Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

March 27, 2017

Networking: MailChimp

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

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Copyright 2013 Douglas Stockdale

A couple of years ago I thought that I should try to establish a formal networking newsletter to update friends, family, photographers and gallery owners as to my recent accomplishments and news. So I signed up for the free version of MailChimp. Regretfully perhaps I was not in the best state of mind at the time in trying to figure out MailChimp, which did not go so well. So I put this wonderful idea on the back burner for awhile.

A month ago I decided to look at MailChimp again. This time; read some of the tutorials. Duh! Or maybe MailChimp has improved it’s interface, either way, I found it much easier to figure out and I starting working on the back structure; creating some mailing lists. My first mailing list was for my very tolerant photographic friends, the Photographers Exchange (PX), who join me for the monthly meetings at the IFAC. They have become used to my wild and crazy ideas, so I figured that they would provide some honest feedback to my first photo-newsletter (none of them do this sort of thing). My ultimate goal was to figure out the MailChimp process for a newsletter for my other blog-magazine The PhotoBook. Anyhow, the first PX newsletter went out last month and I received a couple of nice comments, better yet, no one took me off their email list!

So at the moment I have developed four audiences/four mailing lists; each one has a repetitively unique interest in my photographic endeavors: Friends and Family (mostly non-photographic buy wishing me well and sometimes a strong interest in my photography), PX (they know most of what I am doing photographically anyhow, but it does not hurt to remind them, yuk, yuk), Photographers (who are like minded and might be interested in my exhibitions and workshops, but also includes gallery owners) & PhotoBook (photographers I have published, those interested in photobooks, bookstores & photobook publishers).

The first photo-newsletter to the PX used a “photo” template, but I quickly realized that I do not like the black background of this template; too severe. Then I stated using the white backgrounds, which works better for me. It took a little bit to adjust to using the MailChimp templates, but I figured that it’s similar to learning how to post to a blog, you just gotta jump in and start using it. I am expecting each newsletter will get better.

And perhaps just in time, I wanted to spread the news about being featured in Lenscratch (first Photography newsletter) and then a reminder about the start of my Intro to Photo Book Design workshop with LACP (first PhotoBook newsletter). And soon, publication of Bluewater Shore, as I just received the first set of PDFs for the initial design from the printer. nice.

From what I hear from other photographers, MailChimp is the way to go. At this point; so far so good and I am a happy camper with MailChimp.

If you would like to be on one of my newsletters, send me a request at doug@douglasstockdale.com

January 11, 2017

Saddle Stitch Fastener – Workshop demo

Filed under: Books, Photography, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:05 pm

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Saddle Stitch Fastener copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale

I have bought one new item for 2017 (and I am still looking for that used 50mm CF Distagon for the Hasselblad), which is pictured above, what is called a Saddle Stitch Fastener, or a stapler on steroids. I will be using this book binder for my LACP Introduction to Book Design workshop later this spring to demo how to make a saddle stitch binding for a small book. The saddle stitch binding is one of the two book binding methods I will be demonstrating during the workshop.

This binder is stated to handle up to 20 sheets, so I would consider this lightweight equipment, which is a good start for my publishing company. It is an idea method to create a simple book dummy to work on the sequencing and pairing of the images for a book. This is also a popular way to create a small edition book, as I have a bunch of intriguing photobooks in my library that are bound together with saddle stitch binding, such as those by the New Zealand photographer Harvey Benge.

I also have an great idea on how I will be making a small limited edition book with the class during  the workshop as a fun start and will become a unique class takeaway. I have already completed the book dummy for it and I need to work-up the interior text, probably about 12 interior pages in all. I will print the stiffcover with my Epson printer using a double-sided Epson matte photo paper and print the interior sheets with my desktop letter printer. I think it will be an interesting surprise for those attending on the first day of the workshop.

And I may be making a few other small edition books as a result. Lots of possibilities!

Cheers!

January 7, 2017

New Adventure for 2017: Video

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Untitled (Middle Ground) copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

Something that has not really captured my attention for some time is working with video. I am of that generation in which movies were made with super-8mm film, a real bear to edit (actually had to physically splice the film together) and trying to add sound was an actual nightmare. To do movies right also meant investing in 16mm equipment, so still photograph made life so much easier. Even when I purchased the Canon 5DMk3, which has professional HD video capabilities, I did not even read the manual on how to use this feature until very recently (yes, like over this last New Years holiday while I was sicker than a dog).

So what prompted this wild & crazy idea? While photographing the Middle Ground project, I came up with the idea of doing a video of the same freeway urban landscape that I was looking at as I did the slow pokey drive in the bumper to bumper traffic.  What might that urban landscape look like as a video, as I had no idea. The idea is that the video would complement an exhibition of the still photographs to provide another visual alternative to this same project. This is in addition to photographing this landscape project with my Hasselblad (still have not purchased the 50mm CF Distagon yet), which I wrote about here.

I knew that my daughter’s brother-in-law Cameron has a sound studio in Santa Ana, but I had not realized the amount of video that he has also worked with until we started talking about it over the holidays. The reason I even brought it up with him is that Kevin, a good friend of mine, has been playing piano for many, many years and while listening to his CD it occurred to me think that this might provide a nice background sound track to my video, which it turns out, Kevin was game for. So I was primarily asking Cameron about his ability to add this sound track to my video. No problem! I then received a interesting mini-lesson in video and what I could do with my 5DMk3, which then prompted me to want to actually read the manual ;- )

2016 was my year to try Instagram and 2017 may be my year to try video. Who knew?

Cheers!

December 16, 2016

Early bird discount for photobook workshop ends this Saturday

Filed under: Art, Art Market, Books, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:24 pm

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LACP Introduction to Photo Book Design, photo Douglas Stockdale

The early-bird registration discount of 20% for my Introduction to Photo Book Design workshop that I will be leading next April over two weekends will be ending midnight this Saturday, December 17th. This creative workshop is sponsored by Los Angeles Center of Photography (LACP).  So if you plan to be in the Southern California area (aka best-coast), time to check this workshop out and take advantage of this discount.

Could even be a wonderful Christmas present for someone special ;- )

Cheers!

 

December 12, 2016

Living Santa Fe (variation on Todd Hido creativity lesson)

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Living Santa Fe portfolio 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

As I wrote earlier about our recent Thanksgiving in Santa Fe, we had rented a house for this long weekend that exhibited all of the Santa Fe charm you could wish for. I found myself photographing this home’s interior and exterior landscape and on return, created this mini-portfolio.

This is also a variation of 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. Leave yourself open to spontaneity; no plans to meet anyone or anything set in stone, 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. In this case while we walking Santa Fe, I also focused on the home we were staying at (very different from Southern California) as representative of how one might live in Santa Fe.

Having read many times how other photographers strongly suggest photographing things at home and that you really don’t have to go far to find a subject, I think that this creativity exercise might help one re-see their own environment. By exposing yourself to a different place, this might refresh your vision for a place where you might have taken too much for granted. For the cheap version of this creativity exercise; ask a neighbor who lives down the street that you do not know very well if you could document their house over the next couple of weeks.

Cheers

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December 3, 2016

Jason Fulford & Gregory Halpern – The Photographer’s Playbook

Filed under: Art Market, Books, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:44 pm

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Copyright 2014 Jason Fulford & Gregory Halpern published by Aperture

While in Santa Fe and visiting the photo-eye book store, I had an opportunity to get a copy of Jason Fulford and Gregory Halpern’s book The Photographer’s Playbook. The subtitle reveals the essentials of this book; 307 (photographic) Assignments and Ideas, which are distilled from 307 photographers, curators, photographic academia and workshop leaders, including Aline Smithson, Mark Steinmetz, Jim Goldberg, Stephen Shore, John Gossage and many more. From my perspective, this book draws heavily on a few photographic academia programs for BFA and MFA photographic programs.

It appears that the book is focused on young and inexperienced photographers who are searching for the reason to be a fine art photographer (as part of a BFA/MFA program) or for a photographer who is stuck in a dry spell as to how to find conceptual ideas to development next. If you have the technical side of photography down then working through a bunch of these assignments could provide you with an equivalent BFA/MFA education as to the conceptual projects you work on. What may be missing is the group critiques offered in the academic programs and instructors that might challenge you (alternatively a best friend that can continue to say “No, try again, dig deeper”). So find a small group photographic/artist peers that you can count on to be candid and talk/show the work/assignments, a group who can say “Very cool, I see where you are going, keep at it, dig deeper”

To be candid, there are some ideas within this book that are similar to other ideas I have developed over the years to help me consider photographic options and move my concepts forward. I will continue to write about some of them, such as my post earlier this morning about experiment-play (games), a frequent idea (27 different variations) that is recommended in this book. In my case, experiment-play was what I was doing that led me to my Memory Pods project that I have been working on for just about three years now. Recently, experiment-play is what inspired me to start the Middle Ground (aka Life in the Slow Lane) project earlier this year.

To be fully transparent, as a portfolio reviewer for LensCulture, we also provide some resource recommendations as part of the portfolio review and this book is one that I recommend to photographers who have a photo technique but appear to looking for a project to apply their process.

Cheers!

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November 12, 2016

Just Announced: LACP introductory book design class next Spring

Filed under: Art Market, Books, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 6:58 pm

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Douglas Stockdale 2016 photograph by Ella Webb

Surprise! Not often you will see my mug on this blog. The special occasion is that Los Angeles Center of Photography (LACP) just added my profile as one of the LACP instructors for a introductory book design class I have developed and will be leading next Spring.

The workshop has just been formally announced, so check out the class details and if in the LA area next Spring, please consider joining the book making fun. The class is going to occur over two consecutive Saturdays; April 1st and 8th, from 10am to 6pm.

Oh yeah, the class size is limited to ensure that I don’t become overextended and everyone gets the help and assistance they need.

Early Bird Sale also now in effect; save 20%!

If you have any questions, please leave a comment or contact me.

Cheers!

 

 

October 4, 2016

Film plus scan processing

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:27 pm

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Untitled (Memory Pods project) copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

I have been rephotographing some of my memory pod subjects with film and just realized a very inexpensive creative tool; when processing my film at ProPhoto (Irvine, CA), for just a small bit more, I can obtain a medium resolution scan of each image. Seems that when the film is processed, it automatically passes by the film scanner and so the relative cost of capturing that scan and providing it as a CD is not very expensive (film process, a 5×5″ print for each negative and the scans cost $13.00 for the 12 exposure 120 film).

I have a light box for looking at negatives and a corresponding 5×5″ print, but when I really want to check out the details of the negative before I invest in a much larger scan, I have found it very convenient to look at these medium resolution scans. Likewise, I can make some quick adjustments in Photoshop to anticipate what the final image will look like, such as the one with this post. Thus made the decision for this last roll of film that I want to obtain a high-resolution scan for negatives #8, #9 and #10.

Only hitch in my giddy-up was finding out the the scanner soft ware at ProPhoto was set up for Windows XP and not Windows 10. When trying to view the first CD on my Windows 10 machine, the computer kept wanting to reformat the disk. So on a whim I tried to open the CD on my older XP machine and there were the jpeg images. When talking with John at ProPhoto, he did not realize that his PC disks were only readible on XP (guessing that most of his clients are on Mac’s).

I was considering a film version of my 5D digital version of “Ghost”, but I realized that I did not save the dried up stem after the first year working this project. This might be an alternative, but I also like a progression I made on film with the same subject adjusting the focus, which could become a triptych, so I am not sure the title.

Cheers!

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 29, 2016

Bruce Barnbaum -The Art of Photography

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 2:49 am

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Copyright 1994 (6th printing, 2013) Bruce Barnbaum

Bruce Barnbaum’s The Art of Photography, An approach to Personal Expression, which was first published in 1994, is a photographic book that comes up frequently as a resource for photographers who make submissions to LensCulture. Thus as a submission reviewer for LensCulture and if I was going to suggest to photographers that this could be a great reference book for them, I should darn know what Barnbaum has written and understand why this book could be pertinent to them.

I first met Barnbaum many, many years ago when he and John Sexton were developing their zone system/creativity workshops, which at the time both were heavily influenced by the west coast school of photographic modernist. John Sexton went on to be one of the last photographic assistants for Ansel Adams. So no surprise that Barnbaum’s book has a heavy emphasis on black and white techniques; Zone system for film (roll and sheet), film development, filters, black and white papers and darkroom printing (yes, the wet darkroom, not Photoshop), bellows and reciprocity factors (assuming you were using at least a 4×5” view camera), film density, etc and all the necessities for black and white analog photography. So no surprise, this is a solid technical reference book for those using a black and white analog medium (a photographic space I worked in for 15 years).

So the real question for me is Barnbaum’s book relevant to a photographer who is working on contemporary concepts and projects? For me the answer is yes and no and really depends on the individual and their openness (guess you could call this a guarded “yes”). There are chapters which discuss “What are the Elements Composition”, Photographic Realism, Abstraction and Art, Thoughts on Creativity, Toward a Personal Philosophy and Artist Integrity, but again, from the viewpoint of a modernist, not contemporary photographer. This is also a chapter on how to use the zone system for digital photography, both color and black and white, which is relevant to individuals who have digital exposure and digital printing issues.

Nevertheless if you read Barnbaum’s concepts (and get beyond his modernist examples) to understand the basic questions that are being asked, these could be applicable to any artist; What is your emotional response to what you are thinking about photographing; What is your personal point of view; Subject matter ultimately becomes secondary to the artist seeing, vison (read: concept) and philosophy of life. With an advanced degree in mathematics from UCLA and an on-going interest in physics, don’t be put off by when suddenly he introduces quantum mechanics theory to discuss a point about creativity.

In the final chapter, Barnbaum states that a photographer/artist shouldn’t try to analyze something to death before going and actually doing it (whether the zone system for film or Photoshop for digital); “be willing to experiment with new tools, new subject matter, new ways of seeing and composing, new ways to interpret the scene”. Makes sense to me.

Publisher: rockynook (Santa Barbara, CA)   http://www.rockynook.com

The book has stiff-cover, glued/perfect bound binding, four-color lithography, Index, and printed in Korea

Cheers

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