I photographed this ring made by my wife, Judy Parady.
See her work at judyparady.com
the background as the reflector from a Lumedyne strobe head.
It's an interesting prop that is somewhat ironic in that the image
was made by window light. The ring is resting on a spool of brown waxed cord.
An understated, or narrow palette has always appealed to me,
and this image shows that tendency.
I photograph my dog a lot, and since at 13 years old, she is still draggin me around the neighborhood, there's a perspective tendency. More than you needed to know? ahem.
But when using the D700 (back on msg) in duotone mode, I made an exposure that was way hot, but liked it so much I used it as a creative starting point in my conversion through Lightroom. I was talking with my friend Beth Lilly the other day about how the LCD on a digital SLR is a collaborative partner that we didn't have previously. Even though I convert everything from raw files, I still strive for a good in camera WB.
Years ago I worked briefly with Joel Meyerowitz. At the time of every exposure, he made a written list of verbal descriptions that would then serve as a printing guide. Joel was exposing VPL, a tungsten balanced film in all sorts of daylight conditions, so a standard color pack derived from a Kodak test negative (a Shirley) was pretty much worthless. The verbal descriptor was used to
The conversation I had with my friend Beth, was in the context of our immediate creative attraction and response to a scene. That response could either encourage (or not) further exploration within any particular moment or setting. Beth does very interesting work with a cell phone and the feedback from the device is an essential part of the process. If it looks promising, continue to work the scene. If not, move on.
Things look different in a photograph and on the LCD than they do when you perceive them directly, and that syntactical appearance can influence the final rendering of an image, even (or especially) as you are engaged in the process of making the photograph.
This is why, even though I may ultimately create the duotoned image from the full spectrum raw file, I use the camera display to create a sort of collaborative feedback that leads me toward such ultimate decisions as contrast, tonal abbreviation, white balance and saturation. And of course, composition (like the ground glass of a field camera). It also gets me back to that in the moment mindset when I am formulating my interpretation at the desktop.
This "touchstone" concept works in color, too and is why I always strive to hit a WB in camera that I feel compliments the subject/moment and my desired effect or mood, and will enhance the capture processes as well as the post-production creative processes. It melds my visual thinking to my intuitive and visceral responses.
One situation I have found this quite important in, is when a portrait subject can either be enthralled or horrified by the image on the screen. Use with discretion.
At the top of this post is an image that I created out of my immediate response to that overexposed, warm toned display on my LCD, while walking with Bailey.
I started with the Creative Aged preset in Lightroom, and altered almost everything. The adjustment brush with minus "Exposure" let me bring the sky back in. Some saturation came back, tonal shifts and Clarity and other stuff, too... t
Then in Photoshop, converted the 16bit PSD to 8, added a layer to get to the Diffused Glow. Worked it a while and then added a layer mask to bring back some of the darker and lighter areas that had moved too much.
The original image posted last night was not enough for her... t
She makes the best Americano. Really.
I've been told I need a blog.
I've been told it's an asset to reveal how much (or how little) I know about my profession. Ha.
I had thought that just putting images up would be sufficient evidence that I know what I'm doing with a camera and light (and that other stuff in a photograph). But no.
There is a lot more to it. And that, apparently, is the valuable stuff. Like the hours I spend with software. And hardware. And theoretical positioning with other artists as to the relevance of what we do, and how it is perceived.
Apparently, this stuff matters too.
Well I know it matters to me. But does it matter to anyone else? And is anyone else reading this? Apparently not. Or maybe you are looking, but are shy of the "comment" button. I mean, I rarely say anything... why should you (if you're even here)?
So it begins. I trash the concept of a blog with images and minimal words, to join the mass of private publicity in the excessively obese (that's redundant) blog-o-sphere.
I will try to stay thin and focused. And not be stupid on the internet.
Where to start.
OK, here you go: I've been shifting pointedly back into duotone work.
Having left that behind in my cobweb covered darkroom, it restarted with the Nikon D700, which has capabilities that offered black and white digital capture at a quality my personal standards could accept. It has excellent high sensitivity resolution, tonality and focusing all in one package, with a neat built in capability to build my own profile using color contrast filters and duotoning of the images. Pretty exciting.
Then I discovered the down side. The profile only sticks to a jpg. The NEF (raw file) instantly becomes a color image when opened in Photoshop's ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) and in Nikon View if you want to make any changes to it's saturation (which is not one of the adjustable parameters of the in-camera profile).
I am working entirely in Lightroom (v2.3CR) or Photoshop (still CS3) and am not going to spend a hundred bucks on the creatively talented and cute but insane Capture NX2 (I've had girl friends who were like that. No thanks). It pains me that Nikon won't make the immediately previous version of their flagship conversion software compatible with their newest $3000 camera. Life is tough. I go to Adobe and keep my hundred bucks. Neither will I shell out $200 for Silver efex, which is fun, but not that fun. I'll look at it again when I have money (not holding breath).
So I have been using LR's presets (I've made about 20 of them) to customize my duotoned imagery. The in camera jpg acts as a proof, that lets me assess an image's effectiveness as a duotone. I have not been able to force myself to settle for a more compressed or smaller jpg (coming soon to a mindset near me), so my back up protocol expands hugely in time and bytes. I do need to work on that. This issue is compounded by my new affection for the DNG format, which is tempered by my distrust of corporate stability (where did that come from?). So now I have JPG, DNG and NEFs of all duotone images and NEFs and DNGs of all images. sigh.
So there's my topic for the next entry: file formats and image backup storage. sigh... t
I made this portrait of my friend years ago on his 69th birthday. A handsome man who, when I showed him the Polaroid (yeah, that long ago) he said "Oh Tom, guess what?" (What... Gene?). "I am an old man". I told him that everyone knew that, except (apparently) him.
I see, on a pretty regular basis, older guys making idiots of themselves around younger women and I think some of that is an inner vision of themselves that stopped aging somewhere around college. They deny what is revealed in the mirror every day, by engrossing themselves in detail; the beard, the hair, the clothes. And they continue to hit on girls that are grossed out by their incredible lack of self awareness.
I decided that day with my friend Gene, that I didn't want to wake up one day with the startling realization that I was old. I'd rather keep track of what I look like and not be shocked like Dave in 2001 A Space Odessy, suddenly seeing myself sinking into my death bed, and wondering, "when did I get old?"... t