Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Winter Light

I don't really do Christmas pictures other than phone shots for friends of our tree, etc.  But here's a winter shot:

Winter Light

This was shot several years ago outside our vacation home in Graeagle, CA.  It was one of those spring vacation weeks where I played golf in shorts on Wednesday, it snowed on Thursday, wet ground on Friday and back on the golf course in shorts on Saturday.  Mountain weather, don't ya know.  One of the things my wife, Michele, and I miss about living in Florida.  But we plan to visit the mountains of North Carolina come this spring.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

San Francisco

I lived in San Francisco for 40 years, almost to the day.  I moved there to finish college and stayed.  I loved being a San Franciscan. I also shot the heck out of it on video and film for a company I was a partner in called Cityscape.  This was a hotel TV network which broadcasted a tour of San Francisco and surrounding areas to major hotels in the city. And strangely enough, when I got back into still photography, I did not shoot a lot of stills of the city I loved.  But here are a couple I like:

Greetings from San Francisco
Fishermen's Wharf

Now that I've been gone for 2 years, I kinda regret not shooting more.  I had several ideas about images I wanted; fog in an alley, the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset, sunrise, and after the tights went on; Coit Tower, North Beach (in the fog, of course).  But I kept thinking it had been over done and I had done enough moving pictures to satisfy my desires.  I guess maybe not.  So hey, who knows.  I ain't dead yet!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Sometimes You Get Lucky

One morning, while still living in San Francisco, I got up early and went over to Treasure Island in the S.F. Bay to shoot sunrise on the San Francisco Ferry Building.  Waiting for the light, I got into a conversation with another photographer further down the road.  Facing to the left of my intended target, I started feeling the warmth of the sun on my left cheek.  I turned around away from the Ferry Building and saw this:

Masts at Dawn

These are the masts of boats in the Treasure Island Harbor with the Oakland Hills in the background. And had I not been looking in a direction where I felt the sun, I might have missed this.

After shooting this, I did turn back to my intended target and got a shot I like very much as well:

San Francisco Ferry Building

Just goes to show you, sometimes you get lucky.  But you have to pay attention, look around and manufacture your own luck.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Everywhere you look

I have always thought that art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. And therefore it can be found all around us: water lilies on a pond, a café at night in Arles, France, a girl with a pearl earring.  I often try to create a pleasing, artistic image from the simplest of subjects.  Sometimes it works, sometimes not.  But I really like the challenge and sometimes the results.

Dockside (Bollard)

This image is from a trip my wife, Michele, and I took to New England about a year ago.  I went out on the docks of Portland, Maine, one foggy morning and just started shooting things with an eye for elements, structure and composition.  I believe that using these three design notions are what make a simple picture into an interesting image.  Here I also did a bit of cloning to simplify the image, as well as Nik software's HDR Efex Pro filter, which I made adjustments by hand and eye, of course.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Digital Art II

This is an argument I have heard many times; some photographers believe that if you use digital software like Photoshop, Lightroom, Corel Painter, etc., that you are manipulating the image and that is cheating.  The in-camera image is the only "true" representation of place or thing photographed, purists would take the image direct from the camera to printer.  If it's not very good, you didn't do a good job at capture. I would ask the person saying this if they thought Ansel Adams was a good photographer. "Yes", they inevitably say, "he's fantastic".  "Well, I reply, "Ansel Adams 'manipulated' every image he created".  "What?", the purest would say.  "Yep", I continue, "he spent days, weeks, months, even years in the darkroom of his time dodging, burning, filtering the enlarger lens and using different grades of paper to produce exactly what he wanted."

Places des Vosges

Every photographer manipulates their image from the beginning: choice of lens, focal length, aperture setting, exposure time, etc.  Not to mention  angle of view, composition, elements in or avoided in the frame.  And I'm not a photojournalist.  I'm not necessarily trying to document, I trying to create art.  So for me, anything goes.  As long as you like the final image, I don't care how you got there.

This is a picture of the Place des Vosges in Paris, France.  I used Photoshop and hand painted in Corel's Painter to get what I hope is a "painterly" effect.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Old San Juan

While in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on our cruise, I took many pictures of the old buildings in town.  This one I found especially interesting due to the structure of the chairs, columns and doorway.

Café in Old San Juan

This took some work in Photoshop.  I used Nik HDR Efx Pro 2 to get more structure and depth to the colors.  I also tried using Topaz Impression effects, but couldn't really keep the writing on the chalkboard to the left of the doors, and didn't really like what came out.  Then did some Curves adjustments for contrast.

Friday, September 2, 2016

At Sea

Last week I took my very first cruise trip with my lovely wife, Michele, aboard the Royal Caribbean ship Oasis of the Seas.  We had some unfortunate changes in our itinerary, but had a good time all the same.  Stopped in Nassau, San Juan, Puerto Rico and Royal Caribbean's own little resort on Haiti.  And since there was a large amount of time spent on the ship cruising the Caribbean sea, I decided to take some shots of what was presented:

Clouds 1

Took this from the balcony of our room on the ship.  Took quite a lot of pics of clouds as well as some shots of the wake created by the ship.  Thinking the cloud shots may work as their own gallery, and the water shots as abstracts ... we'll see.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Digital Art

For my work, "Digital Art" is a photography I have worked on to make a "painted" look to it.  This is one of the first images I was satisfied with in this regard:

Boulangerie & Bike

The original photograph was take in Paris in 2005, not long after I had returned to photography and the new digital age.  I used Photoshop for color correction and adjustment, curves for contrast, etc.  Then I brought the image in to Corel Painter Essentials and work for several weeks, even months, on and off with a lot of experimentation before getting it the way I wanted. 

It was also, if memory serves, one of the first of my works to win awards at on-ling photography contests, including at BetterPhoto.com, Digital Image Café.com and Shutterbugs.biz. 

If anyone wants to try their hand at digital painting from a photograph, I suggest getting a copy of Corel Painter Essentials (download is about $50 on Amazon, compared to over $400 for the full blown Painter).  Not having any experience with digital painting, it took me awhile to understand how it all works, but it's a lot of fun and the results can be stunning.  More on that in another blog post.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Best Seller

With my return to blogging, I have decided to take a different approach and talk about what I think is my best work and images that others think highly of.  I sell my work through my website, FineArtAmerica.com, (who also fulfills orders done off my website) and Redbubble.com.   This picture is by far the best seller.

Florence Sunset

This was taken near the end of our trip to Florence several years ago.  We went up to the Michelangelo Plaza across from the city main and, with several dozen other tourists, took a bunch of pictures as the sun set on this beautiful city.  I took 26 shops from this angle.  I also shot many closer shots as the city's lights were coming on and it got darker, but so far this was the best one, in my opinion. 

I didn't do much to this one; pretty much a keeper out of the camera.  A little burning on the highlights on the river and a bit brightness in Curves adjustments. That's it.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Back in the Game

Since retiring in October, 2014, my wife and I retired and moved to a brand new home in the Esplanade development of Lakewood Ranch near Sarasota, Florida.  And I decided a bit back to start up again with my blog.

Ca' d'Zan

This is a highlight of Sarasota.  Called Ca' d'Zan (which is Venetian for House of John) this is the mansion of John & Mable Ringling of Ringling Bros. Circus fame.  It sits right on the Sarasota Bay and have fantastic views of the bay and the Gulf of Mexico beyond.  There is an art museum on the grounds hold a very good collection of mostly European art.  Turns out John Ringling became a very good, knowledgeable art collector. Mable Ringling also built a wonderful garden and grounds. There is also a very interesting circus museum there, as well.

I worked on this in Photoshop (of course) using a couple of plugins: Nik HDR Efex Pro and Topaz Clarity.  I also cropped it a bit to get ride of unwanted tourists. :)