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!

 

April 5, 2016

Urban Tree – Spring

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 7:30 pm

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Urban Tree, Spring 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Perhaps like Edward Steichen in his later years, I find myself photographing a backyard tree, as I had posted earlier here. Perhaps this could develop into a photographic project, but for now, I am content to think of this as a pleasant on-going series.

Cheers

November 25, 2015

Descanso memorial – Halloween

10-17-07_Halloween Costume - I-15 Frontage Road - Victorville - California 0845

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

November 4, 2015

Juggling Photographic Projects – Just like Life

Filed under: In Passing, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 10:57 pm

Plastic Lei - Maui - Hawaii

Plastic Lei, Maui Hawaii, 2006 copyright Douglas Stockdale

So the issue with refocusing my earlier project is that this results in having two photographic projects in progress. My Ciociaria memory book is published, but I have not obtained any meaningful exhibitions of this body of work, thus if you take into account that I will be looking for exhibition venues for Ciociaria, that places three photographic projects on my plate. All of this in conjunction with the fact that I have a full time (non-photographic) day-job and a loving family to attend to. And lets not forget my photographic book reviews on The Photobook blog that I like to fit in. At times, it all feels complex, layered if not outright overwhelming.

This is where my day-job does help as a large portion of what I do entails all of the aspects of project management, which provides much needed experience to lean-into in order to keep on keeping-on. The skills of project management help me get organized and probably keeps me decently focused on what tasks needs to be accomplished next. The draw back is that getting “too” organized can creative limits, box me in, thus I try to stay “messy” organized, more of a loose project structure rather than try to have a rigidly defined project. Another way of saying that I try to be flexible; time, goals, tasks, relationships, etc. I need to allow some give and take and know my priorities, such as family comes first.

One key aspect of project management that has helped me is to set goals, both long term as well as short term. This helps me organize what tasks are needed and what time frame I would like to complete them in. Such as for each of my projects, one long term goal is have it published as a book, which for one project, this is complete. Nice. Another is that I would like to have one solo exhibition of each body of work, which is a goal that is in progress.

Meanwhile, I am reevaluating the photographs for In Passing, while still composing and developing my Memory Pods photographs. It has been a while since I examined all of the photographs that support the In Passing project, so I am giving them a fresh look and finding some pleasant surprises. I am not sure why I did not realize the potential for a number of these photographs, but nevertheless, I do now.

For Plastic Lei, Maui Hawaii, above, I have dramatically modified the cropping of the photograph; from a vertical image to a square image. Earlier if I had composed a subject to be contained within a photograph, I would do my best to keep it intact in the final version. Not so now. I realize that for this photograph the emotional aspect was preserved even if I lost the top portion of this memorial. This is one of the few photographs that include a vehicle, as I had accidentally made an exposure while a car ran through the composition, but I liked the ghostly (blurred) appearance. I then made another half dozen exposures with various vehicles moving through the frame until I obtained this exposure. Nice juxtaposition of the two key elements and creates just enough visual tension. And like many of the photographs that I am reworking for this project, I adjusted the overall nicer tonality, which I think is a nice improvement over my earlier version. Nice.

Cheers

November 2, 2015

Refocusing a project

Morning Shadow - Central California

Morning Shadow, Denverton, California, 2007 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Following up on yesterday’s post perhaps a little more about how this project has come back full circle to a Black & White portfolio. As a project, this series of roadside memorials was starting to get a little traction in 2008 and I felt it had potential to go beyond the LensWork magazine publication as a photobook. The project at that time had a uniqueness, although  I did feel that the subject did not lend itself to posters (I did get this wrong) and something folks would want to hang in their living room. After a couple of rejected book submissions the project began to coast, as feeling a little defeated, I stopped making book submissions and became very introspective.

As a result, I “jumped the shark“, the t.v. slang for when there is a big change in a series plot, resulting in the audience losing interest and the series quickly tanks. I think that moving to color photographs and renaming the project did just that. I lost continuity with my audience. I did learn more about myself during this transition, such as photographing my Ciociaria project in color which resulted in the publication of a book. But in retrospect, I think that the In Passing project was visually stronger in Black & White.

Now I am re-examining all of my original photographs and although I will develop these as Black & White images, I have found that my interpretation has become a bit more refined. Part of which is that I have learned more about how to convert a color digital file in Photoshop to Black & White.

As an example is this photograph, Morning Cross, Central California, I had used a lens polarizer for the original exposure, but regretfully that only effected part of the morning sky. This resulted in a dramatic darkening on the left side of the sky and fading to almost white on the right side of the print, which I had found visually distracting. Now with a Photoshop Black & White adjustment layer and playing with the two blue settings, I am able to create a more even sky tone across the horizon. I think the print/image retains more of the emotional impact that I had experienced and I am very happy to have revisited this image.

Cheers!

November 1, 2015

In Passing – Lest I Forget

Randy - Route 179 - Nevada

Randy, Route 179, Nevada, copyright Douglas Stockdale

Reading the recent October issue of PDN magazine, which is their annual photobook issue, I found myself thinking back to my real first photographic project, a series of roadside memorials. As a quick recap, it was a series that I became very fascinated by in late in 2006. This project gained real momentum in 2007, as I made note of each various roadside memorial we came across and I quickly tried to figure out when and how to photograph each one. This Black & White photographic project, In Passing, was subsequently published by LensWork magazine in their Jan/Feb 2008 #74 issue, then I self-published a hard cover photobook  of In Passing using Blurb (which was juried into a self-publishing photobook exhibition in Portland, OR) and one image, Winter Field, Route 30, Indiana was published in Brooks Jensen’s Looking at Images in 2014.

During the publications, I had read Nathalie Herschdorfer’s book Afterwards (Contemporary Photography Confronting the Past) and began rethinking my earlier decision to convert my photographs to Black & White and that using the original color could be relevant. Meanwhile I still found myself photographing road-side memorials, but now staying with Color, not transforming these photographs to Black & White images. Concurrent with the color decision I had also decided to rename the project to Lest I Forget.

So I am now back full circle, with the project again in Black & White. And reconciled that the project should have a combination name; In Passing – Lest I Forget.

In the next couple of weeks, I plan to write more about the continuing metamorphose of this photographic project.

Cheers!

October 30, 2015

Friday Night Lights – action on the field

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 3:35 pm

10-23-15 Zach flag football game KI6A0563_San Clemente

Untitled (Zach, San Clemente, CA) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

For last Friday’s touch football game, as I posted here, I made the switch up to the the larger Canon 5D MarkIII (Mk3), which has a image sensor with a very wide ISO capability in conjunction with using a trip-pod. Btw, since I had acquired the Mk3 just recently, I had to make a choice between this and the Canon 5DS with its 50 Mp sensor, but due to the limited ISO capabilities of the 5DS (to get all of those megapixels on a chip, there was a large reduction in the size of the individual sensors with a corresponding limitation on their light tolerance), I choose the Mk3 for it’s robustness in general use. The user reports on the Canon 5DS pointed to limited night time use because if the ISO was bumped up past 800, the dark’s in the image would start to get increasing noisy.  If I were evaluating studio work in conjunction with a tripod and cable release, I might have chosen differently.

The faster shutter speed of 1/60th of a second (ISO 3200) with the Mk3 versus the slower 1/10th of a second with the XTi was enough to make a difference in stopping the action under the field lights. The smaller Canon XTi sensor had the advantage to extend the reach of my short telephoto, but the higher quality image with the Canon Mk3 allowed tighter cropping and I accomplished essentially the same effect. If I wanted to create a more abstract image with blurr like I was obtaining with the XTi, I only needed to modify the Mk3 exposure settings.

Although the photograph above is just a tad bit soft, it is a nice candid portrait of Zach coming off the field. A trade off of youthful enthusiasm for sharpness which probably required a more static pose. I might just push up the ISO a tad bit more to increase the shutter speed another notch or two.

Well, it’s Friday again, so you probably know what combination I am bringing to the game tonight. Go Zach!

Cheers!

10-23-15_Zach_being_double_teamed_KI6A0582_San Clemente

October 25, 2015

Getting back on track

Filed under: Instant Nomad, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:50 pm

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Untitled (Garden District, St Charles trolley way, New Orleans, LA October 2015) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale

Today I seem to have a case of the blase, so I feel a off. Usually one good cure (for me) is to jump back in the fray. Thus a great reason to finish the development of this image above I made earlier this month in New Orleans. We had taken the St Charles trolley line out to the Garden district to investigate a cemetery and to just poke around. After lunch and waiting for the arrival of the trolley to go back into the city, I played with some possible compositions, while thinking ahead about my Instant Nomad project. I was also considering the use of the lens blur app at the time I made this photograph, so this is one version that I developed. I may tweak the lens blur a bit to bring into focus a little more of the trolley post that is in the middle area near the palm tree.

I am already feeling a bit better as a result and back on track (yep, pun intended!).

Cheers!

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