Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

October 27, 2018

The path to Trabuco Flats

Filed under: Path to Somewhere, Projects/Series, Trabuco Flats Mystery — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:03 am

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Untitled, Trabuco Flats 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Although I am spending more time with working on “straight” photographs for my Trabuco Flats project I continue to experimental/play with some of the images. Not entirely giving up on how I might incorporate some of these abstract images into this project, but exactly how I do it is not something that I need to decide today.

The earlier feedback I received about these images related to a more purist issue with the non-traditional sky, something pretty evident in the photograph of this post. My take is rather than consider this landscape image from an emotional viewpoint, that all of the various marks and lines in the sky as representing angst and discord, the viewers were reacting from a traditional viewpoint that this did not look like a classic landscape. I will admit that this landscape image is non-traditional.

Thus as an experiment, I made some modification to the landscape that I subsequently published a few days ago, here. I modified the sky by cleaning up some of the radical marks and lines, still an overall abstract landscape, perhaps with what one would call the sky’s tonality was more homogenized and perhaps leaning into appealing like something more traditional.

All of the feedback is fine and interesting to consider. Nevertheless, what do I think of these potential changes to my images? As an artist I am creating somewhat radical landscape photographs that does not meet the norms. So the question is; do the changes being suggested improve my photographs or do the changes being suggested attempt to make my photographs conform to their expectations of what is acceptable?

I suspect that part of this conservative image advice is due to my audience; they do not experiment with images that often and for the most part chase the modernist landscapes imagery of Ansel Adams. I have shown some of this work to a group of abstract painters/artist, and they encouraged me to push the effects I am using even further. Such as bury the photographs I made for a couple of weeks out in the field and see what results.

And yes, I am also sensitive and aware of the comments that I need to be sure that I am not leaning on some image app trickery as a crutch to making “good” images.

So more experimentation as I play with my options.

Cheers!

October 15, 2018

Mystery on Trabuco Flats – Sacred datura – a dangerous flower & plant

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Sacred datura, Mystery on Trabuco Flats, 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

For my project Mystery on Trabuco Flats, as well as another project Gardening for Ordnance, I have been photographing a local wild weed that blooms during the summer. The small vine-like bushes with their white flowers make for an interesting visual contrast in the wild park area; a bit of local beauty among the other not so pretty weeds and wild grass. I had assumed that this was another of the many none native plants that arrived in conjunction with the local urban sprawl.

For the Mystery on Trabuco Flats project I thought that this white flower appeared quite similar to a white Lilly that is sometime found in conjunction with funerals. Thus these flowers might create another metaphoric layer to this project, especially if the flower(s) was not in perfect condition but bug eaten, decaying and falling apart.

When a friend asked me if it was the Scared datura that I was photographing I did a quick check (as you might guess, I am NOT a botanist) to confirm that it indeed was the Scared datura (species: Datura wrighti) I was photographing. The morbid surprise was to find out that this is a poisonous perennial plant and ornamental flower native to the southwestern North America. Yikes!

Serendipitously I have been actually photographing something quite dangerous. This plant does not yell Danger, Danger! (Unlike the rattlesnake a few weeks ago). So this potential metaphoric flower appears to have more of a darker potential than I had ever envisioned. Very pretty, but also deadly. cool!

I suspect that photographs of this flower will also be a pretty subtle inclusion in my story, as I am assuming that very few are aware of the danger that this flower and plant present (as I understand, not to be eaten, not even a tiny little bit). Especially when I consider that I had no idea of its exsistance; never hearing of this flower and plant before. Which is unlike the various warnings for poison oak, the close relative to poison ivy, which is common to this southwestern region as well. In retrospect poison oak will make a bad intensely itchy rash, but I don’t think it will kill you. sigh.

At one point I thought that these strange flowers were actually too pretty for my dark story, but now very happy I persisted in this visual investigation. You never can tell what strange twists just might occur. wonderful!

And I was thinking that I might pick a few of these flowers to place into or adjacent to some of my suspicious sites. Yikes!! Now very happy I did not touch these flowers or plants.

So for my visual narrative will these flowers be potential clues to solve the mystery?

Cheers!

Doug

 

January 24, 2018

Black & White Challenge: Day six abstraction

Filed under: Path to Somewhere, Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:09 pm

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Untitled (Arroyo Trabuco Trail) December* 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Today I am posting the sixth day of my current Black & White Challenge. This image was created more in line with my experimentation/fun paradigm. First part is the photograph I made on the trail during my walk (hint, the still water was providing too accurate of a reflection of the tree), then some immediate black & white conversion with Snapseed and the final tweaking of the image later in the studio, which included a 180 degree inversion of the image.

For me the resulting image is a combination of surrealism with a dash of reality that might be considered semi-abstract. One of my more ambiguous images for this challenge.  I am also enjoying the darker tonal range of this image, also a bit out of my norm. So now see what I might cook-up for the final challenge image for tomorrow’s post.

Please join me on Tumblr: @douglasstockdale & Twitter: @Doug_Stockdale, and of course, Instagram @douglasstockdale

* Limited time print offer: a 7 x 7″ black & white print is available for 24 hours after this post for a special price of $150 USD plus shipping. This black & white print size regularly sells for $300 USD. Archival pigment print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Matte (305 gsm), paper size is 8-1/2 x 11″, Edition size of 10 and the print will be signed and numbered in pencil. email me: doug@douglasstockdale.com for details.

Cheers!

 

October 28, 2017

San Diego walk-about in North Park

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 3:35 am

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Construction Tri-color, San Diego 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

While down in San Diego’s North Park region for the Medium Festival, I had a chance to join John Gossage as the two of us did a brief walk-about around the neighborhood near the Lafayette Hotel. We had just finished a rambling hour and half “interview” that I will be publishing shortly in The PhotoBook Journal when he stated that he wanted to get out and try his new X1D Hasselblad rig (paired with the Hasselblad XCD 45mm f/3.5 lens).

FYI; Gossage’s only lament is that he is a “normal” lens guy (e.g. 50 mm on a Canon 5DMk3) and that Hasselblad’s normal focal length for this new mirrorless camera body would not be out until next spring. The 45mm lens was providing a wider view something akin to a 28mm on the 5DMk3, so he just was not sure when he saw something, where to stand.

Interesting to see what Gossage was attracted to, but since I was not looking thru the viewer, not sure what he was actually composing. Nevertheless, I found some interesting things, which seemed to also draw him in as well.

While passing one construction site, I had a recall of all of the urban construction I witnessed while in China as all of the Chinese construction sites were cloaked with these massive cloth “screens”. What had visually interested me then, I found interested me again now; these draped structures were like huge canvases that were unintended abstractions; patterns, shapes, texture and color. Essentially my task was to find the framing that interested me the most.

The resulting photograph is ambiguous as to my subject’s size and location and now ready for contemplation. Mission accomplished!

Cheers,

June 13, 2017

OCMA Family Day out-take

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:48 pm

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Compass Dance, OCMA June 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Last weekend I was the event photographer again for the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) Family Day held in conjunction with their latest exhibition. Although my intent was to capture the interaction of the attendees with the exhibition, family activities and school concerts, I was able to make a few personal photographs. One of which was my capture of the members of the Compass Dance group, above, which is led by Amanda White.

Their dance style is abstract, interpretive and free flowing with a bit of improvisation, which I think is well suited to a slightly slower shutter speed. As a result I hope that I captured some of the kinetics and energy of their dance. Last year I attempted a similar interpretation of the Re:BorN dance assemble.

I do not consider myself a dance photographer but when provided the opportunity to experiment with a group like this I consider this also a time to have some fun, which of course falls under my experiment/fun photographic category. This was also a chance to experiment with my new 50mm f/1.8 lens that I brought along for the occasion.

Who knows where this might lead to one day?

Cheers!

 

December 13, 2016

Santa Fe (Brian Finke creative exercise)

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 1:03 am

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Santa Fe, Berger Street, 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I was intrigued with one photograph I made of the gate into the courtyard at our rental house in Santa Fe. It reminded me of what a portal might appear like, which in this case could be a potential portal into the past. To enhance that potential visual metaphor, I tweaked the image with some of the Snapseed effects.

I think that this photograph relates to one of creative photographic idea generators found in The Photographer’s Playbook as explained by Brian Finke; Trust the Gut (pg 108). The need to make photographs should come from one’s self, to channel your feelings into your work, whatever that might be, try to feel it fully and to trust that it will show up in your photographs.

Finke’s exercise maybe as close as anyone’s in The Photographer’s Playbook that approaches my idea of Experiment-fun as to playing with a camera just to see what might happen. Then trust your gut that the resulting photographs are channeling your feelings.

Cheers!

December 3, 2016

Denver Night Abstracts

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 6:42 pm

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Night Light copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

On our first evening in Denver last week there were some remnants of snow still on the ground, which I found intriguing. I started playing with some cast light patterns created by a residential nightlight (these were solar powered units; the light was not that strong and had an interesting color cast associated with it). My first experiments resulted in the photograph below and later that night I returned to capture the image above, which became a bit more abstract.

Both are singular images as I don’t anticipate any particular photographic project coming from this, but one of these photographs might be used for something later on. Who knows. This is just part of my current practice of experimental-play with the camera-phone, who knows what free-association ideas this process might generate, while still being fun to do.

Cheers!

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