Last night presenters at the Epson Print Academy (Caponigro, Gorman, Holbert, Resnicki, Schewe) attended a gallery opening in downtown Seattle at the Benham Gallery showcasing images by members of their own ranks – Mac Holbert and Dan Steinhardt. Also on display were works by Robert Wade and Esther Sirotnik. Also in attendance was permanence expert Henry Wilhelm. Not surprisingly, the gallery talk quickly moved from early inspirations to a spirited discussion of process and permanence. “Giclee is meaningless!” “Archival is meaningless and no longer used by the ISO!” “C prints are no longer considered for collection by the Getty! They fade too fast!” “Color is now permanent!” You’ve got to see and hear it to believe it. What’s worse than being in a room with an expert? Being in a room with ten experts. Seriously though, it’s always interesting.

Mac Holbert described what it was like to leverage his 18 years of experience printing other people’s work when printing his own work several years ago for his first exhibit and more recently for this follow up. Dan Steinhardt also made interesting comments about why he chose to ask Mac Holbert to print for him. After a lifetime in photography, first as a photographer, then as a marketing expert for both Kodak and Epson, and recently in the last 5 years becoming more active in making his own images, he still decided to have an expert make the finest possible prints from his images. It’s an interesting decision that every photographer faces. Do you make your own prints? Do you have the time and knowledge base to do this? Or do you enlist master printmakers to make prints for you – a time honored tradition both within and without photography. Do you have the financial resources to enlist them and are you willing to engage in a collaborative process? There’s no right answer. It’s an individual decision. And you may make different decisions at for different projects and at different times in your life.

Mac also shared a story about his work. In the image above, he saw the Bible and the little girl when he made the exposure. But he didn’t see the ironic 666 written on the box in pencil until he made the print. So often, new things come to light when you make prints of your images.

The exhibit Placement of Place is on display from January 7 to February 14.

Find out more about Mac Holbert here.

Find out about the Benham Gallery here.
Improve your printing skills at the Epson Print Academy.
Learn to make master prints in my workshops.

Epson 9900

January 30, 2009 | Leave a Comment |


My Epson 9900 just arrived. I’ve been using the 7900 at the Epson Print Academy. What’s new? Incredible yellows and oranges with improved blues. The best dot structure ever, better than my 11880. Great detail and smooth gradations. Epson HDR ink isn’t a quantum leap but it is a signficant evolution.

Stay tuned for more details.

See the 7900 in action at the Epson Print Academy.
The Epson Print Academy is in Seattle tomorrow.

Henry Wilhelm will make a special appearance.

Quincy Jones spawned the idea of asking President Obama to appoint a Secretary of the Arts.

Now there’s an online petition.

Over 200,000 people have signed it so far.

Check it out here.

Check out Rick Sammon’s conversation with Scott Sheppard on IDP Radio where he discusses his recent trip to Antarctica.

Then find out about his three new books this year.
Face to Face: Rick Sammon’s Complete Guide to Photographing People, Rick Sammon’s Exploring the Light: Making the Very Best In-Camera Exposures, and Rick Sammon’s Digital Photography Secrets.

And finally, check out Rick’s YouTube station here.

Here’s a preview of four images from my recent trip to Antarctica. There were many surprises on this trip. There’s a quality to the trip and the images made during it that defies easy description. It’s going to take finishing the editing and processing and writing about the work to better understand it. Work teaches you. And every stage of the process teaches you something new. There’s no substitute for doing it. Stay tuned for images and text in the coming months. You’ll see them here first.

Check my previous posts to learn more about the trip.

Enjoy my Antarctica galleries, book, and statements.

Learn more about my workshops here.

Early registrants get discounts at home.

Members get discounts abroad.

Drake Passage

January 22, 2009 | 1 Comment |

More Drake. It’s gone from calm to rough. I’m sure it will change again. It’s a long stretch home filled with seminars and reviews.

Today I talked about the importance of defining a project that makes the work we do tangible and shareable. My project will be to update my Antarctica Blurb book with new images and updated text. I then handed the session off to Olaf Willoughby who talked about his Antarctica book (PDF for World Wildlife Federation and on demand print through Lulu), which he did after our first 2005 voyage, and it’s effectiveness for environmental advocacy. It’s inspiring to hear what one man can do.

See my previous post on Olaf from early this month.
See my Defining a Project PDF here.

Enjoy my Antarctica galleries, book, and statements.

Learn more about my workshops here.

Early registrants get discounts at home.

Members get discounts abroad.

Drake Passage

January 21, 2009 | Leave a Comment |

Out into the Drake Passage once again. High seas. I’ll be looking out for weather, wind, and light on water. We present seminars between meals. Try dodging and burning in the Drake one handed with a track pad!

One of the most interesting sessions involved each of the instructors processing one of our files. The comparisons of workflow and perspective were really insightful. Seth processed one of his images in less than 2 minutes, all in Lightroom. Michael spent a little more time in Lightroom. Jeff and I started in Lightroom and moved to Photoshop. Stephen still works almost exclusively in Bridge and Photoshop. A lot of participants took away an important concept. There isn’t one right way. A workflow evolves out of the objectives of each individual. It’s my opinion that many people need more than one workflow – one high productivity and one high touch. On weekends when I photograph my family my workflow should be closer to Seth’s – so my family actually gets the images I make. On weekdays, when I’m mastering images that will last me the rest of my career, I should be taking more care and spending more time.

Enjoy my Antarctica galleries, book, and statements.
Learn more about my workshops here.

Early registrants get discounts at home.

Members get discounts abroad.

Deception Island

January 20, 2009 | Leave a Comment |

High winds and horizontal snow kept most from making the first landing and cancelled the second at Deception Island, an active volcano you can sail into that was once used for processing in the whaling industry and is now only used for tourism and science, like much of the Antarctic. The weather is very different inside the volcano than it is outside it. Today there were incredible winds, but once we went outside they died down quickly

We’re all very tired. It’s been a grueling pace. The exotic locations have kept us running on adrenaline. Now with heavy weather on our last day, we’re all beginning to wind down and admit how tired we are. Many of us are nodding off while we’re reviewing our images. We all have a lot of processing to do. I’ve shot over 7,000 images. Jeff Schewe’s shot more than 10,000. Perhaps, more importantly we all have a different kind of processing to do, reflecting on our experiences, how they’ve affected us, and what they’ve meant. And it’s these answers that will lead us to finding ways to make images that are less conventional and more uniquely our own.

On every voyage, I’ve stayed on board, skipping one of a precious few adventures and taken the time to collect my thoughts and refocus, getting perspective on the images made so far, what was working, what wasn’t, and what needed to be done. This trip, rather than one big session midway, I reviewed quickly after downloading and so kept a running tally along the way. The great locations were so good and so compressed together that this review process had to come in small chunks rather than one larger review. It’s given me a different window into the images I’ve been making. In one day, I made a suite of images of glaciers that I continually try to advance by finding one more image that will bring a significant variation to the set. Along the way, a set of isolated high peaks in dramatic weather has been slowly building, something started on my first trip and continuing today. Clarifying the themes I’ve been developing helps me know what to look for when I’m in the field and how not to repeat myself. It also helps me identify other ways of looking that haven’t been developed; themes like this I’ve been developing have been ice collected on the shore, looking down at the blue mass of ice below the waterline, symmetrical patterns created by reflection in calm water, and the distortion created by waves including the wake of the boat. Having a plan doesn’t eliminate spontaneity and discovery. In some cases, it can even fuel it, while at the same time keeping you focused. And, of course, all plans are subject to revision. As new insights are accumulated, every plan needs refinement.

Many of the images I’ve made on this trip have had a unexpectedly soft lyrical quality to them. I’m not sure exactly what or why this is. It’s a discovery I’ll have to spend some time with to understand more. I don’t expect to fully understand it. There’s always more to learn from the work you do. But I do know I’ll come to understand it more, if I give it time – not just let time pass, but spend time with it.

Jeff Schewe was asked last night, “How do you adjust an image?” His answer was, “The image will tell me what it needs.” It’s a good answer. Listen to your work. It will get better. You’ll grow.

Enjoy my Antarctica galleries, book, and statements.

Learn more about my workshops here.

Early registrants get discounts at home.

Members get discounts abroad.

5 am and Michael Reichmann comes on the PA, “There’s gorgeous light -again.” We’ve all had 2 hours sleep. 4 the night before. Who knows how many the two nights before that. We’re running on adrenaline – so we do it. Seth Resnick shows up on deck and asks to trade lenses, “I can’t believe I’m asking you for your 28 mm. I’m a 300 mm man.” We’ve been influence each other every trip. I love photographing with this guy. It’s not just his contagious enthusiasm. It’s not just that he likes to push the envelope and I like to come along for the ride. It’s that he sees so differently. The other day, he got an awesome shot, accomplishing one of the things I’ve been trying to do better, by putting his 14 mm lens and inch from the water, getting the long stretch of blue iceberg running down deep into the water reflection free, with a little iceberg on top. That move may have cost me a new lens. We both find each other versatile and innovative. Note to self. Photograph more with stimulating photographers.

Later, at our pre-breakfast hike, many of us decide to catch up on a little sleep, including me – until I saw ice stranded on the shoreline. It was a tiny detail others overlooked. Everyone else went to the top of the mountain for that one great shot. Not me, I’m went to a place where there might be dozens or more. Our expedition leader likes to take us to high vista points where we can survey the fabulous landscape. We keep asking for more zodiac cruises. He doesn’t realize it’s more than an obsession with ice; it’s a photographic issue. You know those pull outs in National Parks – “scenic view”? Ever notice there’s only one image you can make there? Everyone makes it. The only way you can really work it and come up with something different
is with a telephoto, extracting small details. Instead of looking down, you can put yourself in situations where you can move through the landscape and interact with it more. Then it’s much easier to come away with something different. Edward Weston swore off landscapes, for a while, feeling they didn’t allow the artist enough artistic freedom and turned to still life instead. Later her returned to landscape, but with a fresh eye from his leave of absence.

Enjoy my Antarctica galleries, book, and statements.

Learn more about my workshops here.

Early registrants get discounts at home.

Members get discounts abroad.

Zodiac’s in big swell first thing in the morning. Seth Resnick and I are bouncing all over the place. We’re shooting fast and praying, laughing all the way. I keep coming back around one set of icebergs. After three times, others want to move on. I get back and look at the images and realize, the third time was the charm. I basically worked the first shot I tried over and over again until I finally got it. That’s an approach many pros use. I remember one of my assistants also assisted Jay Maisel on a commercial shoot. He came back amazed that Jay shot the same shot again and again and again. Jay got the shot. He always does. It’s one of the reasons he also gets the big bucks.

Neko Harbor was different the third time. The first time (2005) was filled with high winds. The second time (2007) was crystal clear turning to cloudy sunset. The third time (2009) brought snow. We hiked to the top of an overlook that surveyed the glacier. Later we went zodiac cruising in the ice choked harbor. We had one big castleated tabular iceberg which was truly impressive, then I found myself unenthused by the rest of the ride – but I kept working. At the end of a long day, when I looked over the images after midnight I unexpectedly found a couple of keepers. I kept trying despite lack of sleep and lack of enthusiasm and scored. Woody Allen said, “90% of success is just showing up.” Try it and you might surprise yourself.

Enjoy my Antarctica galleries, book, and statements.

Learn more about my workshops here.

Early registrants get discounts at home.

Members get discounts abroad.


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