Category Archives: Photography

digital photography: techniques: thoughts: photographs

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:
Also posted in Digital Night

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.

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.

Summer Experiment

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

Summer Experiment 2 © Harold Davis

Also posted in Flowers

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

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

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.

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!

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.]

Matilija Poppies and Mallows

You got to love the Matilija Poppy, a California native, with its wonderful huge yellow center and puffy white petals. The poppies are of the Romneya genus (so are neither Papaver nor Eschscholzia), and grow on bushes from mid-California south into Mexico. In this image, I combined a central Matilija Poppy with some humble mallows, arranged in a crescent shape to create a subconscious sense of a circular sweep in the photo.

Matilija Poppy and Mallows © Harold Davis

Related stories: Design for a Stained Glass Window Made of Flowers; Mallows.

Also posted in Flowers

Special Snowflake

Gaillardia Seed Pod – LAB Inversion © Harold Davis

No, this is not really a snowflake at all. It’s a macro photo of the seed pod of a Gaillardia (“blanket flower”) [below] and the all 3-channels LAB inversion of the seed pod [above].

But I find myself intrigued that the term “special snowflake” has become one of political opprobrium, particularly when addressed from the radical right towards a sensitive liberal. Yes, I love snowflakes in their amazing crystalline structures, and isn’t it wonderful that each and every one is different. It’s hard not to admire the miraculous wonder of nature when you look closely at snowflakes, or even when you just watch the snow fall.

What a peculiar insult it is, as it is actually quite a compliment.

So call me a Special Snowflake. I won’t mind at all!

Gaillardia Seed Pod © Harold Davis

Ladybird Poppy

Yesterday was a cool Father’s Day. I woke to freshly brewed coffee and cards from the kids. Then I went with Phyllis, my own wonder woman, to see the new Wonder Woman movie in 3-D. When we got home, this Ladybird Poppy from our garden had a new blossom, and I photographed it while listening to the Beatles. 

Papaver commutatum ‘Ladybird’ © Harold Davis

Also posted in Flowers

This Father Gives Thanks

On this Father’s Day, I want to give thanks for the miracle that is Katie Rose, and for all my kids. Thanks for my family. And thanks to all fathers who are there for their kids!

Katie Rose at about two months © Harold Davis

Katie Rose is Nine © Harold Davis

Son Doong Cave

The interior landscape of Son Doong Cave is ethereal and fantastic. Keep in mind that this mystical landscape is cloaked in darkness. The camera sees far more than the naked eye.

Son Doong Cave © Harold Davis


Parting of the Veil © Harold Davis


Entrance to the Secret Valley © Harold Davis

Also posted in Landscape, Vietnam

Shameless Quote Department

“Harold Davis is the digital black and white equal of Ansel Adams’s traditional wet photography. Adams would be awed by Davis’s work. In The Photographer’s Black and White Handbook Davis presents a large number of his photographs, and virtually every one is a masterpiece, ready for gallery or museum exhibit.”Seattle Book Review, rated five out of five stars and cross-posted in the San Francisco Book Review

Click here for more “Shameless Quotes”, click here for monochromatic (black & white) images on my blog, and here for current workshop offerings.

White River Falls, Oregon © Harold Davis

Also posted in Writing