Monthly Archives: October 2013

Dome of the Shop

Visiting Galeries Lafayette is a crowded experience because there are always many shoppers, with the dome (shown here shot straight up with my Zeiss 15mm lens) perhaps the most elegant and opulent feature of an opulent department store.

Galeries Lafayette © Harold Davis

Galeries Lafayette © Harold Davis

I like domes: scale this one differently and it could be a jellyfish or an image from a kaleidoscope. Here are a few other photos of domes from the Bay area: San Francisco City Hall and Cathedral of Light.

Posted in Paris, Photography

Cathedral like trees

Slipping into Notre Dame shortly after my arrival in Paris, I decided to try a new photographic approach. Rather than shooting on a tripod for sharpness, I would intentionally move the camera during a long exposure (about 8 seconds). If this is done right, it can create a blurred effect that elongates the trees in a forest, or pillars of stone within a cathedral.

Like a Stone Forest © Harold Davis

Like a Stone Forest © Harold Davis

Tripods are not allowed within Notre Dame in any case, so I thought that this time I was going to get away with photography without a reprimand inside the church. I sat down among the devout, and began my long slow exposures, moving then camera up and down. Then I heard, “Seats are for worshippers only. No photography.” Who says photography isn’t worship?

Posted in Photography

Coming into Paris

What is it I like so much about photographing Paris? I’ve been trying to pinpoint this. Of course, everyone here seems to be having a good time and it is like a moveable party (Hemingway nailed this one). Also, the light is often fantastic. Proving that Paris is not just for the pigeons or birds.

Pigeon de Paris © Harold Davis

Pigeon de Paris © Harold Davis

Coming into Paris after a cramped overnight flight from San Francisco I rode the Air France Airport bus into the Gare de Lyon, where I caught a taxi to my cute studio apartment in the 4th Arrondissement. After picking up the keys, I bought the makings for a light picnic lunch, and headed a few blocks over to the banks of the Seine River, where this pigeon in a blown out shaft of sunlight caught my eye. I shot the image at f/1.4 using my Zeiss 35mm lens to create shallow depth-of-field on the pigeon, and a dramatic out-of-focus effect in the scenery and clouds.

 

Posted in Photography

I spent the night in Edward Weston’s house

I spent a night last week in Edward Weston’s house in Wildcat Canyon at the southern end of Carmel Highlands in Big Sur. To be a bit more precise, I stayed in the guesthouse which the current owners—Kim and Gina Weston—rent out as in informal bed-and-breakfast. As a perk, Kim and Gina generously allowed me to photograph inside Edward Weston’s house, where they now live. I gather that for the most part the house is pretty much as it was in Edward’s day, with many of his touches still in evidence (more photos to come).

Weston Kitchen © Harold Davis

Weston Kitchen © Harold Davis

If I have a personal historical photographic hero whose work I admire, it would be Edward Weston. Weston died in penury in this relatively modest house, which was built for him by his son Neil Weston in 1938 for $1,000.

The guesthouse where I stayed—known as Bodie House—was used by Charis Wilson (Edward’s famous model and second wife) as her writing studio when she needed a little space. The whole place is like a museum, with incredible photographic prints on the walls, and personal touches of Edward Weston and the Weston family everywhere I looked. I felt very privileged to be there, and to be allowed to photograph.

Agave americana chez Weston © Harold Davis

Agave americana chez Weston © Harold Davis

Speaking of the Weston family, photographer Kim Weston is the son of Cole Weston, the youngest of Edward’s four children. Figuring out the familial relationships of the various descendants of Edward Weston to each other is as complex, twisted and convoluted as the giant Agave americana shown above in front of Edward’s Weston’s house. For help, check out the Weston Legacy site for some information about this complex and intriguing cast of characters. Clearly, photography runs in the family.

Edward Weston's Darkroom (iPhone) © Harold Davis

Edward Weston’s Darkroom (iPhone) © Harold Davis

Want to learn more about Edward Weston and his work? I recommend starting with Edward Weston’s famous Daybooks.

If you are interested, here’s the information about arranging a stay at Bodie House!

Posted in HDR, Photography

Paris Postcard

Since I am leaving for Paris today, it seems really appropriate to show you the PDF version of the postcard I am using to announce my 2014 Photograph Paris workshop! Please consider joining me in April 2014 for this fabulous photographic experience in Paris.

Paris City of Light © Harold davis

Paris City of Light © Harold davis

Click here to download the Paris Postcard (PDF). Stay tuned to my blog for photos and stories from my current journey to Paris.

Posted in Paris

About the Monochromatic Visions Portfolio

About the Monochromatic Visions Portfolio

I like to mix things up. In the case of the prints in the Monochromatic Visions portfolio, this means combining new technologies with a visual aesthetic that is informed by classical ideation. Make no mistake: the new art of digital photography demands just as much craft as film photography ever did. Only the techniques have changed.

Monochromatic Visions portfolio by Harold Davis

Monochromatic Visions portfolio by Harold Davis

Each of the images in the Monochromatic Visions portfolio was created using digital techniques to specifically enhance the tonal range of the image, along with the clarity and level of detail captured. Monochromatic conversion was accomplished using a state-of-the art process that allows selective processing of individual portions of each image. The prints in the portfolio were carefully handcrafted in my studio using digital techniques and archival materials on pearlized metallic paper.

The twelve images in the Monochromatic Visions portfolio were photographed on location in Arizona and California, and in my studio over a period of five years. My idea is to reveal the world with fresh eyes and in a new way, while referencing the aesthetics of the past to create something new. Enjoy!

If you are interested in the Monochromatic Visions portfolio, you may like: Signing the Monochromatic Visions Portfoliosinformation about Monochromatic Visions and Monochromatic HDR Photography (the book, it explains in detail how these photos were made).

Old Oak Tree © Harold Davis

Monochromatic Visions #1 – #3 are sold out via our great Kickstarter sponsors.

We are offering a special limited time offer for portfolios #4 – #6 of $900 each (shipping and CA sales tax additional). The normal pricing is $1200, and I do not expect the portfolios to last at this special price. Please contact my studio if you are interested.

dandelion superio

Posted in Monochrome, Photography

Star light, star bright, stacking star trails tonight!

Star trails are magical. It’s amazing to see the stars circling in the sky, reminding us that our planet is rotating in space. For many folks who want to get started with star trail photography, it’s something of a mystery and seems inherently difficult. Not so!

Click here to read my article Stacking Star Trails in Photoshop Creative Cloud (posted on Peachpit.com) to learn methods for turning night-sky photos into star trails in Photoshop CC.

Saline Valley Star Trails © Harold Davis

Saline Valley Star Trails © Harold Davis

Posted in Digital Night, Photoshop Techniques

Signing the Monochromatic Visions portfolios

I spent some time this week signing and titling the prints in the Monochromatic Visions portfolios. It’s a great feeling when a project like this comes together. A special thanks to my backers, friends and supporters over on Kickstarter who helped make Monochromatic Visions possible. We’re shipping the first portfolios to the collectors who purchased them shortly!

Signing prints on the kitchen table!

Signing prints on the kitchen table!

 

Monochromatic Visions prints "curing"

Monochromatic Visions prints “curing”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Close-up of my signature

Close-up of my signature

 

I signed and titled each of these prints by hand, using an acid-free archival Pigma stylus on the front of each print. This is a handsome presentation that allows matting around the image with the individual signature displayed.

Posted in Monochrome

Bixby Bridge by Starlight

I’ve enjoyed photographing the dramatic Bixby Bridge on the Big Sur coast at night over the years, and it is always fun to take a workshop group to the location. Getting out of the car, it is hard at first to see much in the inky blackness except that it is a long way down to the Pacific Ocean. As things resolve, it becomes clear that one can create interesting images, provided one keeps the camera open long enough, since there really isn’t much light. But in this case the camera sees more than we do!

Bixby Bridge by Starlight © Harold Davis

Bixby Bridge by Starlight © Harold Davis

Exposure information: Nikon D800, Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 lens, ten exposures, each exposure at four minutes, f/2.8 and ISO 500, tripod mounted; exposures stacked using the Photoshop CC Statistics script.

Related stories: Bixby Bridge Blues; Steep Slope; Big Sur Coast.

 

Posted in Digital Night, Landscape, Photography

Digital is Different

Vive la différence! In my recent post featured on the Amazon Digital Design blog, I explain how digital photography differs from analog photography, and how you can take advantage of that difference in your work. Click here to read the entire post explaining why digital photography is different.

Venice of Cuba © Harold Davis

Venice of Cuba © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography, Photoshop Techniques, Writing