Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

October 24, 2014

Black & White Photographic Challenge – Day 5

089 Memory_Pods_1142_810BW_Ghost

 

Untitled (#89 Memory Pods) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

This is my day 5 photograph as a result of being nominated by Jeff Alu to participate in a Black & White Photographic challenge (aka BWC) on FaceBook. For more background on the BWC and my other BWC photographs, please check out my previous post, here. Today’s post also completes my 5 day BWC.

This photograph, as well as yesterday’s photograph, is part of an on-going investigation of mine that is exploring the use of seed pods as metaphors for memory and indirectly identity.

In this photograph I reflecting on what occurs after all of the seed pods are gone. For me this is a metaphoric portrait and the question as to who is a person who has no remaining memories? Perhaps they are now a ghost of their formal self, barely existing without any recall of the past experiences, only momentarily aware of the present moment, which too is another event that will shortly vanish.

The B&W photographer that I nominated for day 5 is Paul Mounce.

October 23, 2014

Samsung S5 camera – quick look

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:53 pm

10-22-14 Laguna_Beach_Sunset

 

Untitled_S5 (Laguna Beach, CA October 2014) copyright Douglas Stockdale

I just made an unintended switch up from the Samsung S4 to the Samsung S5 phone/camera system. My charging pin became so distorted and bent with the S4 that the phone was no longer taking a charge. After multiple tweaks by me and the Verizon tech, the alternative was take the phone to phone repair shop or since I qualified for an exchange program, I could trade-in/purchase the S5. Since I have been pretty happy with the S4 other than the charging port, why not?

So last evening after making the switch-up, which was completed with virtually no issues, we met some friends down in Laguna Beach at Las Brisas restaurant overlooking the cove. Btw, highly recommended for contemporary Mexican surf cuisine and the margaritas are not bad either! We stepped out of Las Brisas just as the sun was setting, so I thought that this might be an opportunity to see what the S5 camera might do with these tricky low light and high contrast conditions. These are a couple of grab shots someone might take as a vacation snaps.

First, there are a couple of new features on the S5 compared to the S4, one of which is that this is a 16 Mpx camera compared to the S4’s 13 Mpx. Btw, a S4 image is included at the bottom of this post which was made a couple of days prior. The S5 now has a stabilization feature, which I used for both of these images due to the low light. Seems to work as both images do not have any motion blurr but does slow up the composition and capture sequence quite a bit, so if you need some quick response speed turn this feature off.

The images are proportionally the same, even if the S5 phone is a smidge wider than the S4 (yeah, I am an engineer and should be able to give you some precise dimensions, but you get the idea of what I am saying, eh?). That tiny bit of phone size change does not translate to a larger image capture, so I am guessing that the sensor is the same size, but packed a little denser to increase the file size.

For me does the 3 Mpx increase between the two phones translate to something that I can readily detect in the resulting photographs? Not so much for me. So would I change phones to the S5 to get a little bit larger file? Nope. Nevertheless, this image stabilization is interesting, but since this phone-camera is essential my snap-shot camera, this feature would not compel me to make the switch up if I did not need to. But since I now have it, I will play with this some more later on. There are a few more bells and whistles with this camera, including HDR (“Rich Tone” is the helpful hint for this feature) that I will check out later.

I must admit that the Sunset image above looked pretty sweet on the phone’s display.

Disclosure: For this quick look I did the following for the images in Photoshop CS3; made some tonality adjustments in RAW conversion  and noted the S5 file does have a bit more information to work with, so the image has the capability for image adjustments. For the S5 image below I also adjusted the color balance to warm it up a tad. Upon opening the image, I provide an Unsharpening of 100 to compensate for the sensor and likewise after saving the JPEG file, I added another Unsharpening of 100 to compensate for the slight softening that occur during JPEG conversion. For both of the S5 images, I did not add a Curves adjustment layer as I might when tweaking an image, so these are pretty close to original sensor capture.

Cheers!

10-22-14 Laguna_Beach_cove

Untitled_S5 (Laguna Beach, cove, CA October 2014) copyright Douglas Stockdale

01-19-14 Self portrait_San-Clemente

 

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

October 22, 2014

Black & White Photographic Challenge – Day 3

10-17-07_I-15_Frontage_Rd_Victorville_0845BW

 

I-15 Frontage Rd, Victorville, CA 2007 copyright Douglas Stockdale

This is my day 3 photograph as a result of being nominated by Jeff Alu to participate in a Black & White Photographic challenge (aka BWC) on FaceBook. For more background on the BWC, see my previous post, here.

Yesterday, I posted a photograph that I had made in early 2007 at a time that I felt that I was in a state of transition. At this time I was becoming aware of the concepts of contemporary landscape photography and my interests were now to investigate the natural landscape with regard to metaphoric narratives. This photograph above was made as a result of that creative transition after I expanded my investigation to include the urban landscape.

In very early 2007 I initiated my first contemporary landscape project, In Passing (B&W version) to investigate memory, in this case I began photographing the impromptu memorials created by family and friends for someone who had passed as a result of a tragic accident. Initially I was using a documentary approach to capture these memorials as examples of folk art. As the project continued, I realized that I was in fact investigating the concept of memory and how these families and friends were attempting to preserve their own memories by building these testimonials. Much later, I was to see these memorials as a possible metaphors for those individuals who have deminita or Alzheimer’s disease; physically present, but due to their fading memories, only a living shell and a living reminder of the past.

I found this memorial off the I-15 freeway, an apparent accident that had occurred on the Frontage Road. From the wording on the hand-made plaque that was in the foreground of the bouquet of artificial flower’s, I suspect that this was built by the young man’s family as the wording was by his mother. Over the months I came to understand that the cross was decorated for each season, this one for Halloween. The monument resembled someone in a Halloween costume, maybe his costume as a youth, and nestled within the artificial flowers was a trick-or-treat basket filled with candy. Extremely touching.

My attempt was to place this memorial within the larger landscape and also explored (below) an even wider perspective and narrative about this seemingly barren and poignant place.

Subsequently this image was published in LensWork magazine, issue #74, January/February 2008, one of 22 photographs as a featured portfolio. This was a pretty awesome artistic validation! I subsequently self-published a large format photobook of In Pasing thru Blurb in a small edition (about 13 copies),which is now out of print.

The B&W photographer that I nominated for day 3 is Vicki Topaz.

Cheers!

10-14-07 I-15 frontage Rd Victorville_0847bw

Black & White Photographic Challenge – Day 2

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 3:19 pm

03-07_Trabuco_Canyon_Winter_2371

 

Winter Fog, Trabuco Canyon, CA 2007 copyright Douglas Stockdale

As I posted yesterday,  I was nominated by Jeff Alu to participate in a Black & White Photographic challenge (aka BWC)  that has gone viral on Facebook. This is my day 2 photograph.

I photographed this composition in 2007 at a time that I felt that I was in a state of flux. Since 1973 I had been investigating the natural landscape in Black & White. In retrospect I had been working with a Modern photographic perspective using as my role models the photographers Edward Weston, Wynn Bullock and to a lesser extent, Minor White. At this time I was now becoming more aware of the concepts of contemporary landscape photography and my interests were now to investigate the natural landscape with regard to metaphoric narratives. This photography was made during that creative transition.

Subsequently this image was juried into the Irvine Fine Arts contemporary photography exhibition and selected by the Orange County Museum of Contemporary Art for their Fall auction. A nice validation that I was indeed heading in a new direction.

The B&W photographer that I nominated for day 2 is Hiroshi Watanabe.

Cheers!

October 21, 2014

Black & White Photographic Challenge – Day 1

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

10-19-14_Selfie_w_Cooper

 

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.

Cheers!

October 1, 2014

Halloween time again

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

Halloween_portrait

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!!

Cheers!!

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).

Cheers!

September 24, 2014

Pine Lake > The Box of Dummies

Douglas_Stockdale_Pine_Lake_interior_book_with_memorbilia_868x562

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.

Cheers!

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.

Cheers!

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

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