Monthly Archives: February 2016

New Session of Photographing Flowers for Transparency Announced

Due to many requests, I have opened a new session of Photographing Flowers for Transparency for the December 3-4 weekend (2016) here in Berkeley, CA. The workshop provides end-to-end hands-on instruction in my photography and post-production techniques for photographing on a light box. Note, this workshop often fills quickly once it has been announced.

Best Friends © Harold Davis

Best Friends © Harold Davis

Click here for my 2016 Workshops & Events Calendar.

Posted in Workshops

Yaquina Bay Bridge

In the fog, the Yaquina Bay Bridge seemed to stretch on forever. The ending was obscure, and vanishingly difficult to find.

Yaquina Bay Bridge © Harold Davis

Yaquina Bay Bridge © Harold Davis

Posted in Landscape, Monochrome, Photography

From Darkness into Light

Photography is famously about “writing with light”—or rendering light. In fact, light is integral to photography. You can’t photograph a physical object. You can only capture the light reflected or emitted by your subject.

Upper Horsetail Falls © Harold Davis

Upper Horsetail Falls © Harold Davis

How interesting then that the choice of rendering can lead a subject—such as Upper Horsetail Falls, shown in these two images—from darkness into light. Keep in mind that the choice is yours. But often the dark side is more mysterious, and therefore potentially more interesting!

Behind the Waterfall © Harold Davis

Behind the Waterfall © Harold Davis

Related stories: Fairy Falls; Cold is the colour of crystal; White River Falls.

Posted in Landscape, Monochrome, Photography

Fairy Falls

Yesterday, after photographing Multnomah Falls, I walked up the icy path to Benson Bridge. From this bridge, I climbed the numbered switchbacks to the top of Multnomah Falls. From the vertiginous overlook I peered down the rushing waters to the floor of the Columbia River Gorge.

© Harold Davis

Fairy Falls © Harold Davis

From this cliff-top vantage point I continued up the trail past Dutchman Falls, Weisendanger Falls, and Ecola Falls. I turned right on a side trail to contour round towards Wahkeena Springs. From Wahkeena Springs, I headed down the long loop trail back to the Multnomah Falls lodge. Along the way I passed many waterfalls, including Fairy Falls, shown in the image.

As I started photographing Fairy Falls, I was struck by the way the light funneled from the top of the falls, almost as if the arc of lighted was flowing with purpose with the water.

Waterfalls are one of those subjects that are inherently uplifting—the majesty of nature is easily apparent. When it’s possible I’d like to try for something more in my waterfall imagery, a suggestion of the spiritual and a deeper echo of the emotional resonance that waterfalls have for us. Here’s to falling water, and here’s to something deeper than a pretty face!

Posted in Landscape, Monochrome, Photography

Cold is the colour of crystal

“Cold is the colour of crystal the snowlight
That falls from the heavenly skies”—Annie Lennox

Upper White River Falls © Harold Davis

Upper White River Falls © Harold Davis

Related image: White River Falls. Thanks to @estatik on Flickr.

Posted in Landscape, Photography

White River Falls

On my long drive up eastern Oregon, shortly before I got to the Columbia Gorge, I passed White River Falls, shown in the photo. White River Falls State Park was still officially closed for the season. I parked beside the locked gate, put on my hiking shoes, grabbed the tripod, and clambered down to a spectacular view of the falls. The sun set (and it does set early this time of year!), it started to get quite cold with the wind and spray off the water, and I made a few exposures.

White River Falls, Oregon © Harold Davis

White River Falls, Oregon © Harold Davis

Posted in Landscape, Monochrome, Photography

Human Spiral—Nautilus

This nine-image multiple exposure, combined in-camera another image in the same series, Rondo, reminds me of a living organism, or spiral shell such as the Nautilus.

Nautilus © Harold Davis

Nautilus © Harold Davis

Posted in Models, Monochrome, Photography

Rondo

Rondo © Harold Davis

Rondo © Harold Davis

About the image: This is an in-camera multiple exposure. The ten exposures were combined in the camera using auto-gain. The model was Amelia Simone, who was wearing the red underwear you can see in the image.

I was standing at the top of a ladder, and photographed hand-held down on the model, who moved around a black cloth on the floor, and synchronized her movements with the individual exposures. I used a Nikon D810 and a 28-300mm lens at 45mm. Each of the ten sub-exposures were shot at 1/160 of a second, at f/14 and ISO 400. Each exposure was lit using two studio strobes, one on each side, modified to soften the light.

Posted in Models

Italian Sketches

Here are a few iPhone images from my photography tour to Italy in 2015. They were photographed on my iPhone 6s, and processed just now while waiting for the kids using “the computer in my pocket” (e.g., my iPhone) and the Waterlogue app.

Door in Capri © Harold Davis

Door in Capri © Harold Davis

Garden in Capri © Harold Davis

Garden in Capri © Harold Davis

Stair in Cinque Terre © Harold Davis

Stair in Cinque Terre © Harold Davis

Some related links: Italy on my blog; iPhone on my blog; From iPhone to Art workshop (May 21, 2016); Venice and Waterlogue blog post.

Posted in iPhone, Italy

Audrey Hepburn: Paris is always a good idea

Kira at Passy Station © Harold Davis

Kira at Passy Station © Harold Davis

Paris Sunset © Harold Davis

Paris Sunset © Harold Davis

Paris, as Audrey Hepburn said, is always a good idea. Please consider joining my small group of photographers in Paris (and, oh yeah, at the Monet gardens in Giverny!) the first week in May, 2016.

Click here for the detailed day-by-day itinerary (PDF), here for the Prospectus, and here for the Reservation Form. Very limited availability, on a first come, first served basis.

Posted in France, Paris

Cymbidium Orchid

The Cymbidium orchid shown below in four variations photographed for transparency on a light box was to feature in its own drama of creative destruction: with the blossoms surgically taken off the stem and photographed against a teal background in a little water in a blue bowl on black velvet. Which variation do you like best?

Cymbidium Orchid © Harold Davis

Cymbidium Orchid © Harold Davis

Cymbidium in black and white © Harold Davis

Cymbidium in black and white © Harold Davis

© Harold Davis

Cymbidium Colorized © Harold Davis

Cymbidium © Harold Davis

Cymbidium © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography

Lonely Islet Print Collected

A large print of my Lonely Islet was purchased for the collection of the international law firm Simpson Thacher. My print will hang in the offices of the appellate practice of Simpson Thacher in Palo Alto, California. Click here to learn more about my prints.

Lonely Islet by Harold Davis

Lonely Islet © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography

Orchids in a Blue Bowl

I photographed these Cymbidium orchid blossoms in a blue bowl placed on a black velvet background. Lighting was natural, ambient sunlight bounced off white boards and reflectors. Exposure and processing info below the image. I like the way the image looks like a mandala!

Orchids in a Blue Bowl © Harold Davis

Orchids in a Blue Bowl © Harold Davis

Exposure data: Nikon D810, Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4, six exposures at shutter speeds from 1/10 of a second to 1.3 seconds, each exposure at f/11 and ISO 64, tripod mounted; exposed using mirror lock-up and the Nikon MC-36A remote release.

Processing info: Exposures initially processed in Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) and combined in Photoshop as layers using layer masks and manually painted-in with the Brush Tool.

I added a “kicker” layer for additional punch created by running five of the six exposures through Nik HDR Efex Pro.

The resulting layer stack was merged down, cropped to a square format, retouched, and spotted in Photoshop.

Next, I applied creative color and sharpening effects selectively, and at low opacity, from Nik Color Efex, Topaz Adjust, and Nik Viveza.

Merging the layers down again, a final pass applied filters—once again selectively at low opacity—provided by Topaz Simplify.

Posted in Flickr, Photography

Upcoming Travel and Workshop Opportunities

Many of my 2016 travel and workshop opportunities are already full, but we do have some selective spaces and also some travel adventures that are pretty wide open, as indicated below. Do take note that even wide-open travel workshops can fill up quickly (in part because I keep each group so very small). So please don’t wait if you’d like to join me.

If I am not for myself who is for me? And if not now, when?

Click here for my complete 2016 Workshops & Events Calendar.

Paris in May

We still have room for two more in my very small group photographic tour of Paris beginning May 1, 2016. Please let me know right away if you are interested in joining us, since we need to confirm our reservations for the group soon. Here’s a link to the detailed packet of logistics information that is going out to the lucky participants (PDF).

Rooftops of Paris © Harold Davis

Rooftops of Paris © Harold Davis

Trip highlights include: Paris in the Spring, an inside tour of the Opera Garnier, photography of panoramic views of Paris from the Tour Montparnasse, Paris at night, Monmartre and Sacre Coeur, Monet’s Garden at Giverny with special after-hours access, and Paris, Paris, Paris!

Click here for registration information and here for the Registration form.


From iPhone to Art

From iPhone to Art is a full-day workshop on Saturday May 21, 2016 in Berkeley, California.

The iPhone is the most used camera in the world. As they say, the best camera to use is the one you have with you, and this is often your iPhone camera. But the fundamental rules of photography still apply, and you can become a powerful photographer with your iPhone by learning the fundamentals of exposure and composition.

Still Life in Silver Bowl © Harold Davis

Of course, your iPhone is more than just a camera. The computing power within a contemporary iPhone is greater than the computing power that sent NASA to the moon—and many photography apps take advantage of this “darkroom” in your pocket.

In From iPhone to Art, we will learn how to leverage our talents to make the best iPhone imagery we can. Demos, lectures, and hands-on exercises will explore the principles of photography as they relate to the iPhone camera.

Click here for information and registration!


Creative Landscape Photography on Point Reyes

This is a weekend workshop under the auspices of Point Reyes Field Seminars, held on the Western tip of Point Reyes, California Friday June 17 – Sunday June 19, 2016. The very reasonable tuition includes accommodations (meals are bring your own and pot luck).

In a Blue Hour © Harold Davis

In a Blue Hour © Harold Davis

Jutting more than thirty miles out into the Pacific Ocean, Point Reyes National Seashore is a spectacular, world-class place to photograph nature. This three-day weekend workshop is hosted in the unique and historic Coastguard Boathouse near the outermost cliffs of this rocky shore. It is an area that is ideally suited for photographing the ocean, the rugged landscape, and sometimes wildflowers. We will turn our lenses to waves, beaches and the unique windswept and sometimes foggy landscape. We’ll also focus on the close-up universe of wildflowers, and learn field techniques for capturing the miniature worlds that can be found in a single petal.

Click here for more information and registration.


Achieving Your Potential As a Photographer at Maine Media Workshops

I’ll be teaching a week-long version of my popular Achieving Your Potential As a Photographer workshop in Maine from August 7 to August 13, 2016. Immersing oneself in photography for a week on the beautiful Maine coast at MMW is a life-transforming experience!

Have you ever wondered what it really means to be the best photographer you can be? Do you feel blocked by petty circumstances, or lack the creative space to do the work you know you can do?

This workshop is for every photographer who wants to draw their line in the sand to become the best photographer and artist they can be.

Reflections in a Maine Pond © Harold Davis

Reflections in a Maine Pond © Harold Davis

The workshop will include group and individual exercises and assignments. There will be guided field sessions, and work in the classroom. Technical and practical skills and topics will be covered.

Click here for information and registration.


Under the Tuscan Skies—Tuscany in October

Please consider joining me at an organic olive oil farm near Sienna for a week of landscape photography!

Imagine photographing the autumn vistas under the Tuscan skies! Where fertile land meets the patterns of traditional farming we will photograph olive groves and cypress trees. A deluxe, renovated antique farmhouse will be our home base as we experience great Italian cooking and the fellowship of talented photographers.

Florence and the Arno River © Harold Davis

Florence and the Arno River © Harold Davis

While we photograph, we will be surrounded by the intimate details of the working farm, which produces organic olive oil and wine. If it is chilly, we will move in beside the word-burning stove, otherwise we will discuss philosophy and photography on the veranda under the Tuscan skies.

Click here for the detailed itinerary, and here for the Reservation Form!


Photography in Venice

In November, most of the people are gone, skies can be atmospheric and cloudy, and photography of Venice is at its best! Please consider joining me for a fantastic photographic visit to this most incredible of destinations.

Venice is the largest preserved antique city in Europe, and possibly the world. Extravagant, decadent, charming with ever-changing light, Venice is a photographer’s delight with its fairy-tale canals and endless maze of footpaths and bridges.

Bridge of Sighs at Night © Harold Davis

Bridge of Sighs at Night © Harold Davis

We’ll focus our lenses on canals, reflections, and the infinite wonder found around every corner in Venice. There will be special emphasis on techniques for impressionistic rendering, and several sessions will be held to teach the related post-production techniques, as well as how best to use an iPhone camera in Venice.

Click here for the detailed itinerary, and here for the Reservation Form!

Posted in Workshops

Congratulations to those folks who found the Easter Egg

There are some really sharp-eyed members of my photographic community! I posted a contest regarding an Easter Egg in a photo in my book Achieving Your Potential As a Photographer a short while back. Kerry Joy McGehee, Mark Mattson, and Mike Pomeroy have each won an 11 X 14 ($1,000 retail value) print of mine of their choice. Thanks everyone else for playing! The Easter Eggs are in the image End of the Berkeley Pier, shown below and on pages 76-77 of Achieving Your Potential As a Photographer, with the detailed answer to the puzzle below the image.

End of the Berkeley Pier © Harold Davis

End of the Berkeley Pier © Harold Davis

Easter Egg #1 (across, with first name and last name on a separate row): Harold Davis

Easter Egg #2 (in white characters, about 1/3 down the fifth full column counting from the left, you may need a magnifying glass for this one): LOVE YOU ALWAYS PHYLLIS ♥

Note: I’ve been asked by a number of people whether I tagged the fence at the end of the pier myself. You can’t go out there anymore because the pier is off-limits due to safety concerns, although you can still crawl underneath the Berkeley Pier. And, no, I didn’t engage in real-world tagging—this tagging is virtual, and is Photoshop work!

Posted in Writing