Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

January 9, 2018

Middle Ground – Rough Edit

20180108 Rough_edit_evaluation_123810-01

Middle Ground, Rough Edit, 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

While continuing to document my morning walks as a potential project, back in the studio I am developing my Middle Ground book project. At the end of last year I announced that this project is my MoPLA submission. So over the holidays I was working on the rough edit of my photo files.

The initial goal is to reduce the 1,060 photographs for this project into something more manageable. Thus I can say that I am pass Stage 1 of my photobook project per my Guide to Self-Publishing an Indie Artist Book and probably finished Stage 2, rough edit. I am currently hovering around 55 photographs to work with for the photobook layout. I have also reworked each of these image files multiple times to get the cropping, framing, color management, sharpening and contrast where I think I want it.

At the moment the goal for the book is between 20 and 26 interior images, so that means another 50% reduction for the final edit. Which I think is not bad place to be right now. The next step gets trickier; which and where of each photograph in the sequencing of the final edit.

I am still on track for a self-publishing release for the Spring 2018 publication season. Once I quickly finish the fine edit, I will still send out an inquiry to a couple of other publishers to see if they might consider this for their Fall 2018 release (maybe consider a spring 2019 release with the right deal, but I think time is of the essence for the purpose of this political satire). Still a big list of things yet to do!

Also at a place where it might make sense to upload this final selection on my web site, so more about that later when it’s completed.



January 6, 2018

Hasselblad Jamnation Blues

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:35 pm


150mm C with two extension tubes, Hasselblad 500 C/M, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I got the blues

Yeah, I got them blues

I got them Hasselblad jamnation blues

Ohhhh yeah, I do, I got them jamnation blues

Yesterday I received the bad news on the cost of fixing my 500 C/M body that was all jammed up as I earlier reported. After California taxes this will probably cost me about $200 bucks. About 1/3 the cost of a used but slightly newer 501 or 503 body. sigh.

Of course in the process of trying to do the initial fix of the camera myself I end up finding all of the on-line articles about how tricky it is to use the Hasselblad extension tubes, especially with the older lens, like mine. And the older 150mm C f/4 Sonnar (again, mine) are especially tricky and there even appears to be a secret handshake on how to mount and unmount this lens with the extension tubes. So I am not going back to this lens set up again and I will probably sell the two extension tubes I have. Snake-oil.

So now I am thinking that if I want to have macro images for at least one of my on-going project, Memory Pods, I am going to need to consider purchasing a used 120mm CF f/4 Makro-Planar. I have read enough to understand that the older 120mm C lens are not very good in comparison to the CF model and the newer CFi is not that much of an improvement for what I want to photograph over the CF model (and save a few bucks in the process over the cost of a 120mm CFi). Also thinking that I might be able to use this lens for two other projects as well, so potentially not a one-off project purchase.

Always something, eh?


PS did I mention I still have two to three weeks to get the body back from the repair shop? sigh. So I am still using the Canon 5DMk3 with the 50mm f/1.4 in the mean time. Not a bad digital back-up option.


January 2, 2018

Morning walks – staying off the grid

Filed under: Path to Somewhere, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:52 pm


Tijeras Creek Trail, December 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Earlier I had discussed how my morning walks have taken a bit of detour off into the “wild” as a trade-in for the neighborhood sidewalks and my usual route for the past many years. After a number of experiment/play photographs documenting my walks with the cell phone camera, I thought it was time to bring some other camera equipment to further explore this photographic project. In preparation for the next phase of investigation, I instead encountered the Hasselblad jamnation.

When faced with lemons, my motto is to make lemonade; so while my 500 C/M body is being fixed, I opted to take my walks with the 5DMk3 with the 50mm EF f/1.4 canon prime lens and not even bring along the 24-105mm zoom. The 50mm “normal” lens would be the equivalent focal length for my 80mm lens with the Hasselblad. I wanted to contemplate that when restricted to just this “normal” prime lens focal length, might this work in my visual investigation and are consistent with my earlier cell phone experience.

After my return to the studio and downloading the digital files, the next step was to crop the image square, similar to the Hasselblad 6x6cm format. Still teetering between color and black & white images, and maybe even incorporate both into this project. Meanwhile, still using Photoshop for the digital black & white conversion. For film, I am thinking of using color negative versus color positive and after scanning the negatives, converting with Photoshop to black & white as an option to evaluate.



December 31, 2017

Best creative wishes for 2018!


Morning walk, Trabuco Canyon, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

On the brink of 2018 I think is a nice time to reflect on the achievements (and maybe even some of the screw-ups) of this past year, while looking forward to the opportunities and possibilities of the New Year.

So what do I have a chance to pat myself on the back about for 2017?

A bunch of things are just the continuation of my on-going artists and photographic projects; writing my random thoughts for this blog, providing photographic/artist book reviews for The PhotoBook Journal, portfolio and submission reviews for LensCulture, portfolio reviews for Los Angeles Center for Photography (LACP), curating the photobook submissions & curatorial talks for Photo Independent, and providing mentoring to other photographers/artist on the development of their book/projects. Likewise I continue development of long term photographic/artist projects; Memory Pods, Middle Ground, Instant Nomad and Gardening for Ordinance.

Bluewater Shore; self-published my limited edition artist book  which was launched this spring at Photo Independent. I had been developing this artist book for the past four years, so it was really great to finish this publication, which was recently selected by Elizabeth Avedon as one of her Best Photographic Books for 2017, and made Viory Schellekans Best Photo Books of 2017. (Also a few copies of this edition are still available, so contact me if interested;

Guide to Self-publishing an Indie Artist Book; an unexpected self-published book that I received a commission to complete in time for it’s launch at the Medium Festival of Photography this fall. This book draws heavily upon my Introduction to Photo Book design workshops.

Introduction to Photo Book workshop; In conjunction with Los Angeles Center for Photography (LACP) last spring, I led the first of two workshops this year for LACP. We are already planning the next workshop with LACP for fall of 2018, so watch for more details next year. These workshops have also led to more mentoring for photobook development with individual artist/photographers and organizations.

So what lays ahead for 2018? As the photograph above hopefully implies; an uncertain future on a path that only a few walk, with some potential hills (ups and downs) lurking ahead with the end of the path obscured by the trees. There’s also the thorny cactus lurking just off the trail.  Okay, it’s a bit of a classic metaphor, but I enjoy it all the same.

One goal for 2018 is the (self) publication of Middle Ground this spring (working on the book dummy during the holidays). Continue development of the other photographic projects. In discussions with my Associate Editor, Gerhard Clausing, about a ten-year anniversary photobook for The PhotoBook Journal.

On a personal note, I still need to lose another 5 pounds this year (did lose 10 pounds this fall) and get my blood pressure further down with modifications to my diet (a bit less wine, reducing the amount of salt, more fish, fruits and vegtables) in conjunction with frequently daily walks of a duration that is at least an hour. For the later, I am now venturing more off the beaten path that has led to the start of another photographic project about walking (I have a working title, but more about this in 2018 as I tweak the project’s artist statement). Maybe two walking project since I have been walking both the nature trails and the local ocean beaches, as well the local neighborhoods. I will continue to follow my muse and really interested to see how this all will develop!

So as we prepare for the New Year, I wish you all the very creative best for 2018!



December 30, 2017

Bluewater Shore – Best Photographic Book of 2017

Bluewater Shore limited edition artist book

Bluewater Shore, limited edition artist book 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I am very honored that my limited edition artist book Bluewater Shore was just selected by Elizabeth Avedon, the renown NYC book designer, as one of her Best Photographic Books for 2017.  Concurrently, I am really excited that Bluewater Shore is also included on Viory Schelleken’s Mega-List of Best Photo Books for 2017. Wow!

A very, very nice way to end the year and a beautiful start the New Year.

As a result, since I still have a few copies of the Bluewater Edition available, I am going to offer free shipping for the next two weeks. Contact me for details;


btw, I need to update the links for this blog, but we have family visiting, thus I will work on this another day ;- )

Bluewater Shore with clear slip cover

December 24, 2017

Happy Holidays & a Great New Year!

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:02 pm


Christmas card, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Wishing everyone the very best for the holidays and a great New Year! Although we celebrate Christmas, we want to extend warm wishes to you for however you celebrate this time of year.

My discussion about the development of our annual Christmas card can be found here.

I also signed a few of the Christmas cards I sent out as a subtle inference that this 2004 winter photograph was created by me. I have not done this in the past, but thinking I might do this for the future, perhaps as a limited edition card with the edition number on the back.


December 23, 2017

Hasselblad jamnation

Filed under: Photography, Uncategorized — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:40 pm


Hasselblad, prism, 150mm lens with extension tubes copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

In my recent post about my walks off the grid and the potential start of a new photographic project, I had stated that I need to start carrying my Hasselblad film rig with me to continue this exploration. Which meant that I needed to remove the 150mm lens with the two extension tubes (above) that I am using for my Memory Pods project and then mount my 80mm lens.

Uh oh, the lens did not want to come off this morning and as I quickly feared, I was hit with the dreaded & infamous Hasselblad lens jam. Oh jamnation.

Fear not, I have been down this path before, so I quickly removed the film back and using a small tool, manually cocked the shutter and presto, the lens came off. Very nice.

Uh oh, the 80mm lens will not mount on the 500 C/M body. First check to make sure the 80mm lens shutter was cocked; check. Then make sure the body was also in the same phase; check. Then what the heck was going on?  Cotton picking Hasselbad jamnation!!

So over to my favorite local camera shop who specialize in used camera gear and where I have purchase all of my used Hasselblad equipment. They fiddled and fiddled and came to the same conclusion; the body was jammed and it needs to see a specialist. All of this just before the holidays. Normally a one to two weeks to get a quote from the repair shop but now I am looking at mid-January before I find out the prognoses as well as the cost of the fix. sigh. My oars for the 6×6 and film are temporarily out of the water.

All the while a used Hasselblad 503cx was available at the shop (8+ quality). Nice feature about the newer Hasselblad body’s is the gliding mirror to reduce the mirror slap and it has the TTL for a specialized strobe (thinking it might work with my Norman studio strobes as well). Although tempting, I first need to figure out what’s happening with old 500 C/M body first, then consider replacement options if I need to go down that path. I would rather spend that same amount on a used Hasselblad 60mm CF lens.

So in the meantime I will carry the 5DMk3 with me instead on my walks.


December 22, 2017

Morning walks – off the grid

Filed under: Path to Somewhere, Projects/Series — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 5:27 pm


Morning Walk, Tijeras Creek, Orange County 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

This past week I decided to change-up my morning walk. Instead of traversing the local neighborhood sidewalks I ventured into the  adjacent park and dirt paths.  I realized this was an opportunity to exercise my experiment/play practice in conjunction with my Samsung S5; so I documented where I was going in conjunction with what else I noticed along the way.

Befitting my experiment/play practice I am enjoying the visual results of going off-road. I am now consider moving into another camera format and probably start carrying the Hasselblad along with a tripod to continue this exploration. This change will increase the load a little more as this also includes carrying the spot meter, so I may need to rethink my walking gear. With film, always the decision of what to use; black & white or color and if color, negative or positive? Some decisions to make before starting the next phase.

Since I do try to take an extended walk each morning I foresee the possibilities of this becoming over time a full blown photobook project. I can work on this while first finishing my Middle Ground project I hope to publish in Spring of 2018. Since I can be so easily distracted, I need to continually remind myself of my priorities.


December 18, 2017

Christmas Card Time of Year

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 6:53 pm


Mammoth, 2004 copyright Douglas Stockdale

It tis the Christmas season!

Which also means creating the annual Christmas card to send out with our good wishes for the holidays to our extended family. So ensues the annual rite of selecting the Christmas appropriate photograph, then off to Costco for bulk printing and finally the weekend of addressing and subsequent mailing.

First, the Christmas image which for my family means something that suggests winter, which also means something with snow. The trouble is that in Southern California we rarely see snow (even today, temperature is the low 70’s F), unless we go “visit” it. As I recall that in Israel where Jesus was born has similar climate as us, so why this “snow” thing with my family? Perhaps growing up in Michigan, there was usually a lot of snow during Christmas. So this usually means that I need to go back through all of my skiing photographs to find a landscape that might be appropriate. In this case above, this was a 2004 ski trip to Mammoth which is located the California Serra Mountains. If I recall it was a really snowy day and I had a little Canon G2 4mp camera tucked into my ski jacket. Made for a nice photograph.

Next, I like to see images printed since the cards will be printed, so I  upload this image to PhotoShop and then while trying to get the Epson 4800 ink nozzles unclogged, I ran out of Light Black ink. Way too many head cleaning cycles this time. Okay, I knew I was on the edge of needing a new ink cartridge, but thought I was going to be okay, so regretfully I did not have the replacement on hand. poop! Off to one of the local camera shops (Samy’s in Santa Ana), and realizing that my Light Cyan was on the edge of running out, saw it prudent to buy both cartridges. Light Cyan was not in stock, but thank goodness the Light Black ink was. So I was quickly back in business tweaking and printing my image.

Printing of the Christmas cards was quickly accomplished overnight  and I was able to select the layout ahead of time on their web site and probably could have down loaded the image as well, but I am a bit old school, so I went to the store to manually input my design into the template.

This past weekend spent almost the entire day writing out the cards, which were sealed and delivered to the post office late last night. Done!

So wishing you all a wonderful Christmas holiday and a great New Year.



December 15, 2017

Beach Walk – Newport Beach

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:02 am


Seaweed, Newport Beach, December 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Last weekend I had a chance to leisurely walk the beach in a California State Park located just outside of Newport Beach, CA. This was a little confirmation that I still find myself drawn to creating black & white photographic images.

Although resembling a study with a view camera, most of this image and subsequent processing was completed with my Samsung S5 and SnapSeed. Today I did a little more contrast tweaking in Photoshop to tease out a bit more of the flow lines in the sand created by the receding surf. I was intrigued by the found-art design of the way the seaweed was naturally positioned by the surf. Serendipity that I took advantage of with my framing of the composition and subsequently working with the black and white conversion.

As a lark, I also added the “film” border to provide more of that Edward Weston view camera look. Very modern! (hopefully hints at being contemporary, but I doubt it)


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