Monthly Archives: July 2017

Flowers from My Garden; Off to Maine

I’m off to Maine tomorrow morning to teach flower photography in the coming week. With departure looming before me once again, of course I feel the need to take advantage of the glorious California summer, and to photograph some of the flowers from our garden. The two below started as seedlings from Annie’s—you can find some really unusual flowering plants at Annie’s so it is a great local resource for gardeners.

Eschscholzia californica ‘Purple Gleam’ on Black © Harold Davis

Eschscholzia californica ‘Purple Gleam’ © Harold Davis

Centaurea gymnocarpa ‘Velvet Centaurea’ © Harold Davis

Centaurea gymnocarpa ‘Velvet Centaurea’ on Black © Harold Davis

Posted in Flowers, Photography, Workshops

When, Where, and How to Photograph the Eclipse

The August 21st 2017 total solar eclipse is gonna be a crazy event in the United States. 12 million people live in the path of totality, and many more are planning to journey to find the totality.
The creators of the photo planning app PhotoPills have written a detailed tutorial on both planning and photographing the eclipse. You can check it out here:
Posted in Digital Night, Photography

Nicholas Inside and Out

Nicholas Inside and Out © Harold Davis

Posted in Kids, Monochrome

Beep! Beep!

Some days it’s fun just to play! In that spirit, this morning I made this motorcycle (or car) from flowers on my light box. It’s complete with headlamps and exhaust. I think the effect, particularly in the “on Black” version, is a little like a whimsical Paul Klee.

Easy Flower Rider on Black © Harold Davis

Easy Flower Rider © Harold Davis

Posted in Flowers

Days and Knights of Malta Photo Tour (Nov, 2018)

2018 Destination Photography Workshop with Harold Davis

We are proud to invite you to join us for a unique, new destination photography workshop to the island country of Malta. Malta, a member of the European Union, is located in the Mediterranean about sixty miles off Sicily. 

Because of its unique attributes, history, location, and size, Malta presents great photographic opportunities in a very manageable environment. We’ll walk the fabled cobble-stoned streets, stairs, and ramparts of Valletta with our cameras, explore locations known only to locals, and enjoy legendary Maltese hospitality. In the evening, when we’re not photographing sunset or the night sky, we’ll critique our photos and work on extending our range of photographic techniques.

The dates for this small-group tour  are November 3 to November 12, 2018. Click here for more information, and here for the Reservation FormWe’ve had a great deal of interest in Malta as a photographic destination, and expect this opportunity with very limited spaces to fill quickly. Note that an early-bird discount applies until November 1, 2017.

Please consider joining me for the photographic adventure of a lifetime!

Posted in Workshops

Free PhotoPills Planning Session and Night Photography (Port of Oakland)

Rafael Pons, co-founder of PhotoPills, and I will co-lead a photography planning and night photography session in the Port of Oakland, California on Saturday September 30, 2017. Click here for more information and to sign up. The event is free, so what are you waiting for?

New Span of the Bay Bridge © Harold Davis

Posted in Workshops

Tattoos with iPhone Camera

I’m a sucker for heroic tattoos, although I’ve never had any myself. Herewith, a couple of tattooed arms observed with my iPhone camera. The first one shows Vishnu, photographed at a classmate of Katie’s birthday party in Live Oaks Park here in Berkeley (thanks Aaron!).  

Vishnu © Harold Davis

The tattoo in the image below belongs to an anonymous but friendly stranger on the Malta-Gozo ferry this spring (I’m not quite sure what mythology is depicted).

Tattoo on the Gozo Ferry © Harold Davis

Somewhat related: note that the early-bird discount on my January 2018 iPhoneography workshop expires soon (August 1, 2017). Something else that is different but also somewhat related: Cherry Blossoms on Skin, one of my images used as a tattoo!

Posted in iPhone

Like calls to like, but also like likes unalike

Summer Experiment 3 © Harold Davis

Related images: Summer Experiment; Coat of Many Colors; Strength in Numbers; Suite of Seeds.

Posted in Photography

I survived to tell the tale

I survived to tell the tale! I’m not sure that it is quite medal-worthy, or whether conquest is really involved, but hey if you’ve got it, flaunt it. Click here for some of my Son Doong Cave photos.

Posted in Photography

Summer Experiment

Following up on Summer Experiment 1, here is another version!

Summer Experiment 2 © Harold Davis

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Coat of Many Colors and Church of Black and White

Coming up from air with dandelions, I contemplated life, art, and my color palette. What about introducing chromatics to my puffy friends? I tried a number of approaches, and in the end used flower blossoms arranged in the background, enhanced by selective and low depth-of-field.

Summer Experiment 1 © Harold Davis

Like calls to like, but also like likes unalike. A color image occurred to me, the Duomi di Pavia, photographed last autumn in Italy with my good friend Mauro Moroni. It seemed to me that this really deserved a monochromatic interpretation. The image of dandelions (above) takes black and white into color, and the view of the vast interior dome (below) takes color to black and white.

Duomo di Pavia in Black and White © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography

Photograph Southwestern France in April, 2018—Only a few spaces left!

Grab your camera and come with me on a photographic adventure to the “deep France” of the Lot River valley.  Starting Thursday, April 19, 2018 (leave the States on the April 18th) and ending 9 days later on Friday, April 27, our Destination Photography Workshop will take you to some of the most beautiful and exciting locations in romantic Southwest France. (Think: ancient villages rated the most beautiful in France, French dining, architecture, French countryside, French dining,  patisseries, food, wine, and great company.) 

We will be hosted once again at the wonderful Mas de Garrigue near Calvignac. The Mas de Garrigue will be our home away from home, where we will enjoy the hospitality and some family-style meals. It is great to have this entire historic fortified farm as the photographic playhouse exclusively reserved for our group. For more information, click here for the Prospectus, here for the detailed itinerary, and here for the Reservation Form.

The Southwest of France is an undiscovered romantic landscape, more visited by the French themselves than by foreign tourists. In my opinion, it is by far and away one of the most beautiful regions of France. 

We will be traveling as a very small group—the maximum number of participants is 10. Non-photographic partners are welcome! This Destination Photography Workshop is almost full, with only a few spaces left. If our past experience is a guide, the remaining workshop spaces won’t last long! 

What do we mean by “deep France”? Deep France or La France Profonde is both an idea and a geographic place. The idea involves the France that always was, and will always be—a deeply rural sense of tradition and bucolic happiness albeit with a agricultural and low-tech lifestyle (they do still have their iPhones!). You find “Deep France” dispersed geographically, but always rural and remote and away from major population centers. The Lot River Valley is the land that time forgot, and in some ways epitomizes Deep France.

My viewpoint is that even apart from photography it is an incredible privilege to get to explore the places we will visit on this trip—Saint-Cirq Lapopie, the Pont Valentre in Cahors, and Cordes-sur-Ciel to name a few—and to stay at the incredible Mas de Garrigue! (By the way, the photography is grand.)

Please note that an early-bird discount $500 off applies for registrations that are made by August 15, 2017.

Also, please let us know if you have any questions, and we hope to see you there! More information follows below; click here for the Prospectus, here for the detailed itinerary, and here for the Reservation Form.

What: More than a week with a small compatible group of photographers in a beautifully restored 15th century fortified farmhouse in the lush countryside of southwest France in the springtime. Click here for the detailed trip itinerary and day-by-day PDF!

Where: Mas de Garrigue, a 15th century fortified farm near the Lot River in the heart of romantic southwestern France. This is an area of gardens, gourmet French home cooking, ancient medieval villages and castles, and a photographer’s and walker’s paradise.

When: Thursday, April 19, 2017 (leave US Wednesday April 18) to Sunday, April 27, 2017 (eight nights and nine days).

Group Size: This is an exclusive, small photo workshop (non-photographer significant others are also welcome) with very limited space availability (the minimum group size is six and the maximum is ten). We expect this destination photo workshop to fill quickly.

How to Register: Please send us an email expressing interest right away; a completed registration requires a $1000 deposit, the trip reservation form, and a copy of your currently valid passport page.

Mas de Garrigue

Mas de Garrigue


Valentre Bridge © Harold Davis

Pont Valentre in Cahors © Harold Davis

Details: The group meets at a 4-star hotel in Toulouse in the southwest of France on the afternoon of Thursday April 19, 2016. Toulouse is the fourth largest city in France, and the capital of the modern French aerospace industry. It is easily accessible by plane or train from Paris and other points in Europe. There are many photographic opportunities in Toulouse itself, and we will visit some of these with a private guided tour, followed by an introductory group dinner (included in the cost).

On Friday April 22 we will transfer by private mini-bus to Mas de Garrigue in the area of Calvignac on the banks of the beautiful Lot River. This is a region of beautiful rivers and valleys, stark cliffs with ancient clinging villages, sacred pilgrimage routes, stone bridges, churches that date from the era of the crusaders, beautiful flowering gardens, and much more.

Morning on the Lot River © Harold Davis

Morning on the Lot River © Harold Davis

The Mas de Garrigue will be our home away from home for the next seven nights, hosted by Sarah and Steven. Here’s a description: “Mas de Garrigue, a 15th century former hunting lodge and fortified farm is a stunning and important historic house retaining many original features within such as vast stone fireplaces, arrowslits, a 15th century window, stone sinks, magnificent oak beams and pigeon coops. Sarah and Steven have lovingly and respectfully restored the house, with elegant taste and sometimes a contemporary twist. The marriage of Irish antiques and art with French architecture is harmonious and charming.


Noir de Gascon piglet

“Sarah and Steven provide warm Irish hospitality in the beautiful Midi Pyrenees of South West France. Sarah studied cuisine in Paris and Steven hails from the well known Irish culinary and hospitible Allen clan. Passionate about food and wine, they offer sumptious dinners of homegrown and locally sourced produce. Steve rears two “Noir de Gascon” pigs every year which Sarah transforms into delicious terrines, pates, saucisse and hams. Steven keeps the kitchen stocked with vegetables, tomatos, herbs and even Saffron.”

While at the Mas de Garrigue Sarah and Steven will provide us with three wonderful dinners and a number of lunches (these are included in the tour cost, please see the detailed itinerary for specifics).

Room at the Mas de Garrigue

Room at the Mas de Garrigue

We could happily spend our time photographing right around the location of the Mas de Garrigue (and if you choose to do so, no one will think the less of you!), but three extensive professionally-guided excursions are included in the workshop.

Excursion destinations by private vehicle with guide will include:

  • St Cirq-La-Popie, widely considered one of the most scenic villages in France, and an optional excursion to the pre-historic caves of Pech Merle.
  • Pont Valentre, famous from the 100 Years War, and the old town of Cahors.
  • Cordes-sur-Ciel and Najac, two of the most scenic and famous ancient fortified villages in the area, each in an iconic and unbelievably photographic location.

Cordes sur Ciel at Dawn © Harold Davis

When (alas!) our time in the Lot River Valley draws to a close on Friday April 27 2018, transfer by private mini-bus to Toulouse train station or airport for return to the United States or further adventures in Europe is included.

Cost: $4,995 per person (single supplement $875); $500 early-bird discount for completed registration by August 15, 2018.

Inclusions: Eight nights lodging (one night at a 4-star hotel in Toulouse, seven nights at Mas de Garrigue), all breakfasts (8), many meals, walking tour of Toulouse with licensed guide, transfers from Toulouse to Mas de Garrigue (Calvignac) on arrival, and from the Mas de Garrigue to Toulouse returning, excursions as indicated, and service charges. See the full itinerary for details. Photographic guidance, discussions, and one-on-one tutorial sessions with master photographer Harold Davis are also included.

Exclusions: Airfare and transportation to Toulouse, France (Toulouse is easy to reach by plane or train from Paris and many other points in Europe), meals except as indicated, wine and spirits (complementary wine will be provided at included group dinners), admissions except as indicated, and personal items such as laundry and souvenirs.

Assisting with air travel arrangements: We’re happy to consult and advise regarding air travel arrangements to Toulouse on request. 

Travel Insurance: Very highly recommended. More info.

To Register: Please send us an email expressing interest right away; a completed registration requires a $1000 deposit, the trip reservation form, and a copy of your currently valid passport page.

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie © Harold Davis

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography

Strength in Numbers: One more seed

For more seed and puffy-thing images, check out Suite of Seeds! These seed pods and seeds are amazing when you examine them up very close (check out the Dandelion Seed image in the Suite of Seeds story), with barbs for attaching, and a transparent material that operates like a sail to give the seeds geographic dispersal in the wind.

Strength in Numbers © Harold Davis

In answer to the question I posed—“Which do you like best?”—I continue to be interested in opinions. So far, I’ve had a spectrum about evenly distributed, with one or two “Gosh, these are all interesting” responses (to my blushing pleasure of course). A special thanks to those who took the time to respond, whether on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, or by our contact form or direct email.

Posted in Photography

Suite of Seeds—Which one do you like best?

Over the past several days I have photographed seed pods, aiming in many cases for an expressionistic sense of line rather than to capture literal form, to use photography as a tool for sketching and drawing. These sweet seeds come from a dandelion and several Godetia flowers that have formed a surprisingly robust seed pod. Some of the seeds (and seed pods) were photographed on a black background, and others on a light box (with inversions in LAB to a black background in many cases).

Seed Pod Umbrellas on Black © Harold Davis

Seed Pod Umbrellas © Harold Davis

Dandelion Seed © Harold Davis

Nucleus on White © Harold Davis

Nucleus on Black © Harold Davis

Seeds Above! © Harold Davis

Gone to Seed 1 © Harold Davis

Gone to Seed 1 Monochrome on White © Harold Davis

Gone to Seed 1 Monochrome on Black © Harold Davis

Dandelion Cups © Harold Davis

Dandelion Forest © Harold Davis

Dandelion © Harold Davis

Planet Dandelion © Harold Davis

Of course, there is hardly anything more common anywhere than a dandelion gone to seed. So I do love to travel, and like mixing it up, and putting myself in exotic places. But I’m also a firm believer that one doesn’t need to go far from home to have fun with photography. There are many interesting subjects right in your own backyard!

Posted in Photography

Dawn on Lake Como

I’ve been in Italy only a couple of days, and already it seems like there have been some incredible adventures (but not much sleep). This morning I woke in the dark at the family villa of my friend Mauro on Lake Como. I dressed in warm clothes, and turned on my headlamp. Wandering down ancient, cobble-stoned paths I found the shores of one of the fingers of Lake Como, and photographed the lights of the town of Lecco across the water in the misty dawn.

Dawn on Lake Como © Harold Davis

Dawn on Lake Como © Harold Davis

[Click here for more from Italy on my blog. This is a repost from Oct 8, 2016.]

Posted in Photography