Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Driving home on the Saturday that I made this photograph, the light and aerial drama was compelling enough to stop the car and set up the Pentax 67 kit.  As this view is of the WNW into the lowering sun, the polarizing filter would not have done a thing to bring out the values in the sky...but a Red 25A would! did.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I continue to photograph the places that are most familiar to me, because they are also the places whose variations I'm most sensitized to.  I would be surprised if one were to photograph a person he knew well only once.  Smiling, frowning, sympathetic, irritated, happy, sad, laughing, crying and an endless variety of other expressions are the stuff we all know about those with whom we share our lives. Why petrify only a single  moment?  Portraiture could be a dynamic portfolio. 

The landscape is also like that.  Sunny, cloudy, foggy, rainy, snowy, icy, and the infinite nuances of each of those states recast and transfigure the natural world.  These two photographs, made a week apart, are of a willow by Round Lake that I've photographed often. I'm sure it will continue to be the subject of many photographs to come.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Now and then I revisit really old work to see how it looks years later.  The upper of these two images is one of the first photographs I made that I liked well enough to print and show.  I had very little experience printing and even less mounting and matting let alone scanning and presenting on line.  Still, I was happy with what I had learned to do.  It was well received on the critique forum that I posted it to.

When I began making prints in the late 90's I printed on RC (resin coated) paper, and hadn't a clue about toning nor thought it was even necessary.  Apparently I reconsidered soon thereafter, because this is a scan of a print made on FB (fiber based) paper, and is fairly presentable.  At the time I only made prints in sizes that would fit pre-cut mats whether the image was best suited to that size or not.

But the second image takes advantage of a dozen years of experience with a negative I might not even consider making today.  It's cropped and toned, and eliminates areas that are extraneous to the point of the picture which is the silvery banks of the little stream.  As I now cut my own mats, the picture is cropped to best suit the image, and is easy to mount in whatever dimensions that crop may dictate.  I, of course, prefer that latter one, but other viewers may think the original vision is best.  However, it's out of my hands now; let the viewer choose the former, the latter or neither!  ;-)

Friday, November 16, 2012

The two images below were made in 2005 in the black dirt region of Orange County, NY.  I was driving around that area after a snowfall, and stopped with the camera because the sky was getting dramatic enough to be interesting.  Setting up the 4x5 view camera takes a good deal longer than a fixed lens camera, and I'm sure I missed a few good exposures with the slower machine, but I'm grateful for these two at least.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

I've had mixed feelings about this photograph over the years since I made it.  On one hand, it's a fairly commonplace record of a man made waterfall, but on the other, it has a decidedly 19th century sensibility to it that I really respond to...old concrete, and an ancient stream that would be musty with age if it were indoors.  When I first printed it, I was not toning in sepia and selenium as I do now.  That toning makes a big difference in evoking the sense of relative antiquity that I think is inherent here.

It was made with my first view camera, a monorail 4x5 OmegaView using a 210mm Rodenstock  Geronar lens. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

I'm not sure how many times I've photographed Round Lake, but it has been often.  It's an easy place to visit, being close by, and as I pass it every day I witness its infinite variations.  The lake is beautiful in fog, in evening and morning light, in winter snow and ice, in calm and still air, and in seasonal color.  It has been the subject of probably the most extensive series of images I've made that I'm happy with.  I expect I'll get around to assembling all the prints I've made over the last several years, and offer them to any local venue that would like to show them.

This one is from late October.  If I were a slave to photoshop I'd have cloned out the leaves on the water, but, as I'm not, I chose to let them remain as I found them.  I've just made a darkroom print of this and it reveals even more leaves than you see in this scan.  Verite! 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fog isn't as common here as I wish it were, and when it does show up in the early morning, I'm usually on my way to work.  But yesterday a fog had lingered until I returned, and I immediately got the camera and went behind our house to record what I saw.  Here are three of those images.  Even though they are not in the actual colors of the scene, for me at least, they achieve the sense and vibrations of lingering autumn leaves. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pond scum is inevitable.  It accumulates to the point of completely covering the surface of ponds and shallow lakes until cool weather ends its season. It's often rather boring...kinda like looking at a random group of clouds that doesn't resemble anything you can read into it.  But, sometimes as the scum ebbs a bit, what remains gets together and dances!  In a breeze driven spiral, this patch of scum was beautiful to me. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Autumn color is at peak this weekend.  It's incredibly beautiful with saturated yellows, reds, and oranges.  Today is sunny, and the leafy brilliance is dazzling.  But, yesterday was rainy and clouded over which kept the color rich and soft without the glare and intensity that sunlight creates.  Of course, photographs in monochrome can't rely on the chroma of the leaves, but can rely on their values, especially against a strongly contrasting background.  These two photographs were made yesterday in a tiny little park that is bordered by busy roads.  The stream here was swollen with the day's rain, and there were countless fallen leaves that had been detached from their trees by its pelting.  I was happy that enough were left to make these images.  They'll almost certainly be gone in the next few days. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Equipment is very much secondary to me when making photographs, but it is important.  Almost anything will do if I understand how to use it effectively.  I've been using a spot meter for years until just recently when I bought a metering prism for the Pentax 67.  At first, it seemed to eat batteries within minutes, and I thought I'd have to return it to KEH, but I bought fresh batteries and they've not discharged nor failed.  This is an image from the first roll of film I've used metering with the prism.  I'm pretty happy with what turned out in difficult lighting.  It's a photograph I made on the way home from a very satisfying visit to a gallery that liked the box of prints I showed.  Where that will lead is unknown, but it was a good experience.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

As I no longer make small (8X10) prints, most of the images that are posted here are negative scans that attempt to emulate their paper print doppelgangers.  But, this is a print scan from a negative I made a bunch of years ago.  I like it enough to want to reprint it in the manner I now utilize that will crop from the original (as has been done here), and be lightly toned in thiocarbamide and selenium.

For photography, skeletal trees are far more interesting in their winter dormancy than during their leafy lives.  Of course, in autumn, the riot of their color is irresistible, but so tenuous that only the memory of their brilliance remains. Their symmetry, shape, and elegance is best revealed when they're shorn of their 'other' season's cloak.

This site is close to the former home of my all-time dearest cello student who witnessed it every winter day.  I just got it down on film and paper.  Here's to you, kiddo!!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Having an extensive archive of negatives is a treat when making new ones isn't easy or even possible.  On a dreary and unpromising day, time in the darkroom or on the computer scanning some that haven't received much attention is a pleasure.  Some negatives may percolate for years until, when seeing them again, there is renewed enthusiasm for what prompted me to make them in the first place.  This is one of those lost children that is now back in the family. Abstract to the point that I've lost the memory of its original orientation, I've chosen to make it vertical.  Horizontal, though, wouldn't be wrong either.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

This photograph was made during August of 2008 at Marineland beach in northern Florida.  The negative is rather thin, and I never bothered to print it.  I did scan it, however, and fussed with it in PhotoShop until it looked as it does here.  Yesterday, I decided to give it a chance in the darkroom, and to my surprise, it printed rather easily with a grade 5 filter that offers the most contrast that is available with the paper and's referred to as a "hard" filter.  The print is darker and richer than this scan, but, nonetheless, I'm really glad it now exists beyond the virtual.

Friday, August 31, 2012

The irony of this is almost humorous as I am soooo not religious...anti-religious wouldn't be inaccurate.  But...out in the early morning looking for something to photograph, this stopped the car immediately.   It was the first time I used a new-to-me TTL (Thru The Lens metering) pentaprism for the Pentax 67, and it worked extremely well...there are almost no photoshop adjustments.  I guess my sins will be forgiven for today at least!  ;-)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It's not often I make photographs of Walton Lake at the bottom of the hill where we live.  But this little spot has occasionally been worthwhile, and this morning it had this to offer.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I've wondered about this photograph ever since I made it nearly a year ago.  It's vague...barely there...but still, for me at least, conjures a mood.  It's ghostly, and ephemeral, but invites curiosity about what's behind the fog; the antithesis of the clarity that I typically look for.  This is a negative scan, but I think it will be a toned print by the end of tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I've been examining images of the Hudson River that I've made over a period of years, and very recently.  It's a beautiful place, and as a stable bit of scenery the effects of time of day and events of weather allow for endless variety.  I've made many negatives and a number of prints from this vantage point that I'm happy with. 

The photograph below was made on my commute home from work in 2005.  I just happened to have my 4x5 kit in the trunk, and when I saw what presented itself, I got the kit ready in record time!  That little cloud in the larger one was a lucky bit of was gone seconds later!  "Chance favors the prepared mind." or in this case the efficient photographer.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

There is no end to the variations on a theme invited by an agreeable subject. Though I've posted several, and not too dissimilar images of this scene, I really like this variation.  I'll get some darkroom time tomorrow, and this will be a strong candidate for printing.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Older negatives survive unscathed by time if they're worthy, and die a younger death if they're not.  It's a bit weird to post an image from this past winter, wimpy though it was, when the temperature outside is in the 90's, but I like it enough to buck the season.  Taken beside Moodna Trestle.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My wide angle lens (55mm) for the medium format Pentax 67 camera is becoming my favorite.  It used to be that that role was played by a medium telephoto (135mm) because I felt that the fewer elements it covered helped make compositions more coherent.  But, the larger view has compositional imperatives of its own, and I'm enjoying responding to them.  It's a different way of seeing. 

In the creative arts it is often said, with liberal exaggeration, that 10,000 negatives, poems, essays, stories, films and musical works need to be made and discarded before a true voice is able to emerge from the slag heap.  As a cellist, I'm pretty sure I've paid my dues in hours, and effort.  In photography, I'm still workin' on it!

Below is one from this past winter that I want to print in the darkroom.  I had almost no time to set up the 'pod and camera for this, and was happy to get what was left of quickly changing scene. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

I like this photograph.  But, I like it more because it's the first time I've used "curves" in photoshop to solve a problem that's easily fixed in the darkroom...burning in the sky at a harder contrast than the ground (split grading).

Students of classical musical instruments, who are being guided intelligently, now are learning a host of skills that hidebound conservatories of my generation never would have deigned to offer.  That was due to both an elitist attitude and a total ignorance of popular idioms, improvisation, and creative new directions for the instruments being mastered.  Though I'm not likely to regain that ground as a cellist, I can certainly attempt to do so with photography.  Yes, I'm late to the digital party, but I'm determined to catch up as much as possible.  I will never abandon what I've learned traditionally, but I will expand the tool kit, as I've mentioned before, to include new skills I've been timid to try!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

It's not easy to find the best light and weather conditions for other than post card photographs in the full sun of summer.  There's rarely any fog, mist, or other interesting phenomena once the sun is fairly high.  I ended up driving a very long way to find anything that interested me.  I made these just north of the "Hawks Nest" scenic roadway along the Delaware River within a state park.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The work I do in the summer time makes if difficult to take the camera out.  This weekend (July 14th and 15th), however I had the chance.  The first is a view of fields and sky in Pine Island I visited on Saturday...the black dirt region of Orange County, NY.  The second is of the lake at the bottom of the hill we live on very early this Sunday morning. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

For work, I usually get up at about 4:15AM every day.  This past Saturday (June 23rd) I got up then anyway so that I could drive to the places I pass on my daily commute that I can't stop to photograph. And those places can be gorgeous.  The two images below were made as I stood on the Bear Mountain Bridge between about 6:15 and 7:30 AM on the 23rd.  There was a dense, low cloud that wouldn't disperse despite the strong breeze I was feeling on the bridge. Eventually, though, the rising mist allowed me to photograph the upper of these two, and the lower, taken earlier, bypassed the low cloud altogether and appreciated the sky.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I've been reviewing the negatives from Bethlehem,  and have decided that I'd like to add one more to the several posted below.  I think this subject is grist for a whole body of work, but I only had a brief time with it, and wish it could have been much longer.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Perkins Memorial Drive is a road on which l have ridden my bicycle to the top of Bear Mountain (back when I was in very good form!).  Most annoying are the barriers that preclude parking a car anywhere along it. It's great for hikers, though, and the view of below is spectacular.  As there were no park police cruising the area during the early morning hour I made this photograph, I was able to park where I wanted to, but wasn't supposed to. is the result of my crime!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Every working day I drive slowly across the Hudson River on the Bear Mountain Bridge.  It is a brief trip spanning the river just below Fort Clinton where the American revolutionary army belted a huge chain just below and across the water to stop British warships from any further northward progress. Just beyond the bridge is West Point. (Sometimes I'm saluted on this bridge by cadets on their morning run, the most polite and respectful young adults you could ever want to meet.)  

There are no end of mornings that take one's breath away with their beauty here.  Clouds, mist, fog, wind, haze, snow, rain, and all their nuances are stunning, but while driving, not possible to photograph.   Today (May 28th) I didn't have to make the trip due to the Memorial Day holiday, but I did anyway just in case. I didn't think it likely there would be much to see as day dawned in warm haze.  I nearly turned around to go home when I saw fog in the distance. Yes!!  So, I finished the trip.  Here are three from the two rolls I used. If I could stop every morning that seduced me visually, I'd go into debt buying film.  (Yeah...I know...I could shoot digitally for next to nothing.  Sorry...not interested.)

Monday, May 7, 2012

The party tent images below were made adjacent to this photograph.  The Bethlehem Steel Works was an enormous industry in its time.  This photograph was made at the end of the sprawling acres of stacks, and 'ovens' that cooked the raw materials, separated the metal ore from other ingredients, and blended metals to finally make steel. In our era of sterile virtual realities, it's important to remember the gritty, sweaty, smokey, industrial sinew that once polluted air and water, but rolled out the material that built this country. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

It has not only been a while since I've posted a photograph here, but an even longer while since I've posted something new.  These three images were made on April 29th, in Bethlehem, Pa. beside a marvelous relic of rust belt industry, a steel mill.  It is awesome in scale and complexity, but I just didn't have the time before the concert we had come for to photograph it with the intimacy that can only come from time spent. But, along side the mill, there was a party tent that had been set up for an event yet to occur, and was completely available visually.  In the time we had to wait before the concert, I was able to burn two rolls of film.  Here are three from those rolls.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I should title this photograph, "From a Winter that Was"  This past one definitely wasn't!  I felt a bit sorry for all the ice fisherman who used to sit on their stools on frozen Walton Lake.  It did freeze, but thawed in a bit more than a week, and never was thick enough to support fisherman, skaters, or much else.  The issue in question is "global" warming, not local warming, but if this year were a portent of things to come even around here, it's a major shift in the climate.  I hope not, but who knows?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

I enjoyed a wonderful adventure on Friday, April 6th.  We met up with a small group of painters at the Southlands Foundation, Gentle Giants 4H club farm in Rhinebeck, NY.  The painters (OH RATS*) had arranged to have one of the Belgian horses, (Turk), and a couple of donkey's available for them to paint.  I tagged along with my cameras, and had a grand time ranging within and beyond the paddock where the painters were painting.  We will return here (have an open invitation) many times, I think. A splendid place!!

*Old Hudson River Art and Truth Society. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The two photographs below are from 2005.  They were made with my first view camera (ToyoView45D), and a very modest entry level lens (Rodenstock Geronar 210).  I had also just acquired an enlarger for 4x5 negatives, and couldn't wait to print these two.  But, the full negatives had problems I didn't know how to solve, and they have never been scanned or printed until now. (these are scans, but prints to follow immediately).  I have a sense of what to do with the prints that I didn't know back then.  The challenge is to achieve in the darkroom what is so ridiculously simple in Photoshop, but nothing I do there isn't a legitimate darkroom technique as well.  We'll see how well I do!


Saturday, March 31, 2012

If you've visited this blog over time you've seen this waterfall before.  I've visited it for over 30 years, and always enjoyed it whether making a photograph or not.  This subject is done to death, of course, but, like portraits of people each is different.  Sometimes the image is a boring cliche, and sometimes it's a bit more than that because there's an inherent design that transcends the subject.  Whichever of those two possibilities you decide this exemplifies, I've decided it's more the latter than the former.

Monday, March 26, 2012

One great thing about film is that it's easy to keep forever.  Were I accumulating digital files, I don't know if I'd even be able to load one that's ten or more years old unless I'd updated the software I'd need to do that as often as necessary (and hope the file was uncorrupted as well). 

The 'graph below is a negative scan from a 2000 photograph.  I never printed it because I thought it was too 'unfriendly' with as much dark as it has. that I tone prints in thiocarbamide and selenium, the color changes that mood, and I've decided I like this well enough to print next week.  It's also cropped a bit from the full negative (another bit of progress from what I did 12 years ago), and I've noticed that this kind of photograph has now been done by a lot of people (probably had been then, too, of course, but I didn't know). 

Painters become better painters over time as they accumulate, and develop skills.  Yet, their creative vision most likely was there from the beginning and only needed refinement and added scope. The camera, though, nails the image as well earlier in one's development as later.  So....I don't feel that this 'graph is any less current in a way than if I had just made it.  I just 'see' it differently now than then.  Make sense?

Monday, March 19, 2012

It's been a weird, wimpy winter, and now we're experiencing a dramatically early spring.  LOVE IT!!  On Sunday we went out to the Rogowski Family Farm in Pine Island for their farm breakfast which was a real treat, and then meandered home slowly.  Not far from that farm the road crossed the stream below, and we parked a bit up the road and walked back with our cameras (3 people, 4 cameras just to keep the weirdness in play...).  I shot one roll of film from the bridge, and selected these two negatives to scan from the ten on the roll.  It pays to 'work' a subject, because, had I only taken two or three images from the bridge, I doubt I'd have gotten the two below.