San Clemente, CA 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale
So my latest experiment-fun that I have been playing around with is photographing the ocean, surf & sky when I happen to be driving near and subsequently posting on Instagram (@douglasstockdale) as my Weather & Surf Report. As you might imagine, we live close by and my daughter lives even closer, so this becomes a frequently opportunity, especially when I need to drop off someone at the San Clement train station which is just yards away from this ocean beach. I enjoy watching the surf, the smell of the salt air, and the various sounds of the surf and beach, but I was not really drawn to photograph it until recently. Not sure that I want to do a long exposure or in black & white, but perhaps documenting this natural landscape (while the local coastal train zooms by behind me) in color.
I have not been that consistent in my framing, but experimenting with options; leaning towards a lot more atmospheric sky than the ocean & beach.
See what develops, eh? Meantime, having some fun.
Trabuco Canyon I, copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale
Between the recent rain storms in Southern California, we decided to take a short walk (yeah, not really a hike) through part of the Trabuco Canyon we live adjacent to. Must admit, I am still drawn to the irregular shapes of what we call the lazy Sycamore trees that are found in this canyon. The jumble of spaces, lines, textures and masses are really visually interesting to me, so I decided to have some experimental-fun with this landscape (again). I also could not help working on a variety of framing and presentations; full frame, square (Instagram posting), rectangle, color, black & white, straight, interpretative, layering of effects. Since I no longer consider myself a nature landscape photographer, I did not feel like it was necessary to have a particular “artistic” visual style, but just to experiment and have some photographic fun.
And I have ;- )
Saddle Stitch Fastener copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale
I have bought one new item for 2017 (and I am still looking for that used 50mm CF Distagon for the Hasselblad), which is pictured above, what is called a Saddle Stitch Fastener, or a stapler on steroids. I will be using this book binder for my LACP Introduction to Book Design workshop later this spring to demo how to make a saddle stitch binding for a small book. The saddle stitch binding is one of the two book binding methods I will be demonstrating during the workshop.
This binder is stated to handle up to 20 sheets, so I would consider this lightweight equipment, which is a good start for my publishing company. It is an idea method to create a simple book dummy to work on the sequencing and pairing of the images for a book. This is also a popular way to create a small edition book, as I have a bunch of intriguing photobooks in my library that are bound together with saddle stitch binding, such as those by the New Zealand photographer Harvey Benge.
I also have an great idea on how I will be making a small limited edition book with the class during the workshop as a fun start and will become a unique class takeaway. I have already completed the book dummy for it and I need to work-up the interior text, probably about 12 interior pages in all. I will print the stiffcover with my Epson printer using a double-sided Epson matte photo paper and print the interior sheets with my desktop letter printer. I think it will be an interesting surprise for those attending on the first day of the workshop.
And I may be making a few other small edition books as a result. Lots of possibilities!
Bluewater Shore copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale
So if life is not crazy enough, I might be also looking to self-publish in 2017 my photobook Bluewater Shore, the second in my series of Holiday Snaps project (the first being Pine Lake). Honestly, this project took a little holiday when (1) it took a lot of energy to market and sell Pine Lake in 2014, (2) I did not have the investment funds to print it (even after I received a much better quote) and worse (3), I lost (okay it turns out I miss placed it) my completed book dummy for Bluewater Shore. After searching for this darn thing for almost six months I was feeling a bit deflated and although I had all of the pieces to build another dummy, I just did not feel like doing it.
Well that all changed yesterday, while looking for something else in back of my files I spied a little bit of baby blue; could it be?? Yep, there was my Bluewater Shore book dummy in the oddest of files.My bad. But finding this bookdummy was very, very nice!
So I have been back working on the digital files for the interior of this book today while confirming that the sequence that I developed two years ago still made sense. Yep, looking good! The nice thing about the conceptual intent for this narrative is that it is sequenced in a chronological order, much as you would go thru a roll of processed film after a holiday vacation, similar in narrative style of Pine Lake. Second, I now have the funds to go to print and complete that aspect. The limited edition is till going to be 100 copies, which I am still planning to hand bind and then personally inscribe each book. Since I do have all of the parts, maybe I can have this completed for the Spring book season, so stayed tuned if this artist book is of interest.
Oh, like Pine Lake, I am still thinking of adding a few little extras ;- )
Untitled (Middle Ground) copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale
Something that has not really captured my attention for some time is working with video. I am of that generation in which movies were made with super-8mm film, a real bear to edit (actually had to physically splice the film together) and trying to add sound was an actual nightmare. To do movies right also meant investing in 16mm equipment, so still photograph made life so much easier. Even when I purchased the Canon 5DMk3, which has professional HD video capabilities, I did not even read the manual on how to use this feature until very recently (yes, like over this last New Years holiday while I was sicker than a dog).
So what prompted this wild & crazy idea? While photographing the Middle Ground project, I came up with the idea of doing a video of the same freeway urban landscape that I was looking at as I did the slow pokey drive in the bumper to bumper traffic. What might that urban landscape look like as a video, as I had no idea. The idea is that the video would complement an exhibition of the still photographs to provide another visual alternative to this same project. This is in addition to photographing this landscape project with my Hasselblad (still have not purchased the 50mm CF Distagon yet), which I wrote about here.
I knew that my daughter’s brother-in-law Cameron has a sound studio in Santa Ana, but I had not realized the amount of video that he has also worked with until we started talking about it over the holidays. The reason I even brought it up with him is that Kevin, a good friend of mine, has been playing piano for many, many years and while listening to his CD it occurred to me think that this might provide a nice background sound track to my video, which it turns out, Kevin was game for. So I was primarily asking Cameron about his ability to add this sound track to my video. No problem! I then received a interesting mini-lesson in video and what I could do with my 5DMk3, which then prompted me to want to actually read the manual ;- )
2016 was my year to try Instagram and 2017 may be my year to try video. Who knew?