Hoan Kiem Lake

In 2017, my friend Eric and I explored Vietnam. We flew into Hanoi through Taiwan, and checked into our hotel. As we explored the bustling, steamy city, we stopped on the shores of Hoan Kiem Lake for some photography, and made some images, including the one below that I recently processed for the first time.

Click here for a photo of Turtle Tower, located on an island in Hoan Kiem Lake (and visible in the distance in the photo below), and here for more about our adventure in Vietnam from the beginning.

Hoan Kiem Lake © Harold Davis

Posted in Monochrome, Photography

National Root Beer Float Day 2022

August 6, 2022 is National Root Beer Float Day (yes, this is a thing!). We will be holding our Photographing Flowers for Transparency workshop Saturday August 6 – Sunday August 7, 2022. We propose to honor the day and our workshop participants by serving, wait for it, root beer floats. The perfect partner for light box flower photography!

Dancing the Light Fantastic © Harold Davis

2022 Photographing Flowers for Transparency with Harold Davis (Weekend Workshop) | LIVE and IN-PERSON

Master photographer Harold Davis is well-known for his often imitated—but seldom equaled—digital images of luscious transparent and translucent flowers.

In this unique workshop offering, Harold Davis shows the techniques he uses to create his floral masterpieces. Arrangement, composition, photography, post-production will all be covered, as will Harold’s special techniques for shooting on a light box.

There is no better way to learn the floral transparency techniques that Harold Davis has pioneered. The multi-day format will give participants the chance to complete their imagery using the techniques that Harold will demonstrate, with input and help from “the master”. We will follow up with an online Zoom session for further critique and help with work.

Spaces are limited. Click here to read more and for the curriculum!

 

Love is a Many Splendored Thing © Harold Davis

Where: Berkeley, CA

When: Saturday August 6 – Sunday August 7, 2022

Tuition: $1195

Special Feature: We will follow-up with a Zoom webinar approximately two weeks from the workshop to showcase and critique participant work (and to help with any problems).

Workshop size: Maximum of 14 photographers

To register: Visit the listing on Meetup to register using Paypal (by RSVPing YES), or contact us for direct registration by check or credit card. Please do contact us if you need help with registration, or have any questions.

Click here to read more and for the curriculum.

Refund & Covid Policy: Refunds are available up to 90 days before the workshop (less a $100 cancellation fee). After that, no refunds unless we are forced to cancel the workshop. Please protect your investment in the workshop by buying travel insurance to cover the workshop fee and travel expenses. Covid vaccination is required to attend. We follow all health protocols in place at the time of the workshop.

 

Posted in Workshops

Update: April 2022 Workshop to “Deep” France

Due to heavy interest, we now have only limited availability on the Photographic Tour to Romantic Southwest France (April 27 – May 5, 2022). There are no more single rooms (we are taking a waiting list for singles). We have only a few rooms left for a couple (or two people traveling together). If you are willing to consider a roommate, we can possibly help connect you.

The early-bird discount still applies until November 10, 2021. Thanks to all for interest and support!

Near the Mas de Garrigue © Harold Davis

Posted in Workshops

Announcing Romantic Southwest France (April 27-May 5, 2022): Photography in the Lot River Valley

We are pleased to announce a new destination photo workshop to southwestern France in the spring of 2020. Join a small compatible group of photographers in a 15th Century fortified farmhouse in the lush countryside of southwest France in the springtime. We will be hosted at the  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.

Click here for more info, here for the detailed itinerary, and here for the Reservation Form. A $500 early-bird discount applies for enrollment by November 10, 2021. Please keep in mind that this destination photo workshop is filling fast! Our group is already partially formed. So if you are interested, please don’t delay.

Confluence of Two Rivers © Harold Davis

Our group will meet at a special hotel in Toulouse in the southwest of France on the afternoon of Wednesday April 27, 2022 where we will be spending the night. After exploring Toulouse, we’ll transfer by private mini-bus to Mas de Garrigue in the area of Calvignac on the banks of the beautiful Lot River. Along the way we will stop at the historic city of Albi, with its ancient bridge over the Tarn River.

Morning Mist © Harold Davis

The Lot 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. 

Cordes sur Ciel at Dawn © Harold Davis

Click here for more info, here for the detailed itinerary, and here for the Reservation Form. A $500 early-bird discount applies for enrollment by November 10, 2021.

Posted in Workshops

Announcing a new live Photographing Flowers for Transparency Weekend Workshop (2022)

2022 Photographing Flowers for Transparency with Harold Davis (Weekend Workshop) | LIVE and IN-PERSON

Master photographer Harold Davis is well-known for his often imitated—but seldom equaled—digital images of luscious transparent and translucent flowers.

In this unique workshop offering, Harold Davis shows the techniques he uses to create his floral masterpieces. Arrangement, composition, photography, post-production will all be covered, as will Harold’s special techniques for shooting on a light box.

There is no better way to learn the floral transparency techniques that Harold Davis has pioneered. The multi-day format will give participants the chance to complete their imagery using the techniques that Harold will demonstrate, with input and help from “the master”. We will follow up with an online Zoom session for further critique and help with work.

Spaces are limited. Click here to read more and for the curriculum!

 

Love is a Many Splendored Thing © Harold Davis

Where: Berkeley, CA

When: Saturday August 6 – Sunday August 7, 2022

Tuition: $1195

Special Feature: We will follow-up with a Zoom webinar approximately two weeks from the workshop to showcase and critique participant work (and to help with any problems).

Workshop size: Maximum of 14 photographers

To register: Visit the listing on Meetup to register using Paypal (by RSVPing YES), or contact us for direct registration by check or credit card. Please do contact us if you need help with registration, or have any questions.

Click here to read more and for the curriculum.

Refund & Covid Policy: Refunds are available up to 90 days before the workshop (less a $100 cancellation fee). After that, no refunds unless we are forced to cancel the workshop. Please protect your investment in the workshop by buying travel insurance to cover the workshop fee and travel expenses. Covid vaccination is required to attend. We follow all health protocols in place at the time of the workshop.

Posted in Flowers, Workshops

Yoda visits a cave

It’s possible to read this image from inside a cave on Iceland’s southern coast in two ways, depending on how your eye responds to the positive and negative spaces in the image. I shot the image looking out the mouth of the cave, with two silhouetted figures in the cave entrance. Read differently, the silhouettes form a giant Yoda, who must have been paying a passing visit!

Cave (with Yoda) © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography

Romanesco Broccoli

Broccoli that we enjoy on our tables is the blossom of a flowering plant, and this is nowhere more apparent than with Romanesco Broccoli, shown in extreme close-up below. 

The little spiral flowers on the Romanesco Broccoli are created with rotations. The number of rotations for each one is a number in the Fibonacci sequence. This is the famous sequence named after thirteenth century mathematician Leonardo of Pisa, better known as Fibonacci: each Fibonacci number is the sum of the two preceding ones, so 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, and so on.

Romanesco Broccoli © Harold Davis

Posted in Monochrome, Photography

Through a Glass Lightly

Photographing through glass on a light box is one of my favorite photographic pastimes. You can see an album of some of my glass work by clicking here. One of these images even graces the cover of our new, upcoming book, Composition & Photography.

There’s an amazing amount of variety that can be captured from this apparently simple subject matter, with a new approach—resembling perhaps an eye, or a spiral—shown here.

Glass Spiral © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography

Dandelion Inversion

A simple Dandelion contains a world, in a sense a fractal world, as each node in the outer Dandelion world reveals its own world within if you get close enough. This Dandelion Inversion is a Photoshop LAB color L-channel inversion of the Dandelion shown here.

For a closer view of some of the Dandelion nodes (and some Rolling Stones lyrics as captions) click here!

Dandelion Inversion © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography

Bus Window Impressionism

Bus Window 5 © Harold Davis

Riding in a bus is not always exalted or exalting, but it does leave one time for conversation and for looking out the window. In my case, on my recent trip to Iceland, it also left me time for ICM (In Camera Motion) impressionistic landscape photography. 

I used the Slow Shutter Cam app on my iPhone, with a shutter speed duration of roughly two seconds. With this app, you start the exposure by pressing a button, and can stop the shutter as the image comes into being on the LCD by pressing the button again. Keeping the shutter open too long risks turning the composition into formless mud; not having a long-enough duration means having a too literal, and not very interesting, landscape.

As with any ICM image, there are many more misses than hits!

Using ICM (In-Camera Motion) and a long-duration shutter speed, I created this collection of impressionistic landscapes through a moving bus window while visiting Iceland.

Besides the two images in this story in the Bus Window Impressionism story; also, check out the three images in The Windows on the Beast.

Bus Window 4 © Harold Davis

Posted in Iceland, Landscape, Photography

Pre-order Composition & Photography by Harold Davis

My new, upcoming book Composition & Photography: Creating Structure Using Forms and Patterns is now available for pre-order from Amazon. I am very excited about this title, which will be published by RockyNook, and has a publication date of March 29, 2022. There’s a fuller description of our book below the cover image, but the key ideas behind Composition & Photography are to work with composition as a process (not a fixed endpoint), and to apply the concepts of two-dimensional design to the photographic image.

Please consider pre-ordering your copy today! Thanks.

Own composition, use composition, and make composition your own in your photographs!

Of all the magical elixirs that make up a successful photograph, composition is perhaps the most fundamental, and at the same time the most elusive. What makes a composition “good”? It’s hard to define exactly, but we instinctively recognize good composition when we see it. There is an undeniable emotional response when a composition resonates with and complements the subject matter of an image.

But traditional attempts to define “good composition” and to pass on rules for good compositional construction are often doomed to failure. The truth is, there are no hard and fast rules. Rules eliminate experimentation and spontaneity, which are crucial for creating compelling, dynamic, and exciting compositions. The best compositions contain an element of the unexpected. “Expect the unexpected!” is perhaps the only viable “rule” of composition. To create exciting compositions, you must have a willingness to embrace serendipity and change as part of your artistic practice. After all, composition is a process, not a result.

In Composition & Photography, photographer and bestselling author Harold Davis teaches you how to perceive patterns and abstractions and incorporate them into your image-making process. If one of the goals of photography is to show viewers things that are new, or things they haven’t seen before, or things they have seen many times but need to see anew, then it’s with the thoughtful and considered use of composition that you do that.

In this book, you’ll learn how to reduce your subject matter to the fundamentals, and to show familiar subjects in unfamiliar, novel ways. Harold covers topics and themes such as:

  • Lines and circles
  • Rectangles
  • Combinations and patterns
  • Repetition
  • Symmetry and asymmetry
  • Abstraction
  • Entering and exiting
  • Vanishing points and perspective
  • Emphasis
  • Designing within a frame
  • Creating order from chaos

Composition & Photography will help you find the tools and visual vocabulary to creatively design your photographs. Regardless of the genre and kind of photography you practice, you’ll learn to create powerful compositions that incorporate structure and form into your work in ways that best support your images. Along the way, Harold shows and discusses his own work relating to each compositional element or theme he’s exploring. And featured throughout the book are exercises about flexibility and process, designed to spur your creativity and help you begin an internal creative discussion.

“My goal as a photography teacher and writer about photography is to inspire and to help you become the best and most creative photographer and image-maker that you can be.”
―Harold Davis

“Harold Davis is a force of nature―a man of astonishing eclectic skills and accomplishments.”
―Rangefinder Magazine

Please consider pre-ordering Composition & Photography today! Thank you very much.

Posted in Patterns, Photography, Writing

Does size really matter?

Does size really matter? Sometimes smaller is better, as I think is the case with these two light box compositions. Both are based around a lattice of small viola blossoms, colorful translucent flowers in the Violaceae family.

Both compositions are small in their entirety, taking up only a fractional portion of the area (maybe 1/12) of my A1 (26″ X 36″) light box. Makes for easier photography because I don’t have to get as high up, with a moderate telephoto lens such as the Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 used in these two images.

Love is a Many Splendored Thing © Harold Davis

Tapestry of Small Flowers © Harold Davis

Posted in Flowers, Photography

ICM is for iPhones too!

ICM—in camera motion—is a technique used to add interpretive aesthetics to an image by moving the camera during exposure while the shutter is open. Generally, the effect created is impressionistic. The shutter speed duration must be long enough for the motion to register in the capture, typically 1/3 of a second or longer.

ICM effects can be accomplished with the camera on a tripod or—more often—handheld. The direction and speed of motion in relation to the subject matter is crucial. ICM is hit-or-miss: you can expect many essays for each good result.

The Tall Trees image below is an ICM image made on my iPhone with a shutter duration of about one second via the Slow Shutter Cam app. Motion was steadily from top to bottom, elongating this already impressive aisle of trees.

ICM is for iPhones too!

Tall Trees © Harold Davis

Posted in iPhone, Photography

Live Long and Prosper

This photograph shows the Carpellary receptacle of a Lotus flower, Nelumbo nucifera. The Lotus is a sacred flower in both Hinduism and Buddhism. I photographed this Lotus in a small lily pond at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Lotus Flower © Harold Davis

The round, flat-topped green structure in the center of the flower is called the Carpellary receptacle. The tiny red bumps on the surface of the Carpellary receptacle are female stigmas that each contain an ovule.

These ovules will be fertilized by the male anthers, shown in my photo surrounding the Carpellary receptacle, and after fertilization the ovules will turn into seeds. As the process progresses, the Carpellary platform will start to tilt, and the seeds will fall into the water surrounding the Lotus.

Many of the seeds will be eaten for food—the Lotus is an important food crop in China, often planted alongside rice, and all parts of the plant are edible—but those seeds that survive will eventually become new plants.

An astounding thing about the Lotus is how long the seeds can survive and still be viable, in some documented cases over 1,000 years. That’s why the Lotus has become a symbol of longevity.

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Cymbidium Orchid and Sidewalk

The Cymbidium Orchid image is a reprocess of a 2016 light box image, with a background texture added at the behest of a client. The Cymbidium grows outdoors in our garden (as a transplanted Easterner these many years, this still strikes me as notable!).

The Sidewalk image was photographed straight down using my iPhone 12 in Akureyri, the second largest “city” in Iceland, with a population of about 12,000.

Both are examples of images that in my opinion would not work without color (discussed in More about seeing in Black & White).

Cymbidium Orchid © Harold Davis

Sidewalk © Harold Davis

Posted in Abstractions, Flowers, Patterns, Photography