Untitled (Santa Ana, CA April 15, 2014) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale.
Today was my day for jury duty. I was summoned to the Superior Court of California in Orange County. As always, I figured that this would be an interesting experience. Usually is.
In the past, I have found that the court system is pretty fussy about the presence of cameras. So that was going to rule out the Canon. So I would defer to my Samsung 4 camera-phone as a possibility.
It was an interesting walk from the parking structure to the court building and the route took me past the Santa
Ana college football field. In the morning overcast light it looked interesting (photograph below), especially the graphic look of the gate entrances. Reflecting on these images while waiting in the jury room, it dawned on me that these locked up gates provided the potential for a really nice metaphor to investigate the jury-court system that I was now a part of. Thus I was hoping to return to this same area during the lunch break and photograph this area again in the mid-day light.
It turned out that I was released from jury duty just before lunch and I subsequently made a series of photographs on my walk back to the parking structure. The slightly back-lite composition, photograph above, accentuated the graphic look of the bars with the shadows extending into the foreground. Fortunately I was also able to include the sign. Very nice.
Only drawback to the image above was the background sky as the coast fog was still receding, thus the sky was only partially clear blue. Guessing most may not have noticed this unless I had pointed it out, or thought it a image defect due to the small sensor of the Samsung camera-phone. UPDATE: while studying the image above, I have come to like this combination dual-sky, sort of what the jury trial system is similar to. The trial with all of the evidence offered by both sides is never entirely black and white, or clear and blue, but usually a little murky and unclear, much like what the coastal fog is like. Some evidence about the facts seem obvious and other times, not. It has taken me a little longer to better understand my own photograph, eh?
I made this observation during one of my frequent trips. A common perspective for those on flights. I am intrigued in this variant of portraiture and I have been making a series of these passenger portraits as a possible part of my Instant Nomad series.
Untitled (Orange County to Atlanta, March 2014) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale
Untitled (Hunt Valley, Maryland, March 2014) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale
Late last month I posted an urban landscape photograph made from this same vantage point. These two photographs have a very different appearance that might be best explained that they originated from two different digital capture systems.
The photograph above is from my Canon 5D, which has a full frame sensor, 12 m-px, in conjunction with a Canon L lens, while the earlier one from a Samsung 4, a much smaller sensor although similar size 13 m-px file. Both images were adjusted with the PhotoShop RAW convertor and then in Photoshop. Both images are my interpretation of the what the digital file can offer, although in retrospect, the Samsung image appears colder while the image above is warmer. I could re-work the earlier image (adjusting the color temperature in RAW conversion) to appear similar similar in warmth to this one, but not sure I want to.
What’s include within the frame also differs, perhaps with the earlier photograph having a bit more chaos evident due to the tighter framing, as well as one is more panoramic while the other is a traditional 35mm format. Neither probably fits the Ansel Adams landscape formula, as in other photographs of mine, as some modernistic critic recently pointed out, I don’t include a clearly defined subject.
Interesting that as singular images, both might be acceptable as individual photographs. I think both look relatively realistic and plausible as to what was before the camera lens. In reality, neither are a entirely truthful. For now, one aspect I am interested in is which one helps me to investigate what it means for me to be a nomadic person.
I am also looking at these photograph’s as to how I might describe the urban landscape.
Untitled (Hunt Valley, Maryland, March 2014) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale
While on a business trip earlier this week to Maryland, I continued to investigate the found urban landscape. Serendipity and chance play a decisive part of this investigate. In this case, this is a composition found when looking out my hotel window.
untitled (Anaheim, CA) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale.
So I have been continuing to think about what makes the wider format of the Samsung 4 cell-camera images so intriguing. Perhaps it finally dawned on me and maybe I’m the last to figure this out but it’s a similar wide ratio as to my high-def t.v. It was one of those Olympic moments, glued to the the t.v. for a while and suffering through some dumb commercials when I finally noticed the similarities. I guess this wide ratio effect can also be termed cinematic.
Never thought of myself as a panoramic guy, but now I find it intriging. Interesting, but I think most of the full-frame digital cameras still defer to the old 35mm format ratio as the golden rule. The only panoramic camera that comes quickly to mind is the Hasselblad and if I recall correctly, it uses 35mm film, not the 120 film. Not just ready to make this small camera investment at the moment but if any of you want to donate one (or lend it for a couple of years) because your has an inch of dust on it and been sitting in the attic for the last five years, let me know.
Meanwhile, I continue to explore the use of this wide-format camera in conjunction with some projects, this photograph above is part of the Instant Nomad series.
untitled (San Francisco Airport, CA, January 2014) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale.
While looking at these two alternatives as potentials for my Instant Nomad series, the panoramic above is more in line with my intent. With a traditional format camera, I would have definitely wanted to step back to include the multifaceted perspective. Each window is providing a narrow view point and with it a unique narrative, that in turn expands with the inclusion of the adjacent window narratives. With the panoramic photograph, more windows and thus the narrative becomes even more expansive than with the 10 x 8 photograph below.
untitled (Industrial Yard, Corona, CA December 2013) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale.
Continuing to look at my panoramic photographs as a part of my Instant Nomad project. And continuing to be interested in how these particular kind of panoramatic formatted photographs look.
I choose the cropping of the 10 x 8 format below to isolated and center the subject which initially caught my interest. I think that the centered subject creates a little more static and objective image, what many might say is a more contemporary view point. Interesting to me as to what objects that were included in the edges of the panoramic photograph are now lost and how this redefines the image’s description of space.
If the objects on the edges of the panoramic were of interest to me, say the blue barrels, and I had a desire to include these in the 10 x 8 image, I could of course stepped backwards (If I had the space to do this, which in this case, I did). That in turn would have then meant that the resulting composition would change with the inclusion of more foreground or area above the yellow cart. In this case, I have the central composition that I was interested as per the 10 x 8 below, but with the panoramic I have some bonus stuff.
I find both equally interesting.
Untitled (In n Out, Corona, CA December 2013) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale
Oh where to begin?
Firstly, this is another photograph that may or may not be in my Instant Nomad photobook but IS included in the project, if that makes sense. I have a ton of images I will consider as I edit, but first I need to start with a nice portfolio of photographs. While on assignment in Corona, I frequented this location a number of times and each time I was drawn to photograph a similar composition. Yep, I’m a fan of In n Out burgers; double-double, no onions but add lots of pickles. yum.
As to the meaning of this photograph, that’s your assignment.
Secondarily, the camera and format of the image. The initial “raw” capture is above and one potential 10 x 8 version is below. One thing that I did not fully anticipate when I acquired my Samsung phone is the slightly panoramic images. I like how it photographs. I like what the photograph looks like. I did not realize what a fan of panoramic images I might become.
As to the cropped 10 x 8 below, this is the “distilled” image. Since I frequently (okay, about every time) will crop or change an image, I end up with the final images in a complete range of sizes. One lesson I learned from publishing Ciociaria, the inconsistent image sizes creates havoc for the book designer. Since the designer is going to crop or change the image to suit the book’s format, I might as well make the changes first. As to why 10 x 8 (or 8 x 10)? Short answer is that this size is one of those classic photographic formats, also a classic size that I used for some many years in the darkroom; paper, trays, easel, etc. Similar to how my friend Hiroshi defers to 5 x 5 square, even when infrequently using digital, the resulting image format is a square image. Why? Well why not?? btw, when I am photographing with film in the Hasselblad, I have been composing and keeping the resulting image 5 x 5, which just seems right.
Untitled (La Huette, Switzerland, March 2005) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale
Serendipitously after reading the recent release of Brassaii, Paris Nocturne, I went looking for some of my night-time photographs of Fiuggi that I had made in 2010 & 2011. Then I stumbled on an unfamiliar file folder of Europe from 2005. Yep, I am sometimes easily distracted. Squirrel!
I had jumped off at the local train stop for La Huette, and can’t recall if I was heading to or from La Chaux de-fond in Switzerland. The next train would be stopping in an hour for me to resume my journey. Which was fine as it was an opportunity to be a photographe-flaneur around this village and adjacent country side. I don’t think I actually made it into the village itself but instead wandered around the edges. I was not on a particular quest as this pre-dated my project work. It was just to look and see what some of this place looked like in photographs. I recalled that this place appeared pretty banal.
When I returned home, I thought some of the images to be interesting, but I think that was when I was using PhotoShop 5.5 or 6 at time. I had lost the snow highlights in the foreground and the image looked pretty dull; low contrast and flat.
So when I re-discovered these images, I could immediately see a little more potential with a potential RAW conversion available with my PhotoShop CS3 (yep, not running the latest or most current version of PhotoShop). I was correct, there were more highlights in the foreground that I could salvage, but I had still lost a lot. I also increased the contrast range by increasing the Black slider. After the file opened in PhotoShop, I added sharpening and tweaked a Curve layer to further increase the blacks/shadows.
Now this image appears a little more similar as to what recall that I saw (Probably better than my memory of this location). What I think of as a nice singular image.
Untitled (Schipol, Netherlands #6653) copyright 2013 Douglas Stockdale
This is the stuff that drives me crazy. While developing a project, much like a cat who is stalking a mouse, I am easily distracted by a interesting ball of yarn.
I have developed another almost complete set of photographs that I find interesting and that have a very different narrative than the project I am trying to complete. One seems very organized and subject specific, while the other is vague and ambiguous. Perhaps there is a way to tie the two together, but I have not figured that out yet. A work in progress.