Monthly Archives: September 2014

Sunflower Sunrise

I love sunflowers! They are truly a wonderful flower. Of course, sunflowers are often depicted in art. For example, it is probably hard for me to say “sunflower” without thinking of Vincent van Gogh’s famous sunflower paintings. My version is Go van Gogh!

Sunflower Sunrise © Harold Davis

Sunflower Sunrise © Harold Davis

But did you know that the sunflower is also visually interesting from behind? Shot this way, from the back on a light box, with my D810 and a Zeiss 100mm f/2 macro lens, the sunflower reminds me of a landscape, or perhaps the sunrise itself!

Sunflower Sunrise (black & white) © Harold Davis

Sunflower Sunrise (black & white) © Harold Davis

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Enrich your photography with Photoshop Skills – Saturday Sept 13

Registration and information for the Creative Photoshop Day with Harold Davis (Saturday, September 13, 2014)

Please also keep in mind a new session of Photographing Flowers for Transparency (Weekend workshop, October 4-5, 2014)

Photographer extradorinaire, Photoshop guru, and gifted teacher Harold Davis says, “I often get asked about my Photoshop techniques in the course of a workshop. In a general workshop that involves photography there just isn’t enough time to cover the vast multitude of creative Photoshop techniques that you can use in depth. This workshop will provide a one-time opportunity to do that exploration of Photoshop: both as a creative medium, and as an artistic partner with digital photography.”

Don’t miss this opportunity to hone your Photoshop skills in relationship to photography in a small group setting, under the tutelage of a contemporary master. What could be more fun than using Photoshop to its best advantage as a creative tool with your photography?

High-Key Tulips © Harold Davis

High-Key Tulips © Harold Davis

In this workshop, Harold will work with each participant to develop their personal Photoshop style and to process one or more of their own images using the techniques demonstrated in this workshop.

The focus will be on creating an individual Photoshop workflow that is fun and that energizes. We’ll work with layers, masking, textures, backgrounds, selections, filters, LAB color, and more. There will be time for image review, and for helping participants with individual creative projects. Take your Photoshop creativity to the next level!

Church at Auvers © Harold Davis

Van Gogh’s church at Auvers-sur-Oise © Harold Davis

Registration: http://www.meetup.com/Harold-Davis/events/186153022/

Prerequisites:  Please contact us with any questions about whether you have the appropriate background for this workshop.

Davis- The Way of the Digital PhotographerSuggested advance reading/viewing: The Way of the Digital Photographer and the Harold Davis Photoshop webinar recordings.

What to bring: Please bring a laptop with Photoshop installed and some of your images that you would like to work on. The following software is also suggested (but not required): the Nik Collection, Topaz Adjust and Topaz Simplify.

When: Saturday, September 13, 2014 from 9AM to 6PM, with an hour break for lunch.

Where: The workshop is hosted in Berkeley, California, in a convenient location near the upscale Fourth Street shopping district and close to the University Avenue exit from I80.

Tuition: $295 per person. Workshop size is strictly limited so everyone can have the best learning experience possible.

Flowering Quince by Moon © Harold Davis

Flowering Quince by Moon © Harold Davis

Click here for current workshop offerings!


Here are some comments from folks who have attended Harold’s Photographing Flowers for Transparency workshop in the past:

“Loved the pace, in-depth instruction and generous sharing.”

“EXCELLENT PRESENTATION AND COVERAGE OF MATERIAL. MR. DAVIS WAS PATIENT TO ANSWER ALL QUESTIONS.”

“Harold, thank you for the time, expense and effort it took to put on a great workshop….You are a wealth of information and share it so graciously.”

“Outstanding workshop!”

“A very packed workshop! Harold is very clear and organized; an outstanding photographer who is also an outstanding teacher.”

Posted in Photography

Windswept Florals

I photographed this floral arrangement on a light box with my Nikon D810 and the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4. My idea was to try to create a composition where it looked like the flowers were in motion, as they might be if they were wind-driven. After combining the high-key layer stack, I added a background and a textured overlay to create the final effect.

Windswept Florals © Harold Davis

Windswept Florals © Harold Davis

Interested in my techniques for creating this image? Please check out my webinars, and please consider the weekend Photographing Flowers for Transparency workshop, October 4-5, 2014.

Related FAQ: Photographing Flowers for Transparency.

Posted in Flowers

Succulent

This succulent lives in a little pot on our front porch. For my first shot with my new Nikon D810, I brought it inside, wrapped the plant in its pot in black velvet, and photographed it using controlled sunlight. The lens I used was the Zeiss 100mm f/2 macro. I set the ISO to the native ISO sensitivity on the D810, ISO 64. Using manual exposure, the other settings were mirror lockup on, shutter speed at 4/5 of a second, and aperture at f/22 for maximum depth-of-field (full speed ahead and dang the diffraction, which is minimal with Zeiss lenses anyhow). Of course, I used a tripod.

Succulent  (Black & White) © Harold Davis

Succulent (Black & White) © Harold Davis

My first impression of the Nikon D810 it that it is a really good camera, but the changes compared to the D800 and D800E are essentially incremental, not revolutionary. It’s notable that the processor is much faster, and also high ISO handling has been improved even above the great high-ISO abilities of its predecessors. One nice feature I had not been expecting is that the shutter is much, much quieter, and there seems to be very little vibration from the shutter. I don’t know the technology behind this change, but it is an obvious and audible change for the better.

I am thinking that we are getting so good that significant changes in this style of camera may be hitting the law of diminishing returns. After all, who really needs more than 36MP captures? Unless you are doing big prints as I do, you don’t even really need nearly that much.

One improvement I would like to see generally is an internal sensor cleaner that actually works. This is a complaint I hear frequently at my workshops. Nikon (and the other DSLR manufacturers), are you listening?

Succulent (Color)  © Harold Davis

Succulent (Color) © Harold Davis

Posted in Monochrome, Patterns, Photography

Creative Photoshop Workshop Saturday September 13

Registration and information for the Creative Photoshop Day with Harold Davis (Saturday, September 13, 2014)

Photographer extradorinaire, Photoshop guru, and gifted teacher Harold Davis says, “I often get asked about my Photoshop techniques in the course of a workshop. In a general workshop that involves photography there just isn’t enough time to cover the vast multitude of creative Photoshop techniques that you can use in depth. This workshop will provide a one-time opportunity to do that exploration of Photoshop: both as a creative medium, and as an artistic partner with digital photography.”

Don’t miss this opportunity to hone your Photoshop skills in relationship to photography in a small group setting, under the tutelage of a contemporary master. What could be more fun than using Photoshop to its best advantage as a creative tool with your photography?

High-Key Tulips © Harold Davis

High-Key Tulips © Harold Davis

In this workshop, Harold will work with each participant to develop their personal Photoshop style and to process one or more of their own images using the techniques demonstrated in this workshop.

The focus will be on creating an individual Photoshop workflow that is fun and that energizes. We’ll work with layers, masking, textures, backgrounds, selections, filters, LAB color, and more. There will be time for image review, and for helping participants with individual creative projects. Take your Photoshop creativity to the next level!

Church at Auvers © Harold Davis

Van Gogh’s church at Auvers-sur-Oise © Harold Davis

Registration: http://www.meetup.com/Harold-Davis/events/186153022/

Prerequisites:  Please contact us with any questions about whether you have the appropriate background for this workshop.

Davis- The Way of the Digital PhotographerSuggested advance reading/viewing: The Way of the Digital Photographer and the Harold Davis Photoshop webinar recordings.

What to bring: Please bring a laptop with Photoshop installed and some of your images that you would like to work on. The following software is also suggested (but not required): the Nik Collection, Topaz Adjust and Topaz Simplify.

When: Saturday, September 13, 2014 from 9AM to 6PM, with an hour break for lunch.

Where: The workshop is hosted in Berkeley, California, in a convenient location near the upscale Fourth Street shopping district and close to the University Avenue exit from I80.

Tuition: $295 per person. Workshop size is strictly limited so everyone can have the best learning experience possible.

Flowering Quince by Moon © Harold Davis

Flowering Quince by Moon © Harold Davis

Click here for current workshop offerings!

Posted in Workshops

Cockeyed Cathedral

Bourges Cathedral is a World Heritage Site. Construction began around the year 1200, at about the same time as the cathedral at Chartres. It is unclear when (or if) construction was completed, but it took at least two centuries. What an immense undertaking! As you can see in the photo, portions of the interior need work to this day, and indeed a massive restoration project is underway.

Inside the Cathedral at Bourges © Harold Davis

Inside the Cathedral at Bourges © Harold Davis

It’s impossible to convey the immensity of this interior space. But I wanted to create an image that tried. So I got my tripod low to the ground, and used the inimitable Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 extreme wide-angle lens to give this cockeyed view of the soaring spaces of the interior of the Cathedral at Bourges. Related story: Window in Bourges.

Posted in France, Monochrome

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is an ancient village perched high on the cliffs high above the Lot River about thirty miles from Cahors. In France, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful—if not the most beautiful—preserved medieval villages, partly due to its picturesque and highly defensible setting on top of a bunch of rocks overlooking the gorgeous Lot valley.

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie © Harold Davis

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie © Harold Davis

Of course, as one of the most beautiful preserved medieval villages Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is overrun with tourists. You can’t drive into the village, and must park in a nearby lot, and there are plenty of souvenir stands, and attractions like donkey rides for the kids. But its more the French analog to a scene like an American going to a state fair and getting a corn dog on a stick than it is to the parade of non-French speaking tourists you find in a place like the Left Bank of Paris.

On the weekend I visited in the late spring, the tourists were in fact all French, and I was the only foreigner staying in the Auberge du Sombral, where I had booked a room. This establishment is one of my favorite kinds of places to stay in France, essentially a restaurant with a few rooms attached, and I had a good meal and a thoroughly fun time.

It was great to be able to photograph in Saint-Cirq-Lapopie at night after the visitors had gone home. In the morning I explored more, and found this alley right behind the Auberge. Hard to say how old, but it has probably been like this for seven or eight hundred years without many changes.

Related Story: Chateau des Nazelles.

Posted in France, Monochrome, Photography

Window in Bourges

As I previously wrote in an iPhone storyThe old city of Bourges, France is known for its cathedral. This structure, a World Heritage Site, is probably the largest Gothic cathedral ever built. I think five Notre Dames would fit inside. The vast, soaring interior space is amazing, held in place by tiered flying buttresses—and built to emphasize the status of the church of Bourges as representative of the ancient kingdom of Aquitaine.

Window in Bourges © Harold Davis

Window in Bourges © Harold Davis

Coming into Bourges on an overcast and wet afternoon it wasn’t easy finding my hotel. But once I got there the room and the view from the window was worth it. And in the early evening the skies cleared with beautiful golden-hour light so I was able to make this image. Printed large on Moab Slickrock Metallic Pearl it looks great, like a crisp window framed within the window of the paper.

Related story: Room with a View.

Posted in France

Valentre Bridge

In an earlier story illustrated with iPhone captures, I wrote: The city of Cahors in the southwest of France is a slightly gritty provincial capital—but back in the middle ages it was fabulously wealthy. Protected on three sides by the river Lot, Cahors was nevertheless sacked, abandoned and rebuilt. But glory was never regained entirely (the Black Death didn’t help matters). You can see the remnants in the palaces and monuments of the old quarter, where today they have a wonderful fresh food market. I got my lunch today in this market. You really can’t beat a fresh loaf of bread, a tranche of locally made pate, strawberries and a tomato!

Valentre Bridge © Harold Davis

Valentre Bridge © Harold Davis

Cahors may have fallen to brute force and treachery during the hundred years war during the convoluted battles between French and English monarchs, but the Pont Valentre was rightly regarded as impregnable. Originally a fortress in the center of the river, it was expanded across to both banks with ample fortifications to make direct attack well nigh impossible.

I made this photo of the Pont Valentre from the banks of the Lot River with my camera on my tripod, and my hat held over the camera and lens to protect it from the spring rain.

Posted in France, Landscape, Photography