Category Archives: Monochrome

Travels in the Inter-Mountain West

These are newly-processed images from travels in the inter-mountain American West in early 2020 just before the pandemic struck and we began sheltering in place.

As vaccinations proceed apace, I am looking forward to traveling with my camera again soon!

Old Tree © Harold Davis

Colorado River © Harold Davis

Death Valley Landscape © Harold Davis

Also posted in Landscape, Photography

Wayback Machine

Today we will journey to a labyrinth and church on the island of Gozo in the Malta archipelago, followed by the Île de la Cité along the banks of the Seine in Paris early in the morning of an autumn day. Both were photographed pre-pandemic in November, 2018, and first processed just now.

Maze and Church, Gozo © Harold Davis

Île de la Cité © Harold Davis

Also posted in Malta, Paris, Photography

From the Files

California Live Oak © Harold Davis

Here are two images from my files. California Live Oak (above) is from 2019, photographed in Walnut Creek, California. 

Arcade, Trapani (below) is from November, 2018, photographed in Trapani, a seaport on the western coast of Sicily, Italy.

Arcade, Trapani © Harold Davis

Also posted in Italy, Photography

My Back Pages

I spent some time over the last few days going through my archives for 2019, and processing images that I had somehow overlooked. 2019 was, of course, the last pre-pandemic year, and it was interesting on several levels to review my photographic life as it was then.

In this story, a selection of these newly processed 2019 images, starting with a view of the Paris skyline (from a workshop I was leading), through a well-known (and much photographed) ship wreck in Inverness, California, to an impressionistic in-camera-motion (“ICM”) image of a grove of trees in Florida (again, while leading a workshop), and finally a Lensbaby studio image of the legs of a model.

Tour Eiffel and La Defense © Harold Davis

Wreck of the Point Reyes © Harold Davis

Grove © Harold Davis

Legs © Harold Davis

Also posted in Paris, Photography, Point Reyes

Monochromatic Visions Portfolio

We’re pleased to be able to offer my Monochromatic Visions Portfolio at a still fairly affordable price ($1200). There are only two portfolios left at this price.

Monochromatic Visions portfolio by Harold Davis

Monochromatic Visions portfolio © Harold Davis

The twelve images in the portfolio are shown above, and the actual prints curing from a portfolio we sold to a very nice collector over the summer are shown below.

Monochromatic Visions Portfolio prints © Harold Davis

Monochromatic Visions Portfolio prints © Harold Davis

Please contact us with questions, or if you are interested in acquiring one of these portfolios!

Also posted in Print of the Month

Announcing new Homage to Blossfeldt limited edition prints

We’re pleased to announce a new series of eight limited edition Harold Davis prints in homage to the great botanical photographic artist Karl Blossfeldt, now available for sale on Saatchi Art. Click here for the collection of Homage to Blossfeldt prints, and here for Harold’s Saatchi Art page.

Queen Anne's Lace © Harold Davis

Queen Anne’s Lace © Harold Davis

There are eight images in the series, with five number prints for each image in the edition. Here are some specifics for Queen Anne’s Lace:

“Queen Anne’s Lace” is a fine art archival photograph created in the Harold Davis Studio. This artisanal limited edition print is hand signed and numbered. The mode and style of this print was inspired by the great botanical artist Karl Blossfeldt.

Queen Anne’s Lace comprises five seed-flower heads of the species Daucus carota which is related to the wild carrot. The artist placed the flower heads on a back-illuminated light box and photographed the ensemble using a special multi-capture technique. He then inverted the image so that the flower heads appear on black, and applied a Blossfeldt effect to create an image that is at once exciting, serene, and moving.

This richly detailed photograph is printed on archival 100% cotton Moab Entrada Rag Bright 300gsm using archival UltraChrome wide-color gamut inks.

The print is shipped flat in its own custom presentation folder, protected with a vellum overlay. A Harold Davis Studio certificate of authenticity is included with the print.

Please note that the paper size for this limited edition fine-art print is 32″ W x 24″ H. I have printed this work in my studio to be attractive on the paper with a nice border. The actual image size is 23″ W x 16″ H.

Tulip Petal Detail after Blossfeldt © Harold Davis

Related stories: Tulip Petal Detail after Blossfeldt; Special Pandemic Prints.

Also posted in Print of the Month

X-Ray Bouquet

The upper photo is an X-Ray of a bouquet of dahlias, nemesia, and kangaroo paw flowers. It was made in May, 2019 using medical x-ray equipment, and processed yesterday while waiting out the foul air in the Bay area in Photoshop from the DICOM file. More x-rays can be found here, and I’ve also posted a photo of a recent print of one of my favorite x-rays, of a sunflower, below.

X-Ray Bouquet of Dahlias, Nemesias, and Kangaroo Paw © Harold Davis

X-Ray Bouquet of Dahlias, Nemesias, and Kangaroo Paw Flowers © Harold Davis

Print of ‘Sunflower X-Ray’ © Harold Davis

Also posted in Flowers, Photography, X-Ray

Dancing Trees

The other day I went for a long walk in nearby Tilden Park, which lies about a mile from my home, on the farther side of the initial crest of the Coastal Range hills. On the trail, I stopped to put down my backpack and take out my camera. The photo shown below, Eucalyptus Forest, was the result.

Eucalyptus Forest © Harold Davis

Eucalyptus Forest © Harold Davis

As I looked at Eucalyptus Forest in post-production, I realized that there was a structural similarly with other images of trees I have made. The examples that came to mind were Along the Old Schoolhouse Trail and Aspens near Sonora Pass.

Along the Old Schoolhouse Trail © Harold Davis

Along the Old Schoolhouse Trail © Harold Davis

Of course, the species of tree are different. The chaotic and messy eucalyptus make it hard to see linear order, even among the vertical lines of the trees. And the California coastal oaks along the Old Schoolhouse Trail are not the aspens that I photographed near the summit of Sonora Pass in the Sierra Nevada.

Aspens near Sonora Pass

Aspens near Sonora Pass © Harold Davis

But all three images share similarities in formal composition. As I teach my students, one can diagram compositions using simple shapes like lines and circles, and making note of patterned repetition. With a line drawing of these three compositions, the underlying similarity of image structure becomes clear. 

My artistic intent was also comparable across the three images: I wanted to capture the spirits of the trees, Dryads if you will. In my mind, the spirits of trees are always dancing.

Original blog stories: Along the Old Schoolhouse Trail; Aspens below Sonora Pass.

Also posted in Landscape, Photography

High Key to Low Key and Back Again

Today Phyllis and I gave the second webinar in our black and white series. This episode showed conversion to black and white, starting from a few images that I made in advance the other day: a high-key image (the egg), a low-key image (the nemesia), and something in-between (the tea toy robot). You can view recordings of our webinars on the Harold Davis Photography channel on YouTube.

The next session will look at some special black and white effects, such as the Ansel Adams effect, solarization, and so on.

Please consider joining us for another webinar, or the upcoming Creative Bootcamp four-part course!

Egg White © Harold Davis

Egg White © Harold Davis

Nemesia Wabi-Sabi © Harold Davis

Nemesia Wabi-Sabi © Harold Davis

Tea for You © Harold Davis

Tea for You © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

Creative Black and White Webinar, Part 2: The Assignment

I’m teaching the second live webinar in the Creative Black and White series on Tuesday, May 26 at 10am PT. Here’s the registration link. I’ve decided to take a chance and try something different with this webinar. So I will make some images live on camera, using materials that are easy to find while sheltering in place. That way, you can see what I am doing, and ask questions if you’d like.

Next, I will show how I convert the captures I have just made to become monochromatic images. My suggestion (although it is only a suggestion of course, and you don’t have to do it to get information from the webinar) is that you prepare in advance by making your own photographs in line with the assignments. I find I always learn more by being active as opposed to passively listening.

Details follow below.

Please keep in mind that there a few spaces left in our Creative Bootcamp (limited to 12), with four classes, coming up in June. You can watch recordings of most of our webinars on the Harold Davis Photography YouTube channel.

Egg © Harold Davis

MEMO to participants in Creative Black & White | Part 2: Black and White Conversion, live webinar on Tuesday May 26 at 10am PT

The structure of this webinar session will be that Harold will use live cameras to demonstrate creating three images. The general assignment for the kinds of images, and the specific way that Harold intends to photographically meet this challenge are shown below. He will then process to monochrome each of the three images, using a variety of techniques as appropriate for each (very different) image.

The choice of assignment was made keeping in mind what is possible while sheltering place. Although there is no requirement to do so, Harold believes you will get the most out of the session if you complete these assignments on your own, in your own way, before the May 26 class.

Please post images made in response to this challenge to Instagram, with the tags @haroldldavis #harolddavis #blackandwhite #blackandwhitephoto #creativeblackandwhite #assignment2

Black & White #2 Assignments (should you choose to accept & etc.)

Create a High-Key Photo

            Harold will demonstrate photographing an Egg on a white background

Create a Low-Key Photo

            Harold will demonstrate photographing a flower on black velvet background

Capture a shadow

            Harold will use a light to make an interesting shadow using kitchen items, and then photograph the composition including the shadow

Chrysanthemum © Harold Davis

Chrysanthemum © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

Under the Yaquina Bay Bridge

Under the Yaquina Bay Bridge has become, somewhat to my surprise, one of my iconic images in the sense that there have been quite a few prints sales, image licenses and so on. Thanks to all who have made this image a success! Here’s the original blog story from 2016. In answer to the question posed in that story, the marketplace has voted pretty overwhelmingly for the black & white version.

Under the Yaquina Bay Bridge (B&W) © Harold Davis

Under the Yaquina Bay Bridge © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

What’s my line?

Sometimes an image is simply about a point, or a line. In this high-key image across the Bay on an overcast day, I created an image of a train bridge that is really about two close, parallel lines horizontally bisecting the rectangular frame.

Opening Train Bridge © Harold Davis

Opening Train Bridge © Harold Davis

The image of power-line towers (below) is the same idea, but a little more complex in composition, and vertically oriented. (Sometimes simplicity works better than complexity!)

Power Lines © Harold Davis

Power Lines © Harold Davis

Also posted in Landscape

Under the Dumbarton Bridge

For reasons I won’t go into at this time, I find myself these days often driving south to Palo Alto on the peninsula. It’s about an hour from my home in Berkeley with no traffic, and hell-on-wheels when there is traffic. One of the routes I use crosses San Francisco Bay on the Dumbarton Bridge.

Dumbarton Bridge © Harold Davis

Dumbarton Bridge © Harold Davis

There’s something about photographing under bridges that floats my boat. Perhaps it is that salty, sensual melody from “Under the Boardwalk” rattling around in my neurons, and I’ve mistaken a bridge for a boardwalk. In any case, check out Under the Yaquina Bay Bridge and Bridge of Light for examples.

So I was pleased to learn that the underside of the Dumbarton Bridge is pretty cool. The image above is a quick photo from the eastern end, where I plan to photograph again when I have more time. You can click here for a view of the underneath of the western side.

Also posted in Photography, San Francisco Area

Echinacea Seed Pod X-Ray

Echinacea Seed Pod on Black © Harold Davis

Very special thanks to the scientists in the Photon Science group at the Advanced Light Source, Lawrence Berkeley National Labs who used the Beamline when it was in maintenance mode to help with this capture.

Check out more x-ray photos of mine here.

Echinacea Seed Pod - Sepia © Harold Davis

Echinacea Seed Pod – Sepia © Harold Davis

Also posted in Flowers, X-Ray

Under the Dumbarton Bridge

In 1982, a new Dumbarton Bridge replaced the old, cast-iron cantilevered span across San Francisco Bay from Hayward to Palo Alto. The hardest part of the construction was the giant cast iron footings deep down into the muck and mud of the Bay. This location was close to the first bridge crossing the Bay, an abandoned train bridge finished just after the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906.

Under the Dumbarton Bridge © Harold Davis

Under the Dumbarton Bridge © Harold Davis

Climbing down the side of the bridge to get under it reminded me a bit of an earlier adventure with Berkeley Municipal Pier. The footing was treacherous in stagnant salt water, mud, and detritus, and I made my way carefully around and through a bend in the dilapidated barbed-wire fencing. 

Once under the bridge, I found myself on a confronting the colossus of the cement footings of the bridge. These underpinnings were reflected in the inter-tidal zone mud flats. 

I put my camera (a Nikon D850) on the tripod and added a polarizing filter to amplify the reflections of the underbelly of the bridge. I made eight exposures using my 28-300mm Nikkor lens at 58mm. Each exposure was stopped down (at f/29) because I needed maximum depth-of-field to render sharply both the nearby reflections and the recession of pillars through the opening in the columns. The sensitivity was ISO 64. My exposure speeds were from 1/20 of a second to 6 seconds. 

I combined and processed the exposures using Adobe Bridge, Adobe Photoshop, Nik HDR Efex Pro, Nik Color Efex, Nik Silver Efex, Topaz Adjust, and Topaz Simplify.

I like to photograph the naked underbelly of bridges. Here’s another one of mine that has had considerable play: Under the Yaquina Bay Bridge.

Also posted in San Francisco Area