Friday, January 28, 2011

Hipster for a Night

And for one night only (probably).  Have three pieces in a show at Greenpoint Gallery...390 McGuiness Blvd., Third Floor starts at 8 PM tonight.

This here on the left is one of the images I've got hanging.  I'll admit to being somewhat bemused, since I am probably two to three times older than anyone else there, but what the hell.

OIA Show in February - Animals. 

Snow, lots of it, and it's almost too much - every time i turn around there's another great image.  
like this.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More and More Weather

Lots of snow... Big fluffy, soggy flakes.  Supposed to continue through the night. 

Changed one of my galleries at my main site:

With all of the various places on the intertubes that I have my stuff, it gets hard (for me) to remember which one needs updating, and when.

The there's the sheer volume of imagery that gets generated in this digital age...

Flickr gets what?  2,500 uploads per minute? 

It's hard to wrap one's mind around that number.

But it is glorious - a bazillion people sharing beauty, and their excitement. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

I Hate Monday

I really do.  Someone once said that there was not much good you say about a week that started on a Monday...
And here we are on a Monday that is cold!  Very cold.  Dogs frozen to hydrants cold.

There's a bunch of running around I need to do today - and I am not looking forward to it at all...

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Proper Light

I have been using one light for decades.  When I was  a kid I would spend hours trying multiple light set ups and not matter how carefully I lit the subject I'd ed up with multiple shadows all over the place. 

The someone showed me a one light + reflector technique and I haven't looked back,  I know people who can rig large numbers of lights, fill, hair, beauty, soft boxes and ring lights and pull it off, I never could.

Shot Mr. Amaryllis with one strobe, with a white foam core reflector. 

Having the preview screen on the camera is a big help - not for exposure so much - but seeing how the shadows fall and where I may be too dark or have blown highlights. In fact, I try to avoid looking at the screen. 

The idealized image - so prevalent in advertising and portrait photography makes me ill.  Over lighting, too much make up, skin without pores, perfect fruit and vegetables, scenic shots of Eden like perfection serve to distance and alienate the viewer.  Just my opinion...

Photography can be about the examined life.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

High ISO Goodness

Ok - it's my kid - we were out at dinner and we were sitting by the front window.  Cranked it up to ISO 3200 and shot a couple before she got the teenage woo - woos about her looks (doesn't like the way she looks).

Did a little basic skin fixing up - cleaned up the eyes - and kapow!

I found  a really neat way to boost eyes:

I use Nik Color FX set to tonal contrast and paint on the irises.
Using a soft white brush set at 5% paint on the whites (not too much, just enough to help).  Sometimes I do the same with a black brush on the dark areas of the eyes.

Most information on portrait retouching are long and complex.  Before I start to work on a portrait, a decision has to be made about how idealized the image will be.  Too much and you have a plastic doll.  Photoshop works best, for me, when I don't have to do too much.   

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Monkey Minded Me

My brain seems to simmer, bubble, jabber and yap about all manner of things, some of which are actually interesting.  But sit down and try to write, GAH!  Everything freezes up, quiet descends and a still small voice says "oh shut up".

Trying to find work in this world, in this economy, depressed (myself and the economy) and worried is not a thing of beauty.

Have some printing work this week, some prints have sold, but omg it is slooooow......

Now, my question is this:  do I lie, and claim business is great, and imply (as is done in a lot of other blogs) that I have THE ANSWER and know THE WAY?  Or just be human and admit that working as an artist in this world is hard as hell?

AndI don't care what they say - it is two spaces after a period.  Dammit!

I am now going to attempt to mat some prints. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I Don't Even Miss Kodachrome....

That was  a hard film to shoot.  And expensive - it was at least two to three dollars more per role to buy, and another two or three to process.  ISO couldn't be changed by pushing or pulling, it tended to have a greenish cast in it's last few years of production, was contrasty as hell, but when it worked - WOW. 

I certainly do not miss carrying several types of film, two or more camera bodies, and almost always running into a situation where the film I had, no matter which one, was not quite right for the situation...

I grew real fond of Tmax 3200, but in reality, I could barely squeak an EI of 1600 out of it.  And it was grainy! 

When Fuji came out with their 800 speed film (really came in at EI 650ish) I stopped shooting black and white entirely.

Today - one camera - infinite possibilities, no longer determined by film type. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

I Still Don't Miss Film

Especially when I look at scenes like this.
I would have had to shot medium foramt (at least), through a light yellow filter, overexpose by one or one and a half stops, and cut development by 20% or so.  
The next steps in the dark room would entail printing through a couple of different multi-contrast filters, and printing slightly light so that when the paper was toned the blacks didn't go ker-flooey.

And then there is the inevitable spotting, and worse:  small black spots, or patches of uneven development.

This would have taken hours.  The hardest part of getting this image was the trudging through the snow.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Who's That Knocking...

I live in a section of New York where these kinds of ornamental doo-dads abound.  Personally, I would be embarrassed to use this thing.

I hit the park to see what I could shoot, and was walking along behind some cross country skiers.  One of the asked me not to walk in her ski tracks....

It was one of those moments where my head almost exploded.  It, and I, didn't - I did tell her that she was not the owner of the park.

Then there are the geniuses who, when they see your camera, comment on the fact that you have a camera.

However, we do not live in a world full of genius...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


That's what it says... This is from a street in White Plains, NY.  A strange, to me, part of the world.  Urban and suburban all at once.

And here we are facing another storm tonight, with every school child ( and teacher) for miles praying for a snow day.

And photographers  praying for pretty scenery.

Monday, January 10, 2011

What a Wonderful World....

Yes, I am being ironic.  Too much death and destruction lately.
Sometimes I think that the only sane response is to make more and more beautiful stuff to offset the sting of what happens in everyday life.  I am extremely fortunate in that I can walk out my front door and surround myself with beauty, natural and man made.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

You Can See a Lot...

just by looking.  
I have no idea what these pipes are for - they remind me of some sort of industrial menorah-like thing.  If there were twelve days to Hanukkah...  

They are a particularly ghastly yellow color, and the bricks are pretty sickly reddish hued, which is why black and white will never die.  

And here's my down and dirty black and white almost the zone system:
1.  Shoot 16 bit raw.
2.  Get as much tonal detail as possible in your editor of choice.
3.  Convert to B&W.
There are a whole bunch of ways to convert - I use NIK Silver FX, or a B$W adjustment layer.  I was surprised by the endless complexity some authors come up with to make a black and white image...


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Not Exactly Motivational...

Here's a message of hope and inspiration for the new year.  Been seeing this around the neighborhood for a couple of days on various and divers pieces of garbage.  This is the first one where there was enough light ot get a decent shot.
Kinda edgy, dontcha think?

Probably make whoever is doing this semi-famous for twenty minutes or so. 

The overhead on street art is wonderfully low, as long as you don't get arrested for defacing something - you can cause quite a stir with a spray can, marker or piece of chalk.

Well, no doubt there are people out there reading tons of stuff into this and able to discourse eloquently and obscurely for hours (those with art degrees, especially those who spent art school reading art critics rather than actually making art).  I like the idea of becoming one's dream - I have the oddest dreams.  And does it mean one becomes the entirety of the dream?  All the characters, odd places, physical impossibilities, all at once?  Interesting idea.  If it's just a play on the "be all you can be, if you can dream of it you can do it" variety it's still pretty neat.  And anyone who believes you can do anything hasn't tried to slam a revolving door.

Haven't seen one of these in a while....

Sell Art Online   These were all over the place in 1976 - the Bicentennial - giving rise to all sorts of dogs/patriotism jokes.  

It's early in the day, been up since 4:30 am, and have a long one ahead of me, but, I'll be able to get a bunch of stuff shot, some more stuff scanned, and then comes the tedious task of cleaning up scanned images.  I've got one of those high quality scanners that picks up every bit of detail (and that means dust, grit, and faint scratches).  I'm almost too lazy to do this, but some of my older images should be put into the world, even if it takes a long time to do the work needed to get them out there.  

It is boring, though, it's like xeroxing in extreme slow motion.  Ever notice, that while doing tedious tasks like scanning, someone usually has something to say about how hard you're not working?  
It does seem like a lot of time is spent staring at the computer monitor waiting for it to finish, or start, or stop hanging, or load...  The miraculous become irritating.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Celebration May be Called For

Sell Art OnlineJust sold the shot on the top (through Fine Art America - yowza! - I have two shots of this particular statue and they are real popular.

Photography Prints 

Let's hope this increases and multiplies...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Winter Light

I hate cold weather.  Never had the constitution for it.  But winter light is something else, it can almost make me forget how cold I am when I'm shooting.

Being able to get low light shots without intrusive noise is another reason I will never willingly use film again.  It was close to sunset when I made the image on the left.

I find I am doing more images as black and white, and getting better black and white than I did with black and white film.  When I thought about it for a while I realized that I all of the images I made started out as color, but were being captured (that word!) by black and white film.  To make really strong black and white images that way required some serious (to me) mental gymnastics.  Overexposing just so much through the right color filter, developing less than the manufacturers recommendations, printing through multiple filters on multi-contrast papers, split development, toning and dry down (when the paper dries the contrast range changed) factors all added up to hours of work, gallons of chemicals and a huge amount of water to wash the resulting prints.

I now work to get the best color image I can with the greatest separation of tones, and then convert to black and white and POW!  16 bit RAW, NIK filters, and/or the various free actions available here:

Throw in and adjustment layer and double-pow. 

Check out the Caponigro adjustments...

Monday, January 3, 2011

The New Year Commences

2011 is now about two and a half days old, the temperature has gone back to wintry, the skies are clear, and it is Monday. I still have no clear idea as to how to get readers to my blog - do I need to link to cutesy kitty cat stuff? Lol this and lol that?

Well, I keep trying.

Maybe I should call the blog something like How to Get Stinking Rich in Photography...

On a more serious note.

There was a reference in the Huffington Post about sanity and the arts (as to how artists are nuts, mostly). Hog-effing-wash.
Since we have to work under stresses and conditions, mostly financial, that are horrendous, I aver and avow that we are mentally a touch stronger than average bear.  We all have tales of rejection, but at least being rejected implies that someone has noticed one's work.  What feels worse, to me, is the sensation that even when one's work is right in someones face - they look right through it.  

And here are my sites for everyone's delectation:

Come on down, y'all...