Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

February 1, 2016

One foggy morning

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 10:17 pm

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Rancho Santa Margarita, California, January 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

When the coastal fog works it way up the canyon to my back yard, the ensuing mysterious vista recalls my initial photographic interest to investigate the natural landscape. To photography this intriguing landscape is way too tempting and I have learned not to fight the impulses. What has evolved has been for me to make the resulting image a little more ambiguous and I really do not care if the photograph has more urban elements than purely found in nature.

I find this type of photograph to be a lot more fun as a singular image, that is not one that is not currently involved in a book project, using a snap-shooter camera of our current generation: my Samsung S5 camera phone coupled with my favorite downloaded app, SnapSeed. Most of this image was created later the same morning in-camera and today I downloaded it to work it with a little Photoshop CC tweaking.

I created this image a couple of weeks ago, but I became caught up in my preparation to attend photo l.a. So this as been lurking on my phone for awhile, although I had immediately posted the Samsung version on Instagram and Facebook.

One other thing I have recently realized, I take the interesting & “fun” photographs now almost always with the camera-phone but then revert to the film or full-frame digital when working on my “serious” projects. At the moment, these are like two ships passing in the night. Nevertheless, while enjoying the Samsung/Snapseed results, this has brought me full circle as to why I enjoyed photography in the first place.

Last, my challenge for this photograph is to depict a mysterious place, clocked in the vail of the fog. Using the zone system frequently, I can become too easy lured into making sure that the dark’s are truly black, while the light’s are very white, e..g. a full scale image. With fog, a full scale image might just kill the effect I was looking for (pre-visualization); so then how black to make the dark’s and how to keep that glowing highlight? So for me, this results in a lower contrast image.

Still, I find it very tempting to try to bring up the contrast, thus the texture, of the bark of the foreground tree!

Enjoy!

January 22, 2016

Photo l.a. opening last night

Filed under: Uncategorized — Doug Stockdale @ 6:59 pm

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Photo l.a. 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I had an opportunity to join Hiroshi Watanabe at the Gala opening of Photo l.a. last night. As a result of preparing to meet-up with Hiroshi for dinner near Little Tokyo in LA before we attended the opening, I became somewhat obsessed with printing as many of the photographs from In Passing – Lest I Forget to discuss with him over dinner. I am essentially creating new images from this project due to the creative controls now available with PhotoShop CC over PhotoShop CS that I used in 2007 – 2008. What an improvement in the tonality and image controls with this latest version. I also tweaked my artist statement and project introduction to bounce off Hiroshi as well, which all went very well.

Walking through a gallery (Fair) exhibition like Photo l.a. provides an interesting snap-shot of some of the current trends in contemporary photography as well as bench mark for the market of earlier photographers work. This is not the time or place to try to button hole a gallery owner about one’s great photographs, but to take note of who is exhibiting like photographs and to follow up with after.

My quick read is that there were few, if any, gallery’s exhibiting contemporary documentary photographs that would I think would be interested in my In Passing- Lest I Forget project. There were a couple of gallery’s who were showing early work by some documentary photographers, but usually limited to a few prints in their collection that were available for sale. The overall exhibition & gallery emphasis seemed to lean towards photographers who were or are now exploring conceptual projects. As a disclaimer, the aisles were crowded, we were an hour late, so we moved through the exhibition hall at a decent pace. There just was not much that drew me back for a longer second viewing. Nevertheless, still a lot of interesting work to look and study.

Cheers!

 

January 15, 2016

Self-Assignment – Lemons

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 6:44 pm

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Copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

Old saying: when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Revised: when you grow lemons and they become a winter harvest, make photographs!

From time to time when given some props, I like to have some fun and see what I might be able to do with them. In this case our backyard lemon tree is of all things bearing some good fruit in January. Who knew? Credit the relatively mild SoCal weather I guess.

I had picked a few of the lemons to bring to a friend and decided I would first try an arrangement just to see what interesting composition I might be able to create. I also anticipated that I wanted to have the final results in black & white rather than color to make this self-assignment a little more intriguing.

First the setting; I have been interested in our translucent back-yard table top for a while, thus this appeared intriguing as a compositional element, so I cleared off the flower pots and starting arranging the lemons on top, the chairs underneath. Next, I re-arranged the lemons a couple of times in conjunction with a series of exposures until I had my final two color photographs, of which I think that this was the most interesting composition. I completed a black&white photo image conversion with Snapseed in the camera phone and then final tone adjustment tweaks after downloading in Photoshop CC. nice.

January 10, 2016

Surf erorison

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 5:11 pm

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Torrey Pines Park, San Diego, CA copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

We really needed the recent rain here in Southern California, but regretfully what comes with the winter storms is the resulting beach erosion and the loss of a lot of sand.

January 7, 2016

Social media updates & Instagram

Filed under: Uncategorized — Doug Stockdale @ 8:20 pm

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Rancho Santa Margarita, 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I have back and forth with a friend about photographic self-promotion and realized that now would be a good time to provide an update on my own efforts. Today of course the buzz word for (self) promotion is Social Media, so that is primarily where I post my photographs.

You are reading this blog which has seen its ups and downs over the years that I launched it. I am actually the Editor and Founder of three blogs, this one, The PhotoBook about my thoughts on photobooks that I started shortly after this one, and The PhotoExchange for a group of photographers who meet monthly at the Irvine Fine Art Center (Irvine, CA) to discuss and share photographs. This is the only blog that I post my own photographs, so as far as I am concerned, this is my primary self-promo blog.

I jumped onto Facebook many years ago, initially a place for me, but then a fan page for the The Photobook blog. Recently I was made the Co-Editor of the Facebook page for The Photograhers Exchange. I am probably more addicted to Facebook than any others at the moment. Fb is also a place where I found a number of photobook discussion forums that I find interesting, although these have become more self-promotion about book publications and sales than actual “discussions”. Oh well, things evolve.

I have been using LinkedIn for a while, first was a personal profile to support my day-job as a pharmaceutical consultant. Then I decided that it might be a bit confusing to intertwine my photographic interests, thus I have a photographic LinkedIn profile under Doug Stockdale. If you are poking LinkedIn and find someone who might be me, make sure it has a lot of photographic interests. Btw, I do not post very much on LinkedIn as it does not appear to be a good fit with promoting your photographs. Maybe some are better at this on LinkedIn than I am and would be interested to hear your stories.

I am also on Google+, but again, I do not post here very often, but that might change this year. As a result, I do not have very many followers or am I following very many others. Perhaps a New Years resolution in the making!

I have an ambiguous profile on Tumblr, but after poking this site for a while, I am not actively using it. I have never twitter-fied, so no tweets.

New for 2016 is a profile on Instagram @douglasstockdale. A bit like this blog, well suited for single images, but not much for a long post & more like Facebook. Nice that I can post on Instagram and add Facebook to the post, saves a little bit of time. If I post something of interest on this blog, I usually provide a link back to the same photo on Facebook, which I can still do with a Instragram-Facebook post, then edit the Facebook post. I may be able to do something similar with Instagram, but I am just now coming up to speed on that app.

As to the photograph above we are now experiencing some rainy days, a bit unusual for many years here in SoCal. Noticing the wet reflections on the back patio and the fallen leaves, I could not help myself. It has a bit of that 1960’s look when wet reflections became the rage. A straight photograph with the Samsung phone-camera that appears a bit abstract and mysterious. On Instagram-Facebook, I inverted this same image but as a color photo, which is a bit more muted and probably a bit disorienting.

Cheers!

January 1, 2016

2016 – Looking Ahead

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:30 pm

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Untitled, copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

As I just posted, the beginning of the year is a time to reflect on the past and also to look forward for what might be. My first post was honking my horn for 2015, now I want to look at my goals for 2016.

I had two principal projects in 2015 and an artist book that needed a bit more reflection. I plan to work on all three of these which are at various phases of completion.

In Passing – Lest I Forget is an aftermath project that I actively worked on starting in 2006 and into 2012, then took some time to let the project cook, then I started back in earnest again at the end of last year. I have about 100 photographic images that I have culled from the past 9 years that I think will make a really nice photobook and will be the basis of an exhibition. So I have developed a project plan to finalize tweaking the images for a book dummy, obtain sponsorship’s and funding with a goal to have a Fall publication and release concurrent with at least one exhibition.

For my project Memory Pods, I am looking forward to the spring for the budding and blooming of my subjects for another intense season of photography. The one thing that I would like to do is invest in a prime macro lens for this project. I have bounced between a 100 mm f/1.8 L macro for the 5DMk3 or a 120mm CFi Makro lens for the Hasselblad, and currently I am  leaning towards the Hasselblad Makro lens. I have some expired 120 transparency film that I think will be ideal with the Hasselblad for this project; old, expired film investigating fading memories.

For my third project, which is my artist book Bluewater Shore, I want to use the newly acquired Micro/Makro lens mentioned above to re-photograph my family prints. I also have some very, very expired 120 black and white film for this project. I have a better idea now of how I want to design, print and bind this book. My goal is to prepare everything for publication in 2016, with a Spring 2017 publication date. My bigger priority for 2016 is to finish In Passing – Lest I Forget.

I also plan to keep an open eye and actively make some exhibition submissions in 2016, to try to participate in at least one if not two exhibitions.

cheers!

2015 – the year that was

Filed under: Photography — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 10:51 pm

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Untitled, copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

January 1st is a day to speculate about the future, while taking a moment to reflect on the past year. In this post, I will be looking back at this last year, thus honking my horn. But first and foremost, I am very happy for my health, my family and all of my friends.

I continued to work on two photographic projects, Memory Pods and In Passing – Lest I Forget, as well as being juried into a group photographic exhibition this summer at BC Gallery in Laguna Beach. I was asked to participate in FotoBookFestival (Kassel, Germany) earlier in the spring, nominating one of my favorite photobooks by Kate Nolan, which was published in 2014. I now have one of photographs on long-term display at the administration offices of the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA), which was curated into OCCCA in 2014.

I am not actively seeking photographic assignments due to the demands of my current day-job in pharmaceutical development, thus I appreciated the opportunity to be the event photographer on two occasions for OCMA. These were fun and unlike the pressure of my early days photographing weddings.

As a photobook collector and reviewer, I added to my growing library and posted 41 photobook reviews on my blog The PhotoBook, which is now coming on a million reads since I started posting and currently has 18,000+ followers.

Infrastructure changes included a new web site and upgrade to PhotoShelter to leverage their great capabilities, upgrade PhotoShop to CC and acquired a Conon 5D Mark III camera body.

Although not spectacular year, it was all good and a very good year ;- )

Cheers!

December 28, 2015

Photographic Abstraction

Filed under: Uncategorized — Doug Stockdale @ 6:36 pm

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Untitled, copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale

Interestingly one of the aspects of painting that initially drew me in was the potential of a “realist” interpretation of a subject. Although my graphic drawings continued to explore that direct representational possibility, my paintings became more and more abstract. In effect, like those well before me, I came to concurrently understand both the limitations and the exciting possibilities of painting. Thus the eventual insight into the non-representational aspects of photography and my return to working with this medium.

Nevertheless even now as what I believe I photograph as a “straight” subject, it is possible to create photographs from things seen which appear very abstract. Thus I would node to the photographer Aaron Siskind as providing the underlying inspiration for the photograph above.

I think that his “straight” photography appears potentially more abstract due to my cropping and removing it from it’s environmental context. Like a painter, I did change the contrast and the tonal range in Photoshop to push the image closer to what I envisioned at the moment I photographed it.

This is a singular image in that I do not go looking for these ambiguous subjects as part of an on-going project (or at least not at the moment), but I enjoy working with these subjects when the serendipity occurs.

Cheers!

December 26, 2015

Christmas morning

Filed under: Photography — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 7:39 pm

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Christmas morning, 2015, copyright Douglas Stockdale

One of my many pleasures on Christmas day is being up before the kids, tuning on the Christmas tree lights and taking a few photographs of the tree and unopened presents in the calm before the bedlam.

Also a nice time to just sit, reflect and enjoy the twinkling of the lights as dawn starts to light up the day. Many things to be thankful for.

Who knows, this Christmas tree photograph might also be next year’s Christmas card photo…

Cheers!

Doug

December 20, 2015

2015 Christmas Card

Filed under: Photography, Picture Postcards, Projects/Series — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 6:15 pm

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Untitled (La Heutte, Switzerland, 2005) copyright Douglas Stockdale

Since my family and I celebrate Christmas, one of my holiday traditions is to design, produce and address the Christmas Cards. And of course the center piece for the card is the Christmas photograph. It has been our practice to not include photographs of ourselves, but rather something that might appear celebratory and enjoyable (as my wife would say, “appropriate”).

Typically for us an appropriate photograph for the Christmas season would be a winter landscape. This is a bit odd in that in Southern California we do not have snow during the winter and in Israel where the original birth occurred, there is not any snow at this time of the year either. Perhaps this Christmas photographic subject is a tradition that is linked to our growing up in the MidWest when snow was definitely a frequent occurrence during this time of year. I do recall waking up on many a Christmas  morning to a fresh layer of snow over top the previous mushy snow.

I had anticipated that our late November trip to Denver Colorado would be a great time to make a Christmas photo, especially since there was a forecast for snow. Regretfully, although I did come away with some urban snowy landscape photographs, none of these were deemed “appropriate”. Thus I did a deep dive into my photographic files to find something a bit better suited.

I actually find myself looking for the photograph above, which I made while I was working on a project that frequently took me to Switzerland. At this time in 2005 I was just starting to experiment with digital photography and I was using a 4 Mp Canon G2, which looked and handled amazing like an old Leica camera. The hassles of film though customs and detectors was still a nagging issue, so I wanted to start exploring the digital capture alternatives (I was already scanning my 120 negatives).

I have good memories of these business trips; non-stop from LAX into Zurich, then from the airport taking the express train to Biel and from there, jumping on a local train to La Chaux-de-Fonds. What I quickly learned was that you can hop off the train at any station and in almost exactly one hour, the next train would stop and you could hop back on again. Thus my stop in La Heutte in January with a short, cold walk-about and noticing this singular tree in a snow covered field with the forest on the mountain behind it fading into the winter fog. At the time, I think I was using Photoshop CS and when returning home, I was less than thrilled with my RAW conversion, but this image still lingered as being a potential someday.

And so with Photoshop CC, the “someday” has successfully arrived. Enjoy.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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