Sunflower Mandala

The Peruvian lily (botanically alstroemeria), or “Lily of the Incas,” was once limited to two small ranges in South America, one blooming in the winter (Chile), and one in the summer (Brazil). Hybridization across the winter and summer species, starting in the 1980s in Holland, led to today’s flower that is a staple of the modern commercial flower industry—and is green and growing most of the year in our garden. The genus alstroemeria was named after the Swedish baron Clas Alströmer, a close friend of Linnaeus, he of the classifications.

Sunflower Mandala (Black) © Harold Davis

Petals from the alstroemeria are wonderfully translucent, colorful, and a great palette for my light box compositions when the blossoms are dissected. As a last light box hurrah before my month-long upcoming trip, I pulled a collection of alstroemeria petals apart, and arranged them around a sunflower. Katie, wandering through the living room, took a look at the proceedings—and indicated her disapproval of the deconstruction of a “living thing,” the Peruvian lily flowers.

Sunflower Mandala (White) © Harold Davis

Posted in Abstractions, Flowers

Notre Dame

How very, very sad to learn that Notre Dame is on fire. Here are some images I’ve made over the years with the thought that it is okay to remember the good things, and the hope that Notre Dame will be rebuilt to match. Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris is a 501(c)3 charity accepting donations to help to rebuild Notre Dame. This is a reminder that all things pass, so with good faith as one world let us join in the rebuilding—so we can help to make things better, not worse.

Crown of Thorns © Harold Davis

Crown of Notre Dame © Harold Davis

Spire © Harold Davis

Gargoyle © Harold Davis

Gargoyle © Harold Davis

Gargoyle © Harold Davis

Notre Dame © Harold Davis

Notre Dame © Harold Davis

Doors of Notre Dame © Harold Davis

Posted in France, Paris

Criss Cross not Applesauce

Criss-Cross © Harold Davis

Posted in Abstractions

Excited about new upcoming adventures

I’m excited about my upcoming trip to Europe. I’ll be in Germany working with my friend Julian Kopke to make more x-rays and fusions x-rays, then leading a small group of photographers in Paris, and then after Paris walking the Camino Portuguese. For this walk, I’ll be heading north on this pilgrimage trail from Tui at the Spain-Portugal border on the River Minho north to Santiago de Compostela. Like last year’s Camino, I will be photographing and hope to be blogging my adventures as I go.

Paris from Montmartre © Harold Davis

Triple Spiral Stairs (Looking Up) in Santiago © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography

Earthlight

Storm at Sea © Harold Davis

Soft Horizon © Harold Davis

Descent © Harold Davis

Posted in Abstractions

Wisteria Gate

The wisteria are in bloom around town. Their lush blues and purples, and lavish grape-juice odor, dominate the staid landscape of “the flats.” In the hills, the wisteria are not quite at their peak, with more blossoms to come, but still gorgeous with every ounce of their being.

I photographed the Wisteria Gate image, shown below, yesterday with my iPhone along Gilman Street near San Pablo Ave in West Berkeley, California. I processed the image on my iPhone using the Waterlogue and ImageBlender apps.

Wisteria Gate © Harold Davis

Posted in iPhone, Photography

Quartet

Quartet (click here to see it larger) is one photo duplicated three times. The duplicates have been rotated 90 degrees, and in two cases flipped along an axis as well. As you can imagine, with a 45 megapixel capture from my Nikon D850 times the four versions, the final resolution is very substantial, so it would be fun to print at room size.

This is the kind of composition I might have made as a painter, and it is fun to do it using photography and post-production as well!

Quartet © Harold Davis

Posted in Abstractions

What are these tulip photos about?

An important question when looking at a photo is, What is this photo about? In the case of an image of a single flower blossom, likely candidates depend where the image is on the documentary straight photo to would-be high-art spectrum. The photo could be intended as an illustration in a horticultural catalog, or it could be about shape, form, and gesture—with nothing to do with the literal subject matter.

Tulip Sun © Harold Davis

The photo above, Tulip Sun, is about a feeling: the bright, warm, and sunny feeling some of us get when looking at a beautiful and colorful flower. Tulip Eye, below, is a double-take narrative. What is inside the flower? Suppose it were peeking out at us?

Tulip Eye © Harold Davis

I like to understand what my photos are about, at least for me, as early as possible in the image-making process. Sometimes I am lucky enough to know this before I press the shutter release, but more often not. It’s good to know what direction the image is going early in post-production (if not sooner). Otherwise, implementing my vision is difficult, because it is hard to implement something one does not understand.

As a coda to this discussion, there’s no reason that my idea of what one of my photos is about should be your idea. It’s not necessarily that I have failed if my vision is not conveyed. As one example, some photographic imagery is intentionally conceived as a projective device, or Rorschach: the viewer reads into the image what they have brought to it. And, of course, a photo can be about more than one thing, just as it can work on several levels—encompassing, for example, formal composition as well as narrative feeling.

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Some scenes call for a fisheye and fun!

I spent a wonderful sunny afternoon photographing with my friend Jim on the slopes of Mt Diablo. The sky was blue with high-flying clouds, the slopes were green and alive with flowers. On the trail, the California Oak trees towered above. Some scenes just call for a fisheye lens.

California Oak © Harold Davis

California Oak BW © Harold Davis

It’s often not realized that an iPhone transfer can be used bidirectionally if you want to use one of the creative iPhone apps on an image made with a “big boy” camera.

To make the “for fun” variations below, I copied the color fisheye image (shot with my Nikon D850 and the 8-15mm Nikkor fisheye at 8mm for the circular effect) onto my iPhone. The effects were generated using the Fancy Filters category of the Photo Lab app.

Tree Drops © Harold davis

Kaleidoscope © Harold Davis

Posted in iPhone

Pale Garden

From our garden I cut clematis, clivia, and iris. The tulips were store-bought. I assembled a composition to echo Flowers of Spring’s Desire and Poppies and Mallows, but using a somewhat different color palette.

Pale Garden © Harold Davis

The LAB color L-channel inversion on black followed (for information on how to do this, see my Creative LAB Color course).

Pale Garden on Black © Harold Davis

To learn about my light box techniques with flowers, see my FAQ Photographing Flowers for Transparency. We also have one place still open in the hands-on workshop on the topic scheduled for June 2019.

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Our side door

We generally prefer folks use our front door, where there is a nice sheltered porch for Amazon to leave their near-constant droppings. But of course if you are a friend we don’t care what door you use, just as long as you visit! It is a little confusing, since our house is on a corner, with the address on San Fernando and both entrances (front and side) on San Ramon. Phyllis recently put up this sign on our side door, patterned of course after Bilbo’s notice from Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.

Our side door © Harold Davis

Posted in Bemusements, Photography

Blue on Red

Blue on Red © Harold Davis

Related image: Homage to Rothko.

Posted in Abstractions

Upcoming Bay Area Events

Please take note of the following local opportunities where I will be presenting:

I look forward to the possibility of seeing you at one of these events!

Posted in Workshops

Radiating Beauty: Creating a new photographic form with fusion x-rays

The shapes and forms are recognizable, yet the level of detail is deeper than the human eye can normally perceive: Leaves appear minutely laced and surfaces are impossibly intricate, somewhere between translucent and opaque. Welcome to the captivating work of photographer Harold Davis and radiologist Dr. Julian Köpke, who combine their skill, passion, and vision to create stunning X-ray photography and pioneering fusion images. Read more on the Pixsy blog (article by Natalie Holmes).

Sunflower X-Ray Fusion © Harold Davis

Posted in Writing, X-Ray

New Course: Creative LAB Color in Photoshop

Click here to view my course on LinkedIn Learning and here to view my course on Lynda.com. Here’s a preview:

The creative power of Lab from Photoshop: Creative Lab Color by Harold Davis

Course Description:
Explore the tools, techniques, and creative possibilities of Lab Color in Adobe Photoshop. Lab opens new opportunities for photo enhancement and creative image making, enabling you to apply contrast, sharpening, inversion, and equalization adjustments to individual LAB channels. If you want more exciting images, it’s time to explore Lab Color. In this course, Harold Davis explains how Lab compares to other color spaces and how it is implemented in Photoshop. He walks through his own professional post-production workflow for enhancing and transforming images with Lab Color. Then learn how to use Lab for more creative fun and image-making prowess with Harold’s custom Photoshop Lab action, color channels, and blending modes. Plus, learn how to leverage images in Lab for pattern making and surface design.

Topics Include:

  • Converting images to Lab Color space
  • Applying Curves to Lab channels
  • Selective sharpening
  • Inverting channels
  • Making per-channel equalizations
  • Using the Lab action
  • Combining Lab Color with blending modes
  • Making patterns with Lab images

Click here to view my course on LinkedIn Learning and here to view my course on Lynda.com.

Posted in Photoshop Techniques