Thursday, August 26, 2010

What's New?

When I posted in April, I had every intention of posting monthly.  Unfortunately, time got away from me again.  Over the last five months, I have presented five workshops at the Viewpoint Photographic Art Center and have another one scheduled for the beginning of November.  The workshops have focused on Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for the most part, although I also presented a workshop on Digital Fine Art Printing and another on Black and White Conversion of Digital Images.  This was the second time I have presented the printing workshop.  After explaining color spaces, calibration of monitor, printing presets (like black point compensation and rendering intent) and other technical aspects of fine art printing, I accept images from the participants and run them through the process to show improvements that can be made.  This process helps the participants understand tools that are available to take their prints to the next level.

In the course of preparing for the B&W conversion workshop, I came across an action created by Greg Gorman and Mac Holbert that was particularly effective in making the conversion.  You can download a pdf file that sets forth the action here.  Here is an example of an image created with this action.

I have begun to create more black and white images over the last eight months or so in an effort to refocus my attention on the quality of light in an image and on composition.  It is easy to become lazy with color images and have the color carry the day.  I have become enamored with Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro.  With its combination of presets and the ability to use its "control point" technology, it is possible to fine tune any image.  The software even allows you to apply grain characteristics of different film types to the image.  I highly recommend it for anyone seriously interested in creating the very finest B&W images.  Here are some images created with Silver Efex Pro:

While there are endless variations on methods for making the B&W conversion, I narrowed it down to the following techniques for my workshop (contact me if you want any details about any of these methods):


  • Desaturation
  • Grayscale
  • Desaturation
  • Grayscale
  • Gradient Map
  • Separate Channel Layers
  • Channel Mixer
  • Black & White Adjustment Layer
  • L*a*b Conversion
  • Twin Hue/Saturation Method
  • Grayscale/Color Channels Method
  • Greg Gorman/Mac Holbert Action
Third Party Plug-In
I have not had much time to concentrate on my own photographic skills, other than in preparation for the workshops.  However, I did participate in Scott Kelby's Third Annual Worldwide Photo Walk on July 24 by joining fellow photographers in the Mission District of San Francisco.  I have been back to San Francisco twice since then, most recently this last Friday to put my youngest daughter on a plane to Barcelona, Spain so she could attend the University of Barcelona for her entire junior year of college.  She is already fully acclimated in less than a week.  Here is a sample of the images I captured on these recent trips.  

 As you can see, I am trying to listen to Jay Maisel and start concentrating on people.  It doesn't come easy for me, but it is rewarding when a particular image conveys an emotion.

Well, I am probably done with juried competitions for 2010.  I entered ten competitions and was accepted into eight.  The Art of Photography Show in San Diego eluded me again this year, so I will try next year.  I already have an exhibit set for next year.  This will be my first exhibit outside California.  Chris Schiller and I will be presenting a joint exhibit at the Grants Pass Museum of Art in Oregon.  They approached me about exhibiting, which was a first.  Usually, it is necessary to put together a proposal and then send it to several venues in hopes of garnering some interest.  For galleries that are not limited to photography, there are often no more than two opportunities per year to exhibit.  The competition is fierce for those openings.  If you are in the Grants Pass area of Oregon during October or November of 2011, please stop in and see my work and that of Chris Schiller.  He is an exceptionally talented photographer.

Next up are trips to Avila Beach for a family vacation at the beginning of September and the workshop in Yosemite Valley in December, both of which should generate new images.  In the meantime, I will be updating my website with new images, so go take a look next week.  Happy shooting!

Next Post:  Avila Beach