01_IMG_7830 02_IMG_7832 03_IMG_7833 04_IMG_7881 05_IMG_7872 06_IMG_7877 07_IMG_7878 08_IMG_7879 09_IMG_7862 10_IMG_7831 11_IMG_7882

Wherever I go I explore the world visually with a camera. Sometimes this is during a walk. Sometimes this is during a workshop. Other times it’s while I’m making a body of work. You might think it distracting to think about one thing while you’re doing another but I find that working on two different ideas at the same time often leads to a fertile cross-pollination. I find new ideas this way.

Of course, you’ve got to stay flexible. Recently, while I was leading a photography workshop in Maine’s Acadia National Park I went looking for the cairns so many visitors leave behind. I don’t like them in public lands, because when I go there I want to be able to experience the land uninterpreted. Still, I appreciate the playful contact people have with the land when they make cairns. So to work on my ambivalence I started making art out of the cairns. But this time, they weren’t there. I was pleasantly surprised and a little disappointed, which also surprised me. So I started to make my own cairns to photograph, intending to scatter them before I left, and never got to it because the first two stones I picked up were all I needed that day. The relationships between them and their environment were much richer than I expected. It felt like arranging still lifes, which I did for hours – and I’m sure I’ll do it again.

These studies relate to my series Alignment.

View my Maine Cairns studies here.

View my studies of Maine Artists here.

View more studies of Maine here.

Find out about my Maine fall photography workshop here.

LandInLand_XXV

For years I’ve used my iPhone as a sketchbook to play, make images more spontaneously, and explore ideas. I’ve always been fascinated by how the tools we use change our perception. Yet, knowing it wasn’t the tool that made the difference between a study and a finished work, I’d been challenging myself to create a series of images with my iPhone that had as much depth of content and feeling as the images I’ve made with cameras that make higher quality files. Land In Land is the first series I’ve done this with. Here’s a quick look at how it developed.

LandInLand_I

I knew I was onto something when I saw this first image in New Zealand.

I got confirmation that the idea could be sustained with this second image.

LandInLand_II

I found that meaningful variations could be found in other locations like California.

LandInLand_XXXVI

This process of discovery was repeatable in Utah.

LandInLand_LXVI

LandInLand_LIX

LandInLand_LIII

This new way of seeing finally became intuitive for me, leading to increased productivity in Spain.

LandInLand_LXXXIV

LandInLand_LXXVII LandInLand_LXXXII

LandInLand_LXXIX LandInLand_LXXXIX

My mother (an artist, a picture editor, a designer) has an exceptional eye. When she asked for a print of this last image and hung it near a prized Tibetan tanka, it was confirmation for me that I’d achieved a real depth that carries through to others.

View the suite of images from Maine here.

View the video here.

Listen to the statement here.

20190918_GRNrodeisland_228_425

Check your inboxes!

My newsletter Insights went out Monday, Oct 28th at 8:45 EST.

This issue features 4 Ways Of Achieving Neutrality In Your Images.

Plus there’s more.

Sign up today!

If you already signed up but didn’t get this issue, check your email for a reconfirmation email sent last Friday, Oct 25th at approximately 10:40 am EST.

Constellation_XIX_425

Achieving neutrality in your images is so important. Few things are as important. Why?

Here are 4 reasons.

1 – The color in your images will appear more believable.

Casts make colors seem false. This is true for memory colors like fire engine red, sky blue, and grass green, particularly true for flesh tones (Are you feeling a little bit green today?), but nowhere more true than with neutrals. There can be some debate about which blue is sky blue. On which day? At what time? But there’s very little debate about what gray is truly neutral. Sure those neutral grays can vary in brightness but not hue or saturation. Make the neutrals in your images truly neutral and you’ll make the other colors in your images more believable.

2 – The colors in your images will look more saturated.

When you remove color casts you can see the colors beneath them more clearly. The color beneath appears purer. This effect won’t be as strong as if you had increased their saturation. It will be subtler but more convincing. Oversaturated colors often appear false and you’ll have to work the saturation of your colors twice as hard if they contain color casts. Clean color is a great foundation to add saturation to. You can get the best of both worlds.

3 – Your images will appear more three-dimensional.

Without casts, the colors in your images will have more contrast.

They’ll have more luminosity contrast. When they’re not unified by a color cast, luminosity or brightness values will become more distinct.

They’ll have more hue contrast. Often shadows will appear cooler while highlights appear warmer, making them appear even more different than they already are.

They’ll have more saturation contrast. When neutrals are neutral you’ll get maximum contrast between them and the more saturated colors in your image.

Add these three kinds of color contrast together and you’ll see a dramatic difference in your images. The illusions of three-dimensional depth and volume in our two-dimensional images will be significantly amplified.

Once again, these effects will be powerfully felt but not obvious. Clean colors won’t call attention to themselves because they seem natural, unlike imbalanced images that you’ll need to over-process to get similar effects.

4 – You’ll have the best color foundations to make black and white conversions from.

It sounds strange when you first hear it but color matters even when you’re going to remove it. The maximum hue and saturation separation created by achieving neutrality gives you more control about how dark or light to make hues during conversions to black and white.

5 – You’ll know color management is working.

Neutrals are one of the first things to look for when you’re checking your color management for printing, whether it’s evaluating a viewing light, examining a profile, a rendering intent, or a media setting. You not only look for neutral midtones but also neutrals throughout the entire tonal scale (gray balance). If you’ve achieved both your color management is working correctly. If not, check your system.

I’m sure you’ll find a few more reasons why neutrality in your images is so important.

Achieving neutrality in your images isn’t something you do for all of your images. There are many exceptions. Nevertheless, being able to achieve neutrality in your images a critically important skill. When you know how and why to achieve neutrality all of your color choices become more sensitive, deliberate, and meaningful.

Read more on Color Adjustment here.

Learn more in my digital printing and digital photography workshops.

 

Antarctica XLII

There are many ways to achieve neutrality in your images. The results they offer are not same. You need to know the differences so you can make better choices and get solutions that are right for you and your images. Explore them and you’ll be more likely to make better choices for your images in the future. Keep exploring them and you’ll open up a world of possibilities within your images.

WB

Antarctica XLII

Lightroom & Camera Raw White Balance Dropper and Sliders

The simplest way to achieve neutrality is to correctly set white balance during Raw conversion, with Lightroom or Camera Raw. Click on the eyedropper tool and click on a target area within the image. It’s that simple.

What’s not so simple is identifying a good target. This will be easy if you photographed a color checker within the image or in a separate exposure at the same time, but few do. If you’re like most photographers you’ll have to identify a good target visually, introducing a margin of error equal to your discernment. Usually the best choices are midtones. This tool also works well with highlights; but they’re more likely to carry color casts that you won’t see at first glance.

After you click on a target, the results can be refined further with the Temperature (blue to yellow) and Tint (green to magenta) sliders.

Remember, you can use Camera Raw as a filter in Photoshop too.

17_MatchColor

Antarctica XLII

Normal blend mode

Color blend mode

Antarctica XLII

Match Color

Match Color is Photoshop’s often unfound and overlooked feature that offers such sophisticated results when neutralizing colors that it’s often surprising. Not all colors will be affected equally – and that can be a good thing. Using Match Color is even easier than using Lightroom / Camera Raw’s white balance eye-dropper because you don’t need to click on a target. Simply check the box Neutralize – and leave all the other sliders and drop down menus alone.


Insights Members can login to read the full article.
Email:

Photography iphone Maine-8

Kenneth Nolan

Photography iphone Maine-6

Eliot Porter

Photography iphone Maine-2

Alan Bray

IMG_7966

Wolf Kahn

Photography iphone Maine-10

Alex Katz

Photography iphone Maine-5

Lois Dodd

Ipcar

Dahlov Ipcar

Wyeth2 copy

Jamie Wyeth

Photography iphone Maine-7

Andrew Wyeth

Photography iphone Maine-4

Louise Nevelson

Photography iphone Maine-9

Eric Hopkins

Photography iphone Maine-1 2

Fairfield Porter

Photography iphone Maine-12

Alan Magee

Photography iphone Maine-11 2

Robert Indiana

IMG_7964

Peter Ralston

IMG_7540

Paul Caponigro

For years I've been photographing postcards of artworks made by master artists in Maine. Each artist has their own strong connection to the same place and their own way of seeing it. Do they find what's iconic about Maine or do they make it iconic? Photographing images of their works in locations that feel relevant to their works provides a unique way of looking into Maine, what they make of it, and what I make of it.

View more studies here.

Find out about my Maine Fall Foliage photography workshop.

 


Insights Members can login to read the full article.
Email:

« go backkeep looking »

Subscribe

Get the RSS Feed  

Subscribe by Email