Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

October 18, 2016

On the scanner: 09-04-16 negative 12

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:55 am


Untitled (Memory Pods project) copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

Cooking on the Nikon film scanner is negative #12 from my September 4th studio session working on my Memory Pods project. Hasselblad & 150 mm f/4 lens with two 21mm extension tubes, Kodak Portra 160 with an E.I. of 80, normal film processing.

Scan is taking a little longer as I did remember to scan at a 14 bit size (think I forgot for the last scan). Scan is at super fine: 16 times sampling for each scan pass.

The dried and slumping Memory pods are out of focus while the jumble and tangled elements are just in focus. This image kept coming to me while on vacation last week, thus the first of the new batch on the scanner now that we are back.

Next is the extensive spotting of the scan file, then all of the usual magic.


October 6, 2016

lemonade stand

Filed under: Life in the Slow Lane, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:05 pm


Untitled (Life in the Slow Lane) copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

So a good friend tells me that since I am trying to make lemonade from lemons and my photographs are created when the car comes to a complete stand still in traffic, then really I have a “lemonade stand”. sigh.

I continue to think about some of the elements that I photograph while working  on this project; that when the traffic stops and where I come to halt is very arbitrary, there is a big element of chance as to what the landscape exists beside me is at that given moment. What is in the foreground; the debris, vegetation and condition of the meridian is the first layer of the photograph. The next layer is the passing cars in the opposite lane, which are not in bumper to bumper traffic. Then if visible beyond the meridian is an open landscape of trees, vegetation, hills, and man-made structures. So now what are the potential metaphors for these photographs?

It is also interesting to me that this is another project that is evolving from my playing around with the mobile phone. I think that I allow myself a sense of experimentation and trying to have fun when I use the mobile camera phone. So I hope to keep that playfulness going; an endless series of singular images and open ended investigations.


October 5, 2016


Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:34 pm


Life in the slow lane, Southern California, copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

Yes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

So this may or may not develop into a full project, but at the moment I am reacting to this current experience. I have an assignment in San Diego that frequently has allowed me to drive down the I-5 freeway in the morning and become entangled in what is called the north county bumper-to-bumper traffic jam. Prior to this, for the same assignment, I was driving up the I-5 and 101 freeway into and through Los Angles, and experiencing a similar bumper-to-bumper traffic stall, just that the view while stopped on the freeway was different. Exactly; this crappy drive was a like some really sour lemons!

Initially, it was pleasant time to listen to the XM tunes, but then I started noticing things while stopped in traffic that I had not notices blasting through the same area at 65 miles per hour. Similar to my In Passing and Lest I Forget projects, what we miss while hurling along through life. So I started taking some photographs with my mobile phone/Samsung and found that these were kinda of interesting images. Then I started posting them on Instagram and surprise, others thought these photographs were kinda of interesting too.

So now I am evaluating the potential of using film with this project and the first step for me was evaluating a larger image and determining what lens I might want to use. I locked down my Canon zoom lens at 28mm which provides a wide view similar to that of the Samsung and would look similar to the 50mm f/4 Ziess lens on the Hasselblad. Since I would have very little time to grab a photograph with the Hasselbald when I had a random stop, I would need to prefocus and set up the exposure ahead of time, then play it by ear. So that is what I tried to simulate and similar to the Samsung photographs, I find these kinda of interesting.

Issue to resolve; driving south in the morning means looking directly into the rising sun and dealing with some mega-backlight conditions (see the lens flare in the first image below). Then driving back home in the afternoon, the same back-light conditions reversed. So I could fight that or work with it, again try to make some lemonade. Either way, I will be driving down to San Diego for a while so I am trying to figure out how to make the best of this without going nuts, which is my life in the slow lane.




October 4, 2016

Film plus scan processing

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:27 pm


Untitled (Memory Pods project) copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

I have been rephotographing some of my memory pod subjects with film and just realized a very inexpensive creative tool; when processing my film at ProPhoto (Irvine, CA), for just a small bit more, I can obtain a medium resolution scan of each image. Seems that when the film is processed, it automatically passes by the film scanner and so the relative cost of capturing that scan and providing it as a CD is not very expensive (film process, a 5×5″ print for each negative and the scans cost $13.00 for the 12 exposure 120 film).

I have a light box for looking at negatives and a corresponding 5×5″ print, but when I really want to check out the details of the negative before I invest in a much larger scan, I have found it very convenient to look at these medium resolution scans. Likewise, I can make some quick adjustments in Photoshop to anticipate what the final image will look like, such as the one with this post. Thus made the decision for this last roll of film that I want to obtain a high-resolution scan for negatives #8, #9 and #10.

Only hitch in my giddy-up was finding out the the scanner soft ware at ProPhoto was set up for Windows XP and not Windows 10. When trying to view the first CD on my Windows 10 machine, the computer kept wanting to reformat the disk. So on a whim I tried to open the CD on my older XP machine and there were the jpeg images. When talking with John at ProPhoto, he did not realize that his PC disks were only readible on XP (guessing that most of his clients are on Mac’s).

I was considering a film version of my 5D digital version of “Ghost”, but I realized that I did not save the dried up stem after the first year working this project. This might be an alternative, but I also like a progression I made on film with the same subject adjusting the focus, which could become a triptych, so I am not sure the title.


September 14, 2016

Leveraging an exhibition Honorable Mention


Depression (Memory Pods Project) copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

From what I have learned over the years is that I as an artist need to take the first steps to contact various curators and galleries to move ahead and ensure I get noticed. Self-promotion 101. I have to admit, and this is not popular among many artist, but being an artist also means you are a small independent business. Thus with the recent Honorable Mention from IFAC “All Media” exhibition, I need to see how to further leverage this event and obtain recognition with other curators and galleries.Which is to say, I need to contact them directly and ask for an opportunity to show my work.

This also means I need to step up my presentation of the body of work to share and discuss for potential portfolio reviews. Okay, so what does that mean? First, my current portfolio for Memory Pods is printed 15×19″ on Epson Professional Matte paper; I think the size is good but I need to be printing on my exhibition (and sales) medium, which for me right now is the Hahnemuhle PhotoRag (smooth surface), 308 gm matte, which is acid free and a great fine art cotton paper. This paper provides a better feel (heavier) and reinforces the image of a print as an art object, images look beautiful and provides for a more professional artist presentation.

So over the weekend I have been reprinting my Memory Pods photographs, but also reassessing the image regarding my intent for this image. As a result I have had to tweak the colors, etc for a few of the photographs. Thus the reprinting did not proceed quickly and now is only about half complete.

Second, now looking at portfolio presentation cases as my current black portfolio holder is okay for storage, but not professional looking. So I am evaluating a Museum-Solander case (e.g. Archival Methods) for the 17×22″ prints, which is elegant in design, archival, opens flat to obtain art work, but not cheap (little over $200 USD). On my wish list and I will see how the next portfolio review goes as to making this investment.

Third is the “leave-behind” artist card. I have a business card now, but more of a company card versus an artist business card (there is a creative difference). Also, I do not have a small art card for one of photographs. Again on my wish list, but these are not that expensive and I can buy the stock and print these myself. In the short term, I do have extra copies of LensWork that my In Passing project was featured in to leave behind and I have found that this magazine does make an impact.

The good news is that I just received a confirmation from the curator of the IFAC who would like to see my Memory Pods portfolio in the next couple of weeks. Nice as I am also considering a submission for an individual exhibition at IFAC during their 2017 open call this month.


September 5, 2016

Memory Pods project on web site

089 06-10-14_Memory_Pods_1142_11x11BW_Ghost

Ghost (Memory Pods project) 2014 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Sometimes I need a kick in the butt to get myself into gear.

I have been stating that I need to update my web site with more images from my Memory Pods project and now receiving the Honorable Mention at IFAC for my photography Loss from this project was enough to do the trick. Since this event and honor might get a little press on the blogisphere (courteous of yours truly), I realize that I need to have more of my project available to review, lest someone thinks I am a one-trick pony.

Okay, as of this morning; done & update is here.

One thing that I have been contemplating for my titles for this project, to use metaphoric names or a sequence number and have decided to go with names for each of the photographs. In this case, my names relate back to what I think the metaphoric image is related to, which goes against some contemporary ideas about naming your photographs. I will just defer back to my excuse that in this case, I am old school. (Okay, well I am!).

I think that this is the first time I have posted Ghost in color, as I had at one time thought that this photograph might be better in black & white. wrong. For me, much stronger image when in color.


September 4, 2016

Honorable Mention – IFAC “All Media 2016”


Memory Pods – Loss 2014 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I received word from a couple of my friends late last night that my photograph Loss from my Memory Pods project received an Honorary Award during the reception at the Irvine Fine Arts Center reception for the “All Media 2016” exhibition. Wow! This is very, very nice.

And totally unexpected, especially since Jeannie and I were at the exhibition reception earlier in the evening and had left early. We reviewed the exhibition (taking note that my photograph was the first art work hanging at the exhibit entrance) and talking with a few other artists and members of the Photographic Exchange, we went for an early dinner. I was just a happy-camper that one of my photographs from this series was juried in. It looked really nice hanging there.

I was reminded afterward that I should have taken note of the folks who came in the door and who immediately stopped to inspect my framed image with some seeking me out to discuss my photograph. Should have been a clue, which of course means I am truly clueless (yuk, yuk).

Still another validation that I may be on the right track with this project ;- )

Oh, and I forgot to add the photographs from this series to my web site, so something I better complete sooner than later. And I plan to re-photograph the exhibition of this print as I have noticed upon enlargement, this photo is a bit blurry.


172 06-10-14_Memory_Pods_Loss 091501_2

August 30, 2016

Memory Pods – Film alternative


08-05-16 Memory Pods Porta160 neg2

Empty (Memory Pods project)  2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

The photograph in this post is the results from my previous two posts; Hasselblad Ready for its Closeup and, part 2. Essentially I want to see if my Memory Pod subjects look like when captured on color negative film, in this case the Kodak Portra 160.

For the first step of comparing  8-1/2 x 11″ prints,  there are some subtle differences compared to the high resolution of the full frame Canon 5DMkIII and a lot of differences with the Samsung 5S digital images. The new film series is not meant to be comparable to the Samsung 5S with the SnapSeed post processing images. I think that I still need to tweak the dark values of this image a little and then make a 16×20″ for a print comparison.

Interesting that for the native RAW Canon 5DMkIII file of 22.3 mp, a 16×20″ print max’s out at 200 dpi with the file without having to up-resolution the file, while a 4,000 dpi scan of the 6x6cm color negative (Nikon film scanner) provides a file that can provide a 29×29″ print at 300 dpi. I need to double check how large the size print is if I use 260 dpi for print setting  for the film file (note: this turns out to be 33×33″ print). Thus to print both the Canon5DMkIII and the film scan at 30×30″, even with up-res of the digital file, I would expect to see some differences in the image quality.

The second part of the equation is the 24-105 L f/4 lens, which has macro focusing capability, on the Canon 5DMkIII versus the 150 mm f/4 Sonar lens with the two extension tubes for the Hasselblad. It would seem that these are pretty close to equivalent relative to full frame digital vs medium format film focal length (about 2x normal) & aperture. So far, inclusive, but the film image seems to have more depth of field than the digital image, which does not make sense to me.

I see that I need to create some more color negatives to be sure ;- )


August 29, 2016

Bruce Barnbaum -The Art of Photography

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 2:49 am


Copyright 1994 (6th printing, 2013) Bruce Barnbaum

Bruce Barnbaum’s The Art of Photography, An approach to Personal Expression, which was first published in 1994, is a photographic book that comes up frequently as a resource for photographers who make submissions to LensCulture. Thus as a submission reviewer for LensCulture and if I was going to suggest to photographers that this could be a great reference book for them, I should darn know what Barnbaum has written and understand why this book could be pertinent to them.

I first met Barnbaum many, many years ago when he and John Sexton were developing their zone system/creativity workshops, which at the time both were heavily influenced by the west coast school of photographic modernist. John Sexton went on to be one of the last photographic assistants for Ansel Adams. So no surprise that Barnbaum’s book has a heavy emphasis on black and white techniques; Zone system for film (roll and sheet), film development, filters, black and white papers and darkroom printing (yes, the wet darkroom, not Photoshop), bellows and reciprocity factors (assuming you were using at least a 4×5” view camera), film density, etc and all the necessities for black and white analog photography. So no surprise, this is a solid technical reference book for those using a black and white analog medium (a photographic space I worked in for 15 years).

So the real question for me is Barnbaum’s book relevant to a photographer who is working on contemporary concepts and projects? For me the answer is yes and no and really depends on the individual and their openness (guess you could call this a guarded “yes”). There are chapters which discuss “What are the Elements Composition”, Photographic Realism, Abstraction and Art, Thoughts on Creativity, Toward a Personal Philosophy and Artist Integrity, but again, from the viewpoint of a modernist, not contemporary photographer. This is also a chapter on how to use the zone system for digital photography, both color and black and white, which is relevant to individuals who have digital exposure and digital printing issues.

Nevertheless if you read Barnbaum’s concepts (and get beyond his modernist examples) to understand the basic questions that are being asked, these could be applicable to any artist; What is your emotional response to what you are thinking about photographing; What is your personal point of view; Subject matter ultimately becomes secondary to the artist seeing, vison (read: concept) and philosophy of life. With an advanced degree in mathematics from UCLA and an on-going interest in physics, don’t be put off by when suddenly he introduces quantum mechanics theory to discuss a point about creativity.

In the final chapter, Barnbaum states that a photographer/artist shouldn’t try to analyze something to death before going and actually doing it (whether the zone system for film or Photoshop for digital); “be willing to experiment with new tools, new subject matter, new ways of seeing and composing, new ways to interpret the scene”. Makes sense to me.

Publisher: rockynook (Santa Barbara, CA)

The book has stiff-cover, glued/perfect bound binding, four-color lithography, Index, and printed in Korea








August 24, 2016

Hasselblad Ready for its close-up: part 2

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:33 am


Pentax Spotmeter V, copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

In my earlier post about determining the exposure index (EI) for the two 21mm extension tubes on my 150mm Sonnar Hasselblad lens, I was pinged with some questions about the +1 exposure compensation conclusion. I am realizing that with the advent of digital photography which really gained traction in the early to mid 2000’s, there is an entire generation of digital photographers who are not familiar with film and manual light meters, which should not be much of a surprise, but sometimes the extent and breath of the non-analog experience is interesting.

In the zone system exposure parlance you start with your basic EI, in this case the ASA of the film is the basic or neutral starting point. My Fiju Reala 100 color film has a ASA of 100, which I dial into my Pentax Spotmatic V, a manual 1 degree light meter. I acquired this current meter many moons ago with my earlier Minolta 1 degree spot has a “traumatic” moment (yep, while hiking I dropped in on the rocks, pretty traumatic for both me and the only light meter I had with me).

To complete my exposure compensation test, I varied the f/stop by a half stop stop per exposure. A plus one (+1) stop essential doubles the amount of available light during the film exposure over the neutral setting As example, I had set neural at 1/30 at f/4, thus the +1 was 1/15 at f/4 to double the amount of light during the exposure. I extended the test exposures to a +2-1/2 stops, which began to really over expose the film. The gray card I was photographing and film density was visually best to me with only the +1 stop. Now I could meter the scene with my light meter at set for the film ASA (e.g. 100) then take that meter reading and open one stop or alternatively I could set my meter ASA to 50 (half of the 100) and use the resulting setting.

The later option of altering the film ASA takes a bit less thinking ;- )

Btw, the nice thing about this 1 degree spot meter is that it has a number of settings; f stop for the lens aperture, T (time) for the exposure duration, ASA for the film speed and then something called the Linear Scale, which so happens is also a setting available with the older Hasselblad lens like my 150mm Sonar. Inside the meter, the linear scale is the value shown during the metering function. Once the Linear scale value is selected on the lens, the appropriate f stop and shutter speed T are coupled on the lens and when you change either the f/stop or the exposure duration, the other automatically changes due to the coupling function.



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