Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dalwhinnie sunset

i was sitting on the porch of a friend's new home the other evening with a glass of scotch and my iphone. a few swirls, the setting sun, and more than a few snaps yielded a number of fun images. i got to thinking about the honesty they reflect - filtering is what the brain does best, isn't it? we put all sorts of filters in front of our lives in an attempt to make our reality, what, more comfortable? more to our liking? on top of all that, we also put filters on our photography - to manipulate the supposed "reality" that we are capturing. most of us can't tell when a photo has been subtly filtered by technology, can we? yup, i think i like the honesty of the scotch filter on reality...hmmm, maybe i should try a different kind and see how that compares. could be fun, no?

focus, or lack thereof...

i started the summer with the intention of finishing two smallish projects - a folio from Joshua Tree and an update to my "Berkshire Zen" portfolio. as you can easily see, i'm not quite there yet. somehow i got caught up in the swirl that is life, and the next thing i knew, it was October. granted, the LensWork and B&W "events" used up a few cycles, as did replacing my Mac, which, after 4 years, decided to give me a few hints of its impending departure, and finally, after a few weeks of occasional panics for both of us, it died in its sleep. research and purchase of a new monitor also cost me a couple of weeks, but now, i'm all calibrated and ready to go! I'm getting ready to head up to Yosemite for a few days, but when i get back, i'll get right back to finishing those projects, i promise...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Before the Mountain Digital

hey, just made an eBook version of Before the Mountain available for download. yes, it doesn't look like the Blurb cover. the Blurb version is no more. it was just too darned difficult to get a reasonable result. the eBook is an "all white" version of the printed book, which has a black background on the cover. i am making the download available at no cost, and simply ask that if readers like it, they make whatever donation they think is reasonable via Paypal. seems pretty fair to me. re: the printed version of the book, i will be announcing pricing shortly - as i will be using PhotoBook Press, i will be giving some thought as to how best to package and distribute the book for those interested. am thinking of including a print along with the signed copy. i am guessing for now that the price will be around $200. what do you think?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Summer in the Berkshires

i posted a similar shot taken last winter, and couldn't resist re-visiting the old barrel this summer. as i sat on the back porch working, i would glance at it on and off all day. the weather was weird, even for New England - thunderstorms almost everyday for the two weeks i was there. the unsettled weather did, of course, make for interested light patterns, and it finally came together one evening, just as the sun was setting behind a neighbor's tree and i was shuttling to and from the first, i wanted to post a version taken from the same perspective as the winter shot, but i liked this better. 2 seasons down, 2 to go!

When it rains....

so, while i was on the east coast for a family visit, i received a wonderful note from Maureen at LensWork magazine telling me that i had been selected for their upcoming sept/oct issue! I had submitted for their consideration the entire portfolio contained in my book. if you have ever seen this magazine, you would instantly know why it is not something you recycle after reading. you save these precious little photographic and duotone printing wonders...they are indeed beautiful. LensWork also expressed interest in some of my color work from the same trip as well as a larger version of the video posted below. it has been gratifying and humbling to work with them to prep my portfolio for the issue. as an aside, Brooks indicated that, to his dismay, in the history of the publication, no one had ever submitted a body of work based on Torres del Paine. unbelievable. and lucky for me, eh?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

how long does it take?

good question. seems like forever. OK, here's the story. maybe more of a rant than a story, but hey, it's cheap you want to self publish a book of your photos? lesson one: if you're a photographer, it will NEVER look as good as your prints. get over it, the sooner, the better. "book people" will tell you how great it looks, but you know better... done with that? great. next, assume the following: color management, maybe. ok, maybe for the book, but don't ask about the cover. some form of human eyeball looking at your pages roll off the digital press? not likely. that's your job, once you get the book. will your pages be trimmed precisely? maybe. obvious errors will be corrected once you get the book in your hands and mention that you didn't design the extra white stripe down the middle of your 2 page spread...thought metamerism was a fading issue because folks like Epson have been working so hard at it? well, it lives and breathes on these presses. want to print black and white? sigh. that was my first mistake. if you like a lovely green tone to your images under certain lighting, have at it. stick to color images for now. i'll save your layout software options for another post. having said all that, for around 75 bucks, maybe less, you can get a decent-looking 68 page 13x11 inch book, which ain't bad for a one-off. you'll just have to be patient, figure out how not to push the technology too far, spend time on the various forums, and be willing to send defective books back and sometimes start over again.


you can take a look at a place like PhotoBook Press. yes, the books are more expensive. yes, actual people will tell you how to optimize your images for their press. want proofs, no problem.
worried about pressing the button and not being able to get your book back to fix the obvious typos you just discovered? don't. they assemble, they proof. you approve a PDF. nice.
me, i'm doing both, mostly because i started at one place, and moved to another(the first is BLURB, btw) what happened to "High Drama"? well, it changed. cover, type, layout, images, length. went through 4 revs with Blurb, and now one with PBP. should get my first book from them in a couple of weeks. then i will rev my Blurb title to reflect what works, so the 2 books are at least close in most respects(not size or cover art(!)

nope, haven't been out shooting in awhile, but will next week. oh, in between, i've been putting together an eBook version. stay tuned. and thanks for listening.

B&W magazine and me

i was a bit surprised. yeah right. when i was told via email that i was selected as a B&W magazine Spotlight Award winner for this year's portfolio competition, you bet i was surprised. and pleased. I'll be in issue 71, which i assume is sometime late fall. The editors chose images from my "unsui" portfolio of mostly Patagonian cloud images, and from my portfolio "water sanskaras" taken along the shore of Laguna Amarga. the images on the site and in the magazine are obviously rendered as "straight" black and white images. i will, however, be offering the unsui images as toned platinum inkjet prints as an option...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Stretching, part 2

i've had the pleasure recently of striking up a friendship with Whitney Vosburgh. so far, we've made two visits together to Hakone Gardens, a wonderful Japanese garden in Saratoga, Ca. Whitney's style is about as different from mine as you can get - the image above is an example from our first visit, when i tried to see differently, and shoot completely (mostly) out of focus. yes, i have been asked why i just didn't blur the shot in photoshop...and my answer after exploring the differences with Whitney, is that shooting this way forces you to see differently - to see in terms of color, shape, and light. it really is different when you don't have a myriad of details to trick the mind into thinking that the shot is more interesting or more importantly, more emotionally appealing, than it really is. this is one of my first tries - i have more, and will post one or two on my main site in the next few weeks. for me, exploring this new way of lookings was a wonderful stretch, and is much harder(for me) than it first seems. hint: all "out of focus" is not created equal! you have to actually focus. what a trip.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Before the Mountain, the Video

i recently had the pleasure of having the authors of "Art and Fear",David Bayles and Ted Orland, take a look at the images from Patagonia i am using for my book. they were incredibly generous with their feedback and encouragement, and at one point David thought it would be interesting to see the images in a video. i thought about it for a while, then figured, "why not?" so i went to work, et voila, here's my first effort. what do you think?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Joshua Tree

just got back from my first trip to Joshua Tree. amazing. nothing like the high desert. mid to high sixties in the sun, with an occasional cool, light breeze that provides a blissful combination of warm and cool. like the Big Sur coast, or Yosemite, sitting on a hot granite slab with a cool breeze generated by a nearby creek. sweet. the rock formations were amazing and seemingly endless. best yet, there was hardly anyone there! i was able to wander aimlessly, moving around the various outcrops, and even though the sun was high on my second day, was able to get great sidelight just by walking around... on another note, i am heading to SF tonight to participate in Photo Alliance's portfolio review. should be fun. when i get back, i will also be posting some images from Hakone Gardens...

Friday, February 13, 2009

high drama, the book

after months of fiddling around, i finally sent off my first pass to have it proofed! definitely a "self publish" job. i am using Blurb on the recommendation of Linde and Lito who have been very happy with the results. the book contains 29 images, including 3 panoramas, all taken in Torres del Paine National Park. i chose a platinum tone for the images, and i have to admit, i'm a bit nervous to see if the Blurb presses render the tone accurately. i will be selling it through the Blurb bookstore and from my main site, so stay tuned! here's the introduction(beta):
This is a book about wind. and clouds. and mountains.
But mostly about relentless wind. The kind of wind that eventually permeates your entire being, altering how you think and how you act. The kind of wind that, when it stops, creates moments of disbelief that give way to a psychological and emotional liberation that can, well, make you giddy.
In the fall of 2008, Patagonia's weather was different. The foliage change was a couple of weeks late, due to a warmer and drier than normal summer. The Patagonian icecap continues to retreat, as are icecaps around the world. And though the fall is famous for providing a few weeks of respite from the wind, not this year. This year, it blew. It generated white caps on the lakes, day and night. It hurled water horizontally across vast stretches of lakes and foothills. It parted the fur of foxes and guanacos, and caused humans to lean. It created a long dream of clouds and light and mountains. It made me a humbled witness.
All the images in this book were captured in April, 2008, in and around Torres del Paine National Park, Chile, over the course of a few days, and in some cases, a few minutes...

winter in the berkshires

hey. yes, i've been gone for awhile, but i'm back. i've mostly been working on a new book, which will be a separate post, probably in a few minutes. this image, "my own backyard" was taken a few weeks ago while i was visiting my parents in Pittsfield, MA. yes, it was cold. thankfully! the snow stayed on the trees and kept its fresh-looking texture. so what's the deal with this image? well, it's one of those classic examples of finding inspiration for making images in your own backyard, in this case, literally! i've looked at this old wine barrel for more years than i can remember, in all seasons, it turns out, except winter... year after year, it was simply a planter full of "hens and chickens", and i never once thought of taking a picture of it. but when i saw it this time, it was transformed by the snow and the light into, for me, a poignant reminder that even in the depths of winter, the hope for spring remains...soon there will be blooms and grass and grandkids playing everywhere. i actually took maybe 20 shots of it over the course of 4 days, all times of the day. what do you think?