Monthly Archives: July 2015

Engine at Primo’s Garage

This is a photo of an engine-in-progress at Primo’s Garage, photographed during my recent Black and White Masterclass in Heidelberg, Germany, and used as in-class post-processing example.

Engine at Primo's Garage © Harold Davis

Engine at Primo’s Garage © Harold Davis

Posted in Germany, Monochrome, Photography

House of Mirrors, Prague

On top of Petrinske Sady (Petrin Hill) in Prague, Czech Republic is a tower built to replicate the Eiffel Tower at 1/5 scale. From the top of the tower, it is one of the best views of Prague, and apparently the place in Prague to take a romantic date for a kiss. Next to the foot of the Petrin Tower is a maze and House of Mirrors.

Hall of Mirrors, Prague © Harold Davis

Hall of Mirrors, Prague © Harold Davis

Within the House of Mirrors, a technical problem for photography is the low light, since tripods are not permitted (flash is also obviously impractical, even if it were allowed). I resolved this issue by boosting my ISO to 2,000, with the intention of processing the image to make the resulting somewhat noisy aspect of the photo an attractive part of the final look. In other words, this was never intended to be a highly sleek image, but rather one with a bit of grunge in its DNA.

Rather more trying of my patience, the Hall of Mirrors was full of people on a rainy Sunday, and the mirrors picked-up all the kids and families running through the maze, and replicated them over and over again even when I thought they were out of sight, and magnified their presence.

I found a location and position within the mirror maze in which I wasn’t reflected (more difficult than you might think!) and then lurked. It took a while as I waited for a split instant in which no people were apparent in the system of mirrors, but finally it happened. I was ready, and quickly made the exposure before another reflected person came into the frame.

Exposure data: Nikon D810, 28-300mm lens at 32mm, 1/40 of a second at f/4.5 and ISO 2,000; handheld using Vibration Reduction.

Posted in Czech, Monochrome

Black and White Masterclass in Heidelberg

These are the wonderful participants in my Black and White Masterclass in Heidelberg, Germany. We all survived the record high temperatures, photographed in Heidelberg, and made and processed high dynamic range monochromatic images with a wide variety of styles and subject matter. Special thanks to Michael Verhoelen of LifeFoto, who represents Moab Paper in Germany, who brought his printer and a van load of special Moab papers (some of the prints he made from the work of the participants are shown here)!

Black & White Masterclass with Harold Davis © Harold Davis

Black & White Masterclass with Harold Davis © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography, Workshops

Still Life with Silver Bowl

Sometimes the beautiful things are all around us, like this group of fruit in a reflective bowl. This version was processed on my iPhone with Plastic Bullet, Lo-Mob, and Snapseed:

Still Life in Silver Bowl © Harold Davis

Still Life in Silver Bowl © Harold Davis

This version of my image was made using the Waterlogue app:

Still Life and Watercolor © Harold Davis

Still Life and Watercolor © Harold Davis

Posted in iPhone, Still Life

Oh, Heidelberg!

The other evening I strolled along Heidelberg’s Philosopher’s Walk with my camera and tripod. I stopped to make several photographs, including this exposure blend looking down on the Alte Brucke. Today I used the image in my Black & White Masterclass to demonstrate a fairly complete high dynamic range black and white (“monochromatic HDR”) workflow. I think the class was great at following along as this workflow involves a non-trivial effort and is definitely not for the faint of heart!

Oh, Heidelberg! © Harold Davis

Oh, Heidelberg! © Harold Davis

Exposure information: 135mm, seven combined exposures (at shutter speeds between 1/160 of a second and 0.5 of a second), each exposure at f/9 and ISO 64, tripod mounted; exposures combined and processed using Nik HDR Pro, Adobe Camera RAW, Photoshop, Nik Color Efex, Nik Silver Efex, Topaz Adjust, Topaz Simplify, and Perfect B&W.

Posted in Germany, Monochrome, Workshops

Incredibly Attractive Highly Repellant

Of course, this leads to a grammatical question: Is the implied subject female or fabric? Methinks it could be either, or maybe both.

Incredibly Attractive Highly Repellant © Harold Davis

Incredibly Attractive Highly Repellant © Harold Davis

Posted in Bemusements, iPhone

Sketches with Waterlogue

The iPhone is probably the best camera there is for quick sketches. For one thing, it is pretty much always with me. For another, it is quick and easy to use, and surprisingly capable. But the best part is the “digital darkroom in the little box”—the fact that I can creatively process my photos right on the iPhone. There are hundreds of wonderful post-production apps, but one of my favorites is Waterlogue. Waterlogue doesn’t work for all images, but when I am looking for a dreamy final image that resembles a water color painting it is certainly my go-to app. Here are some recent sketches by Harold and Waterlogue, from top to bottom: Path in the Park and Stairs, both photographed in the Little Town of Prague; Bicycle 1 and Bicycle 2, photographed in the Old Town of Heidelberg, Germany; and Banks of the River, the Nekkar River where it flows through Heidelberg at the end of a warm summer’s day.

Path in the Park © Harold Davis

Path in the Park © Harold Davis

By the way, if you are curious, this effect can be achieved in Photoshop also with images made on a real camera, most commonly using the Topaz Simplify and Impression plugins. But it’s hard to quarrel with the immediacy of an iPhone app.

Stairs © Harold Davis

Stairs © Harold Davis

Try to consider when creating this kind of image: how will it look when blanketed with softness? Is this truly a water-color-like image, or is it something that needs harder edges? If harder edges are better, then you should be aiming for a more photographic look rather than something painterly.

Bicycle 1 © Harold Davis

Bicycle 1 © Harold Davis

It is good to be back in Heidelberg, where I am teaching a workshop. Coming back to a city I already know a bit where I have some friends is a little like coming home!

Bicycle 2 © Harold Davis

Bicycle 2 © Harold Davis

Banks of the River © Harold Davis

Banks of the River © Harold Davis

Posted in iPhone, Photography

Flower at the National Memorial of the Heydrich Terror

Reinhard Heydrich was the second-in-command of the Nazi SS. Heydrich was charged with enhancing the Czech contribution to the Nazi war machine, and did his best in a terrible reign of terror. He was eventually assassinated by two members of the underground, who were parachuted into Czechoslovakia in a suicide mission by the Czech government-in-exile from Great Britain. Although somewhat faded, like this rose in a plastic bottle, flowers still mark the memorial to the victims of Heydrich on the busy Prague street where the church crypt in which the patriotic assassins met their end is located.

© Harold Davis

Flower at the Memorial to Heydrich Terror © Harold Davis

To capture the nostalgia and sadness of the place and what it memorializes, as well as the faded nature of the flower and bottle, I photographed the image wide-open with my Zeiss 135mm f/2 lens for shallow depth-of-field, and converted the image to black and white, leaving only a little splash of color in the dried-up rose.

Posted in Czech, Photography