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Return To The Same Well

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.

Why Make Prints ?

WhyMakePrints

This is an excerpt from my article on Digital Photo Pro.

Why Make Prints ?
Making prints does so many things for your images. How many things? Let me count the ways …
They’re …
Sensual
Prints enhance your images with material qualities and the associations they bring with them.
Sizeable
Prints define the scale of your images.
Durable
Historically, it’s the images that were printed that survived.
Salable
Because they’re physical, prints are easily bought and sold.
Exclusive
Images in print are more rare, as well as less accessible.
Presentable
Prints encourage images to be viewed in different ways.
What Making Prints Can Do For You
When you make a print, you consider your images more carefully for a longer period of time and often multiple times. This adds up. It’s quite likely that along the way you’ll find many ways to improve your images. Repeat this process many times, and you’ll find that your vision as a whole will improve.
Read more on Digital Photo Pro.
Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

Alumna Kathy Beal Signature™ fine art silk scarves now available!

Alumni Kathy Beal has opened her own signature line of fine art silk scarves featuring her own images. Her online store is now open for business!
“I’m thrilled to announce that Kathy Beal Signature™ fine art silk scarves is now open for business.  You’ll find three collections for 2013 plus a special edition scarf.  The Summer Collection features designs in peaches, lavender and sage and are printed on soft silk Georgette.  The Fall Collection has warm and wonderful fall colors, and the Winter Collection features sparkling jewel tones.  Both the Fall and Winter Collections are luxurious silk crepe de chine.
Every year I will design a Special Edition Scarf dedicated to a worthy cause.  This year’s design is dedicated to women’s breast cancer research, and 10% of the proceeds will be donated to this cause.
There are two options for shipping; USPS Priority Mail is free (yes, free!) and delivery is within 2-3 days.  Overnight Federal Express is $35.
And if you make a purchase before the end of November 2013, you may use the coupon code of F&F2013 for an introductory, friends and family discount of 15%.
Your comments are always welcome, so please send me an email (kathy@kathybealsignature.com) with your comments and suggestions.”
 

27 Quotes On Imperfection

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Here’s a selection of my favorite quotes on imperfection.
“They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they’d make up their minds.” – Winston Churchill
“Gold cannot be pure, and people cannot be perfect.” – Chinese Proverb
“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” –  Salvador Dalí
“To escape criticism – do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” – Elbert Hubbard
“Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly.” – Robert H. Schuller
“Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best.” – Henry Van Dyke
“Imperfection clings to a person, and if they wait till they are brushed off entirely, they would spin for ever on their axis, advancing nowhere.” – Thomas Carlyle
“Primary purposes of a mirror: (1) To help civilized men realize their imperfections, and, (2) To help the imperfect hide their imperfections.” – Mokokoma Mokhonoana
“Nothing and no one is perfect. It just takes a good eye to find those hidden imperfections.” – Daphne Delacroix
“There is a kind of beauty in imperfection.” – Conrad Hall
“In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.” – Alice Walker
“There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.” – Francis Bacon Sr.
“Even imperfection itself may have its ideal or perfect state.” – Thomas de Quincey
“Perfection itself is imperfection.” – Vladimir Horowitz
“The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself, he becomes wise.” – Alden Nowlan
“Someone will always be prettier. Someone will always be smarter. Someone will always be younger. But they will never be you.” – Anonymous
“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” – Anna Quindlen
“We learn as much by others’ failings as by their teachings. Examples of imperfection is just as useful for achieving perfection as are models of competence and perfection.” – Magdeleine Sable
“Maybe the most any of us can expect of ourselves isn’t perfection but progress.” – Michelle Burford
“Usefulness is not impaired by imperfection. You can still drink from a chipped cup.” – Greta K. Nagel
“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” – Confucius
“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” – Judy Garland
“The word ‘Imperfect’ actually spells ‘I’m perfect’ because everyone is perfect in their own imperfect ways.” – Anonymous
“This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections.” – Saint Augustine
“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents and I lay them both at his feet.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen
“The wound is the place where the Light enters you. ” –  Rumi
Find more creativity quotes here.
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Richard Avedon – Darkness & Light


“He is one of the most influential and innovative photographers in the fashion industry and one of the first to elevate his craft into a true art, dominated more by the artist’s vision than the subject itself. This documentary tells his story. With an eclectic blend of biographical information, his work, and his commentary upon it, the film tells his story in a non-linear way. Highlights include his description of how he got a teen-age Natassja Kinski to pose naked with a large python crawling across her body and his memory of the night Marilyn Monroecame to his place and danced for hours while he photographed.” – Sandra Brennan Rovi
View more Videos On Photographers here.
Read conversations with photographers here.

Contact Sheet – Greenland 2013

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Click here to enlarge.

In reviewing my Greenland 2013 Contact Sheet it’s become even clearer to me that once you get certain kinds of successful shots the bar is raised for your future efforts. There are many good images here. But are they as good or better than other similar images I have, both from Greenland and from Antarctica? If not, why use them? (How many images do I really need? When do the new images draw attention away from old images – for better or for worse?) The answer to this depends on how I plan to use them. Since I have fewer images from Greenland than Antarctica (I’ve only visited it twice while I’ve visited Antarctica six times.), if I were assembling a body of work on Greenland, many of these would make the cut. Since I’m not currently planning on doing this, they have to work within the context of an Arctic/Antarctic project. That project has been on my mind for many years and is still in development. This set isn’t enough to bring it to fruition. For now, I suspect I’ll put most of them on hold possibly using a few for composites.
View more Contact Sheets here.
Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

3 Ways To iPhone HDR

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If you’d like to use HDR techniques for your mobile photographs you’ve got choices. Moving from simple and limited to more complex and robust, consider these three: first, the iPhone Camera app’s built in HDR function; second, the app Pro HDR; and third the app TrueHDR. I use all three, moving from one to another as the contrast of the scene increases.
The strength of HDR renderings and the artifacts they tend to produce can be varied to suit individual tastes. Regardless of whether you favor a light touch or a heavy hand, if you photograph, with or without a smart phone, sooner or later you’ll need HDR. It’s an essential technique …
Read more on The Huffington Post.
Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

Controlling Blur FX With Photoshop

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Photographers use blur (or bokeh) for a variety of reasons: to enhance space through depth of field; to add interesting visual artifacts; to simplify them; to change the quality of their expression. In the past, blur was controlled almost entirely through exposure; now it can also be controlled during post-processing, giving photographers an unprecedented array of options and ways to customize the look and feel of their images. Knowing what you can do, how far you can go, and when you can do it may change the way you shoot, one time, sometimes, or all the time.
There are many blur filters in Photoshop; Field Blur, Iris Blur, Tilt-Shift, Gaussian Blur, Lens Blur, Motion Blur, Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Smart Blur, Surface Blur (in order of appearance in the Filter: Blur drop down menu. The choices are extensive and it pays to familiarize yourself with your options by experimenting with them; you’ll find you have an extraordinary set of options that you can modify and combine creatively. If you only use the filters Gaussian Blur and Lens Blur, you’ll still have game-changing control at your fingertips, once you learn how to extend and modify them.
There are several important non-destructive strategies you can use to gain more control over all filter effects that will enable you to go further in your explorations and generate more sophisticated and compelling results Try one or all of the moves in this classic progression. Apply a filter to a duplicate layer and then modify its Opacity, Blend Mode, Blend If Sliders, and add a layer mask …
Read more on Digital Photo Pro.
Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

Make A Plan- The Story Behind The Photograph

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Procession II, Cushing, Maine, 1999

It took a clear set of plans to make this image – Procession II. First, I had to know what kinds of images I wanted to make, prioritizing some over others. Second, I had to figure out the elements needed for a general composition. Third, I had to identify the specific final composition I wanted to make. Fourth, I had to identify locations I could find these subjects in, travel to them, and make exposures at the right time. Fifth, I needed to photograph one stone from multiple angles in a light comparable with the overall scene. Sixth, I needed to plan the location, shape, and quality of the shadows that needed rendering during compositing. It all came together, after a lot of planning. Without a plan it would have involved a lot more trial and error requiring more time and resources and even then it’s quite likely that I may never have arrived here without a clear vision for where I wanted to go and why I wanted to do it.

There are other kinds of planning that are needed to succeed both professionally and personally. Whether you’re engaged in your creative life professionally or simply as a vehicle for personal growth (an important distinction to make), I recommend you make a creative plan. If you do this, you too will find both your productivity and fulfillment will increase, in a way that’s meaningful to you.
Set a mission (why you’re doing it), goals (what outcomes you want), projects (the big things you do)(set goals for 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 5 years, and end of life) and actions (the small steps you take to getting your projects done)(detail your 1 year next actions list) for your creative life.
Align your creative mission with your life’s mission. Most people need at least two missions; one for their life in general (which includes many things – health, family, finances, etc) and one for a specific area, like their career or creative life, which may or many not be the same. Make sure that your missions share something in common – something other than yourself. The more you can align them, the more likely you are to achieve them, increase your productivity, and be more fulfilled.
A plan is a work in progress. The best plans are flexible and can be modified. If I don’t learn something new from a process, often something that shifts my perspective significantly enough to start doing something better than before, then I feel I haven’t truly excelled at what I’m doing. I expect to improve my plans. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t waste time making plans. It does mean I can waste time making plans that are too detailed or too speculative. In addition to learning when and how to plan, it’s also important to learn when to stop planning. But do plan. Planning not to plan is planning to fail. If you don’t make plans, life just happens and you may not make the time for the things that matter most. Make that time.
Questions
How can planning help strengthen your creative efforts?
At what stages and in how many ways can you encourage the evolution of those plans?
When is it better to abandon an old plan for a new one?
What are the positive and negative effects of having no plan at all?
Find out more about this image here.
Read more The Stories Behind The Photographs here.

24 Quotes By Photographer Ernst Haas

 
Here’s a selection of my favorite quotes by photographer Ernst Haas.
“With photography a new language has been created. Now for the first time it is possible to express reality by reality. We can look at an impression as long as we wish, we can delve into it and, so to speak, renew past experiences at will.” – Ernst Haas
“We can write the new chapters in a visual language whose prose and poetry will need no translation.” – Ernst Haas
“There are almost too many possibilities. Photography is in direct proportion with our time: multiple, faster, instant. Because it is so easy, it will be more difficult.” – Ernst Haas
“Living in a time of the increasing struggle of the mechanization of man, photography has become another example of this paradoxical problem of how to humanize, how to overcome a machine on which we are thoroughly dependent… the camera…” – Ernst Haas
“A few words about the question of whether photography is art or not: I never understood the question.” – Ernst Haas
“There are two kinds of photographers: those who compose pictures and those who take them. The former work in studios. For the latter, the studio is the world…. For them, the ordinary doesn’t exist: every thing in life is a source of nourishment.” – Ernst Haas
“The best pictures differentiate themselves by nuances…a tiny relationship – either a harmony or a disharmony – that creates a picture.” – Ernst Haas
“Best wide-angle lens? Two steps backward. Look for the ‘ah-ha’.” – Ernst Haas
“The most important lens you have is your legs.” – Ernst Haas
“The camera doesn’t make a bit of difference. All of them can record what you are seeing. But, you have to SEE.” – Ernst Haas
“The camera only facilitates the taking. The photographer must do the giving in order to transform and transcend ordinary reality. The problem is to transform without deforming. He must gain intensity in form and content by bringing a subjective order into an objective chaos.” – Ernst Haas
“You don’t take pictures; the good ones happen to you.” – Ernst Haas
“Learn by doing or even better unlearn by doing.” – Ernst Haas
“Don’t park… Arrival is the death of inspiration.” – Ernst Haas
“I am not interested in shooting new things – I am interested to see things new.” – Ernst Haas
“A picture is the expression of an impression. If the beautiful were not in us, how would we ever recognize it?” – Ernst Haas
“You become things, you become an atmosphere, and if you become it, which means you incorporate it within you, you can also give it back. You can put this feeling into a picture. A painter can do it. And a musician can do it and I think a photographer can do that too and that I would call the dreaming with open eyes.” – Ernst Haas
“There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.” – Ernst Haas
“I want to be remembered much more for a total vision than for a few perfect single pictures.” – Ernst Haas
“I prefer to be noticed some day, first for my ideas and second for my good eye…” – Ernst Haas
“Only a vision – that is what one must have.” – Ernst Haas
“Style has no formula, but it has a secret key. It is the extension of your personality. The summation of this indefinable net of your feeling, knowledge and experience.” – Ernst Haas
“In every artist there is poetry. In every human being there is the poetic element. We know, we feel, we believe.” – Ernst Haas
“Every work of art has its necessity; find out your very own. Ask yourself if you would do it if nobody would ever see it, if you would never be compensated for it, if nobody ever wanted it. If you come to a clear ‘yes’ in spite of it, then go ahead and don’t doubt it anymore.” – Ernst Haas
Read more photographer’s quotes here.
View photographer’s favorite quotes here.