Sunflowers on Blue Velvet

It’s nice to pair a bouquet of yellow sunflowers with lush, blue velvet. The sunflower petals have been touched slightly with the Photoshop Oil Painting filter to add a little “van Gogh.” Is the subject of the photo the sunflowers or the blue velvet background? As is often the case, both are important.

Sunflowers on Blue Velvet © Harold Davis

Posted in Flowers

Webinars nouveau est arrivé (Please check out our new webinars!)

Please consider our new slate of webinars, now scheduled through March, 2021 on Saturday mornings (Pacific Time), with (we hope) something for everyone:

  • Models in Stop-Motion: the Multiple Exposure Series [Free Webinar] | Saturday January 2, 2021 at 11am PT click here for registration. Click here for more info. This is a FREE webinar, but seats are limited, and preregistration is required 
  • Finding Meaning in Photography: Guy Tal and Michael Gordon [Benefits Project Coyote] | Saturday January 16, 2021 at 11am PT click here for registration. Click here for more info. All proceeds from this webinar will benefit Project Coyote. Seats are limited, and preregistration is required 
Camellia Blossom © Harold Davis

Camellia Blossom © Harold Davis

Click here for our Workshops & Events page, and here for our past webinar video recordings on YouTube.

Posted in Workshops

Harnessing the Power of Composition Webinar on Saturday

Harnessing the Power of Composition in Your Photography is scheduled for this coming Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 11am PT. In this unique webinar: “Harold Davis shares his work across numerous genres of photography, and explains how he applies compositional excellence to enhance his work. He will provide specific information about how he approaches composition in different contexts, and discuss tips, techniques, and exercises to help you improve composition in your own work.”

Click here for more information about this webinar, and here to register. Also check out our extensive new listings of live webinars for the next few months!

Cayucos Pier

Cayucos Pier © Harold Davis

Posted in Workshops

Velvet Backgrounds

Good photographic composition demands paying attention to backgrounds as well as foregrounds. It’s a truism among photographic educators that beginners neglect backgrounds in favor of foregrounds. This is particularly the case with street photography; but really, it cuts across all genres of photography.

Recently, Phyllis helped me pick out a small “library” of colored velvet fabrics to use as still life backgrounds. These came from an online source, Prism Silks

In starting to play with my new velvet backgrounds (I almost said “work” instead of “play,” but truly this is playing) I photographed and processed these images with the backgrounds in mind just as much as the flowers in the foregrounds. Instead of letting the velvet backgrounds be mostly unnoticeable, I intentionally accented the curves and folds in the drapery of the fabric.

What fun!

Lilies on Maroon Velvet © Harold Davis

Lilies on Maroon Velvet © Harold Davis

Rose on Blue Velvet © Harold Davis

Rose on Blue Velvet © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography

Creative Projects for Wintering in Place on Saturday Nov 21, 2020

This coming Saturday, November 21, 2020, at 11am PT we will be hosting Creative Projects for Wintering in Place via Zoom webinar.

My thinking behind presenting this webinar now is that the light is clearly at the end of the tunnel, with the wonderful news about the effectiveness of the vaccines. But there are some dark days ahead before we get there. Now is not the time to relax our vigilance. Creative Projects for Wintering in Place is intended to help bridge this gap.

The webinar is intended to address three tiers of making the best of this in-between time. First, what are the habits of mind and attitude that will best help you enhance your creativity and encourage you to stay productive?

Next, as we’ve said, sheltering-in-place offers the opportunity for creating your own, personal artist-in-residency program. But an artist-in-residency works best with ideas, structure, and an overarching theme. I can’t write the great American novel for you, but I can help point you to an approach that will help you make work you can be proud of.

Finally—and this may be the real “meat” of the webinar—Phyllis and I will show you a number of specific projects: fun, creative, with substance, but also nothing that is “pie in the sky.” Our idea is to present projects that you can do while sheltering-in-place, with materials you probably already have.

We can do this!

Click here for registration and here for more information. Our currently scheduled webinars are:

Saigon Fine Art Museum Stair (Down) © Harold Davis

Saigon Fine Art Museum Stair © Harold Davis

We’re proud of superb panelists Anne Belmont and Bryan Peterson, and of all the registrants, because last week’s truly inspiring Master Photographer webinar raised a nice contribution to a good cause.

A number of folks gave been asking about the video recording of Patterns, Abstractions & Composition. It has now been posted on YouTube. Click here for Harold Davis Photography videos on YouTube.

Posted in Photography, Workshops

Webinar contribution to The Center for Policing Equity

Thanks to the superb panelists Anne Belmont and Bryan Peterson, and all who attended, we were able to write a check today to The Center for Policing Equity for $1,620.95. 

I can’t say enough positives about the presentations, comments, and conversation about photography. So a good time was had by all, photographic insights abounded, and a contribution was made to a great cause. This falls into my category of win-win.

If you’d like to watch the recording (or if you attended, to see it again), it will be posted in the due fullness of time to the Harold Davis Photography YouTube channel (subscribe and turn on notifications to get a ping when a new video has been posted).

Click here to view our currently scheduled webinar offerings!

Let There Be Light © Harold Davis

Let There Be Light © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography, Workshops

Patterns and Repetitions are where you find them

Phyllis and I had “double date” appointments with the Eye Clinic on the U.C. Berkeley campus. Visiting the optometrist in a time of masks and social distancing was certainly a novel experience.

Bike Rack © Harold Davis

Bike Rack © Harold Davis

Anyhow, I finished first. While waiting for Phyllis, with my dilated eyes, I walked around the campus with the camera I had with me, my iPhone. Things were pretty much deserted, including the bicycle rack shown. I carefully lowered myself in between the “spokes”. It took a number of tries to get the image centered correctly to take advantage of the visual patterns, and the repetition of the empty racks.

The image below, of our nested kitchen mixing bowls with a nautilus shell slice, was photographed on black velvet, and originally presented in black and white. The other day, Phyllis requested a color version for a possible cover design.

Nesting Bowls in Color © Harold Davis

Posted in Coronavirus times, Photography

Master Panel with Anne Belmont and Bryan Peterson this Saturday!

Please consider joining us for an extraordinary Master Photographer panel on Saturday November 14, 2020 featuring Anne Belmont and Bryan Peterson. This webinar will benefit a great cause, the Center for Policing Equity. Click here for registration, and here for more information.

You will find Anne’s close-ups and floral art expressive and sensuous. Bryan is one of the bestselling photographic book authors of all times, and his presentations are always thought provoking. Best of all, this presentation will benefit a worthy cause via an organization of great integrity.

Please also keep in mind Creative Projects for Wintering in Place (November 21) and Harnessing the Power of Composition in Your Photography (December 5).

Click here for our currently scheduled webinars and workshops.

We are proud to announce a new series of limited edition prints based on my homage to Karl Blossfeldt. Click here for more information.

As the flowers turn © Harold Davis

As the flowers turn © Harold Davis

With: A deep felt happiness that it looks like we may be at the dawn of a new era, with hope that we come out the other side safely!

Posted in Workshops

Authors Guild Member Spotlight: Harold Davis

Authors Guild Member Spotlight: Harold Davis

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? Words and writing are fundamental to what it means to be human. Click here to read more.

Harold Davis’s Creative Garden Photography is out now with Rocky Nook.

Click here for Creative Garden Photography on the publisher’s website, here for Creative Garden Photography on Amazon, and here for Harold’s Amazon author page.

Posted in Writing

Dahlia. Just Dahlia. Dahlia, darling!

Here are three version of a light box image of a white dahlia from my cutting garden, photographed back in June. The simple monochromatic conversion is shown on top. Next, you’ll see an L-channel LAB inversion of the black & white light box version. The color version of my image is shown at the bottom.

White Dahlia Inversion © Harold Davis

White Dahlia Inversion © Harold Davis

White Dahlia © Harold Davis

White Dahlia © Harold Davis

Brookside-Snowball Dahlia © Harold Davis

Brookside-Snowball Dahlia © Harold Davis

Related story: Dahlia Solos.

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Ruth Asawa and my crystal ball

The other day I was introduced to the rather wonderful work of the artist Ruth Asawa (1926-2013). She is perhaps best known for her intricate nature-inspired sculpture made of metal wires, many of them public commissions around the San Francisco Bay area. Her three-dimensional work makes for very visually interesting patterns when reduced to two dimensions, as you can see in this newly released set of Ruth Asawa stamps.

Crystal Ball 2 © Harold Davis

Crystal Ball 2 © Harold Davis

Overnight I had a dream. In my dream, I saw the designs of Asawa rendered into two dimensions (as in the stamp set), and decided to create an image in emulation of this “look”. In my dream, I saw myself making this image using my camera, and in Photoshop, and then printing it on textured paper.

In the morning, I got to work. I started with a light box photograph down on a crystal ball, nestled in a parfait glass. As an aside, I find myself saying these days that my crystal ball is definitely not clear these days!

Crystal Ball 1 © Harold Davis

Crystal Ball 1 © Harold Davis

Using my crystal ball photo, I went through various iterations, adding Photoshop compositing and LAB L-channel inversions, ending up with the two versions you see here. This took all day, and I don’t necessarily feel that I came up with what I wanted to come up with. The apparent simplicity and references to nature of the Asawa designs are missing. I wasn’t able (yet!) to recreate my work as seen in my dream. But I did come up with something.

Related stories: Tacked to a Virtual Wall; Play it again mit feeling; Spirals of the Heart; Falling into Spirals.

Posted in Patterns, Photography

New Light Box Work

Happy to have fun playing with flowers on my light box. These recent compositions are partly made from”store bought” flowers, and partly from my garden’s flowers. We’re beginning to enter autumn here in coastal California, and it is looking like (at least in this location) we may be okay in terms of smoke and fire for the remainder of the season. Knock wood, of course—and since I have a little time this coming week I am looking forward to enjoying myself in the garden, and photographing on my light box.

Autumn Bouquet on Scanned Paper © Harold Davis

Autumn Bouquet on Scanned Paper © Harold Davis

Flowers of Autumn © Harold Davis

Flowers of Autumn © Harold Davis

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Up Close and Personal Flowers

For me, photographing flowers is a form of worship, and a way to be in touch with my own spirituality. This has ed to fairly straightforward photography. I use (carefully observed) morning sunlight. The camera is tripod mounted. I use a macro lens and extension tube, with the lens stropped down. Nearer my flower to thee!

Let the sunshine in © Harold Davis

Pom Pom Chrysanthemum Orange

Pom Pom Chrysanthemum Orange © Harold Davis

Pom Pom Chrysanthemum Purple © Harold Davis

Pom Pom Chrysanthemum Purple © Harold Davis

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Spiral of Flower Karma

To create this image, I soaked some chrysanthemum flowers (just the blossoms) and alstromeria (Peruvian Lily) petals overnight to make the flowers pliable. The fuchsias come fresh from my garden. The spiral was as large as I could create using two old, used baking sheets as the background.

Spiral of Flower Karma © Harold Davis

Spiral of Flower Karma © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography

Through a Glass Lightly

Please consider joining us for Photographing Bottled Light on Thursday, October 29 at 10am PT via Zoom

How creative can get you get with colored liquid, sunshine, some glass bottles, and a camera? Pretty gosh-dang creative!

In this webinar, I’ll show you how to use simple materials to come up with entire new worlds, recreations of Mark Rothko paintings, abstractions, highways at night, and much more!

Even if you don’t have any food color sets around, you probably have colored liquid (soda pop, brandy, maple syrup, cherry juice, red wine, and blue Gatorade all work well). Be creative! What can you do close to home with these everyday materials? You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to get fantastic results.

Stand by for a webinar that combines Betty Crocker with modern photography!

Click here to sign up, and here for the information page.

Natural Bridge © Harold Davis

Natural Bridge © Harold Davis

Posted in Workshops