Category Archives: Best Of

Harold Davis—Best of 2019

The journey continues! 2019 was an exciting year for art, photography, books, teaching workshops, and travel. Abroad, I walked another pilgrimage trail; this time from Tui, on the River Minho and the Portuguese border to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. At home I enjoyed time with my family as well as some exciting new artistic horizons. I am looking forward to a gazillion fresh adventures in art, photography, and travel in 2020!

The images are more-or-less in the order made in the course of the year; or, at least, in the order processed and uploaded. Below each image, I’ve added links to the relevant blog stories that include my selected images (where I blogged them). I’ve been in a reflective mood lately; to see some of my musings please click here to read my Guest Blog Post, Photographer As Poet, Harold Davis.

My “Best Of” selections for prior years, going back to 2013, can be found here.

Crepuscular Coast v2 © Harold Davis

Click here for the blog story!

Gerbera Petals © Harold Davis

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Eiffel Tower in Paris Landscape © Harold Davis

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Night Highway © Harold Davis

Baltazar Chrysanthemum © Harold Davis

Blue #1 © Harold Davis

Pale Garden © Harold Davis

Pale Garden © Harold Davis

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Quartet © Harold Davis

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Wisteria Gate © Harold Davis

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Japanese Bridge, Schwetzingen Garden © Harold Davis

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X-Ray Floral Medley Fusion © Harold Davis

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Nautilus X-Rays © Harold Davis

Nautilus X-Rays © Harold Davis

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Tulips X-Ray Fusion © Harold Davis

Tulips X-Ray Fusion © Harold Davis

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Paris Landscape © Harold Davis

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Flowers at Giverny © Harold Davis

Flowers at Giverny © Harold Davis

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Giverny Afternoon © Harold Davis

Giverny Afternoon © Harold Davis

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Inside Tui Cathedral © Harold Davis

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Tulips Fusion X-Ray © Harold Davis

Garden along the Camino © Harold Davis

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Scallop Shell Symbol on the Side of the Cathedral of Santiago © Harold Davis

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Rose Bouquet © Harold Davis

Sunset at Sea © Harold Davis

Old-Fashioned Rose © Harold Davis

Old-Fashioned Rose © Harold Davis

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Flower Block on White © Harold Davis

Flower Block on White © Harold Davis

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Flowers that Remain Behind © Harold Davis

Flowers that Remain Behind © Harold Davis

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Columbine © Harold Davis

Angel's Trumpets © Harold Davis

Angel’s Trumpets © Harold Davis

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Nesting Bowls and a Nautilus Slice © Harold Davis

Nesting Bowls and a Nautilus Slice © Harold Davis

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Weaving with Light © Harold Davis

Weaving with Light © Harold Davis

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Cactus Flower Detail V © Harold Davis

Cactus Flower Detail V © Harold Davis

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Eye Dahlia © Harold Davis

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Red Vein Indian Mallow © Harold Davis

Solar Flare © Harold Davis

Dark Angel © Harold Davis

Dark Angel © Harold Davis

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Bench © Harold Davis

Bench © Harold Davis

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Flower Magic © Harold Davis

Flower Magic © Harold Davis

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Curled Epiphany © Harold Davis

Curled Epiphany © Harold Davis

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Rollback © Harold Davis

Rollback © Harold Davis

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Gaillardia-gami © Harold Davis

Gaillardia-gami © Harold Davis

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Dawn Chorus Unbound © Harold Davis

Dawn Chorus Unbound © Harold Davis

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Sound of the Sea © Harold Davis

Sound of the Sea © Harold Davis

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Love of Spirals © Harold Davis

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Through the Rabbit Hole © Harold Davis

Through the Rabbit Hole © Harold Davis

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The Spiral Heart © Harold Davis

The Spiral Heart © Harold Davis

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Falling into Spirals V2 © Harold Davis

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Hydrangea Blossoms © Harold Davis

Hydrangea Blossoms © Harold Davis

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Wreath © Harold Davis

Wreath © Harold Davis

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Untitled In-Camera Multiple exposure © Harold Davis

Untitled In-Camera Multiple exposure © Harold Davis

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Mandala with Starfish © Harold Davis

Mandala with Starfish © Harold Davis

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Echinacea Seed Pod © Harold Davis

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Untitled © Harold Davis

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Montmartre and Sacre-Coeur © Harold Davis

Montmartre and Sacre-Coeur © Harold Davis

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Chartres Exterior II © Harold Davis

Along the Old Schoolhouse Trail © Harold Davis

Along the Old Schoolhouse Trail © Harold Davis

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my images and the associated blog stories. Most images available as prints. Please inquire. Check out my self-selected bests from previous years in Best Images Annuals!

Also posted in Photography

Harold Davis—Best of 2018

2018 has been quite a year in art for me. Travel has included the Southwest of France, the Balearic Islands, a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago, teaching at Maine Media Workshops, New York City, Heidelberg and Berlin Germany, Paris, Malta, and Sicily. My time at home has been productive as well. 

Below each image, I’ve added links to the relevant blog stories that include my selected images (where I blogged them). Self-selected entries from previous years going back to 2013 can be found here.

Study in Petals on Black © Harold Davis

Blog story: Studies in Petals

Red Anemone © Harold Davis

Blog story: Red Anemone

Devotional Pose © Harold Davis

Blog story: Devotional Pose

Vitruvian Woman © Harold Davis

Blog story: Vitruvian Woman

Egg © Harold Davis

Blog story: Egg

Papaver Nudicaule © Harold Davis

Blog story: Color Field of Flowers

Above the Gran Via © Harold Davis

Blog story: Above the Grand Via

Dandelion in Calvignac A © Harold Davis

Blog story: Dandelion in Calvignac

Bridge Fun © Harold Davis

Blog story: The Art of Being Alone with Oneself

Twisted © Harold Davis

Blog story: Seriously Twisted

Summer Grass © Harold Davis

Blog story: Summer Grass

Poppies and Mallows on White © Harold Davis

Poppies and Mallows on Black (Inversion) © Harold Davis

Blog story: The Art of Photographing Flowers for Transparency

Poppies Dancing © Harold Davis

Poppies Dancing Inversion © Harold Davis

Blog stories: Poppies Dancing and Poppies Dancing on Black

The Passion of the Rose © Harold Davis

Blog story: The Passion of the Rose

Papaver Pod from above © Harold Davis

Blog story: Papaver Poppy Pods Gone to Seed

Poem of the Road © Harold Davis

Lonely Road (Poem of the Road) © Harold Davis

Blog story: Poem of the Road

Sunflower X-Ray Fusion © Harold Davis

X-Ray, Sunflower © Harold Davis

Campanulas X-Ray on White © Harold Davis

Blog story: Revealing the Unseen with X-Ray Photography of Flowers; FAQ: X-Ray Photos of Flowers

Ladyboot Arch © Harold Davis

Blog story: Under the Wide and Starry Sky

Dawn East of the Sierras © Harold Davis

Rising © Harold Davis

Red Pitcher © Harold Davis

Bridge of Light – Color Version © Harold Davis

Bridge of Light © Harold Davis

Blog story: Bridge of Light

Heceta Head Lighthouse © Harold Davis

Heceta Head © Harold Davis

Crepuscular Coast – Black and White © Harold Davis

Crepuscular Coast © Harold Davis

Blog story: Crepuscular Coast

Earthlight © Harold Davis

Blog story: Earthlight

Paris from Montmartre © Harold Davis

Blog story: View of Paris from my room

Paris Paris © Harold Davis

Blog story: Goodbye Paris

Time Machine © Harold Davis

Blog story: Time Machine

Mosta Dome © Harold Davis

Blog story: Mosta Dome

Abstract 1 © Harold Davis

 

Check out my self-selected bests from previous years in Best Images Annuals!

Also posted in Photography

Harold Davis—My Best of 2017

Any compilation of one’s best work for a given time frame has to be somewhat arbitrary. With 2017, for me this is particularly the case. Once again, I’ve been at home abroad, and abroad at home (the latter particularly the case considering the illness in our body politic).

More specifically and geographically, I’ve spent time and photographed in Budapest, the Eastern Sierras, France, Maine, Majorca, Malta, New York City, Romania, and Vietnam (as well as in my studio, of course). Most of these places are well-represented in my archives from the year. But with all of my peregrination, I’ve hardly had the chance to look through, let alone edit, my work—and of course there is also a great deal of variety in subject matter and approach. I’ve made an eclectic selection based on my personal taste; you may prefer one kind of my imagery to another, and that of course is your privilege.

In case you are interested in learning more about the context of an individual photo, with many of these images, I wrote a blog story fairly contemporaneously with the photography. Where there is a blog story, which is much of the time, I’ve linked to it, below the image. (Images that I haven’t written about have a title below in italics that isn’t linked.) In cases where I have series of related images, I’ve typically only presented one of the images; if you want to see others in the series, you can click the link below the image.

The images are presented chronologically by date posted, which translates with some variations to more-or-less chronological order in terms of when made, starting in January 2017. 

Cherry Branches © Harold Davis

Cherry Branches

On the Brooklyn Bridge © Harold Davis

On the Brooklyn Bridge

White Rose with a Blush 2 © Harold Davis

Rose with a Blush 2

Long Bien Bridge © Harold Davis

Long Bien Bridge

Thap Rua (Turtle Tower) © Harold Davis

Thap Rua

Mountains near Meo Vac © Harold Davis

Mountains near Meo Vac

Lady in a Local Market © Harold Davis

Lady in a Local Market

Scale and Wonderment © Harold Davis

Scale and Wonderment

Portals © Harold Davis

Portals

Han River, Danang © Harold Davis

Han River, Danang

Entrance to the Warlord’s Palace © Harold Davis

Entrance to the Warlord’s Palace

Garland © Harold Davis

Garland

Hang En Campsite © Harold Davis

Hang En Campsite

Nets in Halang Bay © Harold Davis

Nets in Halang Bay

Perigueux Cathedral © Harold Davis

Perigueux Cathedral

Tables and Chairs, Valletta © Harold Davis

Tables and Chairs, Valletta

Blue Grotto, Malta, from above © Harold Davis

Blue Grotto from Above

Valletta © Harold Davis

Valletta

Sea Cliffs of Gozo © Harold Davis

Sea Cliffs of Gozo

Sapa © Harold Davis

Sapa

Matilija Poppies – Variation II © Harold Davis

Matilija Poppies—Variation II

Flower Petals © Harold Davis

Flower Petals

Mariposa Lily © Harold Davis

Mariposa Lily

Bouquet of Neighborhood Flowers © Harold Davis

Bouquet of Neighborhood Flowers

Design for a Stained Glass Window © Harold Davis

Design for a Stained Glass Window Made of Flowers

Pink Peony © Harold Davis

Pink Peony

Wisteria Leaves © Harold Davis

Wisteria Leaves

Purple Succulent © Harold Davis

Purple Succulent Flower

Magical Floral Medley © Harold Davis

Magical Floral Medley

Son Doong Cave © Harold Davis

Son Doong Cave

Gone to Seed 1 Monochrome on Black © Harold Davis

Gone to Seed 1

Summer Experiment 2 © Harold Davis

Summer Experiment 2

Mooring Lines, Rockport Harbor © Harold Davis

Mooring Lines, Rockport Harbor

Pink Dahlia © Harold Davis

Pink Dahlia

Disturbance in the Force © Harold Davis

Disturbance in the Force

Fireworks in Budapest © Harold Davis

Fireworks in Budapest

Budapest Apartments © Harold Davis

Budapest Apartments

Sunrise in Rural Romania © Harold Davis

Sunrise in Rural Romania

Alone © Harold Davis

Alone

Portrait of a Gypsy © Harold Davis

Portrait of a Gypsy

Bran Castle © Harold Davis

Bran Castle

Umbrellas over Bucharest © Harold Davis

Umbrellas over Bucharest

Nucleus 1 (on Black) © Harold Davis

Nucleus 1 (on Black)

Tulips and Lobelias © Harold Davis

Welcome Home Flowers

Blue Danube © Harold Davis

Blue Danube

Hunedoara Castle © Harold Davis

Hunedoara Castle

LAB Rose © Harold Davis

LAB Rose

Floral Composition © Harold Davis

Floral Composition

Chorus of One © Harold Davis

Chorus of One

A Simple Twist of Fate 5 © Harold Davis

A Simple Twist of Fate 5

Inside the White Rose © Harold Davis

Inside the White Rose

Rose Eye © Harold Davis

Rose Eye

Lonely Road © Harold Davis

Lonely Road

Autumn Poplars © Harold Davis

Autumn Poplars

Under the Sheltering Sky © Harold Davis

Under the Sheltering Sky

How Long Must Eye Wait? © Harold Davis

How Long Must Eye Wait?

Grizzly Falls © Harold Davis

Grizzly Falls

Down in the Valley © Harold Davis

Down in the Valley

Petals of the Rainbow © Harold Davis

Petals of the Rainbow

Spitfire Lily © Harold Davis

Spitfire Lily

Stars of Petals on Black Variation 6 © Harold Davis

Stars of Petals on Black Variation 6

Mottled-leaf Paphiopedilum © Harold Davis

Mottled-leaf Paphiopedilum

Amaryllis Unfurling © Harold Davis

Amaryllis Unfurling

Yellow Tulips on Black © Harold Davis

Yellow Tulips on Black

So it begins © Harold Davis

So it begins

Floral Mandala on Black © Harold Davis

Floral Mandala

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking through some of my images from 2017. If you are interested in comparing 2017’s crop with previous years, you can check out:

Also posted in Photography

My Best of 2016

2016 is a year of the fire monkey. This is by way of saying that one should rightfully have expected the unexpected. The monkey is a trickster, and not always kind—like Coyote and Loki a divine spirit, but a divinity whose intervention can have unforeseen and sometimes undesired consequences.

Personally, my work has taken me abroad at home, and at home abroad—with some unexpected adventures and side trips along the way.

Regarding travel, I like to say, “Want to make more interesting images? Then put yourself in front of more interesting things.” But the external world only goes so far, so the next step is to say, “Want to make more interesting images? Then become a more interesting person.”

In an early chapter of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring, it becomes clear to the ring-bearer Frodo (and the reader) that unspeakable evil has risen again from the shadows of the past. The following dialog between Frodo and the wizard Gandalf ensues:

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

In that spirit, I wish you health, joy in life, and the comfort of creativity in the coming year!

With that, and without too much further ado, please check out my self-selected best images of 2016 (in more or less chronological order, click on each image to see it larger).

If you have the time and inclination, perhaps in a quest for inspiration, you can also peruse my Best of 2015, Best of 2014, and Best of 2013.

Orchids in a Blue Bowl © Harold Davis

Orchids in a Blue Bowl © Harold Davis

Read my original blog story about this image.

Best Friends © Harold Davis

Best Friends © Harold Davis

 

Upper White River Falls © Harold Davis

Upper White River Falls © Harold Davis

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Under the Yaquina Bay Bridge © Harold Davis

Under the Yaquina Bay Bridge © Harold Davis

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Painting with Flowers © Harold Davis

Painting with Flowers © Harold Davis

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Cordes sur Ciel at Dawn © Harold Davis

Cordes sur Ciel at Dawn © Harold Davis

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The Wild and the Tame © Harold Davis

The Wild and the Tame © Harold Davis

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Shout to the Soul © Harold Davis

Shout to the Soul © Harold Davis

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Nude Descending a Ladder after Duchamp © Harold Davis

Nude Descending a Ladder © Harold Davis

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Conjuror © Harold Davis

Conjuror © Harold Davis

 

Coming to Life © Harold Davis

Coming to Life © Harold Davis

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Wheel of Flowers (on White) © Harold Davis

Wheel of Flowers (on White) © Harold Davis

Read my original blog story about this image.

 

Sunflower Ambrotype © Harold Davis

Sunflower Ambrotype © Harold Davis

 

Pont Neuf, Toulouse © Harold Davis

Pont Neuf, Toulouse © Harold Davis

Read my original blog story about this image.

 

Planet of the Succulents © Harold Davis

Planet of the Succulents © Harold Davis

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Fedora © Harold Davis

Fedora © Harold Davis

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Manifestation © Harold Davis

Manifestation © Harold Davis

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Et chorus sinit ire cum flores © Harold Davis

Et chorus sinit ire cum flores © Harold Davis

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Garden Party © Harold Davis

Garden Party © Harold Davis

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Eye of Sauron in His Cups © Harold Davis

Eye of Sauron in His Cups © Harold Davis

 

Dawn on Lake Como © Harold Davis

Dawn on Lake Como © Harold Davis

Read my original blog story about this image.

 

Duomo di Pavia © Harold Davis

Duomo di Pavia © Harold Davis

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Tuscan Landscape © Harold Davis

Tuscan Landscape © Harold Davis

Read my original blog story about this image.

 

Towers of San Gimignano © Harold Davis

Towers of San Gimignano © Harold Davis

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Golden Gate Splash © Harold Davis

Golden Gate Splash © Harold Davis

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Long Exposure Wave Study 2, South Beach © Harold Davis

Long Exposure Wave Study 2, South Beach © Harold Davis

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Flower Tondo 1 Variation Inversion © Harold Davis

Flower Tondo 1 Variation Inversion © Harold Davis

Read my original blog story about this image.

Last Light © Harold Davis

Last Light © Harold Davis

Read my original blog story about this image.

Also posted in Photography

Best of 2015: Backwards and Forwards

As a photographer and artist, I’m the kind of person who would much rather look forward than backward. The next adventure, or the next photo, is always more interesting to me than the completed adventure (or the image that has already been made).

That said, those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat it. Taking stock of what one has done in a given year can be a good prelude to ratcheting it up a notch for the next year (and, of course, the coming of a new year is a traditional time to make this inventory). Creating this kind of list is part of the process of establishing a baseline that I explain in Achieving Your Potential As a Photographer.

In this spirit in years gone by I have compiled My Best of 2014 and My Best of 2013. Now, in roughly chronological order, here are some of my best photos and adventures from 2015. In many cases you’ll find a bit about the backstory of the image, and links to the full story about the image on my blog.

By the way, if you are interesting in coming with me on a new photography adventure, there are a very few spaces remaining in Photograph Paris in the Spring. Phyllis and I are also offering two Italian destination photo workshops in the autumn of the new year, Under the Tuscan Skies and Photograph Venice.

New Span of the Bay Bridge

When the new Sheriff comes riding into town, everyone needs to adjust. The same thing is true for photographers when a new public structure goes up, particularly when the change is striking and vast enough, like it or not, to totally change the landscape. When this kind of change happens we must assess the alteration to our familiar landscape, and seek out new vantage points to include the new element in our photographs. Read more.

New Span of the Bay Bridge © Harold Davis

New Span of the Bay Bridge © Harold Davis

Amazing Anemones

Back lighting emphasizes the translucency of the petals, and the transparent colors that are reminiscent of stained-glass. Read more.

Amazing Anemones © Harold Davis

Amazing Anemones © Harold Davis

Flower of Spring’s Desires

Photographed Friday on my light box using my Nikon D810, Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 at f/16 and ISO 64 on the tripod. Eight blended exposures at shutter speeds from 8 seconds to 1/15 of second. Processed over the weekend using Adobe Camera RAW, Photoshop, Nik HDR Efex Pro, Nik Color Efex Pro, Topaz Adjust, and Topaz Simplify.

Please see my FAQ for more info about how I made this image. Read more.

Flowers of Spring's Desire © Harold Davis

Flowers of Spring’s Desire © Harold Davis

Clematis on Black

To photograph this Clematis Bee’s Jubilee blossom, I placed it on a light box and photographed it straight down using a tripod with a Nikon D810 and my special Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4 lens. Read more.

Clematis on Black © Harold Davis

Clematis on Black © Harold Davis

Hall of Shadows

The Oakland 16th Street Station, also called the Central Oakland Station, was built in the early 1900s as a grand terminus for the Southern Pacific Railway. In service until 1994, the station also served as a transportation hub, connecting the local East Bay Electric Railway and Amtrak with the Southern Pacific. Read more.

Hall of Shadows © Harold Davis

Hall of Shadows © Harold Davis

D Ranch

Point Reyes National Seashore is probably unique among the American National Parks in that this public land is shared with working cattle and dairy ranches. These ranches date from the early 1800s and are very much a part of the history of Point Reyes. Many have been in the same family for generations. Read more.

D Ranch, Point Reyes © Harold Davis

D Ranch, Point Reyes © Harold Davis

On Point Reyes in the spring, I photographed the details of the deteriorating buildings in the historic (but abandoned) D Ranch. Walking back towards my car I turned and saw the ranch buildings against a dramatic sky. Read more.

D Ranch (Color) © Harold Davis

D Ranch © Harold Davis

Memory Lane

Certainly, there is something very dramatic about coming upon these trees standing by themselves in the windswept landscape of Point Reyes. Read more.

Memory Lane © Harold Davis

Memory Lane © Harold Davis

Translucency of Rosa and Translucency of Rosa on Black

Translucency of Rosa © Harold Davis

Translucency of Rosa © Harold Davis

Translucency of Rosa on Black © Harold Davis

Translucency of Rosa on Black © Harold Davis

Inside the Old Market Tower (Looking Down and Looking Up)

Inside Prague’s Old Town Square Tower they’ve constructed an elegant spiral ramp, with an elevator in the middle. Read more.

Inside the Old Market Tower - Looking Down © Harold Davis

Inside the Old Market Tower – Looking Down © Harold Davis

Inside the Old Market Tower - Looking Up © Harold Davis

Inside the Old Market Tower – Looking Up © Harold Davis

Spires of Prague

I’ve never seen such a veritable cacophony of spires in a European city as in Prague. These wonderful spires, or towers, help to impart Prague’s unusual and distinctive flavor. What is it about upright towers reaching for the sky that appeals to the engineers among humanity? Wait, hold that thought! Read more.

Spires of Prague © Harold Davis

Spires of Prague © Harold Davis

House of Mirrors

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. Read more.

House of Mirrors, Prague © Harold Davis

House of Mirrors, Prague © Harold Davis

Strahov Monastery Library

Under the communists the library was turned into a National Literature Memorial. After the velvet revolution, the Strahov Monastery was returned to the Premonstratensian diocese, with restoration still underway in the famous libraries and also the monks devotional efforts to brewing quality beer. Read more.

Strahov Monastery Library © Harold Davis

Strahov Monastery Library © Harold Davis

Bend in the Neckar River

On a great bend in the Neckar River, about 15 kilometers up-river from Heidelberg, Germany lies the town of Neckarsteinach. Four dramatic castles sit atop the crags overlooking the Neckar. Julian, one of my workshop participants, brought me here the day I was flying home, and together we explored the area. Read more.

Bend in the Neckar River © Harold Davis

Bend in the Neckar River © Harold Davis

Path beside the Rhine

The Rhine has been navigated for thousands of years, since Roman times, and the channels have been straightened and broadened. The river used the meander much more with wetlands. These banks of the old Rhine have been preserved as park lands in places, and it is here we went with our cameras! Read more.

Path beside the Rhine © Harold Davis

Path beside the Rhine © Harold Davis

Still Life in Silver Bowl

Sometimes the beautiful things are all around us, like this group of fruit in a reflective bowl. Read more.

Still Life in Silver Bowl © Harold Davis

Still Life in Silver Bowl © Harold Davis

Beneath the Pont de la Concorde

The modernism of the underpinnings of this bridge over the Seine River in Paris, France belies the ornate fancifulness of the bridge from above. This is one of the joys of photographing in Paris—styles with huge inherent differences are cheek and jowl together, and somehow work in harmony. Read more.

Beneath the Pont de la Concorde © Harold Davis

Beneath the Pont de la Concorde © Harold Davis

Forest Reflection

The underlying photography in this image consists of two photographs of trees reflected in a puddle that I made in the Parc de Sceaux in suburban Paris, France with the camera on a tripod. One photo was made when the water was still, so the reflections of the trees were very clear. The other was made from the same position when it was windy. Read more.

Forest Reflection © Harold Davis

Forest Reflection © Harold Davis

Maple Leaves

Maple Leaves © Harold Davis

Maple Leaves © Harold Davis

Old Train Bridge

I photographed this old train bridge in Maine, with the idea of extending the apparent length of the bridge visually as far as I could. Read more.

Old Train Bridge © Harold Davis

Old Train Bridge © Harold Davis

Reflections in a Maine Pond

Reflections in a Maine Pond © Harold Davis

Reflections in a Maine Pond © Harold Davis

Inside the Pemaquid Lighthouse

Today I visited Pemaquid Point, Maine and its well-known lighthouse. This is still an operational lighthouse, run by the United States Coastguard. After I visited the top of the tower, the docent was kind enough to let me set my tripod up under the spiral stairs leading up. Read more.

Inside the Pemaquid Lighthouse © Harold Davis

Inside the Pemaquid Lighthouse © Harold Davis

Monhegan Storm

Monhegan Island is a small island twelve miles off the coast of Maine. The island clings to the edge of the ocean, and the coast of the mainland is only a smudge at the edge of vision. Read more.

Monhegan Storm © Harold Davis

Monhegan Storm © Harold Davis

Mandahlia

© Harold Davis

Mandahlia © Harold Davis

 

Shores of the Inland Sea

In Japan, there’s an aesthetic that embraces remarkable beauty, and at the same time is able to create landscapes that bear a passing resemblance to Hell itself, from the vast human ant piles of the urban Japan to the industry on the shores of the Inland Sea. Read more.

Shores of the Inland Sea © Harold Davis

Shores of the Inland Sea © Harold Davis

Feathers

Feathers © Harold Davis

Feathers © Harold Davis

Spider Web Bokeh

The other day dawned here in Berkeley, California with low, clinging fog. It was like being in the middle of a cloud. The thing about this kind of weather is that it’s rare—and wonderful—to have the water droplets in the fog physically on myriad objects. Read more.

Spider Web Bokeh © Harold Davis

Spider Web Bokeh © Harold Davis

Low Geostationary and Decaying Orbits around the Clematis Inversion

Low Geostationary and Decaying Orbits around the Clematis Inversion © Harold Davis

Low Geostationary and Decaying Orbits around the Clematis Inversion © Harold Davis

Ponte Vechio Night Reflections

How amazing it is to leave California in the afternoon, transit through an airline haze of mediocre movies and reading materials, and more-or-less the next morning to arrive in Italy! Read more.

Ponte Vecchio Night Reflections © Harold Davis

Ponte Vecchio Night Reflections © Harold Davis

Manarola

I am particularly fond of the patterns of buildings and rooftops you see in European towns and cities. Read more.

Manarola © Harold Davis

Manarola © Harold Davis

Riomaggiore

Sunbathing on the boat ramp in Riomaggiore harbor could be La Dolce Vita—the sweet life, and the name of a 1960 Fellini film. Except that the angle of repose causes most of these couples to anchor themselves using wood slots to stop from sliding into the water. Read more.

Riomaggiore, 2015 © Harold Davis

Riomaggiore, 2015 © Harold Davis

Lost City

Adjacent to the center of picturesque Sorrento, Italy two chasms meet. Long ago, rivers in these gorges flowed cleanly down to the ocean, and were the original settlement in the area. Over time, and thanks in part to construction of the new town of Sorrento, the area became isolated from the harbor and increasingly damp. In modern times, it has been abandoned to the ferns and other vegetation, although the old mill shown in these photos was in use until the late 1800s. Read more.

Lost City © Harold Davis

Lost City © Harold Davis

Gardens of the Villa San Michele

At the end of the 1800s an eccentric Swedish physician with aristocratic connections, Axel Munthe, began work on his “dream house” on the island of Capri in Italy. The location was a ledge about 1,000 feet above the town of Capri, and adjacent to the small village of Anacapri. Read more.

Gardens of the Villa San Michele © Harold Davis

Gardens of the Villa San Michele © Harold Davis

View from Ravello

Ravello sits about 1,000 feet above the town of Amalfi on the stupendous Amalfi Coast of Italy. Back in the 1200s and 1300s, when Amalfi was a geopolitical powerhouse, Ravello was the summer home for the Amalfiese aristocracy. Read more.

View from Ravello © Harold Davis

View from Ravello © Harold Davis

Piazza San Marco

During daylight hours, and well into the evening in warm months, San Marco is of course jam-packed. Competing classical schmaltz bands strive to drive tourists into over-priced outdoor cafes. Public events are staged in the square. But at night, when it is foggy and chill, the piazza empties. Read more.

Piazza San Marco © Harold Davis

Piazza San Marco © Harold Davis

Bridge of Sighs at Night

The Ponte dei Sospiri, or Bridge of Sighs, is one of the most famous landmarks in Venice, Italy. It connects the Doge’s Palace with a prison on the opposite side of the canal. The name, coined by Lord Byron, comes from the idea that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window before being taken across to their grim cells, often to remain imprisoned for the rest of their lives. Read more.

Bridge of Sighs at Night © Harold Davis

Bridge of Sighs at Night © Harold Davis

Venice of Dreams

Coming into Venice after a long day on the train from Naples was a dream-like experience. From southern almost summer time I was transported into an early November dark world of chill fog that hit me like a blast as I walked from the train to the boat landing on the Grand Canal. Read more.

Venice of Dreams © Harold Davis

Venice of Dreams © Harold Davis

Tall Ships

On a Venetian morning socked in with fog, my friend Mauro and I took the vaporetto across to the island of San Giorgio. The normally inspiring view from the top of the San Giorgio campanile was a blank white wall. But the boats in the nearby harbor were moving slightly, putting me in mind of sepia Dutch nautical drawings. Read more.

Tall Ships © Harold Davis

Tall Ships © Harold Davis

Manhattan from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade

I was in New York City just now for 48 hours, give or take an hour or two. It’s hard for me to visit New York without sensing a bit of personal dislocation. It’s as though there is one Harold who stayed in New York, where I grew up, and had a photography studio for a number of years. There’s another Harold who moved out of “the city” twenty-odd years ago, as in fact I did on the time line that feels most like reality. Read more.

Manhattan from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade © Harold Davis

Manhattan from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade © Harold Davis

Cross Bronx Expwy

I visited upper Manhattan, where I walked across the newly reopened High Bridge to the Bronx at sunset, and made a photo of traffic jammed like a pinball game on the Cross Bronx Expressway (and, why isn’t “Cross Bronx” hypenated?). Read more.

Cross Bronx Expwy © Harold Davis

Cross Bronx Expwy © Harold Davis

In a Blue Hour

Over the weekend on Saturday I led a fun workshop sponsored by the Point Reyes Field Institute on Point Reyes photographing Waves. I had some very enthusiastic participants and I think we all had a good time. It was fun to be leading a workshop so close to home compared to my recent travels, and there is no doubt that Point Reyes National Seashore is a visual resource and national park second to none, no matter how far one might roam. Read more.

In a Blue Hour © Harold Davis

In a Blue Hour © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

My Best of 2014

2014 has been an exciting year for me photographically, from many viewpoints, including the geographic and chronological. When I am not suffering from temporal displacement syndrome (otherwise known as jet lag), being lost in time and space has its virtues for a photographer—since so much of photography is about time and geographic locale, and feeling disconnected from each allows for much fruitful meditation, as well as consideration of the differences between cultures.

Compiling my annual best list of photos is a difficult exercise, but it helps me put the year in perspective, and last year’s Best of 2013 has remained one of the most popular stories on my blog throughout the subsequent year.

You are welcome to comment at the end of this story; also, please feel free to add a link in your comment to your own Best of 2014 photos. Editing is one of the most important aspects of the craft of photography, and compiling your own annual best list is a great way to exercise your editing skills.

This is my year in pictures. I am going to start with some flowers because, at home or abroad, I always enjoy creating botanical imagery. Here are some of my personal favorite flowers from the year, with other subject matter and places following the botanicals:

White Poppy © Harold Davis

White Poppy © Harold Davis

© Harold Davis

Tulips on White © Harold Davis

© Harold Davis

Tulip Panorama © Harold Davis

© Harold Davis

Tulips 1 © Harold Davis

© Harold Davis

Red Tulip, Giverny © Harold Davis

© Harold Davis

Into the Vortex of the Universe © Harold Davis

© Harold Davis

High-Key Tulips © Harold Davis

© Harold Davis

Flowering Quince © Harold Davis

© Harold Davis

Bounty of the Garden © Harold Davis

© Harold Davis

Alstromeria Ballet © Harold Davis

Related stories: Flowers Category on the blog; White PoppyWe Happy Flower Few; Trio of Tulips at Giverny; Harold Davis posters from Editions Limited; Photographing Flowers for Transparency; Flowering Quince; What Flowers Are These?

There’s a natural progression from photographing flowers to Paris in the spring. Rainbows seem a good place to start. I was lucky enough to be out on the Pont Solferino footbridge as a spring rainstorm was coming to an end, and to capture this double rainbow over Paris and the Seine River.

Double Rainbow over Paris

Double Rainbow over Paris © Harold Davis

Underneath the Pont Solferino there was action as well. I thought it looked like a stairway to heaven:

Pont Solferino © Harold Davis

Pont Solferino © Harold Davis

On this trip to Paris my group stayed near the Seine, so photographing along the banks of the river and under the bridges was natural—generally using an exposure that played on time and motion. This one is a long exposure from Under the Pont de la Concorde:

Under the Pont de la Concorde © Harold Davis

Under the Pont de la Concorde © Harold Davis

Worth noting: for the first time, iPhone captures are creeping into my personal bests! I captured this image of Les Deux Magots, the famous St Germaine-des-Pres haunt of Hemingway and other literati back when one could afford to be bohemian in Paris, using my iPhone camera, and gleefully processed it using the latest apps to look old-fashioned to match the traditional costume of the waiter.

Les Deux Magots © Harold Davis

Les Deux Magots © Harold Davis

Back to the banks of the Seine River, in Behind the Wall I played with camera motion (rather than subject motion).

Behind the Wall © Harold Davis

Behind the Wall © Harold Davis

Any way you slice it, Paris is a great city for night photography. I enjoyed the chance to shoot the skyline at dusk again from the Tour Montparnasse in Paris Sunset.

Paris Sunset © Harold Davis

Paris Sunset © Harold Davis

Of course, the Pyramide in the central court of the Louvre is a wonderful subject for night photography, even if photographing Night at the Louvre does involve an occasional  cat-and-mouse game with the tripod gendarmerie.

Pyramide © Harold Davis

Pyramide © Harold Davis

You can see more of my Paris photography in the Paris category on my blog. I do also love to photograph the gardens that are a short excursion from Paris. An iPhone capture, and a more formal version, of one of the famous green bridges in Monet’s glorious garden at Giverny are shown below.

Giverny Waterlogue Watercolor © Harold Davis

Giverny Waterlogue Watercolor © Harold Davis

Giverny © Harold Davis

Giverny © Harold Davis

Related stories: Giverny Waterlogue Watercolor; Giverny.

The Parc de Sceaux is accessible from Paris via the RER (suburban railway). To understand the title of this image, Ghosts in the Enchanted Garden, you’ll need to look at it carefully!

Ghosts in the Enchanted Garden © Harold Davis

Ghosts in the Enchanted Garden © Harold Davis

It was a great pleasure in May to begin to explore the southwest of France. This is a region I enjoyed immensely, for the scenery and history—and, no surprise, the food. I hope to be back. Here’s the Pont Valentre in Cahors photographed conventionally, and captured via my iPhone and processed using the iPhone Waterlogue app :

Valentre Bridge © Harold Davis

Valentre Bridge © Harold Davis

Pont Valentre Waterlogue © Harold Davis

Pont Valentre via Waterlogue © Harold Davis

Related stories: Valentre Bridge and Impregnable.

Making my way to an overlook above a Bend in the Dordogne River on a misty day, I carefully shot the multiples needed to create a panorama.

Bend in the River © Harold Davis

Bend in the River © Harold Davis

Visiting Bourges, I was impressed with the still-unfinished grand cathedral, a World Heritage site and one of the most impressive examples of 13th century high Gothic style—but more impressed with the light on the cathedral as seen through my Window in Bourges!

Window in Bourges © Harold Davis

Window in Bourges © Harold Davis

Related story: France category on my blog.

Back home, I photographed the sacred and the profane; namely, San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, a restored temple to Henry Ford’s assembly line, and models in motion. I particularly enjoyed choreographing in-camera multiple exposure techniques with models to create striking, painterly effects.

Graced with Light at Grace Cathedral © Harold Davis

Graced with Light at Grace Cathedral © Harold Davis

Ford Richmond Plant © Harold Davis

Ford Richmond Plant © Harold Davis

Tender Dance (via iPhone) © Harold Davis

Tender Dance (via iPhone) © Harold Davis

Wheel of Life © Harold Davis

Wheel of Life © Harold Davis

Falling © Harold Davis

Falling © Harold Davis

Dance of the Seven Veils #2 © Harold Davis

Dance of the Seven Veils #2 © Harold Davis

Passion © Harold Davis

Passion © Harold Davis

Les Desmoiselles © Harold Davis

Les Desmoiselles © Harold Davis

What rough beast? © Harold Davis

What rough beast? © Harold Davis

Kali © Harold Davis

Kali © Harold Davis

Gates after Rodin

Gates after Rodin © Harold Davis

Related stories: Tender Dance; Wheel of Life; Falling; Dance of the Seven Veils #2; Passion; Les Desmoiselles; What Rough Beast; Kali; A Rorschach for MFAs.

Over the summer I taught flower photography and digital black & white in Heidelberg, Germany. I had a great group of students, and a wonderful time getting to know Heidelberg and exploring the area.

The Old Bridge in Heidelberg was the first bridge across the Neckar River, and is still in much use today. It’s a great subject for black and white.

Alte Brucke, Heidelberg © Harold Davis

Alte Brucke, Heidelberg © Harold Davis

In contrast, the Great Hall at the old campus in Heidelberg is not much used except ceremonially; I was lucky to be able to take my time photographing in this historic place.

Great Hall, Heidelberg © Harold Davis

Great Hall, Heidelberg © Harold Davis

My hosts made sure I visited many local attractions, including Speyer cathedral in a city along the Rhine River not far from Heidelberg.

Speyer Cathedral (via iPhone) © Harold Davis

Speyer Cathedral (via iPhone) © Harold Davis

While I was in Germany, Germany won the World Cup. This iPhone still life composition of refracted wine glasses shows just a small bit of the celebrating that went on.

Wine Glasses © Harold Davis

Wine Glasses © Harold Davis

Related stories: Germany category on my blog; Cheap shots; More cheap shots.

My next trip was to New York for some meetings and appearances related to a photography trade show. I’m of the general opinion that life in New York City has some resemblance to a stage show. At the very least, New Yorkers are definitely into appearances—so when I was able to sneak away from business and practice my craft of photography in Central Park at night it was fitting that New York seemed to me to be a stage.

Bethesda Fountain © Harold Davis

Bethesda Fountain © Harold Davis

In Barcelona, I shot straight up at the amazing ceiling of Antoni Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, and captured an almost endless internal spiral staircase in black and white.

Sagrada Familia © Harold Davis

Sagrada Familia © Harold Davis

Stair in the Sagrada © Harold Davis

Stair in the Sagrada © Harold Davis

Traffic and the lighting of a fountain on the Gran Via gave me a chance to practice photographing car trails at night in Barcelona, while the odd positioning of my hotel room gave a peculiar perspective for my 15mm lens in the crooked, old streets of the Gothic Quarter.

Gran Via © Harold Davis

Gran Via © Harold Davis

Gotic Quarter © Harold Davis

Gotic Quarter © Harold Davis

In Morocco, I enjoyed photographing the great outdoor marketplace, the Jemaa-al-Fna, in Marrakech at night and the sand Kasbahs on the far side of the Atlas Mountains. When it rained in Rabat, my iPhone was ready to help me capture the view through the bus window.

Rain in Rabat © Harold Davis

Rain in Rabat © Harold Davis

Jemaa-al-Fna © Harold Davis

Jemaa-al-Fna © Harold Davis

Market in Marrakech © Harold Davis

Market in Marrakech © Harold Davis

Castle Made of Sand © Harold Davis

Castle Made of Sand © Harold Davis

Related stories: Jemaa-al-Fna; Market in Marrakech; Castle Made of Sand. After delays at Casablanca airport, I snapped an iPhone shot of leaving Morocco both lyrical and indicative of some travel fatigue.

Goodbye Morocco © Harold Davis

Goodbye Morocco © Harold Davis

Back home, I settled in to prove that one can make photos of the mundane as well as the marvelous; hence this image of a Venetian blind in my kitchen, drawn to allow bright sunlight to creep through.

Blind © Harold Davis

Blind © Harold Davis

Giving a Waves workshop on Point Reyes, California in December I was lucky to find a break in relentless rains and a stunning day for photography along the open Pacific Ocean.

Waves © Harold Davis

Waves © Harold Davis

Sunset at Point Reyes Head

Sunset at Point Reyes Head © Harold Davis

Storm at Sea

Storm at Sea © Harold Davis

Related story: Photographing Waves.

Coming a full circle, as almost befits a spiral, my last photo is of a Nautilus Shell, shot in my studio. Apart from the iPhone images, my photography has greatly benefited from a high-resolution full frame DSLR sensor paired with some excellent glass from my sponsor Zeiss. In the case of this Nautilus, I used the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4.

Nautilus © Harold Davis

Nautilus © Harold Davis

Related link: Monochrome category on my blog.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this story, please feel free to comment. Please also consider creating your own best-of list, it is a great way to learn more about your work, and to practice your editing skills!

Also posted in Photography

My best of 2013

As an exercise, and also to participate in a compendium of “best of” blogged photos, I’ve put together what I think are my best photos from 2013. This has been an exciting and varied year of photography for me, with locations both abroad and at home.

It’s never an easy job editing one’s own photos. My favorite photo is always my next one! I love them when I make them, but then they fall out of favor, and it takes a while before I can see them clearly. You have to let go of the feelings you had when you took the image, and begin to view them objectively: often not the easiest thing to do.

I also had a problem of definition: does an image made in 2013 count, or does it have to be photographed in 2013? This is an issue for me because many of my images are made from photos shot in earlier years. For the sake of this collection, I am sticking with images using only photos shot in 2013 (I have no shortage of those!), but this does mean omitting some composite imagery that I like.

How do you compare apples to oranges? Are you in the mood for botanicals or landscapes? This is all very subjective, but basically these are my picks (with a little input from Phyllis). I also used favoriting on Flickr as a data point (but certainly didn’t rely solely on Flickr feedback). What do you think? Which are your favorites? Have I omitted an image of mine that should be included (or vice versa)?

Herewith, the Harold Davis best of 2013 (in alphabetical order):

Anemones 1 © Harold Davis

Anemones 1 © Harold Davis

 

Bixby Bridge by Starlight © Harold Davis

Bixby Bridge by Starlight © Harold Davis

 

Cayucos Pier © Harold Davis

Cayucos Pier © Harold Davis

 

Chateau des Nazelles © Harold Davis

Chateau des Nazelles © Harold Davis

 

Church at Auvers © Harold Davis

Church at Auvers © Harold Davis

 

Dawn in the High Fields © Harold Davis

Dawn in the High Fields © Harold Davis

 

Dawn of the Dragon © Harold Davis

Dawn of the Dragon © Harold Davis

 

Eiffel Tower from Sacre Couer © Harold Davis

Eiffel Tower from Sacre Couer © Harold Davis

 

Flowers of Late Summer © Harold Davis

Flowers of Late Summer © Harold Davis

 

Kumano Sanzen Roppyaku Po © Harold Davis

Kumano Sanzen Roppyaku Po © Harold Davis

 

Lights of Paris © Harold Davis

Lights of Paris © Harold Davis

 

Kira at Passy Station © Harold Davis

Kira at Passy Station © Harold Davis

 

Red Tulips in a Glass Vase © Harold Davis

Red Tulips in a Glass Vase © Harold Davis

 

Rose Center Curves © Harold Davis

Rose Center Curves © Harold Davis

 

La Basilique du Sacré Cœur © Harold Davis

La Basilique du Sacré Cœur © Harold Davis

 

Story of O © Harold Davis

Story of O © Harold Davis

 

Tulip Within © Harold Davis

Tulip Within © Harold Davis

 

Waves on Drakes Beach © Harold Davis

Waves on Drakes Beach © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography