Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

March 25, 2016

Revising Black and White Conversion workflow

Filed under: Lest I Forget, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:45 pm

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Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, California, 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

In my last post discussing my evaluation of a new work flow for Photoshop CC, what was implied, but not really stated was that one of the key CC attributes under evaluation was the conversion of my color digital photographic files to Black and White images.

What had inspired my earlier change from Photoshop CS to CS3 was the addition of the Black and White Adjustment layer. Wow, was this every a great process improvement. Now with Photoshop CC comes the companion Adobe Bridge CC, which is the adobe RAW image processor. Bridge CC has incorporated an additional two color channels to further refine and tweak the color to black and white conversion. I am only amazed that Adobe was smart to include two additional color channels (Orange and Aqua) in Bridge CC, but did not think to add these two additional channels to the Photoshop Black & White Adjustment level. sigh.

Although I enjoy the further fine tuning that can be accomplished with Bridge CC during the RAW conversion, it does mean making a commitment to the Black and White adjustment settings before opening the file in Photoshop. As an adjustment layer in Photoshop it was easy to make some other changes to the image (such as a Curves Layer adjustment change) and then rethink my Black & White settings, followed by opening the Black & White adjustment layer and tweak the settings.

Martin Evening provides two options to make the Black and White conversion in RAW, one results in a Grayscale file (HSL/Grayscale RAW & Hue tab, click Convert to Grayscale, make adjustments and open file) and the other can opens as a RGB file (same HSL/Grayscale RAW panel, but select Saturation tab, move all of the sliders to -100 to entirely desaturate, then open the Luminance tab and make the adjustments to obtain your Black and White conversion, but then you can still return to the main RAW panel and make further adjustments with the Vibrance and Saturation sliders).

I tried both RAW conversion options, but I found that the direct to Grayscale seemed to work the best for me (at this time), which is the revised version of my image, above. For reference my first attempt with the RAW Black & White conversion is provided below, which is a just tad bit darker overall than I envisioned. Even so, it is not too far off the mark.

Now I think I okay to get back to working my new files for the In Passing – Lest I Forget project. Nevertheless, I still have a few new RAW tricks to iron out for the color photographs.

Cheers!

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March 24, 2016

Revising my Photoshop workflow

Filed under: In Passing, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:42 pm

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Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, California, 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Late last year I moved from Photoshop CS3 to the Adobe Photoshop subscription CC (aka the 2015 version). A bit of new CC changes were in the way the RAW Browes/converter looked and functioned; a few of the controls were not so obvious to obtain the same actions in CC as I had become well accustomed to in CS3 (one of those nagging reasons I usually resist software upgrades).

One of my easy & quick investments to fix this issue was acquiring a copy of Martin Evening’s “Adobe Photoshop CC for Photographers”, espcially since I was relatively happy with Evening’s CS3 version. So first thing I accomplished was how to make my CS3 workflow function with CC. And I was content for a while.

Now I am back into Evening’s book and realizing the greater functionality of the RAW converter to make even more corrections to my image prior to opening it in Photoshop. So even though I am not through reading the RAW section of his book (I am now into the fine tuning options), I wanted to check his recommended RAW workflow that might replace a bunch of what I was correcting/tweaking in Photoshop before.

I have two versions of one of my recent photographs from my In Passing – Lest I Forget project posted here. The version above is with Evening’s CC RAW workflow, and below is a version that I had developed last month with my old CS3 workflow. Even before printing these two versions I could see one big difference in the high contrast with my old CS3 workflow output, which required an adjustment layer to burn-in and try to control some of the highlights (and even then, not entirely successful). The CC image has a lower degree of contrast due to using the RAW contrast slider, which I adjusted the bulk of the data curve back towards center, reducing the overall contrast of the image. While still in RAW I adjusted the highlights and whites to control the very white and almost blown out plastic flowers on the memorial. On the CS3 image, I still have the whites of this same flower right at the edge of being blown out even after burning it in with an adjustment curve layer.

For the CC photograph as a printed image, the results appear quite nice. I like it.

So am I full convert to the new workflow; maybe. I have been making a lot of macro image adjustments with RAW before this while using CS3, so working in the RAW window is not entirely new. Nevertheless, I will work with Evening’s recommendations and after some evaluation, keep those that seem to be making life a little easier.

Now hopefully with these workflow changes I will not decide to go crazy and think that I now need to re-evaluate every RAW image I had every made. (I have done this before when I made the change from CS to CS3!)

Cheers!

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March 21, 2016

Observations – San Diego

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 5:33 pm

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San Diego, California, January 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

As I posted earlier about making local day trips this year, I was just outside of San Diego for a meeting and while waiting for everyone to show up, I did a brief walk-about. Signs, as photographed most poignantly by Walker Evans in the 1930’s, continue to fascinate me. In this case, I found that my camera-tweaked image above is more interesting than my straight version, below. The sign and blockade were at the end of the short road, but seemed kind of redundant as there really is no-where to go, thus probably the reason that it is not being well maintained. I have not entirely figured out why this image is so appealing to me, but I suspect that it has some attributes of a past-memory. The surrounding foliage in disrepair seem to speak to me of confusion, chaos and uncertainty.

My second favorite of this afternoon’s walk-about is the photograph directly below, which includes a ladder protruding out of the water in conjunction with the reflections at this small construction site. It appears to me as though it is a site-specific environmental sculpture. It was a challenge to figure out a interesting composition from the construction mess.

Cheers!

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March 20, 2016

Winter – Newport Beach

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:35 am

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Newport Beach, California, November 2015 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Today is the first day of Spring, so time to say goodbye to old man Winter!

For me, that means that I need to also say goodbye to the winter photographic weather, such as this day back in November that we were down in Newport Beach waiting for a restaurant to open. During winter we have clouds and occasionally rain in Southern California, now there will be a long series of cloudless, clear blue, and boring days.

Below are a series of cliche beach photographs I made in-camera and posted directly to Facebook; which were fun to create and play around with. The clouds from the earlier storm made for some interesting effects and compositions. The problem was with that storm-front came a very strong wind off the Pacific, which was really blowing sand and grit directly at anyone fool enough to stay on the beach. Nevertheless, I endured the wind and sand long enough to capture these photographs, then became worried about the blowing sand marring the glass on my lens. It was really blowing that hard, as trash cans were rolling along the beach and walk-ways.

Cheers!

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March 16, 2016

Rain drizzles – amazing water effects

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

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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.

Cheers!

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March 12, 2016

Rainy day reflections

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

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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.

Cheers!

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March 10, 2016

PhotoBook Competition Judge

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

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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.

Cheers!

On the road again

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

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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?

cheers!

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March 7, 2016

Pensive observation

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

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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.

Cheers

March 3, 2016

February just flew by…

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

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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!

Cheers!

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.

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