WhyMakePrints

Suffusion XV, Skogafoss, Iceland, 2012

To find what I was looking for, it took three visits to this waterfall.

On the first visit, I made conventional postcards surveying the site with a curious eye; cliffs, grass, moss, waterfall, pool, river, rock, vapor, rainbow, sun, clouds, rain, tourists, horses. The images I made were competent – and nothing more.

On the second visit, I identified my primary focus – the fast-moving complex patterns the water made as it fell in waves through the air. Images that isolated these patterns contained a number of qualities that I was excited about, both something related to what I had been developing in other images and something new. I had found what I was looking for. But, when I evaluated the images I made and developed the material further (enhancing the patterns by combining them and adding new elements) it became clear that I needed more material to make a complete statement. During development, I made notes and sketches to chart my progress and refine my ideas.

On the third visit, I walked up to the waterfall and stood in front of it silently watching for new patterns and making exposures for the better part of an hour. I was thrilled to be immersed in a magical moment, completely focused, and undisturbed. At the end of this session my good friend and colleague Arthur Meyerson asked, “Did you get anything?” “Yes,” I responded, “I got a body of work.”

With so many wonderful possibilities out there, why would you return to the same well more than once? Let me count the reasons.

1       You’ll get to spend more time with your favorite people, places or things.

Passion energizes.

2       You’ll have an opportunity to make the images that almost worked or that you missed.

Make a list to learn from your mistakes and create a working plan.

3       You’ll have an opportunity to improve your images.

Practice makes perfect.

4       You’ll learn more about a place.

By increasing your understanding of the places you photograph your photographs will become more interesting.

5       You’ll see changes in the place.

Time reveals new things, changing subjects and changing us.

6       You’ll see new things.

Having first found the images that come to you naturally, you’ll later find yourself challenged to look for other kinds of images, which will stimulate your creativity and increase your visual versatility.

7       You’ll learn more about yourself.

You’ll be called to identify your habits, changes, strengths and weaknesses, hopes and purpose.

Just because we see new things doesn’t mean we will see in new ways. In fact, it’s often during times when we are engaged by a great deal of new information that we fall back on our habits. When we see the same things again we are challenged to see in new ways and/or deepen the ways we see them.

Questions 

What things would be most valuable for you to revisit?

How many new ways can you imagine approaching a subject?

What do you hope to accomplish when you revisit them?

What can you learn about yourself when you return – preferences, tendencies, habits, core strengths, areas for improvement, etc?

Find out more about this image here.

View more related images here.

Read more The Stories Behind The Images here.

My free April desktop calendar features an image in my series Suffusion from Iceland.

Download it here now.

Find out about upcoming events here.


I’m having a great time printing this series of images!

At first glance, they look like classic black and white images. In reality, they’re full color captures of a near neutral subject, processed and printed as color images. The trace amounts of color from the original subject make a very subtle but meaningful addition to the final image and print.

The trace amounts of color in the image are so subtle, I wasn’t sure which color management options would yield the best printed results; shadow detail, gradation, neutrality and graybalance all play major roles.

To get the final prints today, I tested multiple printer color management routes (Photoshop, Printer, Printer Adv B&W)(my ImagePrint tests are pending). Using Printer color management  for color offered the results I was looking for – not Photoshop, which clipped deep shadow detail and not Printer Adv B&W which rendered warm grays by default and cool toning solutions added more cool toning to the highlights than the shadows making the prints look like they carried a faint color cross).

They’re really touchy images. I found out how touchy when I went from 4×6 proofs to 11×14 prints, which when enlarged looked slightly lighter and lower contrast. A contrast curve for enlargement solved this.

At larger scale the noise became an issue, which I’m sleeping on. On the one hand, the subject is made of particles of water, which you can see when you are there. On the other hand it looks distracting to people who don’t know this. Water blurs with motion but the motion is frozen in these very fast exposures. I polled other people around me (including my father). Then I settled on an unexpected solution. I let some of the noise come through only in the areas of greatest focus, drawing slightly more attention to them. (Some noise can makes images appear sharper.)

There was a another surprise. I tested the images on glossy paper (Epson Exhibition Fine Art Paper). The extra depth in the blacks made another improvement in the image, so much so that it was worth the trade off for the soft surface of the matte paper. I made a similar test with a related series, Fumo, and didn’t make this choice. But here it was clear. This is the first time I’ve made my final prints on glossy paper.

I made these images while scouting my 2011 Focus On Nature workshop with Ragnar Th Sigurdsson and Arthur Meyerson. Arthur and I, two colorists who love the colors black gray and white and talk about them as colors.

I’m looking forward to returning to Iceland (and this waterfall) this August to lead a workshops again for Focus On Nature with +Einar Erlendsson , +Ragnar Th. Sigurdsson and +seth resnick .  +Arthur Meyerson Arthur Meyerson will join us at the end of our Iceland workshop for our Arctic Voyage workshop/cruise from Longyearben to Greenland and finally back to Iceland.

We have a few more spaces left our Iceland workshop.

There’s one space left in our Greenland workshop.

There are a two more spaces in my Fine Digital Print Advanced workshop.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.


I often find the same compositional strategies, patterns, subjects and themes resurface in our work. Sometimes the ideas from two different images merge into a new one. I pay close attention to these visual bridges as they help me understand the both the similarities and differences between individual images and series.

In Inhalation 29 two series (Inhalation and Suffusion) cross-pollinate.
For more on this read my ebook Combination.

The exposures for this image were made in Iceland.
Learn about my Iceland digital photography workshops here.

New Desktop Calendar

November 5, 2008 | Leave a Comment |

This month’s desktop calendar features an image from my series Suffusion.
It’s free!
Download it here.
Get the free PDF portable gallery of my Suffusion series here.


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