Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

December 8, 2016

Walking Santa Fe (& a creative lesson from Todd Hido)

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:13 am

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2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

One of the nice aspects of Santa Fe, New Mexico is the relatively small and centralized layout of this early Western town.It is quaint, very picturesque, great food and now has a zillion art galleries, including a couple of photographic galleries; photo-eye and Verve (which regretfully in closing in February 2017) and the photo-eye book store. Also ideal for staying in a place in or adjacent to town (we did a rental house over this past Thanksgiving weekend) and then walking everywhere you want or need; day or night.

This little trip also falls into one of creative photographic idea generators found in The Photographer’s Playbook as explained by Todd Hido, sub-titled Exposure Yourself (pg 149). Essentially exposure yourself to a different environment by going for at least two nights to someplace you normally don’t go (this is our first visit to Sante Fe). Leave yourself open to spontaneity; no plans to meet anyone or anything set in stone (okay, I knew that at some point I was going to the photo-eye bookstore), perhaps with the exception of when and how you are going to return home. And need to take lots and lots of pictures of whatever grabs your interest. This method of Expose Yourself has worked for many photographers over the years to either change things up or reconfirm what they enjoy working on (yes,  various aspects of the urban & built landscape continue to interest me).

This creative process is also integral with my experiment-fun methodology; all the photographs in the mini-portfolio are hand-held using my Samsung camera phone, then processed with Snapseed for immediate uploading on Instagram (@douglasstockdale). The mini-portfolio below has now been additionally tweaked with Photoshop now that I am back to my home-studio. Although I know I need to make multiple exposures for my night images to try & ensure I did not have a shaky image, the night photographs did not necessarily turn out as well as expected. Still, in keeping with my game plan, I had a lot of fun.

By the way, no accident that I included the Clafoutis Bakery in this mini-portfolio; an excellent french breakfast & pastries, which is a nice change from the spicy New Mexican foods of Santa Fe.

Cheers!

Btw, this is a re-post of a previous post because I really goofed it up the first time (that’s another story). Sorry about that!

The Walking Santa Fe mini-portfolio

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November 3, 2016

Memory pods – 9-12-16 negative #8

Filed under: Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 7:41 pm

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Untitled (September 12, 2016 Portra 160 Negative #8) 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I just finished scanning this negative from my Memory Pods project. For this photograph, my subject is just barely out of focus. I have determined that this negative in conjunction with two others from this same studio session might create an interesting triptych, a progression of the same subject slowly going out of focus with this image the third of the three. I am currently scanning the #9 negative, which has one of the extended tips in focus, then when that is complete, I will load #10 into the scanner which will have a bit more in focus.

Pre-visualizing this project as a published book, I would anticipate that this three image progression would be ideally suited to a gate-fold. One image, probably the one with the most focused memory pod, would be on the outside and as the gate-fold is opened, the reader would see the progression of the subject fading away with the two remaining photographs.

Second, this studio session was the result of wanting to create an analog/film version of my earlier digital image titled “Ghost“. I know that I can not exactly duplicate this earlier photograph as the actual dried stem was discarded a couple of years ago. So I am attempting to obtain the similar emotional image that I was initially drawn into investigating.

One thing I have to admit; previously I mostly scanned black&white negatives or color transparencies, thus still a little getting used to scanning and subsequently processing the color negatives.

Cheers!

October 18, 2016

On the scanner: 09-04-16 negative 12

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:55 am

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Untitled (Memory Pods project) copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

Cooking on the Nikon film scanner is negative #12 from my September 4th studio session working on my Memory Pods project. Hasselblad & 150 mm f/4 lens with two 21mm extension tubes, Kodak Portra 160 with an E.I. of 80, normal film processing.

Scan is taking a little longer as I did remember to scan at a 14 bit size (think I forgot for the last scan). Scan is at super fine: 16 times sampling for each scan pass.

The dried and slumping Memory pods are out of focus while the jumble and tangled elements are just in focus. This image kept coming to me while on vacation last week, thus the first of the new batch on the scanner now that we are back.

Next is the extensive spotting of the scan file, then all of the usual magic.

Cheers

October 6, 2016

lemonade stand

Filed under: Middle Ground, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:05 pm

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Untitled (Life in the Slow Lane) copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

So a good friend tells me that since I am trying to make lemonade from lemons and my photographs are created when the car comes to a complete stand still in traffic, then really I have a “lemonade stand”. sigh.

I continue to think about some of the elements that I photograph while working  on this project; that when the traffic stops and where I come to halt is very arbitrary, there is a big element of chance as to what the landscape exists beside me is at that given moment. What is in the foreground; the debris, vegetation and condition of the meridian is the first layer of the photograph. The next layer is the passing cars in the opposite lane, which are not in bumper to bumper traffic. Then if visible beyond the meridian is an open landscape of trees, vegetation, hills, and man-made structures. So now what are the potential metaphors for these photographs?

It is also interesting to me that this is another project that is evolving from my playing around with the mobile phone. I think that I allow myself a sense of experimentation and trying to have fun when I use the mobile camera phone. So I hope to keep that playfulness going; an endless series of singular images and open ended investigations.

Cheers!

October 5, 2016

Lemonade

Filed under: Middle Ground, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:34 pm

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Life in the slow lane, Southern California, copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

Yes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

So this may or may not develop into a full project, but at the moment I am reacting to this current experience. I have an assignment in San Diego that frequently has allowed me to drive down the I-5 freeway in the morning and become entangled in what is called the north county bumper-to-bumper traffic jam. Prior to this, for the same assignment, I was driving up the I-5 and 101 freeway into and through Los Angles, and experiencing a similar bumper-to-bumper traffic stall, just that the view while stopped on the freeway was different. Exactly; this crappy drive was a like some really sour lemons!

Initially, it was pleasant time to listen to the XM tunes, but then I started noticing things while stopped in traffic that I had not notices blasting through the same area at 65 miles per hour. Similar to my In Passing and Lest I Forget projects, what we miss while hurling along through life. So I started taking some photographs with my mobile phone/Samsung and found that these were kinda of interesting images. Then I started posting them on Instagram and surprise, others thought these photographs were kinda of interesting too.

So now I am evaluating the potential of using film with this project and the first step for me was evaluating a larger image and determining what lens I might want to use. I locked down my Canon zoom lens at 28mm which provides a wide view similar to that of the Samsung and would look similar to the 50mm f/4 Ziess lens on the Hasselblad. Since I would have very little time to grab a photograph with the Hasselbald when I had a random stop, I would need to prefocus and set up the exposure ahead of time, then play it by ear. So that is what I tried to simulate and similar to the Samsung photographs, I find these kinda of interesting.

Issue to resolve; driving south in the morning means looking directly into the rising sun and dealing with some mega-backlight conditions (see the lens flare in the first image below). Then driving back home in the afternoon, the same back-light conditions reversed. So I could fight that or work with it, again try to make some lemonade. Either way, I will be driving down to San Diego for a while so I am trying to figure out how to make the best of this without going nuts, which is my life in the slow lane.

Cheers!

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September 14, 2016

Leveraging an exhibition Honorable Mention

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Depression (Memory Pods Project) copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

From what I have learned over the years is that I as an artist need to take the first steps to contact various curators and galleries to move ahead and ensure I get noticed. Self-promotion 101. I have to admit, and this is not popular among many artist, but being an artist also means you are a small independent business. Thus with the recent Honorable Mention from IFAC “All Media” exhibition, I need to see how to further leverage this event and obtain recognition with other curators and galleries.Which is to say, I need to contact them directly and ask for an opportunity to show my work.

This also means I need to step up my presentation of the body of work to share and discuss for potential portfolio reviews. Okay, so what does that mean? First, my current portfolio for Memory Pods is printed 15×19″ on Epson Professional Matte paper; I think the size is good but I need to be printing on my exhibition (and sales) medium, which for me right now is the Hahnemuhle PhotoRag (smooth surface), 308 gm matte, which is acid free and a great fine art cotton paper. This paper provides a better feel (heavier) and reinforces the image of a print as an art object, images look beautiful and provides for a more professional artist presentation.

So over the weekend I have been reprinting my Memory Pods photographs, but also reassessing the image regarding my intent for this image. As a result I have had to tweak the colors, etc for a few of the photographs. Thus the reprinting did not proceed quickly and now is only about half complete.

Second, now looking at portfolio presentation cases as my current black portfolio holder is okay for storage, but not professional looking. So I am evaluating a Museum-Solander case (e.g. Archival Methods) for the 17×22″ prints, which is elegant in design, archival, opens flat to obtain art work, but not cheap (little over $200 USD). On my wish list and I will see how the next portfolio review goes as to making this investment.

Third is the “leave-behind” artist card. I have a business card now, but more of a company card versus an artist business card (there is a creative difference). Also, I do not have a small art card for one of photographs. Again on my wish list, but these are not that expensive and I can buy the stock and print these myself. In the short term, I do have extra copies of LensWork that my In Passing project was featured in to leave behind and I have found that this magazine does make an impact.

The good news is that I just received a confirmation from the curator of the IFAC who would like to see my Memory Pods portfolio in the next couple of weeks. Nice as I am also considering a submission for an individual exhibition at IFAC during their 2017 open call this month.

Cheers!

September 5, 2016

Memory Pods project on web site

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Ghost (Memory Pods project) 2014 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Sometimes I need a kick in the butt to get myself into gear.

I have been stating that I need to update my web site with more images from my Memory Pods project and now receiving the Honorable Mention at IFAC for my photography Loss from this project was enough to do the trick. Since this event and honor might get a little press on the blogisphere (courteous of yours truly), I realize that I need to have more of my project available to review, lest someone thinks I am a one-trick pony.

Okay, as of this morning; done & update is here.

One thing that I have been contemplating for my titles for this project, to use metaphoric names or a sequence number and have decided to go with names for each of the photographs. In this case, my names relate back to what I think the metaphoric image is related to, which goes against some contemporary ideas about naming your photographs. I will just defer back to my excuse that in this case, I am old school. (Okay, well I am!).

I think that this is the first time I have posted Ghost in color, as I had at one time thought that this photograph might be better in black & white. wrong. For me, much stronger image when in color.

Cheers!

September 4, 2016

Honorable Mention – IFAC “All Media 2016”

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Memory Pods – Loss 2014 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I received word from a couple of my friends late last night that my photograph Loss from my Memory Pods project received an Honorary Award during the reception at the Irvine Fine Arts Center reception for the “All Media 2016” exhibition. Wow! This is very, very nice.

And totally unexpected, especially since Jeannie and I were at the exhibition reception earlier in the evening and had left early. We reviewed the exhibition (taking note that my photograph was the first art work hanging at the exhibit entrance) and talking with a few other artists and members of the Photographic Exchange, we went for an early dinner. I was just a happy-camper that one of my photographs from this series was juried in. It looked really nice hanging there.

I was reminded afterward that I should have taken note of the folks who came in the door and who immediately stopped to inspect my framed image with some seeking me out to discuss my photograph. Should have been a clue, which of course means I am truly clueless (yuk, yuk).

Still another validation that I may be on the right track with this project ;- )

Oh, and I forgot to add the photographs from this series to my web site, so something I better complete sooner than later. And I plan to re-photograph the exhibition of this print as I have noticed upon enlargement, this photo is a bit blurry.

Cheers!

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August 30, 2016

Memory Pods – Film alternative

 

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Empty (Memory Pods project)  2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

The photograph in this post is the results from my previous two posts; Hasselblad Ready for its Closeup and, part 2. Essentially I want to see if my Memory Pod subjects look like when captured on color negative film, in this case the Kodak Portra 160.

For the first step of comparing  8-1/2 x 11″ prints,  there are some subtle differences compared to the high resolution of the full frame Canon 5DMkIII and a lot of differences with the Samsung 5S digital images. The new film series is not meant to be comparable to the Samsung 5S with the SnapSeed post processing images. I think that I still need to tweak the dark values of this image a little and then make a 16×20″ for a print comparison.

Interesting that for the native RAW Canon 5DMkIII file of 22.3 mp, a 16×20″ print max’s out at 200 dpi with the file without having to up-resolution the file, while a 4,000 dpi scan of the 6x6cm color negative (Nikon film scanner) provides a file that can provide a 29×29″ print at 300 dpi. I need to double check how large the size print is if I use 260 dpi for print setting  for the film file (note: this turns out to be 33×33″ print). Thus to print both the Canon5DMkIII and the film scan at 30×30″, even with up-res of the digital file, I would expect to see some differences in the image quality.

The second part of the equation is the 24-105 L f/4 lens, which has macro focusing capability, on the Canon 5DMkIII versus the 150 mm f/4 Sonar lens with the two extension tubes for the Hasselblad. It would seem that these are pretty close to equivalent relative to full frame digital vs medium format film focal length (about 2x normal) & aperture. So far, inclusive, but the film image seems to have more depth of field than the digital image, which does not make sense to me.

I see that I need to create some more color negatives to be sure ;- )

cheers!

August 20, 2016

Hasselblad ready for its closeup

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:34 pm

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Hasselblad 500 C/M copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

The next phase of my Memory Pods photographic project is a switch-up to color film in conjunction with my Hasselblad. To obtain the close up framing I needed I added two 21mm extension tubes to my 150 mm f/4 Sonar lens. I had read about the exposure compensation required for a 21 mm extension tube with this lens and had guessed that since I had two of these, it would be a 2x exposure factor (my calculations indicated a +1 stop was needed).

As an engineer, I am prone to testing, thus figured the best thing to do is in conjunction with my gray card, complete an exposure compensation test to verify the anticipated compensation required for the two 21mm tubes. This is similar to the process I used when first learning the black & white zone system to determine my EI (exposure Index) for my Tri-X roll film in conjunction with my HC-110 film developer. In this case with the Kodak color film (EI 160), the exposure compensation determination is in conjunction with my pro-finishing lab in Irvine. Also a process needed when you buy the less expensive camera prism without the thru the lens light meter. (Hey, my 1 degree spot meter has not let me down yet!)

Then a slight hiccup in my giddy-up; after assembling the two extension tubes to the 150 mm lens and mounting the assembly on the camera, the shutter did not function. At all. After a hour (or more) of tweaking the camera, lens and extension tubes, I finally found my problem: one of the extension tubes was not cocked and primed. I had purchased both of the extension tubes used, but I had only previously used one of these tubes. If you are not familiar with Hasselblad camera gear, you have to cock the lens shutter to remove the lens from the camera body. So in my case, one of the 21mm extension tubes was out of sync with the rest of the lens assembly and maybe why this used extension tube was so in-expensive; it did not function properly and was probably assumed to be broken.

Thus I used a little trick with a very small screw-driver to carefully cock the 21mm extension tube and get the entire lens assembly back in sync. Presto! I was now back in business to finish my exposure testing and then high-tail the film off to the film lab.

And so now the processed film results are back and yes (drum roll, please) I am able to confirm a +1 exposure compensation is needed for this lens set up. So I will now be working on this project during the Fall with color film. I am so excited ;- )

Cheers!

FYI, one of my photographs from the Memory Pods project will be in the Irvine Fine Arts Center “All Media 2016” exhibition, with the opening September 3rd, 4-6pm.

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