New Webinars Coming Up Soon in Early September

Phyllis and I would like to call your attention to three live webinars coming up in the first half of September! These webinars are now open for registration. Click here to see all our upcoming webinar offerings. We very much hope you can join us for some or all of these.

Hand-HDR Photography will be given on Thursday September 3, 2020 at 10am PT. Just like good photographers know when to get their camera off automatic, in post-production sometimes automatic HDR programs simply won’t do. In this webinar, you’ll learn how to recognize situations that call for hand-HDR photography and processing, and how to use layers and layer masks to create your own extended dynamic range blends. Click here for more info, and here to register for the webinar.

The Solace of Nature with William Neill and Harold Davis: This free webinar is scheduled for Saturday September 5, 2020 at 11am PT. Noted photographers William Neill and Harold Davis present work from their recent books, Light on the Landscape (Neill) and Creative Garden Photography (Davis), both published by Rocky Nook. After the presentation, Neill and Davis will discuss the influence of nature on their work and lives, and invite questions from the audience. Click here for more info, and here to register for the webinar.

Photography on Black on Saturday September 12, 2020 at 11am PT. This webinar will feature a live photo feed showing Harold at work, as well as post-production issues involving black backgrounds. The idea is to use extended dynamic range bracketing to create a truly black background, specifically in situations where without this set of techniques the background would be dark, but not entirely black. Click here for more info, and here to register for the webinar.

Upper White River Falls © Harold Davis

Posted in Workshops

Making Mandalas from Fruits and Vegetables

Traditionally, a mandala is a geometric shape that symbolically represents the cosmos or the universe, or perhaps a search for unity and completeness within oneself. I always enjoy creating mandalas, and there is something particularly wholesome about making mandalas on my light box with fruits and vegetables. Taken themselves, consuming fruit and vegetables can be seen as a kind of sacrament—and these mandalas can end up on the table as part of a yummy salad or fruit dessert once the photography is done.

Fruit Mandala © Harold Davis

Fruit Mandala © Harold Davis

Atomic Cucumbers © Harold Davis

Atomic Cucumbers © Harold Davis

Salad Mandala © Harold Davis

Salad Mandala © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography

Sliced Fruit on my Light Box

Where do ideas come from? In the case of these translucent fruit slices, an art consultant showed me an image of translucent fruit. I immediately thought of photographing fruit slices on my light box.

I’d never want to specifically imitate someone else’s art, but it seems fair enough to use a general idea as a leaping off point. I’ve seen plenty of images styled after my own flowers photographed for transparency in this fashion. I guess a moral is to keep looking at art of all styles and stripes. You never know when this will lead to an actionable idea.

Pear Slices © Harold Davis

Another benefit of photographing fruit in addition to photographing flowers: not only do the subjects not require a release, but also you can eat them once the photography is done.

Lemon Slices © Harold Davis

Lemon Slices © Harold Davis

Posted in Fruits and Veggis on Light Box, Photography

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

Posted in Flowers, Monochrome, Photography, X-Ray

Shell Collection

Sometimes it is really fun to line up a whole collection of objects in a grid on my light box, not worrying too much about fancy compositional issues. Take, for example, my collection of shells!

Shell Collection © Harold Davis

Shell Collection © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography

Dried Blossoms

I arranged these dried blossoms on my light box in a pattern with an eye towards complementary colors. The background blue blossoms are Nemesias. interlaced with almost-orange-yellow Gaillardia petals, and thin crimson fringes from a flowering Monarda supplying an accent.

Dried Blossoms © Harold Davis

Dried Blossoms © Harold Davis

Posted in Flowers

[Coming Up Soon] Intimate Flowers on Saturday August 15, 2020

What: Intimate Flowers with Harold Davis

When: Saturday, August 15, 2020 at 11am PT. 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 $29.95 are required for enrollment. Seating is limited. The registration link is https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_agS00EhOT2SQnTGXSldpiQ

Details: August is here! We have flowers! Let’s forget about the world at large and make some intimate joy with intimate landscapes and colors of the flowers of summer!

This webinar heads to the patio for flower techniques outside, then heads back in for ideas and inspiration for photographing flowers close-up and in bouquets. Harold shares his secrets for flower arrangements and for making intimate close-ups of flowers using materials that are at hand. Harold will explain technical concepts in floral close-up photography, and show how he lights his intimate floral portraits.

After several photographic setups, Harold will continue with ideas about how to process and post-produce photographs to create stunning botanical art with your camera.

There will be ample time for Q&A.

Tuition: The tuition for this webinar is $29.95, and requires prior registration. Seating (on a first come, first served basis) is limited. You must register via Zoom to be enrolled in this webinar! The registration link is https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_agS00EhOT2SQnTGXSldpiQ

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

Wabi-Sabi Mandala © Harold Davis

Wabi-Sabi Mandala © Harold Davis

About Harold Davis: Harold Davis is a bestselling author of many books, including Creative Garden Photography from Rocky Nook, Photographing Flowers, and Photographing Waterdrops (both published by Focal Press). 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.

Kiss from a Rose © Harold Davis


Phyllis and I are very excited to announce our series of Saturday webinars! We hope to see you there.

Intimate Flowers on Saturday, August 15, 2020: August is here! We have flowers! Let’s forget about the world at large and make some intimate joy with intimate landscapes and colors of the flowers of summer! Read more…Click here to register for this webinar.

Intimate Iris © Harold Davis

Webinar Noir on Saturday September 19, 2020: Noir evokes black and white films of the 1940s with “dames”, private eyes in fedoras, low-key lighting, and harsh shadows. More generally, a sense of “noir” has come to mean a range of stylish black and white techniques. Read more…Click here to register for this webinar.

Chorus of One © Harold Davis

Photography and Writing | Using Your Words to Become a Better Photographer on Saturday, October 3, 2020: Writing has always had an important role in relationship to my photography. Not only have I “used my words” to introduce and explain images and techniques, but writing has also helped me to tease out the meaning in my own work, and to understand and explore what I need to do next with my art. Read more…Click here to register for this webinar.

Circumflex © Harold Davis

Patterns, Abstractions, and Composition on Saturday October 17, 2020:  In a very real sense, creating a photograph is an act of intentional design. The photograph presents a transformation of the subject so that it fits within a specific frame. Meticulous use of patterns, and understanding the boundary conditions where patterns begin and end, is crucial to this act of design. Read more…Click here to register for this webinar.

Patterns in Glass 3 © Harold Davis

Patterns in Glass 3 © Harold Davis

Finding the Mysterious in Photography on Saturday October 24, 2020: As nights grow longer and days shorter, and as we approach Halloween and All Saints’ Eve, separations between our world and that of the spirits gets thinner. Some of the very best photographs send a frisson of the spooky and the ineffable up our spine. Read more…Click here to register for this webinar.

World on Fire © Harold Davis

Posted in Workshops

Dahlia Solos

My Dahlia bed is starting to bloom, providing some very sweet subjects for solo flower portraits!

Brookside-Snowball Dahlia © Harold Davis

Brookside-Snowball Dahlia © Harold Davis

Dahlia 'Southern Belle' © Harold Davis

Dahlia ‘Southern Belle’ © Harold Davis

Dahlia 'Flip-Flop' © Harold Davis

Dahlia ‘Flip-Flop’ © Harold Davis

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Visiting a Garden of Cars

International Car Forest of the Last Church © Harold Davis

A while back, in the pre-pandemic era, I visited the International Car Forest of the Last Church. This so-called “Car Forest” is more like a car garden than a forest. Mostly wrecked, almost all painted, and largely “planted” front-end down in the desert earth, this installation is located near Goldfield, Nevada.

The county seat of Esmeralda County, Goldfield is a near-ghost-town and home to a few hundred people. Besides the International Car Forest of the Last Church, Goldfield also boasts the meanest bartender in Nevada. This observation is not based on my personal experience (never having encountered any bartenders in Nevada, mean or otherwise), but rather on the words of a sign near the Goldfield town center, shown in a photo below.

I regret to say that I missed checking out the meanest bartender in Nevada. If chance, fate, and a vaccine ever get me to the Goldfield area again I will not miss the opportunity a second time.

For some of my photography of more conventional gardens, please check out my new book Creative Garden Photography.

Nevada’s Meanest Bartender © Harold Davis

Roadside near Goldfield, Nevada © Harold Davis

Wheelee © Harold Davis

Installation in a Goldfield Parking Lot © Harold Davis

Bart Simpson Doll © Harold Davis

 

Pile-On © Harold Davis

 

School Bus © Harold Davis

Posted in Bemusements, Photography

Layers and the Landscape

In some ways, layers define the landscape at large. When a landscape consists of layers stretching out to the distant horizon, the details become abstracted, and we can imagine ourselves lost in the perspective of the infinite.

Landscape of Blue Layers © Harold Davis

I was reminded of my quest for the layered landscape with a recent print purchase inquiry regarding my Landscape of Blue Layers, shown above. I made this image on a road trip in the autumn of 2017 from above Westgard Pass, in the White Mountains on the California-Nevada border.

2017 was, I think, the first year of the really bad autumnal fires in California, leading to smoke and haze throughout the eastern Sierra. I used this otherwise horrible condition to create the atmospheric Poem of the Road, and later in the same trip several other layered landscapes, Down in the Valley and Red Dragon Sunset. Both images are shown below. Also on this trip, there was some cool night photography (and a broken lens), but that is a different story.

Down in the Valley © Harold Davis

Red Dragon Sunset © Harold Davis

Looking at my Landscape of Blue Layers as a possible print, I began to wonder what other images there might be in my unprocessed files from this trip. I pulled up the autumn of 2017 on my production computer pretty easily. My search was for layered landscape images, of which three are shown below. As you can see, this was a pretty productive trip. 

Blue Distance 1 © Harold Davis

Purple Haze © Harold Davis

Blue Distance 2 © Harold Davis

So layers in a landscape photo are not layers in Photoshop. These images are created in the camera, and I did very little to them in post-production besides cleaning up a few flaws and heightening contrast a bit. The trick to photographing layers in the landscape is mostly being in the right place, at the right time, with one’s camera already on the tripod. 

Posted in Landscape, Photography

Coming soon to a computer near you: Intimate Flowers

We’re pleased to kick-off our Saturday webinar series on Saturday August 15, 2020 with Intimate Flowers!

What: Intimate Flowers with Harold Davis

When: Saturday, August 15, 2020 at 11am PT. 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 $29.95 are required for enrollment. Seating is limited. The registration link is https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_agS00EhOT2SQnTGXSldpiQ

Details: August is here! We have flowers! Let’s forget about the world at large and make some intimate joy with intimate landscapes and colors of the flowers of summer!

This webinar heads to the patio for flower techniques outside, then heads back in for ideas and inspiration for photographing flowers close-up and in bouquets. Harold shares his secrets for flower arrangements and for making intimate close-ups of flowers using materials that are at hand. Harold will explain technical concepts in floral close-up photography, and show how he lights his intimate floral portraits.

After several photographic setups, Harold will continue with ideas about how to process and post-produce photographs to create stunning botanical art with your camera.

There will be ample time for Q&A.

Tuition: The tuition for this webinar is $29.95, and requires prior registration. Seating (on a first come, first served basis) is limited. You must register via Zoom to be enrolled in this webinar! The registration link is https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_agS00EhOT2SQnTGXSldpiQ

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

Intimate Iris © Harold Davis

About Harold Davis: Harold Davis is a bestselling author of many books, including Creative Garden Photography from Rocky Nook, Photographing Flowers, and Photographing Waterdrops (both published by Focal Press). 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.

Kiss from a Rose © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography

Wabi-Sabi Mandala

Wabi-Sabi Mandala was constructed—mostly—using the blossoms from Flowers from our Pandemic Garden, with the addition of some time passing. “Wabi-sabi” is the rendition of a Japanese concept (侘寂) indicating the beauty of imperfection, impermanence, time passing, and decay—particularly in the context of nature.

I have been thinking about creating an online course in visual mandala construction. This class would be small, and meet over a period of time with analysis, exercises and assignments, discussions, and critiques. All details are still TBD, but if this might interest you (no obligation of course) please drop us a line. In the meantime, current webinar listings can be found here.

Wabi-Sabi Mandala © Harold Davis

Wabi-Sabi Mandala © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography

Flowers from Our Pandemic Garden

It was great fun yesterday to construct and photograph this light box composition. The dahlias are the first from my new dahlia raised bed on the southwest side of the house, which is beginning to produce numerous flowers. I think the next crop of dahlias will be white!

Flowers from our Pandemic Garden © Harold Davis

Flowers from our Pandemic Garden © Harold Davis

Exposure data: Nikon D850, Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4, eight exposures at shutter speeds ranging from 6.0 seconds to 1/13 of a second, each exposure at f/16 and ISO 64, tripod mounted; exposures combined in Photoshop and adding to a scanned paper background.

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Nature versus Vision

Nature versus nurture, er, nature versus vision?

I love being in, and photographing, nature and the wilderness. But on the whole, I subscribe to the philosophy of artist, solographer, and photographer Man Ray (born Emmanuel Radnitzky in 1890) who wrote “I do not photograph nature. I photograph my visions.”

Agreed. Even when the visions are of nature. Indeed, if everything comes from nature then Man Ray’s statement is tautologically true. There is no such thing as an artistic depiction of nature, such as a photograph, without a vision of what the image is to be, to convey, and to portray.

Calling Alice © Harold Davis

End of Days © Harold Davis

End of Days © Harold Davis

Related: My “Impossible” album on Flickr; upcoming Finding the Mysterious in Photography webinar, scheduled for October 24, 2020 in time for Halloween. 

Trouble with Tracks © Harold Davis

Trouble with Tracks © Harold Davis

Posted in Writing

Poetry

The Garden of Wilderness

The garden of wilderness
was my heart’s delight:
gray dawn met alpenglow
in the long morning
of deep rivers
and distant mountains.

Windswept timberline tarns;
far away the machines and levers work.

Alas, the mechanism must be mastered,
all the law-and-order and social ranking

step by weary step down to the low lands;

So I came to leave the mountains.

Columbia River Gorge © Harold Davis

Memory

The days spent on the trail
fade in a flurry of miles as we speed

parallel to the mountains on Route 395.

All is forgotten in the exhilarating rush
of dotted white lines and speeds not attained over months on foot.

This compaction recalls memory:
the terrain of years disappears
leaving only peaks and valleys.

At first I am startled by the jolt of “civilization”;
later, recalling the calm of alpine meadows,
the last light on the tall peaks in the evening,
I understand that these memories last longest.

Ladyboot Arch © Harold Davis

Looking at a Map

A topographic map of the wilderness:
the contour lines denote height and evoke

distant valleys and mountains leading by rivers
to unknown forests; enchanted places all.

Alone in the dismal city watching gray snow fall
I envy cartographers and explorers of wild places:
the sun on their backs, the morn on their faces,
nights of brights stars and moon;
the wild, wild wind most of all.

Morning Fog © Harold Davis

Back to the Wilderness

When the gray spider web of the city
wraps its filigree around my heart
and the subway roars in my naked ear
and the lonely cold does its part;

When its been so long that the stars go unseen
and I’ve forgotten to go out and walk;
with phone calls and meetings
and all this empty talk;

It might be that it might be time to go back to the wilderness.

The wind that will blow around me
and the flowers that garland the trail
will make living worthwhile and my days young again.

Death Valley Campsite © Harold Davis

While We Were in the Wilderness

While we were in the wilderness
the sunset of humanity
happened.

We spent so long walking on the trail,
sleeping under the star-encrusted sky,
heeding the call of the marmot and water ouzel,
that we forgot about everyone.

So who knows precisely when it happened,
or what caused it.

We simply came down from the mountains
empty stomachs and badly needing a hot bath
to find: no one.

This could easily be the future, we say:
as we watch the sunset turn red then to blue evening,
distant valleys disappearing in the oncoming night.

Red Dragon Sunset © Harold Davis

Author’s note: I wrote these poems quite a number of years ago during what was obviously not the happiest period of my life. Always, periodic adventures and wilderness walking have been refreshing for me, and solace for my soul. In researching for the upcoming webinar presentation I will be making with William Neill in early September, The Solace of Nature, I remembered this cycle of poetry, and decided to look for the drafts among the many boxes of my papers and art work in our basement. I’ve edited the poems lightly from the original versions, with the advantages that distance in time can sometimes give.

You might also be interested in the webinar we have scheduled for October 3, 2020: Photography and Writing | Using Your Words to Become a Better Photographer.

Posted in Writing