Facebook Group – John Paul Caponigro Alumni



I started a Facebook Group for my workshop and seminar alumni.
If you’re one of my alumni you can use this group to …
Network – Connect and stay in touch.
Learn – Exchange information.
Promote – Grow an audience for your projects.
I use Facebook to stay in touch with people. I let them know what I’m doing. I find out what they’re doing.
My hope is that this group will be useful to you to … Read More

ICC Is A Scale


During the Epson Print Academy Andrew Rodney uses many great metaphors to explain a complex subject – color managment. Here’s one. The ICC standard is just a scale that gives numbers a context and ultimately a meaning. 1500! What’s 1500? 1500 what? Meters? Kilometers? The scale gives the number meaning and ultimately use. And using a common scale that we all share makes communication easier and more precise. Color management is ultimately all about scientifically describing and communicating color.
Catch one of the last three Epson Print Academy dates this season.
Toronto – Saturday, 3/21
Boston – Tuesday, 3/24
Vancouver – Saturday, 5/23
Learn more.
Check out the Epson Print Academy here.
Check out Andrew Rodney’s Color Management here.
Find Andrew’s book Color Management for Photographers here.
Check out my Color Management downloads here.
Check out my DVD 6 Simple Steps to Good Color Management here.
Check out my Fine Digital Print Workshops series here.

Color Theory


Color theory can help describe what is perceived more precisely. It offers a language that is shared and reasonably precise. Color theory can help make perception more precise. Language encodes thought and a more precise and nuanced language can lead to more sensitive perception. Color theory can help analyze what makes some color relationships particularly successful and what makes others less successful. It illuminates the dynamic interactions between the elements of color, which can be used to guide decisions in selecting and adjusting color relationships.
Color theory is best used to inform color choices rather than to make them. Theory lays a foundation for exploration (guiding inquiry toward areas with greater potential and away from areas with less potential). It is not a substitute for discovery. Jazz musicians Keith Jarrett and Theolonius Monk mastered music theory, but even they were surprised by their most original compositions; their compositions were informed and empowered by theory but not determined by it. Theory is the sum of what we know, but it does not contain what we do not yet know. It can prime conditions for a breakthrough, but it cannot make one. It can be used to empower a unique or authentic sensibility, but it is not a substitute for one.
Find out more in the current issue of Digital Photo Pro.
Find out more in my color theory ebooks.

Drake Passage

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

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

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.

Orne Harbor, Errera Channel, Danko Island, Neumayer Channel, Port Lockroy

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.

Useful Island & Neko Harbor

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.

Fish Island, Grandidier Channel, Petermann Island, La Mer Channel

Pre-breakfast cruise at Fish Island through thick brash ice to two fantastic iceberg arches topped off with a close encounter with a leopard seal that slapped our zodiac with its flipper and followed us all the way back to the boat. You’ve got to shoot fast to get these shots. Sometimes you miss them, but if you get hung up on the last one you missed you miss the next one. Move on.

Post-breakfast cruise through the Grandidier Channel. All sorts of states of water; calm and with swell; clear, ice-spotted, and ice-choked. I became fascinated with the wake of the boat and sinuous like it cut behind us. Slow, dreamlike shooting as the world drifts by subtly changing by the minute. You need to look and look again; shoot and return; shoot and return.
Post-tea cruise to Petermann Island (a premiere penguin colony) with departure detour to nearby icebergs on the open ocean side. Floating through canyons of ice with heavy swell and some crashing surf. Fast and furious shooting. One shot only. Tossing boat. Shoot first. Ask questions later.
Post-dinner cruise through the La Mer Channel, considered a jewel of the Penninsula, second only to the Gullet. Weather moved in fast, we reacted, moving into the channel early. Fog enshrouded the high peaks creating a moody atmosphere. We glided up the deep fiord watching it all unfold high above us. At the end, whales. The next best thing to evening light is atmosphere. Expect the unexpected. Make the most of what you’ve got.
Enjoy my Antarctica galleries, book, and statements.
Learn more about my workshops here.
Early registrants get discounts at home.
Members get discounts abroad.

Crystal Bay & The Gullet

This is quite possibly the most beautiful place I have ever been. While the captain of the ship had been here before, none of our guides had – our expedition leader Brandon has been on 80 voyages. Very few people get to see this part of the planet. There was no one else here with us. The place feels as pristine as it is white. We sailed slowly through miles and miles of sea ice and icebergs in a glassy smooth ford-like channel with 500 meter high cliffs that gave off small avalanches and tall peaks where tiny clouds accumulated in an otherwise completely blue sky. The channel was so tight and choked with sea ice there were times we couldn’t imagine where we’d go next or see where we came from. An endlessly changing composition of light and form on a scale of symphonic grandeur unfolded before us continuously for hours on end. Everyone needed to take a break, though we hated to, at some point or another. Not one of us could fully believe what we were seeing. It will take some time for this to sink in for all of us. Even then, I imagine we’ll need to revisit our photographs to confirm that it wasn’t just a dream.

How did I deal with a complex fast moving subject? Two cameras (no time tochange lenses) with two lenses of different focal lengths (one wide angle, one telephoto). The exercise of switching ways of looking from the big picture to the details, from near to far, and back again, and back again, and back again was excellent. You truly learn to see in different ways, internalizing the knowledge, not just understanding it intellectually.
Enjoy my Antarctica galleries, book, and statements.
Learn more about my workshops here.
Early registrants get discounts at home.
Members get discounts abroad.