Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

March 16, 2016

Rain drizzles – amazing water effects

Filed under: Photography — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 11:45 pm


RSM, CA March 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

After just posting about photographing the rainy reflections found on my back patio, we soon had another round of rain which was followed by some steady drizzles. Yep, there was a similar refection on my patio (changes a little bit each time), but no call to action on my part. That is until I went to another window looking out on my back yard just as the drizzles were finishing and my roses were illuminated by a soft indirect light coming though the remaining thin clouds. I was immediately dazzled by a sea of shimmering leaves, as if these were layered with jewels. So much so that I jumped into a pair of out-door shoes and went out to investigate. What I found was really interesting.

The rain drops were nicely formed and sitting like small crystal beads on top and along the edges of the rose leaves; amazing! I am not a chemist per se, but I suspect that this visual treat was created from a combination of the tension of the pure water (yes, not going to get this same effect with the domestic water out of the house-hose; too many chemicals) and the new spring rose leaves. I just could not stop taking photographs with my smartphone, which I have learned focuses very close to be able to achieve these results. This was actually a lot of fun.

So after many years of photography, I am beginning to suspect that a 100 mm macro for the 5DMk3 maybe in my future.

Below are the additional images that I created from this morning’s shoot which were tweaked in-camera with SnapSeed, subsequently posting these directly to Instagram (@douglasstockdale) and shared on Facebook. Bottom most is a color version of one of my compositions.








March 12, 2016

Rainy day reflections

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:51 pm


RSM CA January 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I have to admit that on rainy days, especially in the morning when the available sunlight casts some interesting shadows, I enjoy photographing the reflections on my back patio.

First, I have always been drawn to wet reflections as a subject for a long time, while realizing that this is a subject that has been thoroughly investigated for the better part of 90 years, so perhaps photographs that can easily become trite and redundant. In this case, I am not trying to make any new artistic statements or develop a new insight or concept. This is just an enjoyment of the photographic process in combination with something that I observed and have some pure fun playing around with.

There is a bit of intrigue with the use of wet reflections, a duality similar to window reflections that had intrigued the Surrealist in the 1930’s. The subject appears realistic while have some abstract qualities with the reversal of the reflected image a bit disorienting. Nevertheless, in recent times we see these reflected and disorienting images so frequently that many can quickly make sense of them to unwind the visual content.

I have continued to photograph versions of this wet composition if for no reason as to it’s convenience, as I do not have to venture very far in order to experiment with the various compositions. And yes, I do eventually start playing with the quantity, layout and design pattern of the leaves in conjunction with the reflections, hopefully not let the resulting photographs appear too contrived.

FYI, the image above was one that I created in PhotoShop, while those below were processed in-camera with my Samsung 5S in conjunction with SnapSeed. Also the ones below were directly uploaded to Instagram & Facebook.








March 10, 2016

PhotoBook Competition Judge

Filed under: Art Market, Books, Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:39 pm


Photobook Independent – Photobook Competition 2016

I have some great news, I am honored to be recently selected as one of the judges of the PhotoBook Competition this year as a part of the Photo Independent activities occurring at the end of April in Los Angeles. I just posted a quick update as to the judges and the submission timing on my other blog The PhotoBook,  so check it out if you would like some more information.

If you have a published book and copies still available for sale, then you may want to check this opportunity out now (deadline for mailing submissions is March 21st!). I am now looking forward to all of the submissions, as this should be great chance for me to get a quick pulse on the photographic community.


On the road again

Filed under: Instant Nomad, Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:12 pm

02-24-16 I-5 Reststop Oceanside_CA _111436-04_Coexist

I-5 Rest stop, near Oceanside, CA 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Unlike my earlier international travels as part of my day-job, my recent travels are more about a series of local day-trips either driving down to San Diego or up to Los Angeles. Both of these locations, as well as many of the places in between, are interesting as is the journey itself. Admittedly, I really do not need to make any stops between my home studio and my destination, but I am always on the look-out for a reason why.

On my recent trips to San Diego, I have noted a new series of roadside memorials for my project In Passing, which one of these memorials is located on the outskirts of a rest stop on I-5 just before I reach Oceanside. I do not usually make it a practice to visit the various highway rest stops, but as a result of spending some time at the Oceanside location, I beginning to get an idea for another project. So similar to my post yesterday, while I am documenting the roadside memorial, I am also trying to be open and observe what else is occurring around me at these places.

In this case, there are the usually number of cars and trucks making a quick pit stop, but I also notice those few who are on a longer journey and making more of a protracted stop. Since I am just an observer, it is interesting to speculate what might all be going on? I do know that the RV in the photograph above was parked deliberately in the shade as earlier I had noted three dogs lounging in the shade adjacent to the RV’s side door.

Who knows, maybe one day I will get the nerve up to strike a conversation and find out more about them?


02-24-16_I-5 Reststop Oceanside_CA_111400-03

March 7, 2016

Pensive observation

Filed under: Photography — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 11:32 pm

02-24-16 San Diego_105904-01

San Diego, February 24, 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

A little bit unusual for me is this photograph of a man I observed who was standing on the bluffs above the Pacific Ocean in San Diego looking out to sea. Unusual in that I am much more prone to photograph “things” than “people”, so a visual stretch for me. Probably helps me a lot that he was not looking at me.

I am pretty sure I know what he was watching, which were the US Naval/Marine maneuvers I had noticed earlier off in the same direction. He was very absorbed while holding his stance for a pretty long duration. I had thought about another perspective for this photograph that might include the Navy ships and activity on the near horizon, but I felt that this composition was ambiguous and mysterious, thus a stronger and perhaps more interesting photograph.


March 3, 2016

February just flew by…

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 2:04 am


Vail (Lionshead) CO February 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Wow, where in the heck did February go? Well one thing we did was our annual ski trip to Vail, Colorado, which allowed me to capture/create the photograph above. So that essentially took care of a week and half driving to Vail, then down to Denver for a few days and then the return drive. Yes, occasionally taking photographs, but not working them other than some in-camera tweaks with the SnapSeed app, which is how the above image was created.

As with most holidays, the days before we left were jammed with getting the things done that would allow a less-stress holiday. Then upon the return, getting slammed with all of the things that now needed to be completed and nobody was working on while we were away. That included both the home-front and the day-job. Also found a stack of new books to add to my mess. Now I have down-loaded all of my photographs, mean-while making a few more.

So I am just now feeling like I have somewhat caught up, so I slightly tweaked the above image in Photoshop and back to posting here. Yep, more to come!


Btw, I was coming down Simba run and when I came barreling around the corner, this landscape vista greeted me, which stopped me in my (ski) tracks. At this point, I was pretty much down the mountain, so I was able to fill the foreground with the village and yet include the opposite mountain as a backdrop. I am pretty pleased with this documentary style landscape photograph.

February 1, 2016

One foggy morning

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

01-17-16 RSM fog_073943-01_TCGC_tree

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!


Note: When I initially posted this photograph and article, I did the mistake I call brainless posting. Which is to say that when I finished working on the image and I saved it as a JPEG to post, I automatically sized it for the blog; 1200 pixels wide. Which regretfully distorted the photograph on the web, it was too large and created hallows around the tree limbs and everywhere there as any contrast. You can still see some of that now within the image. So after realizing the error of my ways, I went back into photoshop and saved the image at its original size of about 750 pixels, which allows the image to retain its resolution much better on the web.

January 22, 2016

Photo l.a. opening last night

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


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.



January 15, 2016

Self-Assignment – Lemons

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


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


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.

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