Category Archives: Photography

digital photography: techniques: thoughts: photographs

A Walk on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge

The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, also officially the “John F. McCarthy Memorial Bridge,” opened in 1956, displacing the last car ferry across San Francisco Bay. Recently, a lane on the upper deck of the bridge was converted to pedestrian and bike use (more bike than hike, in my observation). This comes close to completing a trail network that can be used to circumnavigate the Bay.

Shadow Selfie © Harold Davis

Shadow Selfie © Harold Davis

On a startlingly bright recent late afternoon, I found a place to park in Port Richmond near the bridge access trail. It was little over a mile from there to actually being on the bridge. Most of this trail section was between the highway (Interstate 580) and the notorious Richmond Chevron refinery (hence the pipes photographed through a chain link fence with my iPhone shown below).

Pipes © Harold Davis

Pipes © Harold Davis

Once on the Bridge, it is a little more than five miles to Point San Quentin on the Marin side. I walked about half way, to the first cantilever. The shadows were growing long (see the first photo in this story!). Heading back to my parked car, I noted how much fun it was to explore some place new again with my camera, just like before the pandemic, even if the new location was close to home.

Also posted in Hiking, San Francisco Area

The Making of Creative Garden Photography | Free Webinar

Our new book Creative Garden Photography has been at least ten years in the making from conception to finished production files. In this free webinar, on Sunday July 5, 2020 at 11am PT, Phyllis and I will be joined by Rocky Nook associate publisher Ted Waitt. We’ll take a look at the images in the book, the ideas behind the book, the techniques the book covers, some of the stories told in the book, book production, how the book design relates to garden design as well as photography, and answer questions from the audience. A discount code for book and eBook purchases from the publisher will be provided.

The webinar is free, but registration in advance is required. Click here to register for the Creative Garden Photography webinar.

We have a number of technique webinars coming up that I hope you’ll find useful. You can find the complete list of webinars by clicking here, and below. Recordings of our past webinars can be found in the Harold Davis Photography YouTube channel. You’ll also find live events (I don’t currently have any scheduled until 2021 due to the pandemic) on this page.

I am particularly excited to be sharing stories and images from the Camino de Santiago on Saturday, July 18. This is a free webinar, but requires registration. Click here for more info.

  • Printing, Proofing, and all about Paper with Moab Masters Scott Barrow, Harold Davis, and Jim Graham [Benefits Equal Justice Initiative] | Thursday September 24, 2020 at 10am PT click here for registration. Seats are limited. Click here for details.
  • Master Photographer Panel with Jennifer King and Alan Shapiro, moderated by Harold Davis [Benefits NAACP] | Saturday October 10, 2020 at 11am PT click here for registration. Seats are limited. 
  • Master Photographer Panel with Anne Belmont and Bryan Peterson, moderated by Harold Davis [Benefits Center for Policing Equity] | Saturday November 14, 2020 at 11am PT click here for registration. Seats are limited. 
Giverny Afternoon © Harold Davis

Giverny Afternoon © Harold Davis

Also posted in Flowers, Writing

Theodore Roosevelt and his horse’s rear-end

© Harold Davis

I always thought this statue was pompous beyond belief, and patronizing to the subservient folks below and to either side of T.R. Which is why I photographed this trite and hackneyed representation of neo-colonialism from the back, or horse’s donkey, circa 1980.

In case you don’t know, it is beside the front entrance to the Natural History Museum in New York City, and will be taken down. About time, I say!

Creative Garden Photography Press Proofs

We’re very pleased and excited that the first page proofs from the press for Creative Garden Photography: Making Great Photos of Flowers, Gardens, Landscapes, and the Beautiful World Around Us are here. They look beautiful, and I can’t wait to see the finished book. Thank you so much to the publisher Rocky Nook, who has worked with us every step of the way. If I say so myself, this will be one beautiful and informative book!

Creative Garden Photography press proofs © Harold Davis

Printing, Proofing, and all about Paper [Benefits Equal Justice Initiative]

What: Printing, Proofing, and all about Paper [Benefits Equal Justice Initiative] with a Panel of Moab Masters

When: Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 10am PT (1PM ET). Duration about two hours, including Q&A

Where: On your computer or mobile device from anywhere via Zoom. Zoom authenticated registration and a tuition payment of $19.95 are required for enrollment. Click here to register for this webinar.

All proceeds from the tuition payments will benefit Equal Justice Initiative.

Details: In this webinar, noted photographers and Moab Masters Scott Barrow, Harold Davis, and Jim Graham will present their work, and show how printmaking has informed and played a vital role in their professional practices. The presentations will be followed by a panel discussion of printing moderated by Phyllis Davis, with Harold, Jim, Scott, and Marc Schotland, VP of Marketing at Legion Paper. There will be ample time for Q&A.

Image © Scott Barrow

About Scott Barrow: Scott writes, “The dance of light on the world around me is what powers my creativity.  I love taking photographs and I can make a beautiful image anywhere.  The challenge for me as an artist is to go beyond beauty and find my connection to a scene, to become part of it in the moment that I release the shutter.  That coming together is what I strive for. It is only then that I can truly share what I saw and felt with you the viewer.” His website is www.scottbarrow.com.

Peonies mon Amour © Harold Davis, shown on Moenkopi Unryu washi with hand inkan stamp

About Harold Davis: Harold Davis is a bestselling author of many books, including Creative Garden Photography from Rocky Nook, which can be pre-ordered. He is the developer of a unique technique for photographing flowers for transparency, a Moab Master, and a Zeiss Ambassador. He is an internationally known photographer and a sought-after workshop leader. His website is www.digitalfieldguide.com.

At the Willowdale Races in Kennett Square, Pa.  (Photography © Jim Graham 2012)

About Jim Graham: My bio says I’ve been a professional photographer since the age of 16. It’s all I’ve really ever done. I have a degree in history from Washington College in Maryland in History. After graduation I wasn’t sure what to do with my life. Luckily, I found my way to Maine and to the Maine Photographic Workshops. After 6 months in Maine I returned home to Chadds Ford and became a stringer for the News Journal Papers in Wilmington, Delaware. Freelancing turned into a staff position and I loved every second of my nine years as a staffer there. I was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize while I was at the News Journal and was also named Southern Photographer of the Year at the Southern Short Course.

I’ve worked with AP, UPI, Bloomberg News, Time, Sports Illustrated, Vanity Fair, Newsweek, and Town and Country.

Today I still do editorial work when I can as well staking assignments from magazines. I’m represented by Redux Pictures in New York. I work also with corporate entities on their marketing materials, photograph weddings, and manage to get in a trip each year to concentrate on my own work. Additionally I teach when the opportunity presents itself.  I’ve been adjunct faculty at The University of Delaware, Widener University, Moore College of Art and Design, Cecil College, as well as teaching at the Maine Media Workshops.

Jim’s fine art photography is shown in many galleries throughout the United States, including Hardcastle Gallery, Graficas Gallery, Seven Seas Gallery, the Redux Gallery in New York and the Delaware Museum of Art.

About Marc Schotland: Marc Schotland is the VP of Marketing at Legion Paper, the manufacturer and distributor of Moab Paper.  Marc has worked in the fine art paper industry for 15 years, having previously worked in Italy for Manfrotto as the Global Brand Manager for still & video tripods.

About Moab Masters: Moab Master photographers are a select group of artists connected by their unique visions and their love of reproducing their images on Moab fine art paper.  The group includes some well-established photographers, as well as photographers on the rise.  Moab is proud to be associated with these artists and thank them for trusting Moab with their images.

Number of Seats, Tuition, and Benefit: The tuition for this webinar is $19.95, and requires prior registration. All proceeds benefit Equal Justice Initiative. The ticket price is not tax deductible.  Seating (on a first come, first served basis) is limited. Click here to register for this webinar.

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, Monochrome

Annals of the Probe Macro

These are three variations on an image created by pointing my macro probe lens straight down on a parfait glass. I put a crystal ball in the parfait glass, and placed the ensemble on a light box. The lens extended down into the parfait glass, and close to the surface of the crystal ball—where the rim of the glass and the reflections in the ball created a mandala-like structure.

Parfait Mandala 1 © Harold Davis

Parfait Mandala 2 © Harold Davis

Parfait Mandala 3 © Harold Davis

Announcing: Master Photographer Panel with Jennifer King and Alan Shapiro [Benefits NAACP]

What: Master Photographer Panel with Jennifer King and Alan Shapiro, moderated by Harold Davis [Benefits NAACP]

When: Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 11am PT (2PM ET). Duration between one and two hours, including Q&A

Where: On your computer or mobile device from anywhere via Zoom. Zoom authenticated registration and a tuition payment of $19.95 are required for enrollment. To register, please click this link.

All proceeds from the tuition payment will benefit NAACP Empowerment Funds, https://www.naacp.org/

Details: In this webinar, noted photographers Jennifer King and Alan Shapiro will each present their work. The presentations will be followed by a panel discussion with Harold Davis presiding. There will be ample time for Q&A.

Image © Jennifer King

About Jennifer King: Internationally acclaimed landscape and nature photographer with a passion for teaching photography and inspiring artists around the world, Jennifer draws on her fine art and design background to bring a stylized perspective to nature photography. Well known for her black and white images, she creates an energized style that captures the drama of nature that she immerses herself in, and translates that vision into fine art. Jennifer blends her imagination with mindful positivity to share perceived reality in landscapes while also unveiling the quiet visions of nature. Jennifer is a photographer, writer, teacher and speaker.

Jennifer is named 1 of 15 Amazing Women to Follow by 500px

She is the founder of PHOTOGRAPHY for the FIGHT AGAINST BREAST CANCER (pfabc.org), an industry wide organization bringing together the biggest names in photography to raise money for breast cancer research.

Sponsorships include Adobe, Singh-Ray, Prana Influencer, Think Tank Photo, and Mindshift Gear.

Find her photography, video tutorials and interviews in Outdoor Photographer Magazine, Outdoor Photography Guide, Camera in the Wild, Photography Talk, Smoky Mountains Journal of Photography, SouthxSoutheast, Our State Magazine, VIA Magazine and more!

Image © Alan Shapiro

About Alan Shapiro: Alan is a super high energy instructor with a knack for getting people out of their comfort zone as well as helping them find and capture beautifully simple things in beautifully unexpected ways.

He genuinely loves to share his passion for photography from capture through post-processing and printing, describing himself as a perpetual student. He believes the more he shares what he has learned, the more it forces him to learn more.

His macro work can be seen throughout the entire hospital set on ABC’s The Good Doctor, in the launch campaigns for the Apple iPhone, filling walls in Bose stores and Ritz Carlton Hotels worldwide, in addition to hanging in numerous private and corporate art collections. His tabletop and food photography can be seen in publications including Martha Stewart Living, Real Simple and Saveur.

He is the author of Moments in the Monochrome Garden, Another Day, and Beautiful Walls (To Bang Your Head Against). His fourth book, Trippin’ in the Garden on Miracle-Gro will be out eventually but Alan is currently dealing with an acute case of perfection paralysis.

Road Less Traveled by Harold Davis

Road Less Traveled © Harold Davis

About Harold Davis: Harold Davis is a bestselling author of many books, including Creative Garden Photography from Rocky Nook, which can now be pre-ordered. He is the developer of a unique technique for photographing flowers for transparency, a Moab Master, and a Zeiss Ambassador. He is an internationally known photographer and a sought-after workshop leader. His website is www.digitalfieldguide.com.

Number of Seats, Tuition, and Benefit: The tuition for this webinar is $19.95, but requires prior registration. All proceeds benefit NAACP, https://www.naacp.org/ but the ticket price is not tax deductible.  Seating (on a first come, first served basis) is limited. You must register via Zoom to be enrolled in this webinar! To register, please click this link.

Announcing: A Pilgrim’s Tale: Walking on the Camino | Free Webinar Presentation

What: A Pilgrim’s Tale: Walking on the Camino | Free Webinar Presentation

When: Saturday, July 18, 2020 at 11am PT. Duration between one and two hours, including Q&A

Where: On your computer or mobile device from anywhere via Zoom. This is a free webinar, but Zoom authenticated registration is required for enrollment. The link for free enrollment is https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_srnAIs9uSAiarUHQqIy-MA.

Details: In this presentation, Harold will show images from his walks on the Camino de Santiago in 2018 and on the Camino de Portuguese in 2019. He will share stories from his adventures on the Camino, discuss logistics, and talk about the history of these fabled pilgrimage routes.

Harold’s presentation will examine the meaning of pilgrimages, why pilgrimages have been important to him and his work, and discuss how committing to pilgrimages has helped him approach the ineffable in his art.

There will be ample time for Q&A.

Meeting of the Ways © Harold Davis

Number of Seats and Tuition: This is a free webinar, but it does require prior registration. Seating (on a first come, first served basis) is limited. You must register via Zoom to be enrolled in this webinar! The link for free enrollment is https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_srnAIs9uSAiarUHQqIy-MA.

A lightly-edited recording of this Webinar will be posted following a time delay on our YouTube channel, Harold Davis Photography.

About Harold Davis: Harold Davis is a bestselling author of many books, including Creative Garden Photography from Rocky Nook, which can now be pre-ordered. He is the developer of a unique technique for photographing flowers for transparency, a Moab Master, and a Zeiss Ambassador. He is an internationally known photographer and a sought-after workshop leader. His website is www.digitalfieldguide.com.

Announcing New Webinars: Harold Davis Presents

Phyllis and I are delighted to announce five new live webinars. Registration is now open, and details follow below.

We’re also in the planning stages with a few exciting special-event webinars, with superstar guest panelists, where all proceeds will benefit important causes of our times. Stay tuned for the announcements as this comes together.

Thanks to everyone who has made our webinars possible with your enthusiasm and joy in photography as we remain sheltered in place!

  • Light Box Photography in Three Dimensions | Saturday July 11, 2020 at 11am PT click here for registration. Click here for more information. “Want to take your light box photography to the next level? It’s great to photograph flowers for transparency on the light box, but what about flowers in vases and other three dimensional objects?”
  • Multi-RAW Processing | Thursday July 30, 2020 at 10am PT click here for registration. Click here for more information. “In this Webinar, Harold shows the possibilities of multi-RAW processing, when it makes sense to use, and discusses potential pitfalls. As a very real competitor to HDR processing, multi-RAW should be in every photographer’s toolkit.”
  • Hand-HDR Photography | Thursday September 3, 2020 at 10am PT click here for registration. Click here for more information. “In this webinar Harold discussed when to use hand-HDR in place of automated HDR, and when to use the two technologies in conjunction. He shows examples of photographing for hand-HDR in general situations, and also in high-key and low-key situations that are particularly suited for hand-HDR.”
  • Photography on Black | Saturday September 12, 2020 at 11am PT click here for registration. Click here for more information. “In fact, the most iconic monochromatic photographs frequently involve a black background. In this webinar, Harold shows how to photograph with a bracketed low-key sequence to achieve perfect black backgrounds, and how to post-process images to enhance the black-background effect.”
  • Photographing Bottled Light | Thursday October 29, 2020 at 10am PT click here for registration. Click here for more information. “How creative can get you get with colored liquid, sunshine, some glass bottles, and a camera? In this webinar, Harold will show you how he used these simple materials to come up with entire new worlds, recreations of Mark Rothko paintings, abstractions, highways at night, and much more!”
Clematis with Friends © Harold Davis

Clematis with Friends © Harold Davis

The View from Inside a Bottle

I inserted my Laowa macro probe lens into a bottle, a carafe, and a glass to make the images shown here from (literally) inside glassware. Interesting to have a completely different view of the world. I started with glass abstractions the other day (shown here) photographed more conventionally from above, then it occurred to me that I could use the probe to literally stick it inside. 

The first view (and I will be processing some variations) makes the bottom of the bottle look I think like a glass ceiling.

Glass Ceiling © Harold Davis

Glass Ceiling © Harold Davis

The outward appearance of the next one is a mandala. For this one, the probe was positioned a little higher, just at the level of the opening to a parfait glass.

Glass Cathedral © Harold Davis

Glass Cathedral © Harold Davis

Looking down the structure in the next one from deep inside the glass, I see a bubble that could well be our earth, imprisoned and looking out!

From inside the glass © Harold Davis

From inside the glass © Harold Davis

Patterns in Glass

Well, I’m off again. This time, not on a road trip or great adventure on a pilgrimage trail, but rather a trip to “inner space,” photographing glass on a light box with a macro lens. Mostly, these were done in camera, which is neither here-nor-there as far as I am concerned—but folks do seem to be curious!

Patterns in Glass 3 © Harold Davis

Patterns in Glass 3 © Harold Davis

Patterns in Glass 6 © Harold Davis

Patterns in Glass 6 © Harold Davis

Patterns in Glass 4 © Harold Davis

Patterns in Glass 4 © Harold Davis

Patterns in Glass 1 © Harold Davis

Patterns in Glass 1 © Harold Davis

Patterns in Glass 2 © Harold Davis

Patterns in Glass 2 © Harold Davis

Patterns in Glass 5 © Harold Davis

Patterns in Glass 5 © Harold Davis

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 Monochrome

By Twos and Threes

Duo © Harold Davis

Duo © Harold Davis

Sometimes my flowers come all in a group with no social distancing at all. Other times, my flowers come in twos and threes. Which do you like better?

Orange Triad © Harold Davis

Orange Triad © Harold Davis

Also posted in Flowers

Cactus Flowers

Down a few blocks, and around the corner, some wonderful cactus flowers bloomed in a pot on the street. Walking with one of my sons we passed the flowers in the early evening. Cactus flowers tend to bloom and fade quickly, and are mostly heliotropic. The next morning I grabbed my camera and tripod, and headed over to photograph these luscious flowers. The light was little on the harsh side, or maybe a lot on the harsh side, but—news flash—the light you’ve got is the light you’ve got. 

Cactus Flowers © Harold Davis

Cactus Flowers © Harold Davis

The inside of this single cactus blossom reminded me of a spiral, or perhaps a spiral galaxy!

Spiral Cactus Flower © Harold Davis

Spiral Cactus Flower © Harold Davis

Also posted in Flowers