Thursday, November 24, 2011

Old Made New

I shot this back in 2002 with my first digital camera, an Olympus 4040Z. A friend has a copy of the original version hanging in his bathroom. I gave him a framed print in return for a favor. Yesterday I was playing with some old photos in Photoshop with the Topaz filter set and combined a couple of them (along with some basic Photoshop editing) to come up with this version which has the flavor of an old fashioned print.

I'm thankful for many things today including the ability to continue learning and growing, to take the old and make it new, to build on the past. As odd as it may sound I'm also thankful for the capacity to feel grateful. Lack of it, I think, creates much of the anger in the world on both sides of the equation.  I wish you all much to be grateful for. Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Review: "iPhone Art In My Life" by Dewitt Jones

A friend told me a couple of days ago that Dewitt Jones had published a Kindle book of iPhone photos. I immediately bought it. I have long admired his work and enjoyed reading his periodic columns in Outdoor Photographer. After looking the images I knew I had to do a review and asked for permission to use one of the images from it in my review which he granted. Then came the difficult part. Which one to choose? I settled on the one above but Plates 30 & 47 tugged at me too. There are 50 images in all, made with & processed in his iPhone and each is a gem worth pondering.

They are different from the work I have associated with Dewitt Jones in the past having only seen his traditional landscape photos. These are all processed in apps to enhance them as artistic creations with some effects layered on top of others.

The images that are lower in contrast don't work well in B&W on the original Kindle but will be terrific on the new Kindle Fire. I recommend viewing it on your computer or tablet using the free Kindle reader apps. It will be a permanent resident of my tablet for convenient and frequent enjoyment. As shown above (a screen capture) each image has a caption and below that (not included in the capture) is technical information on the image and the apps used to create it.

In the back of the book he lists his favorite apps, most of which (sadly) are not available to those of us using Android phones (maybe soon... please) and at the end there is a "Volume Two - Coming Soon" page. I'll be watching for it. "iPhone Art In My Life -Volume One" is available through Amazon for $7.99*.

* If the Amazon link doesn't work for you or you prefer to copy and paste the URL is

As with past reviews I was not asked to do the review nor do I recieve any consideration for doing it. It was initiated by me and represents my honest opinion and hearty recommendation.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another Abstract from Benson Mines

This is from my first visit to Benson Mines. It is a photo of minerals leaching out of concrete. I see this frequently on old concrete. Soluble minerals dissolve when the concrete gets wet and eventually seep out through fine cracks and fissures. The patterns are often interesting.

Note that I have added a link to William Neill's  ebooks in the column on the left. I have all of his ebooks and they are excellent. Both William and Guy Tal are photographers I respect for their vision and skill.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Heavy Metal Yin/Yang

Back to Benson Mines. Looking at the photos I took the first time I was there I realized that I had only scratched the surface. On my second trip I had just finished making my first set of exposures for a new HDR image when a pickup pulled up to the gate. There were no "No Trespassing" signs around but I wondered if perhaps someone was upset about me being there and decided the best course was to just introduce myself. It turned out to be a guy who stores a few things in one of the buildings and "no", my wandering about to make photos didn't bother him. In fact he was quite friendly and told me a bit about the place.

I spent about 2 hours searching out new images and this appealed to me along with some other details. The re were several rectangular blocks of scrap metal by one of the buildings, assorted metal that had been run through a crusher. The above is a detail of one of those blocks. The contrast between the heavily rusted metal & the white coated metal, the shapes and patterns of the folds and the Yin/Yang quality of it all appealed to me.

A single exposure with a Canon 7D on a tripod.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


We drove to Vermont today to visit my sister and her husband. Going through Rouses Point I spotted this building right where Rt 11 turns to avoid dropping into the Lake Champlain. I have a fondness for old buildings anyway and this one is particularly interesting with its multiple signs overlaid on one another with varying degrees of effort at removing the prior ones, none fully successful. I was tempted to philosophize about the resulting confusion and parallels to halfhearted efforts in life but I will leave that to my readers to ponder.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Camera VS Eye

I went to the Adirondacks for a photo search on Wednesday. I first went to Greenwood Creek but the light wasn't great, harsh with bright highlights and deep shadows. I found a few good images before heading north on Rt 3. I stopped for lunch by the gate to Benson Mines and spent a couple of hours after lunch exploring the abandoned site.

The photo above is a prime example of why a "straight" photo can't necessarily represent accurately what is being photographed. The above is a good rendering of what I saw but it took seven bracketed exposures, plus three additional adjustment layers to produce.

The camera sees only a single moment in time at a single exposure. Humans see through our eyes with our brains. The eye is constantly shifting, refocusing, adjusting to variances in light, and the brain assembles all that into an image. Even with modern highly automated cameras a photographer needs to understand the difference between the way the camera sees and the way we see and needs to develop the skills required to bridge the differences.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Holiday Sale

Blurb is offering a $10 discount to customers who use the promo code BIGTEN when ordering a copy of my Adirondack photo book (link in the left column). The code is good through this month. Order your copies for Christmas now.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Just for Fun

This afternoon I was playing with the plugin trials that I wrote about in my last post and I wondered what would happen if I used one of the resulting B&W images in one of my reverse grisaille creations. The answer is above. I used the NIK Silver Efex version with the border. I dropped the opacity of the B&W layer to 80% which necessitated a third layer to return the outer part of the border to opaque white (new layer>select using all layers>fill). I finished with just a small amount of dodging and burning. It worked particularly well with the sky and added an overall crispness that was missing in the original image.

I explained reverse grisaille here <>. The original of this image is here <>.