Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

October 21, 2014

Black & White Photographic Challenge – Day 1

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 7:28 pm



Self portrait with Cooper, San Clemente, October 2014, copyright Douglas Stockdale

Over the weekend I was nominated by a friend of mine, Jeff Alu, to participate in a Black & White Photographic challenge that has gone viral on Facebook. So for 5 days I am to post a Black & White photograph on Facebook and each day nominate another photographer. Now the trick is to nominate a photographer that I know who explores B&W photography who has not been nominated yet (I am getting a bit late into the game).

For this photograph, I have studying this composition for a while and thought it might work with a selfie. Big concern was the fountain located behind me which provides the interesting appearing Spanish “hat”. Perhaps another reason I enjoy the photograph is that humorous appearance.

At the last moment Cooper jumped up beside me and gazed into the reflection as if to pose for this selfie. A serendipitous moment that has a hint of Surrealism.

The B&W photographer that I nominated was Julia Borissova.


October 1, 2014

Halloween time again

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:10 pm


Jack-O-Lantern copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

October is the month to prepare for that wonderful event we call Halloween. Last year Ella carved this magnificent pumpkin portrait which I had documented on my phone. Later while fooling around with the SnapSeed app on my Samsung camera-phone, I came up with one composition that looks very promising and entirely in the Halloween spirit; spooky and sinister!

So for the month of October, I am switching out my Facebook portrait for this image. Thinking that maybe I should have added some glasses? Nope! Just going for it!!


btw, I am even thinking of making this a limited edition print. Ping me if you are interested in acquiring one!

September 29, 2014

Epson Workforce 7620

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 9:18 pm

110A 06-10-14_Memory_Pods_085936_1_108

Untitled (#110 Memory Pods) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

Over the weekend my HP four-in-one (4>1) business copier/printer-scanner-FAX machine sort of died or at least one of the two print heads did. After considering the cost of the replacement print head as compared to what a new equipment would cost (as well as I was not in love with the printing output of the HP 4>1) it was a good opportunity to check out and acquire a nicer replacement.

First, this equipment is to primarily support my day job but if it also had some interesting photographic capabilities, better yet. So I needed to find another 4>1 machine that could easily scan legal documents on the flat bed, FAX mode, and have a document feeder. And of course print, but I already knew that this equipment was not going to replace my Epson 4800, but it might make a nice proofing printer.

What I purchased was probably the top of the home-consumer 4>1 Epson Workforce machine, the WF-7620. It can scan very large documents, including legal, prints with 4 Epson pigment inkjet inks up to a size 3A print, which is the same as the Super B; 13″ x 19″ paper. The 4 color inks will not provide the same hue, luminance and depth of color that an 8 ink printer like my Epson 4800 or the newer Epson 3990. Nevertheless, this Epson 7620 might make a good proofing printer, especially since my Epson 4800 is set up for matte black and not glossy black printing. Occasionally I want to evaluate a glossy black print as the glossy print should provide a little more d-max, thus a blacker black in my print than I can obtain with a matte print.

So the first thing I did was pull up one of my recent photographs from my Memory Pods project in which I have some really solid blacks. I also noted that the WF-7620 has an option in the dialog box to select either color or black & white, so I made two prints from the same photograph. I also selected an image that I had converted to Grayscale so that I knew I was working entirely with a black & white (data) image.

The WF-7620 states that for a glossy image allow 15 to 20 minutes for the image to dry down before judging the results. hmmmm. Bases on my initial results, maybe more! A black & white glossy print hot out of the printer has a very strong magenta color cast. For the first couple of prints yesterday, I also noticed some very slight ribbing, ink lines, running the length of the print. These lines have disappeared over night and I do not see these lines on today’s prints. So whether they appear or not, given enough time, they are gone. whew!

Regretfully, there appears to be an ever so slight color cast difference between the two prints when I was using the two different print modes: color print or the black & white print. Oddly the stronger color cast (every so slight purplish plum) was from the dialog box set to the black & white mode. That I was not anticipating. But again, this is a four color ink cartridge equipment and not really meant for fine art printing.

What I don’t know is the relative permanence of the color glossy prints on the Epson premium glossy paper (as well as the matte prints). If I recall, the HP 4>1 glossy prints (HP glossy paper) lasted about 6 months during interior display before the print colors started to fade. After a year the HP prints looked pretty sad.

At this point, so far so good for a proofing printer that also allows me to scan and FAX (yeah, some folks still FAX).


September 24, 2014

Pine Lake > The Box of Dummies


Pine Lake copyright 2013 Douglas Stockdale

A little update on my artist and limited edition photobooks. With Paris Photo approaching in November, I noted that there is another call for book dummies (Rock Your Dummy!) by the Paris PhotoBook club to be submitted by the end of this October. Last year I had submitted the book dummy for Pine Lake and just noted that the Paris PhotoBook club has a page about resulting The Box of Dummies which are on tour and includes my Pine Lake book dummy. Currently the last remaining copies of this artist book are available from photo-eye‘s photobook store.

So at the moment I am starting to assemble another book dummy (or two) for Bluewater Shore to submit to the Paris Photobook club for potential acceptance and exhibition during Paris Photo and the Rock Your Dummy! event. Especially now that I have most of the kinks worked out for the book design and image sequencing. If all goes per plan, I expect to publish and release the limited edition (150 books?) of Bluewater Shore early in 2015.


September 22, 2014

Ella, San Clemente

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:26 pm

09-21-14 Ella Webb_2519

Ella, San Clemente CA copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

Over the weekend I was “commissioned” to photograph my daughter’s family for this year’s Christmas card. While I was adjusting the camera position and ambient lighting Ella volunteered to be my test subject while I was tweaking the exposure settings. At first she was all about acting out for the lens but after I was taking a little bit too long during the set-up she became a bit bored and then pensive.

Between us, I find if I seem to take “too long” that soon the camera is forgotten and my subject begins to relax and drop the perceived requirement for a “smiley” face.

As to this portrait it is a quasi-environmental photograph and I did not want to crop it too tight. Perhaps an influence of the photographs by Irving Penn when he began to reprint his earlier work that he then included, not excluded, the backdrop in his portraits. The resulting composition above is an investigation of a girl who is in a transitional time of her life.

I am rather delighted with the results.


September 18, 2014

My RGB to Grayscale Conversion process

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:55 am

028B 06-03-14_Memory_pods_162638_Grayscale_No Memory pods

#28 No Memory (Pods) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

I had mentioned in an earlier post today that when I converted my color photographs (RGB) in Photoshop to a Grayscale (Black & White) image that I first had to flatten the layers of the color image. I received a question from a buddy as to why I did that?

I now realize that there are aspects of my work flow that I have taken for granted, such that it is generally recommended that for image sharpening (unsharp mask) and adding a curves adjustment layer, that you should consider changing the layer blend setting from Normal to a Luminosity setting.

As to why, I had to go back to my Scott Kelby book “The Photoshop CS book for Digital Photographers” published way back in 2003. My goodness that makes me feel a bit dated. Okay, so Kelby states that for image sharpening of color photographs (RGB mode), I do not want to sharpen the color data (normal layer blend mode), but just the luminosity data (Luminosity layer blend mode). By adjusting just the luminosity I preserve the hue and saturation of the base image, otherwise these will shift.

What I do notice is that if I sharpen the color data this can create some  halo effects within the image, but that does not occur when I am using a luminosity blending layer. When I add an adjustment layer like a curves to change the image contrast, if in the normal layer setting, I will also be changing the color data and besides changing contrast I will also alter the color (hue & saturation) of the image. To eliminate the color shift I adjust only the luminosity layer.

The kicker is that in Grayscale the Luminosity layer blend mode is not an option since a black and white image has neither hue or saturation. So when I am changing the mode from RGB color to Grayscale Black & White, the adjustment layers I use for the RGB color creates a conflict in Photoshop for the conversion. A dialog box pops up and asks to eliminate these adjustment layers, so instead I proactively flatten and eliminate the layers prior to making the mode change from RGB to Grayscale.

As to the photograph in this post it is an image that pushes my artistic boundaries as I rarely work with such dark images. Nevertheless I do find it fitting and appropriate for the feelings I am investigating in this case; how might one feel if they did not have the ability to remember their past? Everything is a blank; words, the meaning of words, associations and the life and history of your friends and family, essentially everything about who they were.

Best regards

September 17, 2014

Memory Pods – exploring the possibilities


#55 Ghost Pods copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

This summer I have been continuing to explore the possibilities of my Memory Pods project that I initiated last May. The camera-phone in conjunction with the Snapseed App offered one alternative view point while the full frame digital offered a different, with the resulting collection of images looking a bit schizophrenic. I am still trying to sort this out, but at the moment, it is what it is.

Towards the end of the summer while looking at these photographs, I began to see the possibility of having some of the images in Black & White. A Photoshop Black & White conversion layer facilitates this process very nicely. After I tweak each image a few times while printing some test proofs, I will probably flatten the image stack and convert it to a Grayscale file.

For the early and subsequently much later period while memory loss is occurring for someone it is not a black and white situation, but a lot of gray areas as to what is exactly happening. This lead me to investigate when the memory loss is complete, how might I that experience be like? This is pure speculation as trying to discuss with a person with dementia about their experience is a difficult, if not futile, task. I observe that a person with dementia is usually not happy unless under a ton of medications, even then they appear more of a zombie, thus a gray palette seems very appropriate.

From my past photo-blogging experience I am dying to explain what the photograph in this post represents for me but now I realize that by explaining what it means for me might takeaway what this image represents and means for you, the reader. Nevertheless to provide a little hint I have included my title for the photograph. Enjoy!


July 8, 2014

Keep Singular Images ad free – purchase a print!


Untitled (#39 Memory pod series, Middle Age) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

August 2014 Update: this offer has expired! I will soon have some special print offers and due to all of the feedback I have received since posting this (thank you one and all), all prints will be in limited editions.


The Management


I founded the Singular Image photo-blog seven years ago, in part to provide an on-going discussion of my evolving vision, as well as in the words of Gary Winogrand, “to see what my photographs looked like”. This effort has been self-funded until now and now I require some additional assistance. Thus I am going to make what I think it is a really nice offer (actually described by another photographer as a sophisticated offer). Rather than requesting outright donations to support this blog, I am going to instead, much like Kickstarter, provide a special print offer. This is an opportunity for you to purchase an open-edition archival pigment print of any photograph of mine that I have posted on this blog in the past seven years. There is only one caveat; the print size will be limited to an outside dimension of 8 ½” x 11” otherwise the print will move into my Limited Edition sizes (and a much different pricing!).

So here is the print offer to support this blog:

Each open-edition archival pigment print, 8 ½” x 11”, matte finish, signed on verso (back of the print) is available for $100.00 U.S.D., which normally sell for $200.00. The shipping and handling (s/h) of each order is $25.00 U.S.D. for anywhere in the world, so multiple print orders to one destination will only require one s/h charge (even more savings!!). The print will not be matted and the photograph selected must be made by me (as I have also from time to time discussed some other photographers work and illustrated the post with their photographs on the blog). Easy as eating pie!

So page through this blog, find the photograph(s) you like (Yes, you can purchase as many as you like) and then leave me a note in the comments section of the post that you want this print offer and provide me with your email address. I will send you a PayPal invoice and ask for a shipping address and soon this print will be your hands.

I am not exactly sure how many photographs I have posted over the past seven years (I am pretty sure that I have the negative or file with very few exceptions) but I believe that there are more than 890 photographs to choose from. If there are any potential conflicts with the photograph, I will let you know.

If you have any questions, email me!

So now please get started!!


As I hope you know and understand I really appreciate all of your support for these past seven years and now I hope for a few more years yet to come. Thanks!!

And if you are interested in a larger Limited Edition photograph, please contact me.


July 3, 2014

WordPress – No free lunch

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 6:43 pm

So as a photo-blogger I am now at a vexing cross roads. I launched Singular Images blog in April 2007, which in the day had no advertisements inserted into it. Not the case anymore. In fact this blog is so riddled with WordPress ads, even I have trouble looking reading it. So one of the trade-offs for a “free” blog is these overwhelming distractions. Now too overwhelming.

Of course the WordPress solution is for me to pony up the $99 bucks per year to go “Premium” and avoid all the ads. As a free blog this was a no brainier, when I had the time available, to just do it. This blog has been cathartic allowing me to write and look at my photographs from more of an objective distance. This blog also provides me with a little visibility with my peers, although I receive a lot more immediate comments and direct feedback on my photographs with Facebook, but unlike Facebook what is posted on here has a lot longer visibility.

I also find that with this blog I can quickly modify it to reflect my projects that are on-going than my web-site, thus this has become my alternative web-site. And I am paying about $120 bucks per year for my web-site, so do I need both? It’s not that I am making any money selling prints at this point, but perhaps someday soon.

So while I evaluate my options, this blog is going on a hiatus.



P.S. I also note that when I read this blog on one computer, I have a ton of ads, when I read it from my other computer, almost no ads. What is it you see? Do you get peppered with a lot of ads or none at all? Let me know, it will make a difference! Thanks!!

June 10, 2014

Memory pods – 45

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:04 pm


Untitled (Memory pods #45 – Absence of Memory pods) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale.

While taking a diversion and playing around with the HDR mode with a number of my earlier photographs from the Memory pods project, I have been working with some darker thoughts. Which has resulted in some darker photographs, which is another new area for me.

For this project, what is a visual representation of when I might not have any memory pods left or functioning? To not have any memories at all, is that the same as death? Told you that I was having some darker thoughts. So not sure of how far to visually push this, but I feel that I need to extend well beyond my comfort zone. It’s not as though I am ruining the photograph by pushing the darkness factors in this version, but many times I place artificial boundaries on myself as to what I can or should not do. So I am looking at the dark side. (Okay, no star wars puns, please)

One of my images from this recent investigation.

Best regards,

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