Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

April 17, 2016

Instagram learning curve

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 6:05 pm

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3rd Street LA Art district 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I stated at the beginning of this year that I am now posting on Instagram (@douglasstockdale), so I am new to this platform. I have been getting a few (very few) pointers from my daughter, but I figure if I look and play, I should get this figured out.

I was not expecting a ton of folks looking at my photographs and becoming a “follower”, nevertheless I feel like I was moving at a glacial pace. So my aha! moment yesterday was when my daughter posted a photograph with a bunch of hashtags. Duh. Okay, so I am old.

So I began to poke around Instagram this morning, as I thought hashtags were a Twitter thing. I was so wrong. So now I know and I imagine most of you already knew and now you are wondering what kinda of stone age guy I am. So I will tell you; old enough to process my analog black & white film!

The good news is that I have not posted that many photos on Instagram, so it should be relatively easy to edit in a few hashtags for each photo, which I started this morning. Now of course is the hashtag choice issue; which ones to link up to with each photo? If its not one thing, its another.

As to this photograph above made earlier this month, I noted the juxtaposition of the real bike with the background wall art while I was up in LA during the photobook judging for Photo Book Independent. By tightly framing the two, I think the resulting image creates a nice metaphor about the dreamlike experience of biking, even in the urban city. I guess you could also see this as a different narrative after noticing that the bike is chained down (restrained) and that the owner also took the bike seat with him to further deter a bike thief. As a result that this image could have alternative readings is very appealing to me.

Okay, back to working on my print portfolio for Photo Independent, which is quickly approaching!

Cheers!

 

April 15, 2016

Photo Independent – Print Portfolio progress

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Memory Pods, copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

An update on my progress to prepare for Photo Independent regarding my print portfolio(s) as previous discussed. First, the idea that I had to quickly prepare a print portfolio for Photo Independent was quickly stressing me out. Needing to quickly select the prints (yikes, which ones out of the project?), then matte and prepare the prints, and ensure that I had all of the outer bags to protect the sold prints was just a little too much on short notice. Yes it could not be done as I have jumped through these types of hoops in the past, but did I really need to?

I think its about expectations; if you are at an art fair then you should have prints for sale. Well honestly I do have some items for sale; a trade edition of Ciociaria, two limited editions of this book, my hand-made artist book Pine Lake, some out-of-print copies of LensWork #74 that feature my In Passing project and probably my Foundations mini-portfolio. So I think I am going to take an alternative pathway for my prints that will work best for me; bringing a print portfolio or two of work-in-progress and ask for feedback. This could be a win-win opportunity for me.

So at the moment, the first work-in-progress print portfolio will be my Memory Pods project. I have not been posting much of my photographs for this project created with the larger format Canon 5D equipment. Thus this photograph will be new. I have also been working on the artist statement for this project, which I will print and have available at Photo Independent to provide to those who have an interest in this project. I am also planning to have an interest list to capture names and emails of those who are interested in this project for follow up as the project comes closer to publication and exhibition. And of course I will need to update my web site with the images in the portfolio, which I will announce here when I have completed it.

Cool, I am doing much better already! And a back-up supply of pigment ink for the Epson printer just arrived so I feel energized to dig in and start printing. This is going to be fun!

Cheers!

April 7, 2016

Exhibiting at Photo Independent

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Memory Pods 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I have just been notified that I am accepted into Photo Independent at the end of this month. I was anticipating that I would be included in the Photobook Independent, but I was just notified that I can also have a print portfolio in addition to my photobooks. Yikes, I was not prepared for that wrinkle. The event in LA (Raleigh Studios in Hollywood) is at the end of this month April 29 – May 1, 2016, so although I do not have much time to prepare, I will make the most of this opportunity.

As to which photobooks to bring and sell, that is the easy part. For the print portfolio; which one? I will have a limited space to display, so from past experience, far better to focus on one portfolio than try to show a little bit of everything. What I did learn in the past is to hold in reserve at least one smaller (both size of prints and quantity of prints) portfolio that might come up in discussion.

I have been looking to publish my project In Passing – Lest I Forget, but I am not sure that this is the right audience. So I am thinking that this will be my portfolio that will in reserve. As to the display portfolio, I am leaning towards my Memory Pods project. I really don’t have much time to fret over this as I need to start printing for the portfolio this weekend.

Such problems to have, eh?

Cheers!

 

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!

01-08-16 Camino Capistrano San Juan Capistrano KI6A1318

January 15, 2016

Self-Assignment – Lemons

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

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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 1, 2016

2016 – Looking Ahead

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:30 pm

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Untitled, copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

As I just posted, the beginning of the year is a time to reflect on the past and also to look forward for what might be. My first post was honking my horn for 2015, now I want to look at my goals for 2016.

I had two principal projects in 2015 and an artist book that needed a bit more reflection. I plan to work on all three of these which are at various phases of completion.

In Passing – Lest I Forget is an aftermath project that I actively worked on starting in 2006 and into 2012, then took some time to let the project cook, then I started back in earnest again at the end of last year. I have about 100 photographic images that I have culled from the past 9 years that I think will make a really nice photobook and will be the basis of an exhibition. So I have developed a project plan to finalize tweaking the images for a book dummy, obtain sponsorship’s and funding with a goal to have a Fall publication and release concurrent with at least one exhibition.

For my project Memory Pods, I am looking forward to the spring for the budding and blooming of my subjects for another intense season of photography. The one thing that I would like to do is invest in a prime macro lens for this project. I have bounced between a 100 mm f/1.8 L macro for the 5DMk3 or a 120mm CFi Makro lens for the Hasselblad, and currently I am  leaning towards the Hasselblad Makro lens. I have some expired 120 transparency film that I think will be ideal with the Hasselblad for this project; old, expired film investigating fading memories.

For my third project, which is my artist book Bluewater Shore, I want to use the newly acquired Micro/Makro lens mentioned above to re-photograph my family prints. I also have some very, very expired 120 black and white film for this project. I have a better idea now of how I want to design, print and bind this book. My goal is to prepare everything for publication in 2016, with a Spring 2017 publication date. My bigger priority for 2016 is to finish In Passing – Lest I Forget.

I also plan to keep an open eye and actively make some exhibition submissions in 2016, to try to participate in at least one if not two exhibitions.

cheers!

December 16, 2015

Grant funding a Photographic Project

Filed under: Art Market, In Passing, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 5:27 pm

A-41 Tattenhall England

Untitled (A-41, Tattenhall, England) copyright Douglas Stockdale

On my list of to-do’s is to find some funding to support the publication and exhibition of my project In Passing – Lest I Forget. Here in the US, there are a couple of avenues to journey down in order to obtain a grant (e.g. gift, not a loan) and at the highest level is government/Federal grants through one of the various agencies. What I have noted in the past is that most of the Fine Art grants are not available for individuals, but non-profit organizations and only then through a public entity, which in the Fine Arts are usually Museums and Universities.

I am also a bit of a contrarian and look at alternatives, such that I know that I am not well connected for the Fine Arts grants, but rather I am experienced in how to deal with Corporate world. Although I do not have any experience with writing and submitting Federal grants for Contemporary Photography (Art), I have been working with a small team submitting Small Business Innovation Research grants through the National Institute of Heath, and we have been recently awarded a grant to work on Stroke research. Nice.

Since the National Safety Council used on of my photographs for a safety program poster a couple of years ago, this has provided a clue for me to poke a couple of Federal and State safety agencies. Specifically, I checked out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and locally, the California Office of Traffic Safety. Yes, this is what I consider out-of-box thinking for funding this photographic project.

The bad news: looking at the government grant guidelines for both of these agencies confirms my initial concerns; I am not a non-profit organization (501c3) nor a “public entity”. Also it does not help that the window for the 2016 grants has already passed and the agencies are looking for 2017 grants. Thus a word to the wise; if you are thinking US Federal & State government grants, plan far ahead! Regretfully for me, I am looking for 2016 funding.

The good news: these government agencies provide large grants to public entities, who in turn have to spend it (pass-though) on their own programs. The trick is to find out which “public entity” has what programs which are possibly aligned with my vision and see if I can be included in their program spending. Knowing a bit about how large organizations budget spending, I have been successful in the past with getting alignment between a budget line item and their spending (investing) in supporting my projects. So I have some hope.

Also, I now need to think smaller and look for local county or city government grants that might still be out there, although I think the window for 2016 might already be shrinking.

So my oars are not out of the water on grants, just rowing in a different direction!

Cheers

December 9, 2015

Angel of Death – Surrealistic moment

Filed under: In Passing, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 6:31 am

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untitled (Colfax Street, Denver, CO) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale

While I was working on my project In Passing – Lest I Forget while in Denver over the Thanksgiving weekend, a Surrealist moment occurred for me.

Having known of the Henri Cartier-Bresson’s practice of composing a potential image and waiting for someone or something to happen, I had not realized the Surrealistic theory behind it until recently. I had an opportunity earlier this year to review Clement Cheroux’s biography of Henri Cartier-BressonHere and Now (published by Thames & Hudson) which connected the dots for me. In the photograph above, I was following the surrealistic theory of Andre Breton’s called Fixed-Explosive, which denotes the state of something simultaneously in motion and at rest. Henri Cartier-Bresson felt that this was one of the surrealist concepts that uniquely energized  his compositions and characterizes many of his famous photographs.

For me, I was not intending to create a surrealist photograph, but had set up the camera and tripod to document this small roadside memorial. Then I noted this guy in the dark hoodie approaching and I could not resist making one more exposure as he walked towards the memorial. That the man is dressed entirely in black, the hoodie is concealing his face and he has his hands in his pocket makes him anonymous and creates a mysterious image.

I do not think that this photograph will be in my final project as all of my other photographs are devoid of people. Nevertheless I find this photograph very interesting.

Cheers

November 25, 2015

Descanso memorial – Halloween

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Untitled (Halloween Costume, I-15 Frontage Road, Victorville, California) copyright Douglas Stockdale

While researching my In Passing – Lest I Forget project, I came across an interesting term; Descanso memorial. This is a Spanish derived word, literally meaning “to rest”. It originates from the old Spanish practice of marking the place where a coffin was placed the ground along the route to the cemetery, allowing the coffin bearers to rest. As the photographer Dave Nance states about the Descanso memorials, “The association thus created between the road, the interrupted journey, and death as a destination, eventually found expression in the practice of similarly marking the location of fatal accidents on the highway.”

Descanso now appears to also designate those memorials which are decorated for each of the holidays. Which is the case of the I-15 Frontage Road memorial that I photographed near Victorville, above. I had photographed this memorial about mid-October, just prior to Halloween. Not evident in the photograph is a bowl of candy nestled within the flower arrangement at the base of this memorial, along with a memorial plaque, which from the wording was probably placed there by the mother of the individual who died at this place.

Best regards

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