Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

January 31, 2008

SoFoBoMo – 2008

Filed under: Books, Photography, Projects/Series, SoFoBoMo — Doug Stockdale @ 11:20 pm


While I was in China, I did see the notice that SoPoBoMo (aka Solo Photo Book Month) was formerly announced and launched. I see a lot of familiar names in the list of willing participants, including Anita Jesse, Guy Yates, Colin Jago, Paul Lester, Rosie Perera, Kjell Andersen, Matt Alofs, Martin Doonan and of course Mr. Paul Butzi himself. Yeah team!!

I had an opportunity to start thinking about this the week before I left, but I was just not sure of my actual time line of which 31 days and what my book would be about. Thus while photographing in China, it did dawn on me that I seem to be a location oriented landscape guy, so work with it. hmmmmm. So I came up with four or five Southern California icon locations that would be easily accessible to me; Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and Dana Pt. and perhaps San Clemente. I am now working on the pros and cons for each of these, but at the moment, my node is going towards Newport Beach’s strand.

And I had also thought about shooting film for this project, but I realize that I need at least a 50mm lens for the Hasselblad and that I could probably do the shoot on a long weekend. But it’s going to take me about two to maybe three weeks for the film scanning for the limited amount of time I have available. It takes me about 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 hours per negative scan with my Nikon film scanner and I would be scanning 40 to 50 images to get to the final 35 images. Not much time to tweak the images after that.

So that takes me to the DSLR again. This might be a good excuse to rent a little something nicer if I can do the bulk of the entire shoot on a weekend and then use the following couple of weekends to make any necessary adjustments with my XTi. And that would improve the workflow to make the necessary image tweaks because knowing me, I will need the time, as I am a major tweaker. errrr?? Oh, never mind.

Well, you can bet, I will be adding more thoughts to this as the time rolls on,

Best regards, Doug

BTW, this image was made during the Chinese blizzard when we were stuck on the tollroad between Jiashan and Shanghai and since this is almost monochomatic, not sure if it will be converted with my black & white mojo or stay in color.

Updated note: Per the suggestion of Paul Butzi, I have added a category called SoPoBoMo to keep track of my posts that follow the development of my book project, and I will be adding these updates to my book category as well.

More changes

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Doug Stockdale @ 5:09 pm

Pudong Shanghai Airport

One of the nice things about 13 hours of flying, you have more than enough time to reflect. And I have accepted that with my blog, that I am going to share those thoughts.  Kinda of getting comfortable with my own skin sorta thing.

From time to time, I create color images from my color photographs.  Huh? Yes, most of the time, I create black & white images from my color photographs, a Photoshop thing. I do enjoy the huge amount of flexibility that I have with black & white, and that may predominately define my work, but it is not entirely how I see a final image. Sometimes color works and I am thinking that one of my series from China may be entirely in color.  As a creative person, I would prefer the choice of medium be determined by the work and not forced into arbitrary style buckets. Where there may be a the sticky wicket is with the decision to mix color and black & white images together in the same series. I think that there is now a greater openness to a mixed image body of work.

I guess we’ll see.

Best regards, Doug

Shanghai – Jiashan – Pinghu – Xitang

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Doug Stockdale @ 2:43 pm

Just Looking

My third trip to China took me into Shanghai, then South to Jiashan, Pinghu and a side trip to Xitang. For the most part of the three weeks, I was staying at a hotel (World Expo hotel, not recommended) in Jiashan and working in Pinghu, getting to the lake at Pinghu only once for a late evening dinner with a very large group. I did get back to Shanghai for one weekend and had the delightful opportunity to get to the Shanghai art & photo gallery district, M50. For a quick overview of my impressions, you can find my thoughts that Miguel posted on his blog, Exposure Compensation, for me. Miguel also posted my frustration with the Chinese Blogger Red Guard, as well. Thanks to Miguel for allowing me to be his guest blogger.

This trip concludes the three loosely planned visits over nine months and I racked up a total of 36-1/2 Gigs of images, for a total of approximately 3,450 images, and due to file storage limitations, I had edited out about 25% more.

My first week in China last year, I was kinda of overwhelmed, so it was more of an orientation trip, but in a good way. The second trip for the two weeks, I was beginning to open up to the possibilities and starting to look more at what was there. This third trip, over almost three weeks, everything started to jell and I saw photographic possibilities everywhere! I now have working themes for five series coming out of this experience, which I hope to share shortly. As you might suspect, the photo with this post will be part of one of the series;- )

I also had some frustrations with equipment, especially with the lousily cold weather performance of my Canon Rebel XTi. I will write about that shortly as well. Right now I am just trying to get a little organized, very jet lagged and my baggage is still en route from Hong Kong. As you probably heard, China is having one heck of a blizzard, just as the Luna New Year approaches, which for us in the USA, is like a combination of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years all rolled into one. A LOT of people are trying to get home for the holidays, and we almost did not get the plane out of Shanghai airport yesterday. Thus with a tight connection in Hong Kong, I made the flight and my bag did not, the second time that this occurred. So I am thankful to be here at home even if my luggage is not.

Best regards, Doug

Back in the USA

Filed under: Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 1:26 am

Just a quick note that I have returned from my recent three weeks in China, where they have a blog block, but never the less, I did take some photographs. More about all of that in the coming days, but it is nice to be home!

Best regards, Doug

January 8, 2008

On Assignment

Filed under: Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 9:13 pm

Nocturnal Watch 

I will be off -line for a couple of weeks due to an assignement that I need to complete.  I will not be making any posts or responses to blog comments, although I will try to monitor them from time to time.

Please take the opportunity to review my 300 posts that I have made over the last nine months, as well as check out my blogger list, and their blogger lists, there is a lot to look at and consider, please enjoy;- )

Or read the current issue of LensWork and my published series Bad Trip – Sad Trip with the LensWork Extended DVD ,which includes my audio interview, should be out before the end of January.

Thanks for your patience, and I will get back to the regular blogging program as soon as possible.

Best regards, Doug

January 7, 2008


Filed under: Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 9:09 pm

Country Road Hangzhou

I found myself thinking about perception again, as it relates to how I photography, what I see and equally as important, perhaps what I don’t see.

As to how we are raised, we start to get ‘programmed’, not perhaps in the evil sense of this word, but the idea that our language and customs get taught to us at a very early age. We do things as a child that usually gets consistent reinforcement, such as our language and how we communicate.

While traveling around the United States, my language and cultural customs enable me to see things in a certain way, and it can be difficult to see things from a ‘different’ viewpoint. But its easy to move about and I take many of my photographs within a certain context.

When I travel to Europe, I run into stranger customs and language differences that effect me. Perhaps in a way that I ‘see’ differently than they do, I see the things that they don’t, perhaps not seeing the things that they do. But it is not too much unlike much of the US and there are enough similairities that you can easily survive, especially since many speak and write English. Thus we help the Europeans see themselves in a different context, much like Robert Frank did for the Americans with his photographs.

For me, Asia and my recent work in China, I am really disoriented, as maybe I might be anywhere in the Asia.  I can not understand any of the Chineese written characters, nor have any context to understand what is spoken. The culture is vastly different, so I bring my ‘American’ eyes and perception with me and try to make sense of or document the apparent differences, the strangeness.  Now maybe I understand why the folks visiting from Japan in the 80’s always had cameras taking pictures, we Americans were so weird in what we did in comparison.

Anyhow, I just find myself thinking about my perception of my reality and how that might be helping me or hindering me and what I might be able to do about it, as to grow my ability to ‘see’.  I know that in the past, to see a photograph that was not ‘normal’, I would not give it a second thought, just blow it off.  Now, even though I may not fully understand the point, I find that if it effects me, good or bad, I want to try to understand why.

Best regards, Doug

January 5, 2008

Hahnemuhle printing issue

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Doug Stockdale @ 5:46 pm

Icy Creek

While printing my Foundations folio, I have had only one issue with the Hahnemuhle Photo Rag (308gm), which is with the Hahnemulhle feeding through my Epson 4800. This is a modest size printing project, as I needed to print only 130 cut sheets of 8-1/2″ x 11″ for the first printing of this folio.

I had heard about paper feeding issues with the matte Hahnemeuhle Photo Rag before this, so instead of printing all 10 sheets of a given image at a time, I reduced the print production to 5 sheets per run.  Seems that the heavy matte Photo Rag has some ‘dust’ that accumulates on the traction feed that caused the cut sheet to slip. I did not take a precaution of using my drafting wisk to give a the cut sheets a whipe before loading them into the printer.

About half way throught the 130 sheets I started having the mis-feeding issues.  I started getting two sheets coming through the printer at a time, sometimes out of phase, getting part of the image printed on the two different overlapping pages or have the image printed off center. I started wasting a bunch of paper. 

So I kept reducing the quantity of prints that I made for each batch until I am now printing them one at a time, loading only one cut sheet in the printer for each printing. It has doubled or tripled the time to print the remaining images, but I eliminated the print feeding issues and incorrect prints. I don’t know if this will be the same issue if I was using roll feed Hahnemuhle 308gm Photo Rag. Perhaps I will find out for the next printing of this folio.

Best regards, Doug

January 4, 2008

Memorial Shrine

Filed under: In Passing, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 5:34 pm

Memorial Shrine 241

I drive by this memorial shrine frequently on my daily commute and other side trips that I need to be on the 241 tollroad, thus I have continued to watch this memorial evolve.  I had made my image of this memorial last Spring for my series Bad Trip – Sad Trip and although not published in the print edition of LensWork #74, it is posted on my web site.

I know that this memorial is being tended to, as I have notice infrequent changes, such as some changes during Thanksgiving holidays at the end of November.  But I have never seen anyone stopping to look at this memorial until yesterday.  Granted, this memorial, like many others, is located on the edge of a busy Expressway and it does not have any direct path to get here.  Thus, to stop here is not convienant, but also a risk, thus not ‘viewer friendly’.

So seeing ahead a car parked on the side of the road at this memorial immediately had my attention, even being dusk and not the easiest thing to see.  As I quickly approached on the tollroad, I saw the distintive flash from a small camera as someone was taking a picture of it. hmmmmm

Although Lenswork #74 is now on the magazine racks at Barnes & Noble and probably other book stores, perhaps we will see more photos about Road Side Memorials. It will be interesting to see how others interput these within the landscape and our social fabric.

My questions as to why these memorials remain, why are they sustained, what is the long term emotional need for these memorials is still unanswered. Why have a memorial at the site of the accident and not in a graveyard where the body is interned? Is this a reaction to a trend in cremeations, where there is no final resting place. Difficult subject and very emotional on every account. So perhaps my interest in this series remains.

Best regards, Doug


January 3, 2008

Comfort Zone

Filed under: Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 4:45 pm


I think we all have those safe places where we can work comfortably. Sometimes we need to press that to help get out of a rut, to try something different, to go after a stretch goal.  I know, enough of the pom-pom stuff. But the idea of doing something different may have a very positive effect on us.  The problem of course is that it is also a risk, potential FAILURE and some are better at taking risk than others.

To take a risk and expland my comfort zone was the reason for my very personal project that is still in development, Insomnia: Hotel Noir. I am exploring my feelings and putting them out there, even to the point of including myself in the series. This is a huge stretch goal for me. I like neutral to slightly warm tone prints, thus the use of a blue tone is also a stretch for ME, maybe not you. But I had decided to get out of my comfort zone and so far, so good, eh?

So where is this going? I am now considering the Solo Photography Book Month project that was proposed by Paul Butzi. My creative work process has been somewhat purposefully slow, deliberate and introspective. It takes me a while to figure out why I react as I do, especially my feelings, ya knonw that guy thing again.

So to think of an idea for a book, but to also photograph and create the images as well as write the introduction and then pair and sequence the images into something cohesive and get it into a book template in a month is about to give me a mental breakdown just trying to understand the concept, least do it! But that does not mean that I am not going to try;- )

So my book is a flop, big whopeee!  But I bet that I do a better at it the next year, and maybe even better the next year. My goal is not to create a best seller book, but to challange myself, to maybe better understand myself and prehaps get a little mini project completed or the singular images for a Edition Folio as well.  Who knows where this is going to lead to, eh?

This should be fun, even if it will result in a neverous breakdown;- )

Best regards, Doug

Update: how funny, no body pointed out the visual pun of my selected image and my topic, both of which are about ‘comfort zones’. Honestly, I did not realize the tie-in between the two until later in the day, but I guess you all must have thought I knew what I was doing;- ) 

January 2, 2008

Looking – the first step

Filed under: Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 7:16 pm

El Cerrito 

Sometimes it seems very obvious, in order to ‘see’ or preceive, you have to ‘look’. Looking is an act, that is the start of the engagement of the mind to focus in on a certain subject or thing. Duh.

But how often we cruise throught life, not even looking.  I get that way when driving into work on a repetative basis. I have termed this the semi-awarness of my drive and it consititued the basis for my series in progress, A Sideways Glance. Thus, to stay in the moment can actually take a lot of concentration.

Thus over the weekend, while watching the morning show, they had a segment on brain exercises. hmmmm, I think I could use these;- )

But there was one that did fully engage me, a brain exercise to get yourself into focus.  This was a new one for me. I am aware of the Right Brain, Left Brain thing, as to understanding how to see what is in front of you in its current state and not as a symbol of what it is.

So what is this brain excercise?  Blink rapidily for ten seconds. Then blink slowly for another five seconds. Simple, eh?  I think that this falls into the Neurofeedback catagory, but it appears that when you do this, you really get the neurons fired up and working. You become very alert and it appears that your perception of your surrondings increases.

This blinking brain exercise is probably one of those first thing in the mornings exercises, but also before you start working on a task.  I have yet to try this as an excersie before the start of a photo session, but I am going to do this for a while to see what this does for my ‘creativity’. It can’t hurt, but who knows, it might help, and one thing for sure, I need all of the help I can get;- )

So start blink, blink looking and take that first step to full awareness.

Best regards, Doug

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