and Forwards

As a photographer and artist, I’m the kind of person who would much rather look forward than backward. The next adventure, or the next photo, is always more interesting to me than the completed adventure (or the image that has already been made).

That said, those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat it. Taking stock of what one has done in a given year can be a good prelude to ratcheting it up a notch for the next year (and, of course, the coming of a new year is a traditional time to make this inventory). Creating this kind of list is part of the process of establishing a baseline that I explain in Achieving Your Potential As a Photographer.

In this spirit in years gone by I have compiled My Best of 2014 and My Best of 2013. Now, in roughly chronological order, here are some of my best photos and adventures from 2015. In many cases you’ll find a bit about the backstory of the image, and links to the full story about the image on my blog.

By the way, if you are interesting in coming with me on a new photography adventure, there are a very few spaces remaining in Photograph Paris in the Spring. Phyllis and I are also offering two Italian destination photo workshops in the autumn of the new year, Under the Tuscan Skies and Photograph Venice.

New Span of the Bay Bridge

When the new Sheriff comes riding into town, everyone needs to adjust. The same thing is true for photographers when a new public structure goes up, particularly when the change is striking and vast enough, like it or not, to totally change the landscape. When this kind of change happens we must assess the alteration to our familiar landscape, and seek out new vantage points to include the new element in our photographs. Read more.

New Span of the Bay Bridge © Harold Davis

New Span of the Bay Bridge © Harold Davis

Amazing Anemones

Back lighting emphasizes the translucency of the petals, and the transparent colors that are reminiscent of stained-glass. Read more.

Amazing Anemones © Harold Davis

Amazing Anemones © Harold Davis

Flower of Spring’s Desires

Photographed Friday on my light box using my Nikon D810, Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 at f/16 and ISO 64 on the tripod. Eight blended exposures at shutter speeds from 8 seconds to 1/15 of second. Processed over the weekend using Adobe Camera RAW, Photoshop, Nik HDR Efex Pro, Nik Color Efex Pro, Topaz Adjust, and Topaz Simplify.

Please see my FAQ for more info about how I made this image. Read more.

Flowers of Spring's Desire  © Harold Davis

Flowers of Spring’s Desire © Harold Davis

Clematis on Black

To photograph this Clematis Bee’s Jubilee blossom, I placed it on a light box and photographed it straight down using a tripod with a Nikon D810 and my special Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4 lens. Read more.

Clematis on Black  © Harold Davis

Clematis on Black © Harold Davis

Hall of Shadows

The Oakland 16th Street Station, also called the Central Oakland Station, was built in the early 1900s as a grand terminus for the Southern Pacific Railway. In service until 1994, the station also served as a transportation hub, connecting the local East Bay Electric Railway and Amtrak with the Southern Pacific. Read more.

Hall of Shadows © Harold Davis

Hall of Shadows © Harold Davis

D Ranch

Point Reyes National Seashore is probably unique among the American National Parks in that this public land is shared with working cattle and dairy ranches. These ranches date from the early 1800s and are very much a part of the history of Point Reyes. Many have been in the same family for generations. Read more.

D Ranch, Point Reyes © Harold Davis

D Ranch, Point Reyes © Harold Davis

On Point Reyes in the spring, I photographed the details of the deteriorating buildings in the historic (but abandoned) D Ranch. Walking back towards my car I turned and saw the ranch buildings against a dramatic sky. Read more.

D Ranch (Color) © Harold Davis

D Ranch © Harold Davis

Memory Lane

Certainly, there is something very dramatic about coming upon these trees standing by themselves in the windswept landscape of Point Reyes. Read more.

Memory Lane © Harold Davis

Memory Lane © Harold Davis

Translucency of Rosa and Translucency of Rosa on Black

Translucency of Rosa © Harold Davis

Translucency of Rosa © Harold Davis

Translucency of Rosa on Black © Harold Davis

Translucency of Rosa on Black © Harold Davis

Inside the Old Market Tower (Looking Down and Looking Up)

Inside Prague’s Old Town Square Tower they’ve constructed an elegant spiral ramp, with an elevator in the middle. Read more.

Inside the Old Market Tower - Looking Down © Harold Davis

Inside the Old Market Tower – Looking Down © Harold Davis

Inside the Old Market Tower - Looking Up © Harold Davis

Inside the Old Market Tower – Looking Up © Harold Davis

Spires of Prague

I’ve never seen such a veritable cacophony of spires in a European city as in Prague. These wonderful spires, or towers, help to impart Prague’s unusual and distinctive flavor. What is it about upright towers reaching for the sky that appeals to the engineers among humanity? Wait, hold that thought! Read more.

Spires of Prague © Harold Davis

Spires of Prague © Harold Davis

House of Mirrors

On top of Petrinske Sady (Petrin Hill) in Prague, Czech Republic is a tower built to replicate the Eiffel Tower at 1/5 scale. From the top of the tower, it is one of the best views of Prague, and apparently the place in Prague to take a romantic date for a kiss. Next to the foot of the Petrin Tower is a maze and House of Mirrors. Read more.

House of Mirrors, Prague © Harold Davis

House of Mirrors, Prague © Harold Davis

Strahov Monastery Library

Under the communists the library was turned into a National Literature Memorial. After the velvet revolution, the Strahov Monastery was returned to the Premonstratensian diocese, with restoration still underway in the famous libraries and also the monks devotional efforts to brewing quality beer. Read more.

Strahov Monastery Library © Harold Davis

Strahov Monastery Library © Harold Davis

Bend in the Neckar River

On a great bend in the Neckar River, about 15 kilometers up-river from Heidelberg, Germany lies the town of Neckarsteinach. Four dramatic castles sit atop the crags overlooking the Neckar. Julian, one of my workshop participants, brought me here the day I was flying home, and together we explored the area. Read more.

Bend in the Neckar River © Harold Davis

Bend in the Neckar River © Harold Davis

Path beside the Rhine

The Rhine has been navigated for thousands of years, since Roman times, and the channels have been straightened and broadened. The river used the meander much more with wetlands. These banks of the old Rhine have been preserved as park lands in places, and it is here we went with our cameras! Read more.

Path beside the Rhine © Harold Davis

Path beside the Rhine © Harold Davis

Still Life in Silver Bowl

Sometimes the beautiful things are all around us, like this group of fruit in a reflective bowl. Read more.

Still Life in Silver Bowl © Harold Davis

Still Life in Silver Bowl © Harold Davis

Beneath the Pont de la Concorde

The modernism of the underpinnings of this bridge over the Seine River in Paris, France belies the ornate fancifulness of the bridge from above. This is one of the joys of photographing in Paris—styles with huge inherent differences are cheek and jowl together, and somehow work in harmony. Read more.

Beneath the Pont de la Concorde © Harold Davis

Beneath the Pont de la Concorde © Harold Davis

Forest Reflection

The underlying photography in this image consists of two photographs of trees reflected in a puddle that I made in the Parc de Sceaux in suburban Paris, France with the camera on a tripod. One photo was made when the water was still, so the reflections of the trees were very clear. The other was made from the same position when it was windy. Read more.

Forest Reflection © Harold Davis

Forest Reflection © Harold Davis

Maple Leaves

Maple Leaves © Harold Davis

Maple Leaves © Harold Davis

Old Train Bridge

I photographed this old train bridge in Maine, with the idea of extending the apparent length of the bridge visually as far as I could. Read more.

Old Train Bridge © Harold Davis

Old Train Bridge © Harold Davis

Reflections in a Maine Pond

Reflections in a Maine Pond © Harold Davis

Reflections in a Maine Pond © Harold Davis

Inside the Pemaquid Lighthouse

Today I visited Pemaquid Point, Maine and its well-known lighthouse. This is still an operational lighthouse, run by the United States Coastguard. After I visited the top of the tower, the docent was kind enough to let me set my tripod up under the spiral stairs leading up. Read more.

Inside the Pemaquid Lighthouse © Harold Davis

Inside the Pemaquid Lighthouse © Harold Davis

Monhegan Storm

Monhegan Island is a small island twelve miles off the coast of Maine. The island clings to the edge of the ocean, and the coast of the mainland is only a smudge at the edge of vision. Read more.

Monhegan Storm © Harold Davis

Monhegan Storm © Harold Davis

Mandahlia

© Harold Davis

Mandahlia © Harold Davis

 

Shores of the Inland Sea

In Japan, there’s an aesthetic that embraces remarkable beauty, and at the same time is able to create landscapes that bear a passing resemblance to Hell itself, from the vast human ant piles of the urban Japan to the industry on the shores of the Inland Sea. Read more.

Shores of the Inland Sea © Harold Davis

Shores of the Inland Sea © Harold Davis

Feathers

Feathers © Harold Davis

Feathers © Harold Davis

Spider Web Bokeh

The other day dawned here in Berkeley, California with low, clinging fog. It was like being in the middle of a cloud. The thing about this kind of weather is that it’s rare—and wonderful—to have the water droplets in the fog physically on myriad objects. Read more.

Spider Web Bokeh © Harold Davis

Spider Web Bokeh © Harold Davis

Low Geostationary and Decaying Orbits around the Clematis Inversion

Low Geostationary and Decaying Orbits around the Clematis Inversion © Harold Davis

Low Geostationary and Decaying Orbits around the Clematis Inversion © Harold Davis

Ponte Vechio Night Reflections

How amazing it is to leave California in the afternoon, transit through an airline haze of mediocre movies and reading materials, and more-or-less the next morning to arrive in Italy! Read more.

Ponte Vecchio Night Reflections © Harold Davis

Ponte Vecchio Night Reflections © Harold Davis

Manarola

I am particularly fond of the patterns of buildings and rooftops you see in European towns and cities. Read more.

Manarola © Harold Davis

Manarola © Harold Davis

Riomaggiore

Sunbathing on the boat ramp in Riomaggiore harbor could be La Dolce Vita—the sweet life, and the name of a 1960 Fellini film. Except that the angle of repose causes most of these couples to anchor themselves using wood slots to stop from sliding into the water. Read more.

Riomaggiore, 2015 © Harold Davis

Riomaggiore, 2015 © Harold Davis

Lost City

Adjacent to the center of picturesque Sorrento, Italy two chasms meet. Long ago, rivers in these gorges flowed cleanly down to the ocean, and were the original settlement in the area. Over time, and thanks in part to construction of the new town of Sorrento, the area became isolated from the harbor and increasingly damp. In modern times, it has been abandoned to the ferns and other vegetation, although the old mill shown in these photos was in use until the late 1800s. Read more.

Lost City © Harold Davis

Lost City © Harold Davis

Gardens of the Villa San Michele

At the end of the 1800s an eccentric Swedish physician with aristocratic connections, Axel Munthe, began work on his “dream house” on the island of Capri in Italy. The location was a ledge about 1,000 feet above the town of Capri, and adjacent to the small village of Anacapri. Read more.

Gardens of the Villa San Michele © Harold Davis

Gardens of the Villa San Michele © Harold Davis

View from Ravello

Ravello sits about 1,000 feet above the town of Amalfi on the stupendous Amalfi Coast of Italy. Back in the 1200s and 1300s, when Amalfi was a geopolitical powerhouse, Ravello was the summer home for the Amalfiese aristocracy. Read more.

View from Ravello © Harold Davis

View from Ravello © Harold Davis

Piazza San Marco

During daylight hours, and well into the evening in warm months, San Marco is of course jam-packed. Competing classical schmaltz bands strive to drive tourists into over-priced outdoor cafes. Public events are staged in the square. But at night, when it is foggy and chill, the piazza empties. Read more.

Piazza San Marco © Harold Davis

Piazza San Marco © Harold Davis

Bridge of Sighs at Night

The Ponte dei Sospiri, or Bridge of Sighs, is one of the most famous landmarks in Venice, Italy. It connects the Doge’s Palace with a prison on the opposite side of the canal. The name, coined by Lord Byron, comes from the idea that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window before being taken across to their grim cells, often to remain imprisoned for the rest of their lives. Read more.

Bridge of Sighs at Night © Harold Davis

Bridge of Sighs at Night © Harold Davis

Venice of Dreams

Coming into Venice after a long day on the train from Naples was a dream-like experience. From southern almost summer time I was transported into an early November dark world of chill fog that hit me like a blast as I walked from the train to the boat landing on the Grand Canal. Read more.

Venice of Dreams © Harold Davis

Venice of Dreams © Harold Davis

Tall Ships

On a Venetian morning socked in with fog, my friend Mauro and I took the vaporetto across to the island of San Giorgio. The normally inspiring view from the top of the San Giorgio campanile was a blank white wall. But the boats in the nearby harbor were moving slightly, putting me in mind of sepia Dutch nautical drawings. Read more.

Tall Ships © Harold Davis

Tall Ships © Harold Davis

Manhattan from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade

I was in New York City just now for 48 hours, give or take an hour or two. It’s hard for me to visit New York without sensing a bit of personal dislocation. It’s as though there is one Harold who stayed in New York, where I grew up, and had a photography studio for a number of years. There’s another Harold who moved out of “the city” twenty-odd years ago, as in fact I did on the time line that feels most like reality. Read more.

Manhattan from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade © Harold Davis

Manhattan from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade © Harold Davis

Cross Bronx Expwy

I visited upper Manhattan, where I walked across the newly reopened High Bridge to the Bronx at sunset, and made a photo of traffic jammed like a pinball game on the Cross Bronx Expressway (and, why isn’t “Cross Bronx” hypenated?). Read more.

Cross Bronx Expwy © Harold Davis

Cross Bronx Expwy © Harold Davis

In a Blue Hour

Over the weekend on Saturday I led a fun workshop sponsored by the Point Reyes Field Institute on Point Reyes photographing Waves. I had some very enthusiastic participants and I think we all had a good time. It was fun to be leading a workshop so close to home compared to my recent travels, and there is no doubt that Point Reyes National Seashore is a visual resource and national park second to none, no matter how far one might roam. Read more.

In a Blue Hour © Harold Davis

In a Blue Hour © Harold Davis

Warm wishes for a great 2016

Warm wishes for a joyous and fulfilling new year from Phyllis and myself—from our family to your family! Coming into 2016, it is so important to remember the beauty and joy of the world as well. We stand up for ourselves when we do what is joyful, and don’t give into those who would enslave the human capacity for freedom and delight.

HD-NewYearCard

Click here for my website; here for my blog; here for workshop info; and here to learn more about my prints.