After spending 6 hours with Lightroom’s new HiDPI Retina Display Support, let’s me just say it’s incredible. A giant step forward. It’s like seeing all of your images in a whole new light. Looking at images on a ~300ppi screen with the same clarity and resolution of a fine print is a long time dream of mine that I know would someday come true.
We’ve been living in the dark ages with our ~72ppi displays. We’ve been seeing not the true nature but a facsimile of our images. Things like sharpness, noise and grain just don’t look right on a low res screens like they do in print. With HiDPI displays we can actually visualize these things and make better informed decisions while we’re developing our images. I think this will improve our relationship with images in our modern, digital workflows tremendously (more…)
I had the privilege of teaching an unusual photography workshop last week with two fantastic photographers I admire – Lynn Johnson and Penny De Los Santos. Our PhotoMuse workshop helps people find their inspiration and photographic eye through self-assigned photographic projects – finding their muse, if you will.
We push participants outside their comfort zones and encourage them to make work they’ve never made before, and more importantly, to engage in the process of making images differently and more fully. This can be difficult. Sometimes people say they don’t want to be pushed, but we push anyway. Some people have a hard time finding and starting their projects. Daily group critique is an important part of this process. This workshop had some challenging, teary moments including a ‘photographic intervention’ but amazing transformations happened by the end of the week. People had grown so much, were trusting their instincts and were intensely engaged in their process of making powerful imagery.
At the end of our weeklong workshop we had a big feast and watched a slide show of everyone’s best images. It was amazing. These are photographers working outside of their areas of expertise – experimenting with whole new styles and genres. Here’s a condensed version of their work:
“I’ve never been more exhausted and never felt more alive. I feel as if my awareness of the world has expanded, and I’ve become more sensitive to the light and moments around me. PhotoMuse changed my way of seeing and showed me how powerful photography can be in a very real and direct way.”
– Danielle Tsi
We’re considering bringing this workshop to NYC, San Francisco, Pittsburgh and other locations. Let me know if you’re interested.
I think it’s important to show your work to your peers and get feedback, especially when it’s new work you’re experimenting with. In this spirit, I thought I’d share a few night portraits I’ve been experimenting with.
At this year’s Night Photography Festival in Mono Lake, CA, I had a blast teaching an advanced class and making images side-by-side with so many people. But it was all the guest speakers, instructors and fantastic night photographers all in one place that was so unique about this gathering. Lance and I reserved Bodie State Park for two nights instead of one this year so that our group of 40+ could have ample time exploring and making images in the king of all ghost towns. Despite having this exceptional nighttime access to such an extraordinary place, I felt compelled to make portraits of the photographers themselves instead of the ghost town.
Now I’m no portrait photographer, and I don’t have any experience doing this, but I wanted to explore this idea of making portraits of night photographers in their habitat. These are 1-2 minute exposures by moonlight where I’m adding light on the subject with a flashlight (not a flash!). Since I prefer side-lighting from two sides with a handheld flashlight, it was challenging for the subject to keep still during the light painting and throughout the rest of the exposure.
As it turned out, other photographers started adding their own light while my shutter was open and some became a collaborative effort. So a tip of the hat to Lance Keimig, Troy Paiva and Tom Paiva for their added light and all the subjects for their collaboration and enthusiasm with this – it was a blast working with all of you. Perhaps those of you that know their work can pick out their handiwork?
I’ve included the names of these photographers below their portrait. They are all much more experienced photographers whose work I admire – please Google their names and check out their work if you aren’t familiar with them. And feel free to leave comments below.
I’m huge fan of the hand-crafted print, and spent a lot of the 90s making digital negatives on imagesetters, as well as studying various 19th century printing processes. It was 1992, I was slinging images in Photoshop 1, cranking out imagesetter negs after hours at my local service bureau and taking them into wet photographic darkrooms to pursue that unique, and ever-satisfying handmade print. A few years later, I interned at Dan Burkholder’s studio and helped put together the first book on creating digital negatives for contact printing processes – a process that he deserves sole credit for pioneering. We were geeks, leaping tall technical hurdles with incredibly complicated workarounds that, surprisingly, made great looking final prints. It was so stochastic, man.
Bostick and Sullivan moved to Santa Fe and their alt printmaking supply business sky-rocketed, as has the alt-process printmaking niche. Thank goodness. IMO, Dan, Melody (Bostick) and Dick (Sullivan) deserve the lions share of credit for the alt-process resurgence we’ve seen over the last two decades.
But digital negs for alternative printmaking processes don’t make good prints by themselves – you’ve got to jack with them. For twenty years we’ve created convoluted methods of making Photoshop curves (more…)
WalleyFilms just released a video that highlights our Night Photography workshop in West Texas.
It was really fun having Angela and Mark Walley out filming during our annual workshop in Big Bend, TX. They are super talented and do amazing work. Between the photographers and videographers the creative process was quite alive that week with image making all day and all night long. You can check out more about WalleyFilms at walleyfilms.com
As a long time still photographer, I’m pretty blown away with the power of video as a communication tool. As our DSLR cameras gain HD video capability I’m enjoying getting my feet wet. I think all photographers need to keep an eye on this medium and think about how we can embrace it and make it a part of our work. This is my first experience incorporating it into my own business and I’m looking forward to more exploration with it.
Q: “When I process a RAW file, I use the RAW image processor in Photoshop. I then save it as a TIFF file (and then to a JPEG for clients and stock agencies). This already seems like so many steps. Why would I want to use Lightroom?”
A: Photoshop wasn’t designed to work with camera RAW files – it was designed to work with film scans. IMO, the Camera RAW plugin and Adobe Bridge represent an inelegant approach to modernizing an application based on 1980′s technology.
Lightroom is the new Photoshop written from the ground up with Camera RAW imaging in mind. It’s a paradigm shift. With it, we inch closer to a workflow that allows us to do everything (more…)
We get the paper version of the New York Times and enjoy their apps for the iPhone and iPad while traveling. Among other things, my wife and I have long obsessed over the “Modern Love” column in the styles section on Sundays.
Today, the NYTimes is featuring an essay of Jenny’s in that very column. It’s a deeply personal piece that reminds us to appreciate what we have, and do what we can while we can. Whither on paper or on your device, please check it out.
I was just in San Diego doing some private training with a client that included night shooting each evening. One of these evenings, I was detained by military police for about 30 minutes while making photographs on a public sidewalk. On this particular night we were apparently near, but not on, a naval base. It was 2am, and I had my tripod setup under a streetlight. I was enjoying the playful, intermingling colors from neighboring mercury vapor, metal halide and incandescent light along this particular street. I was making images of the streetlights and of the streets themselves, not of the naval base or its industrial gate entrance down the street. Here’s the image I was making when a hummer full of soldiers in camouflage pulled up and said “Hey – what are you doing? Don’t move!”
I love telling people what I’m doing when I’m shooting and night, and often show images to explain the concept of making this kind of art. But these guys didn’t want to see my images; they called for backup (more…)