Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

January 17, 2018

Morning walk & near first weight goal

Filed under: Path to Somewhere, Projects/Series — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 10:35 pm


Tijeras Creek trail, December* 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

As I posted earlier this month about my change of life style, one of the reasons I have started walking was to lose a little weight in order to be a bit more responsive when we go skiing next month. My first weight loss goal was 15 pounds, which I am hovering around at the moment (I can make goal if I lean back a little on my rickety old scale). I think I will be there in the next three weeks or so when we drive to Vail.

Since there is still a bit extra of me around the belt line, I am already thinking that I will need to a second goal to lose at least another extra five pounds. The good news is that for my height, I am already in the idea weight range; actually very good news because I was not there this summer. (okay, maybe at the top end of the range, but still within the range!) Egads, I just checked another weight chart and now I am a bit overweight. Crap! Probably similar to the recent blood pressure recommendations; one day I am borderline and the next I am one step closer to the grave. I am going back to the earlier chart until I lose a little bit more ;- )

As to my walking, I think that I use two basic options; first is my photographic walk which has frequent stops and the second is my brisk walk in which I am clocking my time and a bit of hustle to my step. I seem to cover the same distance for both options, but the duration is at least double while photographing. So I am going to alternate these two options for the next couple of weeks to see if that might help me hit my first goal.

For some reason, these last couple of pounds are just sticking to me like super-glue. My favorite rationale: muscle is denser than flab, so as I convert to muscle, then the weight change maybe slooower. yuk, yuk.

Please join me on Instagram: @douglasstockdale

* Limited time print offer: a 7 x 7″ black & white print is available for 24 hours after this post for a special price of $150 USD plus shipping. This print size regularly sells for $300 USD. Archival pigment print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Matte (305 gsm), paper size is 8-1/2 x 11″, Edition size of 10 and the print will be signed and numbered in pencil. email me:



January 16, 2018

Walking were it might be “Hazardous”


Signage, Arroyo Trabuco trail, January* 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

While walking the Arroyo Trabuco trail I have noticed a number of really deteriorated signs with a wire mesh that appeared to have covered the missing signage. All of these were in really bad condition, thus I could only speculate what was there. This seemed to provide some visual opportunities to leverage these ambiguous situations to my own advantage.

Yesterday I noted one such sign lurking in the shadows of a couple of large bushes. After investigating I found that this posted sign was in the best condition of any of these, but still a very major challenge reading the extremely faded text. This is the first sign I have found where the wire mesh to protect the signage appears still in tact. I had hoped that my close-up and conversion to black & white in Photoshop might tease out the text a little better. Nope. Since this was photographed with my mobile phone, I will try again with the Canon 5DMk3 and when it’s fixed, I do plan to re-shoot this composition with the Hasselblad & color film.

In retrospect, my previous post of the UXO signage was perhaps a little too photo-documentary and did not garner much interest as a singular image. This photo may still work in the context of a book, so still in consideration.

Nevertheless, the resulting image is still great, I love that it has some slight hints as to the text while remaining very ambiguous, perhaps even a bit abstract. This potential image is diffidently on my list for Gardening for Ordnance project. I also think it is a great candidate for the 120mm Makro with the Hasselblad, so more about how that turns out for another day.

Btw, from what I could read: Keep Out Hazardous Area. Found adjacent to the Plano Trabuco Practice Bombing range (active: WWII and Korean War).

Please join me on Instagram: @douglasstockdale

* Limited time print offer: a 7 x 7″ black & white print is available for 24 hours after this post for a special price of $150 USD plus shipping. This print size regularly sells for $300 USD. Archival pigment print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Matte (305 gsm), paper size is 8-1/2 x 11″, Edition size of 10 and the print will be signed and numbered in pencil.


January 15, 2018


Filed under: Gardening for Ordnance, Path to Somewhere, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 4:51 pm

01-11-18 Warning_sign_KI6A7825_Gardening_for_Ordnance

UXO sign, Plano Trabuco Target Area, January 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

While on one of my morning walks, I came across a posted sign for UXO that I had not realized was on the Arroyo Trabuco trail. A nice bit of serendipity as photographing this walking project reminded me of another photo project; my Gardening for Ordnance that has been a little dormant for the past few years. One of those projects where I encountered some resistance to the project and had an irrational excuse that I did not have the right lens for the Hasselblad. sigh.

So seeing the signage, it re-engaged me and I realized today was an opportunity to photograph some alternative compositions. Since this was created with my 50mm on the 5DMk3, I quickly realized that my 80mm (normal) lens for the Hasselblad will do just fine. One of the compositions was in retrospect a little too tight and when I backed up to include the top of the hill in the background, a little too general. Cropping the big picture to exclude the sky and ridge appears just right. Also realize that photographing this in the morning with the sign back-lite was not want I like, but will need to return in the early afternoon with the sun shinning on the front of the sign. I also like the bigger aperture to throw the background slightly out of focus.

I think that I have the concept for the Gardening project pretty well nailed down so now it’s a matter of execution. My current thinking is that the Gardening book should be ready for publication in spring of 2019 next year, so I have time to work it while keeping focus on my current book dummy for Middle Ground.

Btw, if you cannot read the fine print, UXO is the military abbreviation (TLA) for Unexploded Ordnance, something you have to think about (or maybe NOT) when living on a WWII practice bombing range. Also becomes part of the backstory for Gardening for Ordnance. So more about this later in the year or you can read some of my earlier posts linked up on the side-bar for this project.


January 12, 2018

Morning walk – Life style changes

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 11:45 pm


Crystal Cove, morning December 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Earlier I expanded on how my morning walk has ventured into the “wild side” as I am now going off-road onto the neighboring nature trails (okay, maybe this photograph above from walking on the ocean beach is not really the “wild side”, so read the earlier posts). I also hinted that the daily walks was part of my life style change as much as a creative endeavor and perhaps was more about my health than wanting to start a new artistic project.

So a warning, this post is about being healthy ;- )

Okay, so why the emphasis on walking now? The smart-ass answer is that due to some skiing accidents I can’t jog or run. Which is slightly related to my reason for walking now; last year while skiing I took one fall and had trouble getting back up on my skis. In the past I would have popped right on, but this time I was like the upside turtle; I could not get up without some help. Crap! I was the old guy on the hill. In retrospect my issue was a combination of being too heavy, lack of muscle tone and wearing some klunky ski clothes that got in my way. So last summer I made a decision; first, lose some weight with a target of a minimum of 15 pounds, get off my ass and not vegetate at the computer desk and invest in a better ski jacket. Thus reason one for walking; lose some weight and get some exercise. Working! (almost lost 15 pounds and based on my last round of golf, more endurance)

Reason two: a little bit more cardio; while walking this summer, I was traversing the neighborhood sidewalks, so pretty level ground and not much of a walking challenge. Going off road the terrain has more elevation changes; more frequent and greater changes so now when I return to the studio I am usually in a sweat. That’s also good to help improve my resting and working heart rates. Yeah, that heart rate was in equally bad shape before this and now the trend is moving in the right direction.

Reason three: a time for meditation and reflection. While walking I can practice breathing (which improves smelling and a lot of great things out there on the trail) and time to think about the various things going on. Calming. Introspection. A walking mediation.

Reason four: I now have another artist project in development and an opportunity to practice seeing in conjunction with observing. So this opens me more to what is going on outside the studio.

I am guessing you can probably think of other good reasons for walking, so let me know your thoughts on why you walk?


December 18, 2017

Christmas Card Time of Year

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 6:53 pm


Mammoth, 2004 copyright Douglas Stockdale

It tis the Christmas season!

Which also means creating the annual Christmas card to send out with our good wishes for the holidays to our extended family. So ensues the annual rite of selecting the Christmas appropriate photograph, then off to Costco for bulk printing and finally the weekend of addressing and subsequent mailing.

First, the Christmas image which for my family means something that suggests winter, which also means something with snow. The trouble is that in Southern California we rarely see snow (even today, temperature is the low 70’s F), unless we go “visit” it. As I recall that in Israel where Jesus was born has similar climate as us, so why this “snow” thing with my family? Perhaps growing up in Michigan, there was usually a lot of snow during Christmas. So this usually means that I need to go back through all of my skiing photographs to find a landscape that might be appropriate. In this case above, this was a 2004 ski trip to Mammoth which is located the California Serra Mountains. If I recall it was a really snowy day and I had a little Canon G2 4mp camera tucked into my ski jacket. Made for a nice photograph.

Next, I like to see images printed since the cards will be printed, so I  upload this image to PhotoShop and then while trying to get the Epson 4800 ink nozzles unclogged, I ran out of Light Black ink. Way too many head cleaning cycles this time. Okay, I knew I was on the edge of needing a new ink cartridge, but thought I was going to be okay, so regretfully I did not have the replacement on hand. poop! Off to one of the local camera shops (Samy’s in Santa Ana), and realizing that my Light Cyan was on the edge of running out, saw it prudent to buy both cartridges. Light Cyan was not in stock, but thank goodness the Light Black ink was. So I was quickly back in business tweaking and printing my image.

Printing of the Christmas cards was quickly accomplished overnight  and I was able to select the layout ahead of time on their web site and probably could have down loaded the image as well, but I am a bit old school, so I went to the store to manually input my design into the template.

This past weekend spent almost the entire day writing out the cards, which were sealed and delivered to the post office late last night. Done!

So wishing you all a wonderful Christmas holiday and a great New Year.



October 28, 2017

San Diego walk-about in North Park

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 3:35 am

Contstruction Tri-color KI6A6435_San_Diego_North_Park_10-26-17

Construction Tri-color, San Diego 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

While down in San Diego’s North Park region for the Medium Festival, I had a chance to join John Gossage as the two of us did a brief walk-about around the neighborhood near the Lafayette Hotel. We had just finished a rambling hour and half “interview” that I will be publishing shortly in The PhotoBook Journal when he stated that he wanted to get out and try his new X1D Hasselblad rig (paired with the Hasselblad XCD 45mm f/3.5 lens).

FYI; Gossage’s only lament is that he is a “normal” lens guy (e.g. 50 mm on a Canon 5DMk3) and that Hasselblad’s normal focal length for this new mirrorless camera body would not be out until next spring. The 45mm lens was providing a wider view something akin to a 28mm on the 5DMk3, so he just was not sure when he saw something, where to stand.

Interesting to see what Gossage was attracted to, but since I was not looking thru the viewer, not sure what he was actually composing. Nevertheless, I found some interesting things, which seemed to also draw him in as well.

While passing one construction site, I had a recall of all of the urban construction I witnessed while in China as all of the Chinese construction sites were cloaked with these massive cloth “screens”. What had visually interested me then, I found interested me again now; these draped structures were like huge canvases that were unintended abstractions; patterns, shapes, texture and color. Essentially my task was to find the framing that interested me the most.

The resulting photograph is ambiguous as to my subject’s size and location and now ready for contemplation. Mission accomplished!


October 2, 2017

L.A. Street photography last weekend

Filed under: Photography, Workshops — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:14 pm


Los Angeles street graffiti 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale 

While in Los Angeles this weekend to lead my Intro to Photo Book Design workshop at LACP, I thought it pure serendipity that some street graffiti of a shadowy book reader would be right in my pathway. Especially after I had posting a couple of photographs on Instagram of some book readers I had come across while roaming one of the SoCal ocean beaches. I took this street-art as a really good omen.

Below are some urban landscape photographs made this same day. While I am not sure that I am a street photographer, it sure is starting to appear from my photographs that I may indeed have that inclination. So while thinking about this, I am also starting to think that my photo book Ciociaria may have a healthy part of street photography as one of it’s main ingredients, up to now I have calling a photo-documentary. Also guessing there is a lot of overlap between photo-documentary that comes about due to street photography. hmmmmm.







August 29, 2017

Ciociaria in FineBooks & Collections magazine

Filed under: Ciociaria, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:34 pm


Copyright 2017 by Journalistic, Inc., Chapel Hill, NC

Through serendipity I recently came to know of and receive a review copy of FineBooks & Collections, a quarterly published by Journalistic, Inc. out of their Chapel Hill, NC offices. As you might imagine the magazine reports on all things related to “Fine” Books, Manuscripts, and other published empheria that might end up in a collection.

The events that led to my obtaining a review copy of FineBooks was a survey article being prepared about photobooks, titled Photography in Motion, Collecting Photobooks is a way of Collecting Change by Andrea Volpe. One of the subjects that Volpe discussed was Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library acquisition/donation of the Indie Photobook Library develop by Larissa Leclair (we reported on this earlier). To illustrate the indie type of phtotobooks in Leclair’s collection, FineBooks wanted to use the cover of my photobook Ciociaria, published by Edizioni Punctum that was included in the Yale acquisition.

This is not a book review, but it places my photobook alongside some wonderful photographic company; Alvin Langdon Coburn, Lewis Hine, Danny Lyons, Richard Avedon and Gary Winogrand. Nevertheless, it is very nice to become a poster child for Indie photobooks!

Other articles in this magazine of note for photographers and book makers: Not the End for Endpapers, a short interview of Daile Kaplan who is the head of photography at the Swann Auction Galleries and her Pop Photographica collection, a review of a Henry Thoreau exhibition that includes an interesting daguerreotype of him and her In View column (The Sum of its Parts) by Volpe.




June 2, 2017

Life Guard Station #13 – featured in YourDailyPhotograph today

Filed under: Art Market, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:41 pm


Life Guard Station #13, May 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I am very honored to be featured in YourDailyPhotograph today with a special limited time offer (today!) for the photographic print of Life Guard Station #13, May 2017.

Archival pigment print: 15″ x 15″ on 17″ x 22″ Hahnemuhle matte.

This is part of a series of coastal photographs that I am making along the Southern California shore line. This location was in Dana Point on Doheny Beach.


May 18, 2017

Life Guard Station #14 – San Clemente

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:00 am


Life Guard Station #14, San Clemente, CA, May 2017, copyright Douglas Stockdale

The same day this month that I captured the gradations beach photo on San Clemente beach that I discussed here, I also photographed the adjacent Life Guard Station #14. In fact I believe that the earlier beach photograph was captured in front of this Guard station.

These are relatively two different photographic image treatments, although both share a similar frontal and formal framing. As the occasion was at dusk, the Life Guard Station was closed down for the evening, thus has a somber, if not lonely, air about it and the beach was without the throngs of beach-goers. But being a man-built structure this does hint at the surrounding beach-oriented culture.

I think the shallow dept of field places more emphasis on this structure rather than the breaking surf in the background. There is still enough environmental context provided while yet still being ambiguous (and hopefully a little mystery) to allow a viewer an opportunity to create their own stories and recall similar memories.

Btw, the subtle differences between the two modified images has me thinking about how I document events and the subsequent treatments applied to the images. Perhaps because I am doing some mentoring for other photographers now and I need to consider my own advice regarding how one creates their own “Brand”. So I suspect I will be writing more about that in the months to come.


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