Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

September 30, 2013

Pine Lake – Want Good Fishing?


Untitled (fishing notice, Pennsylvania, Pine Lake) copyright 2013 Douglas Stockdale

While I was looking for fishing license and other fishing ephemera for my Pine Lake artist book as I was discussing yesterday with the Michigan fishing stamp, I kept having this particular Pennsylvania fishing notice, above, pop-up in my searches. hmmm, besides being very humorous, I was starting to guess that there must be a reason that this would keep appearing.

At this time in Pennsylvania, they had a pretty clear message, if you do WANT GOOD FISHING? OBEY THE LAW! For some reason having that part of the text in all caps with the exclamation mark, I think that they were really trying to make a point, eh? I am betting that the fishing warrens were not fooling around and if they found some rascal not following the law, they would get their butt through into jail.

So after I kept bumping into this fishing notice, it seemed apparent to me that this was a must-inclusion into my project. Thus everyone will get their own copy of this endearing fishing notice with their purchase of this artist book.


September 29, 2013

Pine Lake – 1950 Michigan Trout Stamp

Filed under: Art, Books, Photography, Pine Lake - artist book, Projects/Series — Doug Stockdale @ 6:00 pm


Untitled (sheet, 1950 Michigan Trout Stamp, Pine Lake) copyright 2013 Douglas Stockdale

While I was developing the dummy for my Pine Lake artist book, I came up with the idea that in addition to the book being in the ziplock that adding some other loose ephemera would provide another dimension to this project. What I was actually searching for were Pennsylvania fishing licenses, but turns out that they issued badges (pin on buttons) during this period. A pin-on badge might be a bit vexing to produce as well as potentially damage the book, so I started looking for other alternatives.

For some reason, I kept coming back to this 1950 Michigan Trout Stamp, which I thought looked pretty cool and might be a great addition to the book. But why include this trout stamp has still been bugging me. My only conclusion is that there is some autobiographic element to this bit of ephemera. Thus one of these little trout stamps, a little bit of me, will be included with each book.


September 28, 2013

Pine Lake – Artist book in fabrication


Untitled (Douglas Stockdale, Art Supply Warehouse, Westminster, CA)

For the last couple of days, I have been in the fabrication mode for Pine Lake, my artist book. One of the limitations to constructing this artist book was the 24″ paper cutter in my studio.  Thus after I purchased the 32″ x 40″ Crescent 20C chipboard for the backing on my custom wood frames, I took full advantage of the huge cutter at the art store to make blanks small enough for my paper cutter to trim to size.

So I like to say that this is a photograph of the artist at work :- D


September 26, 2013

Preparing Pine Lake for launch (Project PL)


Untitled (Art Supply Warehouse, Westminster, CA)

After figuring out that I do not need to obtain an ISBN for my Pine Lake project (what I have been referring to as the PL project), things seem to now be flowing smoother. As an hand made artist book in an edition of 25 which is being sold direct or by specialty photobook/artist book stores, the ISBN is not necessary.  Also, I can now freely talk about the project’s title without using some lame code name.

Last week I had a small artist talk about this artist book at the Irvine Fine Art Center and the response was wonderful. I received enough creative validation that I made the decision to proceed with publishing. I had been patiently working on the book dummy for about four months or more, but until I get in front of a group of peers, I can never tell what I working on will spark the imagination (or not). I am now thinking that the launch date for Pine Lake will be October 1st, next week.

In preparation for the artist book launch, I had to return to the Art Supply Warehouse in Westminster (CA), the artist candy store for all of Orange County. I know myself way toooo well, so I brought my shopping list (a guy thing?) to make sure that I did not walk out with a ton more stuff than I needed. As well as making sure I did not forget anything, as it is still a bit of drive up from south OC. Toooo easy to get distracted there, oops Squirrel!!

Oh, where was I? So now I am into the production mode for the artist edition. I will be revealing more about the design and content here on October 1st. I have been sending out some prepublication announcements about Pine Lake to my collectors and I just started contacting the specialty bookstores. It would be nice to have the participating bookstores lined up by my launch date.

I am also tweaking my supporting Pine Lake web page, which I will link up and announce on October 1st. Initially I was thinking of keeping the Pine Lake page very objective, which is to say, I was not providing my personal backstory on why this artist book came about. My thinking was to not distract the reader in order that they might freely construct their own narrative. Subsequently I have reconsidered and provided a little bit of my backstory. I have about five days to change my Charlie Brown mind again.


September 23, 2013

Trabuco Canyon – Samsung IV evaluation

Filed under: Photography — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 6:28 am


Untitled (Trabuco Canyon, CA) copyright 2013 Douglas Stockdale

For those who follow this blog, you know that I am not a camera equipment reviewer, but when I recently purchased the Samsung IV, one of the selling points over the III was the 13mp camera versus the 8mp. All things created equal, the intent with the Samsung was not to replace my small frame Canon Rebel XTi, which has a 10mp sensor for casual photography. Nevertheless, I notice I have been deferring to the Samsung for family events.

So this last weekend, we decided to take a walk down into Trabuco Canyon which runs adjacent to where I live. It has been a while since I have been down here and it was a spur of the moment decision during a walk to detour down into the canyon. Thus I was only carrying the Samsung and I did not have any intentions to take photos, just enjoy the walk. That said, we found this one area with the overgrown vines that has a very interesting look to it. I also noted that it was very contrasty, with the bright blue sky in the background and the foreground lost in the shadows, with some sunlight spilling onto some of the foreground leaves.

So I figured that this would be an interesting composition to find out what my recent purchase could handle. There are no exposure composition settings to fuss with or at least not any I am aware of. While taking the photograph, the flash did not go off, so the auto camera exposure meter thought that there was sufficient light. My PhotoShop tweaked version is above and the image with the original JPEG settings straight from the camera is below.

One thing that I did not anticipate that I found pleasing was the very wide ratio photograph, much wider than a traditional 35mm ratio that I would capture with my Canon 5D. Not quite wide enough to be a panoramic either, but I think it would interesting for investigating landscapes of all kinds.

For the really small sensor, I was not surprised that the highlights were blown out by the sunlight in the foreground or that the blue sky was lost in much of the top left. I used my RAW convertor in Photoshop to try to save these highlights but the textural detail in the highlights are gone, a common problem with digital capture. Likewise, I was not surprised as to how much detail I could pull out and open the shadow. Nevertheless, I did not to open the shadows too much in the final version above as I wanted to retain some mystery and I have a preference to make sure I have plenty of image that is clipped by the dark side. Likewise, I also added a layer for sharpening the luminosity, a curve layer to adjust the contrast as well as a slight tweak of the color temperature (a bit warmer) to suit my taste.

One of the fun aspects of PhotoShop is that I can quickly add another layer for a Black & White conversion and after a bunch of tweaks and adjustment, include this version as well, below.




September 16, 2013

Artist Book Project PL – another step closer


Untitled (Custom made wood frame with cover attached) copyright 2013 Douglas Stockdale

It appears that I am getting closer and closer to the publication of Pine Lake, my artist book project. In a follow-up to yesterday’s post, the glue has dried and my cover is intact on my custom made wood frame. whohooo! Nevertheless I need to fine tune the glue application process as it could look a little more elegant when completed. Likewise, as I look at the above photo of the results, I also need to tap in the framing brads a little more.

Meanwhile, printing the top cover was a bit vexing, as the revised increase in size to accommodate the wrap around the case spine did not allow me to use my desk top printer. About 1/2″ toooo wide. sheese. So I fired up the Epson 4800 and after some tweaking of the paper size & feed, arrived at some nice results. Which until I am ready to publish this project, I used a very shallow depth of field to obscure the text in the photo.

As to the questions I posed yesterday, I think I have my answer for the ISBN. I posted this question on a couple of Facebook photobook groups and some great responses. Short answer is that an ISBN is probably good for a high volume trade book but not necessary for a small edition artist book like mine. Cool! No ISBN for Pine Lake.

So I continue to work on my other two open questions.

Meanwhile I still have a few more details to take care of, such as completing the development of a web page for this project, which is almost there. I still need a couple more images to add to help illustrate the project. I have started to reach out to a couple of specialty bookstores and I am organizing an pre-sales email blast to those who purchased my book Ciociaria who will get first dibs on purchasing this project.


Oh yeah, for those who are very inquisitive about this mysterious project, I am leaving more clues.

September 15, 2013

Artist Book Project PL – update


Untitled (Interior of custom made wood frame) copyright 2013 Douglas Stockdale

Back in August, I thought that I was posting the most boring photograph about Pine Lake, my artist book project, which I had taken to call by a code name: PL. Perhaps in first glance that appears even MORE boring, but I beg to differ as I see that this object now has a more refined elegance. Okay, as to the object, it is the an interior view of my custom made wood frame for my artist book (dummy version #2). This is the base of the frame glued to the hardwood framing. Gone are the belts & suspenders and this frame now appears very clean and nice.

I have let the PL project set a little while pondering the next question, how to attache the cover without using another set of belt and suspenders? For my first book dummy, I had used double stick tape to hold the top cover in place. The problem is that in about an hour later the top cover was starting off the frame, as the double stick was not doing the job. So then after some aesthetic contemplation, I used two more 3/8″ staples to hold the cover in place (not shown), which worked but looked like crap. The corner edges were still lifting and I did not like the appearance of the staples. Similar to my concerns for the bottom of the frame, I did not want those staples to inadvertently bung-up another book that might be placed in close approximation.

And then I arrived at another elegant solution which is being tested out. I am using the same wood glue for the hardwood frame to glue the top cover on. To ensure that it will stay in place, I am also gluing the top cover to the frame spine and then wrapping it around to glue on the one frame edge. I will use the bone tool to provide a double crease to allow the top cover flap to open easily. More about that later.

So now I have some other issues to consider for this project and hopefully obtain some nice feedback.

First is the edition size of the artist book? Initially I was thinking of an edition of 100 books but now thinking that this may be too many for my first artist book. I have noticed that others have keep the edition sizes at about 25, so this is now my current thinking. I had been targeting a couple of artist book stores in Europe, but with the recent shipping of a book to Europe, the price has increase about $10.00, almost doubling the cost to $23.00. Yikes, this is going to be an expensive artist book outside the U.S. So now I am looking at four or five artist/photo book stores in the U.S. which reduces that amount of books I might be able to sell.

Second question is do I need to obtain an ISBN for this artist book? I have frequently seen the ISBN for editions of 100 but not for small edition artist books. The issue is that obtaining an ISBN costs about $125.00 and then when that is amortized over 10, 20 or even 25 books, it starts to raise my cost and reduce my margins for book store pricing. Especially if I plan to produce 25 books but actually sell less than that (early supporter gifts, maybe a review copy or two and one reserved for exhibitions). The one upside is that acquiring the ISBN provides a little more visibility for the book.

Last question is the most delicate one, the price. I am sure that my collectors would like this to be as low as possible while other artist point to all of the indirect costs of producing the book that should be incorporated. There is a lot of my labor in these books; constructing the outer shell, printing the interior cover and pages, the hole punching and the finally assemblies. Especially since I am thinking that this artist book may be available only through a few select artist book stores, so I need to discount the cost of the book to them. Or maybe sell half of the edition through bookstores and sell half myself. Just not sure at the moment.


September 14, 2013

Schipol, Netherlands

Filed under: Instant Nomad, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 7:26 pm


Untitled (Schipol, Netherlands #6653) copyright 2013 Douglas Stockdale

This is the stuff that drives me crazy. While developing a project, much like a cat who is stalking a mouse, I am easily distracted by a interesting ball of yarn.

I have developed another almost complete set of photographs that I find interesting and that have a very different narrative than the project I am trying to complete. One seems very organized and subject specific, while the other is vague and ambiguous. Perhaps there is a way to tie the two together, but I have not figured that out yet. A work in progress.


September 11, 2013

Fiumicino, Italy

Filed under: Instant Nomad, Photography, Projects/Series — Doug Stockdale @ 3:06 am


Untitled (Fiumicino, Italy #7224) copyright 2013 Douglas Stockdale

More tweaking of the photographs for this project; contrast adjustments, cropping modifications and moving some photographs to the back-up folder. Started early discussions with one publisher and moved another into the reserve pile. It does not work for me when publishers start asking for a $250.00 fee just so that you can provide them with your submission.

For this photograph, I have been thinking about cloning out one of the cars, but if there any cars left to indicate scale, why not leave them all.


September 8, 2013

Schipol, Netherlands


Untitled (Schipol, Netherlands, #6659) copyright 2013 Douglas Stockdale

As I continue to develop this project, I also gain more clarity as to what is inclusive and what might be eliminated. This is an interesting and iterative process and one that I enjoy. I am also at the point in time at which I have started to expand on my writing about this concept as I think about pending publishing submissions.

Regretfully I am also at a point at which self-doubt rears its ugly head as I explore the alternatives. sigh.

So this is a time to be positive during a period of introspection about what really interests me in this project. Hopefully others will find it of interest too.


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