Free Live Webinar: A Creative Palette of Possibilities Using Topaz presented by Harold Davis

When: Tuesday, September 25 2018 at 2PM PDT.

Where: At your computer, anywhere!

Registration Link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5500202857890891778 ***The webinar is free, but registration is required. Early registration is strongly suggested!

What: In this all-new webinar, Harold Davis demonstrates how he uses Topaz Studio, Glow, Adjust, Simplify, Impression, and Texture Effects as a creative palette of possibilities for taking his work to the next level.

Harold will show his favorite effects within each of these Topaz Photoshop plugins, and demonstrate how he combines the use of the Topaz software with the use of Photoshop layers, masking, and blending modes for pinpoint control and enhanced creativity.

Harold notes that he is “often asked by clients to make very large prints. While I am working with high-resolution RAW files, I still need to enlarge these for good results. With the release of Topaz A.I. Gigapixel, I have a new and excellent tool for my resizing needs.” This webinar will conclude with an overview demo of how Harold includes A.I. Gigapixel in his printmaking workflow.

There will be time following the presentation for Q&A, so please attend with your questions in mind.

About Harold Davis: Harold Davis is an internationally recognized digital artist and photographer, the bestselling author of many books about photography, and a notable photographic educator and workshop leader. He is a Moab Master and a Zeiss Ambassador. His website is www.digitalfieldguide.com.

Be sure to stick around after the webinar for a short Q/A and to see if you’re one of the 2 winners of the Topaz Studio Gro Pro Adjustment Bundles that we’ll be giving away.

Posted in Workshops

X-Ray Photography and the Inner Form of Beauty

The process of making these x-ray images of flowers and shells is more like making a photogram—what Man Ray called a rayograph—than it is like using a conventional camera. The flowers are arranged on top of the capture medium, in this case a digital sensor and then exposed. But the exposure is to x-rays rather then to light in the visible spectrum, as in a photogram, where objects are placed on top of a photosensitive medium (historically, more oftern emulsion-coated paper rather than a digital sensor).

X-Ray, Sunflower © Harold Davis

The x-rays reveal the inner form and shapes rather than the surface manifestation of the object. It is possible to look at the petals of a flower as though they are gauze or veils, and to see the capillaries within a leaf.

Spray Roses X-Ray © Harold Davis

Rather than the surface of a shell, when the x-ray “camera” is pointed at a shell, the inner spirals, shapes, and forms of the structure is revealed. 

Shell Collection X-Ray © Harold Davis

More: Revealing the Unseen with X-Ray Photography of Flowers. Sometimes the seen and the unseen, the surface and the shapes within, come together by combining high-key visible light photography with x-ray captures: X-Ray and “Fusion” X-Ray Images of Flowers.

Posted in Flowers, Monochrome, X-Ray

Visit Paris in the Spring with a small group of Photographers

Visit Paris in the Spring with Harold Davis and a small group of photographers. Click here for more information. Features after-hours artist access to Monet’s delicious gardens at Giverny!

Posted in Workshops

Announcing a new session of Photographing Flowers for Transparency—June 22-23, 2019

We’re pleased to announce by popular demand a new session of Harold’s acclaimed Photographing Flowers for Transparency weekend workshop, to be held in Berkeley, CA Saturday and Sunday June 22 and 23, 2019. Enrollment is limited. Registration is now open on a first-come-first-served basis.

Click here for more information about this workshop, here for the Photographing Flowers for Transparency FAQ, and here for Harold’s upcoming event, workshop, and destination photo tour schedule. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!

The Photographing Flowers for Transparency workshop is a great deal of fun, and covers Harold’s light box techniques as well as related topics (see the partial list below). If you are interested in Harold’s unique approaches, this is the best way to learn. Each participant will produce their own fully processed images following Harold’s lectures and demonstrations, and with Harold’s personal hands-on supervision.

Flowering Dogwood & Friends © Harold Davis

Topics covered in the Photographing Flowers for Transparency Workshop include:

  • Floral arrangement and composition
  • Botanical art in the digital era
  • Shooting on a light box
  • Understanding high-key post-production
  • Working with Photoshop layers
  • High-key HDR
  • LAB color effects
  • Backgrounds and textures
  • Preparing to make floral pigment prints
  • Tips & techniques from Harold Davis
  • Implementing one’s own vision

Flowers at School © Harold Davis

Here are what some participants in Harold’s recent Photographing Flowers for Transparency workshops have said:

  • “Harold is unmatchable! An honor to be able to be able to have him as a mentor…. for photography and for life.”
  • “AWESOME!!! Harold has a great teaching style, and it was great to learn some new shooting and post-processing techniques.”
  • “Excellent!!! Recommend to anyone who wants to take their flower art to the next level.”
  • “Amazing teacher! Patient, knowledgeable, thoughtful and sharing, easy to learn from. Looking forward to many more workshops with Harold! What a total gem… “

Floral Composition © Harold Davis

From Harold’s introductory note to workshop participants:

My belief is that folks learn most when they are hands-on, and having fun. So we will be doing a great deal of flower arrangement and flower photography—and I think along with new ways of seeing, you will learn some techniques, and ways of using your camera, that may not have occurred to you before.

These new approaches are great with flower photography, but also go way beyond floral subject matter, and are really applicable to many kinds of photography.

Besides floral photography, floral arrangement, working on a light box, and various kinds of special lighting effects, we will be exploring high-key HDR, post-production in Photoshop, backgrounds and textures, and LAB color, and much more. As you can see, it will be a very special, busy, and creative weekend!

Click here for more information about this workshop, here for the Photographing Flowers for Transparency FAQ, and here for Harold’s upcoming event, workshop, and destination photo tour schedule. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!

Kiss from a Rose © Harold Davis

Posted in Workshops

Photoshop: Backgrounds and Textures with Harold Davis Now Live!

I am very pleased and excited that my online course Photoshop: Backgrounds and Textures is now live.

Click here to view my course on LinkedIn Learning and here to view my course on Lynda.com. There is a free preview. The full course is behind the paywall, but note that a free trial subscription is available for one month.

The description of my course follows below the image! Please let me know what you think.

Poem of the Road © Harold Davis

Poem of the Road © Harold Davis

Course Description:
Turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. Learn how to transform relatively straightforward photographs into distinctive visual art, using Photoshop backgrounds and textures.

In this course, photographer and digital darkroom expert Harold Davis walks through the technical specifics of adding backgrounds and textures to your Photoshop compositions, and provides the inspiration and resources you need to get fantastic results.

Learn how to provide context and “frames” with backgrounds, and use textures as nondestructive overlays to enhance the look and feel of your images. Harold shows how to use scans and photos of found objects as the basis for custom textures, and even license textures from commercial libraries.

Plus, discover a post-production workflow for the iPhone that maximizes your flexibility, mobility, and creativity, and explore four iOS apps that Harold recommends for iPhone photography.

Topics Include:

  • Using blending modes, masks, and selections to build backgrounds
  • Creating and sourcing backgrounds
  • Creating effects with textures
  • Adding textures to portraits and landscapes
  • Licensing textures
  • Creating texture-based effects on the iPhone

Duration: 2h 18m

Click here to view my course on LinkedIn Learning and here to view my course on Lynda.com. There is a free preview. The full course is behind the paywall, but note that a free trial subscription is available for one month.

Posted in Workshops

Under the Wide and Starry Sky

As Robert Louis Stevenson put it, “Under the wide and starry skies glad did I live.” But if you live in a city or even a town, it is likely that you don’t often see the wide and starry skies in all their glory.

Nothing compares to the experience of lying out under the stars and watching the Milky Way and our fantastic galactic core rotate their amazing show through the heavens—seen here with Ladyboot Arch in the Alabama Hills east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the foreground.

Ladyboot Arch © Harold Davis

Exposure data: Nikon D850, 28mm, 30 seconds at f/3.5 and ISO 3,200 with minimal post-production.

Posted in Digital Night

Rainbow Falls in Black and White

I hiked into Rainbow Falls in Devils Postpile National Monument. No rainbows this day, but a great waterfall in monochrome!

Rainbow Falls in Monochrome © Harold Davis

Posted in Monochrome, Photography

East of the Sierras

Coming down the long steep road from Tioga Pass, the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains was hazy. In the distance, thunder rumbled. Then, to my surprise, a sharp rainstorm.

As the squall passed, amid the ozone smell, I stopped beside a dirt track road, and photographed the brush against the background of the western wall of peaks.

East of the Sierras © Harold Davis

Posted in Landscape, Photography

Multiple Exposures and Models: Star of Brightness.

The technical idea behind my in-camera series of multiple exposures of models is to work with the models to use the human body to create an external shape, as defined by the models’ positioning when the strobes fire. The philosophic idea is to use external shape creation of the human form to allude to the divine, in a variety of guises and traditions.

Star of Brightness © Harold Davis

The model in Star of Brightness (above) is Muirina Fae. She’s also the model in Vitruvian Woman, Devotional Pose, and Avatar or Artifact.

The model, and communication with the model, makes a huge impact on this kind of image making. Animism (below) is a collaboration with A Nude Muse, who can also be seen in the White Daemon Series and Once Upon a Tintype

If you are interested in the archetypes and iconography of this series, check out Introducing Multiple Exposures and the Multiple Exposures online gallery.

Animism © Harold Davis

Posted in Models, Multiple Exposures, Photography

Frankfurt Station

Like the nearly empty road in Poem of the Road, train stations give rise to existential questions.  Where are we hurrying, and why? When a track and platform are empty, has anyone actually traveled that way? When I am travelling by train, I am always wondering about departures and arrivals—if not my own, then the comings and goings of all the other people, who are there, or not there.

Frankfurt Station © Harold Davis

This is an iPhone capture, made while waiting to change trains in Frankfurt, Germany.

Posted in Photography

X-Ray and “Fusion” X-Ray Images of Flowers

Here are some (more) x-rays and fusion x-rays of flowers. Fusion x-rays use post-production to combine “straight” x-rays with light box images of the same composition. For background information on how these images were made, see Revealing the Unseen with X-Ray Photography of Flowers.

Gloriosa Lily X-Ray © Harold Davis

By way of comparison, here’s a link to one of my digital photos of a Gloriosa lily, photographed on a mirror, with a little background about the flower.

Lisianthus Fusion X-Ray © Harold Davis

These two versions of a bouquet of Lisianthus (above and below) are both fusion imagery, with x-rays and conventional light box photography.

Lisianthus on White © Harold Davis

I am pleased that the Dahlia composition (below) does a good job of showing the secrets within the flower, while also capturing the exterior of the flower!

Dahlias Fusion X-Ray © Harold Davis

The sunflower was the first fusion x-ray I processed. I like it also as a straight x-ray (below).

Sunflower X-Ray © Harold Davis

Posted in Flowers, Photography, X-Ray

Postcards from Berlin

When I got the call that Phyllis had been admitted to the hospital with a mysterious high fever, I knew I had to cut my visit to Berlin and eastern Europe short and come home. My kids didn’t qualify as Boxcar kids, they were Uber kids, journeying via Uber to the supermarket to pick up pasta to cook.

Phyllis is home now and doing so much better (and thanks everyone for the good wishes), the kids were well supported by their cousin and grandparents but were of course very glad to see me. Things are going back to normal.

Anyhow, I had less time in Berlin that I had planned or wanted. Julian (we had been doing x-ray photography together in Heidelberg) was in Berlin with me, and we had a very early morning walk around Berlin’s Tiergarten. The three images in this story are from that walk. Then I took a cab to the airport, flew from Berlin to Munich, and Munich to San Francisco, and hugged the worried kids on the very same day!

Approaching the Brandenburg Gate © Harold Davis

With the sun coming up from generally behind the Brandenburg Gate, we stopped on a traffic island facing east (photo above). My thought was to process the image to look a little vintage, almost as if it were a relic of the cold war, when the Brandenburg Tor was a symbolic demarcation between east and west Berlin (actually, it was located on the east side of the Berlin Wall).

Berlin Canal © Harold Davis

To make this apparently bucolic image of a residential canal framed by the oval of a train bridge (above), we stepped into a small clearing inhabited by sleeping homeless people, who were just starting to rise with the dawn of the new day.

Berlin Reflection © Harold Davis

Across from the ruins of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, the lines of architecture are reflected in a city that never seems to sleep, and with much new construction and au courant architecture is an epitome of modernity (photo above).

Posted in Germany

Revealing the Unseen with X-Ray Photography of Flowers

I had to quickly change my plans due to a family emergency and fly home from Berlin. Now that I’m at home, it’s good that things have settled down again, and that I have a chance to review some of the x-ray work I did in Heidelberg in collaboration with Dr. Julian Köpke (you can see some of his x-ray images here). 

The examples so far on my blog are Campanulas X-Rays, Dahlia Fusion X-Rays and Light Box Photos, More Fusion X-Rays, and Sunflower X-Ray Fusion. Some comments on the process of making these images, what is involved technically, and where we go from here follow the image below (the on-black version of the Campanulas shown here is a good example of a fairly straight x-ray file without additional coloration or fusion with a light box image).

Campanulas X-Rays on Black © Harold Davis

As you likely know, what we see are wavelengths emitted or reflected along the electromagnetic spectrum. Visible light ranges from 400nm to 750nm in terms of wavelength. In comparison, Julian tells me that the x-rays we used had a wave length of roughly 0.04nm (or shorter in wavelength by a factor of about 10,000 than visible light).

Off-the-shelf digital cameras capture roughly the same electromagnetic spectrum as what we see, although it is possible to modify the spectrum that a camera can capture; for example, for Infrared (IR) photography. In addition, even unmodified digital cameras do “see” more of certain frequencies than the human eye, for example, in night photography.
 
X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation not visible to our eyes with a shorter wave length than the visible spectrum. First named and discovered by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen in 1895 (for which Röntgen won the Nobel prize), X-radiation is primarily used today for medical imaging (also for research and industrial purposes).

Campanulas X-Ray on White © Harold Davis

Looked at from one viewpoint, X-radiation is just another form of photography using a digital sensor to capture the data generated by exposure to the radiation from an electromagnetic wave. As with any kind of photography (or, indeed, any human endeavor), one of the key ways to get better is to practice a great deal (after all, practicing is how musicians get to Carnegie Hall).

Julian and I had three sessions of x-ray photography of flowers, and by the third session we were beginning to get the hang of the thing.

Our initial idea was to blend x-ray captures of flowers with light box flowers for transparency images. This “fusion” would allow us to show the inside and the outside of the flower composition. We used a clear and rigid plexiglass sheet to align the flowers for both processes.

Two Roses (side view) © Harold Davis

The medical x-ray process involves both generating the x-radiation, and capturing it on a digital sensor. In this sense, it is analogous to firing a studio strobe and capturing the light waves emitted on a standard camera sensor. With the stationary medical x-ray device, I was reminded most of an old-fashioned analog darkroom enlarger, where the light beam from the enlarger is captured on media directly below it (photographic paper that is sensitive to light in the analog darkroom process).

We used an x-ray machine designed for mammography for these images.

What turns out is that x-radiation has very different properties as the electromagnetic source than the visible spectrum. X-rays both scatter and decay, in a way that the visible light we are used to does not. So to get good x-ray compositions, it was necessary to work with the characteristics of how the x-radiation emitted from the mammogram system would be captured by the digital sensor, and to arrange the flower compositions accordingly.

To put this comprehensibly, the mammogram system was designed to best capture the shape of the human female breast. We got better results to the extent that our composition could mimic this three-dimensional shape and positioning.

After arranging the flowers on the plexiglass, and aligning the plexiglass with marks we had set up on the machine, Julian and I would huddle behind the operator’s leaded glass shield as Julian operated the machine.

The straight x-ray photos of flowers are really beautiful, and I am grateful to have had the chance to experiment with this. I am also very excited about the fusion imagery, which I have never seen before. I look forward to exploring this area further, and to more collaboration with Julian.

Two Roses (fusion image) © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography, X-Ray

Campanulas X-Rays

I write this from the train from Frankfurt to Berlin, where Julian K. and I are sitting in a first class car at the all-important table, with the all-important wi-fi connectivity. Since I am connected to the world of the Internet, I can post this!

Campanulas X-Ray © Harold Davis

We are working on processing images from yesterday’s fusion light box and x-ray photography of flowers. These campanulas as arranged took up almost all the space yielded by the size of the sensor of the x-ray machine. I’ve begun to get a bit of a feeling for how the x-ray sensor processes the electromagnetic waves it receives from the emitter, and how to best arrange the subject in the cone shape that is best for this kind of capture. 

Query: Is capture via x-ray photography, or should another term be used? I think “photography” does fit the bill (there is another, more technical vocabulary related to radiology as well). What do you think?

Posted in Photography, X-Ray

Dahlia Fusion X-Rays and Light Box Photos

Dahlia Fusion X-Ray Inversion © Harold Davis

Dahlia Fusion X-Ray © Harold Davis

This Dahlia was photographed on a light box for transparency, then captured via x-ray photography. The two capture techniques were combined in Photoshop. In the upper version, there is also an L-channel inversion in LAB color.

I worked with my friend Julian Kopke, who is a medical doctor, radiologist, and a physicist to create these images.

This technique is also shown here, and with a Sunflower.

Posted in Flowers, X-Ray