Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

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 29, 2016

Hasselblad 50mm Distagon lens in my future for 2017?

Filed under: Middle Ground, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 6:09 am

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untitled (Middle Ground), copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

While working on my current project, Middle Ground, I have thinking that I might want to consider using my Hasselblad and start shooting this with color film in 2017. The biggest issue is that I do not have an equivalent Hasselblad lens for the digital gear I am currently using. I have decided to work with a wide field of view for this project, selecting a 28mm focal length and field of view using my Canon 5DMk3 and the 24-105mm lens (a little scotch tape does a pretty good job of locking down the lens at the focal length that I want). Yes I could also purchase a 28mm prime lens for the Canon, but I am also a bit cheap and this works pretty well.

The closest thing for the Hasselblad is the 50mm f/4 Distagon lens and using a 1.6 factor, this lens can provide about a 31mm equivalent field of view to my 5DMk3/24-105mm. So I taped the 24-105mm lens at what is about 31mm tested it on a drive to San Diego. Part of the drive I also locked (taped) the the lens at 35mm to compare (the 60mm Distagon is about 38mm field of view equivalent). The 31mm was not too bad, but the 35mm started to tighten the pictorial framing of what I want to capture a little too much, thus confirming that an investment in a Hasselblad 50mm Distagon should work. It would be nice to borrow a 50mm Distagon to try out, but my buddies near-by do not have this lens to lend. darn.

Since I will be acquiring a used lens, which of the four different 50mm Distagon models to look for? I think that the CF will do the trick for me, a bit newer and better (lens coating) than the original C model and as I am not focusing close-up the later FLE (Floating lens element) model is probably not necessary (and save me some extra bucks as well).

So the lens hunt is now on!

Cheers

December 28, 2016

2016 in Review

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Loss (Memory Pods) 2014 copyright Douglas Stockdale

For me it’s always a nice treat at the end of the year to look back at what has occurred; achievements, progress in the my development of my conceptual projects, lessons learned that might help inform me and keep me on a progressive creative path in the year to come.

First, 2016 was about making new photographic friends and deepening the existing relationships. The photographic and artistic community is really great in how encouraging everyone is towards supporting each other’s creative endeavors. That is always the best part of looking back at the year that was.

One of the highlight of the year was in September when I was juried into the Irvine Fine Arts Center (IFAC) 2016 All Media, which was curated by Dan Cameron and I received an Honorable Mention (above), the only photograph of the exhibition that received recognition. A really nice validation that my Memory Pods project is progressing as I had hoped, which I will continue developing in 2017.

I was invited to became part of the LensCulture submission review team (aka consultant, a true paying photographic gig) in August and I have completed close to 200 portfolio submission reviews in 2016. This has become a great opportunity to become familiar with an interesting and diverse international group of photographers and their photographic work.

Photo Book Independent; in April I was one of the photobook jurors for the photobook exhibition and subsequently provided two curatorial talks during the exhibition while also exhibiting my own photobooks and photographs at this event. It appears that I may be involved in Photo Independent 2017 event as well ;- )

For the Los Angeles Center of Photography (LACP) Exposure 2016 I joined them as a portfolio reviewer in September and subsequently I will be leading a photo book development workshop for LACP next April, 2017. This is going to be a fun workshop!

As the Editor of The PhotoBook: my book-blog-zine passed one million views and provided a milestone 400 photobook reviews; an amazing eight years. I also increased the staff of this blog-zine with the recent addition of Gerhard Clasusing as a book reviewer. I am looking forward to all of the creative photobooks yet to come in 2017.

Social media; my experiment with Instagram (@douglasstockdale) this year appears to be proceeding in a slowly growing but successful manner. So I now a presence on Facebook and Instagram in conjunction with this blog. I also became the co-Editor of the Facebook page for The Photo Exchange which led to the development of a closed group on Facebook for the members of this group.

Infrastructure changes with the transfer of my photographic web site to a new platform hosted by PhotoShelter that is focused on providing photographic content. This should take care of my web site requirements for a while and I need to remember to update it from time to time.

I also spent some time at some local photographic events, such as photo l.a., which is coming up soon next month, and down in San Diego at the Medium Photographic Festival.

And of course I was working on some photographic projects, such as continuing my development of Memory Pods, concluding Lest I Forget, and starting a new project Middle Ground.

I think 2017 will be even more fun! See you all next year ;- )

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 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 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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December 4, 2016

Walking Denver

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 7:43 pm

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Denver 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I found this to be an interesting urban landscape while we were walking a little bit of Denver (Colorado) this past week.. The Fall colors in conjunction with most of the leaves now laying on the ground, that in turn reveal the older house that was probably hiding behind the shrubs and trees has metaphoric potential. Part and parcel with my current photographic philosophy of experiment-play and it is unknown to me what might evolve from this. That is the fun part, who knows?

Cheers!

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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October 24, 2016

Fall color – Park City Utah

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:52 pm

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Fall, Park City, Utah 2016 copyright all images Douglas Stockdale

A couple of weeks ago we did a road-trip from SoCal up to Park City, Utah for a few days to check the area out as I had heard there were a few really nice restaurants in the area. We also knew that this was not the high-season for skiing (less maddening crowds) but it could be interesting opportunity for finding some Fall color. As you can see from this post, we did find some interesting landscapes, but since we missed the real high-color by two weeks, it took a little extra work in driving up into the mountain roads and then care in framing the images to create these.

What can I say, I am still a sucker for a lyrical landscape image after all of these years. Actually the best part was the winding drives up the narrow roads searching for great locations, then the subsequent walks. Yes, the mountain air was wonderful as well.

This was a relaxing family trip as I consider these snapshots of memories and I have no inclination towards exhibitions these images other than sharing on social media. nice.

Now back to scanning negative and actually moving the photographic career forward, so more about some really interesting updates on that soon.

Cheers!

 

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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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